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Monday, April 21, 2008

Poor Wolfies. Nobody wants to Keep you.

So, you've heard talk about how they're delisting wolves from the protection of the endangered species list. Or maybe you haven't.

What's really Burning my Toast, is the news that Idaho and Wyoming are ALREADY planning to hunt the wolves-- they're planning to reduce the populations that are in place by 85%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ARE YOU STUPID.

So, AWESOME! We brought the wolves back! LETS GO KILL THEM ALL.

You have to understand, that a healthy population is required to bring a species back from the brink. Bottlenecking destroys important genetic differences and mutations that can allow a population to survive natural disasters, things like disease, or loss of prey. They need the genetic variation to help them to adapt to changes in the environment they're living in (global warming, anyone?).

So what's the magic number?
One Thousand.
If a population drops below 1000, bringing them back is a lot more difficult, and even if it's met with success, the genetic variation that will ensure a future for the species in the long term, is pretty much hit or miss, lost.

(You should know, too, that their assessment of recovery for the wolves, is a count of 30 breeding pairs across the rocky mountains. With pack sizes averaging 10 wolves, this is about 300 wolves. What's 15% of 300? Lets give them the benefit of the doubt, and call it 400, since they said they exceeded the number of wolves they needed. Have you done the math? 15% of 400, is 60. Lets say that Wyoming has a third of the wolf population within its borders, and Idaho another third. that's a reduction from 133 wolves, to 20 in two of the zones within which the wolf was previously protected. Montana is the third state involved. Lets say they only hunt, oh, 50% of their wolves down (I'm feeling generous toward Montana at the moment). that's a reduction from 400 wolves, to 106. EVEN considering that this bunch of wolves is a Metapopulation, meaning there are a bunch of other wolves elsewhere, This doesn't bode well for our Rocky Mountain Wolf friends. This metapopulation is completely isolated from other wolf populations. Genetics are important. Maintaining a healthy number of wolves is important to maintain genetic variation and animals that will survive. )

oh yeah, I forgot:
"However, the Act requires us to ensure a species is no longer threatened or endangered not that its viability would be theoretically maximized."

Way to go Federal Government. Lets not make sure the job is done right the first time. Lets just make sure it's good enough for the moment. So that after each state within the protected area culls their wolf populations to nothing, you can RE-invest another 23 million dollars into saving them ALL OVER AGAIN.

So. we already bottlenecked these wolves, an isolated metapopulation. Now we brought them back, and thank god other places haven't utterly destroyed THEIR wolf metapopulations, because we could reintroduce wolves with genetic variation. Now we're going to start killing them off again, and put them back into that same bottleneck. Are we going to be that lucky twice? I guess the Feds are depending upon it.

Say goodbye to genetic variation, my friends, and healthy wolf populations in the future.

One more quote to show the love our federal government has for the continued survival of our wolfy friends (from the same document as above):

We determined that a three-State wolf metapopulation that does not fall below 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves per State in mid-winter is biologically recovered.

Next year, expect to be relisting the Wolves under endangered. They're not going to be recovered for long, when Wyoming and Idaho wipe out 85% of their 100 wolves each.
GO TEAM GO.

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