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Wolf champions in the spotlight

Posted by Barbara Christensen at Mar 08, 2011 01:10 AM |

This past week, we are pretty proud to be part of a growing chorus of howls for sane, science-based management of wolves across the West. From lauded authors, to Smithsonian-featured advocates, to awesome local activists, wolves are getting some much-needed support. [VIDEO]

Wolf champions in the spotlight

Great people from all walks of life are howling out for wolves. Talks with Wolfer author Carter Niemeyer and Smithsonian specials bring wolves to life this month. Zoo wolf photo: Flickr user 'Tambako the Jaguar'

We are pretty proud to be part of a growing chorus of howls for sane, science-based management of wolves across the West. From lauded authors, to Smithsonian-featured advocates, to awesome local activists, wolves are getting some much-needed support this week!

Washington citizens speak up

On Friday, March 4, about 20 fans of Washington's healthy wild ecosystems showed up at a legislative hearing in Olympia, many to testify compellingly for Washington's recovering wolf populations and against the anti-wolf House Bill 1109. They spoke to their passion for all of Washington's wildlife, their support of the collaborative wolf management plan, and their desire for science--not politics--to manage wildlife in this state.

Bruce from Thurston County, who was raised on a ranch and farm in Idaho, spoke eloquently on the need for science and not jumping to emotional conclusions, quoting USDA data that only 1% of sheep losses in Western wolf habitat came from wolves, while 20% came from coyotes and another 20% by problems with lambing operations and disease control. He pointed out that wolf impacts "pale in comparison." Bob from Whatcom County, who also commented publicly last year for the wolf management plan, said, "We are all interdependent as part of a natural web...with care and forethought, we can co-exist with these species in Washington State."

Wolf recovery supporters like Bob and Bruce made up the majority of people at the hearing, and we thank them and the nearly 700 online commenters who came together against Washington's bad anti-wolf bills this past month!

 

Predator hunter turned wolf advocate speaks up

Wolfer-CarterNiemeyerIn a recent OregonLive.com feature, author Carter Niemeyer is described as "an Iowa farm boy who spent most of his career as the federal government's hit man against predators." Years of tax-payer funded predator poisoning, trapping for relocation, aerial gunning, and investigating the cause of livestock deaths led Niemeyer to become a wolf expert. This expertise led him to trap BC wolves for reintroduction into Yellowstone, and right into the middle of the West's wolf wars.

"I started realizing there were two sides to this story and the decisions I made had huge ramifications. That gave me the conviction I needed to be more honest, more fair, to dig deeper into why we are doing these things and for what reason," He went on to lead wolf recovery for the US Fish & Wildlife Service for 6 years, where he gained even more insight into the science, and perhaps more importantly, the sociology of wolves. This insight, straightforward sensibility, and stories from the field promise to make Niemeyer's book Wolfer: A memoir, a must read for anyone interested in wolves in the US.

The wolf issue has become the infuriating symbol of federal intervention in the rural West, leaving many people distrusting or discounting those who have the most scientific knowledge of the subject.

"You have a tremendous amount of backlash so that now you have self-appointed wolf experts misinforming the public and instilling fear that wolves are going to kill your kids, wipe out elk herds and spread diseases."

None of that is true, he says. Still, he keeps calling for common ground, urging agencies to co-investigate suspected wolf kills, with transparency and oversight. He wants more conversations with ranchers and encourages more nonlethal controls. And he hopes people learn more than the "Little Red Riding Hood" storyline of the Big Bad Wolf.

You can learn more about wolves and Carter's great story at several events across the region this month: Tuesday, March 8th 7pm with Portland Audubon; Thursday, March 10th 8pm at Fireside Books in Olympia; and Monday, March 28th at the Boise Public Library.

Olympic runner, cancer survivor and wolf biologist speaks up

Smithsonian Channel promises inspiration and adventure with their show Women in Science this month, highlighting female science superheroes in celebration of Women's History Month. I'm particularly excited to see Running with Wolves, the story of Gudrun Pflueger, world championship mountain runner and biologist who faces down cancer, then faces down the wildest lands in Canada in order to help protect the wolves that inspired her to keep fighting her illness. A preview is available below, and the show airs throughout the week, starting Tuesday at 9am EST.  [More about the show and schedule]

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thanks!

Posted by Jodi at Mar 09, 2011 03:20 PM
Thanks to all who are speaking up on behalf of Washington's wolves - especially you who attended the hearing in Olympia Friday. Our voices will make a difference!

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