A Note from Our Executive Director
As Thanksgiving approaches, I took a moment to ponder how the wildlife you’ve supported through Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife and Great Lakes Wildlife Alliance over the last year might say thanks. Our last Fireside Chat was small, but we went over an hour just to express our love and gratitude about wolves and wildlife. To tell our stories and support one another. I was extremely moved and want to use this opportunity to invite each and every one of you to please join us on these bimonthy calls! This is a time designated for all of you to connect with one another and learn how to advocate as one. united. pack.
This month, we celebrate the one-year anniversary of our lawsuit win in stopping the 2021 Wisconsin wolf hunt. With hard work, generous donations and perseverance we beat impossible odds. With the best available science, your testimonies and a great legal team, we stopped the senseless slaughter. We won because when we show up and organize as one united force, we win. We proved that policy needs to reflect the will of the people and that agency science is politicized and rushed to cave to narrow special interests. The lawsuit did more than just protect our wolves, it forced the DNR to do its job managing wildlife, an ongoing but worthy fight. And right now, we are the only ones taking on that fight here in Wisconsin.
I was on a much-needed vacation when the lawsuit win came up in my Facebook Memories. I was with my dad, my best friend in the whole world, a world I cannot even imagine being in without him. He still teaches me things daily, and I’m so thankful to have him for a dad. I rely on him for survival, emotional support and wisdom, and I’m pretty sure he relies on me too. We both need each other in good times and in challenging ones. He’s even helped support this organization when times were tough because he knows how important wildlife is to me, and to all of you.
Wolf families have the same social complex bonds, more than science has even determined yet, but we’ve all seen evidence of that in our family dogs. All five of mine are adopted shelter dogs, and I can FEEL the gratitude when they get out of the shelter and into a home. That’s something they inherited from wolves. Indeed, their sense of loyalty is one of the species’ greatest qualities, and I have to say that with every passing day, my admiration and love for wolves grows even stronger. I learned on a recent call with scientists that the value of having one wolf over the age of 6 in a pack (which is considered geriatric) counts as two wolves instead of one! Why? Knowledge, culture, experience and of course, dedication to family.
With the culture that surrounds unethical hunting in Wisconsin, I am so thankful I’m not watching the destruction of our wolves this fall. November can be a hard month for all of us, when policy allows wanton killing of animals and disrespectful behavior on our public lands is rampant. When you see those images on social media, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what you can do to help stop this.
As you gather with your family and friends this month, think about what that table would look like if you lost some of your vital family members. I know when we lost my grandmother, things just weren’t the same anymore. A culture had been lost in a way, a tradition, a reason for us to gather. We kind of all disbanded after that, as she was the reason we all traveled to be together. Many of us have and will experience that in our lives. So do wolves, but you helped stop the needless suffering and loss that these animals feel for one another by helping us protect them.
Words cannot express my gratitude for you all being a part of this organization. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places, and for helping save Wisconsin wolf families this year.
Support candidates in your district who will stand up for the wolf at the State Capitol. Be sure to learn more about your local candidates’ positions on hunting and trapping in Wisconsin, as well as other important issues affecting Wisconsin wolves and wildlife.
MOST IMPORTANTLY—make sure you have a plan to vote, either at your polling location on Election Day or by casting your ballot early.
This news comes in the middle of Montana’s wolf hunting season, with wolf trapping set to start in a month. The primary attorney is Jessica Blome, who was also involved in our lawsuit last year. We are thrilled to see other states following suit and are currently working with this team to help recreate the success we had stopping the wolf hunt here in Wisconsin a year ago.
The lawsuit claims that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department and the Fish and Wildlife Commission relied on outdated and insufficient scientific data to authorize the wolf hunt. In their August meeting, the commission authorized the killing of 456 wolves for the 2022/2023 season, which is about 40 percent of the state’s wolf population. The suit also alleges that the state is defying its responsibility to manage wildlife for the benefit of the public, and that it oversteps its management authority by allowing wolf hunting on the boundaries of federal lands.
Montana wolves lost federal protections under the Endangered Species Act in 2011. The plaintiffs say the state never updated Montana’s 2002 wolf plan, which is required to be reviewed every five years.
“Montana’s politically-motivated wolf slaughter is illegal and completely unmoored from scientifically sound wildlife management,” WildEarth Guardians’ carnivore coexistence advocate Lizzy Pennock said in an emailed release about the lawsuit. “Trophy hunting for wolves does not put food on anyone’s table, make elk populations healthier, or protect livestock. Montana’s pile of wolf carcasses stacks higher everyday, and we are done waiting for somebody else to act.”
The Final Draft of the Michigan Wolf Plan Update has been released. It is on the agenda for the November 10th Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting for informational purposes, to be signed by the Director at the December meeting.
As with any wildlife plan, no one will be completely satisfied. During the 28-day comment period that began 1/4/22, the DNR received 5,475 responses online and another 20 responses via email. Then, in June, when the draft plan was released, 2,883 responses were submitted online.
The plan places a strong emphasis on scientific data, public education and the use of non-lethal tools stating, “To the extent non-lethal methods are effective at eliminating or minimizing depredation problems, lethal control of wolves will not be necessary. However, when such practices prove to be ineffective, are not expected to be effective, or are infeasible, lethal control may be necessary to prevent problems.” The plan further states, lethal control “will not be used as a preventative measure in areas where livestock depredation has not yet occurred.” The plan does not identify a target population size, nor does it establish an upper limit for the number of wolves in the State.
The legislature designated the wolf as a game animal and as a result the NRC has the the exclusive authority to enact regulations pertaining to the methods and manner of public wolf hunt. However, the Plan states, “Although authority regarding establishment of a harvest season lies with the NRC, this strategy offers relevant guidance to make socially and biologically responsible recommendations to the NRC regarding the public harvest of wolves.”
Howls of thanks to all wolf supporters who took the time to submit comments!
November 29th is #GivingTuesday
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community.
Even better, your gift will go twice as far through the end of this year, as a very special donor has offered to match all donations up to $25,000! That means for every dollar you donate another dollar will be donated! Every $1 will become $2 (or, every $50 will become $100). This incredible donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is helping to give wolves and other wildlife a fighting chance with such an amazing gift. They believe in our grassroots organization. But we cannot do it without your help.
Your contribution allows us to continue to work toward victories like our lawsuit which blocked the 2021-2022 wolf hunt, keeping wolves federally protected, and the Michigan and Wisconsin Wolf Management Plans receiving overwhelmingly positive comments in favor of wolves. We helped generate thousands of those public comments – more than EVER submitted in the Great Lakes region before!
Donate TODAY to double your contribution. This is an incredible opportunity, and we hope you’ll share our enthusiasm – because every day, we get closer to major victories for the wildlife we are all so dedicated to protecting. We are the organization making big howls of change!
NOVEMBER FIRESIDE CHATS
Our next Fireside Chat is a BIG ONE so be sure mark your calendar for November 10th @ 6:00 pm CST!
Join us for an EXTRA SPECIAL guest speaker Diane Brusoe, Deputy Division Administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This conversation is of vital importance for us to start seeing ourselves more represented within the DNR and NRB.
For this special opportunity, we are calling on our advocates to send in meaningful questions about how you would like to see changes within the DNR regarding wildlife, public land and park decisions.
You can submit your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: We also have a second monthly Fireside Chat planned w/ special guest speaker Rolf Peterson, Author of “The Wolves of Isle Royale, A Broken Balance”, however due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the date for this call is still TBD…stay tuned for details!