Seeking Solutions to the War on Wildlife

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Trail-cam photo of coyote by Randy and Pam Comeleo

Pam and Randy Comeleo are devoted to the cause of protecting wildlife. Over the years, they have spent countless hours sharing ideas about non-lethal measures with officials and the public in Benton County, Oregon, where the Comeleos live. They and a group of concerned neighbors have promoted discussions with Oregon State University about alternatives to trapping coyotes with neck snares on the OSU Sheep Center. Randy and Pam have interacted with Wildlife Services, fighting through the web of red tape to obtain ten years of data on wildlife killed in Benton County. The results are staggering-over 738 wild animals, including coyote, bobcat and beavers, have been killed by Wildlife Services in Benton County in the last decade.

The Comeleos’ latest effort involves organizing events led by John A. Shivik, PhD. Shivik is a federal and university researcher on the topic of non-lethal management. His book The Predator Paradox, explores the biological and social aspects of conflicts between humans and wildlife. The public talk will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2016 from 7-8:30 PM at the Benton County Public Library in Corvallis. Shivik is also doing a seminar at OSU with Fisheries and Wildlife Department students and faculty. And local farmers will be involved in a private on-site, hands-on discussion with John Shivik on how to protect their livestock without killing predators.

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ODFW photo

Around the same time, there are workshops scheduled in Southern Oregon and Northern California to help livestock owners curtail problems with wolves. The talks are hosted by the Working Circle Collaborative and we will hear advice from Timothy Kaminsky, Joe Engelhard and Carter Niemeyer. I attended a version of this talk last spring and it was terrific. These workshops are timely, considering the arrival of more wolves into California as well as recent depredations in the Wood River Valley and outside of Ashland.

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I promise, it’s coming soon… the online book launch of Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History. Watch here, on FaceBook and Twitter for updates. 

 

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10 thoughts on “Seeking Solutions to the War on Wildlife

  1. Experts and scientific evidence makes no difference to the local, state and federal governments. Politicians and special interest groups are all that governments hear. They are the only ones that can make a difference, but unfortunately they won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Matt.

      Yes, I have seen this video and it’s excellent. I certainly agree that if we all adopted a vegan diet much of the conflict between livestock owners and predators would be alleviated. However, as the world is a long way from accomplishing this it seems wise to keep working from a lot of angles, including using non-lethal measures, dispelling myths that vilify wolves, promoting education, and supporting the protection of wildlife and the environment. Of course, there are a ton of other ways to move forward, and as I said, your idea is an important one.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Beckie

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      • Beckie,

        Thank you for the response and for not being super defensive on this topic, like so many are. You’re right, there are many angles that we can use for wolf recovery. I am from Minnesota and volunteered for years with Howling For Wolves after the Great Lakes wolves in Minnesota became delisted and were immediately in the cross hairs of excited fur trappers, trophy hunters and wolf haters. I live in WA now and work for a non-profit that focuses on wolf recovery in the state and I worry that as soon as they are “recovered” we will move into the new paradigm of “management.” I don’t view it as acceptable that the trophy hunters of world and wolf haters will get a chance to murder these wonderful animals all for a thrill or bragging rights, or downright hate. That is why, in addition to the practical aspects of getting the wolf and other rare animals on the landscape again (wolverine, grizzly bear, fisher, lynx, mountain lion, etc) I am focusing on veganism and animal rights as a new and widely supported ethic in our country. Over 50% of our land in the USA is used for agriculture and of that over 70% is taken up for animal ag (this was a stat brought up again, most recently in the Before the Flood documentary by Leonard DiCaprio). If we can shift away from our addition to animal products we can solve many problems at once and it also feels great. You give your heart and conscious a real chance to grow and it’s not hard to do.

        Here is another great talk on the topic, this one by Melanie Joy and it’s called Carnism: The Psychology of Eating Meat: https://youtu.be/7vWbV9FPo_Q

        Most women don’t realize that dairy requires the forced separation of mothers and babies. That those same mothers are kept pregnant for nearly their whole lives so that humans can steal the milk for our own weird additions (milk is babies’ food after all) and that if we get rid of the euphemisms than we will acknowledge that the “artificial insemination” that most farmers use on female cows is simply an example of a human raping an animal.

        Going full circle back to wolves. I’ve seen hunters proudly posing with pictures of female wolves that they’ve shot, that were pregnant, and pulling out all of the fetuses for the picture too. There is a hatred for the woman, the feminine, in our country and this hatred is reinforced with how we treat female animals. That entire industry is built on the wombs of enslaved female animals, the control of their reproductive cycles, the theft of their offspring, and the consumption of their dead bodies. I can no longer separate the issue of wolves and cows. Hearing environmentalists demonize the cow for destroying the landscape is like hearing men blame women for getting raped for or domestically abused, it’s completely inaccurate and misplaced anger and it props up a status quo that is fundamentally incorrect.

        I am so happy that the wolves have champions like you, I just want to spread a message that we’ll never really feel good about our relationship with animals until we change ourselves in very profound and meaningful ways.

        If you’re not vegan already, please go vegan and spread it. It’s easy and it’s the biggest thing you can personally do to make sure wolves return to the landscapes and are not senselessly murdered for being themselves.

        Other resources:
        – Their Turn – The Rape Rack: http://theirturn.net/2016/06/15/2016061420160613the-rape-rack/
        – Meat the Truth (environmental movie): http://www.meatthetruth.com/en/
        – Earthlings: http://www.nationearth.com/earthlings-1/

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      • Thank you, Matt for your response and for all of this valuable information. I have great respect for your words and for what you are doing. I agree, “…we’ll never really feel good about our relationship with animals until we change ourselves in very profound and meaningful ways. Beautifully said.

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  2. Quick question – if the Shasta pack breeding pair are BOTH from the Imnaha Pack, doesn’t that mean they are inbreeding since they would be siblings?

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    • Great question! Yes, technically the Shasta pack is an example of inbreeding. However, inbreeding, if not overdone, is not necessarily harmful. People who breed dogs, cats and other animals often purposefully breed sire to daughter, mother to son, sibling to sibling etc. in order to perpetuate certain desired traits. Inbreeding becomes a problem when the gene pool is very limited and unwanted or unhealthy traits reoccur. This has been seen in the Isle Royale wolves as their gene pool is bottlenecked with so few wolves on the island.

      OR7’s mate is not from the Imnaha pack but from the Minan and Snake River packs in NE Oregon, giving us some genetic variation there. And a male from their 2014 litter was recently seen by trail camera in Lassen County, CA, along with a female wolf. Scat studies determined that the female was not from any known Oregon wolf. Therefore, California has a good chance of having some new genetics from her.

      The possibility of isolated populations that can lead to inbreeding is good reason for ensuring the natural dispersal of wolves and other species. We can help this happen by promoting state protections of rare species, providing wildlife corridors for them to travel through, and keeping the environment wild enough for these animals to live on.

      Like

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