Speak for Wolves

More Poaching in Oregon; New Award Fund Announced

In January, we talked about Oregon’s poaching problem; on February 15h, another female wolf, OR109, was found shot to death

Just yesterday, Oregon State Police announced  the illegal killing of yet another wolf, OR117, a gray 1-year old male near Richland, Oregon.

The Oregon Wildlife Coalition recently launched a new reward program for turning in poachers of non-game species in Oregon. When that species is Canis lupus, Speak for Wolves will commit at least $500 to the reward amount.

We are contributing to the $11,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest for this latest incident.

Oregon residents: contact your ODFW Commissioners and ask them:
What are they going to do to stop the poaching and protect wolves?


You have probably heard the wonderful news that, on February 10, 2022, a U.S. District Court Judge reinstated federal protections and relisted wolves under the Endangered Species Act, from which they had been removed by the Trump administration in 2020. Wolves in the Great Lakes region are again protected.

Though this is a big win for science-based decision making, wolves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and parts of Eastern Washington and Oregon were exempt from this relisting and are still in dire need of federal protections. Learn more and take action at relistwolves.org.

Save the Dates: August 13-14, 20

The 9th Annual Speak for Wolves Conference will be held online Saturday & Sunday, August 13-14.

More details will be announced soon!


Spring Reading & Learning

We recently updated our website with more learning resources, including new research on wolf poaching, some great books, and recommended reading about the #LANDBACK movement.

Set aside some time this spring to take a deeper dive into the history and issues surrounding wildlife management and marginalization of indigenous communities. It’s important for all of us in the conservation movement to reflect on how white supremacy and systematic racism permeates conservation of wildlife and the land.

Oregon’s Poaching Problem

In December, Oregon State Police revealed that, between February and July 2021, eight wolves had been found poisoned in Union County, including the entire Catherine Pack and several members of other packs.

The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for these horrific poisonings is now at $50,000, including a $2,300 contribution from Speak for Wolves.

On January 8th, in neighboring Wallowa County, a two-year-old collared female wolf from the Chesnimnus Pack, OR-106, was found illegally shot to death.

Conservation groups announced on Thursday a $16,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal shooting death of OR-106. Speak for Wolves contributed $1,000 to this reward.

2016 ODFW photo of a yearling wolf of the Chesnimnus Pack, Wallowa County, OR.

In Other News:

  • WDFW North-Central Region Director Brock Hoenes has been charged with poaching, but WDFW has not taken any disciplinary action and he remains in his job. Washington residents: sign Not My WDFW’s petition to demand Department reform. 
  •  Twenty Yellowstone wolves have been killed so far this hunting season when they roamed outside of park boundaries, including 7 members of the famous Junction Butte pack. With months left in Montana’s wolf hunting/trapping season, park officials asked Governor Gianforte (a wolf trapper) to shut down the season, but he declined. Only when 82 wolves have been killed in Region 3 on the northern boundary of Yellowstone will the Montana FWP Commission consider any potential changes to the season. Region 3 Director Pat Byorth can be reached at: CommissionerRegion3@mtfwp.org 

2019 National Park Service aerial photo of the Junction Butte pack in Yellowstone

Speak for Wolves is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a GuideStar Silver seal of transparency. Donations are tax-deductible in the US: EIN: 46-2867294.

Reward for Info on Wolf Killed in Oregon’s Wallowa County

Conservation groups announced today a $16,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the illegal shooting death of a two-year-old collared female wolf in Wallowa County in early January. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Turn in Poachers (TIP) division also offers a potential $300 reward for information regarding illegal wolf killings. 

The Oregon State Police reported the incident on Jan. 11, after a concerned citizen alerted them. The slain wolf, designated as OR-106 by state wildlife biologists, was found on Parsnip Creek Road, about six miles southwest of the town of Wallowa in the Sled Springs game management unit. She dispersed from the Chesnimnus Pack, whose territory is in northern Wallowa County. 

“We want justice for this young wolf, who was simply seeking a mate and territory of her own before her life was cut tragically short by a bullet,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We call on the state to show its commitment to holding perpetrators accountable by having its Department of Justice launch an independent, thorough investigation into this most recent killing, and past unsolved illegal killings of Oregon’s wolves.”

This new illegal shooting follows the gruesome illegal poisoning deaths of multiple wolves last year in northeast Oregon. Eight wolves from four different packs, including all members of the Catherine Pack, were poisoned in neighboring Union County, in incidents between February and July of 2021. 

“The senseless killing of the young female wolf OR-106 is a crime against this animal and all who care about Oregon’s wildlife,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, an Oregon-based national wildlife advocacy nonprofit. “It is absolutely critical that the perpetrator of this crime be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

“Oregonians are feeling frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent to preclude these ongoing wolf killings,” said Adam Bronstein, Oregon/Nevada director of Western Watersheds Project. “Gov. Brown and other government officials need to take immediate action and start investigating these heinous crimes with vigor and resolve.” 

“We call on state government and law enforcement to take seriously this devastating trend of illegal wolf killings and allocate all necessary resources to hold the criminals accountable,” said Bethany Cotton, conservation director for Cascadia Wildlands. “We ask community members to come forward with information they may have to solve these crimes and keep Oregon’s rare wildlife safe.”

“When poachers get away with breaking the law it only leads to more poaching and lawlessness,” said Danielle Moser of Oregon Wild. “This is a result of wolves losing their endangered species protections coupled with a culture of poaching permissiveness. For far too long, poachers have been emboldened by those who excuse and celebrate their criminal acts without fear of consequences.”

“We are saddened to hear the tragic news of the cowardly killing of wolf OR-106, but unfortunately, we are not surprised,” said Stephanie Taylor, president of Speak for Wolves. “With 32 poached wolves in Oregon since their return and nearly zero accountability for any of the incidents, it’s clear Oregon’s wildlife managers must do far more to educate the public on co-existence with native wildlife, and massively increase their efforts to hold poachers accountable. Otherwise, this ‘shoot, shovel, shut up’ culture will continue to thrive leading to even more poaching.”

“Illegally killing Oregon’s few wolves out of hatred or spite must stop,” said Kelly Peterson, Oregon senior state director at the Humane Society of the United States. “The death of OR-106 at the hands of a poacher is heartbreaking and infuriating, especially after eight of Oregon’s wolves were illegally poisoned and killed just last year. While this reward cannot bring back these iconic animals, we hope it brings these cruel actors to justice and helps to put an end to the illegal slaughter of our wolves once and for all.”

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Oregon State Police Sgt. Isaac Cyr through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP via mobile. Tips can also be submitted via email to TIP@state.or.us (monitored Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).

Background

In the past 21 years, 30 wolves have been illegally killed in Oregon, and two more were found dead under mysterious circumstances, according to authorities. Five of these wolves were found dead in Wallowa County. Arrests and convictions have been made in only three of the 32 deaths.

The Trump administration stripped federal Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the country in January 2021, including in western Oregon. Since 2011 wolves in the eastern one-third of Oregon have not had federal protections and were managed solely by the state. In 2015 the state fish and wildlife commission prematurely stripped wolves of state endangered species act protections. 

Even without state or federal protections, wolves are protected under Oregon’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. Wolves may be killed only in self-defense and by Oregon’s wildlife agency staff in instances of chronic livestock predations. Individual livestock owners throughout Oregon may kill a wolf in the act of attacking livestock and, in the eastern half of the state, a wolf that is chasing livestock. Oregon does not currently allow wolf hunting or trapping seasons. 

Scientific research has shown that removing protections for wolves is associated with increased illegal killings of wolves, and that for every illegally slain wolf found, another 1 to 2 wolves have been killed that will remain undiscovered.

Groups contributing pledge reward amounts are the Center for Biological Diversity, Predator Defense, Western Watersheds Project, Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, Speak for Wolves, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems and The Humane Society of the United States.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization devoted to protecting essential native predators, helping people learn to coexist with wild animals, and ending America’s war on wildlife. They have been championing native predators with science, sanity, and heart since 1990.

Western Watersheds Project (www.westernwatersheds.org) is a nonprofit organization with over 12,000 members and supporters dedicated to protecting and conserving the public lands and native wildlife of the American West with a focus on the harmful impacts from domestic livestock grazing.

Cascadia Wildlands defends and restores Cascadia’s wild ecosystems in the forests, in the courts and in the streets.

Oregon Wild works to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters as an enduring legacy for future generations

Speak for Wolves exists to empower activists with science and indigenous land knowledge-based education to challenge existing wildlife management practices and to influence policies that will benefit large predators, amplified by an annual grassroots wildlife conference. 

Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Speaking up for Oregon’s environment and wildlife.

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, we take on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries. With our affiliates, we rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals every year through our animal rescue team’s work and other hands-on animal care services. We fight all forms of animal cruelty to achieve the vision behind our name: A humane society. Learn more about our work at humanesociety.org. Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast. 

Support Speak for Wolves on #GivingTuesday

Each year, thousands of people come together on this one day – November 30 – to celebrate the missions and the accomplishments of organizations they love.  

Speak for Wolves exists to engage people to fight for wildlife conservation, to elevate diverse voices and indigenous peoples in the conservation field, to support advocacy and direct action, to change federal and state wildlife policies, and to connect how lifestyle & food choices affect wildlife.

Thank you for considering Speak for Wolves during #GivingTuesday. Please help us meet our goal of $2,500 so that we can ensure another excellent conference in 2022.  

Show your support of Speak for Wolves here: bit.ly/3mvu7Ro or by sending a check to Speak for Wolves, PO Box 83273, Portland, OR 97283. 

Speak for Wolves is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a GuideStar Silver seal of transparency. Donations are tax-deductible in the US: EIN: 46-2867294.


Help us plan for Speak for Wolves 2022

Virtual or in person? Take the 2-question survey


Action Alert: 

After conservation groups filed petitions to relist gray wolves under the ESA this summer, the US Fish & Wildlife Service declined to give emergency protections but announced a 12-month status review of the delisting—meaning that, for a year, wolves will continue to lack protections. 
Tell the US FWS’s why the gray wolf should be relisted under ESA! Submit a public comment here.


Inventory clearance: All shirts on sale!

40% off remaining stock of 2021 shirts in our store!

This year’s conference shirts were screenprinted by a Portland artist on 100% organic cotton, sweatshop free, USA-made, unisex, soft jersey Royal Apparel tees in Pacific Blue color with gold ink.
Limited stock in sizes XS-XXL.

Remaining 2019 & 2020 shirts are 50% off!

Shop now

GivingTuesday, Action Alerts, Plan for 2022

Hello wolf advocates,

So many wolf lawsuits, so little time to keep track of them.
In response to federal delisting and new anti-wolf laws in several states, this year we’ve seen a dizzying flurry of lawsuits and petitions at state and federal levels to relist wolves under the Endangered Species Act and block or restrict state wolf hunts. 

On Friday, a federal judge will hear opening oral arguments in a set of three lawsuits against the US government’s ESA delisting in a California court. Check out this great summary of where these and other ongoing lawsuits and actions to protect wolves currently stand.


Support Speak for Wolves on #GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. GivingTuesday takes place on Nov. 30th this year, but you can donate any time this holiday season!

Donate with a card or PayPal now to support our efforts to educate and connect wolf advocates, or send a check to Speak for Wolves, PO Box 83273, Portland, OR 97283.

Speak for Wolves is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a GuideStar Silver seal of transparency. Donations are tax-deductible in the US: EIN: 46-2867294.


Action Alert: 

After conservation groups filed petitions to relist gray wolves under the ESA this summer, the US Fish & Wildlife Service declined to give emergency protections but announced a 12-month status review of the delisting—meaning that, for a year, wolves will continue to lack protections. 
Tell the US FWS’s why the gray wolf should be relisted under ESA! Submit a public comment here.


Help us plan for Speak for Wolves 2022

Virtual or in person? Take the 2-question survey


Learn from the comfort of your couch: 

  • Sedona Wolf Week kicks off tomorrow (11/10/21) with 3 packed days of wolf-related sessions and films available via live stream online.
  • Select recordings from the Speak for Wolves 2021 conference are available on our YouTube channel.

Inventory clearance: All shirts on sale!

A Speak for Wolves annual tradition, this year’s conference

40% off remaining stock of 2021 shirts in our store!

This year’s conference shirts were screenprinted by a Portland artist on 100% organic cotton, sweatshop free, USA-made, unisex, soft jersey Royal Apparel tees in Pacific Blue color with gold ink.
Limited stock in sizes XS-XXL.

Remaining 2019 & 2020 shirts are 50% off!

Shop now

Press Conference & Watch 2021 Conference Sessions on YouTube!

Hello wolf advocates,
Thank you to all who attended last month’s 8th annual conference, and a huge thanks to all of the excellent speakers! If you missed it or want to re-watch a session, the recordings are now available on our YouTube channel.

We continue to closely watch the status of this year’s wolf hunts and state kill orders. Wisconsin approved a kill limit of 300 wolves in the state against their own biologists’ recommendations, but now face a lawsuit over the hunt.

Oregon issued another kill permit for the Lookout Mt pack, of whom they horrendously killed two pups last month, and Washington issued a kill order for up to two wolves of the Togo Pack. Wolf advocates must call attention to the ongoing state-sponsored wolf slaughter in Oregon and Washington!

Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 14th, 10am PDT for a press conference & virtual rally to demand the halt of state-sponsored wolf slaughter in Washington and Oregon.

Speak for Wolves, the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN), Predator Defense, and the Animal Rights Coalition- PDX are teaming up to host a Virtual Rally and Press Conference in response to the recent state of wolf management and the media’s silence on it.


Watch Conference Sessions on YouTube!

Recordings of these sessions are now available:


Get your collector t-shirt!

Available in our store!

A Speak for Wolves annual tradition, this year’s conference shirts are screenprinted by a local Portland artist on 100% organic cotton, sweatshop free, USA-made, unisex, soft jersey Royal Apparel tees in Pacific Blue color with gold ink. Sizes XS to XXL. Visit the store for this year’s t-shirts and more!

Announcing a special guest speaker at Speak for Wolves conference: Rain

Rain is the Director of FAMILY, a new short film asking Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to relist the wolf under the Endangered Species Act.

Join us for the 3-minute film screening followed by Q&A and conversation with Rain on the first day of the conference, Saturday, August 14th at 4pm PDT.

Additional speaker announcements and full conference schedule below!

all rights reserved by photographer

Rain Bear Stands Last is an acclaimed documentary film director. Two of his films have drawn national and international attention to the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls crisis: Say Her Name and Somebody’s Daughter.

Rain currently serves as Executive Director, Global Indigenous Council, leading the policy positions and implementing the manifesto of one of the most effective current indigenous rights organizations; as Senior Advisor, Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, and as UN Ambassador, International Romani Union.


Speaker Announcement

Visit the program page for full schedule details and speaker bios. 

Erica Prather is an organizer on federal policy in Arizona and National Outreach Representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

Erica will advise on how best to advocate with decision makers. Take action, make a difference, and have your voice heard through the legislative process!


Stephen Capra of Footloose Montana is the former Executive Director of New Mexico Wild and worked to create two National Monuments and three wilderness areas in New Mexico. He started the Mexican wolf coalition and worked to end trapping in New Mexico. 

Stephen will give an overview on the wolf issue and reality check on Montana’s legislature and Governor.


Get your collector t-shirt!

Available in our store!

A Speak for Wolves annual tradition, this year’s conference shirts are screenprinted by a local Portland artist on 100% organic cotton, sweatshop free, USA-made, unisex, soft jersey Royal Apparel tees in Pacific Blue color with gold ink. Sizes XS to XXL.


Full Conference Program

All times are given in Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7)

Saturday August 14th: 10 am – 4:30 pm PDT

  • 10 am  Welcome, Opening Remarks
  • 10:10 am  Corrine Nugent-Hayes, Poet, Wolf Advocate: Poetry reading: “When Shall These Mournings For Us End”
  • 10:15 am  Christopher Sebastian, Author, Researcher, Lecturer: Lone Wolf
  • 11:30 am  Zoë Hanley, Defenders of Wildlife: Innovating Predator-Livestock Non-Lethal Tools: Radio-Activated Guard Box 2.0
  • 1 pm  Michael Waasegiizhig Price, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission: “Whatever Happens to the Wolves Will Happen to Us”: Cultural Reflections of the Relationship Between the Wolf and the Anishinaabe People
  • 1:45 pm  Sristi Kamal, Defenders of Wildlife: Oregon’s Wolves: Conflict and Coexistence
  • 3 pm  Stephen Capra, Footloose Montana: Update on Wolves in Montana
  • 3:30 pm  John Murtaugh, Defenders of Wildlife: Colorado’s Gray Wolf Reintroduction
  • 4 pm  “FAMILY” short film screening followed by Q&A with the Director, Rain Bear Stands Last, Filmmaker; Global Indigenous Council

Sunday August 15th: 10 am – 3:45 pm PDT

  • 10 am  Welcome, Day 2
  • 10:10 am  Anna Le, Biologist & Educator, Yellowstone National Park: The Harms of Gatekeeping Wildlife
  • 11 am  Quinn Read, Center for Biological Diversity: Fish & Wildlife Commission Reform
  • 1 pm  Panel: Jodi Habush Sinykin, Environmental Attorney; Samantha Bruegger, WildEarth Guardians; and Nancy Warren, National Wolfwatcher Coalition: Blueprints for Wolf Conservation Planning Using Science, Inclusivity & Ethical Practices
  • 1:40 pm  Erica Prather, Defenders of Wildlife: Take Action, Make a Difference, Have Your Voice Heard Through the Legislative Process
  • 2:30 pm  Sarah Hanneken, Animal Equality and Faunalytics: The Importance of Data for Effective Wildlife Advocacy
  • 3:10 pm  Panel: Airick, Hunt Saboteurs Association; Steph, Speak for Wolves: Using Direct Action as A Tactic for Saving Wildlife
  • 3:45 pm  Conference Closing

Speak for Wolves is a volunteer-run, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, EIN 46-2867294

Meet 2 more of this weekend’s speakers: Sristi Kamal & John Murtaugh

The 8th annual Speak for Wolves conference will take place this weekend! We’re excited to host a diverse group of speakers working in wolf & wildlife advocacy from across the Western States and Great Lakes.

Don’t miss out on the latest science & policy updates, advocate tools, and activist tactics in the fight to save wolves.

Visit the program page for full schedule details and speaker bios. 

Join us on Saturday & Sunday, August 14-15!

Webinar access information will be sent to registrants later this week.


Speaker Announcements

Sristi Kamal is from India and grew up in a biodiversity hotspot with elephants, rhinos, leopards and tigers which sparked a childhood and lifelong passion for wildlife. She currently works for Defenders of Wildlife in their NW office of the Field Conservation Program. In her current role, she works to protect imperiled and native species in Oregon and their habitats, including wolves.

Sristi will talk about Oregon’s Wolves: Conflict and Coexistence—an update on the status of wolves in Oregon, Oregon’s wolf management policy and current instances of conflict and where we go from here.

John Murtaugh of Defenders of Wildlifebrings a lifetime of passion for wolf recovery to the Rockies and Plains as he works to restore wolves to the region. By working with stakeholders across the spectrum, he works to create a strong coalition of support, ensuring that wolves and people can coexist in the west.  

John will update us on Colorado’s Gray Wolf Reintroduction. In 2020, Colorado voters directed the Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency to begin a wolf reintroduction by the end of 2023. Now, the state has set forth a plan and has begun a process of advisement from key stakeholders, technical experts, and the public.


Conference T-shirts 

Available in our store!

A Speak for Wolves annual tradition, this year’s collector conference shirts are screenprinted by a local Portland artist on 100% organic cotton, sweatshop free, USA-made, unisex, soft jersey Royal Apparel tees in Pacific Blue color with gold ink. 

Buy yours now to support the conference!
Also available: Speak for Wolves stickers! Remaining stock of prior years’ shirts @ 50% off!


Speak for Wolves is a volunteer-run, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, EIN 46-2867294

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to Speak for Wolves

The Speak for Wolves conference is the longest standing, grassroots wildlife conference of its kind, thanks to our dedicated supporters. Speak for Wolves is a 100% volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, EIN 46-2867294.

About the Issues

Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Wolves once roamed freely across much of the land that is now called North America. Indigenous peoples actively managed the land responsibly, including lands that many in the conservation movement call “wilderness”. Starting in the 1500s through 1800s, European settlers, spreading across the continent, stole the land and its resources, committed genocide of indigenous peoples, and began exploiting wildlife to the point of extermination.

By the 1940s, wolves were extirpated from the landscape, thanks to government-sponsored bounty programs. 

In 1974, the gray wolf (Canis lupus) was listed on the federal Endangered Species Act. Wolves slowly began to disperse back into the northern reaches of the US from Canada, and in the 1990s, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone and Idaho. 

As wolves returned to states where they had once lived, state wildlife agencies developed wolf management plans under their own state Endangered Species Acts, working in tandem with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which managed federal protections.

While wolf populations have slowly recovered in the 30 years since reintroduction, they still only occupy less than 10% of their historic range in the US. As wolf populations began to grow and conflicts arose with hunters and ranchers unhappy with this keystone predator returning to “their” land, states began removing wolves from local ESA protections and allowing wolf hunts. In 2020, the Trump administration removed the gray wolf from federal protection.

As of February 10, 2022 a U.S. District Court Judge reinstated federal protections that were removed under the Trump administration. Though this is a big win for science based decision making, wolves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and parts of eastern Washington and Oregon were exempt from this reinstatement and are still in need of federal protections.

Those of us who are settlers must recognize how our long history of settler colonialism, white supremacy, and racist policies were driving forces that led us to where we are now: trying desperately to reverse the destruction of wildlife and the environment before it’s too late, as wildfires rage, climate change threatens our near future, and our culture wars divide us into those who want to save keystone species vs. those who want to keep ranching cows on public lands for our dinner plates.

To dig deeper, check out our recommended films and readings.

Reforming Wildlife Management

Re-envision state fish & wildlife departments

Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In Western States, Governors currently appoint fish and wildlife commissioners. These commissioners have authority over agency policy including predator management. Until we transition to a process that prioritizes appointing commissioners that are scientifically qualified, absent of private interests like hunting, trapping and agri- business, we will continue to see commissioners that abuse power and privilege to leverage their personal agenda. Fish & Wildlife Departments need to reflect the diversity of interests of the broad public and rectify the historic prioritization of special interest groups that put profit over wildlife.

Read an overview of what’s currently considered “wildlife management” in the US here.
Watch a great video presentation about Fish & Wildlife Commission Reform here.

Reduce grazing on federal public lands

Grazing is ecologically damaging to land in the arid West. Non-native livestock are responsible for soil compaction, destruction of wetlands and riparian zones. With 60% of land in the world dedicated to livestock grazing we see a decrease in water retention and aquifer recharge, soil erosion that leads to flooding, and a net-loss of biodiversity. Livestock grazing contributes to the spread of harmful invasive plant species and the degradation of native symbiotic relationships. 

These destructive grazing practices are heavily subsidized by taxpayers every year to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The work to mitigate, reduce, and eventually eradicate grazing on public lands needs to be prioritized for the benefit of wolf- livestock coexistence and the return of the flourishing west.

Read more about the ecological costs of grazing here.

Wildlife Services: Killing Funded by Your Tax Dollars

Photo by Nicky Pe on Pexels.com

Every year the USDA Wildlife Service kills millions of animals, including wolves, coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, beavers, birds, and countless other species, including house pets. Wildlife Services uses neck snares and foot hold traps, toxic cyanide (M44’s) and aerial gunning (helicopters) to slaughter native wildlife across the country. This agency historically and primarily serves the interests of the agriculture and livestock industry.

Gray wolf recovery has been slow due to the US federal governments prematurely abandoned recovery efforts in order to appease powerful livestock and sportsmen interests. Currently, state fish and game agencies have authority over gray wolf “management”. State-sanctioned hunting, trapping/snaring, and hounding seasons have resulted in thousands of wolves being killed. Massive killing increases in Wisconsin, Idaho, and Montana, due to Trump Era Endangered Species delisting and the 2021 introduction of new legislation, threaten to decimate any progress that has been made for wolf recovery thus far.

For a primer about Wildlife Services, read the 2015 HSUS report, “Wildlife Disservice: The USDA Wildlife Services’ Inefficient and Inhumane Wildlife Damage Management Program
2022 update on Wildlife Services’ activities in 2021: “‘A barbaric federal program’: US killed 1.75m animals last year – or 200 per hour” (The Guardian)

Ban trapping and snaring on federal public lands

Photo by Dmitry Demidov on Pexels.com

Leg-hold traps, conibear traps, and neck snares are indiscriminate killers that have no place on federal public lands. Reported incidents of domestic pet and endangered, non-target species being trapped, snared, and/or killed on public lands in states like Idaho and Montana have made trapping and snaring a public safety issue that spans beyond wildlife activism. The variety in trap check time laws from 72 hours to weeks at a time, spotlight the cruel and disturbing nature that is snaring. Trapping and Snaring is not sport, it is inhumane slaughter.

Wildlife advocates should urge their elected leaders to ban leg-hold traps, conibear traps, and neck snares by introducing legislation that would protect not only wildlife, but domestic pets and those that recreate on public lands.

Read more about the problems with trapping here.

End wildlife derbies and the hunting of carnivores

Credit: G’Pa Bill via Wikimedia

The best available science suggests that carnivores, including gray wolves, are self-regulating species. Carnivores don’t need to be managed, they have evolved with their prey over thousands of years, with species populations constantly fluctuating. 

The livestock industry and sportsmen groups have continually held wildlife derby contests “for population control and management”. The trapping, snaring, hounding, and trophy-hunting of carnivores runs counter to public sentiment and ethics. We will continue to work and support efforts to eradicate these wildlife derbies and sport hunting contests, but there is more work to be done.

Access the HSUS End Wildlife Killing Contests Toolkit.