Two wolves shot dead in Eastern Washington

Wildlife officials so far have no leads for suspects. Conservation Northwest is offering a $10,000 reward for information in the wolf killings.

Two wolves in Eastern Washington were killed in November, likely the victims of poaching.

The wolves were both females. At least one was killed in Stevens County.

According to state officials, the wolves were collared by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The collar on one of them had stopped working and wildlife officers checked the last known coordinate. They found the wolf shot dead.

“This is beyond sad and disappointing. We work so hard on a fair wolf recovery process that includes everyone so that there’s local acceptance. So many interests have put so much into this effort. But one bad apple can do so much damage. It’s an unjust irony that the term ‘lone wolf’ is applied to mass shooters,” said Conservation Northwest Executive Director Mitch Friedman.

The wolves are members of the Smackout and Dirty Shirt packs.

WDFW currently has no leads for suspects. Conservation Northwest is also offering a $10,000 reward for information about the killings.


Sumatran tiger survival threatened by deforestation despite increasing densities in parks

Excerpt from release:  Tigers on the neighboring islands of Java, Bali, and Singapore went extinct in the 20th century, prompting new anti-poaching efforts to prevent the same fate for the subspecies on Sumatra.
Those efforts have largely been successful.The density of (Sumatra’s) tigers has
increased over last two decades and their numbers are twice as high in unlogged forests, the study found.
But the study also found that well-protected forests are disappearing and are increasingly fragmented: Of the habitat tigers rely on in Sumatra,
17 percent was deforested between 2000 to 2012 alone, erasing any gains to the tigers’ chance of survival, the study authors wrote. Habitat destruction for oil palm plantations was a leading culprit of deforestation.
Full release

US Senate Quietly Passes Alaska Oil-Drilling Bill

  • The 19.6-million acre refuge is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife

    The 19.6-million acre refuge is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife | Photo: Reuters FILE

“It’s outrageous that the oil lobby and their allies in Congress are trying to destroy the crown jewel of America’s wildlife refuge system.”

Late Saturday the United States Senate passed a Bill that will allow oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – an area which has been protected since 1960.

Arctic Nations Meet in Alaska Under Climate Change Concern

Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lisa Murkowski, managed to get a narrow 52-48 vote for the Bill – a part of the tax reform legislation – to pass.

The 19.6-million acre refuge is located in northeastern Alaska and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife, but also billions of barrels of crude oil underground.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will authorize the sale of oil and gas leases in a section of the ANWR on Alaska’s coastal plain that faces the Arctic Ocean.

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, expressed displeasure with the passing of the bill, stating that “sacrificing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has absolutely no place in a tax bill” adding it was “outrageous that some politicians will do anything to sneak this sell-out past the American people”.

“It’s outrageous that the oil lobby and their allies in Congress are trying to destroy the crown jewel of America’s wildlife refuge system after nearly four decades of bipartisan support for protecting it,” Williams continued.

“Fortunately, this fight isn’t over, and we are committed to fighting this legislation every step of the way.

But, the resources committee head held an opposing perspective regarding the area.

“This small package offers a tremendous opportunity for Alaska, for the Gulf Coast, and for all of our nation,” Murkowski said, according to The Washington Examiner.

“We have authorized responsible energy development in the 1002 area.”

One committee member, Senator Maria Cantwell, told The Washington Examiner before the vote: “We don’t think this has been a fair and open process. The only way they have been able to get any place on this issue is to throw away the regular process.”

Namibia: 57, 000 sign petition against Elephant hunting

Namibia: 57, 000 sign petition against Elephant hunting


About 57 508 people across the world have signed a petition for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to stop the hunting of desert elephants in Namibia.

Iris Koch from Esslingen, Germany, started the online petition on website.

She stated in the petition that Namibia’s desert elephants are iconic and highly endangered.

These animals are among the rarest creatures on this and have adapted to extremely arid desert conditions.

“These animals are among the rarest creatures on this and have adapted to extremely arid desert conditions.
Unfortunately, their extraordinary status makes them a preferred target for trophy hunters, and even though they are survival experts, desert elephants don’t stand a chance against the rifles of hunters,” she stated.

She added that they are horrified that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has sold three more permits for the hunting of desert elephant bulls in the Ugab region.

Koch said the small population in that area is on the brink of extinction, adding that the elephants left in the Ugab area in 2016 had gone down to 30, declining drastically year by year.

“A shocking five out of five newborn calves died, three adult females were lost, while the total number of breeding bulls in the Ugab river region amounted to five,” she said.

She noted that they were under the impression that desert elephants have been designated as a top priority for protection by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

World’s Rarest Penguin Population at Its Lowest in 27 Years


Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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Nearly half the breeding population of endangered yellow-eyed penguins on the island sanctuary of Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) in New Zealand have vanished, according to a recent survey.

The animals — also known as “hoiho” in Māori — are known as the world’s rarest penguins and are only found in New Zealand.

Only 14 nests were found on the island compared to 24 last year, the survey from the Department of Conservation revealed. Since the island is predator-free with limited human access, terrestrial influences are unlikely to be the cause, the department pointed out.

Forest & Bird, a Wellington-based conservation nonprofit, is blaming the commercial fishing industry for the loss, suggesting that the animals were most likely caught and drowned in the nets of fishing trawlers.

“Unlike previous years where disease and high temperatures caused deaths on land, this year birds have disappeared at sea,” said Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague in a statement. “There is an active set net fishery within the penguins’ Whenua Hou foraging ground, and the indications are that nearly half the Whenua Hou hoiho population has been drowned in one or more of these nets.”

Only three percent of the commercial trawlers had official observers onboard to report penguin deaths. Incidentally, Forest & Bird noted that all the recorded deaths came from the small percentage of boats that did have observers.

“It’s simply unbelievable that almost every penguin killed in the set net fishery was killed on a boat that had an official observer onboard,” Hague said. “As a first step, [the Ministry of Primary Industries, which oversees the fishing industry] needs to get more of their observers onto set net vessels and prioritize putting cameras on set netting boats.”

“Responsible set netters need to ask the question of their fellow fishers — why is it that the only recorded by-kill of penguins appears to be on monitored fishing vessels?” he asked.

The environmental group is urging government action and for the fishing industry to agree an immediate set of actions to eliminate the risks from set netting in the penguins’ feeding areas.

“We are asking [the Department of Conservation] and [the Ministry of Primary Industries] what they intend to do to save our hoiho from extinction, because at current rates of decline we are on track to lose hoiho completely from mainland New Zealand. We have also written to the Minister of Conservation, expressing our concern,” Hague said.

“This bird is so special that it appears on New Zealand’s five dollar note,” Hague said. “The critical information about the Whenua Hou catastrophe should not have been held back from the public. Instead we need honest conversation with New Zealanders spelling out the actions that will be taken to prevent it happening again.”

The yellow-eyed penguin is not faring any better elsewhere in the country. According to the Guardian, there are just 1,600 to 1,800 of these penguins left in the wild, down from nearly 7,000 in 2000. They face wide-ranging threats from climate change to disease.

“While nest numbers are similar to last year from Dunedin northwards, there are declines further south,” said Department of Conservation Threatened Species ambassador Nicola Toki. “The estimate for the total southern east coast based on current counts is around 250 nests, down from 261 a year ago. This number is of concern given historically there were between 400-600 breeding pairs and the current number is the lowest for 27 years.”

Recent yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho nest counts on mainland New Zealand indicate a continued decline in numbers in some areas: 

Why Can’t We Protect Elephants?

Elephants, with their wondrous size, need vast amounts of food and space. A group crossing a farmer’s field can do enough damage to bring about both economic ruin and their own consequent demise.CreditAlex Majoli/Magnum Photos

Lately I’ve been haunted by a photo. In it, a mother elephant and her babyare running across a road in West Bengal, India. The mother has her head down and ears forward, heading for safety in the trees. A ball of fire clings to her right foot; her tail appears singed. The baby’s hind legs are engulfed in flames. In the background, a crowd of men is running away, some pausing to gape and jeer over their shoulders. They are the reason for the fire. They have thrown firecrackers and balls of flaming tar at the animals. The image, taken by Biplab Hazra and chosen by the Indian conservation group Sanctuary Asia as this year’s winner of its annual wildlife photography contest, is titled “Hell Is Here.”

Where elephants go, unfortunately, hell seems to follow.

Over the past two decades, the global populations of both Asian and African elephants have declined precipitously because of poaching, habitat loss caused by human encroachment and subsequent conflicts resulting from the crowding together of people and very large animals.

As part of an international effort to curb poaching and protect elephants, the Obama administration tightened restrictions on the domestic sale of ivory and on legal commercial hunting in Africa. In 2014 it implemented a ban that prohibited Americans from importing trophies from hunts in Zimbabwe.

On Thursday the Trump administration announced that it would lift the banand earlier this month said it would allow trophies from Zambia as well. Hunting advocacy groups and the National Rifle Association celebrated the decision. It was not too difficult to imagine that the president’s sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., would also cheer this change — they have hunted elephants for sport in the past. Don Jr. even posed in Zimbabwe in 2011, ammunition slung around his waist, holding up the tail he had cut off a dead elephant lying behind him. Criticism of the decision was swift from other corners, however. Perhaps swift enough to give the president pause: Late Friday, he tweeted that he was putting the “big game trophy decision on hold” for further review.

I hope a review convinces him to let the ban stand because the last thing elephants need is more people shooting them. Between 1979 and 1988, more than half of Africa’s elephant population was killed for the ivory trade, some 700,000 animals. After widespread outcry, bans were put in place and conservation efforts strengthened, and elephant populations slowly recovered into this century, when, conservation advocates say, China’s ascendant middle class began fueling a rising demand for ivory with price seemingly no object: $1,000 for a pair of chopsticks, hundreds of times that for a whole carved tusk.

Continue reading the main story

Between 2002 and 2011, 62 percent of African forest elephants vanished, and between 2007 and 2014, the numbers of savanna elephants dropped by nearly a third, with tens of thousands killed each year.

Poachers, increasingly soldiers and members of rogue militias from the Central African Republic and Sudan, among other countries, shoot elephants with automatic rifles, on foot or from helicopters. They poison water holes, killing tuskless animals as collateral damage. They kill park rangers who get in their way and swell their own ranks with kidnapped villagers. Income from the sale of the tusks is used to buy weapons and prolong gruesome human conflicts. Organized crime syndicates make fortunes bringing ivory to market, mostly in East Asia.

Like many people, I have loved elephants since I was a small child. And I am afraid for them. There is a real possibility that elephants will vanish in the not distant future.

Elephants draw charisma from their wondrous size, but that brings vulnerability, too. They are large targets in every way. They can’t dart away into the underbrush to hide from bullets; they need vast amounts of food and water, and space to roam. A group of elephants obliviously crossing a farmer’s field in Africa or Southeast Asia can do enough damage with their huge feet and foraging trunks to bring about both economic ruin and their own consequent demise. But the elephants in Mr. Hazra’s photo had not accidentally trampled anyone. Their attackers weren’t seeking profit, nor were they wealthy trophy enthusiasts like the Trump sons or the founders of GoDaddy and Jimmy John’s, who appear to have all been willing to pay between $25,000 and $60,000 to kill an elephant and take home pieces of its body. The men in West Bengal burned the animals for pleasure.

Those who kill and torment elephants seem to experience the animals’ size as a provocation. The attendant desire to gawk and jeer at elephants brought low is an old one. In 1903, to cite one famous example, an Asian elephant, Topsy, was publicly executed by a combination of poison, electrocution and strangulation on Coney Island. Edison Manufacturing Co. sent a film crew to document the event, and so it lives on. Topsy’s death has been viewed more than 760,000 times on YouTube.

All this despite the fact that we know elephants to be among the most intelligent and emotionally complex animals on the planet. Elephants play, mimic, use tools, and communicate with a wide vocabulary ranging from blasting trumpets to low frequency rumbles that can travel miles. Within their close-knit matriarchal herds, they cooperate and make group decisions. They seem able to recognize, even predict, distress in other individuals and to offer assistance.

A sliver of hope for elephants emerged last year when China, by far the biggest consumer of ivory, announced it would ban its domestic trade. This long-sought reversal was the result of sustained foreign pressure and shifting internal attitudes, nudged along by personal pleas and educational campaigns from celebrities such as Yao Ming and Prince William.

What could justify the commercial hunting of threatened animals? The general answer is that the proceeds from the hunt — the huge fees people in search of these trophies fork over — can go to conservation.

Whether or not such an argument is morally persuasive, the implementation of such a system requires a stable host country where corruption is kept in check and conservation programs are effective. Elephant trophies can legally be taken from South Africa, for example, but the 2014 ban reflected the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s conclusion that Zimbabwe had not demonstrated its hunts were furthering the preservation of the species. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s longtime dictator who is currently under house arrest after a military coup, reportedly dined on elephant meat for his birthday two years ago. His attitude toward his country’s wildlife is best described as pay-for-slay.

Hell is here, for elephants.

US to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia

(CNN)US authorities will remove restrictions on importing African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

That means Americans will soon be able to hunt the endangered big game, an activity that garnered worldwide attention when a Minnesota dentist took Cecil, perhaps the world’s most famous lion, near a wildlife park in Zimbabwe.
A US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said the move will allow the two African countries to include US sport hunting as part of their management plans for the elephants and allow them to put “much-needed revenue back into conservation.”
Critics, however, note the restrictions were created by the Obama administration in 2014 because the African elephant population had dropped. The animals are listed in the US Endangered Species Act, which requires the US government to protect endangered species in other countries.
“We can’t control what happens in foreign countries, but what we can control is a restriction on imports on parts of the animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
The number of elephants in the wild plummeted 30% overall between 2007 and 2014, despite large scale conservation efforts. In some places it has dropped more than 75% due to ivory poaching.
In 2016, there were just over 350,000 elephants still alive in the wild, down from millions in the early 20th Century.
Iconic African elephant population on the brink

 Iconic African elephant population on the brink 05:49

Pacelle, who opposes the decision, told CNN it means “elephants minding their business are going to be gunned down by rich Americans.”
Safari Club International, a worldwide network of hunters, cheered the announcement.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Service and the US Department of the Interior to remove barriers to sustainable use conservation for African wildlife,” SCI President Paul Babaz said in a statement.
Attenborough: Poaching 'will rest heavily' on humanity

Attenborough: Poaching ‘will rest heavily’ on humanity 01:11
But the decision was met with outcry from animal-rights advocates, including Chelsea Clinton, a longtime proponent for elephant conservation. The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton once called elephants her “great passion” in a 2016 Politico profile and, together with her mother, unveiled a $80 million partnership through the Clinton Global Initiative in 2013 to help end the ivory poaching crisis.
“Infuriating. Will increase poaching, make communities more vulnerable & hurt conservation efforts,” she tweeted Thursday, linking to a report from the Humane Society of the United States.
President Donald Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric are themselves big game hunters. Photos posted in 2012 by the website Gothamist show Donald Jr. holding an elephant tail. The website says the photos were from a 2011 hunt in Zimbabwe.
When Donald Jr. addressed the photos at the time, he did not deny their authenticity or where they were taken. “I can assure you it was not wasteful,” he posted on Twitter, adding, “The villagers were so happy for the meat which they don’t often get to eat.”
Pacelle, of the Humane Society, noted that corruption in the Zimbabwean government was a concern when the US banned trophy imports from the nation in 2014.
Zimbabwe is currently in a leadership crisis, after the military seized power this week and placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest.

Endangered U.S. wolf denied new habitat, as critics charge that politics trumped science

Just over 100 Mexican wolves roam the remote mountains along the Arizona–New Mexico border.


On 26 January 1998, federal wildlife officials drove three Mexican wolves to a remote corner of southeastern Arizona, where they soon became the first wild wolves to roam the U.S. Southwest in nearly 30 years. Mike Phillips, a biologist who had helped reintroduce wolves to the southeastern United States and Yellowstone National Park, said that day that reestablishing the Mexican wolf was going to be “the biggest wolf conservation challenge” yet. The captive-bred wolves would have to survive in a landscape grazed heavily by livestock, increasing the potential for deadly conflicts with ranchers.

Still, Phillips never thought it would be this hard.

Nineteen years after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released those animals, the agency has announced its draft plan for reestablishing a viable population. The recovery plan, released this June, will guide the agency’s actions as it tries to boost the Mexican wolf population enough to justify removing it from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.


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Southwestern states believe the plan appropriately balances the concerns of ranchers and local communities with conservation goals. But Phillips and some other wildlife scientists say it will leave the Mexican wolf in peril, despite decades of effort to save it. They charge that FWS designed the plan primarily to appease the states, putting politics before science-based conservation.

“The plan is an absolute waste of time,” says Phillips, director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund in Bozeman, Montana, a private organization that has long contributed to Mexican wolf conservation. “They’ve given the states everything they wanted.” FWS officials acknowledge that the plan was developed with state input in a series of closed-door workshops that Phillips also participated in, an approach they say is consistent with the ESA’s mandate that the agency partner with states.

The Mexican wolf is a subspecies of gray wolf, a smaller cousin of the wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1996. Those wolves have gone on to flourish throughout the northern Rocky Mountains and are gaining a foothold in the Pacific Northwest, with the total population estimated at nearly 2000 animals. Mexican wolves, meanwhile, have limped along. Their numbers surpassed 100 only recently, and the population is highly inbred.

At the heart of the current controversy is a debate over where federal biologists should release more wolves, outside their current range in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, to create a larger and more resilient population.

Not in my backyard

In 2012, the government considered introducing Mexican wolves at two new U.S. sites. The latest plan relies instead on establishing new populations in Mexico.


In 2011, Phillips was one of nine scientists recruited by FWS to come up with a science-based definition of “recovery” for Mexican wolves. The team eventually recommended establishing two additional populations, one around the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, and another in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Recovery would be achieved, they suggested, when the wolves in the three areas totaled 750, with at least 200 animals in each population and movement between them. The team also supported restoration in Mexico, but concluded the habitat there was too marginal to support a sizable population.

In 2012, FWS incorporated the science team’s recommendations into a rough draft of a recovery plan. A copy of the draft obtained by Science said the Mexican wolf was “not recoverable” unless its range included the northern sites. But the agency never finished the draft or released it to the public. Sherry Barrett, FWS’s Mexican wolf recovery coordinator in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says the process was put on hold for administrative reasons, including an environmental lawsuit that forced the agency to prioritize revising its regulations for the release and management of wild wolves. Phillips and others, however, believe the agency buried the plan because of pressure from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, which objected to expanding wolf territory.

The draft recovery plan released this summer departs dramatically from the science team’s earlier recommendations. It concludes that expanding the current Arizona-New Mexico population to just over 300 wolves and establishing a population of 170 wolves in Mexico will be enough to ensure recovery. “Our focus,” Barrett says, “was to see if there was enough habitat in Mexico and south of Interstate 40 [I-40],” the eastwest highway that bisects both states.

Barrett explains that Mexican wolves historically occupied these areas, whereas the states argue that the northern sites fall outside the historic range. After running models on habitat potential and population viability, FWS concluded that populations south of I-40 and in Mexico could have at least a 90% chance of persisting for 100 years, the threshold it set for recovery. “That’s what the science showed us,” Barrett says.

Carlos Carroll, a biologist with the Klamath Center for Conservation Research in Orleans, California, questions the FWS population modeling. He argues that it included an incomplete “sensitivity analysis”—an examination of how small changes in, say, mortality or reproduction affect the outcome. Such analyses can tell managers how much confidence to invest in a model’s results. One factor missing from the analysis, Carroll says, was potential variation in the proportion of female wolves that breed every year. Small fecundity changes can lead to significantly worse outcomes, he notes, suggesting the populations FWS envisions may be much more vulnerable to extinction than the agency estimates.

Phillips is also skeptical about the plan to build a wolf population in Mexico, where most habitat is on private land, cattle are plentiful, and data on natural prey are unreliable. “Wolf recovery has gone forward because of large tracts of public land,” where the animals are less likely to be shot for threatening livestock, he says. “It’s also critical that those public lands support large numbers of native prey.” But Barrett says FWS has good partners in the Mexican government, which is not voicing concern that private lands are a barrier to recovery. “Our intent is to see if it’s possible down there,” she says.

Jim Heffelfinger, wildlife science coordinator at the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Phoenix, thinks that’s the right course. The 2011 science team, he says, put “too much focus on what would be the gold standard if we didn’t need to consider stakeholders.” He believes the new plan can get enough buy-in to work on the ground.

FWS is reviewing more than 100,000 public comments on the draft plan. A final version is due in November.

Phillips concedes that focusing on Mexico and the existing U.S. wolf population is the path of least political resistance. But biologically, he says, it’s a dead end. “I think the world of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But in this case, they let the Mexican wolf down.”

Prominent Scientists Call America’s Wolf Slaughter Unjustified and Unethical

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2017
CONTACT:  Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003,
Prominent Scientists Call America’s Wolf Slaughter Unjustified and Unethical
Controversial new film exposes problems with prioritizing cows over wolves, giving wolves no place to live in peace and perform their role as apex predators
EUGENE, OR – A new documentary by the wildlife advocacy group Predator Defense has people across the country fuming at an irresponsible rancher in Washington State who set up a pack of wolves living on public land in a remote forest to attack his cattle. People are also outraged at how state wildlife officials and major conservation organizations were party to the killing of the wolf pack, a slaughter that resumed against a new pack in 2017.

Noted scientists and environmentalists who have watched the film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” are speaking out, excoriating the players in the case, whose actions they find representative of all that is wrong with America’s treatment of wolves.

“The decisions by the rancher/owner of the cattle and the state wildlife agency are irresponsible, bordering on the outrageous in terms of common sense,” said Barrie Gilbert, Ph.D., senior scientist emeritus for the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. “The pack was lured by placement of cattle, which displaced the elk food-base of the wolves, so the wolves, victimized once, are then destroyed, becoming victims a second time.”

“Why should one person, the rancher in this case, have more say over what happens on public land-land owned by all of us-than the other 300 million people in the U.S.?” said John Laundré, Ph.D., predator ecologist and author of landmark study, The Landscape of Fear. “Why should we run whole ecosystems for one person or one industry? It is a crime ecologically and it does not even make sense economically!”

The film has been brushed off by four conservation organizations involved, who do not want people to know about their role in setting wolves up for the slaughter. The groups include Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Northwest, and Wolf Haven International. They are all members of Washington’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), a body comprised of ranching interests, state wildlife officials, and environmental/conservation organizations. WAG is driven by consensus and requires all members to be bound by the majority decision.

In response to the decision by WAG and other decision-makers Laundré said, “I have seen the enthusiasm and hope of re-establishing ecological order across the West that the wolves offered, become perverted by lies and ignorance, often by the very organizations and agencies designated to protect wildlife.”

This is exemplified by a statement from Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). When justifying slaughtering the Profanity Peak pack for attacks on cattle in 2016, Martorello said: “Is that really the wolf population we want to repopulate the state?”

“So here you have the state’s top wolf manager who apparently doesn’t understand or value the basic nature of wolves as apex predators, performing their vital role in our ecosystems,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “Killing wolves disrupts the social order of the pack and often has serious unintended consequences. It can remove the wisdom of elder pack members and drive younger, less experienced wolves to make unwise decisions. Over the years I’ve seen killing wolves can actually increase attacks on livestock.”

Tragically, Washington State resumed slaughtering wolves in July 2017, killing two members of the Smackout Pack for attacks on livestock. “Our goal is to change the pack’s behavior before the situation gets worse,” said Martorello. In August WDFW also authorized killing one or more members of the Sherman Pack.

But in all three instances, the same ranching family is involved, the events have taken place on grazing allotments with mountainous terrain that makes them essentially impossible to defend, and the non-lethal deterrent used has been range riders. While range riders are deemed more effective than other measures in this terrain, they have proven insufficient, likely due to the geographic constraints and the inadequate “near daily” schedule they kept.

“There are two ways to prevent depredations on grazing allotments with indefensible terrain,” said Fahy. “Either stop planting cattle where they cannot be defended, or stop holding wolves accountable for behaving like wolves. Instead of trying to change wolf behavior, let’s change human behavior. Let’s prevent these situations by making informed, intelligent decisions.”

The film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” isn’t just about wolves in Washington State. It addresses America’s overall approach to wolves, calling it unjust, counterproductive and cruel. Around 5,000 wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers alone in seven states since wolves lost endangered species protection in 2011 and management was turned over to individual states. “So I have to ask,” said Fahy, “Did we bring wolves back just to slaughter them all over again?”

Washington and Oregon had remained fairly safe havens for wolves until 2016, when the Profanity Peak Pack was slaughtered. In August 2017, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed four out of ten members of the Harl Butte wolf pack, which, like the Profanity Peak pack, also lives in territory not suitable for unsupervised, free-roaming cattle. Trail cameras show cows literally using the same trails as the wolves’ known territory. Oregon has also issued a kill permit to a livestock producer to exterminate two members of the Meacham pack. Neither Oregon nor Washington have a recovered wolf population. Both states have over a million cows and barely 100 wolves, yet they are using management tactics from Idaho and Montana, which have larger wolf populations and have slaughtered thousands.

“Lethal ‘management’ is no substitute for developing a just and sustainable way of human life that respects the lives of other animals,” said William Lynn, Ph.D.,* ethicist & social scientist. “The ideology that drives our troubled relationship with wolves and other animals is ‘human exceptionalism’…[which] both science and ethics have debunked. The [Profanity Peak] film reveals the wider political and scientific malpractice of lethal wolf management….the blatant immorality of victimizing wolves for the benefit of corporate agriculture. It also exposes the moral shame that lies at the heart of traditional conservation-the often blind reliance on killing wildlife.” [*LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Mr. Lynn’s views are his own, and do not represent those of other individuals or institutions.]

“The bottom line is that these cows are raised only to be slaughtered for profit and there are some places where it is absolutely inappropriate to have livestock,” said Fahy. “It is outrageous that ranchers are allowed to destroy public lands with livestock grazing while taxpayers help them externalize their business costs and fund the killing of wolves and other native predators. Wolves should have priority over cows on public lands. They need a place to live in peace.”

The film, “The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up & Sold Out,” and full versions of the scientists’ and environmentalists’ testimonials, are available online at
Promo image from film
Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization working since 1990 to protect native predators and end America’s war on wildlife. Our efforts take us into the field, onto America’s public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms. Visit website

Last Rhino Of His Kind Gets Armed Protection

This is what extinction looks like: The only rhino of his kind left on the planet gets 24/7 armed protection.

To help protect the northern white rhino from extinction, you can support Sudan’s fundraiser with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. To help save endangered wildlife, you can support Project CAT.