November 21, 2019

RMEF Calls Out Center for Biological Diversity: Stick to the Facts

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling on the environmentalist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to stick to the facts when making presumptions about wildlife populations.

CBD recently claimed that Idaho’s wolf population is on the verge of endangered status when, in reality, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) stated that preliminary counts indicate Idaho has more than 100 documented wolf packs and 600-plus wolves. IDFG also reported it has a minimum of 22 documented breeding pairs after counting only 30 packs. IDFG biologists have yet to examine the status of 77 additional packs.

“A few advocacy groups chose to take the breeding pair metric out of context to make claims that Idaho wolves are ‘teetering on the brink of endangered status once again.’ That’s hogwash,” said Virgil Moore, IDFG director. “And it’s the kind of polarizing misinformation that undermines responsible wildlife conservation and management in Idaho.”

“It is not surprising when you consider this group’s intent on stirring the pot to dilute the facts in order to raise emotions and money,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Groups like CBD do not really want states to manage wolves and they don’t really want states to be successful in managing wolves. Facts are facts and it is a clear fact that none of the states managing wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Region are remotely close to low numbers of breeding pairs or total wolf population. These groups would rather file a lawsuit and collect their legal fees from the U.S. taxpayers than actually work with the states to better manage all the wildlife populations together.”

History shows that to be true. A 2012 report used Department of Justice data that showed the federal government defended more than 570 Endangered Species Act-related lawsuits (wolves included) over a four-year period which cost American taxpayers more than $15 million in attorney fees. CBD was, by far, the most litigious organization with 117 cases.

“Groups like CBD excel at taking advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) which was never intended to fund lawsuits by NGOs to promote ideology. What they don’t excel at, to say the least, is conducting wildlife counts,” said Allen.

IDFG is expected to release its final 2014 wolf population estimate in March. The minimum number of documented wolves as of December 31, 2013, was estimated at 659 or more than 500 percent above minimum recovery levels agreed upon during wolf reintroduction in the mid-1990s. The 659 figure did not include wolves from 28 documented border packs that overlapped with Montana, Wyoming and Washington. IDFG presumes there are additional packs within its borders but are not included due to a lack of documentation.

“The bottom line is Idaho’s wolf population is not endangered in the least and it’s vital that state management remain in place in order to whittle the population closer to balanced recovery levels where they should be and where EVERYONE agreed the numbers should be. CBD did not object to the recovery goals in 1995, but now they and other groups like them pretend they never heard of the recovery goals,” added Allen.

In keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as the preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF staunchly supports management to balance and control predator populations.

RMEF has awarded nearly $265,000 in grants to various states specifically for wolf management activities including $50,000 to Idaho in 2013. No other groups have granted any financial resources for any type of predator management including CBD.

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The Reintroduction of Wolves in the Northern Rockies as a Method of Making Money Under the Guise of Ecological Restoration

Rattler Rider;

According to these excerpts below from the 1984 study of Wolves in Central Idaho by Kaminski and Hanson including involvement with IDFG questionnaire data, many Idahoans were telling the truth about Idaho already having wolves before the 1995 wolf reintroduction fraud which wolf advocates and some retired USFWS employees still profit from to this day. Tim Kemery who did a Wolverine Study locating 13 wolverines for the IDFG Department and Craig Groves then collared all 13 wolverines, Kemery also handed in data of wolves he located as well as six trapped wolves which had been turned over to IDFG for evidence. Tim documented the wolverines and indigenous wolves simultaneously. He recorded their travel patterns, within their territory. He also documented the number of individuals, and put this information on maps.

Wolves were recovering and thriving under multi-use! That is the “main” objective the “greenies” in our IDFG and USFWS want to cover up, is the fact that both the wolves, and even more so the wolverines were making a “come-back” under multi-use.—Tim Kemery

This wolf evidence was “lost”, and IDFG denied it existed. The truth is going to keep coming out, the truth always wins in the end. Many of the sightings were in areas I lived in as a boy where I also sighted wolves, near Goat Mountain, and Graham. The rest below are excerpts from the 1984 200 page study done by Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hanson, Wolves of Central Idaho.

Study cooperators were; FWS, Endangered Species Program; Boise Field Office, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, Univ. Montana. U.S. Forest Service, Region 1 and 4. Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

A hundred years ago, gray Wolves (Canis lupus) ranged over most of Idaho (Goldman 1944; Figure l). The last of these animals were believed to have been extirpated from the mountainous regions of the state by the late 1930’s with the removal of wolves from elk and deer winter range near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in 1938 (J.Harris, pers. caoum.). However, reports of wolves persisted, with observations varying from detailed descriptions of large gray canids to droppings consisting of ungulate hair and bone. Such reports, ranging in time from the early 1940’s through the mid 1970’s received little attention from state and federal resource agencies. Moreover, reports of wolves brought ridicule and cynicism from a doubting public, often peers or hunting companions of those reporting wolves.

In June 1978, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game research biologist observed and photographed a black wolf on the Clearwater National Forest in north central Idaho. During October 1978, a gray wolf was shot and killed 200 miles south on the Boise National Forest of west central Idaho. Newspaper- accounts rewritten in review of wolves recent presence in Idaho, lending credibility to both past and present reports.

Study Approach;

Past studies (Kaminski and Boss 1981~ Schlegel and Kaminski 1983) have indicated that 80% of all wolf reports in Idaho identify lone wolves and 13% pairs. Most (>70%) of these reports have occurred during the summer and fall.

Scattered wolf reports persisted throughout north and central Idaho since the 1940’s despite past control efforts and have indicated the presence of adult wolves, young wolves, and/or pups together (Kaminski and Boss 1981). Past field investigations have had little success in detecting the presence of pups, young wolves,or groups of wolves (~3) together. However, 6% of all wolf reports refer to groups of 3 or more wolves and 13% to pairs suggesting periodic recruitment may take place.

The occurrence of lone wolves and pairs during the summer and fall is not unusual for pack members (Mech 1970, Fritts and Mech 1981, Harrington and Mech 1982a). During this time, wolves frequently travel and hunt alone or in pairs while focusing their activities near pup rearing areas called rendezvous sites (murie 1944, Joslin 1966, Pimlott et al. 1969, mech 1970). Rutter and Pimlott (1968), and L. Garbyn (pers. cammun.) postulated that prey availability (e.g. calving areas, beaver) might play a role in the selection of pup rearing areas. Past studies have suggested similar relationships (Pimlott et al. 1969, Haber 1980, Oosenbrug and Carbyn 1982). With the approach of winter, pack members (pups and adults) begin traveling together and frequent ungulate wintering areas (VanBallenberghe 1972, Hoskinson and Mech 1976, Mech and Karns 1977, Nelson and Mech 1981) for pre~ (elk, deer, moose) that comprise the bulk {>90%) of the annual diet (Mech 1970, Gasaway -et al. 1983).

Wolves were reported consistently on the Boise NF from 1974 through 1977 and increased from 1978 to present. Nine of 10 reports received probable ratings from 1974 through 1977. Thirteen reports were received in 1978, 22 in 1979, and 15 in 1980. Wolves were reported 47 times during 1981 and 1982. Nine reports were received on the Forest in 1983, excluding some reports not yet received from the Boise NF.

Kaminski and Boss (1981) found 65% of all wolf reports on the Boise NF were concentrated in the Bear Valley – Warm Lake (BVWL) area. High mountain meadows used traditionally by ungulates for calving, available ungulate and secondary prey (beaver, ground squirrels)and habitat typical of that used by wolves during summer for rearing pups were suggestive of a possible relationship between wolves and ungulates in the BVWL area. Thirty reports of wolves in this area since 1974; 24 that were rated probable, supported this hypothesis.

Review of wolf reports from BVWL since 1 October 1980 suggested a possible bias toward probable ratings (Kaminski 1980-82) due to other reliable reports in the area. Re-evaluation of reports questioned the validity of those involving 3 or more wolves together and revealed a wider distribution of wolf reports on the Forest after 1981. Since 1 October 1980, 41 of 71 reports described wolves outside BVWL, including 12 of 19 (64%) probable reports during 1982 and 1983.

Most evidence of wolves on the Boise NF since 1974 was reported outside designated Wilderness, including 37 of 44 reports from 1 October 1980 to present.

In October 1980, Wolves were reported 15 times with 14 receiving probable ratings. Ten reports were located in BVWL but were distributed widely within the area. Live animals were reported 7,
times, including 3 reports from Dagger Creek north to Sulphur Creek, l from Park Creek, and 3 from Bear Valley.

Outside the BVWL, wolves were reported 4 times. A wolf was reported near the town of Graham in mid October followed by reports in November near Jackson Peak and Clear Creek. In July, a wolf was reported near Shafer Creek.

Eleven wolf reports were rated probable in 1981. Reports were distributed from Mores Creek south of the South Fork Payette River to Sulphur Creek.

Thirty-eight wolf reports from the Boise NF were received during 1982 and 1983. Nineteen •reports received probable ratings. Eleven reports were distributed outside BVWL, and 8 were located within the area. During 1982, wolves were reported during July near Archie Creek in the South Fork Payette River drainage and on 2 occasions 1 week apart near Fir Creek. Reports during September included wolves east of the North Fork Range near Scriver Creek, south of Stolle meadows in Yellowjacket Creek drainage, and near Fir Creek.

Wolves were seen 8 times in October with reports distributed widely over the Forest, probably as a result of increased backcountry visitation by hunters. Wolves were reported in the Deadwood River drainage near Goat Creek and black wolves were reported 4 times during a 2 week period from October 16 to October 30 between Thorn Creek and Troutdale on the Middle Fork Boise River. A buff colored wolf was reported near Warren pond on 22 October and a gray wolf was seen in the Middle Fork Boise River drainage near Dismal Swamp on 23 October. A wolf was reported near winter range along Danskin Creek in November.

Four of 9 wolf reports in 1983 were rated probable. Howling and tracks were reported south of Warm Lake in January. A wolf was reported howling near the Pine-Mack Creek divide in July and a gray wolf was reported by a hunter in Sulphur Creek in November.

Reports of wolves reviewed suggest wolves were distributed primarily in BVWL from 1974 through 1981 but became increasingly scattered on the Boise NF during 1982 and 1983.

ABUNDANCE OF WOLVES

Over 80% of reports from 1970 to 1 October 1980 involved lone .wolves on the Boise NF (Kaminiski and Boss 1981). Since 1 October 1980, 37 of 43 (86%) probable wolf reports on the Forest have also involved lone Wolves. More than 1 wolf was reported on the Boise NF 6 times since 1 October 1980. Three wolves, an adult and 2 pups, were reported during October and November of 1980. In January 1981, 2 wolves were reported near Lick Creek followed by a report of 6 wolves in the South Fork Deer Greek drainage in August. Pairs were reported twice during October 1982. Two wolves were observed near the South Fork Payette River drainage near Archie Creek and 2 black wolves were reported between Bald Mountain and Thorn Creek.

Twenty reports of lone wolves, 1 pair, and 3 reports of 3 or more wolves were used to estimate that 4 to 10 wolves inhabited the Boise NF and adjacent Forests fran 1980 through 1981. Nineteen of 33 reports, including 17 of lone wolves and 2 reports of a pair, were used to estimate that 4 to 9 wolves are presently scattered over the Boise NF and nearby Forests.

Despite a preponderance of reports involving lone wolves, Kaminski and Boss (1981) reported evidence to suggest wolves periodically produced pups near BVWL. Seven probable reports of more than 1 wolf since l October 1980 supported that supposition.

In October 1980, a creambuff colored adult and 2 pups, 1 similar to the adult and the other black, were reported in BVWL near Poker Meadows. An identical group was reported south of Stolle Meadows 3 weeks later. This group may have been responsible for 4-5″ tracks in snow of wolves along the SFSR road in late November.

In January 1981, tracks of 2 wolves Chasing a group of 5 or 6 elk near Lick Creek were reported by a lion hunter. In August, 6 wolves including 3 adults and 3 pups were observed by a FS employee in the South Fork Deer Creek drainage Where a wolf was killed in l978.

Evidence of wolves near Sulphur Creek including a silver-buff colored adult, a pup, and howling was reported during a 3 week period in September by outfitters. A rronth later, a black wolf was seen between the head of Sulphur and Whiskey creeks by a zoo director and – 2 hunting companions.

Outside the BVWL, pairs of wolves were reported twice in October 1982. Two medium gray wolves were reported along Archie Creek in the South Fork Payette River drainage, and 2 black wolves were reported between Thorn Butte and Bald Mountain. In each case, at least one additional probable report from these areas was reported in 1982.

INGRESS OF WOLVES

As on other Forests, ingress of wolves from contiguous and surrounding National Forests is believed partially responsible for wolves’ continued presence. The Boise NF lies at the southern most end of the CIA. It is unlikely that wolves would arrive on the Forest from anywhere but the north (Payette NF) and possibly east (Gballis NF) (Maps 1 & 2). Fran the north the rnost probable area of exchange of wolves between the Payette and Boise NF is the SF~lR and Johnson Creek.

In these areas, wolves are believed to follow ungulates (primarily elk) during spring and fall migrations. Fran the east, wolves may cross during sunrer through fall between the Sulphur and Boundary creek drainages, though wolves probably avoid the area during peaks in recreation use•. Consistent reports between Fir Creek and Cape Horn During the last 10 years also suggest this area as a potential movement corridor between forests. Two final areas include the Sawtooth Wilderness and the Middle Fork salmon River wolves historically were found in the Sawtooth Valley and during the past 2 decades have been reported in the Cape Horn area (Challis NF).

Wolves moving south could conceivably end up in roadless areas near Graham and the headwaters of the Middle and North Forks of the Boise River. Probable reports of wolves have increased in these areas during the past 5 years.

The Middle Fork Salmon River was mentioned previously as an area of mutual gathering for wintering ungulates migrating from summer range on the Boise, Payette, and Challis forests. the potential for the Middle Fork to act as a seasonal vector for wolves between forests in southcentral Idaho is worth noting. —Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hanson – Wolves of Central Idaho 1984 study.

So much for the theory of a few Canadian wolves just simply “passing” through.

Read Part II

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