November 13, 2018

THE Wolf Syllabus

By James Beers:

The following talk was given at a Wolf Symposium by Dr. Geist, a retired Canadian environment professor.  Dr Geist is an internationally recognized scholar and consultant in the subject of predators, predation and changing ecosystems; particularly as this involves wolves. 

I am proud to say that Dr. Geist, a man for whom I have the greatest respect and highest regard, has been both an acquaintance and colleague for many years. 

This “Banquet and Wolf Symposium” was, in my opinion, a smoke screen in the latest subterfuge by uber-rich Americans, non-government organizations and federal bureaucrats to introduce and protect wolves In Colorado to complicate wolf control in Wyoming, circumvent wolf opposition in New Mexico and place wolves ever-closer to The Great Plains where they will duplicate their impacts seen to date throughout much of the West.  

Utah, reportedly, has no established wolf packs and through adept political wrangling has prevented federal bureaucrats from asserting their legal intention to introduce or protect wolves in Utah. This political maneuvering is largely due to Big Game Forever, a Utah-founded and based hunters organization that for about a decade has steered a somewhat maverick role between Washington politicians and bureaucrats, and national non-government organizations of all stripes.  

A former Ted Turner employee and Montana legislator recently kicked off a campaign to introduce wolves into Colorado.  The “usual suspects” came forth (Denver/Colorado Springs/Fort Collins” “wolves only improve the world” crowd to a hodgepodge of ranchers, hunters, rural dog owners, and shepherds that saw what lay ahead but appeared powerless to stop it.  The next step was this “Banquet and Wolf Symposium” sponsored by the Utah-based Big Game Forever to bring together “experts, scientists and decision-makers”.  Fortunately, Dr. Geist was asked to speak, and speak he did. 

I believe Dr. Geist’s talk is the best comprehensive information presentation on wolves that I have read.  It is for this reason that I am forwarding this presentation.  If you or anyone you know is involved in the wolf issue or may be involved in the future with the wolf issue, or has noticed their kids being propagandized about wolves, or that simply likes wildlife and is concerned about America’s future rural environment – Please Share This with Them. 

As to the future of wolves in Colorado, a colleague recently told me that after cutting through all the “science” and smoke: if the Democrat wins the Governor’s race in November (a likely outcome in the heavily urban population and increasingly Magnet-State for liberals fleeing high-tax western states and even high-tax Eastern states) Wolves Will Be Introduced into and Protected in Colorado. 

Luckily, Dr. Geist is Canadian and one of those all-but-extinct endangered species candidates – a professor with Integrity.  He ignores the politics and does a masterful job of saying what I am sure the majority of banqueters neither expected nor wanted to hear. 

Thank you Dr.Geist. 

Jim Beers

4 September 2018

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

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Futility

I am here to tell you why the wolf does not belong into settled landscapes. Wolves do unbelievable damage to wildlife, they do great damage to agriculture, they pose a real threat to public health and safety, and they kill humans under now well-known circumstances. Moreover, after all the pain, suffering and deprivations that wolves inflict on people in settled landscapes, after the enormous public expenditures to maintain wolves, all the effort and costs are for naught, because in settled landscapes wolves degrade via hybridization with dogs and coyotes into worthless hybrids, that is into coydogs and feral dogs. Settled landscapers remorselessly destroy the real wolf. Wolves cannot be conserved as a species in settled landscapes. What is being done with wolves here and in Europe has nothing to do with nature conservation. What the US and the EU are doing with legislation is a very expensive, brutal and mindless way to destroy real wolves. We can do better!

Wildlife destruction

When wolves are introduced, they first destroy wildlife. When I worked in Banff National Park in the 1960’s there were present about 2,500 elk. After wolves returned in the 1970’s elk dropped to less than 300. Moreover, elk became invisible as they were not only hiding, but the bulls quit bugling during the rutting season. We have the same silent bull elk on Vancouver Island where I now live, courtesy of wolves, cougars and big black bears. After 1970 I was no longer able too observe the behaviour of elk in Banff. Also, the moose, which were readily observable in the 1960’s went extinct or invisible.

The same patter has been observed in the Yellowstone area after wolves proliferated following their introduction.  The famous northern elk herd went from 19,000 to about 4,000. Why not less? Because the park elk left the park and went onto private land where there were safe from wolves. I was informed that only some 600 or so now winter in the park. Elk not only went onto private ranches, but also into hamlets or small cities such as Gardiner, where they were also safe from wolves. And that’s exactly what elk have been doing in Canadian national parks for ages: go into towns to escape predation. Deer do that also. Currently in western Canada they are doing it on a grand scale and flee into suburbs, farms, hamlets and even into the very core of cities. Deer on Vancouver island are concentrated in human settlements and virtually missing in the vast back-country. They are not welcome in cities, but tenaciously, they hang on. In Alberta elk have left the forestry reserve, the home of wolves, and moved onto private ranches. Moose have gone even farther and moved far, far out into the prairie where they now live along watercourses and in coulees. They did not do so that when I was still living in Alberta a quarter century ago. In Yellowstone park, however, moose went extinct. Which was, of course blamed on global warming. In early fall 2006 I rode for a week from dawn to dusk through some of the finest moose habitat I have ever seen. And I have see a lot of moose habitat in Canada between the Montana/Idaho/ Washington and the Alaska boundaries. I never saw a moose or a track or a feeding sign. And that was during the moose rutting season when bulls are maximally active.

The very landscape I was riding through was also excellent mule deer habitat. During my week on horseback I saw two does and fawns and found one antler rub by a buck. I suppose they were also victims of global warming!

On Vancouver Island the annual deer kill dropped from about 25,000 a year to some 3,000 per year. Vast forest areas are now virtually without deer. My wife and I observed directly how deer vacated the landscape and rushed into suburbs and farms when a wolf pack showed up.  At night deer lined up body to body along the walls of our neighbour’s cattle barns, oblivious of the farm dogs. For the first time in four years they entered my garden and demolished the fruit trees I had planted. Some 80 trumpeter swans left with the wolf packs arrival, but only some 40 returned after the pack was extirpated; when the second wolf pack arrived the swans left and never returned. Nor did the geese, the large flocks of American widgeons, the green-winged teals, the pheasants and ruffed grouse. Note: it’s not only big game that vanishes!

Alaska colleagues experimentally released wolves on a coastal island. The wolves exterminated the deer, tried catching seals, and starved to death. Similarly, Tom Bergerud, the premier caribou biologist on this continent, documented caribou extinctions on islands occupied in the current spread of wolves.

Research in Yellowstone has shown that wolves kill about 22 elk per wolf per year, and that wolves begin leaving the country once the kill declines to 16 elk per wolf per year. That’s about the same amount of moose wolves kill in Scandinavia per year.

But where do the wolves go when they deplete the prey?

Outside the park, of course, in search of more prey. Here they may be trapped or shot. This has led to vociferous protests that the evil hunters are killing park wolves. A book has been written about it.  No mention of park management which allowed wolves to exceed their carrying capacity of the land. A classical failure of “protectionism.” However, more on that later.

You asked what will happen to your moose, elk and mule deer when wolves are introduced into Colorado and are free to multiply. The moose will be exterminated, the elk and deer decimated, except in so far as they can find shelter from wolves on private ranch-lands, as well as in hamlets and suburbs. However, protected wolves learn to hunt big game even in towns, as now witnessed in Germany. Game population will decline as well as your hunting opportunities. Wolf control can reverse that, but wolf control, as we shall see, will also accelerate hybridization and the genetic destruction of real wolves.

Hydatid disease

Wolves come with a number of diseases of which historically the worst have been rabies and hydatid disease.  Modern medicine had reduced the dangers of dying from rabies if bitten by a rabid wolf, but in the past it was cause for real anxiety, as the bite of a rabid wolf was fatal. As to hydatid disease, all technical matters I mention are to be found in descriptions on the internet – except for context! There had been a presentation given by myself together with Dr. Helen Schwantje, Wildlife Veterinarian for the Province of British Columbia, to the Montana Legislature’s Environmental Quality Council about Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis, on April 27th 2010. Everything we said then applies to all western states. Nobody can claim they were not warned on the basis of very extensive research carried out  by the late Professor James Adams of the University of British Columbia. My late wife was a student of his, and I have seen his extensive collection of images taken in the Vancouver regional hospital of this disease. A horror show beyond description! We also were privy to  the shop talk of surgeons emanating from the operating rooms, that does not find its way into learned journals. It appears that hydatid disease was prevalent then in British Columbia as trappers still used dog sleds for transportation and were feeding to the dogs the viscera of moose, caribou etc including hydatid cyst infected viscera. This practice came to an end with the rise of snowmobiles for transportation which replaced dog-sleds by the 1960’s. Soiled dog sled harnesses were one source of infection.

Hydatid disease is a nasty parasitic disease, caused by us ingesting the eggs of the dog-tape worm Echinococcus granulosus. It can be deadly! The danger resides primarily in the family dog getting infected, and then spreading infective tape worm eggs on lawns, drive ways, veranda and in the house. However, one can also catch the disease from handling the bodies and furs of infected wolves, or from berries and mushrooms contaminated with hydatid eggs from nearby wolf scats, or by running a lawn mover or hay-baler over some dry wolf scats, or drinking water that has percolated over wolf scat.  The people in real danger are ranch families on whose lands infected elk and deer gather to spend the winter and who crowd in about buildings to escape the marauding wolves. Infected elk, moose or deer carry large cysts filled with tiny tape worm heads primarily in lungs and liver. Normally they become debilitated by these cysts and readily fall prey to wolves. These, upon ingesting the viscera, also ingest the cysts. The little tape worm heads are then freed and attach themselves by the thousands to the gut of the wolf. Here they produce masses of tiny eggs that go out with the feces of the wolf. When such dries, the eggs are blown about on the surrounding vegetation. That vegetation is fed on by elk and deer. The tiny eggs turn in the gut of elk and deer into tiny larvae that drill into the intestines and are carried by the blood to the liver, lungs and more rarely the brain of the elk, where they then grow in time into the large cysts, debilitating the elk, making it prey for wolves.

If hunters shoot an infected elk on a ranch and leave the viscera behind, there is the possibility that the ranch dogs will find it, feed on it, become infected by the dog tape worm and begin shedding eggs around farm buildings, barns, and lawns within about seven weeks. People will step into the infected dog feces and, inadvertently, carry it into veranda and house. Here the eggs spread over the floors, but may also drift onto tables and furniture. The dog, licking its anus and fur, transfers tape worm eggs into its fur. The eggs are most likely to infect babies crawling about on the floor, veranda or lawn. They child will lick its hands, or eat contaminated food, and the eggs will develop into cysts. Since re-infection is likely, numerous cysts begin to grow in the liver and lungs. Cysts in the brain are normally fatal. The cysts develop initially slowly, so that not much may be notices till the child is a teen. Then, while playing sports, a cysts in the abdomen may burst. Some children die right then and there of anaphylactic shock. Those that survive need to undergo extensive operations. Should even a tiny bit of parasitic tissue lining the cysts survive surgery, it will grow into another cyst. A terrible, debilitating lifelong condition.

The primary danger comes from dogs which have fed on infected gut piles of elk, moose and deer. Also from farm and ranch dogs that have found an infected dead elk in a coulee and fed on its innards. Since in winter elk will seek refuge also in suburbs and hamlets, any resident dog finding dead elk is likely to get infected, and infect its owners in turn. In short any dog, hunting dog or companion dog that finds a dead deer or elk or an infected gut-pile will bring the disease into the home and to the neighbourhood of its owner. And that will include school yards.

So, where elk winter on ranches, de-worming dogs regularly is a necessary precaution. So is the removal of all dead elk. It is essential to insure that during hunting season hunters bring in the infected viscera for destruction. The real problem will be teaching hunters to dispose in the field infected viscera.

And be weary of people belittling this disease! The claim of a benign parasite is flatly contradicted by Delane C. Kritsky; Professor Emeritus, Idaho State University, who was Associate Dean and Professor (35 years) within Department of Health and Nutrition. “We should be asking who (the U.S. government, the Fish and Wildlife service, the wolf advocates) will be paying the health bills and funeral expenses for those who will ultimately become infected as a result of wolf introduction into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming?

Wolves are also known carriers of bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, Neospora caninum (causes abortion in cattle) and, of course, rabies. In Yellowstone, by dispersing elk far beyond the park, the park elk met elk infected with brucellosis, and became infected themselves. In Wood Buffalo National Park wolves have not eliminated tuberculosis and brucellosius in bison. Wolves may not even bother taking down old diseases bison bulls, but looks to young bison instead,

Chronic Wasting Disese CWD

Chronic wasting disease is a juggernaut descending onto American wildlife. Because of its prevalence it has been suggested that predation would wipe out this pernicious disease. In short, introducing and spreading wolves within areas where this disease is endemic among deer and elk, would eliminate the disease. Not so. It would spread the disease.  Wolves generate panic among deer and prey leading to desperate long distance flight as well as desperate searches for locations free of wolves, primarily due to human presence. I have personally witnessed this wolf-induced panic among deer. And I have observed it personally also among livestock. Secondly, because wolves in dispersing go great distances, they would spread ingested CWD prions via feces and urine over very great distances. And they would disperse it in concentrated form. More ranches would wind up CWD infected, let alone public lands. And who in his right mind would buy a ranch infected with CWD, or even a ranch adjacent to an infected ranch? And the trouble is that, generally, we have been trying to contain CWD locally instead of eliminating the root cause of its spread: the commercial trade in wildlife.

Attack on humans the escalation model. While real wolves do indeed attack humans rarely and are very shy, they kill humans none the less under predictable circumstances. Historically wolves have killed in Eurasia tens of thousands of people, and are know as belonging to the “beasts of battle”,  who occupied battle fields and devoured the dead.  Medics noted on battle fields in modern times that wolves vastly preferred human flesh to that of horses and other domestic animals. Fortunately, when wolves begin targeting people, they do so in very diagnostic fashion. They sit or stand and begin watching humans at a distance. They close the observation distance gradually. They continue their exploration by pulling on clothing, licking exposed skin before trying an initially clumsy attack. Not only food shortages trigger exploratory behaviour, so do well fed wolves frequenting garbage dumps. The key factor to watch for is the steady, consistent observations by wolves of humans. Wolves, unlike dogs, are sight-learners, very intelligent sight-learners, I might add. And steady observation of humans by wolves signals an intent on behalf of the wolf to attack people as potential prey.

Why American wolves – were – “harmless”

A prevailing myth is that wolves are so shy as not to attack people, especially North American wolves, which had for the longest time no recorded attack on a person by healthy wolves. When the student Kenton Carnegie was killed by wolves, it was blamed on black bears by a scientist ignorant of tracking, but widely accepted by environmental interests. Totally ignored was the investigation by two educated native people that had exceptional qualification in tracking. That follows a pattern of ignoring the experiences of native Americans. The myth itself can be traced back to a number of North American wolf specialists in the 1950’s who then lacked the understanding of wolves we have now, and who dismissed historical accounts as “tall tales”, precisely because of the scarcity of attacks by wolves on people in north America. It remained a puzzle for a long time even to great specialists in wolf behaviour, such as the late professor Erich Kinghammer of Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Indiana, with whom I discussed this puzzle many times in the decades past. However, I now know the answer: In the 19th Century, the wild spaces of Canada and Alaska were not only occupied by hamlets of rural and native people, and the wilderness widely exploited seasonally by an influx of hunters, while vast private lands were secured from predators by government predator control officers. Moreover, wolf control included the areal dispersal of poisoned horse meat. However and most important of all: vast areas were divided into trapping territories and trapped over by – in the case of Canada – by about 60,000 trappers. These desperately poor, hard working men depended on wildlife for survival and on dog sleds for transportation. Since wolves disperse wildlife, follow trap-lines destroying fur and kill dogs, trappers were usually not well disposed towards wolves. The wolf population of Canad is currently estimated at 60,000 and was probably less than half that in the 19th century. Note: for every wolf alive there were one or two trappers, and that does not include the armed no-trappers occupying that land. Granted the huge territories wolf packs roam over, all wolves in 19th century Canadian wilderness were thus in constant contact with very hostile human beings. That is, all wolves were being continually educated to shun humans. Moreover, because of wolf control there was a super abundance of wildlife – which I still personally experienced. That is, wolves surrounded by a a super abundant food supply grew into shy giants of almost unbelievable body size. I still experienced that personally. Because of reduced density, hydatid disease was relatively rare, attacks on livestock very limited and attacks on humans unheard of. Moreover, by keeping wolves out of settled landscapes it retained the integrity of packs as well as the genetic identity of wolves. Giant wolves living in functional packs will not hybridize with coyotes or dogs, but annihilate such. The wolf kill by trappers, however, was limited. It amounted only to about one wolf per five trappers per year, judging from bounty records.  

Replacing the little wolf with the big wolf.

North America has two species of wolves, a little native wolf who survived the incredible predation hell-hole that characterized North America during the ice ages, and a big wolf who came from Siberia, repeatedly, who did poorly in the native North America fauna, and who spread and multiplied only after human had exterminated most of the native megafauna some 12,000 years ago. The little wolf is a very smart, adaptable little fellow, who does poorly in the presence of the big wolf, but explodes in numbers in settled landscapes and follows humans closely. With human aid it spread into Alaska as well as central America and is still expanding. And it is obnoxious enough to have triggered large scale control measures. In the US coyotes are killed at roughly1000 per day.

You have also legislated via your endangers species legislation and endorsed by the courts that the big wolf will be placed where the little wolf is now.

Has anybody considered what this replacement will mean?

Do you think you will be happy having replaced the unprotected little wolf with the highly protected big wolf?

Do your legislators talk to one another?

Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

The real wolf versus the dog, destructive hybridization.

Protecting grey wolves in settled landscapes and letting them multiply freely leads in the long run to wolves hybridizing with other canids in the settled landscapes, with coyotes in north America and Golden Jackals in Europe, and with domestic dogs in both. That is, or will be, the fate of real wolves to be genetically degraded into extinction as a species. The end product of current American and European “wolf conservation” – so called – is to loose the real wolf as as species and produce a human-caused artifact, a worthless hybrid.

The real wolf is s a species. The dog is not. A species it is the product of Nature sculptured by such for millions of years.  By contrast the dog is NOT a species, but an artifact of human creation using the genetics of the wild wolf and other canids. The dog is a very great, highly useful, but also artistic creation, one which I would not want to live without. And I thank providence that the dogs I have are not wolves! Dogs have been created by humans to fit with human needs, our habitations and professional activities. They are a great treasure, as dog owners can attest to.

But so is the real wolf. And there is no question that we must insure the perpetuation in modern times of the real wolf. However, it cannot be done the way it is practised now in the USA and the European Union. For trying to maintain wolves leads remorselessly to slow, but certain, hybridization with dogs and coyotes and thus the loss of the real wolf. Hybridizing wolves with dogs and coyotes is a way to exterminate the real wolf by destroying its genetics. Of course wolves and dog are closely related genetically. However, very nearly the same basic genetics generates totally different animals. The dog is not a wolf, no matter what.  Similarly, humans and chimpanzees are also very closely related genetically, but are very different organisms.  Pigs and whales are closely reflated genetically, but you do nothing for whale conservation by protecting pigs. Placing dogs into the same species as wolves is a profound confusion of categories.

Consequently, after all the trials and tribulations of introducing wolves into settled landscapes, after all the cost to the public and private purses, after all the destruction caused by these wolves, after all the pain and suffering that befalls humans, livestock, pets and wildlife, after the loss of a grate public treasures such as wildlife, at the end, the wolf is exterminated genetically and replaces by a worthless artifact of hybridization.

Some achievement, some nature conservation, something to be really proud of!

Ecological management for native biodiversity and productivity: The fiasco of “protectionism” advanced by good, but mindless nature lovers.

Right now the national park service is bemoaning the fact that in US national parks the bio-diversity is plummeting (species are going extinct) while at the same time the parks have now over 6,500 invasive plant and animal species in the parks. Management in national parks is primarily protection – that is, doing nothing! (after all, “nature knows best”, it will restore ecological ” balance”  and etc. etc.). However, in reality, doing nothing allows the extinction of sensitive native species, while the hoodlums of the plant and animal world, the invasive species, thrive and prosper under total protection. Is this nature conservation? Is the national park service intellectually capable of differentiating between degeneration and evolution? To make my point another way: In one project in California, Wildergarten, one gentleman, Mark Vande Pol, in fierce opposition to national parks and their ruinous do-nothing policy, bought 14 acres of ground on which there were only 60 species of plants total, currently visible and reproducing. After 28 years of hard, intelligent, insightful work the count  today is some 245native species, while he controls completely another 125 exotics that were once in the seed bank.  Uniquely, the project has a special emphasis upon small annuals.  In fact, he is actively replacing an exotic seed bank with natives!  Have you ever even heard of such a public, foundation, or university project?

Do you see what I am getting at?

The publicity making lament of the National Wildlife Federation about the state of affairs on “protected” areas, is in good part due to the self-infliction of dogmatic, uncritical protectionism, in which even monitoring would be shunned as it smacks of intervention. Ergo, no science, no scholarship disturbs the fundamentalist religious view that “protection” is the salvation of nature. In reality, its exactly the opposite! Protectionist policies lead to the unwitting degeneration of nature, the longer and more effective the protection, the greater the degeneration.

Has the Wildlife Federation, let alone the Sierra Club or humane societies ever learned any lessons from the great and – when it is allowed to work – wonderful North American Model of Wildlife Conservation?

Turkeys were virtually extinct. How about their numbers today? And turkeys cannot exist without a diverse, productive habitat!

Wood ducks were virtually extinct, but no more. How come?

In 1974 bighorn sheep across the US were in decline, despite all attempts at “protecting” them, and that for over a century in California. All to no avail.  Well, the cause of the decline was identified publicly in 1974, a society to implement the rescue was called into life by 1976, and within 25 year the population of bighorns increased by almost 50%.

How come?

How come we have today so many more elk than three decades ago? Though of course not in Yellowstone National Park! There, the “within-park do nothing policy” has driven the park elk almost entirely onto private ranch land. What a success!

Oh, I must also add this one: place wolves into Yellowstone park – where everything is “protected“. And the moose went extinct. How come? We area about to loose the woodland caribou in North America forever, courtesy protectionism of same and of “habitat”. How come?

The natural “regulation” paradigm of the nature protectors is an intellectual failure, as it has to be if one understands that ecosystems, unlike individuals, are subject to positive, not negative feed back. Trusting nature to do it “right”, whatever that may mean, leads often enough to impoverished landscapes of low productivity and biodiversity. Letting “nature” have its way does not always lead to the productive, the diverse and the beautiful. Quite the contrary. And we have missed the obvious right under out noses: The revolutionary North American System of Wildlife Conservation not only saved species from extinction, but its knowledgeable hands-on policies created a landscape full of life, full of productivity, full of awe and beauty, as well as to high benefits to society while proving that the public ownership of land and resources did not lead to the” Tragedy of the Commons”, but quite the contrary. It led to the triumph of the commons. Tragedy resulted from pecuniary interests undermining the public good.

Must we abandon policies that generated productivity, richness and beauty, but also a humane treatment of wildlife? The fate of wildlife is to be changed form being killed quickly and humanely by a hunter’s bullet, to being torn to pieces bite by bite, tortured sometimes for hours by wolves tearing and ripping their way towards their unfortunate victims slow death. Which hunter ever left wildlife torn savagely? Which hunter chokes his prey slowly to death? What inhumanities are the protectionists and their ilk imposing on our unfortunate wildlife?

We have to make it clear that we can vastly improve on Nature. In fact we are doing so every day in our daily lives and dealings. We have improved on bird flight, and can transport humans in masses to distant earthly destination or to the moon and beyond. We can see so much farther in the night sky than the natural eye can achieve, and we can conserve nature on the smallest pieces of land, where as national parks fail in part because they are too small. So their lament! And where a continued existence of predators and prey is achieved in the “do nothing model”, it is on sizes beyond comprehension. Like some 150 wolves and 2,500 bison in Wood Buffalo National Park, which exceeds Switzerland in size! And I am thrilled that we have such an area for comparison. See the wonderful books of Lu Carbyn on bison and wolves in said park. Read and learn!

Not everything “Natural” is good, not everything “Natural” is beautiful, not everything “Natural” is worth fighting for. Quite the contrary! Wildfires are natural, so is tuberculosis, Lyme disease and septicemia. We are asked to abandon landscapes rich in wildlife with a proven and humane treatment of wildlife, for one that is so thoroughly impoverishing vast landscapes, while subjecting wildlife to the horrid cruelties and inhumanity of death by predation.

Is that a goal worth celebrating? Is that a goal worth striving for?

I do not believe in reincarnation , but should I be wrong, all I can say is “Lord please do not let me come back on this earth as a BISON IN WOOD BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK’. Here is my story why.” Dr. Lu Carbyn, Canada’s primary wolf biologist.

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Wolf Wisdom from a Wolf Authority

Dr. Val Geist is a retired Canadian University Professor now living in British Columbia. While his title is “Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science” his field of expertise for which he is internationally recognized is the biology of wildlife and the societal implications of wildlife policy options. I have no greater respect for any academic in the field of predators and predation; two topics of great moment as you read this in North America and Europe.

Below are some very succinct and candid comments by Dr. Geist regarding the controversies and complications swirling around European wolves, their effects of rural Europeans, and the question of what is a wolf. This last question involves the genetic definition of a dog v the genetic definition of a wolf and when is a hybrid one or the other. As I have written many times over the years; I believe a wolf is a dog is a coyote (truly one species using the classical definition of a species) since all three interbreed freely and always produce viable (reproductively capable) offspring. The emerging question of what genetically is a dog or a wolf (or a coyote in North America) is both an academic (i.e. pedantic) determination as well as a value decision by government. The real, everyday aspect of this question is the many current and growing numbers of hybrids that can easily look like one another while carrying vastly different genetic make-ups.

This question of hybrids; which is what, what is protected and what is the government purpose overall is another one of the interminable sidebars that confuse the public and make informed decision-making by the public and government merely a matter of bureaucratic interests, emotions and propaganda fantasies. I would refer you to wolf effects on big game herds like elk and moose; wolves as disease and infection vectors endangering humans, domestic animals and other wildlife; wolf effects on domestic dogs; Red v Gray v Mexican v Timber, etc. wolves; and wolf effects on rural economies and the general welfare of rural residents as all similarly ignored and undefined ramifications of wolves kept totally beyond the control of those forced to live with them by powerful, remote governments.

Dr Geist’s comments are in response to a European proposal – after just sentencing some Finnish hunters to jail for killing some wolves/dogs/hybrids (?) – to legally define just what is a wolf and what is a dog. These comments should be read by everyone involved with or soon to be involved with GI (Government Issued) wolves, dogs, hybrids or “whatevers”. If you agree, PLEASE SHARE THEM FAR AND WIDE. Thanks.

Jim Beers
19 January 2015

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

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Wolves cannot be kept in settled landscapes, because of the impossibility of keeping wolves and dogs apart, and the destruction of the wolf genome by creeping hybridization. While I whole-heatedly agree that there should be no keeping of wolves and wolf hybrids as pets, the sheer size of the “wolf-dog” industry as well as past releases of wolf hybrids will insure further erosion of the genome of free-ranging wolves. Secondly, how is officialdom to know of wolf hybrids unless wolf numbers are strictly and closely regulated so that plenty of specimens are available for testing. Thirdly, from my experience identifying wolves or dogs from photos sent my way I have serious doubts that European wolf specialists can currently distinguish wolf from dog. Unless limits are set early to wolf numbers – and I see no hint of that – wolf populations will expand to destroy the populations of deer and turn to livestock and humans.

Do the authors of this manifesto really think that they can significantly keep wolves and dogs apart by minimizing the number of free-ranging dogs? Even if they have some success in doing so, are they not aware that lone wolves themselves seek out dogs? Do they really think that lone wolf females in heat will desist from visiting suburbs and farms looking for a mate? Do they think that chained farm dogs will not copulate with a female wolf in heat at night? Has nobody had the experience of holding a young very large male dog in training while they come in contact with am estrus female canid? I had a Bouvier de Flandre on the leash while we came across a small wolf track in the snow – and the Bouvier went wild! He then weighed only about a hundred pounds. I had my hands full! An amorous male wolf threatened my wife when he approached an estrus hunting dog in an enclosure. No neighborhood male dog had been that bold! In short, given wolves with a desire to mate and they will intrude deep into human habitation. There is no way to effectively segregate wolves from dogs in settled landscapes. Moreover, as this is written, there is now way to protect wildlife from marauding packs of dogs either.

As I have said before, all efforts to make wolves compatible with settle landscapes are a waste of time and energy. All marauding canids in settle landscape need to be removed. This raises the question of how to conserve wolves as a species. What we know for certain is that they need to be kept away from people and dogs. In the first instance that means that wolves and other large predators need to be kept where the public has no entry. And such areas need to be large. The very first step is to negotiate internationally for keeping large predators on military and atomic reserves. I doubt that national parks are suitable because the tourist lobby will balk. Secondly, means and ways need to be found to control closely wolf populations in such reserves to insure that the predators do not run out of prey, and leave the reserves for settled landscapes. Well-fed wolves will cause the least problems. Severe trapping and predator control in 20th century North America kept wolves out of settled landscapes, eliminated agricultural losses and disease transmission, retained their genetic integrity, while attacks on humans were unheard of.

Wolf conservation as proposed here (i.e. Europe) is not serious.

Sincerely, Val Geist
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science

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Wolf Attacks Retired Kazakh Police Officer

wolfviciousTo some living in denial, wolves don’t attack people, unless of course they have contracted rabies…..from man non doubt. However, this story, which must not be true to those in denial, tells of a retired policeman living in Kazakhstan who was attacked from behind by a wolf while the man was looking over his car. He eventually fought off the wolf with his bear hands and strangled the animal; something Dr. Valerius Geist has always reported that could be done by a strong enough person.

I would like to draw readers attention to another report from the BBC of this same incident. I suppose searching for an explanation, the author writes:

Elders are surprised at the attack on a human, but recall that local huntsman Aldaberdy Akshabayev has stopped his regular wolf culls since the council cut off funding. Mangistau region police warn that the wolves are now becoming bolder as they compete for food.

Bingo! Too many wolves. Not enough food. Trouble! Read about this in Dr. Geist’s seven steps before wolves will attack a human.

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Those “Rare” Coyote Attacks We Always Hear About

Still puking out the ignorant mantra that coyotes don’t bother people, especially attack them, yet again we hear of a two-year-old girl in California who was attacked by a coyote and dragged away while the girl’s mother yelled and screamed and eventually run the coyote away.

And in Virginia, coyotes are a real nuisance and causing serious damage due to livestock losses.

I am reminded that it was nearly twenty years ago now that Dr. Valerius Geist told the Southeast Deer Study Group, as they complained about what to do about too many whitetail deer, to:

Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.

It now appears the coyote has arrived.

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In Spite of Directors’ Claims, Idaho Fish and Game Refuses to Control Wolves Decimating Elk Herds

Republished on this website with permission from the editor/author.

The Outdoorsman – Bulletin Number 51, Dec. 2012 – April 17, 2013 Pgs. 1-3.

In Spite of Directors’ Claims, Idaho Fish and Game Refuses to Control Wolves Decimating Elk Herds

by George Dovel

In January 1999 I attended a predator symposium in Boise co-sponsored by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Assn., Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and eight other groups. Like many of the 17 panel members whose unsupported testimony claimed wolves would have limited impact on deer, elk and moose numbers, Wolf Education Center’s David Langhorst claimed poachers kill 10 times as much game as wolves do.

But Wildlife Ecologist Dr. Charles Kay provided facts to support his testimony – that the wolves transplanted from Canada would eventually drive Idaho’s already declining big game populations into a predator pit.

Beginning with his August 1993 Petersen’s Hunting article titled, “Wolves in the West – what the government does not want you to know about wolf recovery,” Dr. Kay had published extensive research exposing federal and many state biologists’ false claim that protecting wolves would create healthy game populations.

Biologist Can’t Refute Facts – Attacks Messenger

Unable to refute any of Dr. Kay’s expert testimony, one biologist publicly confronted him and implied that his testimony was not valid because he was not a biologist.

But Dr. Kay snapped back at him, “I’d be ashamed to admit it if I was, the way you biologists have destroyed our wildlife.”

Pretending that a simple degree in wildlife biology bestows the wisdom, integrity and judgment needed to recommend real solutions ignores reality. And attacking the credibility of the messenger is a tactic used by those who lack facts to defend their position.

These two observations are based on half a century of working alongside and closely observing wildlife biologists. Deceiving the citizen hunters who pay their wages has become a specialty with most of them.

Geist – Wolves Caused ~90% Decline in Deer Harvest

But like Dr. Kay, Dr. Valerius Geist, the featured speaker at the 1999 Symposium, strived to enlighten rather than deceive. He spent a couple of hours patiently explaining to those in attendance how the return of wolves to Vancouver Island resulted in nearly a 90% decline in the number of black-tailed deer harvested each year by hunters.

He warned the audience that strict control of wolf numbers in Idaho must occur to prevent a similar decline in Idaho big game populations. IDFG Director Steve Mealy, who was the Symposium facilitator, summed up the consensus that wolf predation is largely additive and wolves must be limited to preserve healthy game populations.

Despite being provided ample opportunity to question Dr. Geist, Idaho biologists and Commissioners remained quiet. Yet a group of them confronted me a few minutes later and said, “He told us what was going to happen but he didn’t tell us what to do.”

Two months later, Mealey was fired by a 4-to-3 vote, and replaced with a series of pro-wolf Directors. But on Jan. 5 2006 Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed an agreement with Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne designating Idaho to act as its agent, and directing IDFG to “implement lethal control or translocation of wolves to reduce impacts on wild ungulates in accordance with the process outlined in the amended 10J Rule.” (emphasis added)

That was seven years ago and during those seven years, IDFG has had the authority and the duty to lethally control wolves to reduce their impact on elk, moose and deer – either using the 10J Rule with the 2002 Wolf Plan as a guide – or following the 2002 Wolf Plan during the two periods, including now, when the wolves were/are delisted.

So How Many Total Wolves Has Idaho Lethally Controlled to Reduce the Impact on Wild Ungulates During the Past Seven Years?

The answer is only nineteen – all in the Lolo Zone.

That 19, plus the few wolves harvested by hunters and outfitters in the Lolo Zone, failed to halt the dramatic annual decline in its elk population and harvest. Yet in the following exchange of communications dated Jan. 21, 2013, Moore tells Viola sportsman Jim Hagedorn that many people have simply not been exposed to the Department “science” on managing wolf predation on Idaho’s elk.

TV Interviewed Moore, Stone – Ignored Citizens

On Jan. 17, 2013 KTVB published interviews with IDFG Director Moore and Defenders of Wildlife wolf promoter Suzanne Stone at IDFG Headquarters in Boise. Moore said hunters have done a good job controlling wolves in farm and ranch areas, but said wolves are increasing and further reducing elk populations in back country areas “like the Clearwater, Lolo and Selway.”

He announced the F&G Commission had removed $50,000 from a research project and directed it to be spent killing and trapping wolves in remote areas like these. Of course Stone disagreed and said the $50,000 should be spent on non-lethal methods which she falsely claimed were more effective than lethal control.

As always happens in the urban media, KTVB ignored the majority of Idaho citizens who share ownership of the wildlife resource, and the multi-million dollar loss the exploitation of that resource by both Moore and Stone is costing them every year. This understandably upset Viola sportsman leader Jim Hagedorn who, along with many others, contributes a great deal of time and money seeking honest scientific wildlife management.

On Jan. 20, the following letter from Hagedorn to Director Moore appeared in the Forever Free Press:

A direct question for Virgil Moore:

“[IDFG’s] job is actually to conserve wolves,” says Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife. “We propose that commission use the money for non-lethal tools that are more effective in reducing livestock losses, and certainly more effective in reducing the impact on wildlife, including wolves,” Stone said.

“Moore says he’s putting together opportunities for advocates like Stone to talk to Fish and Game biologists about their management techniques.”

Director Moore, would you please explain to me why you would waste your time, your IDFG employees’ time, and MY MONEY, by opening a channel of communication to your (or MY) employees so a clearly deranged individual (Stone) who can NEVER seem to get her facts straight with the media, or anyone else for that matter, can have ANYTHING to do with advising FISH and GAME management in Idaho?
——

The following day, Hagedorn emailed a copy to Moore and to several legislators, commissioners and other knowledgeable individuals. The subject line said simply, “How about an answer Virgil?

He quickly received the following response from Moore:

Jim,
I decided to go over the science that wolves are important predators to elk. Based on the testimony at the Commission meeting last week by 16 individuals it is apparent to the Commission that many people simply have not been exposed to the Department science on managing predation on Idaho’s elk. The meeting with folks concerned about our wolf reduction efforts is to allow a more in-depth opportunity to present Department information and answer questions that could not be addressed at the public meeting.

Ms. Stone is looking for an opportunity to do more of the non-lethal management that has been tried in the Blain (sic) County area. It certainly will not work for wildlife depredation and does not work in most livestock grazing situations either. Her statements do not represent what we are trying to accomplish by providing the correct information on hunting, trapping and aerial methods of reducing wolf numbers.

Jim – I believe some of these folks can be moderated by the correct information based on my discussion with some of them at the Commission meeting- as they do not have the correct information to judge the Department program properly. I do not believe, as you do, that Defenders of Wildlife can be convinced though but the discussion of what we are planning is open to public discussion and public input and we do have an obligation to meet with folks when appropriate.

I hope this helps. Let me know if we need to talk and I’ll give you a call.

Virgil
——

The Facts

The Department “science” on managing wolf predation of elk is a myth.

Every authority on wolf-ungulate management – including L. David Mech – who has advised IDFG on this issue, has warned that 70-80% of wolves must be removed initially, and the reduced numbers maintained for at least five years in order to restore healthy ungulate populations.

When the Lolo elk herd was still estimated at about 4,000 animals, IDFG biologists carefully prepared a 10J Plan to lethally remove 75% of the wolves from the Lolo Zone the first year, and kill enough wolves for the next four years to maintain 20-30% of the original number. But instead of implementing the plan to rebuild the Lolo elk herd, the Commission voted to use it only as “leverage” (i.e. blackmail) to FWS to insure they would be allowed to manage wolves as game animals.

They got the “on again – off again” right to hold a wolf hunting season but hunters killed only 13 Lolo wolves and the Lolo elk population went down the tube. Anyone who takes the time to compare IDFG’s published annual elk harvest statistics will find that elk harvests have also nose-dived every year in all back country units since the Commission approved the 10J plan – but refused to use it.

And Moore’s promise to the Commissioners and the public when he was hired as Director two years ago that he would also implement wolf control in 2011 in the Selway and other units where wolves were also impacting elk – was never kept. Between 2006 and 2011, both of Moore’s predecessors, Steve Huffaker and Cal Groen, made similar promises that were also never kept.

It is worth noting that at the same time former Director Steve Mealey was telling a packed Commission Meeting audience that wolves were having a detrimental effect on Idaho elk herds, his Wildlife Bureau Chief Huffaker was standing in the back of that room telling a reporter that wolves had co-evolved with elk for ten thousand years and would “reach a balance” without man’s interference.

In February of 2006 when the IDFG plan to remove 75% of the Lolo Zone wolves was being “scoped” by the public, a letter writing campaign by radical pro-wolf groups supplied then Director Huffaker with the excuses he needed to convince the Commission not to control the wolves.

A Feb. 14, 2006 letter from Tami Williams of Wolf Haven International at Tenino, Washington, reminded Huffaker of the large cost of paying (Wildlife Services) to control 75% of the Lolo wolves. She speculated IDFG would get a hunting season if it waited and said, “With patience, wolf control could end up as a revenue generator rather than a revenue drain for IDFG.”

Instead of obeying Idaho Wildlife Policy in I.C. Sec. 36-103 (to preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage all wildlife), Huffaker and his biologists chose to listen to the wolf advocates and sacrifice the Lolo elk herd. Large Carnivore Coordinator Steve Nadeau prepared a 2006 10J wolf control plan claiming that declining habitat – not over-harvesting and later wolf predation – was the primary cause of the elk decline.

Nadeau’s lie ignored Clearwater elk research biologist George Pauley’s long-term and well documented research concluding that allowing hunters to kill too many bull elk was the cause of the steady decline in Lolo elk from 1986 – 2005. Read “IDFG – No Evidence Links Lolo Elk Loss to Habitat!” on Pages 6-8 of Outdoorsman No. 40.

Ignoring Pauley’s 1996 warning to stop over-harvesting bull elk, Clearwater Region Supervisor Herb Pollard increased the number of 1996 antlerless elk permits in the Lolo Zone from 350 to 1,900! In Dec. of 1996 when Steve Mealey was hired as IDFG Director, he replaced Pollard with Natural Resources Policy Director Cal Groen to halt the deliberate over-harvest.

But in 1997, Groen reduced the 1,900 antlerless permits by only 50 and changed 525 permits so hunts would end on Nov. 30 instead of Nov. 13. See results of Pollard’s and Groen’s mismanagement in harvest chart below:

elkharvestidaho

The 2006 10J wolf control plan could easily have been corrected by replacing Nadeau’s false claims with Pauley’s facts, and then submitting it to FWS. But even two years later, in 2008, IDFG Director Groen and F&G Commissioner Gary Power told the Legislature and the media that IDFG had no intention of controlling wolves in Idaho’s wilderness areas.

The appointment of Groen to the Governor’s staff in 2007 was apparently seen as an opportunity for IDFG to ignore Idaho law and the Legislature. Groen’s direction to Nadeau, to write an IDFG Wolf Plan containing massive changes to the only wolf plan approved by the Legislature, and Groen’s failure to transmit that plan for legislative approval or rejection, reflects his willingness to ignore state law and the welfare of Idaho wildlife.

The IDFG conspiracy that bypassed the lawful process and resulted in Groen, Otter and Otter’s Office of Species Conservation telling FWS Director Dale Hall that IDFG will manage for five times as many wolves as agreed to in the FWS Recovery Plan, happened without public or legislative input.

Idaho’s 2002 wolf plan emphasizes several times on pages 21 and 23 how extremely important it is for IDFG to conduct an annual census of selected important prey species. The Lolo Zone elk met every criterion for annual monitoring – yet in the 11 years since that plan was approved by the Legislature – IDFG has conducted only two counts in Unit 10 and three counts in Unit 12!

And when Nadeau wrote the bastard wolf plan in 2007 – approved unanimously by the F&G Commission on March 6, 2008 – the “annual count” language was changed to once every three to five years, plus it allowed biologists to wait another three years before taking any action! On May 22, 2008 Groen gave Nadeau an “Employee of the Year” Award for “outstanding management/leadership.”

In February of 2009, Pauley met with Montana sportsmen and the media and said there were 130-150 wolves in the Lolo Zone. He advised that the State of Idaho was making a request to shoot about 80% (104-120) of them, and would leave a minimum of 25 wolves.

Although Pauley said the 10J proposal would be presented to FWS shortly and Unsworth confirmed it, neither had any intention of controlling wolves. This was simply designed to show hard core wolf advocates they had better not oppose delisting or IDFG would kill 100 wolves in one location.

Even after Senator Jeff Siddoway forced IDFG to commit to control Lolo Zone wolves during the 2011-2012 winter, Deputy Director Unsworth ordered the helicopter control halted on the third day despite ideal conditions. Only 14 wolves were taken in that brief control action and Wildlife Services told me I would have to talk to Unsworth to find out why. The wolf control figures Unsworth claimed would reduce big game predation in the Lolo Zone were far too low to have any measurable impact.

Note: This article and many more like it can be found in The Outdoorsman magazine. Please click this link to a PDF page where you can print out a form and subscribe to the magazine. The work of George Doval, editor of The Outdoorsman, is arguably the finest work to be found anywhere in print or online publications.

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Repeating Nonsense About Predator Control Doesn’t Make it Factual

On September 10, 2012, the Portland Press Herald released an opinion piece in which the author believed that spending money to control the population of coyotes for the benefit of all wildlife was “ill-conceived wildlife measures”. The author claims that spending $100,000, of which only $15,000 was actually spent, was an “irresponsible use of taxpayer funds”. Was it really?

Today, in the same newspaper, a person wrote a short comment in support of the first opinion piece:

Reduce the population of coyotes enough to make a temporary difference, and those remaining will produce more pups to fill the loss in numbers. If the governor had asked the state biologists, they would have told him this.

That is the entirety of the letter.

First of all, there is no scientific evidence that proves the absurd statement that if you kill some coyotes, “those remaining will produce more pups to fill the loss of numbers”. That’s a myth that has been perpetuated by protectors of predators, like the coyote, as a means to dishonestly deceive the public in order to drum up support for private and personal agendas.

There are few that will argue that attempting to control predators can be achieved with one season of killing. It’s an ongoing thing. If the desired number of coyotes can be achieved with a required amount of effort, the task of managing a stable population is much easier.

The second issue is that the author says that if the governor had asked the state biologists, they would have told him that the coyotes would reproduce more coyotes to fill the void. That statement is probably true because most of the biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and wildlife agencies all over the world, are predator protectors and have been indoctrinated to believe the same myth the author has. Therefore, the lie is perpetuated with very few people ever challenging the concept. What a travesty!

All of this is the product of non scientific brainwashing, convincing non thinking students that nature balances itself out. That if man was somehow taken out of the equation, some kind of nirvana would ensue and all would be well. Odd that they would perpetuate this myth being that if it were true, why would any state NEED a fish and wildlife department, wasting millions of dollars each year for something they seem to think would be handled just fine without them.

Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, calls the idea of this kind of wildlife management thought as “intellectual rubbish”. But why waste my time attempting to help people understand the truth when the truth doesn’t fit their narrative?

I challenge all readers to make an attempt at learning that there is no such thing as a self-regulated ecosystem; at least not in the Disneyesque sense of things. It may surprise you to know that there does not exist a system of ecology, i.e. ecosystem. That it’s not a system at all, leading people to believe it is some kind of well-oiled machinery. In reality nothing is ever static therefore there can be no balance.

Left to mother nature, reality would scare most people, with large swings of near extinction of some species, starvation and disease. That’s how mother nature does it.

But that didn’t stop the coiners of the term ecosystem, again to deceive the public and gain their support knowing people are just all too eager to believe what they are told and not think for themselves and discover the truth on their own.

If you are actually interested in truth and not someone’s “intellectual rubbish”, you can begin by reading an article I wrote a couple years ago about Dr. Valerius Geist’s comments on natural balance and self regulation. There you will find links to scientific articles and studies that will help you understand how everything is constantly changing. Wildlife does not become balanced and remain static by itself. It is in constant flux, influenced by a host of ever changing conditions and circumstances and often leaving the forests with what is known as a predator pit; void of any population of prey species and dominated by predators. Follow the links and continue your own research. It’s not easy but sometimes discovering facts is not. It’s fascinating stuff and the truth will set you free.

If you really are a believer in the conservation of all wild things, then do yourself a favor and first, stop reading and believing the garbage being put out by fish and wildlife agencies, media and environmentalists that are agenda-driven and dishonest. The conservation is about conserving ALL wildlife not protecting one species at the expense of others.

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DNA Studies – Smaller Native Wolves Existed in Northern Rockies before Canadian Wolf Transplant

By George Dovel (Republished with Permission)

In the Jan-Mar 2008 Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 26, the lead articled titled, “What They Didn’t Tell You about Wolf Recovery,” described the ongoing deception by federal and state biologists in their scheme to fill rural areas in the lower 48 states with wolves.

The article referred to 20 years of Dept. of Interior Solicitors (lawyers) changing the number of N. American wolf subspecies covered in the Endangered Species Act from 24, finally to two and back to four – and then to any or all wolves called “gray wolves” or “Canis lupus”. Then it told how FWS reclassified ESA-listed wolves as members of two “Distinct Population Segments”, which it later changed to three until a federal judge denounced the obvious attempt to circumvent the ESA.

The ongoing debate between wildlife scientists who classify species, concerns whether subspecies of elk (red deer), North American bison, grey wolves, etc., exist. Bona fide expert taxonomists include Dr. Valerius Geist who points out that changes in location, habitat, size and appearance alone do not necessarily change the genetic make-up to qualify an animal as a separate sub-specie.

However the Northern Rocky Mountains wolf subspecies – C. l. Irremotus – was documented by physical comparisons of skulls, etc., from larger wolves in 1959:

Page 2 of the 146-page FWS Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan dated August 3, 1987, contains the map showing the historical distribution of Canis lupus Irremotus in the lower 48 states, plus the 1987 distribution in black. It depicts immigration of Irremotus from southern British Columbia into Idaho and from B.C. or southern Alberta into the northwest corner of Montana.

It also shows the two 1987 Irremotus population areas in central Idaho, one of which included the three wolf pack territories mapped by Tim Kimmery between 1988 and 1991 (see Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 35).

Historical Impact on Wolf Subspecies

During the most recent (Pleistocene) ice age, water evaporating from the oceans became part of the glacial ice covering the land. Ocean levels dropped 300 feet or more and the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska dried up.
The exposed land bridge with little snow, later named Beringia, became a refuge for hardy Siberian animals and plants for several thousand years (see below).

Many scientists believe Beringia included a small human population from Siberia that was prevented from continuing into North America for 5,000 years by the North American ice sheets. Geologists report these continental ice sheets were 5,000-10,000 feet in depth and extended south in some places to the 40th Parallel below what is now the U.S.-Canadian border.

The artists’ three views of Beringia published by “Wikipedia” illustrate the changes that have occurred in the “Bering Land Bridge” during the last 18,000 years. But there is still disagreement among biologists about when, where and how several current mammal species first arrived on the North American Continent.

Subspecies Had Limited Opportunity to Crossbreed

Since 1995 a number of wildlife biologists have accepted the determination by Nowak that five subspecies of gray wolf (Canus lupus) inhabited North America during the early 20th Century. There is also agreement that Canis lupus occidentalis (the large gray wolf transplanted to Yellowstone and Central Idaho by FWS in 1995) had virtually no opportunity to influence the genetic make-up of coastal wolves in SE Alaska and Yukon and portions of five other Canadian Provinces where it existed.

For thousands of years the ice between interior Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia and the coastal area prevented the occidentalis wolves from mixing with the smaller wolves defined as C. lupis ligoni by Goldman in 1944. And the intensive efforts to kill all wolves in the early 1900s also left few of the large wolves alive in most areas where they might have mixed with the native wolves.

The map below in the study titled, “Legacy Lost: genetic variability and population size of extirpated U.S. gray wolves (Canis lupis),” published by Leonard et al in the 2005 Vol. 14 issue of Molecular Ecology, shows the five primary subspecies that existed in the early 1900s. The bold black line indicates the northern limit of gray wolf eradication that occurred in the 48 contiguous United States and Canada.

In 1995, C.l. nubilus, the primary subspecies common in the U.S. and Canada mainland included ligoni from the west coast of Canada, irremotus from the Northern Rocky Mountains and labradorius from Labrador. The “a” to “z” letters scattered on the map represent original locations of the various museum specimens whose DNA were recorded in the study.

A similar study titled, “Phylogeography of wolves (Canis lupus) in the Pacific Northwest”, by Weckworth et al (published in the 2010 (2) issue of the Journal of Mammology) used basically the same map, along with an expanded inset to illustrate locations of testing for the genetic difference between the smaller coastal wolves and the 30% larger occidentalis wolves from the Alaska and Yukon interiors.

Both of these DNA studies emphasize that the nubilus wolves migrated northward to populate Canada as the ice sheets and glaciers melted. They point out that the smaller wolves existed in the south before the larger wolves migrated into northern Canada, and the Weckworth study suggests the coastal wolves should be listed as a separate individual subspecies.

Court Allows Transplants – Then Orders Removal

Readers who actively opposed the FWS option to import Canadian wolves may recall the following events:
In 1994 the Farm Bureau, Audubon Society and other plaintiffs asked the Wyoming Federal District Court to halt wolf introduction because it could not legally occur where naturally occurring wolves already existed per the 10J Rule. But instead of issuing an injunction to halt the process while the arguments were presented, Judge Downes allowed FWS to go ahead and transplant Canadian wolves into Central Idaho and Yellowstone Park for three years until he issued his ruling in December of 1997.

Then after setting aside the final wolf introduction rules as unlawful, Judge Downes ordered FWS to remove all Canadian wolves and their progeny from both experimental population areas. This ruling was met with loud criticism by the wolf activists, including the state and federal wildlife agencies who apparently believed they could get by with ignoring both state and federal laws when it suited their agenda.

Judge “Passes the Buck” to Appeals Court

They quickly pointed out that it would not be possible to even locate most of the wolves – much less capture them. But even if that were possible, both Canadian Provinces refused to allow the wolves to return and there were not enough zoos willing to accept several hundred wild wolves so killing most was the only option.

Judge Downes could have prevented this disaster from occurring by simply putting wolf introduction on hold three years earlier until his decision was reached. But the second time he did essentially the same thing by later staying execution of his removal order pending an appeals decision by the 10th Circuit Court.

On January 13, 2000, five years after the first large Canadian wolves were introduced, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the December 1998 Wyoming District Court ruling that the reintroduction program was unlawful and should be revoked. The appeals court admitted that the evidence showed native irremotus wolves already existed when the larger Canadian wolves were introduced, but said FWS had the authority to determine what constituted a population.
The fact that the resident wolves coexisted with abundant big game populations and with negligible impact on livestock and human activity was already a matter of record in 1994. But on August 12, 1994, FWS Wolf Leader Ed Bangs sent a letter to Charles Lobdell telling him to stop issuing statements to the public advising that the number of reported resident wolves was increasing.

Bangs’ letter advised that FWS planned to introduce wolves from Canada and said: “From this day forward…confirmed wolf activity (will only include) individual wolves or members of packs that have been examined, radio-collared and monitored in the wild.” He also said he had transferred $9,000 to the FWS Boise Field Office to search for wolves and organize flights to locate any radio-collared wolves that might be in Idaho or the Yellowstone area during the summer and fall.

Bangs also included key issues to be presented to the public consistently by FWS:
“1. (I)t is likely that wolf populations would ultimately recover without reintroduction and breeding pairs of wolves would likely occur in Idaho before they would occur (in) Yellowstone.

4. Experimental populations will not knowingly contain a significant portion of the territory of any naturally occurring breeding pair that has successfully raised young. However once wolves are released all wolves in the area will be treated as experimental animals.”

Despite reported wolf sightings by more then 120 outfitters, trappers and others in less than two months, most in the same location where Kemery mapped three wolf pack areas from 1988-1991, and despite the USFS road closure to protect existing wolves (see Bulletin 35), Bangs dumped Canadian wolves halfway between the two known native wolf locations guaranteeing their extermination.

In February of 2012, I forwarded the Weckworth DNA study, without comment, to Dr. Valerius Geist. The following was his reply:

“Thank you, George, I have seen this study. To me it suggests that there was indeed a remnant of native wolves in Idaho that were finally done away with by introduced wolves from Canada. The native wolves would have been of the same clad as the coastal wolves. Anyway, that’s testable since some museum specimens of native Idaho wolves are still available for genetic analysis. However, somebody competent and trustworthy needs to do it. Cheers, Val Geist.”

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The “Intellectual Rubbish” of “Ecosystems” and “Balance of Nature”

*Editor’s Note:* Yesterday I received an email from a member of a communication network who questioned what tactics were going to be necessary to correct this perpetuated myth of “natural regulation” or “natural balance”. For those not familiar with these terms, essentially the self-appointed custodians of the forests have fabricated the idea that if man would just simply go away, then our fields and forests would self regulate into some elevated form of nirvana. Yesterday, in the same email, I coined the title for such believers as sufferers of “UPEPS” or Utopian Philosophy Ecosystem Perfection Syndrome.

UPEPS has run rampant across this land and how I got UPEPS was from information provided to me by Dr. Valerius Geist, professor emeritus, University of Calgary. This email prompted me to research my archives to reread what I wrote just about one year ago about the balance of nature.

Here’s is a republication of that article. Please do yourselves a favor and follow the links and take the time to understand about positive and negative feedback loops and how those relate to our everyday lives. And then ask yourself if nature can “balance” itself if man would just bug out.

Today, we learned that Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist, “Denounced Ecosystem Management“. In his condemnation he described the belief in “Utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity” as “intellectual rubbish”. He also challenges, in a way, those not stricken with “intellectual laziness” to “Know the difference between positive and negative feed back, and you are on the way of understanding both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems.”

I would like to take a layman’s stab at explaining about ecosystems and the myth of nature balancing itself. As with everything I write, I don’t ask readers to simply believe what I write but to do some research and make their own determinations.

Of late, I have composed a couple articles in reference to “natural regulation, here and here. The theory of “natural regulation” can just as easily be described in the same fashion as Dr. Geist used above; “utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity.” Or, in words we can all understand – just leave it alone and let things go as they will.

Part of the problem is that all people have been subjected to the use of the word, “ecosystem” to describe a landscape where flora and fauna live together in perfect harmony. “Eco” being a hip word these days (I assumed derived from ecology) and the “system” I am willing to wager is very much misunderstood. Many people, if engaged in some kind of biology discussion, might think of a system as their own body; a composition of organs and tissues all working together, the result of which is a living, breathing and walking specimen of human being.

Unfortunately the “system” in ecosystem is only used as a means of classification, or dare I say, should be used in that way. Regardless, the term in and of itself is quite misleading.

Dr. Geist spoke of “know[ing] the difference between positive and negative feed back”. This information can easily be obtained by doing searches Online but perhaps it’s much easier to find than understand. As individual humans (animals), our system (body) works to maintain “homeostasis” – “to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal condition or function”. The responses to those disturbances are what are known as “negative feedback loops“, working to reverse or negate those disturbances. Dr. Geist says this is why “individuals are individuals”, i.e. “because they are controlled by negative feed back – negative!“.

In the contrast, as is pointed out by Geist, groups of organisms living together, in what is now too commonly referred to as that somewhat mythical “ecosystem”, are “never controlled but instead are subjected to “whims and randomness of positive feed back”.

Positive feedback loops, logically would be the counterpart to negative feedback loops. In the positive feedback loop, the body senses changes or disturbances and reacts to actually speed up the change. Some examples of this in humans might be a heart attack, clotting of blood, or even labor pains.

Dr. Geist tells us that if we can gain a solid understanding of the differences between positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops, then we might better understand “both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems”.

Stochastic as it would apply to our “ecosystems” involves “a random variable or variables“.

Our ecosystems, so used, is a conglomeration of organisms all subjected to the influences of random variables that are forever changing. Geist describes those random variables as: “whims and randomness of positive feed back.”

If in our minds we can envision that our world is comprised of multiple pockets of habitat of varying sizes, each abutting and/or overlapping, or even standing apart, comprised of diverse species of plant and animals (including man) and all being subjected to random variables, it becomes much more difficult to seriously give credit to a “balance of nature”.

Tom Remington

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The “Intellectual Rubbish” of “Ecosystems” and “Balance of Nature”

Today, we learned that Dr. Valerius Geist, a foremost wildlife scientist, “Denounced Ecosystem Management“. In his condemnation he described the belief in “Utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity” as “intellectual rubbish”. He also challenges, in a way, those not stricken with “intellectual laziness” to “Know the difference between positive and negative feed back, and you are on the way of understanding both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems.”

I would like to take a layman’s stab at explaining about ecosystems and the myth of nature balancing itself. As with everything I write, I don’t ask readers to simply believe what I write but to do some research and make their own determinations.

Of late, I have composed a couple articles in reference to “natural regulation, here and here. The theory of “natural regulation” can just as easily be described in the same fashion as Dr. Geist used above; “utopian philosophy of ecosystem perfection absent of all human activity.” Or, in words we can all understand – just leave it alone and let things go as they will.

Part of the problem is that all people have been subjected to the use of the word, “ecosystem” to describe a landscape where flora and fauna live together in perfect harmony. “Eco” being a hip word these days (I assumed derived from ecology) and the “system” I am willing to wager is very much misunderstood. Many people, if engaged in some kind of biology discussion, might think of a system as their own body; a composition of organs and tissues all working together, the result of which is a living, breathing and walking specimen of human being.

Unfortunately the “system” in ecosystem is only used as a means of classification, or dare I say, should be used in that way. Regardless, the term in and of itself is quite misleading.

Dr. Geist spoke of “know[ing] the difference between positive and negative feed back”. This information can easily be obtained by doing searches Online but perhaps it’s much easier to find than understand. As individual humans (animals), our system (body) works to maintain “homeostasis” – “to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus tending to disturb its normal condition or function”. The responses to those disturbances are what are known as “negative feedback loops“, working to reverse or negate those disturbances. Dr. Geist says this is why “individuals are individuals”, i.e. “because they are controlled by negative feed back – negative!“.

In the contrast, as is pointed out by Geist, groups of organisms living together, in what is now too commonly referred to as that somewhat mythical “ecosystem”, are “never controlled but instead are subjected to “whims and randomness of positive feed back”.

Positive feedback loops, logically would be the counterpart to negative feedback loops. In the positive feedback loop, the body senses changes or disturbances and reacts to actually speed up the change. Some examples of this in humans might be a heart attack, clotting of blood, or even labor pains.

Dr. Geist tells us that if we can gain a solid understanding of the differences between positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops, then we might better understand “both homeostasis in individuals and stochastic non-determinism in ecosystems”.

Stochastic as it would apply to our “ecosystems” involves “a random variable or variables“.

Our ecosystems, so used, is a conglomeration of organisms all subjected to the influences of random variables that are forever changing. Geist describes those random variables as: “whims and randomness of positive feed back.”

If in our minds we can envision that our world is comprised of multiple pockets of habitat of varying sizes, each abutting and/or overlapping, or even standing apart, comprised of diverse species of plant and animals (including man) and all being subjected to random variables, it becomes much more difficult to seriously give credit to a “balance of nature”.

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Dr. Valerius Geist: “…….Because the Coyote is Coming”

American Hunter magazine has an article they published back in November of 2010 called, “How Coyotes Affect Deer Herds”. The article tells that 16 years ago, in 1994, Dr. Valerius Geist, while attending the annual Southeast Deer Study Group meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, said the following as it pertained to a perceived “problem” among wildlife managers in dealing with too large populations of whitetail deer.

“Enjoy your problem while it lasts, because the coyote is coming. Once he’s here, you’ll miss your deer problems.”

Dr. Geist’s crystal ball was pretty clear back then, as today many of these same wildlife managers now have coyote problems.

Today, there are new studies ongoing and some of the preliminary data is not only impressive but revealing things about the coyote that confirms what some biologists have suspected for a long time and that seasoned outdoor sportsmen have been seeing for a long time – coyotes are having a much bigger affect on whitetail deer herds than imagined.

One area of study is pointing researchers to conclude that coyotes don’t just randomly take out a deer fawn when the opportunity might present itself. As a matter of fact, data suggest the coyote is studying and learning the habits of the deer and are specifically targeting them for lunch and dinner.

This can further be supported by the research that shows that in one area where coyotes and deer intermingle, 75% of the deer fawns died before they reached the age of six months. Of those 75%, 85% were killed by coyotes.

Despite the new research information, skeptics continue to cry for more time and more studies to support this. Who can blame them? They’ve had so much bad information drilled into their heads for so long, I guess it’s going to take a long time, perhaps even a miracle to get them to change their way of thinking.

So, is this new study suggesting that where there are coyotes all the deer will eventually vanish? I don’t think so but it does now present another management issue of predator control. Not in all regions but in those where there is a problem, again facing a seemingly insurmountable task of convincing wildlife managers a shortage of deer might be the result of too many predators.

What will it take to reach that point? Perhaps first, we need to work on educating people that over-protection of a predator such as a wolf or a coyote is not a good thing. It was in Hank Fischer’s book, “Wolf Wars“, where he quoted Dr. L. David Mech. Mech is a Senior Scientist with the Biological Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota, and considered by many to be the foremost authority of wolf behavior.

“The wolf’s repopulation of the northern parts of the lower forty-eight states . . . will stand as one of the primary conservation achievements of the twentieth century. Society will have come full circle and corrected its grave overreaction to its main mammalian competitor. Maybe not quite full circle. If we have learned anything from this ordeal, it is that the best way to ensure continued wolf survival is, ironically enough, not to protect wolves completely. If we carefully regulate wolf populations instead of overprotecting them, we can prevent a second wave of wolf hysteria, a backlash that could lead once again to persecution.”

Even Dr. Mech understood the many facets of the over-protection of wolves, including the one that much of the Northern Rockies is experiencing of a backlash of citizens wanting the wolf killed off. This, of course, the consequence of over-protection.

It would seem to make sense that where over-protection of one species, such as the wolf or coyote, is bad, so it goes with all predators and species. For Mech to suggest that over-protection of predators will ultimately harm the species, it would seem he would then have to disagree with the notion that wildlife is self regulating.

There’s a huge divide here that needs to be crossed. We need predator control and to accomplish that, it seems one object in the way is protection of species beyond what is good socially and scientifically. None of this consequently matters if we cannot successfully dispel the myth that nature will balance itself out.

Nothing short of a miracle is needed here.

Tom Remington

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