We are getting to a point in this great nation where people will seriously lose any trust in the scientific community. Politics run rampant there and it’s political money that funds scientific research which is about the same as the fox taking over duties of feeding the chickens, fattening them up for the kill.
Climategate has brought reasonable people to a point of having doubts about what is driving the push behind anthropogenic global warming. With the release of emails and documents that seem to clearly point a finger at scientists hiding data, conspiring to cover it up while demonizing anyone in opposition, one has to wonder just how deep this goes into the scientific research community.
The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and Central Idaho in 1995ish pales in comparison to Climategate, nonetheless it is just as troubling. Before wolves could be released into these regions, a federal bureaucratic process had to first be followed. One of the last items on a check list is an Environmental Impact Statement. With a completed EIS, the USFWS in 1994 decided it would bring wolves into the Greater Yellowstone Area, including Central Idaho, and called those wolves a Non Essential Experimental population.
During the process of creating the Final Environmental Impact Statement, the feds have to have a comment period from the public. Often times these comment periods result in a tremendous number of comments that come from everyday citizens to world renowned scientists.
During the comment period for wolf reintroduction, several scientists submitted information concerning disease, worms and parasites that wolves are known to carry, posing threats to other wildlife, domestic animals and humans. It appears from the 1994 EIS for wolf reintroduction, those concerns were pretty much completely ignored.
Will Graves, author of “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages“, has studied wolves for many years. He has traveled to Russia and surrounding nations to gather information, historic documents, etc., to learn more about wolves, their diseases and the impact these animals have had on humans for centuries. This is the basis of his book.
Graves submitted comments to Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning disease, worms and parasites, among other interests, dated October 3, 1993.
1. Diseases, Worms, and Parasites. I was surprised that the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) did not make a detailed study on the impact issue of diseases, worms, and parasites (page 9). I believe an EIS is not complete without a detailed study covering the diseases, worms and parasites that wolves would carry, harbor, and spread around in YNP (Yellowstone National Park) and in Idaho. The study should cover the potential negative impact of these diseases on wild and domestic animals, and on humans. I believe the potential negative impact of the diseases is a valid reason not to reintroduce wolves into YNP and to Idaho.
Countless articles about the diseases, worms and parasites carried, harbored, and spread around by wide ranging wolves have been published in a magazine sponsored by the former Soviet Ministry of Agriculture. For example, a Soviet biologist reported that gray wolves are carriers of a number of types of worms and parasites which are dangerous for animals and for humans. According to this biologist, the main one is cestoda. Over approximately a ten year period, the Soviets conducted a controlled study on the subject. They made the following observations. When and where wolves were almost eliminated in a given research area, (where almost all wolves were killed by each spring and new wolves moved into the controlled area only in the fall) infections of taenia hydatiqena in moose and boar did not occur in more than 30 to 35% of the animals. The rate of infections were 3 to 5 examples in each animal. When and where wolves were not killed in the controlled areas in the spring, and where there were 1 or 2 litters of wolf cubs, the infections in moose and boar of taenia hydatiqena reached 100% and up to 30 to 40 examples of infection (infestation) were in each moose and boar. Each year the Soviets studied 20 moose and 50 boar. The research was documented and proved that even in the presence of foxes, raccoons and domestic dogs, ONLY THE WOLF was the basic source of the infections in the moose and boar. Examinations of 9 wolves showed that each one was infected with taenia hydatiqena with an intensity of 5 to 127 examples. This confirmed the Soviet conclusions. The damage done by taenia hydatiqena to cloven footed game animals is documented by Soviet veterinarians. My concern is that if gray wolves in the former USSR carried and spread to game animals dangerous parasites, then there must be danger that gray wolves in YNP and in Idaho would also spread parasites. Why should we subject our game animals, and possibly our domestic animals to such danger?
If wolves are planted in YNP and in Idaho, I believe the wolves will undoubtedly play a role in the epizootiology and epidemiology of rabies. The wolf has played an important role, or perhaps a major role, as a source of rabies for humans in Russia, Asia, and the former USSR. From 1976 to 1980 a wolf bite was the cause of rabies in 3.5% of human cases in the Uzbek, Kazakh, and Georgian SSRs and in several areas of the RSFSR. Thirty cases of wolf rabies and 36 attacks on humans by wolves were registered in 1975 – 1978 only in the European area of the RSFSR. In the Ukraine, wolf rabies constituted .8% of all cases of rabies in wildlife in 1964 to 1978. The incidence of wolf rabies increased six fold between 1977 and 1979. The epizootic significance of the wolf has been shown in the Siberian part of the former USSR. Between 1950 and 1977 a total of 8.7% of rabies cases in the Eastern Baikal region were caused by wolf bites. In the Aktyubinsk Region of Kazakhstan, of 54 wolves examined from 1972 to 1978, 17 or 31.5% tested positive for rabies. During this period, 50 people were attacked by wolves and 33 suffered bites by rabid wolves. This shows that healthy wolves also attack and bite humans. Recent Russian research states that as the numbers of hybrid wolves increases, the likelihood of a healthy hybrid wolf attacking humans also increase. Russian wildlife specialists state that when there is no hunting of wolves, the possibility of wolves attacking humans also increases, as the wolves lose their fear of humans.
Wolves not only have and carry rabies, but also have carried foot and mouth disease and anthrax. Wolves in Russia are reported to carry over 50 types of worms and parasites, including echinococcus, cysticercus and the trichinellidae family.
Prior to planting wolves in YNP and Idaho, I respectfully request a detailed study be made on the potential impact wolves will have in regard to carry, harboring and spreading of diseases.
Needless to say, Graves never got his wish. As a matter of fact, it appears that the USFWS pretty much just ignored anything to do with diseases, worms and parasites, with a mild exception to rabies. Did they have this information and covered it up in order not to dissuade people from wanting wolves?
The 1994 FEIS basically omits any real information about disease, worms and parasites. On page 55 of the Consultation and Coordination portion of the FEIS, the USFWS devotes one small section to deal with disease.
Diseases and Parasites to and from Wolves
Most respondents who commented on this issue expressed concern about diseases and parasites introduced wolves could transfer to other animals and to humans in recovery areas. The disease most often mentioned was rabies.
Several people advocated additional research be conducted on the possible effects of wolf introduction on other animals and humans. Also, several individuals noted as a potential problem warranting further study was the possibility of exposing introduced wolves to diseases or parasites that could decimate their numbers.
“Wolves are known rabies carriers. We have enough health problems in our culture today, what we don’t need is another problem!”
Response – Wolves will be given vaccinations when they are handled to reduce the chances of them catching diseases from coyotes and other canids. Wolves will eventually naturally develop resistance
to exposure to canid diseases that are present in wildlife and domestic dog populations in the western
United States. Wolves will not significantly increase the transmission of rabies or other diseases.
Not only did they not address any of Graves’ legitimate concerns, the only thing mentioned by name for disease was rabies. And not only was all other diseases, worms and parasites ignored, they only addressed the issue to the detriment of the wolves. Read the response above again. Their answer to everything is to give the wolves a vaccination before being released, promising the wolves won’t catch anything from other wildlife and/or domestic dog populations. They completely fail to address the concerns of other wildlife, domestic dogs and humans. It appears their bias for the wolves comes shining through brightly, caring not enough to be concerned with anything else.
Being the cynic that I am and now with an even greater distrust of science, particularly that funded by and sponsored by the federal government, this sure looks like the dandy work of a cover up to me.
In 1993 Will Graves and other scientists warned the feds that bringing wolves in would end up in the spread of unwanted diseases, some of which could potentially destroy other wildlife and be of harm to humans. It was ignored. Now, 16 years later, we find out that over 60% of wolves tested in the Greater Yellowstone Area, including Idaho and Montana, are chuck-a-block full of worms, the kind that can be harmful to humans.
But, let’s not kid ourselves. Even though the feds were dishonest in their approach, we shouldn’t be. We don’t know where these wolves got the worms. Yes, they were vaccinated before being released, but are we sure that the vaccinations took care of everything? Most assume that wolves that migrated into the region on their own through Northern Idaho and Northwestern Montana, brought the diseases with them. There’s not a lot that can be done about that. But that’s not the real issue.
Wolves are known to be a wide ranging creature. Environmentalist want to paint the picture to the public that wolves remain in their own neat little packs and that if there are not millions of these killing machines spread out all over the U.S. of A. they somehow will never survive.
Wolves roam and they carry disease. The USFWS either deliberately omitted this information in order to manipulate the public opinion about wolves or they didn’t do their homework and were irresponsible in not conducting a complete study on the impact of diseases, worms and parasites as was requested. Now we have another impact from wolves we all will have to deal with.
Who do we trust anymore?
- Two-Thirds of Idaho Wolf Carcasses Examined Have Thousands of Hydatid Disease Tapeworms
- Ed Bangs, USFWS: "They're No Big Deal" re: Wolves
- A Warning To Outdoor Users About Echinococcus, From Worms
- Will Graves' Comments To Environmental Quality Council On Hydatid Disease
- USFWS Public Meeting in Augusta, Maine Should Be Labeled as Political Charade