2016 Field Updates & News

December 31, 2016. Wolves in Colorado ‘not the devil incarnate’. Great article and 20 min audio with formerly Yellowstone Wolf Project head, Mike Phillips. This article is a great, positive way to finish 2016 with talks of completing wolf restoration up the Rocky Mountains. The same should be discussed with returning cougars to the East where they will do better than wolves due to high human populations.


December 19, 2016. Want to Save Money on Car Insurance? Buy a Mountain Lion. ‘Reintroducing mountain lions to the East Coast would actually create enormous savings for auto insurance companies. They should fund the reintroduction efforts.’ This is a very interesting twist and take to restoring carnivores.


December 14, 2016. Coyotes moving into towns, countryside. Unfortunately, for every positive article on coyotes (like Dec. 12 below) there is one that strays into negativity. While the biologist for the Alabama Division of Wildlife gives practical solutions for avoiding interactions, there is no message of coexistence or learning to live with an ecologically important predator. I don’t know why it is so hard to educate folks to the value of predators and how easy it is to live with them.


December 12, 2016. Marin County neighborhood coexists with coyotes. This article, coming from California, perfectly illustrates how living with wildlife – especially predators – is preferable to the alternative. Simply caring and preventing negative interactions from occurring go a long way to peaceful coexistence.


December 3, 2016. Great news for carnivores, albeit from Romania where they cancel hunting of all large carnivores including ~5,000 grizzly/brown bears and a few 1000 wolves! One day the tables will turn for the better for carnivores in North America.


November 16, 2016. A tale of three dogs: Coyotes, dingoes and wolves are all dogs, as intelligent and loyal as our familiars. Our treatment of them is unconscionable. This is a long, but great article written by Brandon Keim. I have confidence that in the not so distant future wildlife agencies will begin to recognize the amoral and unethical things that they allow a small minority of people to do to social, intelligent, and ecologically important animals. As the article states, it continues to be easier to kill coyotes, dingoes, and wolves than to coexist. “For every hunter on a state wildlife commission there should be someone who argues on behalf of the animals. Rather than starting with a stacked deck, the full range of both science and ethics would be considered.”


November 9, 2016. In really disappointing news, a family of eastern coyotes (coywolves) were killed in Queens (New York City) for getting “too used to people”. This is terrible news for the animals themselves as well as carnivore recovery as the offspring of this group could have potentially colonized Long Island.


October 27, 2016. Pheasants Forever, a hunting group, comes out against predator hunting and instead to preserve habitat. This is great news!


October 14, 2016. Why bounties don’t work… This is a great academic article that focuses on dingos in Australia but applies equally for coyotes in North America as well. Well worth the read.


October 12, 2016. Landmark Settlement Reins in Rogue Federal Wildlife Killing Program. This is huge news for not only pro-wildlife/carnivore people but the American tax-payer as well as we won’t (as a nation) be wasting money to kill predators for private livestock owners. I’d also like to see a Presidential or Congressional ban on aerial killing (via airplane) of predators – mostly coyotes – as well. Oct. 14: another article on this topic, this one from the Washington Post!


October 3, 2016. “Coyote Pipeline”. This is from the anti-predator group “Sportsmen Alliance of Maine” and shows how ignorant and hateful people can be. Gerry Lavigne is a former biologist for the state of Maine – he must not have learned anything about predator ecology in his entire stint there. This is really unacceptable and shows just how out of touch predator management is with modern society standards. How can people be allowed to do this (ie, bait coyotes) 1500 feet from an Elementary School. Unbelievable. And an equally fear-mongering with no facts article is from the Executive Director of that same organization: Natural born killers or Song dogs… Again, the article states that hunter dollars fund wildlife management which has been found to be false. It is important to remember that these are the people who dictate wildlife policy (in this case, up in Maine).


September 27, 2016. Why the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is Problematic for Modern Wildlife Management. By M. Nils Peterson & Michael Paul Nelson. This is a super important professional/scientific article (available for free) that yet again challenges the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and critiques the model for only giving white male hunters credit for wildlife conservation when the true story is much more diverse including non-hunters, women, and minorities. From the article, “the narrative should expand the myopic focus on hunting, hunters, and legitimate use being focused on killing more or fewer animals. A narrative focused on banning wildlife commerce, promoting hunting, justifying killing, and regulating take by law is undeniably biased toward people and species involved in harvesting wild animals, yet hunting has little to do with management or conservation of most wildlife species in the 21st century.”


September 27, 2016. Ontario action jeopardize existence of Algonquin wolf. Province allows hunting and trapping of already threatened species. This would be unbelievable if we weren’t talking about wildlife management where predators always lose out – even when threatened with extinction. Here is an additional article on the topic: Hunting of threatened Algonquin wolves continues in Ontario.


September 25, 2016. Why the coyote is the great American dog, by John L. Smith. Not only has the animal survived genocidal attempts at its destruction, it’s thrived and expanded from the arid southwest to the concrete canyons of New York. Update Sept. 27: Here is a similar article “Coyotes are here to stay, we should learn to live with them“. Both are well written articles.


September 22, 2016. Coyotes live in almost all U.S. cities. This article (with a link to the associated scientific article) clearly shows that cities are “natural” habitats for coyotes and other predators. People needn’t think that wildlife shouldn’t be in developed areas as these locations provide great habitat and often more security (i.e., less human hunting) than more rural areas.


September 22, 2016. Poor FWS decision dooms North Carolina’s red wolves. This is an excellent Op-Ed that shows just how political carnivore management is. Well worth the read.


September 18, 2016. America’s Wildlife Body Count. This is an excellent article in today’s New York Times about the serious need to reform the federal Wildlife Services program. Marc Bekoff writes a great follow-up article to this story in the Huffington Post.


September 17, 2016. “Wolf Summit” calls for renewed hunting and trapping. This is yet another example of special interests (mainly hunting interests) trying to dictate wildlife policy even though the vast majority of people (yes, both Republicans and Democrats) support protecting wolves in most cases. And the tired old comments of protecting children at bus-stops is getting old… The police chief should worry about pedophiles and other humans before wild animals.


September 15, 2016. In a major development via Press Release: Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research Founder publishes Research Obstruction Testimonial called “Blackballed”. Please click on link to read more about this initiative that I started.


September 7, 2016. From two stories below (Aug. 28), The Profanity Peak Pack: Loss of wolves and academic freedom. This is a great article by George Wuerthner showing just how political wildlife management is.


September 4, 2016. “The case for Mass Slaughter of Predators Just Got Weaker”. A new study found that there’s little evidence that lethal predator control does anything to help ranchers. This is very important and will no doubt lead to lawsuits to stop needless killing of wildlife at taxpayers’ expense.


August 28, 2016. In the canid news of the week, coming from Washington State: Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den. Here is a great editorial by Brooks Fahy on the subject, Wolves called to protect the sacred cow. And lastly, an article by Marc Bekoff and Brooks Fahy, Defenders of Wildlife = Defenders of Livestock? Why do they support killing wolves in Washington? Update August 29: Great Op-Ed on the subject: Killing wolves not the solution. This article very eloquently describes how private livestock on public land is wrong for so many reasons. Update Sept 3: Protesters rally to stop the wolf slaughter. This is a good video showing how more and more people not only are against killing wolves but are also against how livestock ranchers are catered to on our public lands.


August 11, 2016. Stop Killing Coyotes… A great article by Dan Flores, author of Coyote America. Ironically, I just mentioned him in an earlier post (directly below) and then saw this article from the NY Times. “No thoughtful human being, considerate of other life, should sacrifice for pleasure or a bet an animal like the (coyote)….Killing an animal that for five million years has had an important role to play in nature is an act of adolescence.”


August 11, 2016. The Coyote’s Lament (1961). Through my review of the book Coyote America by Dan Flores, I am just discovering that one of my favorite places, Disney World, is also behind some of the first pro-coyote films in history. Here Mr. Walt Disney himself explains how the coyote has received an unjustified negative image.


August 9, 2016. Long-studied Alaskan wolf pack may be dead after years of aggressive hunting. This once again shows how state wildlife agencies favor extreme special interests (a super small minority of hunters/trappers) over the worldwide public who loves these “resources” (in this case, a famous wolf pack). The comments at the end of the article are pathetic… Alaska receives the highest amount of welfare in terms of federal dollars back (over 2 to 1) vs. what they put in so they are not sovereign. They are part of the U.S. and don’t have absolute authority over resources.


August 9, 2016. Obama Holds Camp David Summit To Ease Tensions With Coyotes. Funny satire about society’s conflicts with coyotes. Here ‘diplomatic community’ is substituted for ‘environmentalists’. 


August 4, 2016. Rare wolf or common coyote? It Shouldn’t Matter, But It Does. The concept of species is flawed, but it still has a huge bearing on conservation policy. This is a good in-depth article related to my July 28 post below.


August 1, 2016. Habitat, not predators, seen as key to wildlife populations. While this is a very progressive article concerning the comments made by the PA Game Commission that predator control doesn’t work it is unfortunate that the letter doesn’t include the value of predators on the landscape. Instead, they have to mention a positive value of lots more fishers is that they can now be trapped (and killed). I guess it will take baby steps for them to fully come around but this article and letter are a good start.


July 28, 2016. Red wolf may lose endangered status because ‘it’s just a hybrid’. Here is a link to the actual scientific paper. I must admit that I am very skeptical and disagree with this paper as there is ample evidence that red and eastern wolves are unique species, with unique genetic markers. Here is another popular article on the topic. To say that these wolves may lose their endangered status means that the Endangered Species Act is very antiquated as many species are formed through hybridization, including humans.


July 21, 2016. Urban coyotes set to get city protection. This is great news that both recognizes the beneficial value of coyotes in any kind of ecosystem, including urbanized ones, as well as realizing the futility and lack of need of killing them, unless they are a proven public health threat. Slowly but surely, an increasing number of governments (from local to state to federal) will realize the benefits of carnivores and provide more protections for them.


July 19, 2016. Too many deer on the road? Let cougars return, study says. This would be so great if some states (i.e., wildlife departments) in the East just listened.


July 19, 2016. What’s in a name? Clark University researchers look to reclassify eastern coyotes as ‘coywolf’.


July 17, 2016. Let’s get real, coyotes are the new urban terrorist, by James A. Schmidt. What a myopic, distorted view of wild nature from a former agent of a secretive, inefficient, wasteful agency called Wildlife Services, which uses tax-payers money to kill native predators, especially coyotes. The comments after the article are excellent in attacking Schmidt’s viewpoint. It is actually the only reason worth reading this one sided non-factual account of a seemingly angry and disgruntled person.


June 30, 2016. Elusive Algonquin wolf is officially a threatened species (in Canada). Any common sense management of these animals would also protect their very closely related and looking cousins, the coywolf (eastern coyote), including in the Northeastern United States.


June 23, 2016. Wily coyote’s population is hard to pin down. Article on eastern coyotes/coywolves on the outer Cape (Cod, MA).


June 23, 2016. “I am coyote”. A cool 6 min video on Geri Vistein and her work to promote coexistence with coyotes (coywolves) in Maine.


June 23, 2016. Wolf Conservation Center uses education to reduced coyote (coywolf) related fears. A very nice and positive article of learning the benefits of living with this creature!


June 11, 2016. Following the update below on June 8, here is another article illustrating the special interest focus of state wildlife depts. This time, New Mexico is pleased that a judge sided with them to prevent Mexican wolf recovery. Unbelievable. Outrage. Yet typical of a state wildlife dept regarding anti-predator sentiments. They clearly want the state of New Mexico to be a game farm for the increasing minority of people who hunt. How anti-democratic.


June 8, 2016. Outrage: getting a hunting license is dramatically easier than a rehab (to help wildlife) license. These two flowcharts show you how special interest driven state wildlife agencies are. I can’t believe that legislators haven’t helped begun to reform these agencies. How ridiculous. At least on this webpage I consistently try and point out these injustices and discrepancies – although usually it is regarding how difficult it is to conduct wildlife research (more on that soon).


June 5, 2016. Check out my Publications Page for a new book review that I completed – Wild Wolves We Have Known: Stories of Wolf Biologists’ Favorite Wolves. Enjoy!


May 12, 2016. Check out my article published in the academic journal The Conversation on the naming scheme of the coywolf, Canis orienshttps://theconversation.com/why-the-eastern-coyote-should-be-a-separate-species-the-coywolf-59214. For more on the topic scroll down to March 16, 2016.


May 12, 2016. Why wolf hunting is bad, as explained by Playmobil figurines. This paper ties to an important scientific paper published today that clearly shows that poaching increases when wolf hunts are legalized. This goes against prevailing views by state wildlife agencies that allowing legal killing of predators will reduce poaching (illegal killing) and hatred of the same animals. Here is an article from the NY Times on the same topic.


May 3, 2016. It’s not biology: controversy about wolves is cultural politics, by Ralph Maughan. An important article about how closely tied politics are to predator, specifically wolf, management.


April 29, 2016. Hunting wolves near Denali and Yellowstone National Parks greatly reduces sightings. While this is hardly surprising, it is nice to have data to provide to wildlife managers that key, observable individuals can be vitally important to tourism even if populations aren’t dramatically reduced in an area. This would certainly be the case for other states that have decent sized parks, including Cape Cod National Seashore in MA. Link to the actual scientific paper/study is embedded at the bottom of the article. Update: April 30: Here is another good article on the topic.


April 26, 2016. Proposed law would allow cable snares for trapping “coyotes” (coywolves) in New York. Yet again, a special interest minority group trying to push anti-humane laws through for wildlife. What’s new? The Wolf Conservation Center has posted a form letter where you can respond and voice your opinion against such a draconian measure (New York residents only).


April 18, 2016. Just two wolves left on Isle Royale. These wolves surely have eastern wolf DNA as they look similar to eastern coyotes/coywolves from the Northeast. It will be interesting to learn what happens to the population (sure extinction) and what park managers decide to do about it.


April 15, 2016. A very important article “The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and Who Pays for It” that shows, in depth, that non-consumptive users (non-hunters) contribute much more to wildlife conservation than hunters do – and that the North American Model of Wildlife Management is outdated and ineffective in modern day society. Thus, the popular refrain “Sportsmen pay for wildlife” is just not true – they pay for 5-10% of wildlife conservation.


March 25, 2016. South Carolina approves $1000 bounty for killing coyotes. Update April 15: Proposal is cancelled… Great news. Below is my editorial submitted to the newspaper after that March 25 article:

I read your article on coyote bounties with absolute disgust at the typical hypercritical Republican policy-maker. While South Carolina ranks pathetically last in education, they propose to spend $1000 per individual coyote to kill individual them – a species that shares genes with the “native” red wolf and is ecologically and aesthetically important as a predator in this state. Instead, policy-makers want to live in a fairy-tale land that their state isn’t supposed to have predators. The reason why coyotes are in the state is because they had no competition because we killed off their bigger cousins and nature abhors a vacuum. Coyotes are the ultimate survivalists and have naturally expanded their range in the last century to the East coast; no control program has ever been effective in reducing their populations. Not to even mention the ethical objections that I have in calling a social, family-oriented animal as vermin, the hypercrosity of Republican states is astounding. “Let’s minimize government by spending money on special-interest projects that will have no real benefit except to appease the minority of hateful people that have never read an ecology book on the importance of predators in the environment”.


March 23, 2016. Undermining the red wolf’s recovery in North Carolina. It is truly a sad state of affairs when the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in charge of protecting endangered species, is allowing a vocal minority to sabotage a globally successful (until recently) conservation project. This is a good editorial detailing these transgressions. March 24: One day later I learn that the Center for Biological Diversity is suing USFWS. This is good news for wolves!


March 16, 2016. Breaking news: my co-authored paper on changing the species name of ‘eastern coyote’ to coywolf (common name), Canis oriens (scientific name), was accepted and published: Way, J.G. and Lynn, W.S. 2016. Northeastern coyote/coywolf taxonomy and admixture: A meta-analysis. Canid Biology & Conservation 19(1): 1-7. URL: http://canids.org/CBC/19/Northeastern_coyote_taxonomy.pdf. This paper summarizes the literature and suggests that not only should ‘coyotes’ in the Northeast be called coywolves, but that they warrant new species status, Canis oriens – meaning eastern canid! Update May 12: Also check out my article published in the academic journal The Conversation on the same topic: https://theconversation.com/why-the-eastern-coyote-should-be-a-separate-species-the-coywolf-59214.


March 15, 2016. Use of snares being questioned in Canada. This is very positive that even former predator control “specialists” are raising the alarm that these inhumane devices should not be used.


February 27, 2016. In yet another special interest move driven by the National Rifle Association (read their reaction here), U.S. House of Representatives Approves Bill Slashing Wildlife Protections:  ‘Sportsmen’s Heritage Act’ Threatens Wolves, Elephants, Polar Bears, Birds, People. What a sad state of affairs that mostly Republicans (but some Democrats too) have become a special interest group catering to people who like to kill wildlife for fun. These are the ultimate hypocrites who clearly only want to minimize government that they don’t agree with.
February 24, 2016. Critics see overkill at Wildlife Services. A great article written by Todd Wilkinson. The thought of reforming wildlife agencies (both state and federal), whose laws allow the total destruction and hatred of most predators, gets stronger day-by-day. The article features my friend, Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense and exposes the ultimately hypocrisy of supposedly rugged independent rural westerners. From the article: “One irony is that during this age in which rural Westerners accuse federal agencies of being incompetent, unaccountable and nontransparent, Wildlife Services has been given a free pass from Sagebrush Rebel lawmakers.” This article ties in very closely with my February 12, 2016 post (below).


February 23, 2016. Something wild: Why coyotes seem to be everywhere. A good interview with Chris Schadler on NH’s NPR with the ultimate conclusion to afford better protections to these animals.


February 16, 2016. Following my post from this morning, there is some terrible news to report from red wolf country in North Carolina. Political interference, including from the USFWS – the agency supposedly entrusted to protect our nation’s wildlife – has doomed the red wolf. You know there is a problem when the US government capitulates to the demand of narrow interests. This is really sad news.


February 16, 2016. Wolf delisting decision not based on facts, by Adrian Treves. Here is yet another article showing how carnivore management is dominated by special interests (a minority of hunters who are already a minority of the population). Great quotes from this important letter: “The state also justified delisting as a way to raise social tolerance for wolves. That assumption runs exactly counter to the evidence….After the federal government delisted wolves in the Great Lakes region, three things changed. First, tolerance for wolves decreased. Second, demands for more wolf-killing increased. And finally, poaching increased.”…”When politicians make their decisions immune to judicial review, they are saying, ‘We are not accountable for the public interest and the permanent wildlife trust.’ Checks and balances exist to prevent tyranny.”


February 12, 2016. The coywolf has a colorful history and, like it or not, is here to stay. This is an interesting read appearing in thedailystar.com by Rick Brockway, a hunter who doesn’t write negatively of the subject.


February 12, 2016. The Rogue Agency. This is a detailed report in Harper’s Magazine on “Wildlife Services”, a branch of the U.S. government that uses tax-money to kill predators, mostly western coyotes, at the bequest of ranchers (yes, the same ones who think they are rugged and independent and want easterners to not meddle in their affairs). Great quote from page 3 of the online version: A former Wildlife Services agent described sheep ranchers as “cry boys and cheap men” — because, “they’re always whining and they’re incredibly cheap, demanding the public pay their costs.” This article should anger and incite you to take action to get these wildlife killing thugs off our landscape.


February 10, 2016. Aerial gunners slaughtering wolves in Idaho Wilderness area right now. This article does a great job of demonstrating the hateful, hypocritical agencies who want to avoid federal oversight until it conveniences them – not to even mention all of the tax-money used to support these special interests. What a bunch of hypocrites.


February 3, 2016. Info on a “coyote” hunting contest in Pennsylvanian. It takes sick individuals, as this article details, to kill animals for fun, hate, and/or ignorance. Worse, all wildlife agencies except for CA – who banned the practice – are partly to blame by doing nothing to stop these “contests”. Absolutely appalling… There are great comments at the end of the article condemning the hunt.


January 24, 2016. Hunting: Eastern Coyotes are here and they’re a challenging quarry. While I disagree that killing coyotes is needed to help deer populations, let alone the lack of discussion on the ethics of killing social, intelligent, and sentient animals, the author does a good job of describing the importance of these animals on the landscape and that they are an animal to be respected.


January 21, 2016. Idaho Game and Fish gets wrist slapped over wolf collar debacle. I guess when you are state wildlife agency you literally feel like you are above the law in doing whatever you want. I am sure they don’t issue permits when the research inconveniences them… What a biased, undemocratic, and outdated system. You better believe those 4 illegally collared wolves will be used to track down and kill more wolves. The article reads: time for a change in wildlife management structure. More on the issue can be read here: Forest Service chastises Idaho for wolf collaring ‘accident’.


January 17, 2016. Fish and Game upheaval reveals shift in CA wildlife policy. California is way ahead of most states, certainly ones here in the Northeast, where all users of wildlife – not just hunters – are being given a voice at the ‘table’ on wildlife management issues. This is very good news for wildlife, especially predators.


January 17, 2016. Elk collaring project in Idaho wilderness captures wolves by ‘mistake’. I guess when not even the Forest Service regulates you on federal public land you can feel that you are above the law. Yet I am sure that no one will ever take their permits away even when they clearly violate federal laws.


January 16, 2016. “Don’t eat the meat: Lessons from hunting coyotes at night in N.J.” Fortunately, I was allowed to comment on the article to rebuff some of the comments from the pro-predator hunters.


January 10, 2016. More Utah coyotes killed in 2015, but bounty programs under fire… Over 8000 coyotes killed in one year in Utah alone… How sad and draconian.


January 10, 2016. Taking aim at Vermont predators… Yet another reason why state game agencies shouldn’t be allowed to “manage” predators… They fully allow people like this to “go kill coyotes because it is fun”. How disgraceful. Out of all of the ignorant comments in the article by saying “Hammond estimates there may be as many coyotes in Vermont as there are deer” truly shows how uneducated this person is about predator ecology. And with people like this shooting predators for no legitimate reason, good luck getting wolves to recover in the Northeast.


January 8, 2016. Go Panthers! (and we mean the real ones). This is a great article related to cougars (also called pumas, mt. lions, and panthers, among others). Sports are very important for social movements including inclusion and diversity and other social justice measures… I fully embrace using these teams to support key conservation measures. Nice work!


January 4, 2016. The myth of hunting conservation. A very interesting, sarcastic article from up in Maine about how biased state wildlife agencies are to hunting interests.

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