Guest blog by Barry Coe
See also “The “Deal”, Part I: Judge Molloy Cannot Destroy Law”

It seems yet again we find ourselves faced with the rewriting of fact and claimed science in the wolf issue. The people who make their living from perpetuating the madness of this issue have once again found a new straw to grasp at in an attempt to keep their ‘cash cow’ alive and tied up in court where they can reap the benefits from taxpayer funded lawsuits.

An interesting new twist in this tale is that this new attempt to stifle state management of never threatened species is that it came from a judge. No longer has the activist Judge Molloy waited for his allies to even bring a suit before he attempts to expand his ruling beyond the scope of a suit already settled in his court. I am not sure why Judge Molloy just doesn’t conference with the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for biological Diversity et al, groups that leech their living off of this mess, and rewrite the entire Endangered Species Act to suit their wishes. But I digress…..

As many are aware and the pro wolf people have attempted to ignore, the entire ‘re’-introduction of the wolf into Idaho and Yellowstone required a declaration in the federal register known as 50 CFR Part 17, this has also become known as both “The Final Rule” and “The Deal”, and is a legally binding contract that defines the terms, standards and conditions of which the Secretary of the Interior and all others are bound by concerning wolf introduction, binding not only himself but all of his successors.

In the final rule of 50 CFR Part 17 Ed Bangs clearly outlined the reason and function behind the definition of nonessential and experimental in the population of introduced wolves into the NRM states. In the article he states:

“Under section 10(j), a listed species reintroduced outside of its current range, but within its historic range, may be designated, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), as “experimental.” This designation increases the Service’s flexibility and discretion in managing reintroduced endangered species because such experimental animals may be treated as a threatened species. The Act requires that animals used to form an experimental population be separated geographically from nonexperimental populations of the same species.

Additional management flexibility is possible if the experimental animals are found to be “nonessential” to the continued existence of the species in question.” 50 CFR Part 17

I have to ask, is a failure of the USFWS to not keep these two populations separated, not a violation of their own final rule?

But even more important, it clearly defines that this designation is clearly about being able to manage the species within the area, and not about specific wolves or even recovery. When the USFWS decided to release this intrusive predator on the people of three states, they knew in advance there would be conflicts and trouble, and therefore allowed for the ability to manage these animals in the face of those conflicts. Without this designation, people would simply be at the mercy of the wolves in every case except in the protection of a human life.

“Management of the nonessential experimental wolf population would allow reintroduced wolves to be killed or moved by Service authorized Federal, State, and tribal agencies for domestic animal depredations and excessive predation on big game populations. Under special conditions, the public could harass or kill wolves attacking livestock (cattle, sheep, horses, and mules).” 50 CFR Part 17

Ed Bangs in writing this rule also clearly states the following, which basically states that the only sound reason for a change in this designation, is in fact, delisting. If Molloy’s claim is that the original wolves are now dead, therefore the designation no longer fits, I guess he figured Ed Bangs believed the original wolves would live forever or until delisted. Which I am sure even Bangs would not claim.

“The Service does not intend to reevaluate the “nonessential experimental” designation. The Service does not foresee any likely situation which would result in changing the nonessential experimental

status until the gray wolf is recovered and delisted in the northern Rocky Mountains according to provisions outlined in the Act.” 50 CFR Part 17

One then has to ask why? Why is the removal of this designation so important that an activist judge would propose such a thing? I can only come up with one answer, the fallacy of genetic diversity.

Once the pseudo scientists could no longer come up with excuses to keep the wolves listed, those who profit by this were desperate to create a new fiction: Genetic Connectivity, the manufactured belief that all the wolves in the NRM states have to have access to each other in order to spread their genes around. While on first glance, this may seem to make sense, one once again has to look at science. Not manufactured science, but actual results from the living laboratory, Isle Royale.

The wolves of Isle Royale are all the descendants of three wolves. Dr. David Mech, the godfather of all wolf biologists has been studying Isle Royale wolves his entire career which began in 1958. He testified to this reality on Isle Royale. Here is part of his testimony, under oath.

“II. DISCUSSION

A. Response to Wayne Declaration

14. Based on my long history and experience studying wolves in Yellowstone and throughout the world, I disagree with several of the conclusions drawn by Dr. Wayne’s Declaration. Dr. Wayne’s conclusion that “an effective metapopulation dynamic . . . has yet to be achieved” in the Northern Rockies is based on data collected from 1995-2004 from only a fraction of the actual population. Wayne Decl. at ¶3. More recent data demonstrates connectivity between the YNP population and wolves elsewhere in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Moreover, the life span of wolves in the wild is at least 13 years (Mech 1988), and they breed from ages 2 (sometimes 1 year of age) – 13. The fact that no “genetically effective immigration of wolves to YNP” was found for a 10-year period from 1995-2004, Wayne Decl. at ¶3, is neither relevant nor important to
long-term wolf persistence.”
Mech Case No. cv-08-56-M-DWM (emphasis mine)

His entire testimony can be seen here: http://westinstenv.org/wp-content/Declaration_L_David_Mech.pdf

In conclusion, considering the facts, no valid claim can be made as to this pseudo science being sound, nor any valid claim can be made as to a sound reason to remove the experimental, nonessential definition of the wolves in the NRM states. Unless of course, the wolves will be delisted and their proper management turned over to the states as should have rightfully been done clear back in 2002 when recovery goals were met as per 50 CFR Part 17

Barry Coe