Tuesday, September 18, 2012

DOES THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER MISLEAD THEIR MEMBERS?





I'm writing this for one reason only.  How many people look at the International Wolf Center the way I did?  That is why I write.  If you are anything like I was you see the Intl. Wolf Center as a haven for wolves.  A place that educates the public on the factual data pertaining to the Canis lupus, a place that is run by people that care about and want to preserve our wolf population (their twitter page says they advance the survival of wolves).  Well... if you think like that I would say that you are wrong, just as wrong as I was.

This year our wolves were taken off the endangered species list.  As soon as I heard about it I sent a facebook message to the International Wolf Center asking how we could help them protect our wolves. They replied that they serve only to educate the public on wolves and were remaining neutral in the wolf hunt/trap debate.  It bothered me but I understood.  Later I was reading an article that had the founder of the Intl. Wolf Center, Dr. Mech, quoted saying the wolf hunt/trap was a testament to how well our wolf population is thriving.  Here are some quotes from Dr. Mech:

Many of the folks who see public wolf hunting as a positive development actually are pro-wolf.
Regulated hunting of wolves will not endanger the species again.
[a hunt] That isn't going to hurt the population, Mech said.  And it may reduce human-wolf conflicts by making the animals more wary of humans, he said.

You can see and hear Dr. David Mech talk about how the DNR's plan to trap and slaughter 400 wolves in Minnesota is the best management plan and he also says it is "conservative."

SEE VIDEO OF DR. MECH HERE

So much for remaining neutral right?

I also recently learned that in the winter 2010 publication by the International Wolf Center, Dr. Mech was actually quoted explaining how to carry out a wolf hunt on pregnant females and pups and when it is best to kill them for their pelt.  Sound neutral to you?

I figured the best I could do after learning about Dr. Mech's position on the wolf hunt/trap was to stop giving the Intl. Wolf Center my money but... after receiving what should be my last publication from the center I had to go a bit further, which is this blog post.

In the fall 2012 International Wolf Center Publication sent to members (which I just received in the mail) there is an article titled "Minnesota's First Ever Wolf Season."  In the article the author Dan Stark states the following:

After taking public comments, as required by law, the DNR will publish a final rule for the 2012 wolf seasons.  While decisions about whether to have a wolf season and when to start it have already been made through the lawmaking process, the DNR public-comment process is intended to seek input on the wolf season proposal.

Now... the above quote may not mean much to people outside of Minnesota but as someone who believed  the Intl. Wolf Center was neutral on the hunt/trap issue and as someone who supported them financially in the past, I am angry that not only have they not remained neutral and probably contributed to the push for hunt but they outright lie.  If the above quote isn't a lie and just a delay in the publication process then they have no business writing articles that are so grossly outdated.

Back in late spring/early summer the DNR accepted public comments on the wolf hunt/trap in Minnesota and out of the 7,000 + people who responded, 80% were against the hunt.  The quote by Dan Stark leads people to believe that the DNR would take the public comments into consideration when deciding to have the hunt/trap but in fact that isn't true.  The DNR knows the results and made no changes to their plan to allow 400 wolves to be trapped and slaughtered.  In fact, the Intl. Wolf Center feigns surprise at the backlash:

Nancy Gilbson, co-founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely, said the results clearly indicate the public is still divided on the question of a wolf hunt, even if the survey was hijacked by anti-hunting groups.  "It's a surprise to me," she said of the number who responded and the overwhelming anti-hunting sentiment they expressed.
READ REPORT ON SURVEY HERE (STAR TRIBUNE) 


No anti hunting groups hijacked the survey.  That is the excuse that came out of the pro killing camp when they saw that 80% were against the hunt/trap.  I took the survey and I'm not anti-hunting.  I made numerous calls to notify people of the survey and I spoke with several hunters that shared my view that the wolf hunt is a mistake and were eager to fill out the survey.

So before I take this post in a direction that will defeat the purpose I'll close with this.  Everyone I've ever spoken to about the International Wolf Center believes the center is all about preserving our wolf population.  Even I was shocked to learn that they didn't remain neutral and I kept searching to see if the quotes above were some kind of mistake.  So if your goal is just to keep a minimum number of wolves alive across the nation (numbers not based on a current, accurate count) then the Intl. Wolf Center deserves your dollars but if you want to see a CURRENT count of wolves, one that isn't based on scat, tracks and deer carcasses, and if you think our wolf numbers are too low and still deserve protection then give your time and money to an organization that actively works to stop hunting and trapping of wolves.

Organizations that are on the ground, working diligently to educate the public on what is really behind all these wolf hunts across the U.S. and why slaughtering wolves is a mistake:

MINNESOTA
Howling for Wolves
Howling for Wolves on Facebook
Howling for Wolves on Twitter

NATIONWIDE
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity on Facebook

INFORMATION ON WOLF ISSUES NATIONWIDE (be prepared to see some gruesome photos on this site)
Howling for Justice