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February 2009

February 27, 2009

Looking for love in all the wrong places..... Namely Colorado

An 18 month old female wolf wandered across five states in a journey of over 1000 miles in search of love this week, down from southwest Montana into the high country of Colorado, where alas no wolves have been seen since 1943.  Next time we recommend posting an ad in the personals first....Colorado Division of Wildlife has the story.

February 26, 2009

Wolf makes it all the way to Colorado

Beyond all odds, a young female wolf from Montana has crossed the vast divide from Yellowstone, through Idaho and Utah, and is now in Eagle County, Colorado.  No one would probably have ever known of this wolf's incredible journey had it not been for a GPS collar that she is wearing.  The collar tracks her movements by satellite and sends the information back to biologists studying wolf movements in the region.  Wolves were once common in Colorado and biologists estimate that there is still enough wild prey and habitat to sustain several thousand wolves again in the state.  Wolves are important to the Colorado ecosystems as they can help bring better balance between their prey species (elk and deer) and their habitat. 

Aldo Leopold spoke to this important balance when he wrote:

"We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf's job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.

We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness. The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau's dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men."

~ From Thinking like a Mountain by Aldo Leopold.

With any luck this wolf's courageous journey marks the beginning of the wolves return to their ancestoral home in Colorado.

February 18, 2009

Congratulations Lava Lake...

Last week one of our long term proactive partners, Lava Lake Land & Livestock, won the U.S. Forest Service's prestigious National Rangeland Management Award. Lava Lake won this award for its many progressive conservation practices, including its use of non-lethal wolf deterrents to reduce conflicts with its sheep. Last summer, Lava Lake was involved in the Big Wood River Valley Wolf Project, one of our most ambitious projects to date. Congratulations to Mike Stevens, manager, and the two owners, Brian and Kathleen Bean.

February 12, 2009

Western Wolf Coalition launches website

Today, the Western Wolf Coalition launched a website and media campaign aimed at educating westerners about wolves in their region. Check out the site, and the press release, below!

www.westernwolves.org

For immediate release
February 12, 2008

Regional Contacts:

Idaho:   Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, 208-861-4655
Montana:  Derek Goldman, Endangered Species Coalition, 406-370-6491
Anne Carlson, Western Wolf Coalition: 406-922-0609
Wyoming:   Franz Camenzind, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, 307-733-9417
Melanie Stein, Sierra Club, 307-733-4557
Washington:  Jasmine Minbashian, Conservation Northwest: (360) 319-3111
 

Groups launch program to help public better understand wolves
Effort urges wolf management based on science, not politics

(Bozeman, MT)  Just the facts. That’s what a new website about wolves aims to deliver to the general public. Today, the Western Wolf Coalition, comprised of seventeen conservation and wildlife organizations, launched WesternWolves.org, a website dedicated to providing science-based information and resources on wolves to people living in the West. The website features data and reports from wildlife agencies in the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, top wolf biologists, and news sources from around the region to dispel myths about wolves in the northern Rockies.

Visitors to the site can learn about the natural history, biology, and pack structure of wolves. The site also provides data compiled about depredation rates on livestock, assesses the impacts of wolves on hunting in the region, and discusses methods available to livestock producers to reduce conflict with wolves.

The coalition of conservation groups behind WesternWolves.org has also launched a public information campaign, using newspaper, radio, and banner ads in select western communities. These ads began running in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming this week

“Wolves are perhaps the most misunderstood of all species in our region but their management needs to be based on science, not science fiction,” said Suzanne Stone, Idaho-based Defenders of Wildlife representative. “We hope this new website resource will help westerners see past the fear-based politics shrouding wolf management.”

 “Learning to live with wolves begins by understanding them,” said Melanie Stein, a Sierra Club representative in Wyoming. “We believe this website will be a valuable resource for westerners who want science-based information about wolves in order to make up their own minds about how the species should be managed.”

“Contrary to popular assumptions, scientific data demonstrates that elk herds remain healthy throughout the northern Rockies,” said Derek Goldman, Endangered Species Coalition Montana representative. “Wolves and elk have coexisted in the West for thousands of years.” 

“Everyone hears about livestock losses and other conflicts associated with wolves – few people know that those losses total less than one percent of livestock losses in our region,” said Franz Camenzind, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance executive director.  “It’s time to view wolf issues through a rational science-based perspective and manage wolves accordingly.”

“Scientists are learning that wolves play an important role in maintaining healthy landscapes,” said Jasmine Minbashian of Conservation Northwest, a coalition member from Washington State. “Understanding this role is critical to residents in states like Washington who are just beginning to see the return of wolves.” 

“Wolf politics seldom tread into reality, which has polarized the conflicts and confused the public,” said Anne Carlson, Western Wolf Coalition coordinator.  “It’s time to start managing them rationally – using science and respect for wildlife as our common ground.”

So next time you’d like to find out the most up-to-date information about wolves in the West, go to WesternWolves.org

The Western Wolf Coalition organizations include Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Species Coalition, Friends of the Clearwater, Idaho Conservation League, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Keystone Conservation, National Parks Conservation Association, Oregon Wild, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club, Western Watersheds Project, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Wolf Education and Research Center, Wolf Recovery Foundation and the Wyoming Outdoor Council. 

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