Raising wolf recovery goals challenges good faith, says wolf advocate

Federal officials are likely to remove wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and a small piece of northern Utah this week.

Some environmental groups –including the Defenders of Wildlife – have filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue to stop the delisting, but unless one of the states, such as Wyoming, decides to go on a wolf killing spree, the groups won’t file their lawsuit until after April 28.

With 1,500 wolves running wild in the recovery area, federal officials and most biologists say the predators are biologically recovered. But some conservation biologists, geneticists and environmental groups say 2,000 to 5,000 wolves are needed in the region for a viable population. They argue that there isn’t enough connectivity between the wolves of the Northern Rockies and the wolves in Canada. Plus the wolves in Yellowstone, they say, are not mixing with the wolves in Idaho, Montana and the rest of Wyoming.

So until the wolf population grows and the states change their wolf plans to require more than the 300 wolves, which has been the recovery goal since reintroduction, these groups oppose delisting.

For many ranchers and others who were involved in the polarized negotiations that led to reintroduction, the raising of the bar for recovery by environmental groups, especially Defenders, sticks in their craw. The man who negotiated for Defenders also doesn’t like it.

No one was more responsible for making the reintroduction of wolves happen politically than Hank Fischer, the former Northern Rockies Director of the Defenders of Wildlife. He was the father of Defender’s successful private compensation program that paid ranchers for losses to wolves.

And he was the point man for the wildlife advocacy group as it prodded political leaders to accept the reintroduction plan. Today he works for the National Wildlife Federation, quietly working to pay ranchers to give up their grazing allotments in areas where their livestock conflict with wildlife.

The federation doesn’t support delisting because Wyoming still treats wolves like vermin in most parts of the states and the Fish and Wildlife Service has approved it. But it has not joined Defenders and others in its lawsuit.

Fischer agrees with his group but he doesn’t agree with the move to raise the recovery goals above what was set in 1994, numbers and plan Defenders backed.

“It’s not like we pulled these numbers out of thin air,” Fischer said. “We got them from the wolf experts of the time. We exceeded those numbers by a great deal.”

At stake, Fischer said, is the credibility of environmentalists who sit down with user groups to negotiate deals to protect their values.

“We did it in good faith and it really undermines credibility when you don’t do what you said,” Fischer said Monday.

When he was going from ranch to ranch, meeting to meeting and congressional office to congressional office for a decade to push reintroduction the plans, wolf opponents held the upper hand. His plans moved forward because thoughtful ranchers and Senators like James McClure sought a way to protect the values of ranchers and hunters while recognizing the values of wolves to Fischer and others.

They lived with the compromise based on the plan presented.

“Now we have the upper hand and we have to show compassion for their needs,” Fischer said.

Suzanne Asha Stone, who now holds Fischer’s job for Defenders of Wildlife, said she doesn’t know what kind of “back room” deal Fischer promised. Defenders’ scientists have long questioned that the recovery goal of 300 wolves in the region was enough, she said.

As genetic science has improved, the evidence more wolves are needed has grown, she said.

“It isn’t about changing the bar it’s about having a viable population of wolves in the region,” Stone said.

Fischer thinks the current population is viable and he's confident it will grow, at least in Montana and Idaho.

I think wolves are going continue to spread and expand their rank," Fischer said. "They’re going to find places they can thrive."

Let us know when something new is said? Thanks.


No one should be suprised the wolf advocates are now pushing for more wolves and raising the bar. It reminds me of the pushy salesman who slips thru your front door asking for a minute of your time and then staying till he makes a sale or you have to call the police to get rid of him. These people will say or do anything to get their way.The hidden agenda of a lot of these conservationists is to create human free zones from border to border since they cant get these areas declared wilderness. The idea the wolves cant make it to canada to breed is insane. Wolves go where they want to and the experts have no idea where they are or how many there are any more than we know how many illegal immigrants there are in the U.S. If the experts are so smart then they wouldnt need a never ending source of research grants or Govt funds to fund their studies.There is still a paper trail of phoney economic impact studies that tell us how millions of dollars will pour into the area thru tourism and wolf watchers It never even came close. Who is Suzanne Stone and her supporters to decide how many wolves should roam the country and where. When wolves move into the Boise area and are seen in sub divisions peoples opinions will change fast.Most of us here knew their original plan would be to get their foot in the door then demand more,they never had any credibility with us The idea of buying out grazing permits where conflicts exist has merit but if the cattle are a source of food for the wolves and they are gone the wolves will move onto other areas where the cattle are. As those grazing permits disappear the small ranches will go out of business and the ranches will be broken up and sub divided into more homes being built.. We see that everyday here in Salmon and we also see wolves all year long in residential areas where a food source must be readily available.I doubt the genetic scientists will ever say we have enough and like steelhead recovery some will make good livings studying and we will pay the bill.



The Defenders compensation

The Defenders compensation plan for the most part has been a failure. Fraud exists and it's done little or nothing to change the ranching communities opinion on wolves.

Wolves on wolves?

Thank You Hank Fischer

FINALLY a Logical, intellegent voice from the wolf advocates!! Once again Suzanne nice try at spinning the issue, but why didnt you make all the public aware your groups concerns of wolf numbers?? You had 13 years!! WHY NOW????
I agree fully that the environmentalists credibility is and should be at stake, this seems to be standard operating procedure, trying to change the rules at the last minute though the courts.


Why now. They knew this was coming for at least the last 5 years? Maybe this shows the wolf advocates doubted whether wolves could be successfuly reintroduced. I agree their credibility is at stake.

A Post from a different thread

a little lighthearted reading on wolves
Submitted by jrais on Sun, 03/23/2008 - 12:17pm.

Thought everyone might enjoy this response I received from
heartofthewolf.org after I sent them an e-mail saying I looked forward to legally hunting a wolf. It's a little long, but well worth reading. Honestly, I didn't make any of this up, only altered the off color words so as not to offend anyone.

"Hey a**hole,

That was a lovely letter you sent to the wolf organization I am a member of. You know what, F**K YOU! If you hate wolves so much then you get out of this country and go to a country where wolves are not a native species you redneck faggot! You anti wolf rednecks are nothing more than fascist nazis because you make up only 25% of this nations population and yet you try to dictate to the rest of us! We will fight for wolves until we are put in the ground mother f**ker! Anyway, why don't you anti wolf morons just shut the f**k up and stop tryng to get any excuse to mess with wolves. Don't you people have a life? Don't you rednecks have a clan meeting to go to? It is obvious none of you know how things work. Wolves were reintroduced because the majority of Americans wanted it. Wolves will also remain protected because the majority of Americans want it that way despite that peice of s**t George Bush and our hypocritical government of buerocracy.We will get the delisting overturned! Its not all about a few ignorant and shallow individuals such as yourselves.I also guerantee sometime in this century, trophy hunting will be banned alltogether aswell because thats the way the majority of Americans would prefer it.Besides, trophy hunting is for anyone who is disturbed and sadistic and is probably compensating for a lack of something.Plus, anyone who decorates their homes with dead animal corpses is just a few steps short of being like Jeffery Dahmer in my opinion. The only reason why you people want to kill wolves is because you want to artificially boost deer and elk populations for yourselves and if thats the case, then trophy hunting needs to be outlawed in this country. Also, the right to bear arms and hunting are two total different things. It is the trophy hunters who are depleting the deer and elk population.Wolves hunt to survive. Most humans hunt just to kill and take far more deer and elk than the wolves ever will. Leave the herbavores to the natural predators. Hunting is no longer essential to human survival. Trophy hunting is also animal cruelty and should be banned outright. Besides, if we are going to allow trophy hunting then we might aswell pardon people like Michael Vick, and allow dogfighting. Its causing an animal pain and suffering for fun so its no better than the other. Just because it is not a domestic animal, does not make trophy hunting right. I say ban all trophy hunting along with anything else people do that is inhumane and cruel. The majority of Americans are pro wolf and you people are not going to get your way because we will do everything in our power to stop you.I hate to give all of you a reality check and pull your heads out of your a**es, but thats how it is.By the way, I am getting a college education studying law and politics.Among the causes I will devote my life to after college, will be defending wolves. All the things you people say about wolves is a crock of s**t and the majority of people in this country know it.If you people don't like it, then get out this country and move to a country that doesn't have wolves and where wolves are not a native species. Modern America doesn't wan't you people in it anyway. You can go ahead and get mad and attack all you want but I know what the truth is and I will not apologize for standing up for wolves and wildlife.That is because I know for a fact just how disgusting,corrupt,cruel,and inhumane cowboys and rednecks are over their own personal greed. Horses kill more people than wolves ever have or will. In fact, there are no authentic documented cases of healthy wolves attacking humans in America. So live and let live.I know for a fact that wolves are not what ranchers or you ignorant people try to make them out to be because I had a wolf hybrid as a pet when I was a teenager.I had a great grandfather who rescued a wolf pup from ignorant people such as yourselves, and raised it. That wolf was his favorite animal companion. I have also studied about wolves from every book and article I could find. I have books that go as far back as the 1950s when scientists began studying wolves and people started fighting to protect them, I also volunteer at a wolf rescue and sanctuary to escape where I have to live so you will never brainwash me from what I already know is the truth. I will not quietly let something I love be destroyed over greed. This might strike a nerve with the ranching industry but I am going to say it anyway. As a consumer, I get a choice whether or not tuna is dolphin safe but not whether or not my steak is wolf, bear, or cougar safe? Thats not cool! Anyway, I don't care what some greedy ranchers or morons like you people think! I will fight for wolves and wildlife and any other passion that I have until I am put in the ground. Tell Butch Otter I said for him to shut his f**king mouth and join Senetor Larry Craig in the men's room! To all of you anti wolf morons; F**K YOU!!!"

You have to admire his passion. I have his e-mail if anyone
else would like to respond.

Nah...you just have to call a k@@k a k@@k...

Fischer deserves thanks, but

I see he doesn't support the delisting because of Wyoming's part of the wolf plan, which turns wolves into vermin in 90% of the state.

If wolves are not delisted, I will be because of Wyoming which has stiffed Idaho and Montana governments time after time on this issue.

I couldn't feel more disconnected from this nonsense...

if you paid me.

HONESTLY! It's pretty lame.

They where always here

My first encounter was in 1982 near Atlanta. We watched a large male eat on a deer for an hour or better from a few hundred yards away. Later that year when F&G called doing the phone survey on hunter success I was asked where I hunted. When I told him he asked "Did you see the Wolves?" We discussed the wolf sighting at length. He told me that they had been watching a breeding pair for several years. He said that that year they had 3 or possibly 4 pups.
My second encounter was in northern Idaho in 1995 in an area with "no wolves". These guys have always been around and they are not going away. I lived in Alaska for 10 years and saw that that state is going through. You can give tags away, shoot 5 a year, shoot from the air, trap or whatever you want but it will not slow them down. They are not easily killed. Once they start getting shot at they will just blend into the woods and disappear.
One things for sure, the people on the frontline are crazy regardless of which side of the fence they sit. Neither side makes much since and only hurt their cause. They are passionate about what they believe in though. Take a look at these:


I'm going to start a new organization. Save the skunks! I think Central Park should have 82 breeding pair. Anyone want to help?

I think Central Park probably has enough breeding pairs.