[When asked “Dr. Einstein, why is it that when the mind of man has stretched so far as to discover the structure of the atom we have been unable to devise the political means to keep the atom from destroying us?”] That is simple, my friend. It is because politics is more difficult than physics. — Albert Einstein
One inherent problem with communicating is to acknowledge, understand, and agree upon the definition of words. I speak with many people and about our nation’s wildlife on a daily basis. The truth be known; words are often used as deception within this realm, used by those who do have something to hide.
Ironically, during my discussions the terms “good science”, “emotion”, “data gathering”, among others, strike aggressively toward a condescending subjective-reasoning. Yes, they use these terms within the wrong context, oddly within a derogatory methodology, especially toward advocates or those who question their authority and decisions – some realize this, others simply repeat the terms as someone else has applied them, with no idea how out-of-place their reasoning becomes.
When it comes to two terms as “emotion” versus “ignorance” when discussing the preservation of our nation’s wildlife, certainly a vast difference present, with the definition of each making this apparent. We have nothing to hide, most of us that is; but others . . .
Setting the Stage of Meaningful Conversation
Emotion is defined as “. . . a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.” Then there is ignorance, defined as, “. . . lack of knowledge or information.”
Allow me to take this situation a step further and bring in the reality, rather than contempt, and have a look at the definition of “science” and data gathering.
- Science being defined as, “. . . knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation: a particular area of scientific study (such as biology, physics, or chemistry) . . .”
- Scientific data gathering, “. . . principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses . . .”
- Then to data itself, “. . . facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something.
But Oh-Oh, we have left out a term very significant within this dialogue. Everyone does not communicate truthfully, and within today’s government, non-profits, corporations, ranchers, and others there are simply many things to hide, mostly for profit or special interest.
The fact is that compromise in our present day wildlife arena within the United States, as well as within science, remains continuous. So we enter the realms of “deception” and this is clear to many of us and for non-emotional reasons — the term deception the way it is used here, is nothing more and nothing less than, “. . . the action of deceiving someone.”
Allow me to take this a step further, and define this situation as, “. . . Deception is a trick or scheme used to get what someone wants; within this particular dialogue we use the term as, “. . . falsification, misrepresentation, or a willful perversion of facts . . .” Or a lie, “. . . Lie definition: a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.”
Let’s Discuss Wolves in Oregon
Since we now have a descriptive element of terms I will use within this context, we can remove ourselves from emotion — Yes, our government agencies that are responsible for managing our wildlife in America, use the deceptive form of emotion, for persuasion. Obvious? Quite so.
Yes, they tell the general public, that all animal advocates and concerned taxpayers and citizens are emotional; which means within their truth, but mind you not within the capacity of the real definition of truth; thereby, real advocates and concerned citizens are and remain in error of proper judgement, within this scenario of wolves on federal and state lands. The truth is if we say anything at all contrary to deceptive and special interest types of research and wildlife management decisions, look out because here it comes, subjective-reasoning and ignorant name calling.
From the Oregon Fish and Wildlife annual wolf count, at last count in early 2014, there were 64 wolves in Oregon – at the years end 77. The key debate here is the facts.
Oregon’s continued wolf-recovery program opens up new questions about whether existing protections for the animals should continue. This is the ODFW terminology – scientists refute the discussion, stating it should not take place yet, and there is no long-term recovery at all that exists.
“Gray wolves are listed under the state’s Endangered Species Act. ODFW announced last month that there are now eight breeding pairs in the state — enough to trigger a review of their endangered status.” Um, huh? Certainly this is not based on good science. . .
Additional stats from one Oregon wolf count at end-2014:
- 9 wolf packs statewide
- 8 packs with breeding pairs
- 26 pups survived through the end of 2014
- 6 new pairs of wolves compared to 2013
- 11 confirmed incidents of wolves killing livestock, down from 13 in 2013
- $150,830 awarded in eight counties to help ranchers prevent wolf depredation and to repay ranchers whose cattle were killed
Note: The official count of wolves crossing the boundaries into Idaho are not really prominent information yet, but we do have 2-confirmed, 4 from the packs have disappeared, and another 12 cannot be located for count, but were known to cross the boundaries into Idaho often. Once again we have a problem with a government agency and legitimate wildlife counts.
The fact is this, we cannot eliminate every Apex Predator that kills an animal, and for being an Apex Predator. Today’s ranchers have moved into areas where, when I was younger and being raised in the N.W. — smart ranchers would not place their cattle.
The fact is, in reality, fear is the dominate rule rather than the exception. Upon my observation within the countryside, and alongside many cattle herds grazing Public Lands. The many wolves I have viewed and out of sight from their view, simply pass through an area, a flatland, a valley floor, and ignore cattle and sheep quite readily. Getting to the other side of the basin, they simply disappear into the forest without event. This is fact, not emotion . . .
Balance of Nature and Cohabitation for Survival Necessity
There is a balance of nature within each ecological system. Then there exists cohabitation, of both human and wildlife and within terrestrial areas alike. Again, this is factual information, not of the realm of emotional dialectic as many federal and state wildlife managers would like others to perceive, and toward those that question current wildlife management activity, in reality to essentially demean all influence on questioning authority. The fact is also, without question, Public agencies should always be questioned, and open to questioning by the taxpaying Public.
Here we can discuss the tragedy of deception, of misinformation, and killing of wildlife due to emotion – Fear mostly. . . The ODFW supports the validity of a government agency called Wildlife Services (which we have found several ongoing Conflicts of Interest, illegal mostly, but certainly ethically questionable as well). This agency traps and kills so many animals/wildlife, as well as the attritional aspects of killing many more, that indeed entire ecological systems had been destroyed in Oregon — remains quite extraordinary indeed. (i.e. For further information and discussion on Wildlife Service’s read below or go to: http://www.oregonwild.org/about/blog/political-education-wildlife-biologist
The Deception is in and Oregonian’s Losing the Fight for Wildlife
Environmental Assessments are unavailable most often, and through this we can surmise Wildlife Service’s killing-spree of wildlife simply a marginal fear-factor based project. The reasoning for killing wildlife on Public Lands or other Federal Lands and grazing areas, is based on fear, the reality of which never seems to appear as solid evidence, just emotion. Throughout the past 2 years we have found no evidence what so ever for several large killing-sprees of wildlife by Wildlife Services; nor, by the hidden and deceptive artificial structure of a County Trapper situation – Yes, ODFW knows full well they are in the wrong. When caught ODFW will deceive the public at large and speak of necessity.
But they will not mention available proof of reasoning for the kills to have taken place at all, mostly due to the obvious fear factor that generated the killing-spree. Not so ironic, for a good example here, cattle ranchers cannot prove wolf kills of their cattle that often. When inspected for subsidy payments, we have found they simply lie 95% of the time. But this is not an innocent lie, rather it is in the order to have taxpayers pay for the mysterious death of a cow, and if a wolf they recover 100% of the cost of the cow – If death by Wolf Kill.
Our wildlife managers state, as one good example of many more, and due to a non-provable Cougar count in the state of several thousand (which they cannot locate by the way, so estimates given) – ODFW states: “The estimated Oregon mule deer population of 216,154 is below the statewide management objective of 344,900 animals.” If, as hunters and trappers say, mountain lions eat 300,000 deer every year and wolves eat another 4,000, then, within a truthful reality situation, there would be no more deer left in Oregon – so these numbers based on deception only, fabricated for debate: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/big_game/mule_deer/MDI.asp
One of the major problems that exist, just in perusal, is the fact if ODFW figures correct, then I would also be seeing more wolves and Cougars both, and much more of their kills – which I am not seeing at all in my daily ventures and photographing the Cascade Mountain Range.
The ODFW numbers obviously incorrect, as in accord with their population figures, or estimates, they would not have any deer or elk left, just from the Apex Predator kills. Yes, very incorrect and based on emotional reasoning rather than science from the ODFW. With all emotion aside, one can travel the I-5, then through the Columbia River Gorge, or on highway 97, and see the deer population quite evident. Yes, auto and truck accidents have a definite effect on the deer population in Oregon – along with Poaching, which is in extremely large numbers as well.
Poacher’s Remain a Large Problem in Oregon Not Wolves or Cougars
Then there is the question of Poaching, ongoing in this state and extremely plentiful. I see it a few times weekly and pointedly, the wolves and Cougars blamed more often than not. I see on the average, for every wolf or Cougar kill in the mountains (very obvious when one knows what to look for) there exists at least 5 to 8 poached deer or elk hides – bullet holes in them and most often bled-out from their wounds, or arrows in their body’s, and suffered and bled-out as well, then died. Here is a previous example right here in Oregon: Earlier this year, nine people were arrested for their involvement in the illegal killing of as many as 300 deer in the McKenzie Hunt Unit in Oregon. Between 2005 and 2010 following a 15-month investigation by Oregon State Police (OSP). OSP officials called it the single largest poaching case in the state’s history. Law enforcement officers seized 108 racks, 18 rifles, 1,600 pounds of meat, timber company keys, numerous hunting licenses and tags and two entire illegally taken cow elk. See for further reading — http://www.petersenshunting.com/poaching/biggest-poaching-cases-ever/#ixzz3SlslEG5a
Poachers represent significant indiscriminate killing of deer and elk, while wolves kill to live. The poacher is more of a problem than wolves. The panel that developed the Oregon Wolf Management Plan addressed the hunting/poaching issue, though it hasn’t been the subject of media reports. Keep in mind the poacher tends to kill “trophy” animals, weakening the best breeding stock, whereas the wolf takes the weak, strengthening the gene pool.
Then beyond Wildlife Services we also acknowledge this as a reality – I also see it quite extensively, and yet — Cattle and sheep overgrazing on Oregon public lands destroy far more elk and deer than do predators, by the outright destruction of many ecological zones. Taxpayer welfare for rich cattle and sheep ranchers, and their lobby groups, create an entirely different set of deceptions – often blaming wild horses, but so few left, now they want to blame Wolves and Cougars – and on it goes folks, the deceptions are in – and playing a significant political roll in the state of Oregon.
The resolution is quite obvious here, especially in Oregon. It is simply time to cease the deceptions. The fact is, and quite without emotion, but rather, with a lot of American common sense, we know what needs to be done to resolve these issues – we need to act upon these common sense goals. Not ignore them.
Within the contents of this article, many situations obvious and fear of Apex Predators unreasonable at best definition – too obvious to allow them to continue. Change is eminent, it has got to be.
For Further Reading – more on the tragedy of Wildlife Services —
“Super majorities of Oregon’s House and Senate voted for a terrible new law (HB3188) that enables creation of predator killing districts at the county level. Those districts will tax participating real estate at one dollar per acre. The money will pay the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Wildlife Services to kill predators at the request of commercial agriculture and livestock operators.
Don’t confuse the USDA’s Wildlife Services with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service, a vastly different federal agency. This law may spread to other states.
River otters are one of many species killed as “collateral damage” by Wildlife Services. In 2014, 454 river otters were killed by the agency (Dan Sherwood)
The USDA’s Wildlife Services is notorious for slaughtering many species of wildlife, not just predators. In 2014, Wildlife Services killed 2,713,570 animals nationwide, down from 4,378,456 the year before. The 2014 kills include 570 black bears, 322 gray wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 2,930 foxes and 305 mountain lions, as well as three bald and five golden eagles. The federal trappers use cyanide capsules, neck snares and foot traps. When I was a wildlife biology student in Arizona, my classmates and I called these trappers the “gopher chokers”. They kill many animals unintentionally … collateral damage … including 390 out of 454 river otters in 2014. Who knows how many pets they kill? Pet kills are seldom reported. The trappers follow the S-S-S mantra: shoot – shovel – shut-up. They shoot domestic pets caught in their foot traps, bury them and keep quiet.
Oregon’s new law (HB3188) perpetuates Wildlife Services’ egregious activities with the $1/acre real estate tax. How could this happen in wildlife “friendly” Oregon? It happened because people who make money from commercial agriculture and livestock operations, and who are not friendly to wildlife, organized and lobbied more effectively than environmental groups. (to read further: http://www.oregonwild.org/about/blog/political-education-wildlife-biologist “
◾There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this wildlife killing agency – Reveal | The Center for Investigative Reporting, Feb. 4, 2015 https://www.revealnews.org/article/theres-a-reason-youve-never-heard-of-this-wildlife-killing-agency/
◾USDA Inspector General will investigate Wildlife Services after accusations of reckless predator control, abuse of animals, and failure to account for costs – Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 2014 http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-me-wildlife-killing-20140105-story.html#ixzz2pZBZOMbv
◾Congressmen ask Inspector General to make audit of Wildlife Services a top priority – Letter from Peter DeFazio and John Campbell, Sept. 20, 2013
◾”Agriculture’s Misnamed Agency” – New York Times editorial, July 17, 2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/opinion/agricultures-misnamed-agency.html?_r=1&
◾ Wildlife Services is a federal agency that operates in secrecy, using brutal traps, poison and aerial gunning to kill thousands of animals, with accidental victims that include federally protected species, family pets and injured people. Sacramento Bee, Apr. 28, 2012 http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/wildlife-investigation/article2574599.html
USDA-Wildlife Services dog killing in Oregon points to deep problems http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mwaage/usda-wildlife_services_dog_kil.html
Harsh Methodology and explanation to the Public Deceptive at Best
- M-44s lure animal with smelly bait, kill with cyanide – details just one of the indiscriminate and deadly killing techniques used by Wildlife Services. Sacramento Bee, published April 30, 2012
- Efforts to investigate Wildlife Services’ methods continue – Shows renewed attention is being drawn to the federal government’s wildlife damage control program as a result of: (1) a bipartisan letter from four U.S. Representatives requesting a congressional investigation, and (2) a “notice of violation” and $2,400 fine issued to a Wildlife Services’ employee for placing a spring-loaded sodium cyanide ejector (M-44) near a family’s home in Texas that killed their dog, Bella. Sacramento Bee, June 25, 2012. (See special note* below regarding Predator Defense’s focused work on these two projects.)
- Wildlife Services meets with its critics – Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2012
- Davis cuts ties with Wildlife Services over coyote killings – Sacramento Bee, July 19, 2012
- U.S. wildlife worker’s online photos of animal abuse stir outrage – Sacramento Bee, Nov. 2, 2012
- Federal Wildlife Services makes a killing in animal-control business – Sacramento Bee, Nov. 18, 2012
- Reform urged for Wildlife Services – Sacramento Bee, Nov. 18, 2012
- U.S. wildlife agent accused of trapping a neighbor’s dog – Sacramento Bee, Jan. 31, 2013
- Federal agency gives few answers on months-long probe of alleged animal cruelty – FOXnews.com, June 12, 2013
- Documents show questions about Wildlife Services probe in animal cruelty – Sacramento Bee, June 15, 2013
- There’s a reason you’ve never heard of this wildlife killing agency – Reveal | The Center for Investigative Reporting, Feb. 4, 2015
- Exposed: U.S.’ Secret War on Wildlife – VoiceAmerica interview with Brooks Fahy, Feb 24, 2014
- Inspector General to Investigate Wildlife Services – L.A. Times, Jan. 4, 2014
- Congressmen question costs, mission of Wildlife Services agency – Los Angeles Times, Jan. 4, 2014
- Government’s War on Wildlife Exposed – CNN Headline News, Oct. 11, 2013
- Agriculture’s Misnamed Agency – The New York Times, July 17, 2013
- Hundreds of family pets, protected species killed by little-known federal agency – FOX News, Mar. 13, 2013
- Animal torture, abuse called a ‘regular practice’ within federal wildlife agency – FOX News, Mar. 12, 2013
- The Controversy over the Federal Government’s ‘Predator Control’ Program – HealthNewsDigest.com, Nov. 17, 2012
- Congresswoman Pushes for Transparency from Secretive Agency: The Wildlife Killers – Voice of San Diego, Aug. 2, 2012
- American Society of Mammalogists letter recommends redirecting Wildlife Services operations – Mar. 21, 2012. Sample Comment: “We see from WS a heavy and inflexible emphasis on lethal control and a lack of scientific self-assessment of the effects of WS’s lethal control programs on native mammals and ecosystems.”
- Bill to Ban Two Deadly Poisons Used by USDA Wildlife Services Re-introduced in Congress – Mar. 20, 2012
- Taxpayers Subsidizing Wildlife Extermination Program, Probe Shows – Kansas City Star, Aug. 18, 2011
- Poison Traps Kill Unintended Victims – High Country News, Mar. 13, 2000
Victims of Wildlife Services (aka, your tax dollars at work)
The following links and photos illustrate the very real risk Wildlife Services’ traps and poisons pose to wildlife, people, and their pets. Most show animals injured or killed as the result of Wildlife Services’ methods.
WARNING: Many pictures are very graphic and may not be suitable for children.
- List of documented non-target victims (domestic animals), 1990-2011
- Meet Maggie the border collie – her death in a conibear trap was a crime
- Man injured by M-44 poison while recreating on public land in Utah
- Family’s dog dies from M-44 poison from traps set on private property
- Victims of M-44 sodium cyanide devices tell their stories to Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon)
- Nine fox kits orphaned by USDA’s Wildlife Services | Photo
- Domestic cat injured in leg hold trap set by Wildlife Services. Leg was later amputated.
- Young puppy suffers after being caught in Wildlife Services’ necksnare. The puppy was discovered by area residents and the photo was taken after one week of healing.
- Coyote caught in Wildlife Services necksnare
- Warning signs required to be posted by Wildlife Services. Often the signs are not posted or are missing.
- School children in Montana pose with wolves that Wildlife Services killed with aerial gunning in 2004. Seven wolves were killed in this incident.
- Cougars killed by Wildlife Services. This infamous photo of the severed heads of 11 mountain lions was taken by an outraged employee of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. These animals were among 24 lions killed by the federal agency Animal Damage Control (now called Wildlife Services) in the Galiuro mountains of Arizona, a wilderness area North of Willcox. All were killed on federal lands on the Coronado National Forest over a six-month period from December 1988-May 1989. While it is uncertain whether any of these cougars ever preyed on livestock, the ostensible purpose of the killings was to protect cattle that were grazing on public lands. This type of indiscriminate lethal predator control continues in almost all of the states where mountain lions occur. California is an exception in that only specific mountain lions documented to have killed livestock or threatened people are subject to lethal control by wildlife agencies. Also, in California no sport hunting of mountain lions is allowed.
- “A Long Wait in a Trap”
- “Did Princess Have to Die?”
- “Wildlife Services’ Scare Tactics in Urban and Suburban Portland
Current data on animals killed by USDA Wildlife Services is available on their website. Their presentation is not user-friendly, which is telling.
Below are PDFs of their recent kill reports by category:
- Animals killed nationwide 2014 – short report
- Animals killed nationwide 2014 – full report
- Animals killed nationwide 2014 – by method/fate
Animals killed in Oregon 2014 – by method/fate