September 18, 2018

Does Future of Wolves Hinge On Public Perceptions?

It is my opinion, and one that can be easily propped up with existing evidence and results, that the reintroduction or introduction of wolves, depending on your perspective, was nothing more than a typical government bureaucratic, overreach and abuse of power. But that’s commonplace, is it not?

It matters not to which side, if there really are sides, you may come down on in the “Wolf Wars”, it is all too often an emotional, irrational debate among people (and in some cases the term “people” here is used freely). Why is it emotional? If I were to define the two sides in basic terms, on one side we have those who love wolves, believe wolves have rights, believe wolves are necessary for the ecosystem, that wolves should be left alone and that man should be destroyed for interfering with wolves, among other bits of nonsense. On the other side the call is there for wolves to be controlled, that all wolves should be killed, that people need to be able to protect themselves, family and property, etc. Regardless of the definitions of each side, the reality is that it becomes an emotional issue because people are involved and in some cases that involvement is very personal. I know of nobody who will argue that this issue of wolves and wolf reintroduction is not an emotional mess.

Why then, was this aspect of wolf reintroduction not even considered in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the reintroduction of wolves?

Go look at the EIS. Or better yet, go read it if you would like to gain an understanding about what a useless government document is and how hours and millions of dollars later the entire aspect of wolf reintroduction is a flaming disaster, as far as public perceptions go. The design of the EIS and the reality of what has transpired since, is a clear indication that somebody intended to reintroduce wolves regardless of any concerns or what might happen in the future.

On page viii of the EIS, in part it states:

Fifteen issues and impacts were not evaluated further in the FEIS because they were not
significant
to the decision being made
* Wolves not native to Yellowstone
National Park
* Wolf rights
* Federal “subsidies”
* Human safety and health
* Other predators and scavengers
* Endangered species
* Plants, invertebrates, fish, reptiles,
amphibians, birds, and mammals
* Diseases and parasites
* Private property rights
* Wolf recovery in other areas
* Existing wolves in central Idaho
and Yellowstone
* Existing wolves in northwestern
Montana
* Wolf subspecies
* Wolf and dog and coyote
hybridization
* Need for research (I took the liberty to embolden those “not significant” issues that I know directly impact the people.)

Isn’t this a clear example of how the government, i.e. the environmentalists because they run the government, doesn’t give two rat’s behinds about what the hell happens to the people or their property rights. They are going to do just as they please regardless of how you or I feel. How can many of those 15 items not be considered as significant. One would have to be either brain dead or a crook to think otherwise.

Two of the more prolific wolf “experts” are L. David Mech and Ed Bangs. Mech has studied wolves since before Columbus and Bangs was the wolf reintroduction coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Both men readily acknowledge that public perception played an integral role in wolf introduction and recovery and will play a significant role in the future of the gray wolf and yet both express that their interests are with the wolf far and above any concerns about the people. Mech even indicates that lying about everything wolf, justifies the end when it comes to selling wolves.

The above labels have been very useful in many circumstance and have contributed significantly to wolf recovery. They may still be useful in the future, but we should be aware that they are shortcuts to “sell a product” rather than good scientific grounds on which to build conservation.

The labels Mech is referring to above are those given to wolves in order to better give the public a positive perception of wolves, while deliberately misleading. Lying to the public about a vicious and disease-ridden predator that few have much use for: “flagship species”, “umbrella species”, “indicator species”, “keystone species”, for the sole purpose of “sell a product”, i.e. wolves, to the public. How crooked can anyone get?

Mech has also said that the only thing allowing hunting of wolves provides is a greater tolerance for the animal. He states that hunting wolves will have no direct affect but indirectly it changes public perceptions.

Ed Bangs, wolf coordinator for the USFWS, shows little concern for the people either. Isn’t it just about his wolf?

Wolves and wolf management have nothing to do with wolves,” says Ed Bangs, Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “I think the folks who didn’t like them still don’t like them, and the folks who did like them still do. Wolves are mainly a symbolic issue that relates to core human values.

Or perhaps Bangs shows his love of the wolf and disdain for the human species more precisely when in a comment he made to a person who had just lost their dog to a wolf killing. His comment was, “What’s the big deal? It’s only a damn dog.” Many feel the same way about his damned dogs too.

When nearly every aspect of wolf reintroduction and the continued promotion of wolves directly involves many, if not all, humans, then why did the USFWS opt to not even include public safety and property rights in the Final Environmental Impact Statement?

Historically wolves were nearly extirpated from the lower 48 states because people were intolerant of the nasty dog. Rightly so, the future of gray wolves in this country is going to depend upon how much patience the people are going to have when it comes to public safety, private property, disease and effects on other wildlife, including game animals.

For those in positions of authority, then, to knowingly piss off the citizens and/or trample on their rights when it comes to dealing with the wild dogs, leaves one to conclude that one of two things exist….or perhaps both at the same time.

First, is that the citizenry is dealing with a government agency and as a government agency they believe they have the power to do just as they damned well please and to hell with the serf taxpayers. And secondly, those individuals and organizations are too stupid to know or care. They are driven by personal agendas and feel threatened or eagerly and willingly kowtow to the environmentalists who are always demanding and taking and never giving.

In a recent display of either government abuse or ignorance, the Washington State fish and game people set out traps in an area near Twisp, Washington. The traps were located on Forestry Service lands adjacent to private property. The purpose of the traps was to capture wolves, radio collar them and release them for study. Two pet dogs ended up in the traps.

Out of shear ignorance and stupidity, wildlife officials set these traps within short distances of the residents without notifying anyone living nearby. Officials did place signs along the road(s) leading into the area.

Residents became incensed that wildlife officials would set out traps next to private residents and not personally contact them about their plans and intentions.

If the future of the survival of gray wolves in this country is hinging on public perceptions, what good is becoming of this kind of treatment by government officials of citizens? Is it ignorance? Is it just plain stupidity? Perhaps it’s terrible leadership that non thinking employees can’t make good decisions? Or maybe it’s the usual governmental arrogance that nobody can or will touch them and ruffle their bimonthly paychecks or disrupt their retirement pensions. This is government out of control.

This sort of behavior is not relegated to only the state of Washington. This kind of attitude exists nationwide, I dare say within every fish and game department in this country.

Read what Ed Bangs says in his explanation as to why wolves were finally reintroduced into the Northern Rockies:

I think the only reason wolf reintroduction finally happened was that people with different values moved to Montana and diluted the strong agricultural influence. Plus, the economy changed from straight agriculture and natural resource consumption to areas such as tourism. …I think in time the debate will get less shrill because living with ‘real’ wolves does moderate the strong and highly polarized, all-bad or all-good opinions.

What a crock and a belly full of arrogance! This is absolute BS design to “sell a product”, i.e wolves, to the American public. The reason wolf reintroduction happened was because Bangs and Neimeyer just took it upon themselves to do it. They used their governmental power and force field to say to hell with the people. They wanted wolves and so they went and got them.

It was my perception from reading Carter Neimeyer’s book, “Wolfer”, that one day Neimeyer just up and decided he was going to Canada to trap and import wolves and Ed Bangs could join him if he wanted. Perhaps this is one reason no permits to import wolves was ever obtained.

The “strong and highly polarized” opinions or perceptions of people will not change, so long as everything is said and done to ensure the people aren’t cared for and the wolves are. With actions like those in Washington State and elsewhere, who can have a good opinion of government wildlife biologists and employees when consideration for the people, ironically who pay their wages, is far at the bottom of the totem pole.

Over the coming years, expect little to improve and mostly get worse.

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*Editor’s Note* – The below quote was posted as a comment in an open thread yesterday. I have decided it warranted being places as a front page story for readers to examine and follow up with reading the entire article from which the quote can be found.

From Pakalert Press:

… the plan is brilliant. You reduce the number from 7+ billion by at least 33% without firing one shot. You simply privatize all natural resources and then price access so that the bottom third of the globe’s population cannot afford it. And so, they die; it will be the biggest die-off of the Anthropocene epoch. From Papua New Guinea to Croatia, from Bolivia to Ghana, from Canada to Central America, from Scotland to Nigeria, from Australia to America, forests, water rights, mineral rights, arable land, national parks, and much more is being privatized with the usual outcomes: degradation, displacement of indigenous populations, higher costs, lack of access to necessary resources — starvation, death, social unrest and rebellion… (‘Natural Capital and the Real End Game’, Sandy Krolick)

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