Wolf Delisting Op-ed

David Cassuto

Between Kathleen and me, we’ve taken up a lot of blawgwidth on the wolf issue and yet there’s so much more to be said.  Here’s my bid to bring it into the mainstream media.

12 Responses

  1. Awesome…congrats on getting the CSM’s attention!

    As you say, “…there is no good reason for this discussion to have taken place during these budget negotiations.”

    Here’s a bad reason: both of our MT senators–the senior (Max Baucus) and the junior (Jon Tester) are crowing about this “accomplishment,” sucking up to the “stockgrowers” and hunters while throwing conservationists under the bus. (That they are both Dems makes it all the more painful.)

    Tester is up for re-election in 2012, and he’s being challenged by Montana’s long-time Republican Representative, Dennis Rehberg (tea party caucus member…Rehberg’s wolf bill would delist them in the entire lower 48–even the endangered Mexican wolves).

    So you’ve got politicians in a pissing match for votes, exploiting local concerns, and using the ESA & wolves as pawns (enabled by Harry Reid, et al.). Those of you who were planning a Big Sky vacation might want to reconsider…and let the Montana Office of Tourism know why you’ve changed your minds!

  2. David, thanks for the great op-ed. It is completely tragic and irrational, but predictable that the ESA would be attacked during lean economic times when politicians are all trying to outdo each other by creating false conflicts between conservation and environmental concerns and the economy. Dems and Repubs, I can’t tell the difference (nor can anyone who thinks animals are worth more alive than dead).

    Kathleen, that’s a great idea about writing the Office of Tourism of the respective states. Not that they won’t get their share of yahoos coming in hoping to bag a wolf now.

  3. Having vacationed several times in Montana, I never will again after what’s been done. Any political entity that blatently ignores an entire segment of the population, and abuses a trust, can not be trusted in other matters of civilization, and personal importance. These actions of politicians send a message; we will return the favor. Revenue from tourism is unimportant. We’ll keep our part of that. Environmental responsibility is unimportant. We will use our voices to raise awareness of issues, and discourage everyone we know from spending any tourist money in that state or Idaho. It seems to be money that has the voice; very well, we will boycott all things Montanan. That is our voice. Representatives aren’t listening to anything else, it seems, other than personal agendas. Let’s see if Boycott helps the economy.

  4. Finally we are going to get the opportunity to get rid of some of the wolves. THANK YOU CONGRESS Ross from Idaho

  5. This author and the respondees need to unterstand a few things.
    Congressional action succeeded 11 years of protecting a “recovered” species. Circa 2000, wolf numbers surpassed recovery goals and continued to increase.
    Twice the government tried to delist the wolf, based on the best available science, but lawsuits from deep-pocketed organizations overturned the rulings with litigation targeting technicalities in the initial listing language.
    The science hasn’t changed, and wolves have been recovered, by nearly every scientific metric, for more than a decade.
    Because of the disregard for the science, Congress intervened.
    Taxpayers spent millions last year on wolf management efforts, on a species that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, while truly endangered species received little or nothing.(Look at the backlog facing the USFWS and tell me if spending that much on the wolf makes sense)
    Environmentalists fear the extinction of the wolf under state management, but lets think. After nearly two decades of federal intrustion, does anybody really think these states will kill enough wolves to warrant RE-listing and renewed intrustion by the feds? Didn’t think so.
    Now the feds are out, the states have a new resource that they can profit from, and science is again in charge of management.

    Environmentalists claim Congress is making a mockery of the ESA. One could argue that DoW and the humane society etc. made a mockery of the ESA for 11 years. Protecting a non-threatened species long after agreed-upon recovery goals were met, at the expense of the American people and the citizens of Montana and Idaho, with endless litigation.
    In the end, logic and science prevailed and government sort of got something right.

  6. There’s so much commenter #5 needs to understand. First, you have to love the idea of a “deep-pocketed” environmental NGO. Second, the plaintiffs prevailed in the lawsuit because the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies is a DPS (“Distinct Population Segment”) under the law. As such, any plans for its delisting must include a management plan for its entire range. That range is Wyoming, Montana & Idaho. Wyoming failed to submit a viable plan. Consequently the district judge correctly noted that under the clear language of the ESA, the wolf could not be delisted until such a plan existed. The idea that it could be delisted in Montana and Idaho defies the whole idea of a DPS — which is a population of animals determined by its range, not political boundaries. The budget rider simply ignored all this and did it anyway.
    Third, the commenter rhetorically asks: “Does anybody really think these states will kill enough wolves to warrant RE-listing and renewed intrustion by the feds?” He then answers for us: “Didn’t think so.” Does he know that Idaho’s governor has expressly stated that he wants no more than 100 wolves in the state? Didn’t think so.
    Last, the commenter states that there are hundreds of thousands of wolves. One has to wonder on what planet that occurs.

  7. There are hundreds of thousands of wolves! Ever heard of Canada, where the Distinct Population Segment in the Northern Rockies came from? How about Alaska where these “Rocky Mountain Wolves” can be killed at the rate of 10 per day by residents of Alaska there are so many? LOTS of wolves are killed every day in Canada by trappers and hunters. These wolves are not threatened. A lot of people just think we don’t need tens of thousands of them in Idaho, while some people do!

  8. Would it be too hard to fact check before exclaiming (sarcastically, no less)? Please try that before your next comment.

  9. i find it hard for an animal that is estimated at over 150000 worldwide is an endangered species or even a species for concern. before people stop complaining about the cruelty of harvesting wolves maybe you should try to live in montana or idaho and see what wolves do to our livestock and our ungulate populations. science should be used to make proper decisions and not emotions. do some research thats not biased towards what you believe.

  10. So, since salmon number in the millions worldwide, we shouldn’t be concerned about the salmon population in the Pacific Northwest? Regional population protection is part of the central mission of the Endangered Species Act and endangered species protection worldwide. Wolves were part of the Northern Rockies ecosystem for a long, long time until irrational fears led to their extirpation. Let’s try and put this in perspective (another way of suggesting you do some research that’s not biased toward what *you* believe). There are 1700 wolves in the Northern Rockies in about 321,000 square miles of territory. There are also 371,000 elk — well above recommended levels. Ranchers lose more livestock to dogs, weeds and lightning than to wolves, and hunters have no problem finding elk to shoot. The reality of it is that the big bad wolf still scares people and that fear is outstripping sound management practices.

  11. so all fwp scientists are wrong and u know better than them what our ecosystem should have. maybe you should become a wildlife biologist and learn to manage the ecosystem

  12. […] ____________________________________________________________ Read Animal Blawg founder David N. Cassuto’s wolf op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor here.  […]

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