Part 1:  Loss of Wildlife…Loss of Hunting Opportunities  

By: Toby Bridges

      Across the country, there are actually several “Wolf Recovery Projects” under way, all operating under the premise that “wolves are needed” to balance the different ecosystems … and under the false assumption that each of these “Projects” have the overwhelming support of American citizens.  In this harsh and all too real look at what’s wrong about the “Re-Wolving of America”, we will concentrate on the “Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project”. The lies, theft and deceit surrounding this very questionable “conservation success story” are much easier to showcase. But you can rest assured that the “Eastern Red Wolf Recovery Project” … the “Southwestern Mexican Gray Wolf Project” … and the rapidly spreading “Great Lakes Wolf Project” have all suffered from many of the same trials and tribulations, and are tainted by the same lies and deceit.

     Robert Fanning, the founder of the organization and group known as the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd has, many times, openly stated that the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project is…”The greatest act of fraud ever committed against American citizens!” 

     As you will see in the various parts of this article/report, there’s a lot of truth in that statement.

     During the early 1990’s, Congress actually denied funding for this “return of wolves” into Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, so where did those millions of dollars come from to fund the trapping of north-central Alberta wolves and transplanting them into the Greater Yellowstone Area?  Under the guiding hand of then USFWS Assistant Director Jamie Rappaport Clark (who became Director), the agency dipped into Pitman-Robertson Funds – the sportsman dollars collected in the form of excise taxes on shooting, hunting and fishing equipment.  By law, these funds are to be used exclusively for funding wildlife and fisheries habitat restoration.

 According to whistleblower Jim Beers (former USFWS Chief of National Wildlife Refuge Operations), after Congress denied funding for the agency to carry out the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project, Canadian wolves were illegally brought into the Yellowstone ecosystem by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Beers, a 32-year veteran of USFWS, maintains, “The General Accounting Office verified that at least $45 to $60 million was taken, diverted, by USFWS from P-R funds.”

Wherever there are wolves in the Lower 48, big game populations are in serious decline.

Thus, the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project was off to an extremely shaky and shady, start. Money that was NEVER paid back by USFWS. Likewise, no one was ever held legally accountable.

From the very beginning, those involved with this project did their best to hide information that would lead to putting an actual cost figure to bringing in those wolves or for that matter the actual number of wolves eventually brought across an international border with the proper paperwork filed.  Apparently Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project coordinator Ed Bangs felt that, as a wildlife manager for USFWS, he was above the law.  He failed to file the mandatory USFWS forms which would have established the number of wolves flown in from Alberta, the actual subspecies of wolf being transplanted outside of its native range nor the cost of each shipment of non-native wolves into the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Millions of sportsman dollars, taken from Pittman-Robertson funds, were used to finance the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project. Now, angry sportsmen and residents are fighting back.

Since there seems to be no identified source for funding of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan or the 1994 Environmental Impact Study (EIS), it is very likely that millions of questionable Pitman-Robertson dollars were also used to finance these two studies – both of which are now known to be bogus.   When the claims and predictions of both studies, which were conducted several years before the first Canadian wolves were released in the U.S., are closely compared to what has actually happened since those wolves were released and the impact that the wolves have had on big game populations, livestock production, as well as rural living and outdoor recreation in general … it becomes evident that the “experts” writing the plan and study DID NOT know enough about wolves to be entrusted with such responsibility.  It seems that most of what is found in both “The Plan” and “The Study” was simply fabricated.

Or…was their goal from day one simply to present page after page of lies, deceit and manipulated science…to sell the wolf as being beneficial…to win over the approval of the American public?      

Former USFWS wildlife biologist and division Chief Jim Beers says, “The EIS was and remains a document of lies, misinformation and woefully incomplete coverage of the matter.”

One of those in all of the supposedly “extensive” field study to determine the need for bringing wolves in from north of the U.S.-Canada border was Dr. Robert Ream, of the University of Montana.  As a member of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Team, he claimed to have spent many hours in the field, looking for evidence that the native wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) either still existed…or no longer existed.  He claimed that the native wolf of the Northern U.S. Rockies was nowhere to be found.

Many residents of Montana knew this was a lie from the very beginning, having witnessed the native wolf in its native Montana, Idaho and Wyoming habitat.  A number of professional wildlife biologists with state and federal agencies also claimed that the native wolf still inhabited small pockets of the Northern Rockies, several pointing out that Ream never truly spent much time in the field, rather sending untrained college wildlife students out to do his research for him.  What Ream handed USFWS was exactly what they wanted and the agency made the decision to transplant an invasive non-indigenous subspecies (Canis lupus occidentalis) right in on top of truly endangered native wolves – a direct and purposely orchestrated violation of the Endangered Species Act.

            The Real Impact Wolves Are Having On Other Wildlife

The 18 head of elk cows and calves killed on one night (shown here) at the elk feeding grounds near Jackson Hole, WY are proof that the pro-wolf organizations and wolf lovers who claim wolves only “kill what they need to eat” and “only kill the sick and the weak” are lying or are as ignorant about wolves as those who put together the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Plan and the 1994 Environmental Impact Statement for that project.  The elk shown here were healthy animals and the wolves that killed them ate close to nothing.  These elk were nothing more than a “sport kill” for the wolves.

In one night, wolves killed these 18 elk cows and calves…and ate nothing.

     The Wolf Recovery EIS proclaimed that the “average” wolf would only take around 14 head of big game each year for sustenance.  By the mid 2000’s, wildlife biologists had established that the number would be more like 22 to 26 animals each year and that EACH wolf will kill about the same number just for sport.  With more than 1,500 wolves likely in the state of Montana alone, it’s easy to see why herds have been and remain, in collapse. 

     Factoring in the impact of mountain lions, grizzlies and black bears, the state is losing upwards of 35,000 to 40,000 elk and as many as 15,000 to 20,000 moose, deer and other big game animals combined to predators every year – with wolves making the greatest impact.  And to make matters worse, the incredible pressure that winter wolf packs put on pregnant cow elk is resulting in a high percentage of fetus abortions.  So, do you really believe that all of this has come as a surprise to the wildlife managers and biologists – or is it all a part of the big plan to eliminate the human hunter’s role in wildlife management? –  Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH


   Part 2 Of This Article/Report Coming March 1