U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Emails Show Possible Wolf Numbers, Money Doubts

Photo: Mexican wolf Courtesy: Jim Clark USFWS

In December, Utah Wildlife Board Chairman John Bair said that the wolf was being used “as the silver bullet to kill the culture of the West,” and that claim appears to have been confirmed in recently uncovered emails from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The silver bullet will likely cause a slow economic death.

Throughout the discussions of the reintroduction of the wolf to the west, federal government officials have promised stakeholders – including ranchers – that the predator’s victims will be compensated for their losses. However, in an email dated March 5, 2014, Sherry Barrett, FWS Mexican Wolf recovery coordinator, advises fellow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) employees that she is “concerned about using the compensation fund in a manner to offset effects, as we do not have any guarantees of future funding for it to continue.”

In that same email, Barrett acknowledges that the wolf will put pressure on the cattle that will result in weight loss, but: “The Coexistence Council only compensates for confirmed (100% of current value) and probable depredations (50% of current value), which addresses some of the cost differential.”

So not only are the ranchers on the hook for the reduced value of their herd, but may not be compensated at all should funding disappear.

The empty promises and lies didn’t stop with the federal officials, Jim DeVos of Arizona Game and Fish has repeatedly told Arizona stakeholders that he didn’t know how many wolves would be introduced. However, DeVos was copied on emails that included the draft plan for wolf reintroduction.

Officials had said that they would introduce 3 wolves per 1000 elk. At that rate, the big game herd, which is an important economic driver, would not be negatively impacted. Any more than that would be devastating. DeVos has said himself that 5 wolves per 1000 elk would have catastrophic consequences. The wolves would be forced to consume domesticated animals.

Related article: Wolf attacks on humans in North America

However, according to the Supplemental Information for the Development of the Draft EIS sent to Vos and others, with the subject line “wolf number calculations based on density and potential habitat,” officials may introduce up to 700 wolves.

The draft report reads in part:

  • Wolf density in the BRWRA and on the FAIR ranges from a low estimate of 3.5 wolves per 1000 km2 to a high estimate of 11.3 wolves per 1000 km2 (Table 1).
  • “We estimate that approximately 220 to 719 wolves could occupy potential wolf habitat in the core area in Arizona and New Mexico at some time in the future depending primarily on the density assumptions and assumptions of the consistency of the habitat between the BRWRA and the other areas.
  • We estimate that between 85 and 403 wolves could persist between 1-40 and I-10 in Arizona alone, based on assumptions related to areas that wolves are allowed to occupy and densities that wolves obtained (See Table 2 and Table 3).
  • Based on the considerations associated with our low and high density estimates, it is likely that Mexican wolves would occur between the medium to high density calculations in the core area, ranging from 4.3 wolves per 1000 km2 (medium density) to the high density of 11.3 wolves per 1000 km2, assuming conditions (e.g., ungulate densities) are relatively similar to the BRWRA and FAIR. The low density estimate would be the second lowest density (out of 32 other studies) for gray wolf populations in North America (Fuller et al. 2003). In between our medium and high density estimates lies a population habitat viability analysis demonstrating a wolf density of 8 wolves per 1,000 km2 (Carroll et al. 2006)3.
  • We estimate that it will take at least a decade for wolves to reach the low/medium/high densities in the core area as they disperse out of the BRWRA (assuming a 10% growth rate for the population beginning with the 2012 annual population count of 80 wolves).
  • In Arizona specifically, two possibilities exist to achieve a theoretical population of 150 wolves, either manage for a medium-high density of Mexican wolves (i.e., densities of approximately 6.5 to 7.0 wolves per 1000 km2: see Table 2 and Table 3) in a smaller area (i.e., east of highway 87) or manage for a medium density of Mexican wolves (4.3 wolves per 1000 km2) across a larger area (i.e. the core area).
  • Densities higher than 4.3 per 1000 km2 may be especially difficult to achieve in areas where ungulate populations are lower than in the BRWRA.

In Arizona, the core area affected  “is the area north of I-10, south of I-40, west of I-25, and east of highways 60 (at Junction with I-10), 89, and 93 (at Junction with I-40)(Figure 2); specifically, the potential wolf habitat identified within this area, excluding potential wolf habitat on tribal lands for which we do not currently have an agreement that would allow wolf occupancy (i.e., potential wolf habitat on all tribal land was excluded from our calculation except for that on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation).”

It is important to note that the tribes refuse the reintroduction of the wolf on their lands. Unlike the non-tribal ranchers, they have the clout, through sovereignty to stop the devastating plan. Still, westerners are a tough people and their leaders are doing all they can to dodge the silver bullet. Earlier this month, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission passed a resolution that opposes the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves statewide. Others are considering the same.

In the meantime, the Arizona Game and Fish is working on a plan to reimburse ranchers. Some lawmakers question why Arizona taxpayers should have to bear the burden for yet one more expensive federal program.

10 Comments on "U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Emails Show Possible Wolf Numbers, Money Doubts"

  1. I attended a so called ‘public’ input meeting once about the snot nosed spotted owl. They come in to these input meetings already knowing that it was nothing more than a smoke and mirror event as any input was ‘supposedly’ to be taken into consideration. Speakers with actual knowledge of the areas in question presented their information were applauded by the audience for their input and generally shrugged off by the ‘moderators’. These are nothing but ‘feel good’ opportunities and had no impact on anything. Any input on wolves was probably received the same way. Once the powers that be say they know what is best, just pretty much forget about it as it already is a done deal. Much like the sheep on mt lemmon. People destroyed their habitat so that they could not survive, but to fulfill some fantasy they brought them back and whined and cried they were ‘eaten’ by their natural predators so the predators were killed as a result and guess what, the sheep still are not thriving. so really nothing new here regarding the wolf. Remember the government ‘knows’ what is best for you, all ya gotta do is ask them.

  2. As a former hunting guide in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, I have seen first hand what damage wolves cause to hunting. Everyone should fight this if you like elk and deer hunting. I do think that wolves have their place in the Eco system, But like any other game animal their population needs to be managed

  3. Just the FEDS “managing OUR property” for the people of NY, New Jersey, & Ohio. Get the Feds out of our state. Support our state legislators who want our land taken care of by the people closest to it. That’s us.

  4. Chris Horquilla | January 29, 2016 at 9:34 am |

    There is a simple solution to this problem: Shoot, Shovel and Shutup.

  5. 220 to 700+ wolves? Really? From where? The genetics of these so called Mexican wolves are already suspect as the base 7, yes, SEVEN, wolves were already contaminated with coyote and dog. It’s disingenuous at best, and criminal at worst to ask ranchers and people who have lived in these rural areas to bear the brunt of the economic losses to an animal who was removed years ago and was gone for all intents and purposes when these people moved in. Who is benefiting from this?

  6. freedom1080 | January 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm |

    Fake endangered wolves. Roxanne said this is fraud you can’t have wolves based from 7 wolves. This is hybrid wolf so it’s not legally covered un the endangered species act.
    That doesn’t stop the corrupt welfare biologist at USFWS.
    So follow the money. The welfare has career studying worthless vermin hybrid wolves.
    The wolf pimps get rich for suing the Fed Gov from the Equal access to justice funds. You know the welfare lawyers in Center for Biological diversity are laughing all the way to the bank.
    Oh yes the other wolf pimps crying and begging for money form the useful idiots.
    And the ranchers, the hunting outfitters, the small Mom and Pop stores that depend on hunters will all be driven out of business. BECAUSE WELFARE LAWYERS AND WELFARE BIOLGOIST ONLY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES.

  7. Dale Brethower | January 31, 2016 at 8:00 am |

    Chris, Be a law abiding citizen and shoot only the dog and coyote parts. Be careful not to hit the wolf parts. Maybe you should get a government grant to study the matter to be sure of your aim. If there were such a thing as a Mexican Wolf to be an endangered species this program would make a tiny bit of sense but as it is, it is simply bureaucrats run wild. Again.

  8. It’s about control. Control of our lands so people from NY, NJ, and Pennsylvania can enjoy the sites. The whole EPA was born after the fall of communism. It’s the kinder, gentler benevolent form of tyranny. Hope TRUMP destroys the EPA Dept. and sends it all back to the states to handle.

  9. Google Red Wolf Restoration Scandal | February 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm |

    The US does not have ANY authority to release any Hybrid Mexican Wolves as Mexico owns them and only granted the USFWS the right to “Hold” and “Captivity Breed” them. USFWS introduced previously hybridized wolves into the “Pure” genetics of the founders that were trapped in Mexico and brought back to the US. Further USFWS had NO authority from the Mexican Government to introduce a very well documented captive population of hybridized wolves under the disguise of “Genetic Rescue”. Now NO Mexican Wolf is legally extended protection from the ESA. The USFWS knows this but Director Ashe is only kicking the can until he gets out leaving this mess for the next Director to clean-up. I’m very well schooled on this fraud as is a poster above echoing the same. Wolves are the profitable asset of Americas “Public Trust Pimps”! Jammie Rappourt Clark past USFWS leads the “Cult” of corruption! Google Red Wolf Restoration Scandal for more facts & FOIA Docs! BR-549

  10. Google Red Wolf Restoration Scandal | February 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm |

    Feds “Close” Gunshot Wolf Case after FWS Labs determine the Cause of Death was “Heartworms” and NOT the “Bullet Hole”… Yes, Really!!

    North Carolina’s Private Landowner’s post the largest Wolf Reward in history $52,050.00 and the USFWS refuses to notify the public of the record reward and they “Quickly” close the case!!

    Why? Would this expose the fraud USFWS in Federal Court? And or did a USFWS past or current Employee Shoot this wolf, confess the retract their confession?

    Watch the video below (copy and paste in you browser) to play!! Please foward this far and wide!

    https://vimeo.com/127949184

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