Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Tag
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.”
October 28, 2013 by JAMES WILLIAM GIBSON
Graphic Photo: Vigilantes in Wyoming Enact “Justice” Against Wolves
“Fed Up in Wyoming” reads the caption under this stunning photograph posted on a hunter’s Facebook page (reproduced here under Fair Use). The photo is yet more evidence that, two years after political reactionaries led a successful campaign in the House of Representatives and then the Senate to remove the North Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, the slaughter of wolves continues to escalate as wolf hunters fall deeper in their paranoid fantasy that the wolf represents a liberal conspiracy against rural communities.
The Facebook page that originally posted the image belongs to two Wyoming hunting outfitters, Colby and Codi Gines. The Gines run CG Wilderness Adventures, headquartered in a highly remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger Teton National Forest, bordering on the southeast section of Yellowstone National Park. “Wyoming is God’s country, and we invite you to come see it for yourself,” says the Gines’ website.
Their invitation evidently does not extend to wolves. Driven extinct in most of the continental US in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the wolf returned to the American landscape in 1995, when the US Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 66 wolves captured in the Canadian Rockies to Central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Conservationists saw as the return of the wolf as a crowning accomplishment to renew the wilderness, and millions of Americans came to celebrate the wolf’s comeback. But by 2009 a virulent opposition movement opposed to the wolf had formed. Made up of hunters and outfitters, ranchers, and far-right groups, these forces coalesced around a cultural mythology in which wolves became demons — disease ridden, dangerous foreign invaders — who served as icons of the hated federal government. (Read Cry Wolf, our in-depth report on this issue.)
With the Klan-like hoods and the ostentatious display of the American flag, the photo is a glimpse into the mentality of those behind the anti-wolf campaign. There is, apparently, a cohort of people who view the destruction of wild nature as something to be celebrated, something quintessentially America. They are play acting at both patriotism and rebellion. And, in their play-acting, they reveal a great deal about the paranoid fantasies that have gripped some people in the age of Obama.
The Facebook comments following the photo are especially revealing. Among those who LIKE this page is Sportsmen Against Wolves, a group whose “About” statement is, “Sportsmen against illegally introduced Canadian Gray Wolves.” Here’s one wolf-killing friend, J. Weeks, commenting on the photo: “Kill all federally funded terrorists. ” To some, the reintroduction of wolves represents Washington’s treason against civilization itself: “Yet another brilliant bleeding heart program…reestablish the bloodthirsty critter that every civilization from the dawn of time has tried to eliminate,” says Johnny W. To Sarah H., the wolf killing is just self-defense: “I imagine they don’t want any wolfies to come after them or their families!” Then Haines complained that only one had been killed — there “should be a pile of them tho!”
The white hoods, with their echoes of Jim Crow-era terrorism, were actually celebrated by some commenters. “Redneck KKK” wrote Austin T. One fan, Julia G., argued that the wolf hunters should be more brazen, posting, “Next time they go full REGALIA.”
For their part, the Gines prefer to call the hoods the sign of “Vigilantes,” a way of “Trying to make a statement!…Frontier Justice! Wyoming hunters are fed up!” John P. concurred, “Yeehaw…looks like modern day Wyoming rangers taking care of business!!!!!”
Some commenters suggested that the wolf hunters wore hoods to protect themselves from government persecution. One supporter of masked men posted, “I fully understand the masks…Keep on killing guys.”
It would seem that wolf hunting is the wildlife version of George Zimmerman’s vigilantism – self appointed keepers of order waging a battle against an imaginary enemy.
Or maybe it’s worse, and the wolf hunters with their KKK masks are more like shades of Timothy McVeigh. The cammo gear, the rifles – it’s as if the wolf hunters were fighting a guerrilla war against Washington. As if they were worried that at any moment a US Fish and Wildlife Service black helicopter would swoop down and a SWAT team emerge, assault rifles blazing.
But it’s a phony rebellion against a phantom menace. The wolves aren’t actually any danger to people or much of a threat to ranchers’ livestock. And the US government permits them to be killed. There’s no real transgression here requiring a mask. It’s all theater meant to self-impress.
In April, 2011, the House and Senate sponsored a “rider” on a federal budget bill that removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Here’s the very long story in short: Democratic Senator Jon Tester faced a rough challenge in the 2012 Montana election, and sacrificing wolves as expendable was deemed politically expedient to win the race. Wolf hunts renewed in Idaho and Montana that fall. Legal challenges by environmental groups against the delisting failed.
Wyoming took until 2012 to win full federal approval for a plan to declare the lands near Yellowstone a “trophy zone” with wolf quotas. In most of the state, wolves can be killed year round without limits. The Gines’ hunting operation is in “Wolf Hunt Area 3.” In late October they reported killing two wolves, filling its quota of three wolves (one had been hunted earlier). Whether the wolf in this photo is one of the three legally killed is not known.
The Northern Rockies have become an unsupervised playpen for reactionaries to act out warrior fantasies against demonic wolves, coastal elites, and idiotic environmentalists — the members of these latter two categories being “two-legged” wolves. The sheer extremity of the hatred shown to wolves, and the bizarre juxtaposition of the KKK-like hoods and American flag, plainly expose this movement for what it is: A scapegoating of the wolves by men and women who have succumbed to their own rage against imagined enemies. And while the failure of federal, state and local political leaders to denounce the anti-wolf movement illuminates their moral failure, history offers encouraging instances of public indignation creating change from below.
Take, as just one example, the eventual take-down of Senator Joe McCarthy. After years of cynical Red-baiting, including accusing high ranking military and intelligence officials of treason, McCarthy was eventually brought to a kind of justice. McCarthy accused the US Army of harboring Communists and, in June 1954, in the course of a televised Senate investigation of the Army-McCarthy conflict, McCarthy accused a young lawyer working for Army counsel Joseph Welch of being affiliated with communism. After McCarthy repeatedly pressed his accusations, Welch savaged McCarthy: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch’s indignation broke the spell McCarthy had cast upon the nation and ended his political career.
Perhaps this latest wolf snuff photo will bring a similar kind of justice and force the public to declare, in no uncertain terms, that wolf killing is un-American. Maybe it will force people to ask: When will this indecent killing come to an end?
P.S. This is what it would look like if wolf management was left to stateside hunter’s association groups and not in federal care! I’m in no way claiming that USFWS have no faults but I’m quite sure that the U.S. would have even more trouble with poaching, trapping etc, than they do today. This is my personal opinion. Colbby and Codi Gines Facebook page does not exist anymore, although their website does: http://www.cgwildernessadventures.com/index.php?page=home
I took it upon myself to write a shocontact infort e-mail to them in which I conveyed my own point of view to them and how utterly disgusting I think their line of business is. If there is anyone else out there who feel like doing the same you will find their contact info on the last page.
It makes me sick to see such a majestic animal murdered in cold blood!
Source October , 2015
Wyoming has been fighting Washington over delisting since 2003, objecting to the federal standards and offering its own plan for controlling wolf populations. Wyoming treated wolves as “vermin” and allowed them to be hunted along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout National Forest lands south of Jackson Hole.
219 wolves were killed in 80% of Wyoming opened to “unlimited” killing since the delisting in late August 2012.
Overruling U.S. wildlife officials, a federal judge (Amy Berman Jackson) restored protections for gray wolves in Wyoming in September 2014.
Wyoming’s kill-on-sight attitude as a wolf management plan throughout much of the state is a disgrace. Wyoming officials need to be conscious of the fact that “sport” (trophy) hunting of wolves is inconsistent with the need for continued protections for this essential, iconic species. Labeling the wolf as a predator that could be shot in four-fifths of the state is hardly a way to treat a species freshly removed from the ESA.
Cast your vote. How should Wyoming’s wolf population be managed~certainly not by the state, please choose the first option: “The current federal controls will protect the population.”
From The Human Footprint on July 18, 2015 by Leslie
Hi folks. I’m going to try something different on my blog. From time to time, I’ll post reminiscences from Koda, the dog who grew up in the Wyoming wilds. Here’s the first one. The stories below took place when Koda was about 7 months old. We were still living in California and traveling by car back and forth to Wyoming. After Soona died when Koda was about 1 1/2 years old, we moved to our cabin in Wyoming full time.
This is me. And this is my first blog post
After a long drive, Leslie (she’s my person), Soona (she’s my grandma) and I were at our new home, a place not at all like the city we came from. This place was vast—just mountains, trees, and more smells than I ever could have imagined.
A Glorious spring day. Here I am on the trail in the mountains
One morning we were all up in the flats above the house. Leslie was piling little rocks. Soona and I were sniffing and watching. Without warning, Soona made a beeline for the woods. I was still little, only 9 months old, and didn’t know one smell from another, but I knew she smelled something that I didn’t, so I followed her. Leslie was worried for the old lady. The woods, she said, could be dangerous, especially for old dogs. So she followed us. And what do you know, Soona had a great find: a turkey partially eaten by a coyote! We munched on the bird for a while. I know turkeys because they live in California. But I didn’t know they were here in Wyoming too. From that time on I’ve watched them and got to know them. Leslie taught me to let them be. In the winter they come to our yard where I sit outside on the porch while they peck and pick for seeds and corn we sometimes lay out for them. Mostly they amuse me and, as long as don’t run after them, they pay me no mind.
The flock of turkeys I’ve come to know. And they know me.
One day just Leslie and I went for a hike up a stream, leaving Soona at home. We returned a different way, a route through sparse meadows peppered with small trees and gullies. I stayed just a bit ahead, yet kept close to Leslie. We were on the side of a small arroyo when I smelled something watching us from behind a tree. I turned to look, and saw the most beautiful girl I’d ever laid my eyes on. She appeared to be a dog, yet she had a different aura about her. My heart jumped and an irresistible urge took over my entire body. It was if this black dog were a magnet drawing me towards her. I’d already met and played with many dogs in my life at that point. I was only 7 months old, but I already knew to ‘ask’ before I could go play. But this dog…she was like no other, and I just had to know what, and who, she was. She seemed to be the essence of what a dog is; a wildness that was wilder than I ever could be. Really, I just lost my head. And so I ran after her, silently.
What a beauty she was
I heard Leslie screaming for me, calling my name. But Leslie’s voice was like a dream in the background. That black dog was so fast that I finally gave up trying to catch her. But, I’ve got to tell you, that was the most exciting moment in my life!
I ran back to the little arroyo where I’d left Leslie. She hugged me and seemed so relieved to see me. She told me that I’d seen a wolf and I was lucky that there weren’t other wolves waiting for me there. That wolves weren’t like dogs and they didn’t want other wolves, or dogs, in their territory. But all I know was that was one truly wild and free ‘dog’.
This is a wikiup
We rested in a nearby wikiup in the meadows. Leslie petted me, then scolded me for running away. After a time, we headed back in the direction where I’d run after that wolf, till we came to a trail. And what do you think I found at the trail? That wolf got so excited she’d thrown up her lunch! I guess I made an impression on her too.
From: Wild Hoofbeats
Bronze Warrior, 22 years old
A New Beginning for Older Wild Horses from Adobe Town
In September and October of 2014, 1263 wild horses were removed from Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas by the BLM. This was done due to a lawsuit and pressure and influence exerted by the Rock Springs Grazing Association, a very small but powerful association whose goal is to eradicate wild horses from both private and public lands in Wyoming. Although in the 80s an agreement was reached between the BLM, wild horse advocates and the Rock Springs Grazing Association for how many wild horses would be allowed in the vast checkerboard of private and public lands in the Red Desert of Wyoming, the grazing association contended that the BLM was not keeping the numbers of wild horses in check, so their solution was to pressure the BLM to remove all of them, not only from private lands but also from public lands on 2 million acres, and they forced the BLM to manage the public lands in the Checkerboard Area in one block, as though they were part of private lands, even though this is illegal. The court denied the advocates fighting to represent the wild horses a Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Injunction to stop the roundup, so currently the wild horses removed are in short term holding facilities: about 600 are at Rock Springs, Wyoming, about 500 in Canon City, Colorado and about 100 youngsters are at Axtell, Utah.
Curious wild family in Adobe Town
The wild family runs by me
The wild horses are the victims in this outrageous land grab struggle. Even though there were fewer than the Appropriate Management Level in each of these Herd Management Areas at the time of the roundup, with no opportunity for public comment the horses were removed, and now only 89 wild horses remain in Great Divide Basin, 29 in Salt Wells Creek and approximately 515 in Adobe Town.
I attended as many days of the roundup as I could. It was a very different experience than any roundup I had been to before in Wyoming because they were trying to capture every single horse in the Checkerboard Areas. This resulted in many more deaths than usual – a total of 14, and also resulted in the capture of many more older horses than usual. They spent hours driving single bands over and over again to the trap, when the older stallions knew what was happening and valiantly tried to evade capture.
The lawsuit that we advocates brought against the BLM continues, but the horses have been captured and removed already, and wait for their fate. A small percentage of horses that were captured have been adopted, and this is where my story begins.
The Appaloosa Stallion and pinto mare and foal
Snowfall and his family
One day while I was staying in Rock Springs waiting for the BLM to continue the roundup, I drove into Adobe Town. This area is extremely remote, over 30 miles from the highway on dirt roads. You can drive for many miles and not see a single horse on the roads I traveled, mainly because most of them in this area had already been rounded up. But as I approached Pine Butte and Sand Butte near Eversole Ranch, as I headed up a hill I saw several groups of wild horses peacefully grazing. It is common in some herd areas for family bands that know each other to stay close together at times. It is a wonderful opportunity to study the behavior and family interaction of the horses. I was amazed to see many Appaloosas in these families. I had never seen an Appaloosa in the wild before and the different and varied coat patterns were striking. I first observed a stallion whose coat looked like snow had fallen all over it. He proudly lifted his head and stood his ground as I approached. He had a striking black and white pinto mare with dramatic markings and a small foal. Then I observed a large family with a stunning sorrel stallion, and they were very curious about me, running by and then running toward me to get a closer look. Then I turned and saw an older stallion with bronze highlights glinting off his coat, and an Appaloosa “blanket” over his rump. Despite an enlarged knee, he trotted by with a float in his gait, proudly protecting his family and investigating a new person is his territory. I was enchanted by his pride and by his beautiful family, which included a gorgeous Appaloosa mare whose coat also looked like snow had fallen, and a protective sorrel pinto mare, and two sorrel mares. They moved past me and up onto a ridge, and the stallion paused to look back at me.
Bronze Warrior still has that loft, proud trot
Bronze Warrior and his family
I walked back to my car and pulled out my map. My heart sank as I traced the pattern of the Checkerboard over the area that I was in. These horses did not stand a chance. Their freedom was going to be measured in days, not weeks, not years as it should have been.
Bronze Warrior takes his family up on the ridge
He looks back at me
After seeing the last days of the roundup, I made plans to go to Canon City to see the wild horses that had been removed. Although the BLM referred to all of the wild horses that were removed in this area as being from Salt Wells Creek, many were from Adobe Town. I was determined to find some of the horses I had seen that day. I also called Manda Kalimian, of the Cana Project, formerly Seraphim 12, http://www.seraphim12foundation.org/ and I told her about these horses, and asked if there was any way she could take some of the older horses. Manda immediately said she would work on it, and we corresponded by phone and email about where these wild horses could find a new home. I knew that Manda with her great love for horses and concern about the wild horses and their fate would manage to make something work, and I started to feel hope amidst the great despair I had been feeling these last few months.
Bronze Warrior with other older stallions at Canon City
When I arrived at the corrals at the BLM Canon City facility, the first horses I saw was the bronze Appy stallion, who I named Bronze Warrior. He was peacefully munching hay and quietly observing near the other older stallions in his pen. I was so glad to have found him! In the same pen I also saw the amazing Appaloosa stallion I named Snowfall with the pinto mare, and then was able to find her as well. She was aged at 20 years old, and Bronze warrior at 22 years old, the oldest stallion that had been rounded up.
Snowfall’s pinto mare, 20 years old
Theodore, rounded up the last day in Adobe Town
Close up of Theodore
I found the striking pinto stallion that had been rounded up on the last day of the roundup in Adobe Town at Eversole Ranch when none of the public was there to witness, so that the BLM took close up photos of the horses coming in:
I sent Manda the photos, and this fueled the fire for both of us to find a home for these horses. I also emailed Kathi Fine at Rock Springs to see if I could find some of the mares in Bronze Warrior’s family so that at least two families could be reunited. The stallions have all been gelded at this point, but at least they can be with their mares again.
In the meantime, Manda called me with the wonderful news that she had just gotten off the phone with Susan Watt of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakotahttp://www.wildmustangs.com/ and that Susan was very excited about taking the older horses. She was also enthused about being able to reunite at the sanctuary not one, but two families who had been ripped apart during the roundup. This was such welcome news. I had first met Susan two years ago when I went to interview her and see and tour the sanctuary, and I knew that she would take amazing care of these horses. The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is an amazing place, and will be perfect for older horses to live out their lives in peace, and as free as possible.
The mares at Rock Springs
Mares at Rock Springs
We developed a plan. Kathi Fine at Rock Springs told me that she had at least two of the mares we were looking for, but since they were short handed none of the wild horses rounded up in the fall would be available for adoption or sale until February. So we decided to take the four in Canon City to the Black Hills Sanctuary this week and to take a second load from Rock Springs to the Sanctuary in February when the horses were ready to go.
I will be sending updates and photographs of the horses’ arrival this week at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, with the reunion of Snowfall and Diamond Girl who have been separated since the roundup. Next month I will be documenting the reunion of Bronze Warrior and his family.
The last days they were free
The beautiful sorrel stallion and his family. I looked for him in Canon City but did not find him – most likely he is in Rock Springs.
From: the Fence Post
Jan, 05, 2015
Wild Family In Great Divide Basin
Colorado Farm Bureau will be looking to improve national wild horse and burro management at next Tuesday’s voting delegate session during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Diego, Cali.
CFB President Don Shawcroft said Colorado ranchers will be calling on the federal government to enforce the already-standing Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
“The most important thing in our recommendation is a clear call on the Bureau of Land Management to follow the act as written and keep those animals within the determined numbers in areas where the animals are managed,” Shawcroft said.
Shawcroft said cattle and sheep ranches that share land with wild horse populations have suffered the most from the lack of monitoring due to competition over grazing resources.
“The biggest problem is that where those animals exist, they are not being managed and the numbers are not being controlled. It’s an issue for those with grazing rights in some areas,” he said.
Jason Vermillion, chair of Colorado’s Young Farmers and Ranchers and an alternate for the state’s voting delegation, said the issue is especially important on the Western Slope where ranchers have felt the greatest impact of the uncontrolled wild horse population. The issue was brought forward by CFB members in Mesa County.
Shawcroft also pointed out that the horses themselves suffer from lack of management and, as a result, lack of protection.
On Dec. 8, the state of Wyoming filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management over wild horse management and called on the agencies to enforce the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said the Bureau of Land Management currently lacks the resources to enforce the act and must be provided more funding to properly manage wild horse populations.
From: The Billings Gazette
The state of Wyoming is appealing the reinstatement of federal wolf protections.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming and U.S. government officials have filed separate notices that they will appeal a ruling by a federal judge that reinstated protections for wolves in the state.
The notices filed this week target the decision in September by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington, D.C., who rejected a Wyoming wolf management plan that took effect in 2012.
The state plan had classified wolves in most of the state as predators that could be shot on sight.
Jackson agreed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that wolves in the Northern Rockies have recovered. However, she ruled that the federal agency should not have accepted Wyoming’s nonbinding promise to maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves in the Northern Rockies in the 1990s. The animals have since expanded their range.
Despite the plan to appeal, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said Thursday he believes that congressional action holds the best chance for resolving the long-running dispute over manage wolves in the state.
Congress previously specified that there could be no legal challenges to decisions to end federal protection for wolves in Idaho and Montana.
Many Wyoming residents believe the wolf population in the state should be restrained to minimize the killing of livestock and other wildlife by the animals.
Wyoming has been involved in nearly continuous litigation against environmental groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the state’s effort to gain control of wolf management.
“To state it as simply as possible, we’re trying to cover all bases,” Mead said of the state’s notice that it will appeal Jackson’s ruling.
Mead said his administration is working with the state’s congressional delegation on legislation to turn over wolf management to Wyoming and prohibit further legal challenges.
Under the plan rejected by Jackson, Wyoming had divided the state into two general zones. Trophy hunting was allowed in a flexible area bordering Yellowstone, where the number of wolves killed was controlled by license sales. Wolves were left unprotected as predators in the rest of the state.
Trophy hunting is not allowed under federal management.
Mead previously said the state had almost 190 wolves and 15 breeding pairs after the first hunting season in 2012 and just under 200 wolves and 15 breeding pairs after last year’s hunt.
Jackson’s ruling derailed the state plan to allow hunters to kill a maximum total of 43 wolves starting in October.
Tim Preso, a lawyer with Earthjustice in Montana, represented a coalition of groups that sued to overturn Wyoming’s wolf plan. He said his clients are prepared to assert that the appeals court should uphold Jackson’s ruling.
Preso said it appears Wyoming’s best chance at restoring state wolf management would be to fix the flaws in its management plan rather than challenge the judge’s ruling.
Preso said the confirmation of a female gray wolf from the Northern Rockies near the Grand Canyon shows that wolves have the ability to find places to live if humans don’t kill them.
“The big issue that we had with Wyoming’s plan was it provided too many opportunities for people to kill wolves with little to nothing in the way of limits on that in most of the state,” Preso said. “In the rest of the state there were a lot of things that really weren’t nailed down by way of conservation promises.”