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Wolf Hatred is a Gateway to Bigotry

Hate and intolerance are the underlying themes of the philosophies and motivations anti-wolf folks exhibit

This article originally appeared in Cascadia Wildlands

(This a PG-13 rated article. We purposely omitted profanity laced posts, death threats, and pictures of blood and gore because we feel that the evidence of bigotry is obvious and the need for action compelling.)

In late December an “event page” on facebook was attacked. The page was celebrating a prayer vigil for wolves that was to be held in Salem, Oregon. And the attackers swooped down electronically the day after the event and filled the page with bloody pictures of wolf kills and fetal deer purported to have been “aborted” by wolves. The action was disturbing and eerily like the protests held by the Westboro Baptist Church, where they show up where they are not wanted and act in the most offensive and inappropriate manner possible.

artwork depicting a Santa Claus figure shooting a wolf from his sleigh“Cartoon” from Save Western Wildlife's Facebook page

The Westboro mob is classified as a hate group and rightfully so. They—like the anti-wolf folks—are generally overflowing with unbridled faith, strongly held opinions and self-righteousness and somewhat bereft of relevant education, understanding, or any form of tolerance or compassion. Both groups are classic bigots in that they hold unfounded and yet deep beliefs and will not let facts or reason dissuade them from dishing out broadsides of vitriol towards the object of their scorn whether it be homosexuals, people of color, members of other religions or wolves.

Is Wolf Hatred Gateway Bigotry?

Do I go too far in linking bigotry against wolves with the same attitudes against individuals and sectors of the human population? I don’t think so. Studies have conclusively linked animal abuse to child abuse, domestic violence and even serial killing. The experts assert that these acts are all parts of the same dangerous syndrome. I strongly suspect that bigotry is a related syndrome and behaves the same way. And I have seen enough human-directed bigotry—mainly racial, anti-Semitic and life-style directed—on the facebook pages of these anti-wolf actors and their compatriots to think that, once started, predator bigotry translates quite easily across the wildlife-to-human spectrum.

Science is Not a Religion and Opinions are not Facts

image of a man's face, script

“Now that the offices of the Babylonian Pope almost completely rules this planet through his many countless satellite corporations he doesn't need to keep building his American Army for world conquest. Now that he believes he is finally close to the completion of his 12th Crusade in 2000 years where he attains Mount Moriah, removes that filthy Dome of the Rock Mosque, and rebuilds Solomon's Third Temple to rule this Worldly system from. He can cull his American herds. thats you and me Bob, and our children. Thats his sciences you're pushing, all nice and pretty, why everyone should just love saving the Mother, returning Mother to her once Pristine wild natural Garden of Eden, the counterfeit eden. Where all the non believing atheist and real Bible believing heretics starve to death. It's just brilliant. Do you get the hint? Do you see what's been going on while you had your head stuck in those bushes observing how some nature works? The rest of the story Bob. This world has a rest of the story. What the hell do you think all of those papal serving 30th through 33rd degree initiated Masonic political hacks have been doing all of these years? You want us to believe in his garbage nature worship?”

—(Skinny Moose Blog January 7, 2013)

The above is a post from Greg Farber in response to statement about public land ownership, wolves and science. Mr. Farber is a plumber and wolf hater who posts regularly on the Skinny Moose Blog and elsewhere under various aliases such as Rattler Rider and Sawtooth Rider. Because of rants like the one above Mr. Farber has been banned from posting on The Wildlife News.

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Wolf-haters—like climate change deniers—are people of faith rather than reason. Are these generalizations justified? All I can say are the trends are strong and consistent. For example, they tend to believe and frequently promote ideas such as reducing environmental protections and waiting for trickle-down economics to work because they have been told these actions will improve their financial conditions, though studies and experience indicate exactly the opposite.

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They also strongly subscribe to the notion that more guns in the US will make them safer and more secure when numbers and a simple scanning of current events indicate that a well-armed US is decidedly less safe. Across the board these brave souls generally responded to the recent tragedy in Connecticut with calls to arm teachers and reminders to their compatriots to stock up on certain weapons before it was too late.

Moreover, they seem to have some sort of intellectual equivalent to a semi-permeable membrane that only allows them to believe reports and studies that indicate that wolves are devastating deer, elk and moose populations as well as reducing their personal safety. In all of this they tend to select which “experts” to believe based on the how well those experts agree with their preconceived ideas just as they would select a preacher based on their perception of god and various religious tenets. As a result, the wolf-haters end up being deeply devoted to a rag-tag group of fringe commentators or contrarian scientists and everyone who disagrees with them or their champions is either stupid, on drugs, or blinded by the “green” or “liberal” media.

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What the anti-wolf crowd cannot win via honest and fact-based debate is achieved through insult, bullying and threat. They are emboldened in this approach by the successes they achieve when rolling out their tortured arguments on like-minded forums such as the Skinny Moose site where they are thick as fleas. In contrast, where they are largely absent are from forums occupied by working wildlife biologists such as The Wildlife Society, Society for Conservation Biology, and Wildlife Professionals discussion groups on LinkedIn. I suspect that their absence has to do with past responses they have received from folks with grounding in science and tendencies toward respectful and analytical debate.

The Raiders and Their Colleagues

There were a handful of folks who aggressively invaded the facebook event page, which was eventually taken down. The core perpetrators were Scott Rockholm, Chandie Morse Bartell, and Bill Kelly. These are names known to people working on wolves who have suffered through venomous dialogues with these anti-wolf zealots who can selectively quote chapter and verse from flawed reports or irrelevant studies, but like what we classically envision as Bible-thumpers do so with self-interest at the forefront and little understanding of actual meaning or context.

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Scott Rockholm is the producer/director of the documentary/fantasy film called Yellowstone is Dead. Scott is a native Californian who now lives in Sand Point, Idaho. He runs the Rockholm Media Group and also is the President and CEO of Save Western Wildlife (see below) which purports to be about saving wildlife in the West as well as the Western culture and lifestyle. SWW claims to be a non-profit and is registered in Idaho but has not developed a website and has not apparently posted their tax information with the IRS. And just how far out there do you have to be to have David Allen feel obligated to distance himself from you?

facebook post image, featuring a confederate flag

Chandie Morse Bartell is a prolific anti-wolf poster who has a degree in elementary education, taught young children in Potlatch, Idaho and boasts that her third grade teacher in Idaho had them sing Dixie after they did the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. She is clearly carrying on that legacy of intolerance and anti-federal sentiment that she learned so many years ago. And nowhere is that illustrated more strongly than in her nearly constant stream of anti-wolf and pro-gun comments on her facebook page and on a multitude of electronic forums in the Rockies. Her facebook page is a who's who of the anti-wolf crowd including No Wolves and the apply named Antiwolf Nut as well as Tony Mayer convicted elk poacher and anti-wolf activist of saveelk.com fame.

“If us pushing that wolf back over to be shot in idaho works.. we will continue to push many more back for the shooters. hell we will even pay for the ammo. ha ha ha ha.”

—Bill Kelly

Bill Kelly claims to have been educated by Mafia Wars which rings true when you read the above quote in reference to a collared wolf that migrated from Oregon where is was legally protected to Idaho where it is not. His suggestion of “pushing” Oregon wolves to Idaho for slaughter probably makes sense in Mafia Wars where laws and illegalities are likely encouraged.

When we take the time to understand the philosophies and motivations of the above exhibited on their facebook pages and elsewhere, the underlying themes are of hate and intolerance. We also find that they are mostly high school educated or hold undergraduate degrees in fields little relevant to understanding the complex mechanisms of predator-prey relationships, trophic cascades, gene-flow, experimental design and the subtleties of concepts such as niches, hyper-volumes, biological potential, carrying capacity, and compensatory versus additive predation. In fact, they tend to hold those educated in the field in low regard calling them "eggspurts." They also all seem to be friends with Robert T. Fanning—the failed anti-wolf gubernatorial candidate in Montana and driver behind the wolf hate group, The Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd and they are all white (i.e., Caucasian).

Save Western Wildlife

facebook comment thread image

The above comment stream–again a PG-13 selection–was taken from the Save Western Wildlife facebook page and these were in response to a news story on wolves that were illegally killed in Wyoming. Save Western Wildlife (SWW) was founded in 2010. The three founders were Scott Rockholm, Frederic C. Rockholm Jr. and Todd Fross. Scott and Frederic are brothers originally from California now living in Sand Point, Idaho and Mr. Fross is a trapper and the ranch manager of the Broken Anvil Ranch in Lander, Wyoming. The sole actions of this organization seem to be Scott Rockholm’s public advocacy/attacks on various policies and people and the dialogs on the SWW facebook page. The tenor and content of the discussions on the SWW facebook page are disturbing as the site seems to attract the worst of the anti-wolf, anti-science and anti-government camps. Regular posters range from biblical stewardship advocate and former USFS employee Steve Busch to a whole host of posters who seem only capable of typing phrases that all translate to “kill all wolves.” The irony of a biblical stewardship advocate condemning conservation biology as a green religion is sweet on some level, but viewing the number of people drawn to this site who define themselves, in part, by the weapons they carry or the animals they kill or hate should be deeply sobering.

Koch Brothers Jump Into the Fray

photo of people having a drink in the back of a limousineDavid Spady in a more typical costume.

As if the above was not enough, the California Chapter of Americans for Prosperity —a Koch Brothers founded and funded astro-turf front group—recently released a laughably deceptive anti-wolf video. In this piece Chapter Executive Director and Fox News darling, David Spady, dons a trendy ski cap and flannel shirt  in a transparent effort to exude an “everyman” appeal. And then in his manufactured casualness he spews scripted misinformation at a machinegun pace.

I am sure that some creative college student will design a drinking game around this video where sips are taken whenever Mr. Spady utters an untruth, makes a mistake or constructs an illogical statement in this propaganda piece. I would argue against this approach, because the exposure is dangerously high.

Certainly there are the obvious factual faux pas like claiming that cattle actually help reduce the impacts of climate change or that grazing does not impact water quality, wildlife and erosion rates. The mistakes are interesting too from confusing Oregon State University with University of Oregon and talking about something called “greenhouse warming” to claiming that the environmental community wants to recover wolves so that they eat cattle and curtail global warming. What?

The tortured illogic is entertaining as well particularly the argument about “trespassing” wolves. Trespassing is a human construct and all wildlife species are allowed to go where they go. Characterizing it as a threat to private landowners is expressly designed to push the buttons of the property rights crowd but is logically problematic as wolves in California are likely to focus their activities on large areas of public lands and tend to avoid settled areas. When searches are made for suitable wolf habitat, areas with people and roads are ruled out. It is also interesting given the shared roots of AFP and the Tea Party that AFP would carry the water for the heavily subsidized livestock industry.

The Hunting Community Must Police Itself to Survive

Roughly 6% of the US population over 16 years of age hunts. While that percentage rises sharply in rural areas where they sometimes close high schools on the opening day of deer season, it still means that 94% of the eligible population in the US does not hunt. In my mind that means that hunters—including myself—need to be very cautious that our “brand” is not compromised by yahoos like those profiled above who seem to shoot everything and think that Fair Chase and other hunter’s ethics do not apply to them or where predators are involved. Perhaps—if their goal is to continue to enjoy permission and support from the 94% non-hunters—legitimate hunting groups might want to work harder on mechanisms that focus on the quality of new hunters recruited rather than quantity.

In truth, while these “slob hunters” and thrill killers bolster hunter numbers they likely do more harm than good. On a related note, hunters also need to deal with the very real issue of poachers and poaching—which may or may not be related to these outliers and their utter contempt for science, Fair Chase, wildlife agency employees and laws. This situation is somewhat similar to issues that surround the martial arts field where the vast majority of practitioners enter martial arts training for the defensive reasons or because of the spiritual aspects of the discipline and there are those that gravitate towards martial arts because they want to be able hurt others. These anti-wolf folks have much in common with the latter example.

There Remain Ethical and Appreciative Hunters

After plowing through the ignorance and intolerance of the above group and their allies, it was refreshing to see a piece where the hunter involved appreciated his encounter with a competing predator and his first thought was not one of how he could blast it into the next county. Nor was he jumping forward to have himself photographed with his prey and speculating about which taxidermist to use or what wall space remained open. Regardless of how one feels about hunting, having this type of hunter in the field seems much preferable to one driven by hate.

With the Wolf the Federal Government Must Play Parent

Excerpt from Endangered Species Act:

To be considered for listing, the species must meet one of five criteria (section 4(a)(1)):

  1. There is the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range.
  2. An over utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes.
  3. The species is declining due to disease or predation.
  4. There is an inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.
  5. There are other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. (Emphasis added)

I once met with a group of Japanese environmental activists visiting the US to gain insights. One of the concepts that was most difficult for them to understand was the interplay between state and federal governments. The analogy that finally worked with them and their interpreter was describing the federal government as a “backstop.” They were clearly baseball fans and got the analogy quickly. In retrospect I should have said parent rather than backstop because the federal government needs to be proactive rather than passive.

In short, the federal government has to act like the adult in the room. And with the wolf that means honestly addressing the damage that has been done by these folks and others who have worked diligently to sink the wolf recovery program under a mountain of myths and unfounded fear. These are hate groups and they need to be treated as such. Moreover, the damage they have done through their actions must be properly addressed and treated like any other habitat challenge. Yes it is difficult and these individuals and groups are dogged in their pursuit of a wolf-free world, but these anti-wolf efforts are “manmade factors” that materially affect the continued existence of the wolf. 

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While there can be debate about the appropriate legal mechanism to solve this serious issue it seems obvious that it needs to be federal or perhaps even international in nature; state performance on this issue has been largely inadequate as they seem more victims of the phenomenon than correctors. The state wildlife agencies are also driven by wildlife commissioners that often have political rather than scientific agendas which makes it unlikely that continued wolf recovery becomes a state priority . One promising approach that we are seeing in the European Union (EU) is something known as “favourable conservation status” which is applied to species of “community interest.” In the EU wolves fall under this classification and the status requires that the species are looked at across boundaries and that analyses such as minimum population viability analyses are undertaken and that those studies drive management.

We at Cascadia Wildlands are interested in this approach and are hosting a panel at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference here in Eugene at the end of February to explore this concept and also others to address the future status of wolves. Our own legal fellow Tamara Schiff will present a paper and hopefully some of the concepts introduced will help the US Fish and Wildlife as they complete their own examination of the future of wolves in the West. We know that no approach will ultimately be successful unless it includes aggressive and concrete steps to address the propaganda campaign that has been waged against wolves.

Looking to Get Informed and Take Action?
Additional Reading on Federal Wolf Reclassification and Organized Anti-Wolf Propaganda:
Current Actions:
Future Actions:
  • Get connected and watch this site and our e-news for announcements on federal wolf reclassification proposal

Bob Ferris
Bob grew up in Silicon Valley as urban sprawl was absorbing the natural playgrounds of his youth. This profound experience was the catalyst for his career in conservation. He has worked for 30 years as a researcher, teacher, and advocate working on issues ranging from Yellowstone wolf restoration to stopping coal exports through the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time he looks for that perfect trout stream and is creating an urban homestead with his green architect and artist wife.

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Comments

Chandie, who let you on this page?

By Fast As A Shark on Sat, May 04, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I dedicate this to all my fellow educators:

A first grade teacher explains to her class that she is a liberal Democrat. She asks her students to raise their hands if they were liberal Democrats too. Not really knowing what a liberal Democrat was, but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands flew up into the air. There was, however, one exception. A girl named Lucy had not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different. “Because I’m not a liberal Democrat.” “Then,” asks the teacher, “What are you?” ”Why I’m a proud conservative Republican,” boasts the little girl. The teacher, a little perturbed and her face slightly red, asked Lucy why she was a conservative Republican. “Well, I was brought up to trust in myself instead of relying on an intrusive government to care for me and do all of my thinking. My Dad and Mom are conservative Republicans, and I am a conservative Republican too.” The teacher, now angry, loudly says, “That’s no reason! What if your Mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron. What would you be then?” She pauses, and lets out a smile. “Then,” Lucy says, “I’d be a liberal Democrat.

By Chandie Morse Bartell on Sun, February 10, 2013 at 12:12 am

“Give me Swedes, snuff and whiskey, and I’ll build a railroad through hell.” - J. J. Hill

By Chandie Morse Bartell on Mon, February 04, 2013 at 4:34 am

To Mr. Ferris—

no worries about Stormin Norman here—- he misses the point completely.  Trying to be a pseudo intellect—this often happens!  He has no compassion and doesn’t understand the nuts and bolts, and lore, and lies, fairy tales, legends and EXCUSES to have a new predator game animal and all the money that immoral and unscientific behavior generates!

By Heidi Ann Ulrich on Sat, February 02, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Ragen Rockholm is rightly named -  he is a definite raging lunatic…..way too angry and taking it all out on an animal for following it’s instincts to survive.  He claims to be an artist….does not possess a poetic soul, for sure.  Filled with hate and anger…..hope he has a successful diagnosis soon.

By Heidi Ulrich on Sat, February 02, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Angela- I would love to be as perfect as you, how do I go about doing that? thank you in advance as I am looking forward to your inspirational knowledge.

By paul on Sat, February 02, 2013 at 8:40 pm

@ Angela….“wolf haters are extremely jealous and psychotic”.  On what criteria are you basing such an assumption?  Because they don’t agree with you?  Is it safe to say that you are not qualified to to give any diagnosis on anyone’s psychiatric health?  (Frankly, it makes you look a little more crazy than the people you are accusing.)

@ Bruce….“Wolf hatred is bigotry and wolf persection (Did you mean persecution?)is Facism.”  It is ill thought ramblings like this that add absolutely nothing to the conversation.  I’d really like for you to humor me with an explanation of that quote, please?

What you’re confusing as “wolf hatred” is completely fed by ramblings such as your above quote.  Make no mistake, there are people who hate the wolf.  There are many, many, many more people that you are trying to lump into the same group who are tired of being lied to about every aspect of this introduction of this species. 

The only truth to come out of the “pro wolf” agenda regarding this introduction is that the animal is indeed a wolf. 

Almost everything else ever said by a USF&W official and most of the state F&G Departments is lies.  This is where most peoples anger comes from and somehow that is going to make you liken a group of people to the KKK or skin heads? 

You wouldn’t want to expose more ignorance by explaining any of that, would you?  If so, I’m all ears.

By Ray Brice on Sat, February 02, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Wolf haters are extremely jealous and psychotic.  You are a classless pathetic simple form of life. It’s a simple as that. Get a real fucking job. Get a real fucking life. Wolves should be here. You most assuredly should not. The world would be so much better. You a disgusting and a shame to the human race

By Angela on Fri, February 01, 2013 at 9:37 pm

You guys are trying to portray my wife as being racist…........ there is nothing further from the truth. This post was taken totally out of context and for the love of god it seems to me that you guys are the racists… A tolerant person listens to every-bodies point of view and does not criticize because they do not agree with you. I know for a fact after reading this page that you guys are way more intolerant and much bigger hypocrites than my wife would ever dream of being. This is sad because this is for some reason “politically correct” to bash somebody that believe in the way of life that we live out here. Maybe you should look at yourselves- what king of vehical do you drive? What kind of electricity do you burn? Do you heat with coal? (including electricity). Or do you use renewable resources like we do? Do you really believe that the wolves planted here are the same as the ones that I saw when I was working in the woods during the 1980"s are the same thing?
Hint- the dogs now weigh 50% more- Why is that? Is it because they brought a different species in and in the course of action actually made extinct the native Idaho wolf?
I know it is what happened as I spent 25 years of my life working in the back country. You guys think you know something from a coup[le of backpacking trips. Come on, get real….......

By paul bartell on Fri, February 01, 2013 at 9:18 pm

The wolf’s proper place in the modern world is the same place it has always been - acting as the apex predator in a wild America. 

Wolf hatred IS bigotry, and wolf persection IS Fascism.  There is no need to sugar-coat or euphemize it.  These creeps are no better than skinheads, the KKK or Nazis.  Frankly, I know few who sympathize with these groups too.

By Bruce Jensen on Fri, February 01, 2013 at 11:54 am

Bob —

I’m sorry you feel that way.  You know, I suppose I could check all of your social networks, and the people who endorse you on LinkedIn and so forth, but why would I want to do that?  I could likely infer from your correspondents that you are a wee bit off the center yourself where wolves are concerned.  That wouldn’t necessarily make me correct in my assumptions, now would it?

It wouldn’t go a long way toward establishing a basis for a dialog, either.

Social contacts do not necessarily denote where one stands or does not stand on a particular issue.  If you want to go the whole route, you would note that some of those contacts would perhaps characterize themselves as more progressive than you . . . and some of them have endorsed me for the same things as those who you mentioned.

If there’s a pattern, it’s that I’m willing to listen and engage people from the entire spectrum of thought and politics.

Right wing, left wing . . . what comes to me is that a bird needs both to fly.

I have found welcoming people at property rights events, just as I have found welcoming people at PIELC and Wilderness Society conferences.  I am on the board of a progressive forestry organization, and I am a member of the Grange.  I meet with elected officials from both political parties at county, state, and national levels.

No, I won’t be checking out who you converse with on Facebook, or who you endorse on LinkedIn, or who endorses you.  Frankly, I don’t think that would tell me all that much about who you are or how you think, and it just wouldn’t matter to me.  It certainly wouldn’t persuade me as to your ability to be neutral on an issue, nor would it tell me much about your credibility.  These things come from inside each of us, not from who we are willing to converse with.

A conversation with Scott Rockholm is not going to move my personal advocacy any more or any less than a conversation with Dave Foreman or Andy Kerr.  I can learn from any of them, just as you can, whether you agree with them or not.

So . . . I believe I was opening a conversation on wolves in my previous contribution to this thread.  How about we start there?

By Norman MacLeod on Mon, January 28, 2013 at 12:26 am

This is amazing.  I didn’t realize I was turned into an Anti-Wolf person, at the age of 9, the year of 1969-1970, in Third Grade, Elementary Class, taught by the respectable Mrs. C. Anderson, at Russell Elementary School, in Moscow, Idaho.  By the way Mrs. C. Anderson, taught a Civil War Unit, and we also wrote letters to Vietnam Vets. 

I was 9 years old, I do not remember why she chose that song, but we sing it every morning, when she was my teacher.  That is why I had it memorized.  I never realized it was even a Confederate Anthem Song, until I received a degree in History, studying History of Western Civilization. 

But I also study history, with in the “context” of the period of the time.

Mrs. C. Anderson is well known and admired in Latah County, Idaho.  She taught generations of Elementary students of different grade levels, and I even subbed a few times in her class, after I graduated from the University of Idaho, that would of been app. 1986.

Thank you for explaining that Bob Ferris, you’re a genius!

By Chandie Morse Bartell on Sun, January 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Norman,

I am happy to dialog with anyone.  That said, you are hardly standing near the center of all this.  And any vestige of neutrality and credibility you might have enjoyed evaporated when I noticed that you endorsed Scott Rockholm for wildlife issues on linkedin.  Really?  Also you are connected via social networks with two out of the five main folks who raided this facebook event page.  Add to that your linkedin connection to property rights extremist Ron Arnold and his endorsement of you and you have a clearly established pattern.

By Bob Ferris on Sat, January 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

These sub-humans are nothing more than the most hateful people on the planet and should be treated as such. They’re worse than any tyrant in history. Worse than Vlad Dracula. Worse than Adolf Hitler. Worse than Joseph Stalin. Worse than Saddam Hussein (or as Krusty the Clown once called him, So Damn Insane). Those tyrants did the same thing to countless thousands or even millions of their own people what the sub-human Death Cult is doing to the wolves. The Death Cult, if you ask me, needs a dose of their own medicine. The sooner they get it, the better.

By Fast As A Shark on Wed, January 23, 2013 at 12:39 am

Mr. Ferris —

I do not have a professional relationship with Mr. Rockholm.  I have communicated with him and I have met him in person.  Not that it matters in the context of wolf management.  I have not asked for you to disclose your relationships with others in the conversation, not that that matters in the context of wolf management, either.

I also regularly communicate with people from the polar opposite advocacy position and others in between.  It’s part of what I see as seeking to gain a mature perspective on the issues.

For the record, I converse with people from the entire spectrum of attitudes toward wolves, their place in the ecosystem, and how they relate with wildlife, livestock and pets, and people.  I do not find that there’s full value to be gained by firmly lodging myself in either the pro-wolf or the anti-wolf camps, and prefer not to blind myself to the arguments for or against.  Demonizing one polar position or the other hasn’t worked yet.  There are more than enough on-the-ground realities to deal with.

For instance, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is providing a public update of the state’s wolf management program in three cities as a facilitated panel discussion with moderated questions.  Two of those updates have already been held, with the third to come.  The consensus on the panel, from the news reports, appears to be that about 80% of wolves are behaving in ways that we hope they would, limiting predation to wildlife species, keeping themselves away from the built environment and away from human activities.  About 20% are at least occasionally seeing livestock as prey.  The concern is over what do we do about individuals/packs in that 20%.

Carter Niemeyer is one of the panelists.  He reluctantly accepts that there are last resort cases where lethal removal is the only remaining option for wolves that continue livestock predation after repeated attempts aimed at getting them not to reoffend.


That’s not to support or oppose that position.  That’s observing the current reality of how things are being done within the wolf management community.

I am currently in the process of a full review of the preliminary draft Southwestern Gray Wolf Management Plan and Environmental Assessment documents.  As part of that process, I will be reviewing British Columbia’s draft plan for context and contrast between regions with mature wolf populations and “early days” recovery and recolonization management issues.

With three decades of work to save and restore the Canis lupus baileyi genome in a captive breeding program, and with slightly more than half the numbers in the wild projected as the baseline for a self-sustaining population of C. l. baileyi, we’re looking at a management plan anticipating natural recolonization in Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.  It anticipates that some of that recolonization will take place from Northern Rocky Mountain populations of Canis lupus.

Historically, the western portion of the Lower 48 was occupied by Canis lupus nubilus.  The currently southward expanding wolf-occupied footprint is inhabited with wolves from the Canis lupus occidentalis genetic lineages.  The buffer that C. l. nubilus represented is absent.  I think there’s reason for concern there, particularly with the concerns about Mexican wolf inbreeding depression.  Will the C. l. baileyi genome survive only in captive breeding situations, or will it be able to survive in the wild as well?

So . . . if you are willing to have a conversation centered on the wolves themselves, I’ll be happy to discuss the issues with you.

By Norman MacLeod on Tue, January 22, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I am not qualified to speak for the whole group of people you seem to be condemning as bigots, but I am qualified to speak on behalf of the people I know personally.

There are many things that a lot of the pro-wolf agenda is not paying attention too regarding the “anti-wolf” agenda.  For them, anyone who says anything portraying the wolf in anything other than the most favorable light has been called everything from rapists, bigots, killers, wife beaters, child molesters to murderers (and some more colorful things that I won’t put here). Anybody who doesn’t feel the same way as the pro wolf agenda immediately thrust into one or all of the above categories. 

What’s more common is for the pro wolf agenda to not listen to the people that they want to engage in this name calling warfare. 

Not everyone on this side hates the wolf.  Actually, the contrary is true.  The problem with the introduction out west has to do with all of the lies and deception that were purported in an effort to introduce this non-native species to a National Park of all places. 

For better than a decade, we were told things like “the wolf will never leave the park because of the available food sources”, “the wolf will not habituate itself to humans” and “the wolf will only kill what it can eat”.  There were complete lies about “pack size” and “breeding” and the facts began to build on those lies almost as fast as the wolf population exploded in the west.

In the mean time, we had the USF&W and local Game and Fish departments playing dumb to the citizenry. One outfit would tell you to take your questions to the other organization or simply look you dead in the eye and outright lie to you.

Facts that proved that the indigenous wolf (irremotus)was still present but those facts were simply dismissed and subsequently lied about. 

It is this that has most of the “wolf haters” upset.  It is the illegal introduction of a non-indigenous species that has people up in arms, and all of the lies around it.  It has little to do with the animal, but the animal itself is the only one with a face.  These “officials” hide behind doors or titles and “cannot be contacted over such trivial matters”.  So these people began to compile their information which is what further scares the people who introduced this animal in the first place.

Sound science from professional field scientists is being placed on the desks of these criminals and they simply dismiss it.  (Some of these sound scientists were initially hired by the USF&W but quickly dismissed when the information they provided didn’t fall in with the over all plan.)The old science of “a wolf is a wolf” was busted some time ago, decades before the introduction in fact.

So now we seem to have this larger problem of intolerance, and the hate is fueling more hate.  The uninformed are remaining uninformed, but there is the occasional convert seeing this tragedy for what it really is.  Those people in turn are then labeled as “traitors” and the spin continues.

A little truth at the beginning would have stopped most of this.  More people being involved would have stopped most of this.  If it weren’t such a covert exercise, most of this could have been stopped.  Instead, you have this and the intolerance multiplies too often.

In closing, there have been numerous introductions of species into eco systems that have gone well.  Those introductions, such as the turkey or pheasant were studied for a long time before the introduction.  When it was discovered that these species were not going to be competing for food sources and would prove to be an easily renewable resource, the introduction was made. 

That science was neglected in this case.

By Ray Brice on Tue, January 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

And Mr. MacLeod—in the interest of honesty and openness—it would have been reasonable for you to disclose your professional and/or personal relationship with Mr. Rockholm prior to criticizing or commenting on potential my bias.

Bob Ferris
Executive Director
Cascadia Wildlands

By Bob Ferris on Sat, January 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I am SO glad that someone has finally exposed these “people” for who they really are!!! The proof is in the article and in personal experience. I, for one, have been a victim of this viciousness myself having been sent threats, disgusting and horrible pictures and having my posts on Facebook riddled with comments by people that live for harassing pro-wolf people. I can also attest that the so called devastation of the Elk and Deer herds here in Idaho is a bunch of propaganda and lies created by the NRA and the F&W services as well as trophy hunters to get rid of Wolves. They claim that the Wolves in Idaho are killing off all the Elk and Deer herds here but there are so many here that they sell several hunting licenses each year to individuals and their families! OK… there in lies the irony. It isn’t the Wolf killing off the Elk and Deer, it is the over hunting that is going on in this state! Less than 20% of people living in Idaho hunt. You want some actual facts on hunting read this article by In Defense of Animals… http://www.idausa.org/facts/hunting.html
I am not saying that people should not hunt FOR FOOD. My family hunts and I have grown up around it as I have lived in Idaho all my life. These people, like Rockholm and Toby Brides, for instance, grew up in California. A state that destroyed most of it’s wild lands a long time ago. His reputation is anything but pleasant. He and others run amok and spout their lies and trash as truths and continually push their medieval, backwards beliefs on those that are most likely to believe them because they have never grown up in a State where there are Wolves and have no experience with these animals and so therefore will believe anything these individuals say. I have been a Wolf advocate for 25+ years. I have been face to face with Wolves and as I said I have lived in Idaho all my life. The numerous times I have seen pictures and posts about how Wolves viciously kill Deer and Elk, rip fetuses out of pregnant Elk and Deer and leave the rest of the animal to rot, hunt down and kill peoples dogs for the pure fun of it and sneak into peoples homes at night and steal their children while they sleep, YES I actually saw this posted by someone in another article, blows me away!!! Thank you again for bringing these lies to light with this enlightening and informative article!!!

By Angela McCrosky on Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Thank you for exposing some of these anti-wolf sociopaths. Unfortunately, there is a type of bigotry going on in our government aswell. Mainly on how they treat us wolf advocates.

For years, these anti-wolf people have harassed, bullied, taunted, and threatened us wolf advocates yet they get away with it. Authorities do nothing to protect us from them, but when a wolf advocate finally has enough and does to an anti-wolf sadist what they have been doing to us for more than a decade, we are the bad ones and we are the ones who get into trouble! Why is that? Because in the eyes of this government, anti-wolf people and hunters are good ol’ high pollutin’, rootin’ tootin, gun totin’, hard workin, real Americans while the rest of us are second class citizens!

Many of us did not want the wolves removed from protection under The ESA and many of us did not want the wolves to be hunted yet the government did it anyway!

After the wolves were delisted and the states moved forward with their horrific plans of hunting and trapping these animals, anti-wolf people reveled in it posting pictures and video flaunting their cruelty while taunting us and rubbing it in our faces. Many of the wolves killed were wounded or caught in traps before being sadistically tortured for thrills before they were finally killed by the hunters and these hunters actually brag about it!

Many of these anti-wolf sadists also give tips to each other on their websites and Facebook pages of ways to torture wolves and make them suffer more when they kill them.

Also, at the rate they are going with killing the wolves, the wolves will most likely be wiped out again like they were in the 1930s if it is not stopped soon.

Yet this government favors these sickos over the rest of us!

No offense but the behavior displayed by these anti-wolf psychos, the things I have seen them say and do, and the way their ideologies have been forced on everyone else by the government has made me despise all hunting and has made me want to see all hunting get banned in this country.

I also want to see the wolves get back their protections under The ESA that never should have been removed in the first place and these anti-wolf sadists stopped!

By Justin Forte on Fri, January 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Norman,

There is always a danger of practicing bigotry yourself when calling out someone on bigotry.  I am painfully aware of the peril of being caught in the circle of my own interpretations and you are correct in bringing it up. 

That said, I am also known for working with non-traditional partners and building coalitions like the Natural Resources Summit of American formed in the mid-1990s which included HSUS,Defenders of Widlife, RMEF,the Safari Club and a host of others. 

I think it is also important to note the content and tenor of my comments (i.e., dealing with concepts and ideas rather than name calling and threatening).  And, if you will observe my interactions you will find that my responses are critical and pointed, but always civil. 

In terms of why we are where we are today, that situation was orchestrated by factions that did not want traditional and natural allies such as the environmental, conservation, hunter and angler communities working together.  This was done by marketers such as David Allen at RMEF who labels anyone who disagrees with him an animal rights extremist and other motivated by political agendas rather than any commitment to conservation or biodiversity preservation. 

Please join me in a reasoned debate. 

Bob Ferris
Cascadia Wildlands

By Bob Ferris on Fri, January 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

I find it interesting that the author discusses the individuals he finds unsavory with much the same type of rhetoric he accuses them of using.

Where he asserts they are using no science, poor science, or erroneous science in their discussion threads, and then accuses them of bigotry, where are his studies, his science, his peer-reviewed research to back his pronouncements as to what kind of people they are?

If this is how we are to have discourse on the relative merits of the positions of the many, many people in the wolf debates, how does the author expect we will ever find resolution on common ground anywhere in the debate?  If he is as incapable of civil discourse as he accuses his opponents are being, how are we to find validity in what he is saying?

My take?  The author is preaching to his choir.  This is not the same as reaching out to those who hold different views and participating in reasoned debate.  There is simply nothing to be gained from hurling rotten eggs, tomatoes, and last Halloween’s pumpkins at those with whom we disagree.  It’s part of why we are where we are in discussing the wolf’s proper place in the modern world.

By Norman MacLeod on Thu, January 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm

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