One of the complaints I have always had about gray wolf (re)introduction has been the fact that claims of using “best available science” was a sham and a deliberate con job right from the very beginning. For Best Available Science to be a viable tool, then science must be the driving factor. Science is science and it doesn’t work at all when personal agendas and politics are the driving forces behind such events as wolf (re)introduction.
I have stated before that it is easy to look back on what took place in order to learn going into the future. In so doing, researching has discovered many things about wolf (re)introduction; very little that was claimed and predicted has come true, those involved were inexperienced “rookies” and some very serious and important information was completely disregarded about wolf history globally and the dangers to public health from diseases, worms and parasites carried by wolves.
In a recent article on this website, I wrote about how, in my findings of researching the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), deliberate lying and misinformation was given to the public in order to influence public opinion that would support wolf (re)introduction. One has to wonder what the outcome of pre-introduction polls would have been if people had been told the truth.
One blaring example I gave was that everywhere Ed Bangs and his band of wolf marauders went that sold the public on what I believe was an intentionally misleading claim that within the three regions where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wanted wolf populations when 10 breeding pairs or 100~ wolves were confirmed for 3 consecutive years, wolves would be removed from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection and management of wolves turned over to the states. That, as we all now know, not only never happened but it never happened so badly that over protected wolves have destroyed far too much.
The other aspect I want to cover is the terrible disregard of valuable information and the fact that there was no experienced scientists available or made available in dealing with wolves, especially wolves being dumped into areas adjacent to human-settled landscapes. Those pushing to get the wolves were only guessing what wolves would do based on models from watching wolves in cages or in remote areas of Canada or Alaska. These same people refused to use any kind of historic documents about wolves claiming it was mostly fairy tales and folk lore. What puzzles me is that it is ONLY that information that is available to United States scientists who refuse to accept with or work with people and scientists in foreign countries who have dealt with wolves for centuries. Perhaps our elitist attitudes and desire to not use historic knowledge of wolves and wolf interactions with humans, for an agenda of getting wolves in this country, has cost the American people substantially.
To go back and review the FEIS and all associated documents is quite an eye-opening experience. Looking at this issue of “best available science” and what appears a deliberate disregard at the utilization of the best science and historic documents that were available at the time of wolf (re)introduction, we see disturbing claims that should have been troubling at the time.
On page 54 of Chapter 4 – FEIS – Consultation and coordination, we find this statement:
– Obtaining information through scientific techniques has lead to tremendous benefits to society. Wildlife management has been greatly improved through scientific investigations and research, including the use of radio telemetry technology. Any reintroduction of wolves would be closely monitored and new information used to improve the program. However, wolves have been intensively studied in many areas of North America and many of the basic questions about wolf biology and behavior are well documented. Currently, another massive research program is not needed to re-study the basic nature of wolves in the western United States. While there will certainly be some interesting and necessary questions that may arise from the actual reintroduction of a top predator into an ecosystem, more research or study is certainly not required before wolf restoration could proceed. The number and level of “predictive” models and studies conducted to date have fully exhausted the ability to predict what effects wolves may have on the ecosystem in Yellowstone and central Idaho without wolves actually being present. Additional studies appear unnecessary and would only serve to increase overall costs and delay real progress toward wolf recovery and delisting.(emphasis added)
Did our scientific community fail this badly? When you honestly consider that very little predicted in the FEIS about wolves, their behavior and impacts that a recovered wolf population would have on the ecosystem and that of humans, materialized, can we look back on this event and not question what was behind wolf (re)introduction?
To claim just prior to wolf (re)introduction that Ed Bangs and his cohorts knew all there was to know about wolves, that they had “fully exhausted” everything that they could use to predict what was going to happen and then find the results we did, one has to view this as perhaps an agenda-driven, politically motivate event, designed to specifically deceive the American people. Or perhaps it is even something more sinister and/or criminal.
USFWS refused to examine or at least consider historic documents of wolf history that contain years and years of conflicts between humans and livestock, as well as wildlife impacts due to wolves. Their refusal was evidently based on some elitist notion that this history could not be substantiated and the most of it was lore and made up stories. Is this how we treat history? Will one hundred years from now, people look back at wolf (re)introduction and disregard it for many of the same reason this generation of fraudulent scientists did?
Nobody involved in wolf (re)introduction had any kind of real experience and first hand knowledge of what it would be like living, as humans, with wolves. It’s not their fault. Wolves were mostly gotten rid of before any of these people were born. But, there are history books and there are and were at that time, many countries who were living with and dealing with wolves. Did we then disregard their knowledge and if so why? Did our scientists NOT want to learn the truth because they had an agenda?
Watching some wolves in a cage or documenting their behavior in remote forests and then creating “models” to GUESS what wolves will do, is not best available science and wolf (re)introduction should never have been allowed to happen. With zero actual knowledge and experience, and confirmation that wolves were recovering naturally in Northwest Montana and parts of Idaho, we should have left it alone and continued to learn first hand about wolves.
Here’s some more examples found in the FEIS that should have sent up red flares:
FEIS – Chapter 4, Consultation and Coordination – page 22:
6. The Jackson moose population is discussed in Chapter 3, The Affected Environment, and average harvest is presented in Table 3-12. The analysis of wolf predation effects on the Jackson moose population is discussed in Chapter 4, Environmental Consequences, and cited in Boyce and Gaillard’s (1992) modeling of wolf predation on ungulates including the Jackson moose herd. Their models suggest a recovered wolf population may decrease the moose population about 7%.(emphasis added)
10. The analysis presented in Chapter 4 showed the effects a recovered wolf population would have on various ungulate populations throughout the primary analysis area. Additional ungulate herds or larger ungulate populations added to the analysis means more ungulates available to wolves and subsequent reduced effects of wolves on those ungulate populations. As stated in the analysis, the FWS recognizes ungulate populations can be quite different from one another in terms of population numbers, hunter harvests, and other physical and biological characteristics. Additionally, the FWS cannot predict exactly where wolf packs may establish territories, thus wolves will not impact all ungulate herds in the primary analysis area. However, the analyses and ranges of impacts presented would apply to most ungulate herds if wolves were associated with them.(emphasis added)
And these two items:
13. From the information available, nearly all elk, deer, and a few moose populations inhabiting areas in or near the Yellowstone National Park have population numbers in excess of several thousand. Also, harvests in many Wyoming herd units averaged hundreds of antlerless animals for elk and deer herds east and south of the park. For the herds having large antlerless harvests, reducing the antlerless harvest might be possible if wolf predation reduced ungulate numbers below objective levels. It is possible wolves could keep very small moose populations at low numbers in combination with severe winters, human harvest, and other factors (i.e., the predator pit theory) and affected the antlered harvest, but moose tend to be more difficult to kill than elk or deer and for areas east of the park, moose will not likely be a primary prey species compared to the more numerous elk and deer populations. Elk and deer because of their relative abundance will probably be the primary prey.
14. The primary analysis area was limited to places where wolves would most likely inhabit and to those ungulates wolves would most likely have impacts on at recovery levels. The FWS cannot predict exactly where wolves might set up territories. However, based on the population sizes of the ungulate herds near Dubois, if 1 pack of wolves lived in this area, it is unlikely the effects would be greater than demonstrated for other herds in the analyses presented. Indeed, with more ungulates available for wolves to prey on, overall impacts to some herds (and to associated hunter harvest) might be less than predicted. Overall impacts would be less because significantly more animals would be available and the impacts would be spread among more herds. The FWS also recognized wolf predation might severely impact some ungulate herds because of increased vulnerability (i.e., Whiskey Mountain sheep herd) and that wolf presence might inhibit the states and tribes from meeting their wildlife management objectives. The FWS believes the states and tribes are better able to determine those rare instances where wolves might severely impact wildlife populations and the FWS will work closely with those agencies in developing plans that promote wolf recovery and provide flexible management options when state and tribal objectives are being compromised.(emphasis added)
If, as the USFWS claims above, that they have “intensively studied” and that all wolf behavior is “well documented” and that “predictive models” have been “fully exhausted,” then why all the waffling in these last statements about how they can’t predict this about wolves and that about wolves? In these same claims, officials said, in effect, they knew all there was to know about wolf behavior and yet history has shown us the huge failure. This has to be a gigantic failure of science or a criminal act to deliberately mislead the people to promote an agenda to play with wolves.
It is just as disturbing to look at this evidence about poor science and deliberate disregard of facts, as it is this one statement contained in the quotes above: “The number and level of “predictive” models and studies conducted to date have fully exhausted the ability to predict what effects wolves may have on the ecosystem in Yellowstone and central Idaho without wolves actually being present. Additional studies appear unnecessary and would only serve to increase overall costs and delay real progress toward wolf recovery and delisting.”
This tells me that Ed Bangs and his gang of thieves were no longer, or probably never were, interested in knowing anything more about wolves, as it might spoil their party. They didn’t care. They didn’t care about wolf impacts on humans. They didn’t care about wolf impacts on game herds. They didn’t care about disease. They didn’t care about wolves in Russia, or Finland, Norway, Germany, India or anywhere else in the world. They want wolves to play with in Yellowstone and Idaho and they didn’t much care how they got them there. They admitted they couldn’t predict what was going to happen until they put wolves in there to find out. They called it “real progress.” And that is what they call “best available science?”
Among many terrible things this wolf (re)introduction has caused, it’s a travesty on the science community. This effort has done more to create complete distrust of government officials and the administering of the Endangered Species Act. One can only wonder, knowing and discovering the shameful acts and actions involved with wolf (re)introduction, what other ESA projects are as anti science and crooked as wolf (re)introduction?