Plan to delist gray wolf endangers other threatened species, researchers find

Dec 30, 2013 by Emily Caldwell
A wolf in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

The federal government's proposal to discontinue protection for the gray wolf across the United States could have the unintended consequence of endangering other species, researchers say.

As written, scientists assert, the proposed rule would set a precedent allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to declare habitat unsuitable for an endangered animal because a threat exists on the land – the exact opposite of the service's mandate to impose regulations that reduce threats against imperiled .

The FWS has "conflated threats with habitat suitability" by stating that U.S. land currently unoccupied by wolves – most of the country that historically served as wolf habitat – is now unsuitable because humans living in those regions won't tolerate the animals, the lead scientist said. This claim runs counter to existing research, which the service did not cite in its explanation of the rule.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to detail what the threats are and if they're substantial enough, they're supposed to list a species and put in place policies to mitigate the threats," said Jeremy Bruskotter, associate professor in The Ohio State University's School of Environment and Natural Resources and lead author of the paper.

"Here, they're saying that they recognize the threat of human intolerance and instead of mitigating the threat, they're just going to say the land is unsuitable."

Were this rule to stand, he said, "Anytime the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that something is in the way of a species' recovery, they can just say the habitat is unsuitable for the species and disregard the threat altogether."

FWS proposed removing the (Canis lupus) from the list of threatened and endangered species in June. The rule covers most of the continental United States where wolves historically existed, before being exterminated by people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Public comments closed Dec. 17, and will be analyzed and considered before the service issues a final rule.

The critique is published online in the journal Conservation Letters.

Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973. The act expanded on previous legislation by providing for the protection of any species in danger of or threatened with extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

The act's language is critical to what follows: In determining whether a species has recovered, the law requires FWS to declare it is no longer endangered in all or a "significant portion of its range." The gray wolf has recovered in the northern Rockies and upper Great Lakes.

The proposed rule, however, discounts the other 85 percent of the wolf's historic range, which stretches across northern states from the west coast through New England and as far east as mid-Texas in the southern half of the country.

"So what the service is saying is that wolves are going to be called recovered in most of the United States despite the fact that very few wolves live outside these two recovered areas," Bruskotter said. "Wherever they are now, that's their range – which means taking the historic and geographic component out of the listing process."

He and colleagues suggest that this practice not only disregards the law, but "specifically creates incentive to destroy habitat in advance of a listing and do things that aren't good for endangered species."

The law also requires the service to consider the "best available science" in assessing whether threats have eased and a species is recovered. Instead of citing the dozens of studies that suggest human support for wolf restoration is high, the service simply ignored this research and claimed that these areas are unsuitable because of human intolerance. When federal protection is lifted, species management falls to the states.

"That process is not the best available science," Bruskotter said.

Bruskotter acknowledged that FWS is under enormous pressure from the opposing sides of a highly contentious fight about wolves: hunters and livestock producers on one side and wildlife advocates on the other. But that pressure doesn't relieve the service of its duty to act on behalf of as the law requires, he said.

"The law is supposed to help the protected species, not just describe the threats to that species. But to construct this delisting rule, they've had to interpret policy and science in every case in a way that either disregards threats to wolves, or treats them as insurmountable," he said. "They're doing the opposite of what the act requires."

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fahmbo
3 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2013
This animal transformed the way we live in dogs. Every single one of those loving, working, loyal beings who maintain us as much as we them, is owed to this magnificent creature. They've earned any and all protection that comes from the spirit they share with us.
Drjsa_oba
3 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2013
This animal transformed the way we live in dogs. Every single one of those loving, working, loyal beings who maintain us as much as we them, is owed to this magnificent creature. They've earned any and all protection that comes from the spirit they share with us.

What a lot of drivel.
I do however agree with the tone of this article. It is a complete cop-out to give up and avoid the issue of conservation and recovery of a species just because it is inconvenient. This will indeed cause greater endangerment to just about every threatened species.
fahmbo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
Perception is everything no doubt, Drjsa. :)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 30, 2013
This animal transformed the way we live in dogs. Every single one of those loving, working, loyal beings who maintain us as much as we them, is owed to this magnificent creature. They've earned any and all protection that comes from the spirit they share with us.
No, unnatural selection removed all the loving, working, loyal individuals who enjoyed human company and left only those who would eat our sheep and our children and our housecats.
Sinister1812
not rated yet Dec 30, 2013
But aren't they in wolf territory in the first place?

And since when was the last time a wolf killed a child? They usually shy away from people. Bears, on the other hand, will defend their territory.
Sinister1812
not rated yet Dec 30, 2013
Number of people killed by wolves, by country. Probably even less now due to lower numbers.
http://en.wikiped..._to_2013
dav_daddy
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2013
From the linked wikipedia page it appears that there have been no wolf related fatalities in North America in the past 50 years.

Further from the data presented it appears that there have only been 3 recorded instances of wolves hunting and killing humans as a food source in the USA ever.

Most of the attacks on humans have been either due to rabies, (the wolves not the people I presume), children approaching them thinking they are dogs, mothers with pups, or wolves that have been fed by humans and thus have lost their fear of them.

Those attacks were usually only a few bites and all were non fatal. Although depending on the time period the rabies probably resulted in at least a few deaths.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (5) Dec 31, 2013
And since when was the last time a wolf killed a child?
Well when I have questions like this I usually check the internet .

"Alaska Department of Fish & Game Technical Bulletin 13 (2002) entitled "A Case History of Wolf-Human Encounters in Alaska and Canada." That study was precipitated by a wolf attack on a 6-year-old boy near Icy Bay, Alaska, in April, 2000. The study documents 80 wolf-human "encounters."
http://tucsonciti...america/

-To be fair we should include desert wolves which have filled traditional niches in many parts of the country.

"In the 30 yrs... March 2006, at least 160 attacks occurred in the United States, mostly in the Los Angeles County area."

"In August, 1981, a coyote attacked three-year-old Kelly Keen in the driveway of her Glendale, CA." She died.

Wolves are killers which is why they were eradicated in most areas. Attacks are rare because they are rare.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 31, 2013
From the linked wikipedia page it appears that there have been no wolf related fatalities in North America in the past 50 years
You did not read it.

"the victim's parents blamed wolves and sought a formal inquest. The following year, a state biologist from Alaska reviewed photographs and subsequently convinced a local jury of non-scientists, convened by the inquest, that the victim's parents were correct." 2005 Saskatchewan

"wolves are generally not dangerous if wolves are in "low numbers," have sufficient food, little contact with humans, and are occasionally hunted."

-In other words they must be managed like everything else in this global park we live in.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
the reason that the wolf was hunted was the prejudice the European brought with them. the European/Asiatic/African wolves hunted people as easy meat because (probably due to massive body counts left to rot during the frequent wars) the wolves learned humans were tasty and easy prey. over in North AM they generally did not prey on humans... HOWEVER

"wolves are generally not dangerous if wolves are in "low numbers," have sufficient food, little contact with humans, and are occasionally hunted."


this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE. when a wolf/hybrid or wolf is exposed to humans, it LOSES its natural fear, and that leads to human attacks. and like i said, we are easy, tasty meat.

Otto has a point and is right.

now that we have interfered, and there is nowhere for the wolf to go without interaction with us, we will continue to have a rise in wolf attacks here in US. the wolf is important in the scheme of things but i figure that (in the end) it's just a matter of time before they end...
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2013
People are more likely to die from things like traffic accidents, stroke, heart attack, murder and even suicide. Why there's such an emphasis on predatory animals (especially when most people live in suburbs or cities), I don't know..
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
In fact, we must also consider feral dogs to be a threat as well. All those "christmas presents" that people drop off in the country are every bit as dangerous as a wild Dingo, coyote or other predator when they go feral and attempt to survive without human intervention.

Feral dogs are also social pack animals, and (this is especially bad around my area) they WILL PREY on anything, including people. we have feral dog packs that have learned to avoid humans around here (because they are 2nd generation or more)... but the ones that have had human contact are plain dangerous.

From the linked wikipedia page it appears that there have been no wolf related fatalities in North America in the past 50 years.

@dav_daddy
you also dont hear about large cat fatalities among humans in the bible belt very often, either...yet i know from experience that people have had to hunt them down after attacks and it never hits the news
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
@Sinister1812

i am not saying this is a "more likely" issue... true, you are more likely to be hit by a bus than die by wolf attack... re-read my post.
WOLVES that are exposed to human contact are likely to not have fear of humans, and will then not worry about avoiding them.

when wolves are trained and released into the wild for animal population control, you must completely avoid human contact, hiding scents, shapes, everything. Humans that must interact with them have a routine that they MUST go through. chemical and other things to hide scent. cover with fur to hide human clothes, and crawl on all fours in the pen.

to attempt it any other way exposes the soon to be wild wolf to humans and removes their fear. Humans that DO interact with them MUST be AGGRESSIVE and do things like SHOOT at them. to create a FEAR mindset
PERIOD
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
@Sinister1812

you may not LIKE what i am saying, but if you do some research, and even TALK to people who have trained wolves to be released into the wild... you will find i am right.

heck, they even had them on TV in a special a few years ago... you must have missed that one. dont "animal planet" much? i think it was on PBS too.

truth sometimes hurts. i LOVE wolves. work with them all the time.

Why there's such an emphasis on predatory animals (especially when most people live in suburbs or cities), I don't know..


maybe the born fear of being eaten alive? adrenaline? why are they so popular in zoo's? this is still a reality in some areas... wild predators...
Sinister1812
not rated yet Dec 31, 2013
you may not LIKE what i am saying, but if you do some research, and even TALK to people who have trained wolves to be released into the wild... you will find i am right.


What you're saying doesn't make sense. Why they would train a wild animal to behave like a wild animal? I looked for that animal planet documentary you mentioned and couldn't find it anywhere online. Is there a link? Or are you just making this up?
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2013
Grey wolves are not endangered:

http://en.wikiped...ray_wolf

They are listed under LEAST CONCERNED. This is a political red herring in the US.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Dec 31, 2013
Its also important to note that any "rules" that we apply as humans to nature are complete fictions and arbitrary values we've made up. Animals have "rights" because we've decided they do. They LITERALLY have no rights apart from human beings or outside a context that doesn't include human beings because animals don't have a concept of rights period. Rights or mores are completely human created.So are lists of species. Nature qua nature doesn't care about extinctions, nature doesn't care about anything.

So let's be clear here...when we're talking about wanting a specific species around we're talking about YOU wanting it around vs. someone else not. We're talking about conflicting human values. Nature is as silent as the tooth fairy on the subject.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
What you're saying doesn't make sense. Why they would train a wild animal to behave like a wild animal? I looked for that animal planet documentary you mentioned and couldn't find it anywhere online. Is there a link? Or are you just making this up?


give me a few days and i will try to find a link. it was a TV show.

as for your comment: rescued/animals BORN INTO CAPTIVITY and then retrained to be released into the wild.

the "wild" is still in them, true. however, certain hunt techniques etc are learned. AND... you dont want a wild predator that is not afraid of humans wandering around in close proximity to humans. therefore, you retrain them and instil in them a FEAR of humans, while attempting to teach them how to hunt, plus more.

Or are you just making this up?


i have re-trained wolves to be released into the wild
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
@Sinister1812

here is a more successful method:
http://www.lpzoo....Wild.pdf

foster PUPS into wild packs.

This is the best method and one that I advocate rather than re-training. Retraining is hard and not always very successful. This is why I dont do it any more.

When I get back home and get to my desk top, I can send you some specific links that are about re-training the older youthful wolves. Right now I am on the road. May be a week or more. Sorry.

here is a link to show why re-training was even necessary
http://www.thepor...ld/26437
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Dec 31, 2013
Sinister1812
another link showing that there ARE "boot camps" for retraining.

http://kunm.org/p...sed-wild

sorry i cant provide more right now... on the road.

Why they would train a wild animal to behave like a wild animal?


but you get the point, right? it happens.
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2013
Grey wolves are not endangered:
They are listed under LEAST CONCERNED. This is a political red herring in the US.


I think they were talking about the North American sub-species.

Thanks for the links as well, Captain Stumpy. I actually believe what you're saying now. Thought you were just making it up earlier. But there are still only a handful of records of people being attacked by wolves in recent times (excluding India and the middle east).
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
But there are still only a handful of records of people being attacked by wolves in recent times (excluding India and the middle east).


Sinister1812
in the past, there were few attacks due to the shy nature of the wolf, and its fear of humans. the humans that did get hurt were generally hurt by rabid/sick wolves, or did something to provoke it, like corner it, try to hurt it, try to get between it and its food/ pups (for the most part). not all natives revered the wolf.

healthy wolves usually did not bother people.

in Europe, it was supposed that the wolf differed because of its proximity to people and the fact that, especially in war torn areas, there was an abundance of bodies to feed the scavengers/predators, which then helped them decrease their fear of humans. then we became tasty treats, but even still... (read section titled ATTACK ON HUMANS)

https://en.wikipe...ian_Wolf

Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
Thanks for the links as well,... handful of records of people being attacked by wolves in recent times (excluding India and the middle east).


Sinister1812
you are welcome.
i am used to people not believing that i live with a pack of wolves, or that i do/have done some of the things i have. short of posting personal information, it is nigh impossible to share enough to prove it, and then there is the troll factor on the internet... so i understand. (for a while, Otto thought i was Obama_socks)

i am out of that part of the game though. although i do sometimes track them or help put pups into dens, i dont do it often any more. part of being older and broken.

i really HOPE that the "handful of records" remains small as well. but i also fear that as humans spread into territory once/still occupied by wolves, and they interact, it will get worse.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 01, 2014
Wolves are not born with a fear of humans. It is culturally acquired. Further, like any wild animal their feeding habits will adjust to the availability of food. When their numbers saturate an area they will begin hunting livestock, pets, and... humans. Which is why, in order for them to continue to be tolerated, their numbers need to be managed.

Animals, including us, produce more offspring than can be expected to live to maturity. This ensures that life will inhabit new niches and diversify. For the wolf it guarantees saturation of a region, and inevitable problems.

Wolves in Illinois, the result of pop pressure:

"The wolf was believed to be a lone male expelled by a pack in Wisconsin. The hunter who shot him in northwestern Illinois, allegedly keeping his skull as a trophy, was the first person in the state ever prosecuted for shooting a wolf under federal endangered species laws."
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
Wolves are not born with a fear of humans.... When their numbers saturate an area they will begin hunting livestock, pets, and... humans. ... their numbers need to be managed.


they will also hunt livestock because it is an easy meal. it is difficult and expensive to keep a wolf in (or out) of an enclosure and/or ranch.
local ranchers will not pay those costs to keep them out.

wolves are shy by nature (which some interpret as fear of humans)... but also notoriously curious (which is bad for humans when the wolf has no fear of them)

NOT arguing against Otto, but supporting his argument. like he said,

like any wild animal their feeding habits will adjust to the availability of food.


i have had to put down a couple of wolves because they escape and take out a farmers Calf, or sheep. just the nature of the wolf.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
the troll factor on the internet... so i understand. (for a while, Otto thought i was Obama_socks)
Well stumpfmann. your phony lack of caps, your improbable caricature, your inclusion of personal info to reinforce this odd persona, your flooding tendencies, your 'desire to learn' re pussycat_lies... All tweak the bullmeter. SOP

Pussytard once worked for NASA too. Coinkydink? Wiki is full of stuff on wolves isn't it?
zaxxon451
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
People are more likely to die from things like traffic accidents, stroke, heart attack, murder and even suicide. Why there's such an emphasis on predatory animals (especially when most people live in suburbs or cities), I don't know..


Fear motivates most human activity, no matter how irrational. Whether it's mythical "welfare queens", atheists, socialists, homosexuals, terrorists, illegal immigrants, bugs, sharks, or wolves. Human masses are taught to be afraid by those in power in order to maintain control over those masses.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
Well stumpfmann. your phony lack of caps, your improbable caricature, your inclusion of personal info...Pussytard once worked for NASA too. Coinkydink? Wiki is full of stuff on wolves isn't it?


not this crap again...
i thought we had gotten this taken care of? with your sock_puppet?
tell you what, Otto.
when this site gets PM back up, you let me know, and i will send you my personal e-mail address. it's not even hard to figure out based on my profile and what you know so far.

how is that? but you will HAVE to send me an e-mail first. then i can PROVE that i am not socks.

better yet, send me YOUR e-mail addy now and i will prove it NOW.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
i am calling you out, Otto.

i got pics, time and date stamped as of right now. just post your e-mail.

i got fat fingers and a small keyboard on this laptop but i can still type...

where are you?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
Well, Otto. when you have time, set up a throw-away g-mail or whatever. (you can always use it later).

then let me know what that e-mail is. post it here.

i've tried being courteous. but i am NOT obama_socks. i am not even Germanic. you should be able to tell THAT because i also DONT believe in RELIGION in SCIENCE... whereas Obama_socks is religious and doesn't care WHO knows.

i will check back.

headed out for now. tired of waiting.

peace
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
nice flood stumpfmann.youve already presented your evidence.obamasucks loves playing games you know?ill continue to observe thankyou fuzzy nasa bearman
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
I think they were talking about the North American sub-species.


Indeed not. Canada has 200000 of them and if you go on a guided hunt there they simply issue you a license for them because they are considered vermin. Most Canadians think we're crazy for re-introducing them into the ecosystem.
Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jan 02, 2014
nice flood stumpfmann.youve already presented your evidence.obamasucks loves playing games you know?ill continue to observe thankyou fuzzy nasa bearman


obama_socks has never sent you any proof, though, has he?

therein lies the difference.

Captain Stumpy
not rated yet Jan 02, 2014
nice flood stumpfmann.youve already presented your evidence.obamasucks loves playing games you know?ill continue to observe thankyou fuzzy nasa bearman


Well?
i am waiting, otto.. still willing to PROVE to you that i am not socks.

socks never did that.
i am tired of the argument.
even when you and i had this discussion before via PM with your puppet, you said the same thing.
youve already presented your evidence.ill continue to observe


still waiting.
Sinister1812
not rated yet Jan 04, 2014
I think they were talking about the North American sub-species.


Indeed not. Canada has 200000 of them and if you go on a guided hunt there they simply issue you a license for them because they are considered vermin. Most Canadians think we're crazy for re-introducing them into the ecosystem.


Well, they're vermin if you're a farmer raising livestock. Other than that, they're a native species.

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