A Celebration of Predators and
Our Wild National Heritage

The mission of Speak for Wolves is to create an opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform and restore our national heritage. On July 26-28, 2018 Americans from all over the country will meet in West Yellowstone, Montana to discuss, strategize and unite in building a coalition to address the need to reform wildlife management in America. It’s time for wildlife management to integrate the science of the 21st century and the ever-changing demographics and values of our citizenry.

The status quo of wildlife management in America is broken and it needs to be fixed. Gray wolves are keystone predators that fill a crucial ecological niche across the landscape. Known throughout the scientific community as trophic cascade, wolves are apex predators whose behavior effects dozens of other species, leading to an increase in biodiversity. Soils, plant communities, other wildlife species, riparian areas and forests are all effected by the presence of wolves. Watch the video.

Five Keys to Reforming Wildlife Management in America:

1. Restructure state fish & game department operations

Western governors currently appoint fish and game commissioners, who in-turn use their authority to influence agency policy, particularly predator management. This is cronyism at its worst. State fish and game departments are funded in large part by the sale of hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses. As a result, these agencies serve the primary interest of “sportsmen”, while sentiments of citizens that do not hunt, fish or trap are given considerably less consideration. Terminating the political appointment of agency commissioners, creating innovative funding mechanisms, applying the best available science, and incorporating genuine public involvement in decision making is sorely needed within state fish and game departments. Since state legislatures determine state fish and game department operations, however, a more likely alternative would be for the federal government to assume the management of all wildlife on federal public lands.

2. Remove grazing from all federal public lands

Grazing is the most ecologically damaging form of land use in the arid America West. Research has proven that non-native livestock is responsible for soil compaction, destruction of wetlands and riparian zones, a decrease in water retention and aquifer recharge, soil erosion, flooding, and a net-loss of biodiversity. Livestock grazing contributes to the spread of harmful invasive plant species, which greatly affects the West’s historic fire regime. To make matters worse, destructive grazing practices are heavily subsidized by the American taxpayer every year to the tune of tens, if not, hundreds of millions of dollars. At the very least, the federal grazing fee ($1.35 cow/calf pair) must be substantially raised to recoup administrative costs, voluntary grazing retirement (grazing permits are bought out by conservation groups) needs to be enabled on all federal public lands, and Congress must cease the use of legislative riders to handicap the ability of federal agencies, and the public, to use our public land laws to asses the cumulative impacts of harmful grazing.

3. Reign in Wildlife Services

The USDA Wildlife Services has a death grip on wildlife management in America. Literally. Every year Wildlife Services kills millions of animals, including wolves. coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, beavers, birds and countless other species, including house pets. The agency is an indiscriminate killer that uses neck snares and foot hold traps, toxic cyanide (M44’s) and aerial gunning (helicopters) to slaughter native wildlife across the country. Under the guise of various names over the past century, this agency has historically, and continues today, to mainly serve the interests of the livestock industry.
In 2013, Congress called for an investigation of Wildlife Services, questioning it’s fiscal responsibility, public accountability and environmental impacts. Perhaps under greater scrutiny than ever before, the time has come for the predator-control segment of the agency to cease and the entire agency be overhauled.

film by Predator Defense – a national nonprofit helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990.

4. Ban trapping and snaring on federal public lands

We must evolve as a society and move away from these barbaric, unethical, cruel and torturous methods) of killing native wildlife. Leg-hold traps, conibear traps and neck snares are indiscriminate killers that have no place on federal public lands. Human populations are growing, demographics and values, are changing, and more people are recreating on public lands than ever before, meaning leg-hold traps and neck snares are threats to native wildlife and humans. Recently, there has also been an increase in the number of dogs being trapped and/or killed on public lands in states like Idaho. Some states currently require individuals to check their traps once every 72-hours, while other states do not require trappers to check them, at all. With trapping on the decline around the country, it’s time for the American people to urge their elected leaders to introduce legislation that would ban these practices on federal public lands in the name of the public good.

5. Cease wildlife derbies and the hunting of carnivores

The best available science suggests that carnivores, including gray wolves, are self-regulating species. Carnivores don’t need to be managed, they do not overpopulate, nor they kill for fun. They have evolved with their prey over thousands of years, with species populations constantly fluctuating. The livestock industry and sportsmen groups have controlled the rhetoric and the media over the last decade, once again demonizing the ‘big bad wolf” similar to centuries past. The trapping, snaring, hounding, and trophy-hunting of carnivores, particularly of gray wolves, runs counter to public sentiment and ethics. Over the past handful of years, the public has laid witness to a growing number of wildlife derbies with cash prizes being offered for the largest or greatest number animals killed during the contest. Thanks to recent public pressure, the state of California is close to banning awards and prizes for killing native wildlife like coyotes. Instead of slaughtering them, we need to better understand and celebrate the fascinating and crucial niche of carnivores.

Did you know…

Did you know that approximately 4500 wolves have been slaughtered across the Lower 48 since gray wolves were wrongfully stripped of federal protections afforded under the Endangered Species Act in 2011? The resulting management of gray wolves by states such as Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Minnesota has resulted in thousands of wolves legally killed by state-sanctioned hunting, trapping, snaring and/or hounding seasons. The federal government also kills wolves at the request of certain states through aerial gunning programs.

The United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services is a tax-payer funded agency within the government that eradicates millions of native species every year across the United States including wolves, cougars, black bears, coyotes, bobcats and more. All of this is done to primarily benefit the livestock industry, wealthy private landowners and on occasion hunting guides or outfitters.

A Decade of Killing:
Funded by Your Tax Dollars

[Click on the map for large view]
[image credit: Humane Society]

Trapping • Snaring • Poisoning • Aerial Gunning

Wildlife Services employees kill native wildlife with traps, snares, poisons, explosives and helicopter snipers. One of the five main principles key to reforming wildlife management in America is the necessity to rein in the predator-killing program of the federal government.