Monday, November 26, 2007

Wild Born Wolves Swept Under Rug by Program Managers

Catron County ranchers report livestock predations by known
(collared) wolf packs, yet they remove the wild born wolves that
don't kill cattle and aren't habituated to humans. If this isn't an
on-purpose strategy to destroy the local cattle industry, what is
it? It sure isn't a strategy to improve the Mexican wolf program here!

"Our ranchers get blamed for everything wrong with this program",
says Laura Schneberger President of the Gila Livestock Growers Association.

"The truth is if the agencies would do an adequate job this program
would be in better shape. When my members report un-collared wolves
on their places, these agencies don't investigate and refuse to
believe them. Instead of being rewarded for allowing this wild born
wolf and who knows how many other wolves onto the Adobe ranch, these
folks are being forced to live with a pack that is slaughtering their
herds and teaching wild born wolves to prey on cattle. It is an
unmitigated, disastrous and unfair situation"


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mexican wolf video for CNN Republican debate

Check out the videos at Wolf Crossing

These were created for the CNN Republican debate. There's a long
version and a short one - the short is what was submitted, with the
question "Endangered Species Act: Where Do You Stand? Which Is More
Important: Human Rights or the Rights of an Endangered
Species?" The longer version has a bit more info, but you could only
submit a 30 second video.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wolves: the natural order of things

One issue with looking at environmental issues is that people use
selective vision. For instance, humans are actually the highest
order in the food chain of all known life on earth, yet humans are
routinely not included as part of the natural environment, as if
humans were somehow unnatural, had been introduced here by aliens
from another galaxy. I personally can't go with such things as
"seeding" by aliens (to that I say, show me the science); humans are
necessarily a species which has survived and evolved on this planet
*just like every other species*.

To consider the wolf program without consideration of *all* other
species is faulty. Wolves have evolved in areas with humans in them,
humans have evolved in areas with wolves. Wolves have had, probably
as long as they have existed, one major natural enemy:
mankind. Humans have always been a factor in most wolves lives -
consider how true wild wolves (as opposed to habituated ones) are shy
of humans. This is a sign of a wolf's understanding of the risk
humans present, a healthy, natural thing for all predators and
potential prey.

In a healthy world, in the real natural order of things, wolves
respect humans best when wolves are hunted. This makes for a safer,
more healthy and more natural situation for all.

[This is in response to Mexican wolf update on Desert Rat's

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thought control campaign - Mexican wolves

One thing that environmental groups still do (besides file lawsuits)
is create excellent propaganda. What's amazing to me is how most of
the media just accepts that baloney as truth. I guess reporters
today don't care about facts, they just repeat what they are fed by
anyone with enough money to do the feeding.

I just came across an article about the transfer of captive bred
Mexican wolves from the Cincinnati Zoo to a wolf preservation
facility in New York State by Jim Knippenberg. Here's a quote from
the article (Cincinnati Enquirer,

"The Mexican gray, a subspecies of the gray wolf, is critically
endangered, reportedly down to only seven animals in the wild in the
early 1980s. The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, an umbrella
organization that oversees conservation efforts in about 20 zoos and
preserves including Cincinnati, captured the seven, installed them in
controlled facilities and initiated breeding programs. Today, there
are 38-50 in the wild (in the high deserts of northern Mexico and
southern Arizona), 100 more in controlled facilities and several more
ready for release into the wild."

Now what's wrong with the above? First of all, the subspecies is NOT
currently critically endangered; there are hundreds in captivity and
probably close to another hundred in the wild in in the USA, plus who
know how many still in Mexico, where these wolves are from. There
were an unknown number of wild ones in Mexico and the USA in the
1980s, when seven were captured from Mexico and brought north into
the USA (two promptly died). There is no conclusive evidence that
lands north of the US/Mexico border were other than the extreme edge
of these wolves' native Mexican range. There is no more reason for
anyone to be excited about there being no Mexican wolves here in the
wild than it would be to be excited that there are no penguins here.

Next, there currently are 38-50 *collared* Mexican wolves in the wild
in central western New Mexico and eastern Arizona plus an unknown
number of uncollared wolves ( all descendents of those five surviving
wolves from 1980). This information is readily available in the form
of monthly reports online from US Fish & Wildlife (note that
uncollared wolves are only counted once a year, so very little is
known about the numbers). To my knowledge no one is counting wolves
in Mexico itself; maybe Mr. Knippenberg could provide some source for
that info.

Finally, the Mexican wolf program, which routinely handles wolves in
the program and exposes them to human sight, sound and smell (e.g.
zoo and other captive wolf facilities) is creating problem wolves,
ensuring that when they are released into the wild that these wolves
have no fear of humans (they become habituated to humans in
captivity). Hence in places like New Mexico and Arizona we see
increasing numbers of problems with wolves killing pets, stalking
humans and slaughtering livestock. What happens to these wolves with
no fear of humans? They are hazed, are shot with rubber bullets,
routinely and repeatedly trapped (with leg traps, a painful and
traumatic process) - this is the Mexican wolf program doing these
things by the way. Then the wolves are transported to captivity, fed
by humans (and given health exams, vaccinations, collars). They are
then often separated from pack members, released into new places in
the wild to have to relearn where the water is, the hunting is, and
to forge a new place in a new pack. To "help", the program often
temporarily feeds these wolves dumped into the wild meat made from
domestic animals (horses), so that the when they find a horse in a
corral, they know that they've found dinner - starting the cycle all
over again.

A wolf which is so habituated it was sleeping in people's yards and
urinating on vehicle wheels like the family dogs do, has been found
to have spent over one third of its life in captivity or other
proximity to humans - the poor thing was probably lonely for
humans. This is typical of the wolf program and what the program
creates is problem wolves, not wild wolves. Dumping captive raised
wolves into the wild isn't all that different from dumping pet dogs
alongside the road. I've never understood why PETA, of which I am
not a member has not looked carefully at this routine torture and
abuse of animals.

I'm sorry to have picked on Mr. Knippenberg, for he is just one of
many, but it is really starting to get irritating to read these
un-researched articles which purport to tell the truth but really
just perpetuate the propaganda machine of environmental
groups. People who actually care about wolves tell the truth. But
of course, there's no profit in that.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dec 5 Mexican wolf public scoping meeting in Glenwood

Dec 5 Mexican wolf public scoping meeting in Glenwood
Glenwood Community Center
5:00 - 9:00 pm

US Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public scoping meeting in
Glenwood on December 5 as part of a rule change process that will
determine the future of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

Why your participation is important: background and current situation

Since its inception, the Mexican wolf program has been responsive
only to non-local environmental groups and has ignored the damage to
local families, businesses and issues. These groups have used their
large financial assets to twist the truth about the program, and have
resorted to what amounts to malicious litigation to get their way.

The wolf program has a policy of routine handling of wolves. In some
cases, "wild" wolves have been handled - trapped, examined, given
shots, collared, fed by humans - for more than one third of their
lives. Wolf and other canine experts know that this extensive
handling causes habituation (loss of fear of humans), and habituated
predators - not just wolves but bears, mountain lions, etc - are
problem predators. Essentially all the complaints of local citizens
come about because the wolves are not wild, but habituated to humans.

Mexican gray wolves are not critical to our local natural
environment. These wolves originally came from the Mexican desert -
they never were high altitude forest animals. It is true that a
healthy wolf population would keep elk and deer herds healthy and
balanced, however healthy wolves are never habituated wolves. At
this time, the wolves in the Mexican wolf program kill elk calves and
domestic animals for the sport of it, not for food.

Mexican wolves are not even endangered. Hundreds of these wolves -
all genetically related - live in zoos around the country, where they
are part of a breeding program to build the population. And contrary
to reports of dwindling wolf populations in the wild, it should be
pointed out that the "official" wolf counts omit the dozens of
uncollared wolves which are living and breeding in and near the wolf
recovery area.

This rule change is our opportunity to improve the program and shift
the Fish and Wildlife Service's focus where it needs to be: the
creation of a truly wild wolf population which is not coddled, fed
and protected, but subject to the same laws of survival as any wild
animal. Mexican wolves have the right to survive and thrive, but not
as anything other than fully wild animals and not at the high cost to
humans and wolves due to the way the program is run today.

In your comments, please tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to:

* Not change the classification from "experimental, non-essential"
to "experimental, essential" or "endangered" - there is no reason to
give wolves more protection (which causes habituation) but much
reason to make wolves stronger by forcing them to live natural
lives. Adding more protection will never make wolves wild.
* Eliminate restrictions to wolf dispersal and movements but provide
more rights for human self-protection; reduce or eliminate fines and
penalties for doing so. A truly wild animal will not be near enough
to humans to be killed by them, and a non-wild wolf should not be
part of the program.
* Cease release of any wolves which have ever been handled by
humans. Remove all wolves from the wild which have been handled by
humans and which exhibit signs of habituation or which engage in
livestock depredation.
* Never relocate, translocated or re-release any wolf to the wild
which has exhibited any habituation behavior or has killed any
domestic animals.
* Resolve livestock-wolf and pet-wolf conflicts in ways that are
fair to the humans who bear the economic and emotional costs of
domestic animal losses.
* Cease any supplemental feeding of the wolves by the wolf program;
such feeding just teaches the wolves to be human-dependant, it causes
habituation and since the meat from domestic animals is used for such
supplemental feeding, it introduces and familiarizes the taste of
domestic animals to wolves.
* Revise the Recovery Plan. Utilize real science and include
assessment of the impacts on affected human population as required by law.
* Place no cap on the number of wolves in the wild population,
however allow humans to protect themselves, their families, their
pets and other domestic animals without penalty. A wolf which
habituates human use areas is not a wild wolf, and needs to be
removed from the wild population before it teaches pack members and
its young this bad behavior.
* Provide no increase in boundaries of the Mexican wolf population
until it is proven that all current problems have been resolved.

The deadline for comments is December 31, 2007

Comments can be hand-delivered at the open house or submitted by USPS
or email. Be sure to include "Attn: Mexican Gray Wolf NEPA Scoping",
your full name and your return address in your message.

Brian Millsap, State Administrator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office
2105 Osuna NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113


Note: Other meeting dates and locations can be found at

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mexican wolves: The full truth

On his blog, Ralph Maughan "reports" that the
number of elk in the part of New Mexico where the
Mexican wolves have become reestablished has
Note that while Dr. Maughan is a specialist in
natural resource and environmental policies and
politics, he is not a biologist. Like many
people involved with policies and politics who
have an agenda to push, it is convenient to tell
only part of the story, allowing it to pass for the full truth.

Dr. Maughn "reported" that the number of elk in
the Mexican wolf restoration program area has
increased and that the number of wolves is
"trivial — only 59 in the entire recovery area..."

I am not a biologist either, but I believe in
telling the full story if I'm going to tell any story at all. So, I replied:

1. The method used to count elk this time is
different from the method used before. While it
is *possible* that the number of elk has actually
increased, your readers should be aware it is
also possible that rather the efficiency of
counting has increased, and therefore that there
may in fact be fewer elk than in prior years.

2. The number of wolves is not trivial - it is
merely unknown. There are 59 *collared* wolves in
the wolf recovery area. There are an unknown
number of uncollared wolves. Your readers should
be aware that it is *possible* that the wolf
restoration program is wildly successful in terms
of numbers of wolves in the wild.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Habituated wolves: A sign of induced abnormal behavior

It appears to me that habituation of Mexican wolves is a direct product of the wolf program management itself. Few people who wildly support the program and who dismiss the protests of the local people (the ones who are actually affected and whose opinions on the issues should carry more weight) have a clue what habituation entails and how dangerous habituation of a predator is.

Most people are not aware that wolf pups born in the wild are generally caught up and brought into captivity to be examined, have DNA samples taken, are given vaccinations and, when old enough, collars. They are fed by humans while in captivity. All this happens during the most impressionable period of a wolf's life.

Then, periodically wolves are trapped in the wild and are brought back to captivity to be reexamined, get more vaccinations and have their collar batteries replaced.

Of course wolves are fed by humans while in captivity - they do not have the opportunity to hunt at that time. Because canines have a sense of smell thousands of times stronger than humans it is unreasonable to expect that a wolf would not smell human scent on the food it is given in captivity and thereby come to associate the smell of humans with food [note: a dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only 5 million].

Wild wolves have natural fear of humans, but wolves in captivity for any length of time, particularly cubs, are going to lose that fear simply through constant proximity. Between association of human scent with food and loss of fear through proximity wolves become habituated to humans. Every Mexican wolf so far that has been a source of problems has been extensively handled by humans - the wolf program management itself.

The Mexican wolf program has set itself up for failure, and the ones who suffer the most from this mismanagement are the humans in wolf country and the wolves themselves. Is there some valid reason why the non-habituated, non-problem, truly wild wolves out there just can’t be left alone to propagate this gray wolf subspecies? Is there no way to stop the madness of the program’s creating habituated wolves and turning them loose to get into trouble?

Does anyone with any rational mind really think it natural for wild wolves to leave the millions of acres of wild lands to sleep on people’s lawns and defecate on people’s porches? We aren’t seeing the creation of a healthy Mexican wolf population, folks, we’re seeing a sick circus disguised as benevolent protection of species.

Friday, November 9, 2007

News Release: Habituated Wolves Are Dangerous Wolves

PO BOX 507
Ed Wehrheim, Chairman

Contact: Ed Wehrheim, Catron County Chairman FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone 505.533.6423

Catron County Presses FWS on Habituated Wolves

RESERVE, N.M. A recent inquest determined that Kenton Carnegie had been killed by wolves two years ago in Ontario, Canada. On October 11 of this year, the Catron County Commission sent a letter to Dr. Benjamin Tuggle of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service notifying him of the County's findings of imminent danger and a demand for permanent removal of a male Mexican wolf from the Durango pack. The wolf had, at that time, been documented as frequenting two homes, one twenty-one times and another seven times over the course of a few months.

In its letter to Dr. Tuggle, the County cited the "10J Rule",a part of the Endangered Species Act which applies to the experimental, non-essential Mexican wolf population. This rule provides guidance for management of the Mexican wolf program and definitions of what constitutes a problem wolf. The County pointed out that the wolf in question met four of the five possible identifiers (only one is required for a wolf to be so identified). According to the 10J Rule, a problem wolf can be removed from the wild by the wolf program before it performs some action which may require, by the same Rule, that the wolf be destroyed.

However, in his October 27 letter of reply, Dr. Tuggle chose to disagree with the County's findings, stating that the wolf's actions did not constitute problem behavior, and further stated that the behaviors exhibited by the wolf would be best dealt with via "aversive conditioning methods", stating that the measures had been proven to be successful.

During the ten days that these methods were employed by authorities, the wolf returned to one of the homes five times.

"Dr. Tuggle seems to think the wolf's being documented at homes 28 times is normal wolf behavior," said Catron County's Wolf Interaction Investigator, Jess Carey. "He thinks it is acceptable for a family to have to live with people on their property on a daily basis, hazing the wolves away to protect the family."

According to a recent report by Dr. Valerius Geist, a Canadian biologist, becoming used to and not afraid of humans is one of the final steps before a wolf starts seeing humans as prey. Dr. Geist consulted wolf experts from around the world and identified seven stages of wolf habituation leading to attacks on humans.

"It appears that Dr. Tuggle is content that wolves in Catron County are displaying the exact behavior displayed by wolves that killed and ate Kenton Carnegie," said Ed Wehrheim, Chairman of the Catron County Commission. "We have a serious problem of escalating habituated behavior here. We told Dr. Tuggle very clearly of the evidence we have that the wolf is habituated and therefore a problem wolf. We invited him to come down here and examine our evidence. Our documentation includes three videos that were taken of wolves in people's yards, taken from their living room window. A habituated wolf is a dangerous wolf and we need to get these habituated wolves out of the our county so they are no longer threatening our people."

In a reply letter to Dr. Tuggle from the County, Wehrheim stated "the County has taken no action in order to give you time to do your job. However, we can wait no longer."
Commissioner Wehrheim stated that the County will take measures to protect its citizens, acting under the Catron County Wolf Protection Ordinance.

"It is the moral and legal responsibility of the Catron County Commission, first and foremost, to protect the safety, health and welfare of the residents of Catron County," the letter concludes.

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