Stop the unjustified killing and hunting of Montana's wolves. Use science!
Stop the unjustified killing and hunting of Montana's wolves. Use science!
Why this petition matters
Below is a running total of written signatures that are occasionally sent in by environmental organizations. They can be added to the number of online signatures to give the total number of petition signatures:
7286 written signatures as of 2/18/17 (add to number of online signatures).
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In Montana, there is only one source of wolf population numbers: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. In the past, their five Wolf Management Specialists spent the year "counting" wolves throughout the state. These numbers were then used to set wolf management policy, along with the number of wolves that will be killed. When I asked our then local Specialist Kent Laudon what protocol is used to collect these data, he responded with, "Jay there are no protocols. No protocol would be necessary or even help really." In other words, science has never been used to collect even the most basic information about wolf populations in our state, at least by FWP. Yet, these animals are being slaughtered every year. Now, instead of using Wolf Management Specialists to obtain most of the wolf population data, hunter observations are used. Nevertheless, FWP claims they use science, despite no scientific protocol to control for the "objective" data provided by the people who paid FWP for the right to kill wolves.
Below, I present you with the evidence that documents the systematic "genocide" of a species and what you can do to prevent it. No one scientist or environmental group will stop this. Only when humanity decides that the lives of animals are important will this unscientific and senseless policy cease. Please step-up and help these beings whose lives are an intricate part of healthy ecosystems. The truth is right in front of you.
Currently, there are two wolf issues that people find confusing: 1) The removal of all gray wolves from the federal government’s Endangered Species Act (ESA); and 2) Their management by the states. The ESA designates U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as the agency responsible for determining what species are endangered and place them on the Endangered Species List (ESL). After this happens, USFWS is responsible for removing species from the list and the ESA gives them the power to do so. The wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming were removed from the ESL in 2009, but currently the ESA still provides minimal protection: it only requires the states to maintain 100 wolves with 10 breeding pairs. They can kill the rest which is exactly what Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are doing. If the few remaining protections are lifted, then the states are free to kill ALL of their wolves with no intervention from the federal government. Nevertheless, the remaining federal protection doesn't help much because the wolves are being slaughtered anyway as part of wolf management at the state level.
Environmental groups and other organizations are currently fighting to keep the wolves protected. However, even if they "win" and wolves remain under the minimal protections of the ESA, then the status quo will also remain - hundreds and hundreds of dead wolves. No one has yet addressed the actual problem which involves the erroneous and misleading information provided by state wolf management. Despite all of the lawsuits, protests and rallies, the killing of wolves has only gotten worse, both in number and violence. Nevertheless, the solution is straightforward: the public must hold government agencies accountable for their deplorable management practices that do not follow scientific protocols. If not, wolves will continue to die, thus my petition. I’ve provided the world with my published review of the government’s flawed data and how they exploit this misleading information to justify their slaughter of wolves. Use my paper. Use the published papers of other scientists as well which demonstrate that the killing of predators, both aquatic and terrestrial, degrade the world's ecosystems. This is a concern for the health and safety of all people. In other words, management agencies, such as Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, disregard the proven science that demonstrates the destructive effects that killing predators has throughout entire ecosystems. You can use what what science knows in a logical and reasonable way to stop the senseless and irresponsible mismanagement of our wildlife at its source.
To do this, the public must demand answers from wolf managers, via phone calls, emails, etc., and help scientists like me to reach the upper levels of management and expose their false information and debunk their claims of science. These are your wolves and it doesn't matter if you live in Montana or not. Most of these animals live in national forests which any U. S. taxpayer owns. You pay these people to provide the service of "managing" your land, yet their own data demonstrates their incompetence and destruction of the local environment. In the food service industry, would you pay someone to provide you with a lousy meal? This is business, and wolves are slaughtered for money and convenience despite the science that demonstrates their importance in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Please continue reading to learn more about my research and published scientific review of FWP’s flawed data, and how this petition will help wolves.
For over twenty-seven years I have researched and taught about wolves. Having had the longest running behavioral study of these animals in Montana’s history, outside of Yellowstone National Park, my interactions with wolf management agencies has been extensive. I have found that most managers have an appalling lack of knowledge about these animals, along with a disregard for science.
At the end of 2011, I published a paper in a peer-reviewed scientific journal that analyzed the data found in the annual reports published by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP). This agency is responsible for wolf management. Their information was filled with fabricated numbers used in making management decisions, such as determining the hunting quota. In summary, my review found:
1. The scientific method is not used during data collection which makes management decisions based on this information highly questionable. As noted above, Kent Laudon, one of the Wolf Management Specialists who collected the data, informed me that no protocols are used during data collection. This is important because the conclusions derived from the data cannot be any better than the quality of data collected. In other words, wolf management is not based in science as FWP has claimed.
2. There is no accountability for the repercussions of management decisions, such as killing wolves without proper scientific assessment. Several years ago I took my paper to the Governor's Office and met with Mike Volesky, the Environmental Policy Advisor to the Governor at the time. Among other topics, I asked him about the procedures FWP used to collect their flawed data, because they claimed that wolf hunts were based in science. He said he would "investigate." In subsequent emails, I was passed from one person to the next throughout the FWP hierarchy and never were my questions answered completely or even intelligently in some cases. On my web site, you can read some of my email exchanges with FWP and judge for yourself.
3. There appears to be no quality control of the data which makes FWP seem as if they do not understand or are unaware of what their numbers say. After years of interacting with these officials, I can say that they are a club. Their concept of wolf management acts more like a belief system rather than a set of rational guidelines. They are entrenched in their conviction that what they do is right, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. As a result, FWP uses other peoples’ hatred of wolves to make and save money.
4. Wolves are managed without regard to their top-down influence throughout ecosystems, by ignoring other areas of science such as animal behavior, emotions, intelligence, interactions among life forms, and some basic ecological principles. Although some management may be necessary, hunting wolves remains scientifically unjustified. In regards to emotions, you can read my published scientific study about a captive wolf from the wild that developed PTSD from her abuse by wolf managers and subsequent captivity. She had been shot (tranquilizers via guns) four times and chased by aircraft twice.
5. When the state of Montana created revenue by killing its own wolves, hunting them became a self-serving process, as with the hunting of all managed wildlife. Hunting wolves can save the state money by reducing costs, creating revenue, and collecting opportunistic data from hunters. Therefore, money and convenience are some of the reasons to hunt wolves, which implies conflict of interest, especially when no scientific protocols were followed.
6. The actions of FWP bring up the moral issue of how a government agency can use flawed data to make management decisions, kill hundreds of wolves, and be allowed to do so. Even when FWP conducted studies on elk populations, their own data demonstrated that their justifications for killing wolves was wrong. Click here for a summary of that information and current policies.
The global view of the negative effects on ecosystems, caused by the killing of predators, was published by the top biologists and ecologists in the world. Please click here for their published paper in the journal Science, considered the elite when it comes to scientific publications.
I have come to realize that I cannot expect FWP to act responsibly because they do not know what that means. I am responsible for wolf management. So are you. If you want wolves you will have to fight for them. Use what science knows about these animals and understand the data. Use the provided links to educate yourself about the insanity of wolf management and to email FWP officials directly. This is crucial because managers at FWP create a facade with their numbers. It will take some effort to unravel this illusion to reveal the truth.
Through my ten year study of the Fishtrap pack, and from the results of other scientific studies, there is at least one truth science has learned about wolves: the pack is an intricate design of almost infinite complexity. I have learned that rather than a “thing,” a wolf pack is a dynamic process. It is greater than the sum of its parts. The parts consist of pack members interacting with each other and with their surrounding environment. The net result is a force that changes over time as the pack reacts to endless environmental variations such as increasing or decreasing prey populations, prey migration, climatic changes, or when pack members come and go.
The picture above shows a pup who was a member of the Fishtrap pack. I found her shot and thrown into a ditch, and this was when wolves were still endangered. Nevertheless, entire packs could always be removed as part of wolf management control actions. Despite the science, my decade long study of the Fishtrap wolves came to an abrupt end when FWP killed all of them for apparently killing someone's cow. There was no warning, no call, nothing. They just vanished. I had even found wolf pack behavior never before documented, but wolf management is not about enlightenment. It is about killing, because they don't seem to know what else to do, and it is convenient and profitable.
Currently, FWP continues to let the public kill more and more wolves, without knowing how many wolves actually live in the state and without scientific justification. Hunters and trappers are now allowed to kill up to five wolves each. As added incentive, out-of-state hunting fees have also been reduced.
Following is a list of the officials involved in wolf management. They are arranged from the highest political level to the lowest, top to bottom. I urge anyone interested in this subject to email these people and demand the truth about wolf management and clarification as to what is really going on.
Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana, email@example.com.
Martha Williams, FWP Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Volesky, Chief of Operations, MVolesky@mt.gov.
Jim Williams, FWP Wildlife Program Manager, email@example.com.
Diane Boyd, Wolf Management Specialist, DBoyd@mt.gov.
Please visit my web site for more specific and additional information about wolves in Montana and my interactions with the government to end the killing of these animals. My scientific publications and the magazine articles I have written about this issue are available as free PDF downloads. You will see that FWP has no scientific justification for killing our wolves. Until the public as a whole tells wolf managers to stop, this process will continue indefinitely.
The goal is 100,000 signatures: a good representation of different people and cultures from around the world. Make FWP listen. Every signature is emailed to the officials listed above. Enough of the killing. It needs to stop.
Please share this petition with family and friends using Facebook, Twitter or other social media. These are your wolves, the world's wolves. Don't let them die for the agenda of only a few misguided and bigoted people.
Thank you for your concern,
Wolf and Wildlife Studies
This petition began on 3/29/13.