December 12, 2017

Possible Effects of Court Decision on Wolves, on Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Conterminous United States

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are seeking public comment on a recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Humane Society of the United States, et al. v. Zinke et al., 865 F.3d 585 (D.C. Cir. 2017), that may impact our June 30, 2017, final rule delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear Distinct Population Segment (DPS). In Humane Society of the United States, et al. v. Zinke et al., the court opined that the Service had not evaluated the status of the remainder of the listed entity of wolves in light of the Western Great Lakes (WGL) wolf DPS delisting action and what the effect of lost historical range may have on the status of the WGL wolf DPS. We also describe in this notice our strategy to recover grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the lower 48 States of the United States and provide a brief recovery update for each ecosystem.<<<Read More>>>

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RMEF: Silver Linings in Great Lakes Wolf Ruling

*Editor’s Note* – Along with the earlier posting this morning, there is little need to get excited or even optimistic about anyone’s “ability” going forward to “manage” wolves or that states will do anything differently than the Federal Government is doing now. What changes is the financial responsibility is moved from the Feds to the states. Nothing else will change as has been proven in states where wolves are no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act. If you are hoping and thinking that removal of protection of wolves from the Federal Government to the State Governments is going to result in fewer “CONTROLLED” wolves and the state’s ability to manage populations of game animals for surplus harvest, as has been the modus operandi for decades under the North American Model of Wildlife Management will soon take over, you are seriously mistaken.

For what it is worth – meaning that this is but one appeals court decision and several more can make a mockery out of the fake judicial system and change these decisions with the stroke of a pen – where once, many years ago, I argued that environmentalists and the courts could not claim the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t have authority to delist a Distinct Population Segment while, at the same time, approving of the act to list a Distinct Population Segment of any species. My argument fell on deaf ears and lo and behold one appeals court sees it the correct way.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Unlike its decision earlier in 2017 upholding efforts to delist wolves in Wyoming, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia chose not to do the same in the Western Great Lakes states.

“We are disappointed with this latest ruling, but the court wholeheartedly rejected a number of claims by environmental groups regarding wolves and wolf management,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The court undid a number of roadblocks thus providing a path forward.”

Positive points from the decision:

  • Rejected an environmental group argument that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not use the best available science
  • The Endangered Species Act allows the FWS to delist a distinct wolf population segment
  • Supported FWS’s reliance on state management of wolves and other wildlife in the Western Great Lakes states
  • Upheld the FWS’s determination that disease and human mortality do not pose a significant threat to the wolf population
  • There is no permanent barrier to delisting wolves

“This latest ruling came six years after the FWS tried for a third time to delist wolves in the Great Lakes. We call on Congress to approve and pass a legislative fix to halt this non-stop litigation that frustrates successful wildlife management,” said Allen. “These environmental groups continue to use the wolf as a fundraising tool while overlooking and ignoring each state’s approved wildlife management plans.”

As of 2015-16, there is an estimated minimum population of 3,762 wolves in the Great Lakes states. Minnesota’s wolf population is approximately one and a half times above objective. Michigan’s wolf population is more than 200 percent above its state plan and Wisconsin’s wolf population is more than 250 percent above objective.

RMEF recognizes that predators have a proper place on the landscape but that they need to be managed just as elk, deer and other wildlife are managed in accordance with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.

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Court Sides with Sportsmen on Key Issue, but Leaves Wolves Protected for Now

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling in the Western Great Lakes wolf lawsuit appeal. The ruling is a short-term setback, but very likely a win for sportsmen in the long run.

For the immediate future, the Appellate Court’s decision leaves Endangered Species Act listing in place, upholding the lower court’s 2014 ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) erred in delisting wolves in 2011. Very importantly, however, the court laid out a road map for FWS to delist the Western Great Lakes wolves on remand and dismantled many of the dangerous and unsupported holdings in the lower court decision.

Additionally, the appellate court ruled in favor of sportsmen on the most important legal issue in the case regarding the distinct population segment (DPS) definition in the Endangered Species Act and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s DPS Policy. The appellate court sided with the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and our partners that the FWS has the ability to list and, as in this case, delist a species at the distinct population segment level:

“The central dispute in this case is whether the Endangered Species Act permits the Service to carve out of an already-listed species a “distinct population segment” for the purpose of delisting that segment and withdrawing it from the Act’s aegis. We hold that the Act permits such a designation, but only when the Service first makes the proper findings.” (Op. at 15-16).

This ruling means that, if the Fish and Wildlife Service takes the right steps, they are able to delist a recovered species in some places (a distinct population) without having to delist it everywhere. This flexibility will make the ESA more efficient and possibly subject to fewer legal challenges. HSUS and their partners had argued that FWS could never delist a smaller portion of a species unless the entire species had fully recovered and could be removed from the Endangered Species Act protections. HSUS has now lost that point.

“The court’s ruling that regional delisting is legally possible is a victory for sound scientific wildlife management and further upholds DPS policy of the Endangered Species Act as an important tool for conservation moving forward,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “While we clearly would have preferred that wolves be returned to state management today, this ruling provides a path forward for the Fish and Wildlife Service on how to successfully delist wolves once and for all.

“Folks in the animal-rights community would like believe that the Endangered Species Act is a one-way ratchet. In their world, you can only put species on to the Endangered Species List based upon a distinct population segment. However, we know that this is not how the ESA is written,” continued Heusinkveld. “This distorted view of the DPS policy is simply emblematic of their view of the ESA as a whole. They view this as a means to enshrine federal protections in perpetuity, as opposed to a tool to help those in need recover and be returned to state management.”

Additionally, the appellate court dismantled many of the main arguments provided by the HSUS-led coalition and holdings of the unfavorable lower court opinion:

  • The court upheld FWS’s interpretation that the ESA’s definition of “range” refers to “current range” at the time of the listing or delisting decision that is the subject of the case, not “historic range,” as HSUS argued. HSUS’ interpretation would mean that populations may never be delisted if they could not rebound throughout their historic range. However, the court said FWS must consider large losses in historical range in evaluating the continuing viability of the species in its current range. On remand, FWS must decide the “baseline” date from which historical range loss is measured. One likely date could be 1973 – the year Congress enacted the ESA.
  • HSUS argued that FWS failed to explain why the wolf population’s combined mortality from humans and disease is not a continuing threat to the species’ existence. The court found that FWS had thoroughly examined these factors, and that the wolf population had continued to grow despite any disease or human-caused mortality.
  • HSUS attempted to characterize Minnesota as an “unregulated killing zone.” While the lower court decision had agreed, the Circuit Court disagreed and found that Minnesota’s depredation plan did not amount to an “unregulated killing zone,” as it was indeed regulated and unlikely to threaten wolves’ survival.
  • HSUS argued the lack of state regulatory plans to monitor and protect the Western Great Lake wolves outside of their core recovery areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan did not support FWS’s decision to delist those wolves. The court found that the lack of separate state plans in six nearby states was not a concern because wolves are virtually non-existent in those states, and those animals that do occasionally appear there are protected by other measures or they do not significantly contribute to the WGL population.
  • HSUS challenged the 2011 rule on genetics issues concerning whether there are one or two wolf species. The court rejected the HSUS argument that there were two separate species of wolves, and thereby additional protections were warranted.
  • HSUS argued that FWS had inappropriately responded to political pressure from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D, Minnesota) in adopting its wolf-delisting order. The court rejected that argument, stating that HSUS could point to no science “ignored, misused, or manipulated” or to any material change in FWS’ position in response to a letter from Sen. Klobuchar. In particular, the court cites that FWS had acted favorably in response to several delisting petitions (including the Sportsmen’s Alliance petition) before Sen. Klobuchar’s letter.

How We Got Here:

The case stems from a late 2014 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell that ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to return wolves found in the western Great Lakes area to the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act. At the crux of the case was the delisting of a “distinct population segment” of wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

The lawsuit brought by Humane Society of the United States; Born Free, USA; Help Our Wolves Live; and Friends of Animals and Their Environment argued that despite a healthy population of wolves that had surpassed all recovery goals in the western Great Lakes region, since wolf populations haven’t recovered in all 50 states, the animals must remain under federal protection as an endangered species even where they have recovered.

“This 2014 ruling clearly ignored years of Fish and Wildlife Service policy, court rulings and plain common sense,” said Heusinkveld. “The idea that wolves can never be deemed ‘recovered’ in the Great Lakes states until they have recovered across the entire U.S. is a complete fantasy.”

Joining the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation in this case, was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the National Rifle Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association and Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.

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“Genetic Evidence” Suggests Nothing – Man Does All the Suggesting and it’s Always Biased

Maine media sources seem to have some kind of attraction right now with the hybrid wild canine inhabiting the Maine woods. They like to call it a hybrid, I suppose because in their minds, lacking any real scientific knowledge of anything, a wild canine sounds more authentic or maybe even worthy of man’s affections and protections. Would the event be worthy if it involved a mutt or a mongrel?

Technically, it’s really nothing but a cross breed of dog – canine. It’s also a travesty that did not need to happen, could be mitigated, but won’t be due to perverse and ignorant notions about animals.

An article that ran in the Portland Press Herald recently rightfully stated that the “coyotes” that are found in Maine, are not native. This is true. They are an invasive dog that has a mixture of genetics; some breed of wolf, some breed of coyotes, some breeds of wild dogs and some breeds of domestic dogs. In short they are a nasty nuisance. However nobody wants to discuss the realities of the disease-carrying creature, a creature that is a threat to so many things, including a threat to the actual species of wolves and coyotes. Some claim they are protecting every living canine, wild, semi-wild or domestic by letting them grow out of control. They know not what they do.

But I’ve written about this so much that the ends of my fingers are worn to stubs.

What I intended to point out is what is written in this article. The author shares comments from a leading researcher of coyote DNA at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The researcher explains how he thinks the “hybrid” canines got to Maine and much of the East Coast. He is quoted as saying, “Genetic evidence suggests it happened when the wolf population in the Great Lakes was at its lowest point when they were heavily persecuted. So basically some wolf female came into heat and couldn’t find a wolf so bred with the next best thing: a coyote.”

Genetic evidence doesn’t suggest anything. Genetic evidence tells us what the DNA composition is of the wild canines found in the East. How they arrived there is the suggestion of people like this researcher.

If you were to take the time and approach the above statement without bias, fed to us by ignorant media echo chambers, one can quickly see how this researcher approaches his research and forms his “evidence suggests” statements.

He says when the Great Lakes wolf population was at its lowest point (he doesn’t tell us when that was or how that lowest point compares to any other time period, but is very quick to simply state “when they were heavily persecuted”) a female wolf came into heat and the nearest solution happened to be a Western coyote.

Consider the obvious. If the population of wolves in the Great Lakes was at its lowest, unless there is proof that the reduction was something other than an equal reduction of both male and female wolves, the idea that there wasn’t enough male wolves to go around to breed all the females that came into heat, is dishonest at the very best.

As any honest person who knows a lick about dogs, wild or domestic, when any bitch comes into heat, any male dog within nose shot is hot on the track. No dog looks over his possible mating partner to determine whether it is wild or domestic and of what “species” or “breed” it might be. It doesn’t work that way. It really wouldn’t matter whether wolves in the Great Lakes were at the “lowest point” or highest point, if a female wolf comes into heat whoever gets there first gets first dibs.

It appears that the researcher is very quick to blame the cross-breeding on the “heavily persecuted” reduction of wolves. Are we correct to assume that the researcher sees that wolf persecution as being that of man?

What he fails to point out, and probably never will because it may be uncomfortable to speak of as it might pertain to his narrative of wild canine protection, is to ask or point out why the “WESTERN” coyotes had taken up residence or where simply passing through the Great Lakes, as seems to be the conclusion a reader might make.

Even in the writings of Teddy Roosevelt as he traveled the West, hunting and recording his observations of wildlife, he noted that the wild canines he encountered essentially remained separated geographically because, comparatively, there weren’t that many of them. It is believed that all dogs, wild and domestic of today, originated from one species of dog. The rest are more or less mutations and more cross breeding by man, i.e. hybridizing.

When any wild canine species’ or subspecies’ population gets too large – in other words when things get crowded and the habitat will not support more coyotes – they disperse. The dispersing coyotes are generally the males. During this dispersal, they seek territory and a mate. If during that dispersal, the male catches wind of any canine in heat, action begins. So, what happens when man practices to protect every wild canine that exists? Simple, there is more dispersal, driving coyotes and wolves further and further from their points of origin, forcing more and more cross breeding. And we end up with more and more mongrels.

If, as the researcher points out, “some wolf female came into heat” and “bred with a coyote,” the other side of the coin that perhaps the researcher does not want to examine, is that it happened because of too many coyotes. That fact is what caused the dispersal of the coyote to cross paths with the female wolf. It is also possible that a female coyote got bred with a male wolf. This most often occurs with crossing over of territories between wolves and coyotes.

If it is the intention of people to protect the wolf (that is the genetically distinct wolf) then the worse thing that we can do is to insist on protecting those wolves in human-settled landscapes where those wolves have just about a zero percent chance of ever maintaining its genetic makeup. As I pointed out, when any female canine comes into heat, any male canine would be happy to solve the problem. Genetics are ruined. It’s all senseless.

As this phenomenon continues, perpetuated by man’s insistence that wolves and coyotes of any breed or mixture be forced onto the landscapes also occupied by man, there will and is nothing left by a mongrel wild or semi-wild dog spreading disease, killing our pets and livestock and destroying the ecosystems that man has spent hundreds of million dollars to be what might benefit the most of us.

So, please! The next time you read that someone said, “genetics suggest,” just remember that genetics is a science that can only tell a scientist what is the DNA makeup of any living object. That makeup doesn’t “suggest” anything. Only a man can suggest things and in this case, one man is suggesting how a coyote in the West became a mixed breed of wild canine in Maine by breeding with a female wolf in the Great Lakes region that was part of a diminished wolf population due to “persecution.” He might “suggest” that event but could never prove that’s what happened.

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Wisconsin Senator Calls on Senate Leadership to Delist Great Lakes Wolves

Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin has written a letter to Senate majority and minority leaders asking them to take action to remove grey wolves from protection of the Endangered Species Act pertaining to the Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment of grey wolves. The move is similar to the Congressional action that resulted in the delisting of wolves in some of the Northern Rockies, excepting Wyoming.

To read the full letter, click on this link.

As when it took congressional action to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies, including a statement prohibiting any court actions on the delisting, the same can of worms stands to be opened in the Great Lakes region. Which brings me to what I find as a very confusing statement made by Senator Baldwin in her letter to Senate Leadership.

“I am proud to support the Endangered Species Act, which has protected iconic species and wildlife for the benefit of future generations. Because of the good work done by so many bringing back the wolf population, I am also proud to support its delisting.”

I find it puzzling that, with a straight face, anyone can say, out of one corner of their mouth, they support the Endangered Species Act, and out of the other they are asking for Senate action necessary to delist wolves because of the flaws written into the Endangered Species Act, combined with abuses and corruption in the Court System. This is typical political double-speak.

Anyone supporting congressional action to override the Endangered Species Act and the ability of the Courts to carry out written laws, cannot support either. The only pride they can take is their success in swindling the people for votes and money.

Nothing changes!

The only question that remains is how long before environmentalists use their great wealth to buy Washington in order to place bill riders that will prohibit delisting and any court action against such a prohibition. As the old saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.”

But don’t go look!

 

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Sportsmen’s Alliance Files Brief in Great Lakes Wolf Case

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

On Dec. 8, the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and our partners filed its brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals in the long-running Western Great Lakes wolf lawsuit. The case, brought by Humane Society of the United States and their anti-hunting allies, sought to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Alliance and our partners are fighting to ensure wolves are delisted and returned to state management.

“The science is settled and the experts agree, wolves are recovered, period,” said Evan Heusinkveld, head of government affairs and interim president and CEO of Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We should be celebrating this as a great victory of the Endangered Species Act, but instead we’re forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting anti-hunting interests in court just to ensure the ESA is applied correctly.”

Despite wolf numbers at record levels well-beyond what was required when originally listed as endangered in the late 1970s, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell returned wolves to the endangered species list in late 2014. The ruling effectively requires wolves to be recovered in their entire historic range before they can be considered recovered in the Great Lakes states.

“It makes absolutely no sense to require wolves be reestablished as Judge Howell ruled. It was never the intent to have wolves returned to places like New York, Chicago or Seattle,” continued Heusinkveld. “This ruling not only contained both legal and factual errors that could spell disaster for the future of the Endangered Species Act, but if allowed to stand, wildlife management efforts — specifically endangered species recovery — will be greatly impacted.”

Joining the Sportsmen’s Alliance in the appeal of the lower court’s decision are Safari Club International, National Rifle Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.

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Push In Progress To Let Great Lakes States Manage Wolves Again

A Minnesota congressman says a push is underway to include language in a catchall spending bill to return responsibility for managing wolf populations in the western Great Lakes region to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Source: Push In Progress To Let Great Lakes States Manage Wolves Again « CBS Minnesota

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Science or politics? Scientists dispute whether Great Lakes’ wolves should be delisted

*Editor’s Note* – If one were to honestly assess the differences between reality during federal ESA listing and state ESA listing, is there any difference that matters? Neither “side” has changed their whining rhetoric.

Instead, the letter contains policy arguments against changing the species status, cloaked as science. For instance, the lead argument concerns the “science” of public attitudes, reporting that public opinion polls show broad national support for the ESA and species protection. Public opinion polls quantify people’s preferences. They’re just a measure of what people think, not whether what they think is true.

Source: Science or politics? Scientists dispute whether Great Lakes’ wolves should be delisted – PLF Liberty Blog

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“Experts” Say Wolves in Great Lakes Not Endangered

*Editor’s Note* – From my perspective, Dr. David Mech was instrumental in the reintroduction of wolves and the nationwide protection of them. In interviews and statements he has made, he admitted to effectively lying about wolves in order to get wolves living in everyone’s back yard. Now that they are here and nothing short of declared war will rid the landscape of wolves, it’s easy for him to make statements about wolves, hunting and trapping, without jeopardizing his pet projects. Especially if it means more research money to pad his coffers. Amazing!

“In a conference call organized by the International Wolf Center in Ely, regional wolf experts including David Mech of the U.S. Geological Survey in Minnesota, who’s vice chair of the center, said hunting and trapping as it was regulated by the three states did not threaten the species’ survival.”<<<Read More>>>

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