*Editor’s Note* Below is a copy of a letter from Lynn Stuter, directed to fish and game commissioner Phil Anderson about information passed on to the public at a forum held January 16, 2013 about wolves.
Dear Director Anderson,
I am outraged, as a citizen of this state, at the misinformation, inaccuracies and outright lies told by your forum panel participants at the forum held in Spokane on January 16.
Here is some, but certainly not all, of the propaganda put out for public consumption last night:
1. The Canadian Grey wolf is the same type of wolf that was here before. Not true. The Timber Wolf (Canis lupis irremotus) is the native wolf of the Pacific Northwest. An entirely different species than the Canadian Grey wolf, when the Canadian Grey Wolf was introduced under the 10(j) rule – non-essential, experimental populations – the Timber Wolf truly became extinct in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
2. Tapeworms in wolves are the same as in caribou, elk, moose, coyotes, raccoons, dogs and sheep. Wow, talk about spreading disinformation and misinformation! Canids (dogs, wolves, coyotes) are the definitive host of the Echinococcus granulosus (E.g.) tapeworm; ungulates and humans are the intermediate host. Ungulates and humans do not contract E.g. unless a definitive host is present. Historically, E.g. existed above the 45th parallel in the sylvatic (wild) form and cycles between wolves and ungulates, including livestock. It can be contracted by humans. Historically, E.g. existed below the 45th parallel in the pastoral (domesticated) form and cycles between sheep dogs and sheep. It can also be contracted by humans. E.g. did not exist in coyotes or dogs in the United States until wolves were introduced to Yellowstone and central Idaho without being properly wormed. E.g. does not exist in raccoons. E.g. causes Cystic Hydatid disease as opposed to Alveolar Hydatid Disease caused by the Echinococcus multilocularis (E.m.) tapeworm which cycles between carnivores (canids, fox, felines) as the definitive host and rodents (also humans) as the intermediate host. E.m. has been found in parts of eastern Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota and is far more dangerous to humans than E.g., not discounting that E.g. can be fatal in humans, especially if the cysts form in the heart, spine or brain or burst inside the body. A ruptured cyst causes anaphylactic shock leading to death. Teens, playing sports, are susceptible to blows that can burst undiagnosed cysts. Cysts are difficult and expensive to remove with few American doctors knowledgeable about diagnosis, treatment and removal. Dogs, feeding on the offal of infected dead ungulates, become infected and spread the E.g. eggs on the grass around the home and on floors and furniture if allowed inside the home; the eggs are very mobile, moving to vegetation including gardens, berry plants and fruit trees; most often how humans are exposed to Cystic Hydatid. The eggs remain viable for years, are immune to cold and water, are killed by fire. Babies crawling on floors, children playing in grass if the family dog is infected, rural people are very susceptible to Cystic Hydatid which can exist in the body for years without detection. People camping, hiking, and berry-picking in wilderness areas are also susceptible, especially if sleeping on the ground, drinking out streams, or eating fruit without washing it first. Cases have been diagnosed in Idaho.
3. Wolves eat 10-20 lbs. meat a day. They may set aside up to 50/ lbs./day. Each wolf eats 12-22 elk per year. It’s amazing how the truth can be obfuscated by the terms used. What was not said is that the number of elk killed by one wolf in one year is far higher than the number of wolves [elk?] eaten. While the number eaten may be 12-22, the number killed is far higher – about 50. Now take a pack of 15 wolves; they have killed 750 elk in one year. Take 15 packs and that figure is 11,250 elk in one year. That doesn’t include deer and moose also killed.
4. Elk herds are in decline in Idaho . This is related to fire issues in the wild. Outright lie. There has not been a serious fire in the Lolo Zone since wolves were introduced in Idaho in 95/96. Idaho Fish and Game finally admitted, years too late, that wolves were the cause of the decimation of the largest elk herd in Idaho, in the Lolo Zone. Wolves are also the sole cause of the decimation of the elk herds in Montana and Yellowstone.
5. Wolves are precursors to your dogs. That is a obfuscation used by the pro-wolf environmentalists to try and equate wolves with the cute little puppy-dog next door. While wolves and dogs are of the same family – Canid – wolves cannot be domesticated; they are an apex predator that will kill your cute little puppy-dog next door in a heartbeat!
6. If wolves start after their livestock, producers need to seek non lethal tools. Experience has proven that non-lethal tools – fladry, electric fences, bells, etc – do not work; all they do is prolong the time wolves are allowed to kill livestock before being eliminated. One of your so-called experts even admitted this, saying that once wolves start preying on livestock, they do not stop!
7. The Range Rider Program of cowboys is a good program to protect the cattle daily. What a novel approach. And who pays the wages and expenses of those range riders? It certainly is not the state or the environmentalists, is it? How much are we willing to pay for our meat so the environmentalists can watch wolfie? This is just another example of livestock producers suffering the consequences of someone else’s actions.
Niemeyer claimed that only 5% of livestock that die is predation caused. Sounds really minor doesn’t it – only 5%? Now let’s take a herd of even 100 cattle, what would be considered a small livestock operation. That equates to 5 cattle killed by wolves. Now, let’s take the cost of raising and maintaining those cows, the value of the cow, and loss of future calves when the cow is killed by wolves. That 5% just turned into a lot of money, even if 5% is accurate. This figure does not include the cost to the livestock producer of weight loss, miscarriage and barren cows due to wolf harassment. That cost, in a herd of even 100 cows, brings the price tag substantially higher. How much did the loss of 40 cows on the Diamond M Ranch actually cost the owners? How much has harassment by wolves cost the Diamond M Ranch? I will bet you have no clue, and furthermore, don’t care. The long and short of this little math exercise is that percentage loss is being used, deliberately, to minimize the far greater economic loss that percentage represents.
At the very end, a slide was produced, showing a steady and rapid growth of wolves. And while Niemeyer made a point of stating that wolves are here to stay, what was not said was what it will take to keep wolves from inundating the State of Washington. It is very apparent that hunting wolves as a game animal will not hold the number in check; that to hold wolves in check, a take of at least 70% per year is required (Mech, et al, Case No. cv-08-56-M-DWM; 2008). With looming budget deficits, the aerial gunning of wolves is an expensive proposition. The only way to deal with this obvious conundrum is to change the designation of wolves in Washington State from game animal to predator, allowing them to be shot on sight! As Mech, et al, have pointed out, not even this designation will result in holding the number of wolves constant. It will, however, decrease the cost to aerial gun wolves.
It is apparent that the Washington Wolf Plan is anything but “excellent”, needs to be scrapped and redone immediately; this time dealing with the reality of wolves instead of pandering to environmentalists who have no stake in the consequences of wolves in Washington State.