Mexican Wolf Recovery

 

By: Jess Carey; Catron County New Mexico Wildlife Investigator
By: Jess Carey;
Catron County New Mexico Wildlife Investigator

I attended a meeting on March 28 2014 at the Ben Avery Shooting Range. This meeting concerned support for a Mexican Wolf Recovery Alternative proposed by Terry Johnson, a consultant for the Arizona Game and Fish and others.

There were hunting clubs, sportsman’s organization, ranchers, Arizona, New Mexico Game and Fish, and Arizona, New Mexico counties present.

The alternative proposed wanted 300 wolves, 150 in Arizona and 150 in New Mexico plus an expansion of the recovery area south of I-40 in Arizona and New Mexico to the Mexican border south of I-10 in Arizona and New Mexico.

All the sportsman and hunting organization and some others supported this Alternative; they also supported the 300 wolves. I find that people who are not impacted by the negative effects of Mexican wolf recovery will support wolf recovery, as long as the wolves are on someone else and not in their yard or area.

The New Mexico Game and Fish wants “No More Wolves”, as well as Catron and other counties.

Typical wolf attack on livestock: 6 days old, maggot infested wounds Catron County has 99% of all wolves in New Mexico. This year we have already had 28 wolf-livestock depredations, since April 2006 the confirmed/probable wolf-livestock depredations represents 80.6 tons of livestock; with 1 out of 8 found for investigation.

JC-1

To me, all the above are helping the pro-wolf organizations advance their wolf recovery agenda, which they will expand further by lawsuits to the Kaibab, Grand Canyon, Utah and Colorado. This will result in more lost family ranchers and lost hunter opportunity to hunt elk and deer. There is no way pro-wolf organizations will allow wolves to be kept at a low impact level.

Once elk and Mule deer populations decrease continually by wolves, your hunting licenses will be reduced, as removing any wolves will be tied up in lawsuits by the same pro-wolf organizations and their partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A typical wolf killed healthy yearling elk.
A typical wolf killed healthy yearling elk.

To look at the pro-wolf and environmental organization’s “End Result’ agenda I have added information below.

Rewilding with Apex Predators to manage ecosystems is without man, without hunting, trapping or the use of any renewable natural resource. The use of hunting to manage big game is not part of their agenda. These radical organizations are attacking family ranchers to take them off the land and silently including hunters-sportsman by wolves, by removing the elk and deer populations they hunt to a level where there is no hunting opportunity. But they do not want to openly do so, for fear of uniting hunters against them. Included in their agenda is making all forests ‘wilderness’ with core areas with buffer zones and corridors for large carnivores to travel from one core area to another, and again, stopping all human activity including hunting/trapping.

Rewilding North America:
Six areas of recent ecological research—extinction dynamics, island biogeography, metapopulation theory, natural disturbance ecology, top-down regulation by large carnivores and landscape-scale ecological restoration—are the foundation for all informed protected area design. They are brought together in the idea and scientific approach of rewilding, developed by Michael Soulè in the mid-1990s. Rewilding is “the scientific argument for restoring big wilderness based on the regulatory roles of large predators,” according to Soulè and Reed Noss in their landmark 1998 Wild Earth article “Rewilding and Biodiversity.”

Three major scientific arguments constitute the rewilding argument and justify the emphasis on large predators. First, the structure, resilience, and diversity of ecosystems is often maintained by “top-down” ecological (trophic) interactions that are initiated by top predators. Second, wide-ranging predators usually require large cores of protected landscape for foraging, seasonal movements and other needs; they justify bigness. Third, connectivity is also required because core reserves are typically not large enough in most regions; they must be linked to ensure long-term viability of wide-ranging species.…In short, the rewilding argument posits that large predators are often instrumental in maintaining the integrity of ecosystems. In turn, the large predators require extensive space and connectivity.

If native large carnivores have been killed out of a region their reintroduction and recovery is the heart of a conservation strategy. Wolves, cougars, lynx, wolverines, grizzly and black bears, jaguars, sea otters and other top carnivores need to be restored throughout North America in ecologically effective densities in their natural ranges where suitable habitat remains or can be restored.

Obviously, large areas of North America have been so modified by humans and support such large human populations or intensive agriculture that rewilding is not feasible. Without the goal of rewilding for large areas with large carnivores, we are closing our eyes to what conservation really means—and demands. Disney cinematographer Lois Crisler, after years of filming wolves in the Arctic, wrote, “Wilderness without animals is dead—dead scenery. Animals without wilderness are a closed book.”
Soulè and Noss “recognize three independent features that characterize contemporary rewilding:

• Large, strictly protected core reserves (the wild)
• Connectivity
• Keystone species.

In short, these are “The three C’s: Cores, Corridors, and Carnivores.”
Although Soulè and Noss state, “Our principal premise is that rewilding is a critical step in restoring self-regulating land communities,” they claim two non-scientific justifications: (1) “the ethical issue of human responsibility,” and (2) “the subjective, emotional essence of ‘the wild’ or wilderness. Wilderness is hardly ‘wild’ where top carnivores, such as cougars, jaguars, wolves, wolverines, grizzlies or black bears have been extirpated. Without these components, nature seems somehow incomplete, truncated, overly tame. Human opportunities to attain humility are reduced.”

When we kill off big cats, wolves and other wild hunters we lose not only prominent species but also the key ecological and evolutionary process of top-down regulation. Restoring large carnivores is essential for landscape-level ecological restoration, as is the restoration of other highly interactive species and natural processes such as fire and flood.

Because many conservation groups, scientists and agencies are involved in small-scale restoration and local biodiversity protection, The Rewilding Institute’s emphasis is on rewilding as the means for landscape and continental restoration.

Rewilding is a landmark for the wilderness conservation movement as well as for those primarily concerned with protecting biological diversity. Soulè and others have crafted the scientific basis for the need to protect and restore big wilderness-area complexes. Here science buttresses the wants and values of wilderness recreationists. Big wilderness areas are not only necessary for inspiration and a true wilderness experience but are necessary for the protection and restoration of ecological integrity and native species diversity.

The Trophic Cascade touted by the pro-wolf organizations and environmental organizations is another Holy Grail to further their agenda, all which will eliminate your customs of life such as hunting, trapping, ranching, etc.

Here is a very good example of the “Trophic Cascade Effect” of wolves on elk and “Rewilding” with Apex Predators. In the Yellowstone there is no public hunting. The Northern elk herd has been reduce from 17,000 to less than 4,000. You have to remember that due to 13,000 elk removed by wolves, the willows, Aspen are browsed much less giving the birds a place to nest and more beaver. The top of the pyramid is the wolf, in the middle you have no elk compared to before Canadian wolves were released, at the bottom you have heavy vegetation and the elk that are left are in less favorable habitat to avoid wolves.

FPhoto-6---Another-About-To

If you apply wolves to any area where there is big game hunting, the wolf will reduce elk and deer populations much faster. As the wolf population expands big game levels will decrease. You will see the reduction of elk and deer tags in units with uncontrolled wolf populations.

The Yellowstone Elk on the northern range:
Yellowstone’s largest elk herd winters along and north of the park’s winter boundary. With more moderate temperatures and less snowfall than the park interior, this area can support large numbers of wintering elk. The herd winters in the area of the Lamar and Yellowstone river valleys from Soda Butte to Gardiner, Montana. It also migrates outside of the park into the Gallatin National Forest and onto private lands.

After decades of debate over whether this range was overgrazed by too many elk, public concern has shifted to the herd’s small size. The winter count, which was approximately 17,000 when wolf reintroduction began in 1995, fell below 10,000 in 2003. It fluctuated between 6,000 and 7,000 as the wolf population on the park’s northern range declined from 94 in 2007 to 38 in 2010. The elk count dropped to 3,915 in early 2013, the lowest since culling ended in the park in the 1960s. The decrease has been attributed to predation by reintroduced wolves and a large bear population, hunter harvest, and drought related effects on pregnancy and survival. The State of Montana has reduced the permits issued for this herd so that hunting of females now has little impact on population size.

FPhoto-7---Wolf-Pack-Attack

There are some indications that elk–wolf interactions are contributing to a release of willows and other woody vegetation from the effects of herb ivory on the northern range. Wolves have altered the group sizes, habitat selection, movements, distribution and vigilance of elk while the proportion of browsed aspen, cottonwood, and willow leaders has decreased in some areas during recent years and cottonwood and willow heights have increased significantly. Research is underway to determine how climate, hydrology, wolf predation/avoidance and herb ivory interact in their effects on these woody species.

Conservationists crying wolf? Yellowstone’s ecosystem more complex than previously understood
April 2, 2014
Since their reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, wolves have been heralded as the controversial savior of Yellowstone’s ecosystem.

Elk and wolf populations:
However, new research by ecologists at CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources proves that many diverse variables must be taken into account to fully understand how ecosystems respond to changes in food web structures.

The research is the first to show that reductions in elk numbers following the reintroduction of wolves are proportionate to increases in willow height along streams in Yellowstone. While that could lead to the simple conclusion that wolves improved the ecosystem, their central finding was that the relationship between elk populations and willow health was also dependent on geography, climate, and water supply for the willows.
‘Not that simple’
“The effects of modifying a food web can’t be predicted by only studying one thing in isolation. No single force explains the patterns of plant establishment and growth in Yellowstone over the past three decades,” said CSU Professor Thompson Hobbs, co-author on the paper who is also a research scientist at CSU’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. “It has been popular and convenient to tell the romantic tale that wolves have restored Yellowstone. But our findings prove that it is not that simple.”
The removal of wolves is commonly associated with an increase in populations of herbivores, such as elk, who then over-browse plants, such as willows. Conversely, willow growth and abundance is often credited as an indicator that wolf reintroduction has directly resulted in ecosystem improvements.

What the pro-wolf people want you to believe is; the Northern Yellowstone elk herd should be less than 4,000 elk for the carrying habitat, now this is remarkable. Now the Yellowstone biologist are saying the wolves have moved to kill the Bison as there in not enough elk left, plus wolves have taken off and left the Park.

FPhoto-4--Wolves-On-A-Bull-

So here you can see; even in a place that cannot be hunted by the public and is fully protected the elk are devastated. Apply this same equation to your hunting area where there are wolves now or will be wolves soon; both will have the same results, low to no elk numbers.

In the Arizona Game and Fish comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on proposed revision of Mexican Wolf 10j Rule. (you need to get a copy and read it)

17. Big Game Impacts, “assumptions”; v. the combined total of lost elk permit revenues/year, based on 100-wolf population, is $582,285; vi. Furthermore, 3741 permits x 4.9 (average hunters-days per permit) = 18,331 hunter-days lost/year and 18,331 hunter-days lost per year x $224.83 (value of a hunter-day in Arizona with economic multiplier) = $ 4,121,359 elk hunter contribution to Arizona economy (mostly rural communities) that is lost annually per 100 wolves.

The Arizona Game and Fish in-depth assessment “assumption” states each wolf will kill 16 elk per year, at 100 wolves x 16 = 1,600 elk removed per year.

It also continues on and includes Mule deer lost hunter opportunity and economic loss to the people of Arizona

Well my fellow sportsman, you may or may not agree with me on the above but I hope you make a copy of this, set it aside and look at it ten years down the road. Hunting, fishing and trapping are my customs of life and I will fight to the end to keep them, I hope you will do likewise.

For more information  on the Wolf Problem please go to: Lobo Watch