Category Archives: Musings

He is not a trophy.

He is not a trophy.

Bill H.R. 424 seeks undermine the Endangered Species Act and allow wolves to be shot and trapped for trophy in 4 states. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.

The bill is advancing. Please help by taking action today.

Take Action

Wolf Awareness Week

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Wolves have long been shrouded by myth and superstition, this week provides an opportunity to opening the door to understanding the importance and plight of the keystone species. It’s a time to recognize wolves as an ESSENTIAL part of our natural landscapes and to engage others to become interested and active in wolf survival.

Follow the Wolf Conservation Center on Facebook and be on the lookout for wild giveaways, wolf facts, and ways to take action for North America’s most misunderstood predator!

First Mexican Wolf Gunned Down by USDA for Cattle Predation in 10+ Years

 
For Immediate Release, September 14, 2017

Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017, michaelr@biologicaldiversity.org

Wildlife Services Kills Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf in Arizona

First Mexican Wolf Gunned Down by USDA for Cattle Predation in 10+ Years

SILVER CITY, N.M.— Wildlife officials revealed today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency killed a Mexican gray wolf in eastern Arizona in August — the first time in more than 10 years that the government has killed one of these critically endangered animals because of livestock predation.

The female — one of only a small number of Mexican wolves in the wild — was part of the Diamond pack.

“It’s sickening that the Trump administration is so heartless it would gun down Mexican wolves on behalf of the livestock industry,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Diamond pack has needlessly lost a member of its family, and the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves has taken an unnecessary step backward.”

The killing represents a return to a discredited policy of killing wolves punitively in the same locations where sloppy livestock-management practices typically draw wolves into conflicts.

Along with the one-sentence summary of the wolf’s killing released today, it was revealed that a dead cow — found around the same time as other cattle that were killed by wolves — was necropsied and found not to have been killed by wolves, but instead to have died from ingesting twine. Those circumstances suggest the likelihood, as has happened in countless other instances, that the Diamond pack scavenged on the cow’s carcass and wolves were then drawn to prey on nearby, vulnerable cattle.

This was the 15th Mexican wolf shot by the government since reintroduction began in 1998. Dozens of other wolves have been removed, alive, from the wild.

A growing body of research shows that killing wolves does nothing in the long run to reduce losses of livestock. Instead, stock can be protected through means accepted among ranchers in other regions who coexist with wolves, such as the Midwest. Effectively protecting cattle or sheep requires ranchers to remove livestock carcasses, enact seasonal calving to limit vulnerable calves’ exposure to wolves, and provide a consistent human presence to scare wolves away. The government has required no such measures to prevent conflicts between Mexican wolves and livestock on public lands.

“The government killed this wolf in secret and is hoping that her death won’t cause a stir,” said Robinson. “Unfortunately we know that persecuting wolves becomes disturbingly habitual for some wildlife managers, and that runs directly counter to what the science says is best for recovering carnivores and reducing conflicts.”

Background
The last Mexican wolf killed by the government for killing livestock was the mother of at least one pup in the Durango pack in New Mexico, shot in July 2007 after that pack was purposefully baited into killing stock in order to prompt its destruction. After the Bush administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to kill that female, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson persuaded the federal agency to reverse its order, but it was too late. Before it was convinced to stop the slaughter, the agency had killed and removed so many wolves that it caused a 24-percent drop in the Mexican wolf population.

Mexican wolves were first pushed to the brink of extinction through a program of federal trappers and poisoners that, beginning in 1915, sought to kill every wolf in the western United States. By the late 1920s, few wolves existed anywhere in the United States. In 1950 the Fish and Wildlife Service expanded its poisoning program to Mexico as a foreign-aid program. By the 1970s, when the Endangered Species Act was passed and the Mexican wolf had been placed on the endangered species list, only five wolves could be captured for an emergency captive-breeding program. Three of those wolves and the progeny of four others already in captivity were successfully bred to save the subspecies from extinction and allow for reintroduction into the U.S. Southwest in 1998 and into Mexico in 2011.

In June the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan for public comment before finalizing such a plan in November, pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity and our allies. The Center and independent scientists criticized the draft plan for relying on killing wolves and for planning to remove them from federal protection with too few wolves in arbitrarily limited areas.

 

 

  The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.  

Extinction Is Forever

For Immediate Release, July 14, 2017
Contact: Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 313-7017, michaelr@biologicaldiversity.org

Mary Katherine Ray, Sierra Club, (575) 772-5655, mkrscrim@gmail.com

Kelly Nokes, WildEarth Guardians, (406) 209-9545, knokes@wildearthguardians.org

Hailey Hawkins, Endangered Species Coalition, (662) 251-5804, hhawkins@endangered.org

Bryan Bird, Defenders of Wildlife, (505) 501-4488, bbird@defenders.org

Letter Urges Release of Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves Into Wild

Faltering Southwestern Wolves’ Gene Pool Needs Bolstering
SILVER CITY, N.M.— Thirty-one conservation and wolf-protection organizations in the Southwest and nationwide sent a letter today urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expeditiously release endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wild.

Adding new wolves from captivity to the struggling wild population is vital to diversifying the gene pool of the 113 closely related wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, the letter noted.

“Inbreeding could push the Mexican wolf over the cliff toward extinction if the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t release captive wolves soon,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The trail forward for successful recovery gets steeper and narrower every day that wolf families are kept behind wire mesh, when they could be helping fix the genetic crisis in the wild.”
Two specific packs should be freed this month, according to recommendations from a federal and state interagency Mexican wolf team. The team advised that releases occur in June or July after elk calves are born “to facilitate natural hunting behavior.” Conservationists want to ensure those wolves are not sequestered indefinitely in pens, as wolf families have been in previous years after release plans were shelved. Today’s letter recommends specific animals and release locations in southern New Mexico.

“The continued survival of the lobo has been jeopardized by agency inaction,” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club. “We stand at the precipice of losing our small Southwest wolf forever, a tragedy for nature and a moral failing of our own human species.”
“Wolves belong in the wild,” said Kelly Nokes, carnivore advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Critically imperiled lobos should not be held in a state of perpetual captivity as a result of political pettiness. We call on the Service to put science and the law first, and release these genetically valuable wolves to their native southwestern homelands now.”

The conservationists requested that other wolves also be released, including a single female from Mexico, christened “Sonora” by schoolchildren in a naming contest, who was captured after crossing the border into Arizona in March. Freeing her in the United States to breed with wolves here would follow guidelines in the new draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan that calls for “translocations” of wolves between U.S. and Mexico populations to enhance both populations’ genetics.
“People all over the Southwest, including Utah and Colorado, are rooting for the Mexican gray wolf,” said Hailey Hawkins, southern Rockies representative of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Mexican wolves are one of our rarest mammals and treasured not just for their charisma but for their countless contributions to a healthy ecosystem. Folks want to see the Mexican wolf thrive, not just barely hang on like they have been for the last two decades. Federal management should reflect that.”

The interagency wolf team also proposed “cross-fostering” as many as 10 captive-born wolf pups into up to five wild wolf dens this spring. However, just four captive-born pups were implanted into only two dens, and four wild-born pups were removed from those dens and placed in captivity, which the field team did not advise (or even contemplate) as it sought an increase in wolf numbers.

“If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases more wolves, lobos will have a better chance at beating the clock on extinction,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “With more wolf releases, their low numbers and limited genetic diversity will also improve. Wolves can restore the balance. When lobos roam safely on the landscape, they can bring our Southwestern ecosystems back to life.”

The game departments of Arizona and New Mexico, governed by commissions with appointees from the livestock and hunting-outfitting industries, have opposed releases of wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been reluctant to buck state opposition.

Background

Mexican gray wolves are the smallest and rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Federal trapping and poisoning of wolves on behalf of the livestock industry in the 20th century reduced Mexican wolves to just seven animals that, after passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, were caught and successfully bred in captivity.

Some of their descendants were reintroduced into Arizona and New Mexico starting in 1998 and into northern Mexico in 2011. But due to ongoing federal trapping and shooting, and the infrequency of wolf releases from captivity, numbers in the U.S. have lagged below projections. They are so closely related now that, on average, each wolf is as genetically similar to every other wolf in the population as if they were siblings.
Scientists have urged resumption of stalled wolf releases in the United States, less heavy-handed management — meaning less killing — and establishing additional populations in northern New Mexico and Arizona and southern Utah and Colorado.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, in contrast, drafted a recovery plan that gives the states veto power over wolf releases and allows for the removal of federal protections while the species is still biologically imperiled. The draft recovery plan is currently open for public comment until August 29.

Michael J. Robinson
Center for Biological Diversity
P.O. Box 1727
Silver City, NM 88062

(575) 313-7017

Speak Up

4FRI
Four Forest Restoration Initiative

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Forest Restoration Public Workshops April 2017 Flyer FINAL

Alternatives Being Considered for the 4FRI Rim Country Project

No Action

This is the no action alternative required by NEPA. It represents no changes to current management, and the forest plans would continue to be implemented. Ongoing vegetation treatments and fire management activities, as well as road maintenance, recreation, firewood gathering, authorized livestock grazing, and other activities already authorized in separate NEPA decisions would continue. There would be no other restoration activities approved with the Rim Country Project. The no action alternative is the baseline for assessing the action alternatives.

Proposed Action (Modified)

This is the Proposed Action as presented for scoping, with additional detail, clarifications, corrections, and modifications in response to public comments received during the scoping period. This alternative will address the Economics, Wildlife and Aquatics Habitat, Treatments in MSO and Goshawk Habitat, Large Tree Retention, and Dwarf Mistletoe Mitigation issues.

This alternative will be designed to increase mechanical and fire treatments in order to maximize functional restoration across the Rim Country project area. Treatments will be designed to treat more acres to lower the basal area, and move farther and faster toward the desired conditions in the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, and Tonto Forest Plans. Alternative 3 is being drafted to address the Economics, Large Tree Retention, and Dwarf Mistletoe Mitigation issues.

Alternative 4

This alternative will be designed to determine where treatments can be optimized in areas most in need of treatment due to being most highly departed from the natural range of variation (NRV) of ecological conditions, or in areas that may put communities at risk from undesirable fire effects. Areas selected to treat will be those that can be moved the furthest toward desired conditions and be treated cost-effectively, optimizing both ecological restoration and economics, and resulting in fewer acres being treated. Alternative 4 is being drafted to address the Smoke/Air Quality, Economics, and Roads issues.

Issues for 4FRI Rim Country

1.  Smoke/Air Quality

There will be negative effects on air quality and human health from prescribed burning.

2.  Economics

The Rim Country Project needs to increase and broaden attention to socioeconomics, and include consideration of measures to facilitate implementation, and biomass utilization and disposal.

3.  Wildlife Habitat

There is a need for additional wildlife habitat improvements to fully meet the purpose and need for the Rim Country Project.

4.  Aquatics Habitat

There is a need for additional stream habitat improvements to fully meet the purpose and need for the Rim Country Project.

5.  Roads

There will be negative effects on watersheds, streams, and wildlife from the amount of temporary roads proposed for implementation.

6.  Full Restoration

There is a need to consider in detail a comprehensive landscape restoration alternative, analyzing returning the project area to historic reference conditions.

7.  Treatments in MSO PACs

There will be negative effects on MSO from the treatments proposed in MSO PACs.

8.  Treatments in Goshawk Habitat

There will be negative effects on goshawks from the proposed treatments in goshawk habitat.

9.  Large Tree Retention

There is a need to consider in detail large tree retention strategies in proposed treatments.

10. Dwarf Mistletoe Mitigation

There is a need to clearly define the scale and intensity of mistletoe treatments. There is a concern that mistletoe treatments are not needed to improve and restore forest and ecosystem health, and that they will be an excuse to remove the largest trees.

Make your Voice Heard!!!

Just wanted to let you know that members of the Phoenix Lobos-Rising Packtivist Group will be joining other demonstrators in front of Senator Flake’s office on Friday April 7th from 12 to 1PM.

There are lunchtime demonstrations every Friday outside of Senator Flake’s Phoenix office and every Monday outside of McCain’s office.  The offices are across the street from each other.  If you know of activists in the Phoenix area who would be interested in joining us, please forward the information to them.  Feel free to give them my contact information.  Maya and/or Donna will be posting on Facebook and an action alert will go on the Website.

Friday April 7th from 12 to 1PM.  Demonstration against Senator Flake’s Mexican Gray Wolf Extinction Bill.

Demonstrate against Senator Flake’s Mexican Gray Wolf Extinction Bill

Friday April 7th from 12 to 1PM.  If you can’t make it for the full hour, please come for whatever length of time you can.

In Front of Senator Jeff Flake’s Phoenix office at 2200 E Camelback Road, Ste 120 Phoenix, AZ 85016

Bring a sign, if you have one!  If not, I will have some extra signs with me.

There will be a letter you can sign to be dropped off at Senator Flake’s office and Senator McCain’s office after the demonstration, or bring one of your own.

Info on this bill can be found at http://mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1726/51/Arizona-Action-Alert

Let’s join in on Friday the 7th and be a voice for the Lobos.

Join Great Old Broads (and Bros) Help protect our public lands

Looking for a great group to join?  We are going to start organizing in Nutrioso. we need to protect our access to public access, do all we can to keep our public lands healthy, and fight to save the Endangered Species Act.

Contact me at broads@nutrioso.net.  I will be working on organizing over the next couple of months.

Billie

Bodacious Broads

Our History

Founding Broads

1989 – A Lively Beginning

Great Old Broads for Wilderness began in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders. About that time, wilderness designation had been proposed for Escalante, and Senator Hatch opposed it, saying, “if for no other reason, we need roads for the aged and infirm.”

Outrage Begets A New Voice

Founder Susan Tixier and her fellow activists were outraged, and with sudden clarity, saw that an important voice was missing from the environmental movement: the older woman—impassioned, experienced, not afraid to speak out, and definitely not needing roads. The group committed themselves to grassroots advocacy to preserve Wilderness and wild places for future generations.

 What’s in a Name

Tixier and her colleagues happily settled on their role and purpose, but hadn’t yet decided on what to call themselves. Fate brought an answer to them. One fine day while the gang was out hiking and discussing what action to take next, they came upon a group of elderly ladies coming off a trail—dusty, tan, sinewy, and gray-haired. Someone remarked “What a bunch of great old broads”.

The name stuck. It captured the spirit of the budding entity they envisioned, emphasizing the old and the feminine. More importantly, the moniker had humor, a core value of the group from the beginning.

Concept to Coalescence

The early framework declared Broads to be a nonprofit, social organization dedicated to the protection, use, and enjoyment of the wilderness (designated, proposed, or imagined).

The early days were informal—there were no dues. To become a member you just had to declare yourself one, and then you could buy a T-shirt to proclaim it to the rest of the world. The point was to have fun while doing what you were passionate about.

The Broads sat around kitchen tables and brainstormed. The plan was to spend their time and energies on action protecting wilderness, not creating a formal organization with a paid staff.

A Force to Be Reckoned With

By 1993, with a growing membership and expenses, the board decided to institute annual dues—though payment was still optional. In 1994, it became necessary to hire a staff person to keep the membership database, publish the newsletter, Broadsides, and handle public relations. Broads was on its way to becoming a cohesive organization.

Today, Broads has a small staff and our ranks have grown to more than 5,000 members and supporters. There are 36 Broadbands (chapters) in 15 states across the United States dedicated to local and national wilderness issues. Our members include men (Great Old Bros) and younger women too.

Wherever there are wilderness concerns, you’ll find Broads jumping into the fray.

Howladay at Big Lake

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Big Lake Howliday Campout Weekend
July 29, 30, & 31, 2016

Join the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project for a fun-filled weekend learning about and celebrating the return of Mexican wolves to the wild. This year marks the 18 year anniversary of the first releases of Mexican wolves back into the wild in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.

Where: Apache Trout Campground Fir Group site at Big Lake in the Apache National Forest, Arizona.
When: Friday, July 29th, 2016 starting at 3:00 pm through Sunday, July 31th at noon.

Suggested Donation is $50 per person* (to help us cover the cost of the meals and the camp ground group site). Register for the event here. All activities during the weekend are free. Weekend registration is required through the registration form (see registration form below). *Please note that the suggested donation is cheaper than what it would cost to reserve a camp site and pay for food for a weekend trip on one’s own, but we may have some limited sponsorships available to help cover the costs for participants that may not be able to afford the suggested donation. Please contact info@gcwolfrecovery.org for more information.

Please bring your own personal camping equipment and comfortable clothes for hiking in and appropriate for high elevation weather during the Monsoon season.  Here is a list of pdfRecommended Personal Camping Supplies to bring with you.

Meals included in the weekend for registered participants: Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings, Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and a pack-your-own brown bag lunch spreads for lunches on Saturday and Sunday.  All the meals served will be vegetarian and we will make an effort to accommodate vegan, gluten-free diets, and food allergies that are indicated by filling out our registration form (registration form below). Please Bring Your Own Beverages of choice. Note there are strict orders from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on bear resistant food, trash, and personal hygiene product storage for the Big Lake area. Read the special order here, and be prepared to lock all food and personal hygiene items you bring with you in your vehicle.

Optional Weekend Activities include:
– morning bird walks
– wildlife tracking workshops with wildlife tracking experts
– a hike to the “Green Fire” site where Aldo Leopold had his epiphany about wolves
– hikes on the Paseo del Lobo trail
– Evening talks by a wolf conservationists and biologists

Sorry, no dogs are allowed (besides service dogs) to join us at the campground or on the activities at the Big Lake Campout Weekend. We are huge fans of companion dogs, but because we will be camping and hiking in areas occupied by Mexican wolf packs and other wildlife, we want to minimize our disturbance to the wolves and their new pups. Thank you for your understanding!

Please contact Emily at info@gcwolfrecovery.org or (928) 202-1325 if you have any questions.

Prepare for Winter


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Time to Prepare for Winter Weather

Now is the time to prepare for snow, ice and strong winds. It is important to prepare since winter weather can cause power outages resulting in the loss of heat, water or communications to our homes and businesses. With the projected strong El Nino pattern for winter 2015-2016, we suggest that you check out – http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather for a list of ways to prepare.

Preparing for winter storms is similar to preparing for other emergencies like floods or wildfires. Following the three steps below, can help your family be prepared for most winter events.

Step 1: Make an emergency supply kit which includes items like non-perishable food, water, batteries, flashlights and a hand crank radio. Add the following items for winter: rock salt, sand, snow shovels and adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

Step 2: Make a family emergency plan. You may not be with your family when a storm hits, so know how to contact one another.

Step 3: Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and windows. Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to help avoid freezing. Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your family knows how to use it. House fires pose an additional risk as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the proper safety precautions.

Lastly, remember where to find storm updates. An excellent source for weather forecasts and weather warnings is http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/. You can dial 311 from any phone for updates from the Health Department, Emergency Management, Fire and Forest information. You can go online to 311info.net as well as watch the news or listen to the radio for weather updates. If you have any further questions please contact Apache County Public Health Service District, 928-333-6430.

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Urge State and Federal Agencies to End the War on Wolves

Speak up for wolves at September Commission Meetings and call US Fish and Wildlife Service

For years, scientists have warned that more Mexican gray wolves must be released into the wild to improve the wild population’s declining genetic health.

But Arizona’s and New Mexico’s state wildlife agencies are WolfPhotoblocking the release of new wolves.

And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is deferring  to these states that are clearly hostile to wolves, instead of exercising its federal authority to ensure the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves.

All three of these agencies need to hear from wolf advocates. And both states’ wildlife commissions have meetings this month, with Mexican gray wolves on the agenda.
Speak for wolves at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting on Friday, September 4th.

Springerville Town Hall
418 E Main St
Springerville, AZ
Or by Video Teleconference from any regional office except Tucson

The meeting begins at 8 am. The wolf briefing is item 5 on the ShameOnFishAndGameagenda.
Email info@mexicanwolves.org for more information.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has a long history of ignoring the best available science and interfering with recovery of these highly endangered animals, including blocking releases of new wolves into the wild, needed to boost the wolves’ declining genetic health, and asking Arizona members of Congress to remove the wolves’ Endangered Species Act protections.

The Commission also pressured the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to loosen restrictions on killing and trapping wolves, to keep wolves from key habitats north of I-40, and to limit the wolf population to a number far below what experts say is needed to reduce the risk of extinction. During the period from 2003 – 2009, when the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC) led by Arizona Game and Fish managed the wolf reintroduction project, the wild population declined from 55 to only 42 wolves and 2 breeding pairs.

At their last meeting, the Commission went a step further to undermine wolf recovery, by voting to ban all releases of adult Mexican gray wolves from the 250 wolves in captivity.

You can call or email the members of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission using the talking points and contact information at the bottom of the post here. You can also sign the petition here.
LittleRedRidingHoodLied

Stand for wolves at the New Mexico Game Commission meeting in Albuquerque on Tuesday, September 29th.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
September 29, 2015
Embassy Suites
1000 Woodward Place NE
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Agenda item no. 7 is “Action to be Taken on United States Fish and Wildlife Service Appeal of the Denial of Application to Release Mexican Gray Wolves.” For more information, email info@mexicanwolves.org.