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Speak Out Against Cruelty to Wolves

photo credit: Earth Island Journal

This graphic picture shows a beautiful black wolf caught in a leg-hold trap, surrounded by blood soaked snow, wounded and still alive.  In front smiling is US Forest Service employee Josh Bransford, from the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho.  The trap was set near a road on Friday, March 16.  By the time he arrived on Sunday, several men had already taken shots at the ensnared wolf.  He posted pictures online and boasted about how the big 100-pound male wolf would make a good wall hanger.

In April 2011 the US Congress passed a rider in an appropriations bill removing gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species list.  This is the first time an animal has ever been removed from the list by Congress strictly for political rather than scientific reasons. Although conservation groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed suit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that the delisting was an unconstitutional infringement by Congress, the court rejected their arguments.

Montana and Idaho have killed 534 wolves out of an estimated 1150 in those states, eliminating nearly half of the population in less than a year.  Over 100 wolves have been murdered in traps and snares while the others were shot.  Wolf tags sell for less than 20 dollars and over 53,000 have been sold. Tags for other big game animals such as deer, bear and elk cost hundreds of dollars. The Idaho hunting season for wolves is not over yet, in fact, some areas will be open through denning and pupping season.  Both states plan to increase hunting in 2012-1213, while hunting groups and states discuss ways to allow private donations for wolf bounties.  Wyoming is working on removing the wolf from the Endangered Species list, which will allow hunting.

photo credit: Earth Island Journal

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) 2011 Wolf Recovery Update, wolf recovery in the NRM between 1974, when wolves became listed, through 2011 cost taxpayers $43,351,000.  After spending so much time and money on wolf recovery, it is hard to understand the unfounded hatred some people have toward this iconic animal. Once nearly extinct, we have an ethical obligation to restore this species.  Wolves shape and balance prey populations, they are a natural part of our ecosystems.  Despite popular myth, wolves take less than 1% of the thousands of livestock on public and private lands.

This year, California saw its first recorded wolf since 1924.  With the Center for Biological Diversity, EPIC has recently petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.  Scientists believe that wolves will make their way back to California and that our national forests in the Klamath Siskiyou bioregion contain enough habitat and prey species to support wolves.

While working to gain protection in California, we are appalled by the unethical and inhumane treatment that has been inflicted on wolves in Idaho, Montana and Alaska.  Please let the USFS know that this type of brutal, ugly and cruel torture to animals should not be allowed to continue in our national forests. It is shameful that USFS employees boast about and commit such heinous actions on innocent animals.


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