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Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1 Membership Meeeting Talking Points

1. Wolves in Idaho and Montana were removed from the endangered species list through a rider in the budget bill. The rule was not subject to judicial review and this ruling cannot be taken back to the courts. Recently, the Obama administration has agreed to strip wolves of their endangered species protections in Wyoming as well. This also includes parts of Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers defend their actions as a solution to in the interests of residents and ranchers.

2. Hunting (called harvesting) began in Idaho August 30. A bill is circulating in the Idaho legislature that would allow ranchers to use motorized vehicles, night vision scopes, neck snares, foothold traps, electronic calls that imitate other wolves and injured prey, traps with live bait, and ultra-light aircraft like powered parachutes. Permission has been granted to gun down 75 wolves from aircraft. Idaho Gov "Butch" Otter approved legislation that directs him to issue an executive order declaring a statewide wolf disaster emergency. No one has been injured by a wolf in Idaho since the species was restored. People have been told to stay in their houses, refrain from outdoor activities like walking and jogging, and to keep pets inside. In fact, no wolf has attacked a human since the federal reintroduction in the 1990's, and of two million cattle, only 75 were killed by wolves in 2010. To date 285 wolves have been killed in Idaho.

3. In Wyoming wolves will be shot on sight across almost 90% of the state. Wolves will remain protected in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and will receive limited protections in a handful of other areas. Wyoming is poised to allow virtually unrestricted killing of wolves across the majority of the state. This also includes killing pups. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead told state legislators to approve the plan before concerned citizens had a chance to challenge it in the courts. The controversial wolf plan has gained national attention as it would allow wolves to be killed along the John D. Rockefeller Parkway that connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

4. Montana "sportsmen" are offering $100 bounties for dead wolves. Some radicals are even calling for "wolf war, round two".

Good news

1. In December 2011, The Washington state Fish & Wildlife commission approved the state's final wolf recovery plan, charting a course toward the long-term sustainability of its growing wolf population. There are least 27 wolves and three breeding pairs in the state. Unfortunately, that's one less than they would have had after a collard wolf from the Diamond Pack wandered into Idaho and was trapped on Dec 20.

2. The number of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico has grown for the first time in four years. The fragile population is up to at least 58 wolves and six breeding pairs. But this small population is still extremely vulnerable. Arizona and federal official need to release more wolves into the wild. Last year, several releases were planned by the fish and wildlife service, but never happened. Several wolves are eligible for release in Arizona and New Mexico right now. Some of the wolves have even been specially conditioned to avoid preying on cattle. They deserve a chance at life in the wild.

Pat Luck

Membership Chair Robert Lunz Group

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