Wolfwatcher: Wolf Proposal by Conservation Groups
March 19, 2011
Wolfwatcher: Insight on Pending Wolf Proposal
I have a sense of what the proposal entails. First let me say that I did talk to Mike Leahy, the Reigional Director for Defenders of Wildlife. I know Mike and he carries great passion for wildlife and for wolves, and I can only tell you his take on this deal, even though I can surmise the feeling was quite similar among the other Conservation groups choosing this proposal.
First I will give you the pros and cons..
The most significant thing coming out of this proposed agreement is that the new delisting rule will consist of the Best Available Science. This means that while there will be wolf management on the state level for Montana and Idaho, and eventually Wyoming, the population will be consistent with the best science of what the wolf population should be.
It is very important to note that this scientific study will be comprised of Independent scientists. (Not political appointed biologists working for the states).
The wolf population can be “controlled ” through state and state sponsored hunting.
I was assured that the states would eventually regain wolf management control as that is what the ESA is designed to do. Even if wolves remained under protection of the ESA the ESA does not address or prevent hunting, and only deals with the population numbers.
There is great certainty that the Simpson/Tester Bill would pass and that would be devastating. The politics surrounding Tester would certainly suggest that.
This process will go before Judge Molloy, possibly as early as next Thursday when he was going to hear the 10J argument, and instead hear this proposal.
Wyoming is currently not included in this proposal and must present an acceptable wolf management plan and then have it approved. There are an estimated 453 wolves in Wyoming. There are roughly 1250 wolves in Idaho and Montana combined.
Wolves in Oregon and Washington will remain protected and quite likely would be destroyed if the Tester Bill passed.
Mexican Gray wolves are not affected by this bill and remain protected. They may greatly benefit as quite likely pending bills will be withdrawn. They too could have faced decimation had the Tester Bill passed.
I absolutely love wolves and they are my passion in life. Who knows what the best path to take is? I would save them all if I could, but that is certainly not the realistic approach in these trying times. I will cringe at the first sign of a proposed wolf hunt. I try to always take the positive from things , and this is what I think if this proposal passes…
The list of conservation groups includes some heavy hitters for sure, but the groups that really impress me is the Greater Yellowstone Coalition Defenders of Wildlife.. These groups have the pulse of what is happening in Montana.
Wolves in the pacific states now stand a much better chance of not only surviving, but growing to healthy numbers. As do Mexican wolves.
I feel the hatred for wolves may eventually decrease significantly resulting in fewer wolves being illegally poached.
The delisting Rule will now be based on Scientific studies by an independent group of biologists. This is something we all have insisted upon time and time again. This is the most important part of this proposal.
I hate to think of the alternative if the Tester bill, or other bills were signed into law. Wolves would be a the mercy of wolf haters and there would be no recourse to save them. That would be the worst possible scenario and perhaps not a risk worth taking?
Only time will tell if this is the right decision and I truly hope it is. If this passes we need to regroup and watch to make sure that wolves get every possible chance to survive. Wolves will always need our watchful eye, and we need to do that going forward.