The war on wildlife in the United States
"...about last year’s wolf slaughter of the Profanity Peak wolfpack in Washington State. It was unjust, and it was unnecessary. It happened on remote, publicly owned lands in Colville National Forest... livestock get priority over native wildlife on public lands, and this slaughter took place on some of the best wolf habitat around. So, for starters, I had to ask, “If wolves can’t live there
in peace, then where can they live?” And last, but not least, there was an ominous issue involving academic freedom. 'Washington State University (WSU) silenced their top wolf researcher, Dr. Robert Wielgus, for speaking honestly to the press. They suppressed the fact that his remote surveillance video shows the rancher’s cattle grazing within several hundred feet of the wolves’ known den and rendezvous sites, as well as the salt blocks the rancher placed there to attract the cattle."
As the Profanity Peak wolfpack started killing cows, WDF&W protocols kicked in and the state launched a trapper and marksmen on the ground and in helicopters to kill the wolves. Wielgus told The Seattle Times and other media outlets that Len McIrvin, a partner in the Diamond M Ranch, “put his cattle on top of the den site.”
The implication was that the rancher — whose similar livestock losses in 2012 also led to the state killing the Wedge Valley wolfpack — has repeatedly and purposely put his animals in harm’s way to provoke the state protocols' ensuing kill orders like the one that eradicated the Profanity Peak pack. This practice of ecological entrapment in baiting wolves to attack livestock that ranchers are compensated for has proved to be a win/win strategy for wolf eradication efforts.
No charges of fraud have ever been filed against a rancher for doing this, nor has any attempt ever been made to recoup the compensation claims and cost of the state cullings which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Critics claim that government officials tend to look the other way in cases involving their rancher constituents' criminal activity as they form powerful voting blocks.
In a letter of concern written into his personnel file, Wielgus was instructed by Ron Mittelhammer, the WSU Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences to have no further contact with the media without first clearing his statements with WSU. Wielgus duly went silent as the furor raged.
For faculty at WSU, the message nonetheless was clear, said Donna Potts, president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for academic freedom. “It was very disturbing; I had never seen anything like it,” Potts said of WSU’s treatment of a senior faculty member. Actions by state lawmakers and WSU administrators such as those taken against Wielgus can have a “chilling effect” on research that could be perceived as controversial, Cary Nelson, former national president of the AAUP said. Pressure from industry and from lawmakers friendly to it is nothing unusual, “but it’s up to a university to protect its faculty.”
The culling of the nearby Smackout Ravine wolfpack is currently underway."