Archive for the ‘gray wolves’ Tag
December 10, 2015
An animal advocacy group says it will sue Fur-Ever Wild if it doesn’t stop killing the wolves.
An animal advocacy group is threatening to sue a Minnesota wildlife farm and petting zoo that it claims is slaughtering gray wolves for their fur.
Fur-Ever Wild, in the city of Lakeville, allows visitors to pet gray wolf pups. But the Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges that the farm kills and skins the wolves to sell their pelts. Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which means it is illegal to kill them.
“We hope Fur-Ever Wild will agree to cease its wolf-killing operation in the next 60 days but, if not, we intend to sue to assure the law is enforced,” ALDF executive director Stephen Wells said in a statement last week.
The group will seek “a court order or settlement agreement that ensures that none of the wolves at Fur-Ever Wild will be killed for their pelts,” staff attorney Christopher Berry told The Huffington Post.
In a civil court deposition in 2012, Fur-Ever Wild owner Terri Petter said that most of her animals are raised for fur. When asked whether she killed animals for the fur or waited for them to die naturally, she responded, “It depends on the fur market.”
In that deposition, Petter specifically mentioned pelting wolves, saying she had just pelted two and that “there will be 25 [pelted] within the next two weeks.” She also discussed breeding wolves for larger size, which would allow her to pelt them within a year, instead of keeping them for two years.
However, Petter told The Associated Press in May that she only uses animals for fur pelts if they die naturally.
“It’s not that all the animals come in and are skinned,” she said. “That’s just ludicrous.”
Petter did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post this week, and told TakePart.com she was not commenting on the ALDF case because someone had burned down one of her facility’s buildings. (She did not elaborate on whether she believed the arson was related to the advocacy group’s allegations.)
The ALDF is pointing to the annual game farm activity reports that Petter filed to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as evidence that Fur-Ever Wild has been slaughtering wolves more recently than 2012. In her report for the 2012-2013 year, Petter notes that she started with 31 wolves, and that 33 wolves were born and 24 died during the year. Six wolves were also sold that year, bringing her number at the end of the year to 34.
In the 2013-2014 report, filed this past February, Petter states that her facility began the year with 38 wolves. (It’s unclear how she started with four more wolves than she ended the previous year with). Nineteen wolf pups were born during the year, and 19 wolves died.
The wolf deaths are recorded under a category called “Number of deaths (…butchered for consumption).” Capt. Alex Gutierrez of the Minnesota DNR explained that this designation encompasses all deaths, including natural deaths and intentional killings.
Berry is skeptical that all of the wolf deaths Petter recorded were natural.
“If that many wolves are dying of natural causes then there is a very serious problem at Fur-Ever Wild that goes well beyond the pelting allegations,” he said.
The attorney said most people visiting the facility are likely unaware of what is happening to the animals.
“The average person going to Fur-Ever Wild would not think that it could be killing animals and harvesting their fur for money,” he said.
USDA inspection records from November indicate that all wolves at the facility are gray wolves.
Fur-Ever Wild has a number of other animals — including bobcats, foxes, lynx and opossums — though Berry noted that killing those animals for fur would not be against the law.
Berry said ALDF was tipped off about the alleged slaughtering at Fur-Ever Wild by local activists who were campaigning to prevent the facility from expanding to a second location in South Dakota. The second location opened briefly, but shut down after only 10 weeks due to local opposition.
“The activist effort was fueled in large part by public indignation over the compelling evidence that Fur-Ever Wild was killing its animals for fur,” Berry said.
Source – Huffington Post
Contact the author at Hilary.Hanson@huffingtonpost.com.
From Montreal Gazette August 10, 2015
A grizzly bear is seen fishing for salmon along the Atnarko river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Given the current outrage regarding Cecil the lion in Africa, the time has come for Canadians to address the issue of trophy hunting here in our country.
For too long, Canada has allowed locals and attracted tourists from around the world to pay large sums of money to hunt grey wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and other species purely for sport.
Many may have heard how Air Canada and other airlines have banned carrying trophy hunting animals from Africa. While at face value this news appears to be something to be encouraged about, the reality is that it is a sadly disappointing gesture.
They have only banned what they call the Big 5. These are animals considered on the at-risk list: rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards and cape buffalo.
So all other animals from Africa and around the world are free game.
How we treat our animals is a reflection of our society’s values and morals and as Canadians we must ask ourselves if we want to be defined by allowing the hunting of animals for sport.
Stephan Graf, St-Colomban
From CBS Detroit on July 18, 2015
MARQUETTE (AP) – The Michigan Court of Claims has upheld a law empowering an appointed panel to allow hunting of wolves.
The state Legislature approved the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act last August. It gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the authority to classify animals as game species. The commission already had given wolves that designation, which led to the state’s first authorized wolf hunt in 2013.
The law nullified two citizen votes last fall that would have prevented wolf hunts. A group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed suit, saying the law violated the Michigan Constitution.
In a ruling issued Friday, Court of Claims Judge Mark T. Boonstra disagreed, writing that the group’s suit “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” He said the court was not taking a position on whether wolves should be hunted or not.
“That policy judgment is properly left to the Legislature and the people of the state of Michigan,” Boonstra said. “Rather, the sole question before this court is whether the legislative enactment in question violates the Michigan Constitution as alleged.”
A state spokesman praised the ruling.
“The citizen-initiated law gives authority to the Natural Resources Commission to regulate sport fishing in Michigan, aligning with the NRC’s authority to regulate the taking of game,” John Pepin, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman in Marquette, told The Mining Journal. “The act gives the NRC the authority to name game species. All of this supports sound scientific management of natural resources in Michigan.”
The Michigan United Conversation Clubs, a leading hunting and fishing group, also praised the decision.
“The court recognized that the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was about just what its title says, managing fish, wildlife and their habitats with sound science,” spokesman Drew YoungeDyke said in a statement.
The wolf protection group said it will appeal.
“The judge was clearly hostile to our case, and did not seriously address the key issues of the complaint,” said Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Director Jill Fritz. “We have good legal arguments and our next step will be to the Court of Appeals.”
From: Wadena Pioneer Journal
Jan. 02, 2015 by Erik Osberg
The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association said they are “deeply discouraged at the recent ruling. Our position has been and continues to be in support of the Minnesota DNR‘s management of the wolf population based on factual science though hunting and trapping. We will be watching the courts and advocating for a reversal of this decision.”
Conversely, Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett called the ruling “exciting news for the survival of the gray wolf population, which is a vital part of our ecology. We’re glad the reckless and unnecessary wolf hunt in Minnesota is over this year, and hope smart non-lethal wolf management strategies will be implemented in the future.”
So who’s right? And where do we go from here? I was fortunate enough to be part of a conference call that included some of the world’s top wolf experts. Including: Dr. L. David Mech, senior research scientist, U.S. Department of the Interior, author and vice chair of the International Wolf Center, retired Wisconsin DNR wolf biologist Dick Thiel and Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and project leader for wolf restoration in Yellowstone National Park.
The panel stopped short of saying whether the ban was a good or bad thing, but each offered what they feared would happen and what they felt should happen. The general consensus was that the gray wolf population in in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is healthy. They cited numbers suggesting the population in these three states is above the levels that were to be achieved in the restoration process. However, Mike Phillips said he believes the court ruled as they did is because when one looks at the entire lower 48 states, the gray wolf only “inhabits 15 percent of it’s historical range,” or to put it another way, “the gray wolf is absent from 85 percent of it’s historical range.” But is it realistic to think the wolf population can be restored to its “historical range?” Dick Thiel pointed out that if we were to try to restore the Bison population to its “historical range” there would be Bison in our wheat fields. It was suggested that the goal for the wolf population management should be that they inhabit a “significant portion of range where habitat is suitable.”
The panel all expressed a concern for an increase in the illegal taking of wolves because of the ruling. They went on to say they believe that is the last thing hunters would want to do.
Perhaps the most unfortunate part in this saga is the fact that the whole situation seems to be a series of bureaucratic semantics and unreasonable logic. And there is plenty of blame to go around. Phillips pointed out that on page 95 of the official ruling the Judge cited a lack of U.S. Fish and Wildlife due diligence. The panel all agreed they hoped for a reasonable coordinated national solution.
Caught in the middle of all of this are people like Matthew Breuer of North Country Guide Service and Promotions. Matt makes his living in the great Northwoods and says he sees the impact of wolves all around him. According to Breuer: “The wolf population in Minnesota is getting borderline out of control. During the late portion of the hunting and trapping season for timberwolves the season ended abruptly due to people doing so well harvesting them. That alone should tell us that the population is beyond the DNR’s target number of wolves in the state. They are a beautiful and majestic creature, but people need to keep the harsh reality in mind… wolves are predators, and they destroy deer and moose populations when not kept in check. Not to mention that they will readily kill a hunting dog if they cross paths. I’ve seen wolves in the wild, I’ve watched them hunt, I’ve come across dozens of wolf kills. People who have only seen wolves on TV or the internet should not seal the fate of those who live amongst them.”
Outdoor Report’s Erik Osberg and Wes Gall contributed to this story.
From: The Dodo
Jan.92, 2014 by Melissa Cronin
A controversial wolf and coyote hunting derby that angered conservationists earlier this year begins this Friday at sunrise in Idaho. The three-day hunt is now being held on mostly private land, after it was pushed off government land earlier this year.
The hunt was originally slated to occur on 3 million acres of federal land in the Rocky Mountain town of Salmon, thanks to a permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But after a coalition of outraged environmental organizations announced plans to file a lawsuit against the agency to stop the derby, the permit was withdrawn and the derby was promptly kicked off public lands.
But that didn’t stop Idaho hunters. Now, the three-day “Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous,” hosted by the group Idaho for Wildlife, will be held on private ranch land and U.S. Forest Service land near the town of Salmon, AP reports. The area is half the size of the original plan and a last-ditch attempt to revoke the land permit, led by conservationists and U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, failed.
The organizers are offering a $1,000 prize to the hunter who kills the most wolves and coyotes. A spokesman for the hunt said that so far, 40 hunters from outside Idaho have committed to participate.
Wolves, long the center of political and environmental conflict, were nearly extinct in much of the U.S. until an aggressive reintroduction program began in 1995. They were finally granted protection under a precursor to the Endangered Species Act in the 1960s. Since then, gray wolves have seen a slow recovery in the U.S. — though their numbers are nowhere that of their historic population.
But that trend may end soon. Approximately 1,600 Rocky Mountain gray wolves were removed from protection in 2011 by Congress, and hunters have been targeting them since. And in June 2013, the Obama administration announced plans to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states. Many conservationists argue that wolves’ recovery is incomplete, and that the iconic animals still need government protection.
From: Lobos of the Southwest
Dec. 15, 2014
Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is an excellent way to raise awareness about critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and the steps needed to help them thrive. Surveys of newspaper readers show that the letters page is among the most closely read parts of the paper. It’s also the page policy-makers look to as a barometer of public opinion.
AZ Republic, Phoenix
December 15, 2014
Politics trump science at Game and Fish
Chairman Robert Mansell of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission proposed that the wolf on the Kaibab Plateau in Northern Arizona is a result of a “radical environmental conspiracy.” (Letters, Dec. 7)
This confirms my suspicion that the commission does not utilize proper science when making decisions in regards to wildlife management.
The commissioner provides this conspiracy theory without providing the evidence to defend it. Wolves have been known to travel long distances without detection and this wolf, until proven otherwise, is no exception.
The commissioner also confirms what I have known for some time, that this commission is truly politically motivated. They should not use venues, like the largest circulating paper in Arizona, to expound their opinions.
Arizona Republic, Phoenix
December 11, 2014
Commissioner’s Letter Disrespectful of Wildlife and Arizonans
Robert Mansell’s letter in Sunday’s Republic (“Wolf appears during controversy: Coincidence?,” Sunday Opinions) was as big a piece of groundless, inflammatory and uninformed claptrap as I’ve seen in quite some time. Mr. Mansell’s round-about allegation that a wild northern gray wolf was somehow “planted” on the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona in an effort to divert attention away from impending decisions on wolf management is at best paranoid, and at worst downright disingenuous.
As Chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, it is Mr. Mansell’s sworn duty to “conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations” (per the Department’s mission statement). Yet Mr. Mansell seems to be GAME-ing the system and FISH-ing for excuses not to responsibly manage one particular species of Arizona’s diverse wildlife – namely, the Mexican gray wolf.
Mr. Mansell’s letter was both disrespectful and a disservice to the majority of Arizonans who support the successful reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf.
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