January 18, 2017
Senators from Midwest and Wyoming introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves
NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK
“This “War on Wolves Act” would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place.”
January 10, 2017
A gray wolf moves through forested country in winter. Credit: MacNeil Lyons, National Park Service
The new Congress wasted little time in efforts to once again remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.
A bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin; and Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, would overrule a federal court action and remove federal protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and mountain west.
That already happened once, but a judge’s decision in late 2014 restored federal protections after wolves spent about three years under state control.
The members of Congress, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, say wolves have recovered enough in those areas to remove protections. But wolf supporters say the wolf hasn’t recovered over enough of its original range to remove protections in the few states where it is thriving, like Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wolf supporters say state hunting and trapping allowed before the 2014 court order threatened to put the animals back on the brink of extinction.
Similar bills have passed the House in recent years but failed to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House. With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and soon the White House, the bill’s chances are considered much better.
“In Wisconsin, we cherish our wildlife and work diligently to conserve our natural resources, but the Endangered Species Act has allowed courts to misuse judicial oversight to stop science-based wildlife management from moving forward to delist the gray wolf,” Duffy said in a statement. “Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock from gray wolves, and we will protect Wisconsin farmers from activist judges.”
December 23, 2016 by Berit Helberg
It boils in certain circles, after Vidar Helgesen Tuesday put his foot down. Over 70,000 people are overjoyed. Not as many people are cranky, miserable, hateful and unable to see that democracy and legislation for once worked. 47 wolves were meant to be shot this winter, meant the Predator Agency – most of them near the Swedish border, not for having taken large numbers of sheep – but now this years winter hunt has been stopped. Results: Only 15 wolves to be killed this year. Four wolf families (Slettås, Kynna, Osdalen and Letjenna) may live.
How can I say “over 70,000” people? Because – it is so far over seventy thousand who signed the campaign to stop the wolf hunt. A corresponding signing action has not even reached 8000! Reactions in “every camp” is obvious: It cheered within protective side and hated at the haters while one side thank Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen and the other malign him and thinks he’s bought and paid for. Predictions of a bloody summer and wolves eating children have already been mentioned, as well as SGT method – shoot, dig and be silent. When they do not get their way, they resort to poaching. It should perhaps be a little daunting to read this and to remind them that the law still applies when it does not suit them. It’s that simple.
Those who have won, is not really the pro-wolf groups, just as the haters have lost. And yes – I call them haters, it can not be explained any better when you see the statements and incitements which has spread in certain groups now. It feels of course as a victory for me, considering all the hours of volunteer work, all translations, articles, all free work to give the voiceless a voice, and you can add to this the dozens of active people who have worked like maniacs to turn wolf management into a humane, fair result. In fact the outcome could not have been different, if Vidar Helgesen does the job he is set to do: Namely to use Norwegian laws so that they are followed. They are there for a reason! So really, there is no reason to thank Vidar Helgesen so incredibly intense, he has done the job he is set to do. In our country the Predator Agency first makes a decision, then the complaints shall be dealt with and finally there is the climate and environment minister who is the last in the row to put his foot down. Or up. And that is precisely what has happened now. Because the Predator Agency has not done its job. It is in fact no news to anyone that there is a Bern Convention they must follow, although it came as a shock now. So Vedum can’t whine about the fact that democracy and law works against his wishes, and the leader of Predator Agency hopefully retires from the position – sooner rather than later. And the haters can’t say that this is anarchy – they should google such terms so they know what they are writing about. At the same time they should google wolfpack hunting and see what actually is being avoided by letting the four wolf families live. It’s that simple.
One does not kill wolves in wolf zone, by license. So we can hope that the number of wolves excluded will be expanded at the next predator settlement. So far over 10 wolves have been shot outside the wolf zone, which the haters apparantly has forgotten. They have also forgotten that the four families who will live, has hardly taken any sheep – but since it is not only the sheep that are the problem, but also hunters and forest owners, who likely would have shot far more wolves than originally proposed. It’s that simple.
Now right-wing politicians cry out in protest in Hedmark Court. And perhaps the best thing that could happen for the party is to get rid of rogue members with kindergarten mentality that does not think that it’s okay to follow Norwegian law. For the law applies even if it goes against one’s own desires. It’s that simple.
Source / roughly translated from Norwegian with Google Translate
December 20, 2016
Environmental groups hailed Tuesday’s decision. Photo: Andy Astbury/Iris
Norway’s climate and environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, on Tuesday announced that the government has drastically reduced the hunting quota for wolves, following accusations of sanctioning a “mass slaughter” of the predators.
Helgesen said that the Justice Ministry concluded that “there is no legal basis” for allowing hunters to target four wolf packs in Hedmark.
The ministry has therefore cut the hunting quota from 47 to 15 wolves.
The government had announced in September that the 47 wolves could be hunted in a move that was hailed by farmers but decried by environmental groups
outraged that such a large proportion of the 65-68 registered wolves in Norway would be fair game for hunters.
“This is pure mass slaughter,” Nina Jensen, the head of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said at the time. “We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators.”
On Tuesday, Jensen took to Twitter to personally thank Helgesen for “standing up for nature”.
The course reversal came just days before the hunting season was scheduled to begin on January 2nd. Nearly 300 hunters had planned hunts for the four wolf packs that have now been spared.
Of the 15 wolves hunters are still allowed to take, six have already been shot.
The Norwegian wolf population currently has seven packs with one reproductive couple, which is “above the national population target” since each pack can be expected to deliver a new litter every year, the Norwegian environmental agency said.
Wolves are listed as “critically endangered” on the 2015 Norwegian list of endangered animals.
December 14, 2016
Madrid’s regional government is to double its compensation fund for farmers who lose animals to wolves after a steep increase in fatal attacks in the last year.
Wolves, hunted to the brink of extinction over the past seven decades, have begun to reappear in the region in recent years.
Their return has been most keenly noticed by farmers, whose sheep, goats, cows and horses are increasingly falling prey to the 20 or so wolves thought to roam the autonomous community of Madrid. The region, which covers 3,000 sq miles at the centre of Spain, contains mountains, valleys, hills, forests, pastures and farmland, as well as the capital city.
An Iberian wolf in Chapineria, south-west of Madrid. There are thought to be 20 or so wolves roaming the community of Madrid. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters
Wolf attacks have risen from under 20 in 2012 and 2013 to 91 in 2015 and 209 in 2016. There were also four attacks in 2016 attributed to vultures.
The regional government has announced it will raise its compensation budget from €60,000 (£51,000) this year to €120,000 in 2017. Claims for the past 12 months already total almost €90,000. Compensation payments are up to €500 per sheep or goat and €1,000 per cow or horse.
According to the government’s environment department, there are estimated to be three wolf packs in the region, whose numbers are growing year by year.
“The community of Madrid has to reconcile two things: it needs to protect wolves – which cannot be hunted or captured in the region – but it also needs to protect farmers’ interests,” said a government spokesman.
“We’re paying farmers for the loss or injury of their animals but we’re also talking to farmers and ecologists about things like electric fences, using mastiffs to protect livestock and restoring pens to make animals less vulnerable to attack.”
Another problem, the spokesman said, was that wolves in surrounding areas did not respect manmade boundaries and frequently staged sorties into the Madrid region.
“The number of attacks has risen considerably because there are wolves in neighbouring communities such as Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha and they don’t understand borders – they come in, hunt and leave,” he said.
Also among the options is using GPS technology to track the animals and get a better idea of their habits and movements.
There are thought to be more than 2,000 wolves in Spain, the largest population in western Europe.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 28 Nov 2016.