Brett Haverstick has been busy. Not only is he the Education and Outreach Director for Friends of the Clearwater in Moscow, Idaho but he’s also the primary organizer for the Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 event. Brett holds a Masters degree in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho and is a man devoted to wolves. When I ask why, he explains his desire to redeem the mistake of past generations who exterminated wolves from the landscape.
June 28-29 are the dates when folks will gather near Yellowstone to speak up for for the vital protection of Canis lupus. With our support, Speak for Wolves has the potential to be the largest and most vocal happening for wolves so far, a time when we can raise a unified voice, network with other advocates from across the globe, and educate ourselves as well. Here are the details, in Brett’s words…
Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014
An opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform and restore our national heritage
On June 28-29 2014, Americans of all-walks-of-life will meet in Arch Park in Gardiner, Montana to tell our elected leaders that we need to reform wildlife management, at both, the state and federal level. Approximately, 3000 grey wolves have been killed in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes region since they were delisted from the Endangered Species Act. There are currently hunting and/or trapping seasons in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
We must stop the wolf slaughter that is currently taking place across the United States. We must address the root-cause(s) of the wolf slaughter, however, and the killing of other predators, as well as bison, wild horses and other members of the animal kingdom. The status quo for wildlife management in America is broken and it must be fixed.
5 Keys to Reforming Wildlife Management in America
1. Restructuring the way state Fish & Game Departments operate
Western governors currently appoint agency commissioners, which essentially, tell the state Fish & Game Departments what to do. This is cronyism at its worst. State Fish & Game Departments are mostly funded by the sale of hunting/trapping/fishing licenses. These agencies are bound into serving the interest of “sportsmen” because it’s the hand that feeds them. Modern funding mechanisms, application of the best-available science and genuine public involvement in decision making are sorely lacking in these institutions and it must be addressed. Another option would be to empower the federal government to manage all wildlife on federal public lands.
2. Removing grazing from all federal public lands
The “control” of native wildlife to benefit the livestock industry is ground zero for the badly-broken wildlife management status quo. For more than a century, the livestock industry has single-handedly transformed the once-wild west into a tamed pasture of cows and sheep, resulting in the reduction of native wildlife populations that compete with habitat and forage. It is also well documented the damage that grazing causes when livestock infests federal public wildlands. Livestock are non-native and largely responsible for soil compaction, a decrease in water retention and aquifer recharge, erosion, destruction of wetlands and riparian areas, flooding and a net-loss of biodiversity. Grazing enables invasive plant species to proliferate, which greatly affects the West’s historic fire regime.
3. Abolishing Wildlife Services
Hidden within the US Department of Agriculture, is a rogue agency that is essentially, the wildlife killing-arm of the federal government. This federal tax-payer-supported agency works with the livestock industry to kill native wildlife like wolves, coyotes, black bears, cougars and many other non-predator species. Over the past century, Wildlife Services is responsible for the death of tens-of millions of native wildlife. Methods of killing include trapping, poisoning and aerial gunning. At the very least, the predator-control segment of Wildlife Services must be terminated.
4. Banning trapping/snaring on all federal public lands
We must evolve as a society and move away from this barbaric, unethical, cruel and torturous method(s) of killing native wildlife. Leg-hold traps, conibear traps and other devices are indiscriminate killers. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of dogs caught/killed by traps on public lands in states like Idaho. It’s only a matter of time before a child or adult steps into one of these bone-crushing devices. Some states currently require individuals to check their traps once every 72-hours, while other states do not require trappers to check them, at all.
5. No killing of predators, except for extreme circumstances
The best available science suggests that predators, including wolves, are a self-regulating species. In other words, predators don’t overpopulate, nor do they kill for “fun”. Instead, their populations naturally fluctuate, as do prey or ungulate populations. We need to better understand and embrace the trophic cascade effect predators have within ecosystems. Non-lethal measures should be implemented in rare instances where there are actual human/predator conflicts. For example, an aggressive and/or habituated bear may need to be killed after non-lethal measures have failed.
Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is a 2-day celebration of predators and our national heritage. It will feature prominent speakers, live music, education booths, children’s activities, food/drink vendors, local wildlife photography and more. The event will feature the screening of two Predator Defense documentaries: The Imperiled American Wolf and EXPOSED: The USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife.
The festival-type event is family-friendly, educational, and non-confrontational. There is no admission fee. Arch Park is a public venue adjacent to the northwest entrance of Yellowstone National Park (Mammoth Hot Springs). We are encouraging folks to not bring their dogs/pets for crowd-control and safety reasons.
Hope you can make it and howl with us!