by Stephen Capra
So the hot days of July are beginning to recede; it is a time where one can begin to sense the early outlines of fall. Soon it will be time to stack wood and check the windows. Though fall remains a good distance away in these lands of sun and cactus, one can begin to sense a small shift. Fall is perhaps the best season in New Mexico; it is when the weather and the land come together to sparkle in a bust of cool relief, and calm but shorter days. Yet it is also the beginning of the killing season, one that is repeated not only here, but in a more defined manner across the West.
What joy does the killing of something so wild and beautiful bring to those who insist on stealing such life? When was it said that part of becoming a man is defined by such actions? In our state, Game and Fish departments spend time and resources with children to teach them the basics of “How to kill”.
They want a new generation of kids to learn to trap, shoot, or use a bow to kill that which is wild. The question is why? Why in this time of species being lost world-wide and habitat being lost are we in a much focused manner still teaching children to kill? Why are Game and Fish Departments across the country still trying to make the art of killing wildlife seem relevant?
Well of course there is that word, “Culture;” it seems to be a metaphor for maintaining that which a small minority feels they must inflict their views on to a much larger and opposed majority. Thus we will hear the NRA and endless sportsmen’s groups speak of killing like some kind of religion. Trying to be more modern or engaged, we see a far larger push to bring women and young girls into the killing fold. If you look at Game and Fish pages there seems to be an interest in showing a young girl, gun in hand standing, by a dead deer or elk with the glowing parents standing in approval.
The other more apparent reason for such a new educational push by these departments is self-survival. For every year the hunting population seems to continue to decline, yet they remain in control of the agency that can have the most direct impact on wildlife and endangered species.
But for Game and Fish departments, the handwriting is on the wall. Without a new generation of killers, they will lose the clout and ability to “control” wildlife, and to set the standards by which they will be killed. Besides the pure PR value of engaging children, there is the need to demonstrate a level of support that translates into funding and support from state legislators. Naturally, a photo op full of kids with the Governor does not hurt either.
Getting a new generation of children to learn to hunt and trap is not the direction our wildlife or wilderness need. We must educate our children to use cameras, to write, to film, to leave not bloody carcasses or wounded wildlife, but to take a moment of such beauty with art—not weapons—and share that magic of wildness with the world.
I do not have children, but if I did, much like the recruitment into the military, I would push my children away from the hype and the glory associated with killing. Such one size fits all mentality led to the destruction of so much that we see as wild. No I would push them to explore that creative side of themselves that speaks to the special nature of wildness. To honor wildlife and respect their right to co-exist, while understanding their important role in a healthy environment.
Game and Fish Departments across our country must be changed, they must have a real conservation voice in their midst; they must not educate children to kill, but rather to preserve and respect wildlife. Their future should speak to restoration of lands and waters, to using real science and to get kids out on the land and moving, not sitting in a tree with a gun preparing to kill.
The reforms of this agency come in many forms and needs, but one thing is clear: we must end the poisoning of our next generation to the needs of an agency that has not allowed its policies to enter into the 21st century. Using children to aid in the continuing destruction of wildlife and wilderness is not in the best interests of the future of our public lands; our job is to change the course of such cultural deficiencies, and to get this agency to become a force, not for killing, but rather environmental reform.
by Paul Davidson
Background: For the purpose of some of my history, I have worked on the restoration effort for the Louisiana black bear for 24 years as Executive Director of the Black Bear Conservation Coalition (BBCC). During that time I, my staff, Board and members, have spent over $4 million, mostly private funds, on restoration objectives. We have restored approximately 7,500 acres of private land back to bottomland hardwood habitat, given educational programs to well over 50,000 children and adults at summer camps, civic group meetings, etc., and handled human/bear conflicts for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for 16 yrs. We wrote a Louisiana Black Bear Restoration Plan, a plan used as the blueprint for the USFWS Recovery Plan for the Louisiana Black Bear. We wrote and published 4 editions of the Black Bear Management Handbook, written for landowners with management recommendations for different habitat types in the region. We printed newsletters and other educational materials to help educate the public about bears and how to coexist with these remarkable animals. We initiated two bear festivals, one in Louisiana and one in Mississippi, to show rural communities that bears can be an asset and economic driver in the region. Without going into any more detail, it should be obvious that “I have a dog in this hunt”. For over two decades, the BBCC supported both the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), taking up the slack when agency personnel couldn’t do what we all thought necessary to move bear restoration forward. We got into the nuisance bear business because the USFWS “didn’t have the staff” and because the state agency was mad that the USFWS had listed the bear, so wouldn’t do the job. Since before the bear was listed, the BBCC has always done what was best for the bear, circumventing the politics and personal and other agendas.
It has been disheartening to say the least to see the Service and the LDWF basically “go behind closed doors” for the past 3 yrs. in preparing the delisting proposal and its Post De-listing Monitoring Plan. After all we have done to support both agencies for over two decades, we were completely shut out of the process. As a result, politics has prevailed, integrity has been cast aside, and the best scientific information has been edited to only show that which supports their short-term political agenda. LDWF has put a lot of energy into their PR campaign (more appropriately a BS campaign) to promote that the bear is recovered. They have done such a good job that very few people showed up for the public meetings on the delisting proposal. I have had news media and others with an interest in bears tell me they didn’t know about the meetings. So obviously, both the Service and LDWF did a very poor job in advertising the public meetings.
The Political Agenda: It has not been a secret that the Secretary of LDWF has had as his top priority to delist the bear and have a bear hunt during his tenure at the agency. He was touting this agenda several years before there was any data to show that the bear population might be viable. He has stated how he has communicated with U.S. Senator David Vitter’s office to gain their support for his agenda as well as promoting this with the past 3 Directors of the Service. I have had Service personnel tell me that it was “all politics” and others tell me that they were
under a lot of pressure to delist the bear. This process represents everything that American citizens hate about the government and about politics! After over two decades of an effort that was totally transparent, inclusive, and collaborative, the agencies have excluded all of those who have spent thousands of hours working together to achieve a healthy bear population and gone off by themselves to “fast track” the delisting process for a short-term political agenda. This behavior is nothing short of SHAMEFUL! For years we had doctors, lawyers, business leaders and others just interested in bears take valuable time from their jobs to participate in BBCC meetings because the agency personnel made it clear that they would not attend weekend meetings. We made it a priority to keep agency personnel at the table, only to be betrayed by them and the politics of agency leaders.
Issues of concern: In the original listing document and in the Recovery Plan, habitat loss was cited as the primary cause of the bear’s decline. “Human induced mortality” was also noted as a factor that was “currently limiting recovery”. As a result, the delisting criteria includes : Establishment of immigration and emigration corridors between the two subpopulations, and, Protection of the habitat and interconnecting corridors that support each of the two viable subpopulations used as justification for delisting.
Since there is no clear definition of a corridor, one has to question whether or not those objectives have been met. The maps that supposedly show these corridors certainly show a lot more yellow (open land) than green (forested land). Without question, a lot of habitat has been restored, primarily through USDA Farm Bill programs. But I don’t see anything that resembles what I would consider a “corridor”.
I find the issue of human-induced mortality more of a threat and cause of concern. Section 3.2 of the USFWS Recovery Plan for the Louisiana Black Bear states, “Coordinate record keeping of all reported and investigated bear deaths.” I have asked repeatedly for those data. I have been told that it doesn’t exist and also told that they (the agencies) don’t have to make that information public. So I will ask, how is it that you ask for public comment on the delisting proposal, but don’t give the public the information it needs to make credible comments?
In Section B.1.b in the 1994 BBCC Restoration Plan for the Louisiana black bear, it states, “Though relatively few in number, known kills from tagged and radio-collared bears suggest that annual mortality from illegal take could be as high as 12 %. In Jesse Troxler’s 2013 thesis from his work in the coastal population, he states that 10% of those bears are killed each year in vehicle collisions. In the LDWF’s Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan, page 16, the statement is made, “This represents an average of approximately 13 bears annually that have succumbed to anthropogenic causes of mortality since 1992.” The same numbers were used by the Service in their presentation at the public hearings on the delisting proposal. Where did these numbers come from? This is very misleading. In looking over minutes from various meetings, I found in the April 19, 2012 Minutes of the Endangered Species Committee of the Louisiana Forestry Commission, LDWF Wildlife Division Chief Kenny Ribbeck stated that there were 27 bears known to be killed by human related causes in 2010 and 37 killed in 2011. It is important to have such numbers to be able to document trends in mortality. Mr. Ribbeck also stated that 4 of the deaths in 2010 were illegal kills and 5 were illegal kills in 2011. Yet documents obtained from the LDWF Enforcement Division show no violations related to bear deaths in 2010 or 2011. So are we to assume that LDWF’s information is credible? I think it is safe to assume that all illegal kills are not reported or documented. Likely, only a small fraction of actual illegal kill is documented.
Mr. Ribbeck also stated that there was 1 documented kill by hog snare in 2010 and 2 in 2011. As a result, both Service and LDWF personnel asked that the BBCC write a letter to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission supporting new regulations to try to minimize bear deaths by snares in 15 parishes in Louisiana known as Occupied Habitat. The BBCC did that and attended the April 5, 2012 Commission meeting where it was discussed. At that meeting, Mr. Jeff Weller, Supervisor of the Ecological Services Office of the Service in Louisiana, stated that human caused mortality was a significant issue and could delay the delisting of the bear. The Commission failed to put the regulations in place, but evidently the Service’s stand on human caused mortality was trumped by the politics to promote and “fast track” the delisting process.
Relocation of Nuisance Bears out of the home range: There are several decades of data that show that relocating nuisance bears out of their home range is a bad practice. A remarkable homing instinct causes the relocated bear to try to get home, causing it to cross roads and areas inhabited by people. As a result, fewer than 50% of relocated bears survive being moved out of their home range. In a recent article posted by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department, it stated the 90% of the bears relocated out of the Durango, CO, community were dead within 3 weeks of being moved.
In 1992-93 we moved several bears from St. Mary and Iberia Parishes to the Sherburne WMA in Pointe Coupee Parish. All of those bears generated nuisance problems at or near Sherburne, so most were placed in zoos and 1 was euthanized. Our team, made up of LSU researchers, USDA Wildlife Services, and the BBCC Director, figured out that we needed to do something different. We researched aversive conditioning and talked to other agencies or organizations dealing with bears. In spite of that, a female bear was moved from Cypremort Point in St. Mary Parish to the Sherburne WMA in August of 1994. The young female ended up being pregnant and although she created problems when first released, she stayed in the area and had a cub in February of 1995. A LSU grad student (Mike Sealy) and LDWF Management Area Biologist John Sturgis made a den visit in February when the cub was very small. The female abandoned the den and the cub was lost. The female bred again that summer and had two cubs the following February. There were reports of these bears for the next couple of years. That female was the only successful relocation.
No other bears were relocated until the fall of 1998. The USFWS relocated an adult female and two cubs from the Four Corners community in Iberia Parish to Hwy. 317 in St. Mary Parish. Those bears immediately went from house to house along the road so Service personnel told USDA and BBCC to euthanize them. We were able to capture the mother and male cub and dispatched them according to USFWS orders. The female cub escaped unharmed. We were not told initially, but found out later that those bear’s home range was on and around Week’s Island. If they had been taken and released into their home range, they likely would have survived.
No other nuisance bears were relocated from 1999 to 2007. In the summer of 2007 LDWF and the Service wanted to try to relocate two female bears from Patterson, in St. Mary Parish, to the Sherburne WMA. We agreed to give it a try. Those bears were released on the WMA. One made her way back to St. Mary Parish within a couple of weeks. The other roamed over much of southeast Louisiana for several months before ending up in south Baton Rouge. Dave Telesco, BBCC Biologist, and Emile LeBlanc, LDWF Biologist, chased the bear around for most of a day. She was killed by a car on the Airline Hwy. near the State Fairgrounds 3 days later.
All this history is just to show that relocating bears out of their home range does not work, not in Louisiana, not anywhere where there are only limited options for relocation sites. Decades of data confirm this. Yet in 2009, LDWF decided to abandon the Conflict Management Team that for years had been successfully working together to address human/bear conflicts, and started moving nuisance bears out of their home range. I personally went to see LDWF Assistant Secretary Jimmy Anthony to express my concerns, telling him that it wouldn’t work. He dismissed my concerns and said they would be relocating nuisance bears. They also started to kill problem bears. From 2009 to 2014, 12 bears were euthanized by agency personnel. I have no idea how many bears were relocated, but from what I was hearing from agency personnel, it was quite a few. Several were moved to Avery Island, and identified by their orange ear tags, were seen around homes and one actually entered two homes. Thankfully, the good folks that live of Avery Island are very tolerant of bears.
Too often I would hear from agency biologists that this bear or that bear killed by a vehicle or police officer was one that had been relocated from St. Mary Parish. If ever we are able to see the mortality database that either doesn’t exist or is not available to the public, it will show a substantial increase in human caused mortality after 2008, largely because of the agency’s relocation policy. I doubt seriously that LDWF kept any sort of records to track the mortality of relocated bears, but it would be helpful to see those data. Those data certainly would add to the existing data related to the issue of relocation of nuisance bears. To add insult to injury, LDWF, in another lapse in judgement, served Louisiana black bear meat, taken from a nuisance bear they had killed, at its National Hunting and Fishing Day event in Baton Rouge. In my opinion, that crosses the line from just making poor management decisions to being arrogant and above the law. But the Service let them get away with it, so I guess that makes it all right. I find it unconscionable to serve a federally listed species at a public event, and promote it.
When I look at the list of violations obtained from LDWF Enforcement Division between 2004 and 2014, it only lists 7 violations related to black bears. I have been around long enough and hear enough to know that there are a lot more illegally killed bears than that. I have personally hand delivered a picture of a dead bear that was an attachment to an email where the original sender stated, “A friend of mine killed this near the Louisiana/Mississippi line last weekend. That email was sent to a LDWF employee who then forwarded it to others. One forwarded it to me. I assumed that the LDWF employee would have contacted the Enforcement Division, but when I asked them, they knew nothing about it. So I printed the email and photo of the dead bear and gave it to Enforcement. I checked on the status several times, but after about a month, I was told that they “couldn’t get anybody to talk” so they couldn’t make a case.
The BBCC has always done what we thought was in the best interest of bears and restoring them to viability throughout the region. So activities that kill bears has never been something supported by the BBCC, although in trying to be a supportive partner, not much was said. But at some point enough is enough. We are talking about a federally listed species! Private landowners, timber companies and others are expected to jump through hoops to satisfy the Service’s rule and regulations, but the state wildlife agency does whatever they want, regardless of how many bears die. LDWF bear management is responsible for the deaths of far too many bears to ignore. And now the Service wants to turn all bear management over to this agency. But then the Service doesn’t follow their own rules. The ESA requires a “5 Year Review” every 5 years after a species is listed to track progress. The first 5 year review for the Louisiana black bear came out 22 yrs. after listing. Too bad they didn’t see any benefit in “fast tracking” a 5 year review. Even then the document had misinformation that was appalling to anyone who is knowledgeable about the Louisiana black bear.
I cannot support a proposal that is so politically motivated. I was told by people high up in the hierarchy at LDWF several years ago that the Service folks had assured them they could get the bear delisted by 2015. So all this has been in the works long before there was any science supporting the viability of the Louisiana black bear. I would suggest that the Service abandon this ridiculous “fast track” effort to delist the bear and convene a diverse group to look at ALL the information, and work together to come up with a delisting proposal that is transparent and recognizes the needs of the bear first. Politicians come and go, but the integrity of the Endangered Species Act should be untainted by the politics that seem to prevail with this species. I expect that with the current Congress that an attempt to weaken or scrap the ESA is coming. If the Act is that subject to the politics of the time, perhaps it is not worth saving.
I have a long history in conservation, on issues local and nationally, and prior to this, have never publicly criticized anyone or another organization or agency. But I have had it with the corrupt politics and policies of the current administration within the Service and LDWF. People have lost their jobs for not jumping through the hoops for the current administration at LDWF. In my 66 yrs. I have never experienced the sort of undermining, back stabbing behavior that these men are getting away with. To allow them to have their way after the way they have behaved, is reprehensible. My faith and confidence in government will never be the same.
Both agencies have very reputable and competent biologists, dedicated to excellent conservation and management of our natural resources. I have had numerous conversations with staff with both the Service and LDWF and I can tell you that most find this proposal and everything associated with it troubling at the very least. But then the rank and file employees still have their integrity. The politics undermines all those dedicated professionals and has them counting the days until they can retire. It is a sad state we are in and is no wonder this country is in such pitiful shape. It would be nice to see some integrity in the mix again. It sure was fun and productive when we all worked together.
by Stephen Capra
How is it that some people are born to love wild nature and all that it encompasses, while others view it as a place of profit? A place where wildlife, rivers, mountains wear a price tag, and the end game is to see who can leave there with the most money. Such blood money is generated via oil and gas, timber production, development, nuclear waste storage, trapping and hunting.
Such an apocalyptic vision is a core principle held by our southern Congressman Steve Pearce. Mr. Pearce is perhaps one of Congresses most despicable members. He is an oil and gas man first, nuclear champion, frustrated logger, friend of the livestock industry, quasi-religious fanatic and an in-your-face challenger to anything speaking of biodiversity, National Parks, Wilderness or the EPA.
But if he has a special place of hatred and longing to destroy anything it is the Mexican wolf, really all wolves if he were asked. He is willing to be the symbol for the extinction of the species and has proudly introduced legislation to accomplish just that.
H.R. 2910 is to Pearce and his co-sponsor Paul Gosar (R-AZ) a bill designed to save “families, their children, farms and ranches, from Mexican wolves’ attacks and severe economic losses from harmful federal regulations.” Yes, you read that correctly, a wolf that is slightly smaller than one of my dogs is a threat to all of humanity and must be killed.
Having been to Washington many times to lobby let me explain some things about Mr. Pearce. Having met with him many times, every meeting follows a pattern of him staring at you with real hatred, and then he begins to challenge you in front of staffers in a demeaning tone and one of real authority.
Perhaps his best argument is his hatred of the Federal Government, which he has the gall to present while sitting in the heart of the Federal Government enjoying the ridiculous pay for working 80 days a year and all the government perks and enrichments for him and his family. In other words, this man is a complete jackass without a soul.
The sad reality is he is not alone. He is part of an organized and well-paid sector of Congress, which lives off the largess of Big Oil, Nuclear, Agriculture, Livestock, Monsanto and the Koch Brothers, to try and destroy our Western public lands and all things wild. Wolves are the poster child for this rightwing-fueled hatred that allows this fringe element to continue to have far too large a voice.
The first question in my mind is where is the Democratic response? Who can we expect to introduce the legislation to ‘Protect our Wild Western Heritage Bill,’ one that would expand the wolf recovery program into neighboring states; take control from state Game and Fish Departments and put all recovery and regulation into federal management?
Come on Democratic legislators; we know that the Congressman’s bill is not going to pass…but we also know that he is laying a marker and building momentum. Why is it that we feel we are barely holding on? It’s time to show some real leadership and courage.
Part of our ‘Wild Western Heritage Bill’ should include a sharp increase in grazing fees, the end of Wildlife Services, a new tax on methane from cattle, end trapping on federal lands--and of course more funding for the entire endangered species program, along with a clear directive to put wolves back on the land. Who will take charge for taking our Western public lands into the 21st century? Who will begin to introduce legislation that will transform the West?
We lack the boldness of purpose in terms of land, water and wildlife with many leaders and remain resigned so that they will quietly help us to maintain the status quo. That status quo is opening the door to the likes of Congressman Pearce who not that many years ago called for selling off all public lands!
In speaking with the one of the regional heads of Fish and Wildlife some years back, he said Pearce “put a boot on my head” in terms of wolves, but no such boot came from Democrats. They simply were passive.
Wolf protection is something the vast majority of people want, while our leaders are silent. The President did more harm to the wolf program than anyone, by siding with hunters and ranchers to begin killing gray wolves again. We will protect the actions of our zero Congressman, but we seek a leader in Congress, one that can step out of the shadows and move on a real Western agenda; one designed with our children in mind; one that allows our wildlife, watersheds and lands to heal from 200 years of abuse at the hands of those that see the earth as a place of profit, rather than the Cathedral of Life for all species.
Statement by Stacey Rogers
Castle Rock citizens were deceived; as a petition circulator, I was deceived repeatedly: before I started when I was told "you can't put a price on democracy" and "no deal" (paraphrasing); during the five weeks I worked daily to gather 779 signatures, research the zoning, research incentives ordinance, and work to compile documentation that would contribute to a campaign for the referendum, and the weeks until the petition was withdrawn on June 2.
On the cover the petition, it states: "Summary of Ordinance No. 2015-09, which is the subject of this referendum petition". On April 21, Deanna Meyer responded to Mayor Donahue's question: "what are you hoping to accomplish now with the referendum? What's the whole purpose of this now?" with " My main concern with the referendum is to get people to become more empowered in making decisions in their community; that is the biggest thing."
On my second day of my circulating the petition, I emailed Brian Ertz three pages of signatures (61-90). He responds with "This is wonderful!!! Keep it up!!" Exhausted and sunburned, I reply " I am fried! wink emoticon" to which Brian, of WildLands Defense, responds "That burn you feel is what democracy looks like wink emoticon" Is it any wonder that I am angry that I defended this petition regarding zoning, as stated on the cover, only to find that I, along with just under 3000 Castle Rock citizens who wanted to have a say in their town will not because they too were pawns for a deal for prairie dogs? Apparently, there was a separate petition for prairie dogs and that failed. I know I never signed a petition that was about prairie dogs because I read what I sign; this one was about zoning. In fact, during the weeks that I gathered signatures every single day, many people asked "is this about prairie dogs?" and I told them no, displaying the petition for their review. Accepting this deal made a liar out of me and many others.
For me, the worst part of this entire experience is the lack of integrity of the representatives of WildLands Defense, specifically Deanna Meyer. If I had not trusted her, I would not feel as deceived and manipulated as I do now. Brian Ertz wisely and quite vocally maintained that his position was advisory and that he wanted to see this petition either rescinded or on a ballot, defending himself vehemently and excessively against those he believed to be questioning his motives. Deanna Meyer wrote "The reason I created this group and the reason I fought so hard was to protect prairie [dogs] and their habitat into the future. That has always been my goal and the goal of WLD. The referendum would not have saved any land and wouldn't have secured the safe removal of the remaining prairie dogs.
Through these actions, Castle Rock voters were duped. It is nothing short of disingenuous...and corrupt.
NOTE FROM BOLD VISIONS:
Wildlands Defense (WLD) waged an extensive campaign against us, accusing us of selling out, and used inflammatory phrases like "blood money" when we secured a $100,000+ deal to rescue prairie dogs and to help establish a permanent prairie dog advocacy group in Colorado. From DAY ONE, we stated that a referendum would NEVER pass in that conservative community and that they might cause irreparable harm.
Instead of participating in the deal we brokered with Alberta Development, WLD chose to fight a fight they couldn't win, while deceiving their followers and settling for a fraction of the potential gain.
Remember, the $100K settlement was EARLY in this process; with WLD's participation, not only could those funds been available, but a much greater settlement reached. They chose to vilify and berate us instead.
Conservation is difficult enough; petty infighting makes it impossible at times.
by Stephen Capra
Sometime in the beginning of the 20th century, after the slaughter of wildlife in proportions that few have ever witnessed, states and the country as a whole, undertook the idea that managing wildlife was a means of protecting it. While it has helped certain game species over time, it has been nothing short of “cruel and unusual punishment” for predator species.
The irony of course is that after a slaughter of such epic proportions, why were man, not wildlife regulated? Sure they had to get a license and hunting seasons were created, but why were they not just stopped from such madness and wildlife allowed to flourish. The answer begins with the control that livestock interests have long held over our Western public lands.
No one has played a stronger role in the destruction of wildlife than the livestock industry. From the start, taking lands from Native Americans and killing predators that would harm cows was a business model. Nothing was allowed to stand in the way of profits. Beyond destroying wildlife, the impact to the lands was devastating.
In the 1920’s, the Game and Fish Department was established in New Mexico and men such as Aldo Leopold pushed hard to allow sportsmen as much control over the process as possible. Yet, his efforts were flawed by the ability of Governor’s to control appointment to the Game and Fish Commissions.
Today in our state the Game and Fish Commission could be confused for an FBI Most Wanted List, with clear livestock, oil, Gas and Safari Club membership and no evidence of anyone that remotely has real experience, a science background or a real connection to the environment.
The same could be said in Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Montana, the list is endless. It is wildlife that pays the price with a continuance of trapping, an effort to end reintroduction of wolves. In New Mexico bills have already been introduced calling for the “extinction” of Mexican wolves.
Thus no other agency has more direct ‘blood on their hands’ in relation to the killing of wolves than state Game and Fish Departments. Going on the orders of ignorant and livestock controlled Western Governors, Game and Fish Departments have allowed the slaughter of wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. They have allowed the gruesome killings of wolves that have left their states and travelled hundreds if not thousands of miles only to be killed by so-called “coyote hunters”.
If we are ever to allow wildlife to flourish in America, we must regulate PEOPLE not wildlife. If we are ever going to see wolves and other predator species flourish, we must End Game and Fish Departments as we know them.
It begins with exposing them and educating the public. Few people understand the direct role they play in the killing of wildlife species. In a state like New Mexico where only 4% of the population hunts, why is it that the other 96% are ignored when it comes to wolves and other predator species or the betterment of land and all wildlife? Why is trapping still allowed?
Spare us the argument that its part of our culture! We just saw another symbol of culture come down with the removal of the Confederate flag, so too can trapping. Reform of this agency like removal of such hate filled flags is also long overdue.
In the coming months Bold Visions Conservation will be making a film about Game and Fish, designed to show the reality of this department, to expose the corruption and the total lack of sound science used. Our goal is to see this agency reformed, ended or pressured into real change.
That requires both education and allowing the sun to shine as it relates to how this agency and its corrupt and frankly criminal Commission operate. Making clear the direct link between the Governors that appoint these commissions and the decisions they make. How is it that oil and gas, livestock and sportsmen control the outcome of decisions the vast majority of people in their states would oppose?
Allowing real consensus will allow the true liberation of wildlife and end the continued 19th century mentality that controls wildlife in America. We created these commissions at a time when the killing of wildlife was a true American Genocide.
Today, while some species have recovered, we maintain on these commissions, not an acknowledgement of past wrongs, but a stubborn determination to ignore history as we allow the pain and slaughter to continue.
Our goal is to change a system that has long been broken, and frankly never understood or accepted man’s tendency, combined with greed, to kill anything that stands in the way of profit or dominance.
Shame on us! Yes, shame on us! We can do far better and before another species is lost, before another wolf cries out in pain, caught in steel, alone and dying, we can crush ignorance with exposure than comes in the form of real sunshine for all wildlife and elected officials.
Bold Visions Conservation