Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin Update

(Jim Dutcher's hand to wolf paw photograph)

A "wolf paw high five" and a big "WAY TO GO!" to U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington for the following:

For overturning the Bush administration's decision to remove gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species List!

On September 23, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked a judge in Montana to return gray wolves in the Northern Rockies to the Endangered Species List, reversing a proposal to drop them earlier this year. That followed the judge's order in July barring plans for public wolf hunts in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The biggest practical effect of Friedman's ruling is to rid the states of new policies permitting those in the Great Lakes area to kill wolves that are perceived to be attacking livestock or pets. It also halts the issuance of permits for the purposes of hunting or trapping of wolves. Thankfully, those "remedies" had not yet been implemented.

After being pushed to the brink of near extinction, the wolf occupies only about 5% of its historical range, which once took in most of the continental United States.

Thankfully - and no thanks to wolf haters - the wolf has recovered steadily in the Western Great Lakes Region since the late 1970s, having migrated from Minnesota into Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Approximate wolf numbers are as follows:
2,921 in Minnesota, 537 in Wisconsin, and 520 in Michigan.

The State of Wisconsin will now have to revoke permits that were previously issued to seven farmers. Those permits allowed for the shooting of wolves attacking livestock and natural resources. Of course, I feel the need to say here that the circumstances would be strictly subjective. What was to stop a permit holder from just killing a wolf that was in plain sight, just passing by, and not attacking livestock or "natural resources"?

While the issue remains unresolved on a permanent basis, state officials have reported that they will most likely seek federal permits that will allow for non-lethal methods to deal with wolves that continually harass livestock. Good idea, and why can't this be a permanent solution?

Of course, the above is all about legalities. We who care about the future of our wolf populations can only hope that everyone will, in fact, abide by the law. Those who are against wolves and fear and misunderstand the wolf and its significance remain fighting to strip the wolf of its protections, and those individuals and organizations are greatly numbered and have financial backings. We who are "pro wolf" need to be counted as well and also need to be doing all that we can to ensure that the wolf remains protected and even respected.

As the Vice-Presidential Candidate Debate is upon us, and Palin is still traveling around the country trying to gain supporters, my question to myself and those who are reading these posts is this:

What can I do to show my support of the wolf and to educate others on this very important issue?

What am I willing to do?

If I lack the finances to donate to this very worthy cause, am I willing to stay current when it comes to the upcoming debates and to make sure that I do not miss an opportunity to be heard in my own community concerning Palin's stance on wolves?

Am I willing to make a sign or signs for others who share my views to take to these rallies - and even the debate - that will bring to the attention of those in attendance Sarah Palin's wolf (and even bear) slaughtering ways?

What about a simple bumper sticker or window sign for my car?

What can I do to Save The Wolves Now?

These are the tough questions that we all need to be asking ourselves, folks, because the wolf haters are strong in number. How did they become so strongly numbered? One wolf hater at a time. We can do the same. We must increase our numbers one at a time, too.

Tell me what you are willing to do, plan to do, wish to do, or are going to do. We all need to have a plan and to stick with it because long after the election, the wolves will remain a target. The fight is far from over, and we have to take action and stay involved.

Wolf lovers unite to Save The Wolves Now!

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