Wolfseeker News 5/1/03 AM
- * Call Of The Wild Echoes In West As Wolf Recovery Succeeds
* Manning Calls For Common Sense Dialogue
* Montana Wildlife Bills: How They Fared
* Wolf Pays Visit To Bigfork Elementary Class
* Editorial: The Culture Of Quietness
* DENlines 4/30/03
Call of the wild echoes in West as wolf recovery succeeds
The predator is no longer listed as endangered, but its future in
Yellowstone remains in dispute.
By Todd Wilkinson | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
PRAY, MONT. - As lifelong cattle ranchers and hunting guides, neighbors
Bruce Malcolm and Martin Davis feel blessed to call Paradise Valley home.
"Living here is a way of life," Malcom says. "Who we are is what we do."
Yet when these modern cowboys look down US Highway 89 toward the rugged
interior of Yellowstone National Park, they are bound together by something
more than topography: Both consider themselves "survivors" of the federal
government's recent - and hugely successful - experiment with restoring gray
wolves to the American West.
From Wyoming's Red Desert far south of Yellowstone and stretching hundreds
of miles northward to the US-Canada border, packs of gray wolves now thrive
in places where even a decade ago there were none.
Today, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service saying that biological
objectives for wolf recovery have been met, ranchers such as Malcolm and
Davis can't wait for the day when Uncle Sam hands wolf management over to
It's an action that few biologists predicted would happen so quickly after
wolves were first returned to Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995.
Earlier this winter, the federal government quietly downgraded the status of
gray wolves in the Lower 48 from endangered to threatened. And by the end of
2004, states could assume control over wolf management, granting ranchers
more authority to shoot lobos that are perceived as a threat to their
Environmentalists are worried that could reverse the trend in wolf recovery,
though Malcolm and Davis regard it as a reward for exercising tolerance
toward animals they claim were imposed upon them.
Biologically speaking, wolf recovery has been an unqualified success, says
Doug Smith, the lead wolf researcher in nearby Yellowstone, where huge
crowds gather each year just to catch a glimpse of the animals.
in 1970, only 500 wolves inhabited the entire continental US, with the
species clinging to a forested stretch of northern Minnesota. That prompted
the federal government to add wolves to the endangered-species list in 1974.
Since then, strict rules protecting the animals from hunting, trapping, and
poisoning, combined with bringing wolves back to places where once they were
annihilated, have shown that Endangered Species Act protections work, adds
Ed Bangs, the Fish and Wildlife Service's leader of wolf recovery in the
Today, the Great Lakes wolf population may number as many as 3,200, and the
northern Rockies population has at least 660, with a new round of pups on
Meanwhile, the Southeastern US has a population of between 80 and 90 red
wolves; and in the desert Southwest, reintroduction of Mexican wolves has
led to a population of two dozen animals.
"The return of the wolf has been a conservation triumph, but here's the
rub," Mr. Smith explains. Environmentalists want to continue the success
story by restoring wolves in the southern Rockies; in Washington, Oregon,
and northern California; and in the East from upstate New York to Maine.
"Wolves could be put in a lot more places," Smith says. "While there may be
an ecological carrying capacity in those spots, the level of social
tolerance necessary for them to survive may not be there yet. I'm obviously
very pro wolf, but I understand the concern of local people."
According to Mr. Bangs, wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone succeeded because
there was a huge swath of public land with abundant game to accommodate
them. Overall, there have been fewer conflicts with ranchers than experts
predicted in the mid 1990s.
Since 1987, when wolf predation was first recorded in northern Montana, 237
cattle, 593 sheep, 57 dogs, and 9 llamas have been killed in the Rockies.
During that same period, 148 wolves have been destroyed. To put the numbers
in perspective, each year in the greater Yellowstone region, ranchers lose
8,300 cattle and 13,000 sheep to natural causes.
"Wolf kills make headlines, but no rancher has been run out of business by
losing cattle to wolves," Bangs says. "That doesn't make us indifferent to
the fact that to an individual livestock producer the loss of a few cattle
... can be costly."
As new wolf packs establish territories outside the national parks and
wilderness areas, the probability of livestock predation has begun to
Lawmakers in Wyoming recently passed legislation that would allow wolves to
be shot outside national parks any time of the year and without limit. In
turn, the Fish and Wildlife Service warned that such a plan could delay the
removal of wolves from federal protection.
Wolf populations can withstand heavy losses, up to 30 percent per year, but
they cannot withstand the kind of wide open extermination-style killing that
the West witnessed in the 19th century, Bangs says. "I've always said that
the best wolf habitat resides in the human heart. You have to leave a little
space for them to live."
Although Malcolm and Davis still resent the government for bringing lobos
back to their corner of the Rockies, they are resigned to sharing the land
"I don't really have any feelings toward the wolves," Malcolm says. "But I
would feel a lot better about the situation if I could better protect my
livestock rather than waiting for a wolf to make a kill."
Manning calls for common sense dialogue
By BRODIE FARQUHAR Star-Tribune staff writer Thursday, May 01, 2003
Wyoming Game and Fish Director Brent Manning said he'll rely on large doses
of "common sense" to guide the department's internal discussions as it
develops a wolf management plan for the state.
Manning's department was criticized recently when newspapers learned wolf
biologist Dave Moody had been sent home for a week, with pay, after Moody
had discussed problems facing department efforts to delist the gray wolf in
Wyoming earlier this month.
All that Manning would say Friday about Moody is that he is "a department
employee in good standing."
Manning said he encourages vigorous debate and discussion within the
department as the best way to reach hard decisions, but emphasized that once
a decision is reached, he expects everyone to get on board and help
implement that decision.
"For example, there are many, many opinions about when we should set certain
hunting seasons," Manning said. If he has a dozen biologists weigh in on the
issue and 11 agree with one set of recommendations, Manning doesn't want the
twelfth biologist "throwing rocks" later on.
If it turns out that the lone dissenting biologist was right all along,
"I'll put more stock in what he says the next year," Manning said.
The director laughed and said he'd heard the old human resources adage that
if something isn't on paper, it doesn't exist. "My goodness, if we put
everything that was common sense on paper, there'd be a lot of unread
documents," he said.
Manning said he's trying to communicate to department employees what his
values are, regarding open discussion.
"If it is good for the state, good for the department, if it is logical and
ethical, then by all means talk about it," Manning said. Yet he cautioned
that he doesn't want management options thrashed about in public, before the
department's management team has had a chance to weigh in on the topic at
Manning re-emphasized his belief that the department is filled with good
people and that open dialogue is the best path toward good science.
Regarding the development of a wolf management plan, Manning said the
department will craft the best plan possible, within the constraints of
legislation passed this year by the state Legislature. Wildlife officials
will draw upon all resources, including Moody's years of expertise, in
developing that plan, Manning said.
The state Legislature passed a bill that treats the wolf both as a trophy
game animal in a limited area around Yellowstone National Park, and a
predator everywhere else in the state.
In his comments to fellow biologists at the 15th annual North American
Interagency Wolf Conference, Moody noted that wolves will be regularly
moving in and out of protected areas, and regularly run the risk of being
shot as predatory animals. In Wyoming, predatory animals can be shot on
That mixture of regulated killing of wolves as trophy animals, and
unregulated killings of wolves as predators, would be a problem, warned
Moody. "That does not provide long-term, adequate protection" of wolves
currently under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, he said, and
could delay the species' delisting.
The Washington, D.C., watchdog group, Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER), has had extensive experience with free speech and
whistleblowing cases around the country. Jeff Ruch, PEER's director, said
some states have better track records than others.
"It really comes down to the federal and state Constitutions," Ruch said.
Some states are more protective of free speech and whistleblowing than the
federal government, he said.
In PEER's experience, administrators can sometimes quash free speech among
employees, while trying to control public perception of their agencies, Ruch
observed. Under the Clinton administration, Ruch appreciated efforts by
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to protect free speech. Babbitt had zero
tolerance for reprisal against employees who raised issues internally, Ruch
said, which fostered the kind of scientific debate that good science
PEER has tangled with the National Park Service, for example, over an effort
to control what Park Service employees can and can't say on their free time,
Ruch said. The Park Service wants the right to grant permission to speak,
Ruch said, and has been challenged by PEER.
"In order to get straight information, some legislatures have passed laws
protecting state employees in their communication with legislators," Ruch
Yet there are limits to free speech for public employees, he acknowledged.
For example, a public employee can't disrupt an agency investigation, said
Ruch, or disrupt agency efficiency. While disrupting an investigation is
pretty clear, Ruch said, the limits for disrupting agency efficiency and who
decides is less certain.
Ruch said a "no surprises" policy for management can be a double-edged
sword. For example, if Manning doesn't want to be surprised by radio or
newspaper coverage of his employees, Ruch said, maybe Manning should have
anticipated coverage coming from a scientific conference about wolves.
Bottom line, said Ruch, the recent controversy over wolf expert Moody has to
have a chilling effect on Game and Fish employees. "They're going to have to
think twice," Ruch said, "wondering how much does the director know" and
whether administrators will be surprised about future news accounts.
Wildlife bills: How they fared in the Legislature
By WALT WILLIAMS, Chronicle Staff Writer
At the beginning of the year, the pro-conservation group the Montana
Wildlife Federation was tracking over 100 legislative bills on fish and
And their view on the upcoming legislative session wasn't particularly
"To us, most were issues that don't need fixing," MWF Executive Director
Craig Sharpe said.
With the 58th session now finished, the end result is a mixed bag for
Only about 30 bills made it past lawmakers, and many of them didn't escape
It's hard to find any group satisfied with the way things turned out. But
that's not the same as saying they're outraged.
"This session in terms of outfitters and guides was a relatively easy one,"
said Jean Johnson of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, which
has often butted heads with MWF on a variety of issues.
Lawmakers were dealing with a projected $200-million-plus deficit this time
around, the first budget shortfall in years. Most battles were over state
agency cuts, tax hikes vs. tax cuts and a failed attempt to tap the coal
So with maybe three exceptions - bison hunting, game farms and wolves -
wildlife issues simply didn't get much attention.
"This was a budget session," Johnson said.
House Bill 42 may be the biggest change for wildlife management to come out
of the state Legislature this year, and no one is quite sure what it does.
The bill at face value simply orders for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to
manage deer, elk and antelope populations in a "sustainable manner."
Just what "sustainable" means is the tricky part.
"The original intent of that bill was not good," said Glenn Hockett of the
Gallatin Wildlife Association, a hunting and conservation organization.
The bill requires FWP to calculate the amount of available habitat for the
three game species and then set manageable population numbers using that
HB 42 originally prevented FWP from using private land in its calculations,
which hunters groups called unrealistic. That language was later removed.
It also ordered FWP to keep animal populations at a level where they don't
adversely affect "private property owners."
Bill sponsor Rep. Debby Barrett, a rancher from Dillon, has long argued
wildlife should be managed to protect farmers and ranchers.
The amended bill now substitutes "property owners" for the vague "Montana
There isn't a clear picture about how HB 42 will alter FWP's practices in
"In effect, what this bill does and what it requires us to do is identify or
beef up our management plan for deer, elk and antelope," FWP Chief of Staff
Chris Smith said.
The largest challenge for FWP will be keeping those populations at
sustainable levels given the lack of hunting access on most private land, he
FWP Director Jeff Hagener said the agency is just starting to look how it
will implement the bill.
"A lot of it is doing a better job of what we do now," he said.
FWP must have target populations in place by 2009.
FISH AND GAME COMMISSION
Recreation groups struck out in their attempt to change the make-up of the
state's Fish and Game Commission, which oversees FWP.
Three bills would've required that one or more commission members come from
a recreationist or conservation background.
All were killed by lawmakers.
MWF and other groups claim the commission - which is made up of
gubernatorial appointees - is heavily weighed toward the state's
agricultural interests and put those interests before those of hunters and
Current law already requires that at least one commission member have a
Teens are about to lose one more excuse to spill out on the couch like Jabba
Starting today, the state will waive the $25 fee for youth combination
sports licenses and hand them out for free.
The change comes from the recent passage of House Bill 248, sponsored by
Rep. Joe Balyeat, R-Belgrade, which guarantees Montana youth 12 to 17 a
first free license.
Balyeat has said the bill will encourage more young people to fish and hunt,
the latter having waned in popular appeal recently.
For that reason, FWP supported the bill despite the fact the agency could
lose $42,000 annually in license revenue.
"We saw it as an investment in the future in those young hunters and
anglers," Smith of FWP said.
RIGHT TO HUNT
Balyeat also passed a bill - HB 306 - putting before voters a state
constitutional amendment guaranteeing residents the "right to hunt."
Balyeat has said he brought the bill because there have been recent efforts
in other states to limit hunting.
The amendment would read in part: "The opportunity to harvest wild fish and
wild game animals is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the
individual citizens of the state."
HB 306 easily passed the Legislature, and now voters will take up the issue
during the November 2004 elections.
* The legislature ended a 12-year-ban on hunting wild bison with the passage
of SB 395, sponsored by Sen. Gary Perry, R-Manhattan. The hunts won't begin
until Fish and Game Commission first authorizes the sale of special bison
licenses. But FWP has said it could institute the first hunts by 2004.
* An effort to overturn a voter-approved initiative banning new game farms -
HB 379 - died after much debate in the House. Also meeting its death was a
proposal to financially compensate existing game farms for their alleged
* HB 486, a ban on importing elk or deer carcasses from areas that have
proven cases of chronic wasting disease, made it past the House but died in
a Senate committee.
* Hunters will be able to bag a second, anterless elk during hunting season
thanks to the passage of SB 122. FWP will sale special licenses in areas
with large elk concentrations.
Wolf pays visit to Bigfork Elementary class
By SUE ELLISON
Centuries-old fairy tales and modern cinema have portrayed the wolf as
big, bad and a character to be feared, but wolf wrangler and storyteller
Bruce Weide says that kind of fame wolves can live without.
"They do not eat little girls in red hoods and they don't eat their
grandmothers, either," Weide told third and fourth graders at Bigfork
Elementary School last week. "We tell stories not just to entertain
ourselves but also to teach lessons."
The lesson in "Little Red Riding Hood," Weide said, is that moms tell
their girls to stay on the path and don't talk to strangers.
"The story is not warning us to stay away from wolves dressing up as
grandmothers. It's about obedience and discipline," he said.
Weide and his wife, wildlife biologist Pat Tucker, founded Wild Sentry,
the Northern Rockies Ambassador Wolf program, in 1991 to dispel the myth of
the big bad wolf and to support reintroduction of the gray wolf in habitat
where wolves roamed before they were wiped out by civilization.
"In 1930, we managed to kill the last wolves in Montana," Tucker told
the students. "We tend to kill what we fear."
Tucker and Weide are the human half of the Wild Sentry troupe that
travels to schools in areas where wolf reintroduction and protection may be
possible. The other half is made up of Koani, an 11-year-old gray wolf, and
her mixed-breed canine companion Indy. After Weide and Tucker entertain and
instruct students on legend versus reality, Koani and Indy are brought into
the classrooms, where the children can visually compare and contrast the
features of the animals, including their social skills.
At Thursday's presentation, Indy-wagging his tail and sporting a red
neck bandanna-wandered into the classroom independently and immediately
headed for the children and their attentions. Once black, the graying Koani
entered hesitantly at Tucker's side. On a leash Tucker held with a firm
grip, Koani stood and looked around the room, her tail tucked down against
her leg. Tucker pointed out the difference in the way dogs and wolves carry
"Koani is socialized but she's still a wild animal," Tucker said,
explaining that socialized wolves are bad dogs but great wolves. "We've
spent hundreds of hours getting her used to being with people. Taking her
for a walk is like trying to walk a 100-pound cat on a leash. She has a mind
of her own. Wolves can't be taught to obey commands."
While the Wild Sentry program challenges wolf stereotypes, it stresses
the wolf as a symbol of all things wild and acknowledges that wolves are
"Coyotes and bears also kill livestock, but we're not as afraid of
them," Tucker said. "Wolves sometimes kill cows and sheep, but a lot of
wolves live close to them and don't kill them. Native Americans saw wolves
as animals to respect. They saw how they worked together as a pack to bring
down animals much larger than themselves."
Tucker said losing livestock to wolves is a financial and emotional
loss, but like the varied colors of "gray' wolves, the issue is "not all
black and white. There are shades of gray."
Koani-named for the Blackfeet word "play"-was born in captivity with
four other wolf pups. A filmmaker asked Weide and Tucker to raise and
"socialize" her for her part in an ABC documentary about wolves. With
filming complete, the couple faced a choice of euthanizing Koani or creating
an organization where her social skills could be put to work as an
ambassador for wolves.
Now 11, Koani has traveled the country and visited more than 20,000
school children each year for the last several years. With Indy, she has
appeared in several network and public television documentaries. Koani lives
in a naturally landscaped one-acre double fenced enclosure with a water
spring. She can visit Weide and Tucker in their home anytime by means of a
40-foot tunnel connecting her enclosure with a small one in the house living
In the classroom, Koani ably demonstrated some behavior shared by
wolves and dogs that shows a genetic link. Tucker placed a dab of hand soap
on a piece of paper towel and put it on the floor for Koani to explore.
First, she tore at the paper with her paws and teeth, then rolled on it to
get the scent on her fur.
"She tries to get the scent on her neck," Tucker said. "If she was in a
pack, when she went back the other wolves would smell her neck and that
tells the others what's in the neighborhood."
Teacher Johanna Bangeman volunteered to allow Koani to show her
"greeting behavior." When Bangeman knelt down and put her face close to
Koani's, the wolf signaled friendship by sniffing and then licking
"Dogs use that same wolfish behavior when they lick your face. They're
looking for attention. It's a leftover trait from their ancestors," Tucker
said. She explained that when a wolf mother returns to the den after
feeding, the pups lick all around her mouth to make her regurgitate food for
Weide and Tucker cautioned the children about the dangers of taking a
hybrid wolf for a pet.
"Fifty percent of them are dead before the age of two," Tucker said,
adding that when inherent wild wolf behavior begins to surface, many owners
have the hybrids put to sleep. "Koani was submissive until she was one and a
half, then she started pushing.'
Third grader Cody Phelps accompanied Weide to the special van Koani and
Indy travel in and was rewarded with the chance to pet Koani.
"Her fur is soft on the bottom and poky like a deer but not as poky,"
Cody said. "It was pretty cool."
Weide and Tucker recently received one of the nation's highest
conservation education honors, National Wildlife Federation's National
Conservation Achievement Award as Educators of the Year.
Wild Sentry is a non-profit organization that relies on memberships and
grants for funding. Upon entering the Wild Sentry Web site at
www.wildsentry.org, Internet users are greeted with a lone wolf howl. Tucker
and Weide have co-authored several books, a video and a television
documentary about wolves and have presented wolf education programs to
schools, sportsmen's groups, scientific symposiums, business associations
and conservation groups. To learn more wolves and Wild Sentry, log onto the
organization's Website or e-mail wildsent@....
The culture of quietness
Geoffrey O'Gara and Dan Whipple DUE WEST
Talking to a group of University of Wyoming students recently, Professor
Beth Loffreda came up with an interesting phrase to describe the West and
its inhabitants: "The Culture of Quietness."
As a transplant, Loffreda has for years been puzzling out the character of
her new home, with particular attention (and a book about) the murder of
Matt Shepard, a gay student at the university, in 1998. When she uttered
that phrase, we reacted like any greedy writer would: we made plans to steal
We first appropriated it during a midnight drive across Wyoming, when we
pulled over in Wyoming's high central desert and took a walk in the dark and
... quietness. For several months, we've repeatedly made a round trip of
several hundred miles across the state -- not exactly commuting, we like to
think, but migrating.
Though it was midnight, it was not really dark. There were no street lights,
no city glow and no haze to interfere with the starlight, a splash of
diamonds in the ebony canopy. Walking the trail, you could see your boot
strike the dirt, and the spikes of sagebrush to the side, and the chunky V
of Split Rock off in the distance.
And the quietness, too, was not really. A hiss of a breeze rustled the
sagebrush. There was a distant chortle from the Sweetwater River. And then a
coyote howl, followed by an answering bark from an irritated dingo at a
ranch to the west.
The quietness here is not an absence of sound, but of human voices.
That, more and more, is unique to the West. The modern world is a babble of
human tongues, always speaking to us. The radio when we drive. The hum of
conversation in the grocery store. The instructor in the classroom. The
know-it-alls on Fox News Network. Talk talk talk.
In many parts of the United States, that's all there is. People aren't
privileged to drive down an empty highway, walk a short distance off the
pavement, and have only the coyotes and pronghorn and stars to talk to.
But the Culture of Quietness that Loffreda mentioned has more to do with how
people communicate with each other. Or don't. If something doesn't fit our
image of ourselves as Westerners -- like Matt Shepard -- we may not talk
about it at all, until it's too late. The stoic cowboy is the underlying
myth, and the talky complainers -- social activists, for instance, or
environmentalists -- must be outsiders. Many people whose opinions violate
the myth have learned simply to keep their mouths shut.
As migrators, we identify with other migrating animals. When we're in this
high desert country, we pay particularly close attention to pronghorn. This
time of year, we often see them marching along, single file, heading north.
They've been doing this for ages. But lately, their journey through Wyoming
has become more difficult.
There's a long migration corridor over in Green River country, running from
south of the Red Desert -- Colorado, really -- up around the Pinedale area
and into the Gros Ventre Mountains. Eventually, some of these pronghorn end
up in Grand Teton National Park.
Now the 200-mile corridor is getting pinched in several places. The public
land managers favor expanding energy development in the Red Desert; the
Bureau of Land Management is at work now on a new Resource Management Plan
for the Pinedale area, where big natural gas fields are poised for
expansion; there is big coalbed-methane potential in the south; and
second-homers are rampant in Sublette County, each hoping to fence off his
own 20 acres of quietness in a culture where land use regulation is
State and local land planners and federal land managers must assume that,
discounting the lamentations of environmentalists, the Culture of Quietness
will prevail, and they can steer their decisions by the beacons of our
federal masters or the moneyed interests which almost always favor
So, as we migrate again across the high desert, we keep an eye out for the
pronghorn. Early one morning, we get out again to stretch our legs.
After a short walk, we spot a pronghorn, profiled on a ridgetop against the
red sunrise. We freeze, and in the quiet of the morning, he looks at us,
just a human afoot, quiet and unfrightening.
That stillness, that absence of car noise or human noise, is what's special
about Wyoming. That quietness is what we love. But we do not love the
Culture of Quietness. For the sake of that pronghorn, and many other things,
we cannot be quiet.
DENlines April 30, 2003
A Bi-weekly Update from Defenders of Wildlife:
Working to Save Wildlife and Wild Lands
ENVIRONMENTAL HERO: He quits Forest Service in act of conscience
WHO NEEDS PUBLIC INPUT? Forest Service wants to ignore e-mail comments
SCOFFING AT THE LAW: Norton seeks to delay endangered wildlife
HELP SAVE AMERICA'S WOLVES
EARTH DAY REPORT: Environmental leaders lay out case against Bush
PROTECTING HABITAT: States making improvements for wildlife in road
RIVER OF GRASS: Sugar industry trying to kill restoration of
1. ENVIRONMENTAL HERO: He quits Forest Service in act of conscience
Jim Furnish is a life-long Republican who voted for President Bush.
But he resigned after 30 years with the Forest Service to protest the
agency's opening of our national forests to unsustainable logging and other
quick-cash exploitation at the expense of endangered wildlife. Furnish, who
was the agency's deputy chief, said he was powerless to stop the Bush
administration's anti-environmental assault. "It was like I was the manager
of a professional baseball team," he said. "When the team took the field,
the owner made me stay in the clubhouse. In fact, I couldn't even see the
game." Furnish has been speaking out against the Bush administration's
proposal to gut the National Forest Management Act to allow more logging of
our national forests.
2. WHO NEEDS PUBLIC INPUT? Forest Service wants to ignore e-mail
The Forest Service wants to make it official policy to ignore comments
from our DEN and other e-activist networks. The agency has stated it will
pay less attention to form email comments, such as those sent through DEN,
on its national forest regulation rewrite, and that it won't accept such
comments at all on the final 15-year plans for managing each national
forest. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth told the San Jose (Calif.)
Mercury News that it "just distorts the picture" to accept all the opinions
of concerned citizens on these important plans," and that he doesn't like it
that public opinion "always ends up becoming an issue."
3. SCOFFING AT THE LAW: Norton seeks to delay endangered wildlife
Interior Secretary Gale Norton wants to delay court-ordered actions to
protect 24 endangered species, including the Canada lynx, according to an
internal department memo obtained by the news media. "That shows a blatant
disregard for the judiciary," Defenders of Wildlife chief counsel Bill Snape
told the Los Angeles Times. Norton blamed a money shortage, but
environmentalists pointed out that she hasn't asked Congress for help to
save wildlife. Instead, she's engineering a budget crisis to avoid
curtailing commercial activity on land essential to the survival of
endangered species. Meanwhile, many species continue their slide toward
Secretary Norton is allowing big corporations and industry insiders to
determine government policies that will seriously weaken implementation of
our nation's environmental laws. To urge President Bush to remove her from
office, go to www.StopNorton.org
4. Help Save America's Wolves
Hundreds of precious wolf pups will soon be born in Yellowstone
National Park, the southwest and central Idaho. Yet, just as these newborn
pups start their lives, Secretary of the Interior Norton has taken the first
step to prematurely remove protections for wolves under the Endangered
Species Act. Norton's actions will take us back to the days when state
governments actively promoted wolf extermination. That is why Defenders will
take Gale Norton to court to stop her. But litigation will be long and
expensive. We need to raise $150,000 in the next 60 days. Click here to
5. EARTH DAY REPORT: Environmental leaders lay out case against Bush
More than a dozen national environmental groups, including Defenders
of Wildlife, marked Earth Day by demanding that the Bush administration stop
undermining laws protecting our air, water, wild lands and wildlife. At a
news conference in Washington, D.C., environmental leaders laid out their
case against the administration's anti-environmental policies. Defenders
President Rodger Schlickeisen spoke against the Pentagon's push for blanket
exemptions from U.S. environmental laws. "There is simply no need to
sacrifice the health of our families, our communities and our wildlife to
effectively train our troops. Indeed those are some of the things they fight
to defend," he said. Read his statement by clicking here.
6. PROTECTING HABITAT: States making improvements for wildlife in road
A new report by Defenders of Wildlife and the Surface Transportation
Policy Project highlights the toll that roads have on wildlife and
innovative programs to reduce that toll. The report "Second Nature:
Improving Transportation Without Putting Nature Second" commends states like
California and Florida for better planning and construction methods. These
states are using advanced technologies to avoid and protect key habitats in
transportation planning, and they are building passageways to let wildlife
safely cross roads bisecting their routes. To read our report, click here.
7. RIVER OF GRASS: Sugar industry trying to kill restoration of
Defenders of Wildlife joined a coalition of national environmental
groups urging President Bush to persuade his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush,
to stop the sugar industry from scuttling restoration of the Everglades.
Sugar growers are behind legislation in Florida that would delay for 20
years the cleanup of pollution. ''The Florida Everglades are nationally
significant, and we need to protect them,'' said a letter to President Bush
from Defenders of Wildlife, the National Parks Conservation Association, the
National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural
Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense, the Ocean Conservancy, the
World Wildlife Fund and the Wilderness Society.
To read our letter to the president, click here. To send a message to
the president yourself, go to http://www.denaction.org and click on alert
If you live in Florida, urge your state representatives and senators
to oppose legislation threatening efforts to restore the Everglades. Go to
www.denaction.org and respond to Alert #227.
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Copyright Defenders of Wildlife 2003