Archive for the ‘Michigan’ Tag

CONGRESS UNLEASHES WAR ON WOLVES   7 comments

January 18, 2017

Senators from Midwest and Wyoming introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves

NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

“This “War on Wolves Act” would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place.”

Marjorie Mulhall
Sr. Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice

Washington, D.C. —Senators from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming yesterday introduced the “War on Wolves Act,” a companion bill to legislation introduced last week in the House that would strip federal protections from wolves and allow trophy hunting and trapping of the species in four states. If the legislation passes both chambers and gets signed by the president, it would hand the fate of wolves in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming over to states whose management wolf plans two federal courts ruled inadequate to securing the species at legally required population levels in absence of Endangered Species Act protections.

In Wyoming, this would allow the state to resume a hostile management program that allowed for unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state. The legislation would further strip citizens of the right to challenge these lethal programs in court. The appeals process of two federal court decisions that restored federal protections to wolves in those four states are still underway. Decisions on those cases are expected any day.

The following is a statement from Marjorie Mulhall, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice:

“A new congress has resurfaced an old vendetta against imperiled wolves. If this legislation is signed into law, wolves in Wyoming will be subjected to unregulated killing across the vast majority of the state, and even on the borders of Yellowstone National Park numerous legal loopholes will authorize widespread wolf killing. Americans widely hailed the return of wolves to the Northern Rockies two decades ago as a triumph of the Endangered Species Act, but now this ‘War on Wolves Act’ would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place. Politicians should not meddle in the science-based listing status of a particular species at any stage, but now is an especially bad time as these cases are still playing out in the courts. We urge those who support the protection of wolves to call their senators and representatives and tell them to vote down this lethal legislation.”

READ THE LEGISLATION:

EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER COMMENT:

Tim Preso, Earthjustice attorney who leads on the Wyoming wolf case, based in Bozeman, Montana: (406) 586-9699 ext. 1924, tpreso@earthjustice.org


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Court rules Michigan wolf hunt law unconstitutional   9 comments


, Detroit Free Press4:24 p.m. EST November 24, 2016


LANSING — Michigan’s 2014 wolf hunt law is unconstitutional, the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in an opinion released Wednesday.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the court said the law providing for a Michigan wolf hunt violates the “title-object clause” of Michigan’s constitution, which says “no law shall embrace more than one object,” and that object “shall be expressed in its title.”

The court said a provision of the law allowing for free hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for qualified members of the military is unconnected to the law’s object of providing for scientific management of game, fish and wildlife habitat. The entire law must be struck down, because it isn’t clear the law would have been approved if that provision had not been included, the court said.

The ruling in favor of the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected overturns an earlier ruling by the Michigan Court of Claims.

In 2011, the federal government removed the gray wolf from its endangered species list in Michigan, but the group that challenged the law says there are fewer than 650 gray wolves left in Michigan and they should not be hunted.

After earlier failed efforts to add wolves to the definition of “game” in Michigan, the Michigan Legislature in 2014 adopted a voter initiative backed by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, which gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission joint responsibility, with the Legislature, to name new game animals. The law, which took effect in March 2015, included a $1 million appropriation, making it immune from being challenged through another referendum.

White wolf by Jim Cunning

Two wolf hunt laws that were on the ballot in 2014 were rejected by voters.

Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected challenged the law, alleging misrepresentations were made by petition circulators and violations of the state constitution. But the Michigan Court of Claims rejected those arguments.
In the new Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, the panel says that Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected essentially viewed the law as “a Trojan Horse, within which the ability to hunt wolves was cleverly hidden.”
The court said that “however accurate the plaintiff may be in its assessment of why (the law) came into being, our analysis is not about policy,” but “based on an analysis of the dictates of Michigan’s constitution.”

Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said the law “was a blatant power grab by politicians to take away voting rights from Michigan citizens,” and “we are delighted the court has rejected the Legislature’s outrageous attempt to subvert the will of the people.”

She said the ruling “restores the people’s decision, in two statewide votes, overwhelmingly rejecting the trophy hunting and commercial trapping of the state’s small population of wolves.”

A spokesperson for the group that pushed for the law, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The court’s panel consisted of Judges Donald Owens, Joel Hoekstra and Jane Beckering.

 

 

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.


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Featured image by John E Marriott 

Budget Bill Won’t Have Wolf Management Returning To Minnesota   Leave a comment

December 16, 2015

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal that would have taken gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list did not make it into a massive year-end congressional tax and spending package, an omission that surprised its backers but was welcomed Wednesday by groups that support maintaining federal protections for the predators.

U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and some other lawmakers had hoped to attach a rider to return management of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming to the states, which could have opened the door to a resumption of wolf hunting in those places. The provision would have undone federal court decisions that restored the animals’ protected status in the four states despite repeated efforts by the federal government to remove them from the list.

Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”

Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said supporters will have to regroup and decide on their next step. He said a stand-alone bill probably could pass the House but he’s not sure about the Senate. It’s also possible an appeals court could overturn the lower court decisions, he added.

While livestock interests supported removing federal protections for wolves, wildlife groups lobbied against it.

“It certainly was a pleasant surprise,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Backers of the rider were trying to use a tactic that succeeded in 2011 when Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana and sections of Utah, Washington and Oregon from the list.

“Cooler heads prevailed in Congress,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. He said a letter written by Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Barbara Boxer, D-California, and signed by 23 other senators including Gary Peters, D-Michigan, helped make the difference.

The combined wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700, including about 2,200 in Minnesota, while Wyoming has around 333.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last December that the western Great Lakes states didn’t have suitable plans to safeguard wolves, and that the animals haven’t come close to repopulating their former range. Her decision prevented Minnesota and Wisconsin from holding sport wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall. Michigan hasn’t held a hunt since 2013. Another federal judge issued a similar decision in September 2014 in a Wyoming case.

The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal.

The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.”

A similar appeal is pending in the Wyoming case. Pacelle said his group, which filed the lawsuit in the Midwest case, will keep up the fight.

“This is not the end of the process, but it’s a good outcome because Congress is showing restraint and not trying to cherry-pick a species and remove it from the list of endangered animals,” Pacelle said.

Source / CBS Minnesota

 

 

ISLE ROYALE WOLF POPULATION DOWN TO JUST THREE REMAINING   3 comments

From Wildlife Untamed August 28, 2015 by Mikaela Elise

Gray Wolf

For the second year in a row, Lake Superior froze around Isle Royale National Park in Houghton, Michigan. This allowed wolves and other land animals to leave the island. But it could also have caused deaths within the dwindling wolf population.

After this winter, the Isle Royale wolf numbers were down to just three, as shown by the results of the 57th annual winter survey by Michigan Technological University, the longest-running predator-prey study in the world.

Six of the nine remaining wolves disappeared, but whether it was because they walked across the iced-over lake or simply died is still in question. Researchers know that one radio-collared wolf died, but the other missing five were not tagged and thus there is no way of knowing exactly what happened.

Wolves In The Snow

Image credit: Eric Kilby / CC BY-SA 2.0

The identity of the three remaining wolves can’t be verified until genetic testing is completed this year, but are suspected to be a male and female of 4 to 5 years old – close to the end of the average wolf life span in the wild – and a pup around 9 months old that is showing signs of genetic defects. Scientists believe that these last three wolves may not make it to next winter and that the deformed wolf may already be dead.

The deformities of the pup are a result of inbreeding, and a clear indication that the wolves are in desperate need of a “genetic rescue.” The wolves numbers have dropped since 2009 by 88%, from 24 to these three, which was probably due to such inbreeding.

Even if this pup were healthy, however, it would not necessarily be promising. With just three wolves, it is unlikely there would be a natural recovery within the population. A “genetic rescue” would entail transporting new wolves onto the island for breeding, which could naturally correct genetic problems like spine deformities and others issues.

But Michigan Technological University ecologists and co-leaders of the study John Vucetich and Rolf Peterson – who has worked on the study for more than 40 years – say it’s too late. Over the past six years, they have made a case for human intervention to no avail and now there’s little to no hope. Down to just three, the wolf numbers are too low and the older pair would not be very interested in mating with newly introduced wolves.

The only real chance for these wolves’ survival is if new members of the species come over to Isle Royale. Isle Royale initially got its wolves in 1949, when Lake Superior froze over and a pair came into the park. Through those two original wolves, the population increased, averaging 23 over the years with as many as 50 in the 1980s and 30 in 1995.

When the lake froze in 2013-2014, there was hope that some wolves might wander over from Canada, Michigan or Minnesota but instead one wolf left and was later killed. This winter, a new pair did enter the island but left again shortly and, unfortunately, did not intermingle with the resident wolves.

Bull Moose Lunchbreak

Image credit: Ray Dumas / CC BY-SA 2.0

In the meantime, the moose population is growing at 22% a year, causing another worry for the area. The last four years has seen such light wolf predation that moose now have 1,250 of its species. Within five or so years, they will grow faster than their habitat can sustain and their numbers will then drop drastically.

But once there is available food again, the moose population may not bounce back as expected, due to the species stripping the land of its ability to produce food. This is why Isle Royale needs wolves to naturally hunt them and keep the habitat-to-population ratios in balance. Vucetich and Peterson write in the annual report:

“Concerns remain that the upcoming increase in moose abundance will result in long-term damage to the health of Isle Royale’s vegetative community.”

So far, there are no intentions for humans to introduce new wolves to the national park. Isle Royale is making a new management plan, which could recommend such introduction, but it will be years before the plan is adopted.

Featured image: Gary Kramer, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / CC BY-ND 2.0

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Judge upholds constitutionality of Michigan law that enables commission to allow wolf hunting   Leave a comment

July 23, 2015

From the Associated Press

MARQUETTE, Michigan — The Michigan Court of Claims has upheld a law empowering an appointed panel to allow hunting of wolves.

The state Legislature approved the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act last August. It gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the authority to classify animals as game species. The commission already had given wolves that designation, which led to the state’s first authorized wolf hunt in 2013.

The law nullified two citizen votes last fall that would have prevented wolf hunts. A group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed suit, saying the law violated the Michigan Constitution.

In a ruling issued Friday, Court of Claims Judge Mark T. Boonstra disagreed, writing that the group’s suit “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” He said the court was not taking a position on whether wolves should be hunted or not.

“That policy judgment is properly left to the Legislature and the people of the state of Michigan,” Boonstra said. “Rather, the sole question before this court is whether the legislative enactment in question violates the Michigan Constitution as alleged.”

A state spokesman praised the ruling.

MI Wolves (1)

“The citizen-initiated law gives authority to the Natural Resources Commission to regulate sport fishing in Michigan, aligning with the NRC’s authority to regulate the taking of game,” John Pepin, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman in Marquette, told The Mining Journal (http://bit.ly/1e0Sdwz ). “The act gives the NRC the authority to name game species. All of this supports sound scientific management of natural resources in Michigan.”

The Michigan United Conversation Clubs, a leading hunting and fishing group, also praised the decision.

“The court recognized that the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was about just what its title says, managing fish, wildlife and their habitats with sound science,” spokesman Drew YoungeDyke said in a statement.

The wolf protection group said it will appeal.

“The judge was clearly hostile to our case, and did not seriously address the key issues of the complaint,” said Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Director Jill Fritz. “We have good legal arguments and our next step will be to the Court of Appeals.”


Judge Upholds Law Allowing Michigan Commission To Permit Wolf Hunting   Leave a comment

From CBS Detroit on July 18, 2015

(credit: istock)

MARQUETTE (AP) – The Michigan Court of Claims has upheld a law empowering an appointed panel to allow hunting of wolves.

The state Legislature approved the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act last August. It gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the authority to classify animals as game species. The commission already had given wolves that designation, which led to the state’s first authorized wolf hunt in 2013.

The law nullified two citizen votes last fall that would have prevented wolf hunts. A group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed suit, saying the law violated the Michigan Constitution.

In a ruling issued Friday, Court of Claims Judge Mark T. Boonstra disagreed, writing that the group’s suit “fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” He said the court was not taking a position on whether wolves should be hunted or not.

“That policy judgment is properly left to the Legislature and the people of the state of Michigan,” Boonstra said. “Rather, the sole question before this court is whether the legislative enactment in question violates the Michigan Constitution as alleged.”

A state spokesman praised the ruling.

“The citizen-initiated law gives authority to the Natural Resources Commission to regulate sport fishing in Michigan, aligning with the NRC’s authority to regulate the taking of game,” John Pepin, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman in Marquette, told The Mining Journal. “The act gives the NRC the authority to name game species. All of this supports sound scientific management of natural resources in Michigan.”

The Michigan United Conversation Clubs, a leading hunting and fishing group, also praised the decision.

“The court recognized that the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was about just what its title says, managing fish, wildlife and their habitats with sound science,” spokesman Drew YoungeDyke said in a statement.

The wolf protection group said it will appeal.

“The judge was clearly hostile to our case, and did not seriously address the key issues of the complaint,” said Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Director Jill Fritz. “We have good legal arguments and our next step will be to the Court of Appeals.”


Blocked wolf hunt draws mixed reaction   Leave a comment

Federal Court: Great Lakes Wolf Hunting Ends Now   Leave a comment

From:  The Humane Society of the United States

Dec. 19, 2014 by Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

Sport Hunting and Trapping of Wolves is Over

Sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the Great Lakes region must end immediately, a federal District Court has ruled. The court overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision that removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of wildlife protection groups, including Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment, filed suit against the USFWS’s premature December 2011 delisting decision. The decision threatened the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining wolves to a small area in the Great Lakes region—where state politicians and agency officials have rushed forward with reckless killing programs that threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said, “In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed more than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations. We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks.”

In its 111-page ruling, the court chided the USFWS for failing to explain why it ignored the potential for further recovery of wolves into areas of its historic range that remain viable habitat for the species.  The court also noted that the USFWS has failed to explain how the “virtually unregulated” killing of wolves by states in the Great Lakes region does not constitute a continued threat to the species.

Following federal delisting, Wisconsin and Minnesota rushed to enact emergency regulations to allow the first public hunting and trapping seasons in the Great Lakes region in more than 40 years. The states authorized some of the most abusive and unsporting practices, including hound hunting, snares, baiting, electronic calls and the use of leg hold traps. Wisconsin’s wolf hunt ended this year after killing 154 wolves – 80 percent of them in leghold traps. And in Minnesota, 272 gray wolves were killed – 84 percent of the wolves in this year’s late season were trapped.

The Michigan legislature also passed three separate laws to designate wolves as a game species, in its zeal to allow the state to authorize a trophy hunting and trapping season for wolves, and to undermine a fair election by Michigan voters on wolf hunting. However, in response to a referendum campaign launched by The HSUS and other animal welfare and conservation groups and Native American tribes, the 2014 wolf hunt was canceled and voters in Michigan soundly rejected sport hunting of wolves in the recent November election.

Despite rhetoric from state politicians about wolf depredation of livestock, a new study of 25 years of wolf data has shown that hunting wolves may increase livestock losses.  Michigan lawmakers relied on false stories about wolves to push through a hunting season, and had to apologize for misleading statements.

Today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia follows another ruling by the same court in September that rejected the USFWS’s decision to delist wolves in the State of Wyoming. The HSUS was also a plaintiff in the Wyoming litigation.

The plaintiffs in the Great Lakes lawsuit were represented in the case by Schiff Hardin, LLP and attorneys within The HSUS’ Animal Protection Litigation section.

 

Isle Royale National Park’s Wolf Woes Spur Bigger Questions Of Managing Wilderness   Leave a comment

From:  National Parks Traveler

Alternate Text

A genetic rescue, either aided by man or permitted by nature, seems to be the only salvation for Isle Royale National National Park’s wolf population/Banner logo from Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project, Michigan Tech

 

As winter’s snow and cold begin to weigh heavily on Isle Royale National Park, the island’s wolf population won’t lack for food, thanks to the burgeoning moose population. But that bounty might not be enough to protect the eight or nine wolves from being the last of their kind in the national park, as a shallow genetic pool threatens to doom them to extinction.

A dearth of new genes has left the wolves with severe inbreeding problems, and reproduction in recent years has fallen off. At the same time, the park’s moose population has more than doubled, to more than 1,000, over the past three years. If current trends continue, the remaining wolves could die off, and the growing moose population could remake the island’s forests by preventing regrowth of balsam fir, a signature tree of the boreal forest.

Park managers are embarking on an environmental assessment to examine options ranging from doing nothing to bringing in wolves that might infuse those on the island with a healthy dose of new genes. But that study, expected to get under way next year, could take three years or more, leading to calls that the National Park Service move forward with a genetic rescue.

“Does maintaining wolves on Isle Royale mean intervening more than once, to keep it on track? Yes, if the frequency of ice bridges continues on its historical trajectory, managed immigration might be required every few decades,” wrote Dr. Rolf Peterson, a biologist who long has studied the wolf-moose dynamics on Isle Royale, in an article for Yellowstone Science.

At Isle Royale, the Park Service seemingly faces a managerial conundrum: On one hand, the National Park Service Organic Act directs the agency to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein” for the enjoyment of future generations. At the same time, the agency also has taken the position that it should “not intervene in natural biological or physical processes…”

For Isle Royale’s waning wolves, those two conflicting directives are meeting head-on. If they blink out, not only would it bring to an end “the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world,” one that has spanned more than 50 years, but it also would lead to an out-of-control moose population.

There were no wolves on Isle Royale when the park was established in 1940. The first wolves likely arrived 65 years ago by walking over 18 miles of Lake Superior ice that connected the island to an area near the Minnesota-Ontario border. From 1959-2011 the wolf population averaged 25 individuals, according to Dr. Peterson, but of late inbreeding has sent the wolves into a veritable death spiral. Contributing prominently to the problem has been the lack of “ice bridges” that tie the island to the Canadian mainland when winter weather turns bitterly cold and freezes the lake surface.

There hasn’t been an invigorating infusion of off-island wolf genes since a Canadian male made that 15-mile ice bridge crossing in 1997. His arrival did provide a welcome burst of genes. He sired 34 offspring, which in turn produced at least 22 of their own.

“It was a total transformation of the population, and of wolf predation as well,” Dr. Peterson said during a phone interview. “In the next 10, 15 years, wolf predation went to the highest rate ever seen, and that had some remarkable effects on moose density. It pushed it down lower than we’ve ever seen, and (for) longer than we’ve ever seen. As a result, the trees responded incredibly. And it’s that response that will be truncated if predation continues to be largely absent.”

In short, if the moose population growth continues unabated, the animals will prevent a new generation of balsam fir from being established, he said.

Today, there currently are thought to be eight or nine wolves remaining within the national park. There was hope that an ice bridge that formed last winter would enable wolves to arrive from Canada, but instead one female left and was killed by a gunshot wound near Grand Portage National Monument in Minnesota.

For the past two years, park managers have discussed island and wolf management with wildlife managers and geneticists from across the United States and Canada and have received input during public meetings and from Native American tribes of the area.

Early this year, Isle Royale Superintendent Phyllis Green acknowledged there is a desire among the public for the Park Service to “bring new wolves to Isle Royale or to announce that we’re leaving their future gene pool up to wolves that may migrate from the north shore of Lake Superior when winters are cold enough for an ice bridge to the island.”

Alternate Text
A lone wolf at Isle Royale/John Vucetich, Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project

But, she said at the time, “This issue is bigger than only wolf genetics.”

“The plight of these nine wolves is a compelling story,” she continued, “but we are charged with a larger stewardship picture that considers all factors, including prey species, habitat, and climate change, which could, in a few generations, alter the food base that supports wildlife as we know it on Isle Royale.”

Such a scenario, though, has prompted a suggestion that the Park Service alter how it manages wilderness and its resources not only at Isle Royale, which is 99 percent officially designated wilderness, but across the National Park System. In a paper presented back in September during a national park workshop in Bozeman, Montana, hosted by the Property and Environment Research Center, Dr. Daniel Botkin suggested that the agency should take a proactive role in managing some wilderness areas in the park system.

“The two laws that govern the national parks –the Organic Act of 1916 and, in some places including Isle Royale, the Wilderness Act of 1964— allow a set of human activities that lead to management that will be much more satisfactory to the public and to environmentalists and require less effort and cost than the existing alternatives,” wrote Dr. Botkin.

“At the heart of the matter is the prevailing view of American society about nature and people, especially about wilderness and people. The national park’s decision about the wolves of Isle Royale is consistent with, and reinforces, the still dominant belief in the balance of nature, the idea that nature is at its best left alone by human beings, and that left so, it achieves a balance that is constant, beautiful, most biologically diverse, and the only kind of nature within which a human being, allowed to be a visitor only, can find that spiritual connection to nature that our society associates with John Muir and Henry David Thoreau,” he added later in his paper. “If nature is only true if left alone, then we cannot interfere. But if nature is supposed to achieve a great balance, including a great chain of being –a place for every creature and every creature in its place– how can Isle Royale be changing? Many will believe there must be something people have done to destroy nature’s harmony.

“The Isle Royale wolf dilemma is a dramatic demonstration of the questions that National Park System faces throughout as its centennial in 2016 approaches. What should be the future of America’s national parks?”

From Dr. Botkin’s perspective, the Park Service could utilize a range of three approaches to how it manages its wild lands:

1. No intervention. Let the area age on its own, let it essentially be an untouched by human managers. As such, the area would exist as kind of a baseline against which other areas that are managed to various extents could be compared.

2. In this scenario, areas would be managed to appear as they were at a specific point in human history.

“In the 20th century, this demand for reconstructing the past reached extremes with the work of zoologist Paul S. Martin, who called for resurrecting the biological diversity of sometime before 10,000 years ago, before American Indians arrived in the New World,” wrote Dr. Botkin. “He was asked in an interview published in American Scientist, ‘If you were suddenly put in charge of an effort to repopulate North America with species lost during the late Quaternary, where would you begin? What animals would you most like to see roaming the continent again?’ Martin replied, ‘I would like to see free-ranging elephants in secondary tropical forests of the Americas. Until the end of the Pleistocene, forest and savanna in the New World tropics supported three families of elephants.'”

3. Under the third scenario, which Dr. Botkin terms Dynamic Ecology Conservation Areas, landscapes would be “set aside to meet a variety of the reasons people value nature, and to sustain biological diversity, either for a specific species … (or) to perpetuate a specific kind of ecological community or ecosystem.”

From Dr. Peterson’s point of view, at Isle Royale some form of human manipulation, as envisioned for Dynamic Ecology Conservation Areas, makes sense in terms of the park’s wolf dilemma.

“I think preserving the wolf population there would preserve the ecological integrity of the park. I think it would be quite consistent with what Botkin was arguing,” said Dr. Peterson.

Too, he said, it likely would be consistent with recent views regarding managing a park’s natural resources in general and wilderness areas, specifically.

“What the objectives of the Park Service are, in terms of natural resource management, according to the Revisiting Leopold Committee, which I think the director is pretty serious about, is maintaining ecological integrity in the face of what will be tremendous change” brought about by climate change, said Dr. Peterson.

Climate change, biodiversity, and the current state and understanding of ecosystem management all were unknown to A. Starker Leopold 50 years ago when he oversaw a report that became the National Park Service’s guide to managing wildlife in the parks. That so-called Leopold Report, though valuable for its time, was so obsolete that in 2011 Director Jarvis appointed a committee to rewrite the Leopold Report to make it applicable to the 21st century and its challenges.

In its pages the Revisiting Leopold report casts the National Park Service as the agency that can best rescue, protect, and preserve America’s natural resources. It envisions a National Park System that, while working with other federal, state, tribal agencies, and private groups, serves “as the core of a national conservation network of connected lands and waters.”

Against this scientific and policy backdrop, Superintendent Green is collecting all the various viewpoints and suggestions.

“At this point I am collecting them, reading them and will be passing them onto our planning team for review as we move forward with our planning process,” she said in an email. “It is inappropriate for me as a deciding officer to only discuss one study early vs. all relevant materials at the point of developing a preferred alternative or a final decision. I know you would prefer to discuss individual studies but I don’t feel that will do justice to all the material we will evaluate. Having said that, no options are off the table. All concepts will be evaluated.”

Whether the wolves will survive that analysis remains to be seen. Dr. Peterson, having watched the park mull the matter, is beginning to think park officials want the dilemma to sort itself out.

“They have been well aware of the problems since 2011. And they spent thre years thinking about it, and now they’re going to spend another three years thinking about it,” he said. “It’s obvious that that sort of approach suggests that they don’t want to deal with it.

“Without new genes, (the wolves) will go extinct. I haven’t run into any geneticist that would argue otherwise.”

 

Reward Offered in Wolf Poaching Cases   2 comments

From:  WILX.COM

Posted: Thu 2:14 PM, Dec 04, 2014

A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of whoever is responsible for killing two wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The first case happened on November 26, near the Mackinac-Luce county line, close to M-117 southwest of Newberry. The wolf was found near County Road 468, dead from a gunshot wound. Investigators determined it had been killed at another location and then dumped there.

The second poaching happened in Schoolcraft County near Gulliver, also on November 26. In this case, the wolf— which was part of a wildlife study– was killed and the tracking collar was removed and thrown away.

Wolves are a protected species in Michigan and cannot legally be killed except in the defense of life.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to contact their local DNR office or conservation officer. Information may be left anonymously. Callers may remain anonymous and still be eligible to receive a reward.

The maximum penalty for poaching a wolf is 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both, plus reimbursement of $1,500 to the state for the animal. Poaching convictions also usually include a suspension of hunting privileges for a period of four years.

 

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A man with dyslexia writing about this and that and everything else!

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Mrs S. London

She's Whiskey In A Teacup

Sizzles & Strings

Hostel-friendly recipes from an aspiring little chef. Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble.

Over the Border

Man made borders not to limit himself, but to have something to cross. ~Anonymous

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