October 16, 2019

Does Future of Wolves Hinge On Public Perceptions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Managing Wildlife In “An Environmentally Responsible Way”

For every one of the thousands of “environmentally responsible” bits of propaganda that get printed to thousands of media sources nationwide, at least 10 rebuttals with factual information need to be made in hopes of stemming the tide of inaccurate and regurgitated bad information about wildlife management, and moving those discussions forward with scientifically substantiated facts. It is a relentless battle, but alas, the war rages on.

A rightfully placed “opinion piece” in the Bangor Daily News, from Heather Bolint“Heather Bolint of Damariscotta is a 2009 graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fl., where she earned a BA in environmental studies” – is a rerun of the same old unproven theories that have for years been bandied around by environmentalists and animal activists as fact. While attempting to cherry pick a few theories dressed up like “studies” to substantiate her own agitprop, Ms. Bolint tells readers there exists no other studies but hers and all other information is inaccurate. Or, perhaps she just didn’t go look.

One of the greatest threats today to our wildlife management programs in this country comes from environmentalist, much like the author of this piece. Environmentalists tend to perpetuate theories and ideologies, such as “balance of nature”, “self-regulation”, bolstered by the absurd delusion that man is not part of the equation. This perspective is one from an environmentalist and certainly not one from real wildlife science and as such, the agenda-driven environmentalists use phraseology for wildlife management as, “An Environmentally Responsible Way”.

Actual wildlife biology took a back seat in recent years to demands from social activists, i.e. animal rights; placing animals at or above a plane with humans; a want to “view” wildlife; skewed moral and ethics issues, etc. This is not actual responsibility to care for the wild animals but is, in fact, a labeled “environmentally responsible way”. The author references her misconception by stating, “Maine’s coyote control is needless and unregulated and merely serves the purpose of providing financial stability to the IF&W rather than an environmentally responsible way to manage wildlife.”

Isn’t it a bit on an oxymoron to link together “environment” and “responsible”?

It is first important to point out to readers that Maine essentially does NOT have a coyote control program. Through extensive research recently, I learned that in 2004 the Maine Legislature repealed any remains of the Coyote Control Program. The only coyote “control” that exists amounts to ample hunting opportunities, limited trapping opportunities and a sparse, at best, animal damage control program of targeting winter deer yards to kill coyotes that are extirpating our deer herd.

The author chooses to utilize information written on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website and present it as fact, when in fact most of the information she references pertains to Maine’s Coyote Control Program which has been repealed. She grabs this quote:

By continuing the coyote control program, the public may perceive the Department [of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife] implicitly believes the control program has a strong biological basis, when in fact, the biological benefits of coyote control are unknown.”

And this:

“It is not known whether the current snaring program, or other forms of coyote control, has any effect on increasing local or regional deer numbers.”

As well as this one:

“The possibility exists that the removal of territorial coyotes may allow nonterritorial coyotes into an area, and exacerbate the deer predation problem.”

It is no secret that the MDIFW has an aversion for predator control. After all, predator control is one of those nasty things that are learned in indoctrination camps these days. Our biologists are taught unproven theories; that predators like coyotes and wolves are “healthy for our ecosystems” and that nature “self regulates”. This is all junk science and intellectual rubbish.

Environmentalists created the use of “ecosystem” to term our forests and fields; “eco”, of course relating to the environment and “system” as it might refer to orderliness, or organization of working parts that yield a desired result. The only thing that might resemble a “system” in wildlife management comes from man’s effort to work to keep it at some sort of socially acceptable “balance”, i.e. not allowing one species to dominate and kill off another, etc. This is why we developed wildlife management and devised the Northern America Model for wildlife Conservation. It has been all part of the environmentalists’ plan to use social tolerance in wildlife management programs while giving biological science a back seat.

To those people who perpetuate the myth of nature balancing itself, I merely demand that they prove it. They can’t.

But back to the opinion piece, using worn out, and unproven theories about coyotes and predators as a whole from the MDIFW website of outdated information in order to bolster claims that it is “environmentally irresponsible” to control coyotes doesn’t make the grade.

For decades environmentalists and animal rights organization, who know nothing of predator/prey relationships or wildlife management in general, and pay their “scientists” well to give them the theories they wish to perpetuate, have regurgitated the theories about alpha males and females and reactive population growth from implementation of predator control. These have NEVER been proven and contrary to what Heather Bolint says, there does exist studies and data to indicate otherwise.

Dr. L. David Mech, around 1970 published in a book he wrote about how important it was to preserve the “alpha male” in a pack and the disruption it would cause by removing that alpha male. In other words, he was the author, the founder, the creator of the alpha male myth. But on Dr. Mech’s own website, he tells people that he has since that time learned that this simply is not true. He writes:

One of the outdated pieces of information is the concept of the alpha wolf. “Alpha” implies competing with others and becoming top dog by winning a contest or battle. However, most wolves who lead packs achieved their position simply by mating and producing pups, which then became their pack. In other words they are merely breeders, or parents, and that’s all we call them today, the “breeding male,” “breeding female,” or “male parent,” “female parent,” or the “adult male” or “adult female.”

However, the discovery of this information is not allowed to stand in the way of the agendas of environmentalist whose goals include the ending of hunting, fishing and trapping. The argument has always been that in random killing of coyotes, if the alpha male and/or alpha female are killed, the pack will be sent into disarray resulting in increased predation of livestock and family pets, etc. We know this now to be false.

What else are we finding is false?

For the MDIFW biologists to include on their website a statement about how removing “territorial” coyotes in one area might allow for “nonterritorial” coyotes to move in, is actually a reflection of their own lack of more modern understanding of predator and prey relationships and the behaviors of predators such as coyotes. Coyotes essentially have two functions. Kill and eat and reproduce. If targeted coyotes in one territory are removed and hungry dispersing coyotes are looking for a place to go, they might go there or they might not. They are opportunistic animals. If they do fill that void as might be believed, an ongoing coyote control program would solve that problem too. This is not complicated.

When anyone carries with them the unproven theory that if you kill a certain number of coyotes, they will produce more to replace those, will, more than likely, also possess the misinformation that targeting coyotes only allows more to take their place. To state this information as fact, as I have said earlier, is intellectual rubbish and dishonesty.

The entire opinion piece is a fabrication of unproven theories, exceptionally poor information and in some cases, actual myths. Readers should beware that this creation of anti-hunting decretum belongs in the opinion section.

The author reveals her anti-hunting agenda when she says:

Coyote control in Maine is facilitated through shooting, trapping, baiting and running down coyotes with dogs. These can be inhumane methods and are not regulated…..

Humaneness belongs to the eyes of the beholder. While Bolint tries to convince readers that shooting, trapping, baiting and hunting coyotes with dogs, is inhumane treatment, she falls flat on her face failing to discuss the realities of uncontrolled and unmanaged wildlife as a comparison. Of course, anyone who has an aversion or detestation to hunting and trapping of wild animals, would think it inhumane. The “natural” means of death to these animals can be about as inhumane, by human standards, as it can get. What is humane about protecting predators like coyotes to the point they become disease ridden? Coyotes can be carriers of up to thirty known diseases, parasites, etc. Common diseases are mange, parvovirus, distemper and rabies. What is humane about watching a coyote wither away and die from these diseases? Early in grade-school science we learned that too many animals in too small a space, breeds and spreads disease.

We control rats and other disease-spreading, undesirable creatures but somehow, while one may turn a blind eye to mice and rats being killed in a trap, quickly dispatching a coyote through hunting and trapping is somehow considered inhumane? I question if the author has any knowledge at all about hunting and trapping.

What is humane about having so many coyotes in some locations that they are extirpating deer herds? What’s humane about the realization of how hungry coyotes, being forced to kill more deer to survive, go about ripping a fetus from a female deer they are carrying in the middle of a deer wintering yard? What is humane about having a coyote eat a deer alive?

What is humane about so many coyotes eating the same prey that is food for other wildlife causing starvation and serious reduction of those species. An example might well by the Canada lynx. Its main prey for sustenance is the hare. If too many coyotes eat up all the hare, what chance does the lynx have? Is that humane? Is this even rational thinking?

The author of this piece is ignorant of the nonexistent coyote control program. She’s uneducated in the facts of coyote behavior as well as predator/prey relationships and provides readers with nothing more than blather, dressed up with a new skirt and bright lipstick and presented as factual information.

Ms. Bolint is an educated environmentalist. She has no idea that the MDIFW and many of the scientists there are her allies. Many there perpetuate the same environmental junk science and share the same theories and myths.

If people actually would like to see well-controlled and healthy populations of many and diverse species, the first thing that is needed is to get rid of environmentalism. It is not a science. It’s a religion given too much power and recognition and it is destroying our forest and fields by doing everything they can to get man out of the woods resulting in widespread predator pits absent of any kind of diverse and healthy wildlife populations.

Tom Remington

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