Amidst the rampant political insanity running loose “out there” one occasionally runs across an item or two where the insanity is actually challenged, sometimes with hints of possible success built into said challenge(s). Ran across one just the other day courtesy of an article entitled Panel says federal wolf plan used unproven science. Here are some enlightening excerpts from the article, plus a few (potentially snarky) comments and observations (highlights added).
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A proposal to lift federal protections for gray wolves across most of the U.S. suffered a significant setback Friday [Feb 7 2014] as an independent review panel said the government is relying on unsettled science to make its case.
Federal wildlife officials want to remove the animals from the endangered species list across the Lower 48 states, except for a small population in the Southwest.
The five-member U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service peer-review panel was tasked with reviewing the government’s claim that the Northeast and Midwest were home to a separate species, the eastern wolf.
If the government were right, that would make gray wolf recovery unnecessary in those areas.
But the peer reviewers concluded unanimously that the scientific research cited by the government was insufficient.
Imagine it: something cited by the government was insufficient. First time for everything, I suppose.
That could make it difficult for federal officials to stick with their proposal as it now stands, further protracting the emotionally charged debate over what parts of the U.S. are suitable for the predators.
Now wait a minute. Exactly what parts of the U.S. are suitable for the predators?? In a country wherein the most dastardly and devastating ‘predator’ on the loose virtually EVERYWHERE is the idiot human armed with a loaded gun, perhaps the answer to that question is obvious: to control and reduce the numbers of dastardly predators, REPEAL OR REWRITE THE SECOND AMENDMENT!!
“The [peer review] process was clean and the results were unequivocal,” said panel member Steven Courtney, a scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California in Santa Barbara. “The science used by the Fish and wildlife service concerning genetics and taxonomy of wolves was preliminary and currently not the best available science.”
So maybe the government’s claim that the Northeast and Midwest were home to a separate species, the eastern wolf was a wee bit off, that it was the endangered Canis lupus after all rather than some formerly undefined but obviously not endangered . . . ?? Sometimes the faux-science that drives major segments of this country’s politic begins to impose itself never as a good thing, but always as just one more untenable burden. Why is that? The article continues:
Wolves were added to the endangered species list in 1975 after being exterminated last century across most of the Lower 48 states under government-sponsored trapping and poisoning programs.
Hunting for wolves already is allowed for roughly 5,000 wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, where protections were lifted in 2011. More than 900 of the animals have been shot or caught by trappers in the two regions during this winter’s hunting season.
. . . The release of the peer review findings opens another round of public input on a proposal that has received more one million comments. . . . Carlos Carroll, a wolf researcher at the Klamath Center for Conservation Research in Orleans, Calif., said the problems highlighted by the peer-review panel had been raised previously by others. He said he hoped they would now get more attention from wildlife officials.
“This gives them a chance to re-evaluate their strategy and say it’s time to listen to the science,” Carroll said.
Hope springs eternal, someone once said. Of course, the topic at the time was probably not the implicit and inborn NEED of the human idiot to somehow sate his totally irrational fear of a creature which is clearly and obviously superior to the barrage of two-legged pale skinned freaks that wandered to this continent some 300 years ago. (see below for more detailed description)
Many Republican lawmakers, agricultural interests and hunting groups [exempli gratia] have pushed equally hard for jurisdiction over wolves to be passed to states so they could manage the population through annual harvests.
Those efforts have been motivated in large part by wolf attacks on livestock and big game herds in areas where the predators have recovered.
David Allen, with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said that after several years of hunting, it’s clear the harvests are not driving down the wolf population too aggressively.
All perfect nonsense. Cattle depredation by wolves typically runs at an annual rate of around 0.2%. Stated another way, if 10,000 cattle were to die each year out on the range from ‘natural’ causes, only 20 of those deaths would be attributable to wolves. And insofar as reduction of game herds is concerned, wolves are not the predator most interested in trophy animals; their sole interest is in the weak, the old, the infirm. If game herds are suffering from lack of “trophy animals,” guess which species is responsible. *Hint* — it is NOT Canis lupus. Try Homo idiotica instead (that’s Latin for ‘human hunters’).
The entire controversy is simple: wolves are not and never have been the problem. The problem is, always and invariably, humans. Mostly Republicans, Wingnuts, Tea Baggers, the marginally intelligent . . . choose your epithet, all are appropriate and equally accurate.
There is hope, however. On Feb. 10th, three days after the peer review noted above was released, I received a letter from the Center For Biological Diversity. It was brief, but informative.
Today the Obama administration opened a second public comment period on its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across the lower 48.
We need you to speak out for wolf protections.
During the previous round of comments, more than 1 million Americans spoke out against gutting protections for wolves — the most comments ever submitted on any endangered species issue.
You’d think the right thing to do would be obvious — but apparently politicians need to hear from us again.
The Fish and Wildlife Service just released the results of a scientific peer review of its delisting proposal, concluding what we’ve been saying all along: Wolves aren’t recovered yet. These iconic animals occupy a mere 5 percent of their former range in the lower 48 and eke out a living at only 1 percent of the numbers they had before Europeans arrived.
Anyone who cares to act, to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to rescind its plan to strip protections from wolves, and instead help wolves recover across more of their former home, simply Click Here. It only takes a few seconds to send the message.