1999 Wolff Den Design - Lady Wolf - Ralph Maughans Wildlife Reports

Conservation News Stories in Western Wolf Country
Archive January - June 1999

Please be aware that not all articles and links will be working as some of the sources do not keep archives longer than 6 months.

(6-29-99). "Mad elk" disease infects Montana game farm elk. Billings Gazette. When we debated the Montana state vet at ISU last winter, I raised the question why the Montana Department of Livestock doesn't seem to care about any disease except  brucellosis. I asked what about the game farms? What about chronic wasting disease? He assured us everything was fine. As this story shows, things are not fine. It's time the Montana DOL begins to care about other animal diseases, and concern about human diseases from livestock (besides brucellosis, which no gets any more except vets), might be nice too. Did anyone notice the recent story about how some Montana cattle near Billings came down with anthrax?

  • (6-16-99). State grazing leases - Idaho Land Board delays auctions amid questions of high court ruling's effect. Post Register.
  • (6-6-99). Marvel, marvels at win streak. Post Register.
  • 5-14-99). Employee says Idaho Department of Lands favors Ranchers over school children. Post Register by Gene Fadness.  This is just what the Idaho Watersheds Project has been saying all along.
  • (4-7-99). State high court hands Idaho Land Board a defeat: Anti-Marvel bill, amendment struck down. Idaho Mountain Express.
  • (4-6-99). J.F. -- Legislators fought constitution, and constitution won by Jim Fisher. Lewiston Morning Tribune.
  • (4-6-99) Idaho Supreme Court Victory for Watersheds Project is Defeat for the "Good Old Boy System" on Idaho State Lands. by attorney Gene Bray.
  • (4-7-99). The game was rigged. Editorial Idaho Mountain Express.
  • (4-7-99). Marvel exposed Idahos economic hypocrisy. Commentary by Pat Murphy
  • (4-9-99). IWP continues its court sweep, this time in federal court. Judge Winmill voids federal grazing leases on one million acres in Owyhee County, Idaho. News Release. Idaho Watersheds Project.
  • (4-11-99). Our View - A Supreme Court that can read. Editorial by the Post Register.

Initial Story. (4-4-99). Idaho Watersheds Project wins gigantic victory in Idaho Supreme Court. AP story. This is a big story in Idaho. The good 'ol boy ranchers aren't happy.  More above . . . ^

(6-14-99). Wolves in Banff's Bow Valley barely hanging on. News release.   Although this story is a month old, I doubt matters have changed. If wolves can't survive in Canada's crown jewel national park, can they survive at all in Alberta where the wolf enjoys no protection?

(6-13-99). Mexican wolf reintroduction prompts rancher's move. Post Register. The story claims this guy is moving his ranch operation because Mexican wolves attacked his dog and chased his livestock. Yeh, right!  The real news is that he controls livestock grazing on 30,000 acres of public land from a base property of just 25 acres. Situations like are unfortunately not rare in the Western U.S.

(6-13-99). The Montana Farm Bureau's most recent views on wolves. [Link to the Montana Farm Bureau news].

(6-13-99). Elk predation in Jackson Hole is researched. Billings Gazette. So far it looks like wolf predation in Yellowstone has not reduced the size of the elk herds. Will the same hold true in Jackson Hole, now that wolves have reinhabited the area?

(6-13-99). Crowd control: National parks try to cope with the effects of automobiles. by Joe Kolman Billings Gazette. This story is about the many effects automobile traffic has on Yellowstone and other national parks.  The irony is that despite the sometimes bumper-to-bumper traffic, all the summertime autos produce just a fraction of air and noise pollution compared to the wintertime snowmobiles in Yellowstone.

(6-12-99). Scientific team studies interaction of cougars with other predators. Post Register. This story is about cougars and wolves in the Yellowstone country. I should add that preliminary research in central Idaho also shows that wolves to some extent displace cougars -- a fact that has not dawned on central Idaho outfitters who are worried that the size of the elk herds may decline.

(6-6-99). Future of grizzly bears in question because of more animals, less food Wildlife biologist fears decline of species. By Michael Milstein Billings Gazette. Noted and controversial grizzly research Dave Mattson told the assembled Greater Yellowstone Coalition that the future for grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone is not assured.

As for myself, I don't know whether I am in the "there-are 280-grizzlies-crowd" or the "600-grizzlies-crowd," but habitat trends look bad for the bears, with the exception of the introduction of wolves, which has helped Yellowstone grizzlies.

What is needed is an expansion of the grizzly recovery area to the biologically rich Mt. Leidy Highlands and the Gros Ventre Mountains south of Yellowstone and reintroduction of the great bear to the vast empty, but rich, bear habitat of central Idaho to make certain the bear's future and to make central Idaho ecologically whole.

(6-6-99). Forest Service must change, top Forest supervisor tells Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. I had heard the Forest Service say they have "turned over a new leaf" so many times I wondered what hyperspace they dwelt in. However, when I heard Supervisor Flora speak last night to the crowd of GYC members in the historic UP Dining Hall in West Yellowstone, she made me believe. (6-6-99). Forest Service in midst of shakeup, says one of its "rising stars." Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott McMillion.

(6-5-99). Snowmobile Emissions: Air pollution still a problem in Yellowstone by Joe Kolman Billings Gazette. Near toxic levels of carbon monoxide from snowmobiles were again recorded at West Yellowstone last winter.  Fortunately, the National Park Service has just announced a reevaluation of the use of these filthy machines in our national parks. Feds To Review Snowmobiles in Parks. Yahoo News. 6-2-99. I believe when snowmobiles make Yellowstone air not just polluted, but toxic, they must be banned. Most environmental groups will undoubtedly pursue a ban. This outrage must cease.

(6-4-99). Nature Conservancy buys Heart Mountain (near Cody). Billings Gazette. Heart mountain is the prominent outlier from the Rockies just north of Cody. A female wolf, still unidentified was poisoned on the north slope of this mountain last December.  At that time, I wrote this story (it includes misc. news).

(5-30-99). The Fickle Nature of Geysers by Michael Milstein Billings Gazette.

(5-28-99). Wolf worries - Funds to control problem wolves are running low. Post-Register by Candice Burns.  You may have seen this article. It was printed 5-23-99.  I have talked to some folks in the Fish and Wildlife Service. As far as I can tell, little about the article is correct.  There is no danger of running out of these funds, if indeed such a thing is any sort of danger.

(5-28-99). Selling off the Promised Land. Special from the High Country News.  Have you wondered what those news stories about CUT are about.  This special in the High Country News about the Church Universal and Triumphant (just north of Yellowstone) gives the information.

(5-24-99). Hungry Yellowstone Country Grizzlies await spring greenup and elk calving. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(5-23-99). Too Close to Home: Grizzly sow trapped after killing girl's 3 lambs destined for county fair. Billings Gazette. This story seems meant to create fear of grizzly bears and suggest they are impinging on civilization, but the writer only tells us that this happened near Cody, Wyoming.  Exactly where makes a big difference. Was it in the Cody suburbs? Or was it down the South Fork of the Shoshone or the North Fork of the Shoshone where subdivisions have sprung up like mushrooms in cow pies in the middle of established grizzly bear range? Why isn't the reader given the information?

(5-16-99). The cattle industry never tires of telling us that grazing cattle perform the same ecological function as the bison, elk, antelope, and other ungulates they replaced. However, demand for beef is dropping for various reasons. Now an Idaho rancher proposes what might seem obvious -- to put bison on his grazing allotment. On public land - Buffalo grazing proposal draws enthusiasm, ire by Jennifer Langston of the Post Register.

(5-16-99). Wolves help to feed other carnivores by Scott McMillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle.   This is a good article about the impacts the wolves are having on the entire ecosystem by increasing the supply of freshly-killed meat.  If you went to Yellowstone last winter you would see Dr. Crabtree's Y.E.S. researchers watching carcasses with their scopes. Every 15 minutes they counted the number and kind of scavengers around wolf-kills.

(5-7-99). Twin Falls, ID newspaper's views on grizzlies and wolves. Times-News editorial opinion: Grizzly bears and wolves are fine when they're in Canada and Alaska. I usually don't link to articles in Twin Falls, Idaho newspaper as their views are fine for the 1920s, but I try to keep this page more current.  But this is a particularly "interesting" editorial. Yes, they actually claim that the development of the landscape represents "man's ever deepening ties to the land." Aside from being ignorant of wolves, grizzlies, questionable use of the Bible, sexist, and just plain cowardly, this isn't a bad editorial.  Not everyone in Idaho is so scared of the outdoors. Some of us really use it and more cognizant of the real dangers there -- lightning, hypothermia, stumbling and falling on a snag.

(5-7-99). Yellowstone Winter Acess: Republican congressionals from nearby states oppose proposal to plow to Old Faithful. Billings Gazette. Big supporters of the snowmobile industry, they are criticizing the proposal to remove snowmobiles on the route route from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful to make it easier for the average person to see wintertime (unpolluted) Yellowstone Park.

(5-4-99). Idaho Watersheds Project to test recent legal victories with Owyhee County (Idaho) grazing bids. News Release. Idaho Watersheds Project.

(4-26-99). Northern Rockies wolf report released. CNN. Predator Project says wolf recovery a success, but warns that government could restrict the wolves to a few token areas.

(4-25-99). Yellowstone examines winter use options. Park may propose closing West Entrance to snowmobiles, and plowing road to Old Faithful. by Scott Mcmillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle. My personal view is that this should be tried. Snowmobiles have caused such a literal stink, with each machine producing more pollution than hundreds of autos, that a plowed winter road may be an environmental and visitor enjoyment improvement. There is a profound contrast with the noisy and filthy winter environment near West Yellowstone and the clean, quiet winter wolf watching (via plowed road) in the Lamar Valley.

(4-23-99). Gore orders breath of fresh air for America's parks. CNN. Air quality has been worsening in most national parks for some time. Finally, some action?

(4-19-99). On grizzlies, closed meetings and bureaucratic waffling. Opinion by Todd Wilkinson. Wilkinson is the author of the controversial book, Science Under Siege, which details how government wildlife scientists are expected to not to rock the book and disturb political correctness.

(4-19-99). Scientists ponder the decline of amphibians in Yellowstone. Billings Gazette.

(4-13-99). Antelope population in Yellowstone continues to decline. News release. Yellowstone National Park.  It is not clear why this is happening. Wolves are not responsible. So far they are known to have killed but one pronghorn.

(4-11-99). Media tycoon Turner attempting to put 'wild' back in West. Billings Gazette. Ted Turner has embarked on the largest private conservation effort in history by any one person.

(4-11-99). Nature Conservancy and BLM complete Whiskey Mountain land swap. Billings Gazette. Whiskey Mountain, just southwest of Dubois, Wyoming has the largest wintering Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd in North America.

(3-31-99). Forest Service Chief Dombeck wants reduced logging nationwide. Oregonian. Most people didn't think they'd live to hear it, a Forest Service chief saying the agency has logged too much and needs to log less and protect the public's resources more. Chief Mike Dombeck is like no other Forest Service Chief since the first one -- Gifford Pinchot -- at the turn of 20th Century. Pinchot wanted much of the Western public domain reserved as national forests to be managed for public interest.  Always controversial, he had President Theodore Roosevelt as his backup.  Together they created most of the national forest system. Western mining, logging, and grazing hated Pinchot, but TR used his big stick on them to send them running with their tails between their legs.

Pinchot wanted the resources protected, but developed. Now a hundred years later it is obvious there has been more development than protection, and now there is as Chief who says we need to reverse course.  Will President Clinton back him like Roosevelt did Pinchot?  Or will the same short-sighted great, great grandsons and daughters of the early Western exploiters in Congress gut the agency instead?

(3-30-99). Exclusive wolf-filming deal windfall for Yellowstone. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. When I saw this headline, I thought they must have made a million dollars. Read on. . .

(3-29-99). Todd Wilkinson asks if George Bush Jr. would make Racicot Secretary of Interior? Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

(3-28-99). Political history of Idaho Fish and Game. Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho Fish and Game is in terrible trouble. Things are reverting to how they were before the 1930s when the Fish and Game Commission was created by the people of Idaho.  A similar process is underway in Wyoming and Montana, but the political disease is most advanced in Idaho. A warning to all Americans, this could happen in your state too.

(3-28-99). Wildlife managers face many issues on National Elk Refuge. Post Register from the Jackson Hole Guide by David Simpson. One of the reasons wolves on the National Elk Refuge was controversial is that  various publics and individuals have different views as to the purpose of the Refuge. Some people would, unlike Wyoming Game and Fish, maximize the production of elk. A great danger of this is the spread of brucellosis and much worse diseases, plus the lack of tolerance to other animals this implies. Others want no feeding at the refuge, and, some, no hunting too. This would certainly result in far fewer elk and other animals because Jackson preempted much of their winter range long ago.  The future will probably be similar to the past with a number of objectives being balanced and groups continuing to struggle. My view. Note that this Refuge is managed by the federal government. For the problems to state management see above.

(3-24-99). Lower limits should be but a part of U.S. 191 strategy. Bozeman Daily Chronicle Opinion.  US 191 is the deadliest road in Montana for people and wildlife. Its often winding riverside path and wildlife-filled corridor is filled with speeding cars, trucks, SUVs, and semis. Gallatin County may approve a lower speed limit for the section from West Yellowstone to Gallatin Gateway.

(3-23-99). More Lynx released in Colorado. Third dead lynx found. Denver Post.

(3-20-99). Four More Arrested for blocking bison trap. Bozeman Daily Chronicle.  

(3-19-99). Bison protesters' blockade dismantled by Joe Kolman Billings Gazette.  Bison Protestors' Perch Torn Down by Scott McMillion Bozeman Daily Chronicle. So far this winter few bison have been lured to their death by DOL, but most of those they tested, tested positive (wrongly its turns out, they weren't infected), and they were bulls who can't transmit the disease to cattle. They killed them anyway. There probably would have been hundreds killed were it not for the presence of Buffalo Field Campaign (formerly called "Buffalo Nations').

(3-18-99). Alarm device to scare wolves away from livestock in the Bitterroot Valley. Missoulian by Sherry Devlin. This is a very encouraging story.

(3-18-99). Yellowstone to relocate highway out of Gibbon Canyon during rebuild. Billings Gazette. This dangerous, axle-jarring section will be abandoned during the upcoming rebuild of the Madison to Norris section of Park road.

(3-16-99). The Rich Find a Home on the Range. Washington Post. Tom Kenworthy writes about the town that millionaires only can visit or live in that is being built just northwest of Yellowstone.

The rich are bringing prosperity to some parts of the West. Are they a boon or a menace to the natural environment as leisure ranches replace working ranches and lodges and condos replace farms, fields, and alpine meadows?

Rich folks will make a nice target for Western politicians, who of course work for one segment of the rich, but who have honed the manipulation of the public's political resentment to an art form.

(3-15-99). Unexploded ordinance from avalanche control a hazard in Yellowstone. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. Most of this control is so about 20 snowmobiles can enter the park daily from the east -- another cost these dirty, noisy machines impose on people and wildlife.

(3-11-99, etc.).  Habitat Study ordered by Idaho/Montana senators shows Bitterroot can support over three hundred grizzly bears. Billings Gazette. It was another of those "midnight" amendments in the U.S. Senate -- an unrelated piece of legislation added to a must-pass bill -- legislation added with no debate and with few senators in attendance.  Senator Craig and Idaho and Senator Burns of Montana were trying to derail the proposed grizzly bear reintroduction to central Idaho -- the "Bitterroot ecosystem." The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had determined that the vast area could support 280 grizzly bears. Presently it holds none. Burns and Craig picked up the cry of some local anti-grizzly folks and asserted maybe it couldn't support grizzly.  Now an independent researcher has made their mandated study. Dr. Mark Boyce concludes the central Idaho wilderness areas can support 308 to 321 grizzly bears. Over time the pre-existing grizzlies were killed by humans, with the last in the 1950s.

  • (3-11-99). What's wrong with Conrad Burns' "one-in-a-million" conclusions? by Louisa Willcox.
  • (3-4-99). Thomas and Burns join opposition to adding grizzlies to Selway. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. Now the good senators have found that the study says grizzlies won't become extinct anyway (given current conditions), and so they should be delisted. Senators Seek Delisting of Grizzly Bear instead. Bozeman Daily Chronicle by Scott Mcmillion.
  • (3-2-99). Grizzly Study produced "wrong results;" more study needed. Opinion Lewiston Morning Tribune. "Unhappy with government plans to reintroduce grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Sens. Larry Craig of Idaho and Conrad Burns of Montana got Congress to finance a $75,000 study of the area's ability to support the bears. Now that the study has come in with the wrong answer, they are trying to pick it apart." Just another reason why the people are so cynical of politicians.
  • (2-28-99). Senators Burns and Craig have doubts about the conclusion of the grizzly study they ordered. Billings Gazette. Now they have decided that knapweed is a problem, which of course it is for every animal in Montana and central Idaho. Wonder why it took a grizzly bear proposal for them to see it?

(3-8-99). Yellowstone Park sewage systems on the verge of failure, internal report states. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein.

(3-7-99). Preserving something of value by Marty Trillhasse Post Register. The Post Register's (Idaho Falls) editorial on the firing of Steve Mealey.

(3-6-99). [Idaho] Director Ousted from Fish and Game: Mealey's firing sends shockwaves through the state. by Rob Thornberry Post Register. Mealey, favorite of the Idaho legislature's browns, is fired by Idaho Fish and Game Commission on a 4-3. Retaliation against Fish and Game expected by politicians. Sportsmen and conservationists happy with firing of controversial director. Past stories on the plight of Idaho Fish and Game.

(3-3-99). Second Phase of CUT land deal about to go through. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. At long last it appears the winter range directly north of Yellowstone across the river from Gardiner will be acquired by the U.S. government. There have been efforts to acquire this winter range for about 75 years.

(3-3-99). Famous Pitchfork Ranch gets Conservation Buyer. Billings Gazette. I had been concerned that this might become a big nasty subdivision ever since it went up for sale last year. Lots of ranchers say they practice conservation. On the Pitchfork, they really have. Photo. The huge ranch is on the SE corner of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

(3-2-99). Luxurious Enclaves Only Pull us Apart. Billings Gazette opinion. The Gazette doesn't like the mountain town that can be visited by rich people only being built near Big Sky.

(3-1-99). Yellowstone roads take toll of wildlife, especially the better roads. Billings Gazette.

(3-1-99). Biologist says Yellowstone wolf population may be reaching saturation. Billings Gazette. Smith's view is highly significant if it proves true because it means the wolf population will not reduce the size of the Yellowstone elk herds.  The wolves seem to establish larger territories than needed to feed themselves (at least in this area of "plenty"), contradictiing those who think wolves will reduce the elk population. This population/wolf territory trend makes mush of the argument that the wolves will expand until they decimate the elk population. This Gazette story comes from a lecture Smith gave last week in Jackson, Wyoming. 250 folks attended and 50 had to be turned away. Smith also said he thought the Greater Yellowstone area would hold about 150 additional wolves.

(2-27-99). Juvenile reintroduced Colorado lynx found dead. CNN. It was probably too young to survive on its own.

(2-23-99). Targhee National Forest's courage to move forward on road closures to be test of Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck's "new" Forest Service says executive director of Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

(2-18-99). Five illegal snowmobiles caught red-handed in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness. Post Register. Scofflaw snowmobilers have had a hard time accepting that the west slope of the Tetons is closed them. In the past they have triggered avalanches, killing themselves and threatening rescuers, intimated Forest Service personnel. Catching them is expensive, time-consuming and dangerous. Now is time for some severe punishment. More on snowmobiles. (2-19-99) NEW RULES DUE NEXT YEAR: EPA will demand cleaner snowmobiles, ATVs. Billings Gazette. Pollution emissions from almost every type of engine are regulated by the EPA. Despite this, the incredibly polluting engines of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles have escaped regulation. Now this may end.

(2-17-99). Researchers: Yellowstone willow decline is due to too few beavers. Billings Gazette. This is an important study both biologically and politically. Although most wolf watchers will be surprised, a number of people, especially Charles Kay, a Utah State University political scientist, have been promoting a contrary view -- the idea that the northern part of Yellowstone is horribly overgrazed. "The elk have destroyed the willows, You have the worst overgrazed riparian areas in the country inside of Yellowstone National Park," Kay was quoted. Kay has advocated a big reduction in the number of elk, not by natural controls (wolves), but by humans.

(2-14-99). Chenoweth Badgers Public Servants in Rexburg, Idaho Hearing Amidst Cheers, Boos. by Ralph Maughan. Road rage ignites hearing - War of words between fans, opponents of road closures. Post Register story by Mike Barenti. A couple of comments on this story. . . the sign "Go Grizzlies!" was in favor of the bears. Environmental groups left the "consensus" process, according to Marv Hoyt of the GYC, after off-road vehicle enthusiasts repeatedly threatened one member from the Idaho Conservation League. (2-18-99) Helen's Road Show. Post Register Opinion by Marty Trillhaase. Trillhaase criticizes Helen's stacked hearing. One point he missed -- with the legitimacy of congressionals at near record lows (even pornographer Larry Flynt gets a higher rating from the public [and the public doesn't like Flynt]), this type of phony hearing delegitimizes public officials even more.

(2-14-99). National Elk Refuge elk to start supplemental feeding.

(2-13-99). National moratorium on Forest Service road-building finally is initiated. After a year of talking about it, the Forest Service has announced a path-breaking 18-month moratorium on the construction of new roads. Naturally, Western Republicans are beside themselves about the issue; and some environmentalists who don't seem to know when they have it good are criticizing the moratorium as not enough.

  • Wyoming. Billings Gazette.
  • Montana. Missoulian.
  • Idaho. Lewiston Morning Tribune

(2-11-99). Chenoweth plans serious intimidation of Targhee. Plans to bring full Idaho delegation with her. Post Register article. It's pretty tough for a forest supervisor to uphold the public interest when an entire state's congressional delegation is arrayed against you. All your public comments must have them pretty frightened. You can keep them up by supporting the road closures.

(2-10-99). In recent weeks off-road vehicle issues have heated up in Idaho and Montana as land management agencies try to better regulate the increasing number of these machines, enviros support the agencies but want more, and the machine riders call on their friends in Congress to intimidate the agencies. The matter will come to a head this Saturday in Rexburg, Idaho where Idaho U.S. Representative Helen Chenoweth is holding a congressional hearing to investigate the Targhee National Forest's recent obliteration of a number of closed former timber access roads to protect wildlife, especially grizzly bears. Like most congressional hearings, hers is not really to investigate, but to try and mould public perception.  Her witness list includes but 3 enviros and lots of die hard anti-enviros.  Because the off-road vehicle folks who have held several rallies in area to protest the road obliteration are getting creamed in the public comment, it is essential to them that her hearing shows lots of anti-Targhee, anti-griz feeling. Will she be successful? Or will the more general public support for wildlife defeat her and her crowd?

Meanwhile land management agencies in Montana are proposing new rules on off-road vehicles. Here is an alert from the Montana Wilderness Association and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition on the proposal. Here is the Forest Service/BLM letter about the ORV rules changes.

(2-10-99) Editorial in Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune cuts to heart of Helen's Hearing.

(2-7-99). Idaho legislator gives her view on wolves. Post Register. Opinion by State Rep. Lenore Barrett. Barrett has written an interesting article. I think it explains the views of why the Idaho legislature refuses to help manage the wolves (but in doing so prevents their eventual delisting). It also illustrates some of the difficulties in Idaho dealing with this and similar issues. It appears she does not believe the U.S. public lands belong to the people of the United States, but rather to the state of Idaho. While this is legally not so, there is a movement among Idaho political elites and some rural folk to have Idaho take over management (but not ownership) of one or more of the national forests.

(2-7-99). Heavily Guarded "faux" Western town for rich people being built south of Big Sky. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Former "timber mogul" Tim Blixseth is opening the Yellowstone Club which promises the very rich that things won't turn out like Aspen or Vail. This is about 5 miles northwest of the Yellowstone National Park, deep in the Madison mountain range.

(2-5-99). U.S., state officials investigate 8 eagles poisoned along Bear River (near Cokeville, WY). Billings Gazette. Eagles and probably other wildlife are victims of illegal poisoning at the southern end of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

(2-5-99). Nineteen Conservation groups sue to force government to protect grizzly bear habitat. News release from Earth Justice Defense Fund, et al. (2-6-99) Envios sue over Griz Plan. Bozeman Daily Chronicle, article by Scott McMillion. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is getting ready to "delist" the Yellowstone area grizzly. The Service thinks that based on improved populations of the bears and a "good" bear population distribution, the population is ready to be delisted. Conservationists don't want delisting because they aren't confident about the size of the population, but they are most unhappy about the lack of habitat protection in the existing recovery plan which was adopted in 1993. Federal judge Paul Friedman ruled in 1995 that the 1993 plan was deficient in 5 areas, so conservationist are very unhappy about movement to delisting without first correcting of these deficiencies -- hence, IMO this lawsuit.

(2-4-99). Canadian lynx reintroduced to Colorado wilderness. Post Register. The rare 20 to 30 pound cat has been restored to a large southern Colorado Wilderness Area. This is not an Idaho/Montana/Wyoming wolf country issue, but it is similar.  "Their [lynx reintroduction] efforts have been resisted by ranchers, farmers, hunting outfitters and residents who live and work in wildlife areas. They fear the reintroduction may lead to land-use restrictions and the animals may attack livestock." These folks seem even more dimwitted than the usual opponents. Lynx live on snowshoe hares. Lynx weigh about twice as much as the average housecat. . . . what a bunch of dummies!  Here is a feature story from the Denver Post on the release.  Here is a story with a photo on MSNBC.

(2-2-99). Unhappy trails Not everyone is ecstatic about long trails. Post Register. Indeed! It's for sure not everyone is happy about the "Great Western Trail." I have written three hiking guides.  I don't like these long trails either. They are the backcountry equivalent of freeways, and Congress and bureaucrats like them for the same reason they like freeways -- pork barrel.

(2-1-99). Ravens give Yellowstone snowmobilers a bad time. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. The corvids (ravens, crows, jays, and magpies) are the smartest of birds. The largest, the ravens, are exploiting the snowmobile traffic in Yellowstone, and giving the bubblehead crowd a bad time. Pretty smart birds for sure!

(1-31-99). Montana House opposes grizzly reintroduction into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Billings Gazette. The Idaho Legislature has also passed such resolutions in recent years. A final environmental impact statement on the reintroduction is due out in April.  In fact, as opposed to the the thinking of legislators, grizzly reproduction is so slow and the wilderness area so large that it would probably be years before there would be enough grizzlies to have any perceptible effects.

(1-27-99). A Presidential View: Environmentalists Cry Wolf Too Often. From the President's Column. American Farm Bureau Federation.  I'll run this without comment.

(1-25-99). Grand Teton wolves may be killed if they kill cattle. Billings Gazette. This is really not news, but it will surprise many folks. The GTNP wolves will not have any more legal protection than on non-national park, public lands. Unlike other national parks, certain privileged interests are allowed to graze this national park. Why this is so is the real story. That will require reopening a bit of history.

(1-24-99). Yellowstone wolves prey mostly on elk, kill few bison. Billings Gazette by Michael Milstein. Although the wolves have killed few bison, the winter-killed bison are especially important to grizzly bears when they emerge from their dens.

(1-23-99). Defenders pays record amount for Montana grizzly losses in 1998. Billings Gazette. Defenders of Wildlife pays not only for livestock losses to wolves, but in Montana, for grizzlies too. 1998 was a bad natural food year for NW Montana grizzles and there was a record loss of livestock, although in my view the loss was pretty small -- 23 animals, worth $12,000. I should add that for the greater Yellowstone ecosystem grizzlies, 1998 was the best year in a long time with only 5 human caused grizzly mortalities (only three in the recovery area), and no dead people. At any rate, I think Defenders does a great job compensating folks for these minor losses.

(1-21-99). Greater Yellowstone Coalition opposes proposal to kayak Yellowstone National Park Rivers.

(1-18-99). Congressionally mandated committee to study Park's northern range gets under way. Bozeman Daily Chronicle. The work of this committee is going to be very important, and if you value the way the northern part of Yellowstone exists now, follow their work closely. One reason why "scientists" are in disagreement is that some of them are funded by political/economic interests inimical to natural management. Others have old personal "bones to pick."

(1-17-99). Giant coal-fired generation station proposed near Red Lodge, Montana. Billings Gazette on-line. This 2000 megawatt plant would be at Bear Creek, the old abandoned coal-mining area near where Chad McKittrick shot wolf no. 10.  Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions from this plant could devastate the waters of the Beartooth mountains.  Their granite core has no buffering capacity from the acid rain that would follow.  The old Smith Mine, mentioned in  the article, is the site of Montana's worst coal mine disaster.

(1-15-99).Supreme Court rejects wolf killer's appeal. Billings Gazette. The U.S. Supreme Court has ended the appeals of convicted wolf-killer Chad McKittrick, who shot now famous wolf R10M in May 1995, and almost destroyed the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone. In making the decision not to hear his appeal, the Supremes may have also given a boost to the legal future of the wolf recovery program. McKittrick's lawyers' latest tack was to use Wyoming federal district Judge Downes' controversial decision that the wolf reintroduction was illegal. Appeal of Downes' order will come before the eight circuit of Appeal, probably this March.  However, the 9th Circuit earlier rejected McKittrick's appeal on these grounds, and this may bode well for the eventually resolution of Downes' decision. McKittrick's case came before the 9th, rather than the 10th Circuit, because Montana, where McKittrick shot the wolf, is in the 9th Circuit.

(1-12-99). Farm Bureau convention gathers in Albuquerque amidst protest from Defenders of Wildlife. Albuquerque Journal. Although this report doen't mention it, Yahoo News says the Secretary of Agriculture came and critized the Farm Bureau too.

(1-10-99). Wolves close to home (Jackson, Wyoming) making residents skittish. Post Register. by Karen Chavez. Wolves coming to Jackson worry some residents, please others.  One comment about Harold Turner's statement that wolves are "killing machines" . . . I have heard a lot of rural folks use this phrase. It indicates that they read the same stuff.  I have to ask what is the point of using an analogy that turns an animal built to kill (organic) into a machine that kills? Does this add any information? Perhaps the point is to render them souless and emotionless. Turner also was quoted, "[He] said the ungulate population, including elk, deer and moose is relatively high now, but that won't be true for long. 'You get a pack of wolves in the area and you'll have no game.'" I find this plenty curious since there is as much game as ever in the Yellowstone now as becore the wolves. The Turner family's outfitting operations include the Teton Wilderness where the Soda Butte, Washakie and Thorofare Packs spent most of the summer.  Because I know more about this wilderness than 99.99% of population (writing hiking guides), I can say it is fairly crawling with elk. A case can be made for overpopulation.  If the wolves do kill more than they can eat, it will only help the grizzly bear and aid grizzly recovery.

(1-7-99).Yellowstone Park has new marquee animal; the wolf. Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Here is a new essay on the effect wolves have had on Yellowstone, especially its human visitors.

(1-3-99). Snomobilers protest closure of wild portions of the Lolo National Forest. Billings Gazette on-line. Thank you again for your letters that helped bring about this closure.  Their "protest rally" drew far fewer than the 800 to 1000 people predicted by organizers. (1-4-98) Missoulian editorial supports the ban on snowmobiles.

The comments about each story are mine -- RM

Ralph Maughan's Wildlife Reports

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