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Complete Transcript: Predators of the West studio session
Predators of the West
A FocusWest Discussion
September 3, 2003
Jim Peck: Okay, in talking about non-lethal control -- Jon Robinett, you're a rancher. How well does this work?
Jon Robinett: We've done various sorts of non-lethal control -- we've done bean bags, shot gun shells, the cracker shells, we've done electric fencing, we've done helicopter tapes, we spent hours at night with 'em and right now we don't have anything that works satisfactory. We have a 10-wire 7-foot high electric fence that we install for bears and elk and the wolves have no problem going through it. It doesn't seem to make contact, it seems like they go through it fast enough, the slower they go the more apt they are to be a deterrent.
Jim Peck: Ed Jahn, you were the producer who worked on putting this together. Have you found that there's a real commitment to this kind of control?
Ed Jahn: Well one of the things I got in doing this piece was, on one hand, non-lethal control is being presented as an alternative to lethal control of wolves. And yet the same time wolves are about to be de-listed, which would mean they could be managed like any other predator, which means they could be shot. That would seem to me to be taking the thrust away from the movement towards non-lethal control because now the option of controlling them is more simple, cheap way, which is shooting them.
Jim Peck: Nancy, is that something that rings true for you? I mean are you hearing that?
Amaroq Weiss: Actually I, I don't think we're hearing that and I'm really hoping that, that's not how it's being perceived. We actually hope that using non-lethal methods with the public at a time when wolves are still protected is something that's going to get translated to the time when they're no longer protected. As it is right now we already have a number of ranchers that are switching to predator-friendly ranching, grass-fed beef, all kind of alternative methods to what's been traditionally used. There is an evolving consciousness and changing consciousness that we don't have to do things the way we have for the last 70 years when we haven't had predators around. Now that they're coming back we don't have to shoot on sight. We're a more creative society than that and I think that we can translate this beyond when protections are ended.
Jim Peck: Does it worry you to hear though that people are starting to move away from this? I think there's a feeling from what Ed's talking about that we know most likely they're going to be de-listed coming up here, this is going to be a lot easier, we're not going to have to worry about all these bells and whistles.
Amaroq Weiss: I guess I'm not terribly worried because I don't think that's the general feeling. I agree you're going to hear that from some people and it's good for us to know that folks such as Ed are getting feedback like that because that gives us more information to work with to reach out even more, figure out where we can work with people to translate this post de-listing. I wouldn't say I'm worried; this stuff is always complex, new things crop up. Just when you think you've got something solved something else pops its head up, so this is just one more piece in the puzzle.
Jim Peck: What are . . . folks hearing around the area? Jim Caswell?
Jim Caswell: I don't even think it's accurate to say that wolves could be you know shot just on sight because the state, all three states, have a plan and those plans prescribe how we're going to control wolves after de-listing. And in fact for five years minimum the Fish and Wildlife Service will be involved in all those decisions. So it's just not a wholesale they pack up their bags and go home. They're going to be here, we're going to be working with them as states to manage the wolf population to a certain level. Now it is true that to the degree that the Service is currently using lethal control with the state after de-listing we'll probably do the same thing, but we're going to be conferring with those, with Carter and his folks after wolves are off the list.
Jim Peck: I notice you're nodding your head. From the federal aspect what is this going to mean?
Paul Hoffman: Well I think non-lethal control is a tool. Just like any other tool in the toolbox it has to be used, but in the Service the term we use is lethal control as well as non-lethal control. And we need to keep all the tools in the toolbox as we find ways to transfer management of these predators to the states where that management should be, as well as provide a sense of control over their destiny for the livestock producers and the people who have to live with these large predators.
Jim Peck: Do we need to use killing as a kind of control?
Carter Niemeyer: Killing is just one aspect of, of predator management and it's been time-tested over decades. Killing predators to me is the easiest thing we can do. We have the technology to kill predators very effectively and in great numbers. The society we live in today I think we owe society as managers the choices and that's why we or why I support non-lethal tools so that there are those individuals out there who ranch, raise livestock, that want to choose whether they want predators killed or not. So I think we just need to keep an open mind and and look at various solutions.
Jim Peck: Is it unreasonable to think that when you're talking about these kind of animals, these predators, is it unreasonable to think that there is going to be no use of killing in this?
Carter Niemeyer: Absolutely if you got an example of wolves for instance. Wolves are going to be killed. It's unavoidable that wolves are going to have to be managed and at some point if the recovery effort is as successful as it's been it's reasonable to assume that wolves will be harvested or culled through hunting and other harvest measures.
Margaret Soulson Hinson: Jim I'd like to just go back to the issue of the use of non-lethal control as a livestock producer. You have to look at a livestock producer's perspective. We want to try and minimize depredations in any way that we can, and we're more than willing -- most ranchers are more than willing -- to try anything that is practical, that you can use to try and minimize those depredations. So I don't think ranchers automatically go out and move forward with lethal control just simply because it's available all of the sudden. And I think that's a big misperception. Ranchers do want to minimize depredations, and the use of non-lethal mechanisms certainly is a tool and helps.
Jim Peck: Well I think there's a perception that ranchers are just waiting, they're loaded up, they're ready to hit the field and start shooting at these animals if they can.
Paul Hoffman: Well, I think there's also though a misperception that lethal control is easy, and it's not easy. Non-lethal control is typically 24/7 with a lot of the tools that are available today, and it can be more effective in reducing depredation -- which is what the ranchers are interested in. So lethal control is not the panacea and it's not as easy as a lot of people think it will be.
Jim Peck: You're saying it's pretty easy though?
Carter Niemeyer: Killing predators in my experience has been easy from the standpoint that we have a lot of modern tools -- you know from the use of aircraft to radio telemetry techniques -- so there's a lot of ways to get the predators and, and most predator control agencies you know they hold back. A lot of that is through policy and regulation, but if management agencies are turned loose to do what they're capable of doing far more predators could be killed.
Jim Peck: We did it once before when we didn't have the same kind of technology as we have now.
Carter Niemeyer: That is correct and, and one of the ways that was achieved was through toxicants at that time. Now we've, we've not used those tools, but if we desire as a society to kill predators we're very capable of doing that.
Dean Miller: One of the things we found when we were working on the cougar book is that guys like Steve and Carter have the hardest job because the public has basically a Disney biology approach. I mean you people who are out here watching this show owe it to the agencies to get real about what we're talking about. It's different with wolves because it's mostly a livestock issues, but with cougars, you have cougars in an urban setting -- where can you find a responsible person who thinks that's a good idea? -- and so the public cries out for relocation which is a nice little, you know, skipping down the garden path solution, but the fact is that, that cougar gets dumped in another cat's territory and gets its butt kicked all the way to another territory or killed, it's not the wonderful peaceful solution. It's a politically expedient solution, but we wrote about this poor guy in Spokane who sort of lied to the public about what he was going to do with this cat because you know he drove out there and there wasn't a good place to put it and they ended up over-drugging it so that it died and he got fried for this. And the fact is the agency should've backed him and the public should've backed him up and said you know cougars are not endangered, there are lots of them, and they're re-colonizing east -- you're going to have to kill some predators. I think some of the groups that are saying, Oh we're going into a future where we're more creative than that. I think that's hogwash. We live by the rules of nature and some of those things don't ever change and to, to encourage your members to think otherwise I think is going to make the situation much more conflictual than it needs to be. Sometimes you just have to kill an animal that doesn't belong there.
Levi Holt: Well, I would like to point out again that as an experienced rancher of the past, my family have raised cattle and horses for many years and it was a risk factor. Animals out in the wild predating on horses and cattle were something that we accepted and we knew it was a risk factor. Granted the reintroduction of the gray wolf has brought on other particular concerns and, and risk factors, but indeed if we're ever to hand off a legacy, a heritage of this country that is so rich, it must be with sacrifice. It must be with cooperation and coordination and I applaud those who have tried and are using the non-lethal mechanisms as well. I do believe that lethal control, legal taking of, of predators is necessary. When we look at the cougar and we realize that the populations are growing and, and out of hand so to say it's because we as humans have disrupted and interrupted the balance and, and we removed wolves and bear long ago and now we're wondering why have we this problem. We've mixed ourselves so much into this that it's tough to find a way out. And I think that is something the Nez Perce Tribe, other tribes within the northwest are concerned about. They have not been given their opportunities to work as co-managers in, in an adequate way.
Jim Peck: What if we bring them back to the point where we can start hunting them again with the wolves?
Levi Holt: I would support a hunt, but I think that in a way that it should be left to Carter or perhaps to Jim in their official capacity as it has been limitedly been working. I would also support and advocate that the tribes also have a purpose and a desire to conduct ceremonial hunts, so perhaps as we craft the management plans the tribes would be invited to insert and partake in this manner. That's something that we've always advocated for.
Jim Peck: Bill Wall your organization has done a lot of work with hunting obviously, also a lot of work with habitat, what role does hunting play in this conversation?
Bill Wall: Well I think hunting plays a major role and, and that was one of the things that I wanted to address because there's a big difference between lethal control as carried out by government hunters and sport hunting. A huge difference. And iIf you turn around and look at the history of sport hunting in the west it was hunters and their desire to hunt and their passion for wild places and wildlife that brought the prey back so that we have the predators that we have in the system today. I also think it's very important that we start thinking on a system approach to this, not only from a private landowner's perspective, but also from the system of carnivores as well as ungulate species out there which are the primary prey. Because if we're not thinking holistically we're not going to deal with the issue very effectively. And we of course believe that sport hunting not only provides economic incentive, but also political incentive to manage these species in an appropriate approach.
Jim Peck: I know some groups like yours say hunters have been responsible for bringing back a lot of the prey base, which is responsible for bringing back some of the predators as well. Is it your feeling that without hunters we wouldn't even be able to have this discussion right now?
Bill Wall: I think at this point they played a major role in what's going on in the west historically as far as bringing back the prey base and continuing to support good management of carnivore populations across the west. So yes I don't think we would be having this conversation if there hadn't have been some strong-willed, passionate people who were willing to step up to the plate years ago and continue to step up to that plate both with their passion, but also with their, their financial assistance.
Aaron Miles: I guess my comment on how, how hunters and how America has shaped the populations today from the travel perspective we've, we were trying to get people here the newcomer, the, the new kid on the block so to speak to be able to learn and, and live with wolves and we've been affected the same way just as when, when the calvary came after us during the Nez Perce War -- the same kind of government programs were instituted to remove large predators -- and so we feel the same anguish that when we prospered before the coming of the white man in this country we prospered with the wolves, the grizzly bears. There was no problems between us, and we want the, the people here to be able to understand that there has to be a way and a solution to be able to live together.
Jim Peck: Is part of that solution hunting?
Chuck Schwartz: Hunting is a tool that can be used to harvest wildlife. It's a mechanism that if used properly is a very effective tool. A lot of people oppose hunting, but they think of hunting well before the conservation era when there was uncontrolled, unregulated killing of wildlife for meat or other purposes. Hunting today is very different. There's rules and regulations and typically game harvest occurs after everything else is considered and it's a surplus. And wildlife is a renewable resource that if managed properly perpetuates itself every year. And we can use that resource and maintain it in a healthy state. The issues oftentimes revolve around values, personal values. Some people are adamantly opposed to killing animals, others find it very acceptable and that's where the struggle really exists today. It's a social struggle about whether we should or should not hunt an animal and that struggle gets more amplified when you talk about hunting animals for meat subsistence purposes, which a lot of people accept, as opposed to hunting animals as a trophy, which a lot of people find objectionable. And then that's elevated even higher when you talk about hunting an animal like a carnivore for its hide and typically unless it's a black bear for example you don't eat the meat. So people perceive hunting in very different ways depending on their background and their value system.
Ken Hall: I'd like to begin with the label of predators. I think is unfair because it immediately evokes a fear people are going to be preyed on if they go out, outside their doors and I think we have to realize these animals are teachers. They're telling us what's going on in their environment, why they're, they're in the urban areas, why they aren't in the mountains and we're refusing to recognize those lessons that they're showing us. I, the comment I'd like to make about the hunting was I, unfortunately I think the ethical hunters, the good hunters are outnumbered by those that, that don't care and they're hurting everybody more than the good ones are helping because they, they, they don't care who's land they're on or how the means they take to get that animal and it's usually because of the horns or the hide and then they, they don't cherish it and they'll, they'll give it up for a dollar and I think that's an enforcement is way overtaxed to try to resolve that.
Jim Peck: Some people who are watching are going to be coming into hunting season pretty quickly; what should they be keeping in mind?
Steve Nadeau: There's a couple issues regarding hunting of these large carnivores. For one, bears and lions in Idaho are considered big game animals, black bears and mountain lions. And when we start enveloping wolves into state management what we're hoping to do is to classify wolves similar to how we classify bears and lions and manage them similarly. That would entail potentially, eventually somewhere down, down the road an attempt at getting sport harvest that might alleviate some of the tensions that are currently, or currently exist between sportsmen or hunters of big game or other big game animals like deer and elk it might give them an outlet for some of their frustrations. But also right now in the west wolves don't have any real sportsman champions, and as Bill indicated earlier bears and lions are here today predominately because we have bear and lion hunters. Bears in Idaho are our #3 big game species as far as numbers of animals taken behind elk and deer and the effort put into them. As many people support bear hunting as opposed to the, or more people actually support bear hunting as opposed to those that might think of bears as a predator. Eventually somewhere down the road maybe people will consider wolves similarly and we'll have sportsman championing oh long-term population viability and healthy populations of wolves. That's what we're hoping for kind of bring wolves into the fold. As far as lethal control of wolves that, that's a little bit different, little bit different issue, but there's room for thinking. Currently we don't, I mean we don't want to open the barn doors and we don't want people to perceive state management of wolves as opening the barn doors, and, and letting all the horses run loose that's, now that's not the perception and that's not reality. Reality is that we're going to try to use non-lethal methods like we do with bears and lions currently. There are lots of other approaches. And with wolves, wolves may be easier in some fashion to actually have you know some non-lethal methods. It would be exciting for me for instance to have a pack of wolves that establish a population in an established territory in an area around a rancher and don't predate on or depredate on cattle or sheep if you could train somehow the wolves to establish a pack that are not be constantly having to kill them and having a new pack move in and constantly you know emptying the leaking boat syndrome, then that would be a real bonus. That would be something to look into. On the other hand there are, there are times and places where it's absolutely necessary to solve the problem. And with bears and lions what we do is, if, if the animal is in active molesting of livestock people are allowed to protect their property and, and self-defense and that's an issue that's, that's national, it's not just a western issue. It doesn't have anything to do with just predators, but that, that's the way that we would incorporate bears or wolves with bears and lions you can protect your property and, and sustain a living. But that doesn't mean you can shoot 'em indiscriminately.
Amaroq Weiss: I've noticed that a large part of our conversation has been devoted to killing wolves, killing predators, whether we're talking about whether we should use lethal control versus non-lethal. What do we think about hunting? I'd like to suggest a shift in focus to recognizing the life, the life force that predators such as wolves insert into the ecosystem. And that when we recognize large predators such as wolves as being, and here biodiversity is a term that's commonly used. What we're recognizing is that it is the presence of these species that drives the strength, the integrity, the sustainability of all the other organisms in the ecosystem and I think that another way we could focus our discussion in general about predators and informing the public is recognizing the value that they give to our ecosystems which in-turn gives to us.
Jim Peck: As we have this discussion and people are talking about all of these different kinds of issues, Oregon is in a position that we heard a little bit in the piece about. These wolves are coming, how should they be preparing themselves for what's about to happen? Or what's maybe already happening?
Crosby Allen: I'd like to go back to the non-lethal control. I think we kind of skipped over the non-lethal. I think as was pointed out earlier it's very important to consider the rights of, of people whose life and property are being infringed upon. That's a constitutionally protected right and if we're going to be playing around with non-lethal control methods and experimenting with this non-essential experimental species, the wolves, then there needs to be something in place to protect these people, these people's constitutional rights. If either they need the ability to pop that wolf if it's threatening their life or property or they need to be directly reimbursed for that. They need to be compensated as is required in the, in the constitution. So I think that's key and if you know if we want to get off into these areas of you know if this will work or that will work, that's fine, but we need to take care of people's rights while we're doing that.
Paul Hoffman: And while we recognize the role of hunters and hunting in the conservation movement we need to also recognize the role ranchers have played in the conservation movement. They're the ones that are maintaining the open space; they're the ones that are providing the critical winter habitat for many of the species that now will support the predator populations. So we need to have a holistic look at this and recognize that the ranching industry is facing cumulative impacts of a whole host of issues that bring to bear economic pressures on their industry. And we need to recognize their desire and need to survive as well as the desire of the species to survive.
Jim Peck: Jennifer, what's that been like for you?
Jennifer Ellis: Well we have several different issues and, and going back to opening the barn door so to speak. Most of us are pretty well educated anymore and we realize that there will be a certain number of wolves that have to be attained in Idaho. I mean we will not go out and indiscriminately shoot them, but we absolutely have to have the right to protect what is ours. And I don't know about anybody else in this room, but if somebody came into my back yard and shot my dog I'm going to be mad. Well our calves are the same and our horses, sheep, goats, anything else that you raise, and we have to have the right to come back. And I'm not so crazy about compensation as just being able to take care of my own. I don't need somebody paying me if I can take control, but like with Margaret when she loses 50 sheep in 3 weeks that's not fair to us, for everybody else's gain in the United States.
Jim Peck: Economically, what does it mean for you?
Jennifer Ellis: Economically if you lose a 10% of your calf crop say, we have 550 mother cows, if we lost 10% of them to predators in general that's our profit, that's all the profit that we will see. We can't do it.
Jim Peck: What's going to happen to this land if, as they say, the ranchers get really hammered by these predators?
Paul Hoffman: If we push the ranching industry off the land they're going to plant their final crop which is a row of houses, and I think we can all agree that, that's worse in the long run for the environment, for protecting open space, for conserving wildlife of all kinds.
Dean Miller: The question I want to hear answered, and we've got a whole room full of these folks, is who guaranteed you a living? Because you know it's the one that always gets asked at the campfire when you're not there, but I have a lot of sympathy for the fact that wolf can wipe you out. I mean a cougar will get in and those sheep run and the cougars are keyed to kill a running prey animal and they're kill 50 of 'em in a night that's not a myth that's true it's documented. But I'm not sure that you were guaranteed a living on the public lands. I mean if I was in the silver industry the price of silver goes south he goes out. Same thing for you, you're Larry Craig two weeks ago in North Idaho saying you know we're not going to cut a lot more timber on the public land that day is over. You've got a congress now where people would rather subsidize predators than ranchers, most likely. And so I'm wondering how do you answer that question where there's a lot of debate about management of the public ground because when we were looking at the cougar question it was the same thing. There are places where it's probably irresponsible to raise cattle because you know there's so many predators there it's a predator sync that you're going to, you're going to have big losses and the public isn't going to support the killing of that many predators. So are there, is there going to be a change in the ranching industry to where maybe we don't use so much public grass beef?
Jon Robinett: One thing I'd like to address on that is in all of the discussions we've had is a lack of equality on the people who bear the brunt of this. The people who live with them daily and have the problems. And as far as guaranteeing my living is that we play into the same laws that everybody else does in this room we have a constitutional right, pursuit of happiness, things like that and that's where I'll leave that. But when it's the equality is not being divided up amongst the people it's just bared by a few, a segment of the population that's the problem we're having. Wildlife's driven by necessity we're driven by economics and that's where the road comes. But we have the same rights and the same you know to be a rancher to be an environmentalist to be a writer, we have those constitutional rights and we shouldn't have to forfeit those because a certain segment of the population says we don't want you to do that anymore. We live, most of our kills are on private property, Carter Neimeyer's been there, we've lost six dogs, two horses, numerous cattle. Previous. Can I go on with this? Prior to the wolf reintroduction the most cattle we lost in one year was 22 head to grizzly bears associated to bears. The, the 1997 we went to 61 cattle loss after the Washkee Pack set up housekeeping and everything we've done we've stayed within the parameters of the law. We've went through the legal system, we went through everything that we could, we've never broken the law, we don't intend to, but where is the equality in that?
Dean Miller: The question, I guess the question that always gets asked is if you look at where tax dollars get spent.
Jon Robinett: How many tax dollars?
Dean Miller: The people here in the west we complain about those dang easterners, but we . . . federal money.
Jon Robinett: How much federal money is going into my operation? Can you give me a number?
Dean Miller: I don't know your operation. What I'm saying is . . .
Jon Robinett: Okay I'm telling you on private property is where we have the biggest issues the wolves come on the lawn, they fight with the dogs, they kill the dogs, on private property. On public land is, is a different issue.
Dean Miller: Right is, is that the standard wolf problem is that it's always on private property I don't think you can say that.
Jon Robinett: No it's not we're probably one of the few people that have 90% of our problems on private land.
Dean Miller: Right. The I guess the question I have is that there everybody's industry is subsidized. I don't think you can say you know I'm in the newspaper business oh we're not subsidized, well we probably are, there's probably tax code provisions that help all of us. But the question is where it's the national lands you sort of, because you've chosen to do business on the national lands you don't have it equal you have to deal with the national the consensus.
Jon Robinett: Until the federal house and senate change multiple use issues we're still covered. I mean that might be coming down the road right, but we're not in violation of any laws operating on public land.
Dean Miller: No, but what I'm saying is the support for what you do is you are a, a daholden to whatever the national consensus is and you can see that consensus shifting right now. And it may shift, you know it may be a pendulum swing, but it shifts.
Jim Caswell: One of the responses I have to that is, in a land state like Idaho where 63% or 66% of the land is owned by the federal government how do you protect private property and its value from a conservation perspective. I mean if, it's kind of what Paul said earlier. You know the worst allotment is better than the best subdivision. When you compare that to conservation, species, long-term perpetuation of any, any critters -- I don't care what they are -- you've got to bring private property to the, to the table; you can't do it on the back of federal ground. And if we're going to recover species, even ones that are abundant currently and keep 'em abundant, you've got to have good conservation going on, on private land. And in order to do that in this part of the, the world you know in rural economies you've got to use federal land as a backstop to help those ranchers if that's the key, the key industry survive you just have to. They've got to be part of the solution and you can't use this kind of draconian thinking about we ought to lock it up; that is not the multiple-use mandate, particularly national forest and BLM. Turn it into a park if that's what you want to do. Then you can have a little more control over those kinds of issues. Get that through Congress.
Jon Robinett: I'm sorry, but I want to make a point, when you talk about alternative issues, we've been to the legislature and we've asked to have it considered that if we go out of the cattle business period. Can we maintain our ag base and if so we'll turn the land back theoretically to wolves, bears, elk, things like that and we'll step out of the picture. Very few counties and you can ask uh, . . . over here, very few counties want to give up that opportunity to go from an ag based to 9 ½%, it's not in our statutes. Can we do that? Can some of you environmental people go to the legislature and make those changes and make it possible to reduce the usage, the traditional use into a more futuristic use?
Amaroq Weiss: It's certainly one of the things that Defenders is working on. In a number of states we have a huge project going on in Oregon and also in Florida and that is developing prime areas for buyer diversity and working with agriculture folks in those areas with conservation incentives to keep those lands open to be used by wildlife and by agriculture and not to be developed. That's the way we'd like to see things going. It's certainly not Defenders position to drive folks in agriculture from the land. Keeping folks in agriculture usually ends up being a good, a good thing for wildlife. It keeps areas from being developed, my personal discussions with many ranchers including Margaret has been that we share a deep, deep love for the land so there's a very common bond there. Yes I think that there are solutions that can be worked out legislatively and it does take creative thinking not, not fantasy, but creative thinking that's what we're based on, that's what are species is good for and I, I agree with that John I think that, that's a solution we should be working on together.
Dean Miller: Just one final thing. Isn't that somebody asked you guys to justify you're getting to living on the land you assume they're environmentalist which is, if you knew me, you'd find humorous.
Jon Robinett: Well, we are environmentalists.
Dean Miller: But, sure you are and my question is everybody has to take a part in this. I mean the people that are watching this in Southern California who think of themselves as protectors of wildlife sitting on their little ranch right above town, they've done more damage than you have by, because development chews up more land than, than resource use.
Jon Robinett: What does it cost you to have a wolf on our ranch?
Dean Miller: Right exactly that's the question is.
Jon Robinett: And that's the point you need to get out to, to the populations is that the ownership is, everybody claims ownership, but nobody pays the bill except for a few people that, that are impacted.
Dean Miller: Right, but my point is to say this is a classic case of polarizing right there. You know all, all people have asked for is tell us why you're owed a job on the land? I'm not saying I think that's wrong; I just want to know about it because it's, it's something that's not discussed often enough. Do you see my point?
Jon Robinett: Do you want to pursue this?
Jim Peck: Actually we're going to have a lot of chance to talk about it further.
Jim Peck: Chris Servheen, in talking about these corridors, these linkages, I think some people think these are going to be little tunnels that these bears sort of scoot through or little bridges that they scoot over the interstates. Is that what we're talking about?
Chris Servheen: No, we don't even use the corridor word because we think that's a, that's a misnomer. What we're looking at is, we're trying to maintain natural processes across the landscape and this is not just a grizzly bear issue, this is an issue for the all the native species in the Rocky Mountains. Healthy populations of wildlife need the ability to continue to move from block to block across the the Rocky Mountains from these large blocks of federal habitat from one to the other, this ability to move maintains healthy populations and in the long term this will prevent us from having to list other species to have further animals listed under the endangered species act and the restrictions that come with that. Basically we're trying to maintain natural processes on the landscape it involves federal land, it involves private land and it involves highways and it involves partnerships with private land owners, it involves working with the Departments of Transportation and it involves the managers of the public land to maintain what we call linkage zones across the landscape where the opportunities for movement for wildlife still exist and in the long-term the health of most of our large mammals in the Rocky Mountains will depend on maintaining those opportunities for movement. We're avidly working on that, we think the possibilities are good to do that and I think the future for many of these species is going to be dependent on that.
Jim Peck: But do you agree?
Amaroq Weiss: Yes. I think I love the statement, that grizzly bear habitat is in the human heart -- I hope our heart is really big. Predators like grizzly need even more large areas than wolves do I may have mentioned to you in an earlier conversation that California once had grizzly, we probably still have suitable wolf habitat, we probably don't still have suitable grizzly habitat, and as Chris was saying it isn't just habitat for the grizz; it's for all of the other accompanying species in the ecosystem. When we're protecting large predators and places for large predators we're actually protecting a, a huge realm for many, many things that live in that environment and it is something that needs to be acted on and acted upon very quickly. A major threat is development. City folks do tend to view the west as a pastoral setting that they want to move to and they move into all the places that all the pastoral things live and we do need to be planning ahead, we do need a big vision on that and we need a lot of people at the table for that. One of the efforts that was, was going to achieve that was a proposed reintroduction of grizzly into the Selway Bitterroot area in Idaho and this was a, a program that had everyone at the table -- industry folks, labor folks, folks from the timber industry environmentalists -- and this was a plan that went into many years of planning and effort by a lot of people, exactly the type of project that the Bush Administration claims that it would like to see. And unfortunately the Secretary of Interior, Gail Norton, said no, we're not going to go forward with that plan. Hopefully we can get a switch in that viewpoint from the administration because that's the kind of effort we need to see to save large habitat for species like grizzly.
Jim Peck: Do you think these linkages are critical to their survival?
Jim Caswell: I think they're yeah I think they are critical long-term absolutely. Do I think they need to be mandated more than they currently are? Absolutely not. I mean if you think about the threat to the spine of, of the state divide between Montana and Idaho I mean it's, it's miniscule in reality. It can be worked with and I agree with Chris that IGBC and all the folks involved in those discussions are working on those issues and there's things that can be done to improve opportunity, but in reality that block of federal ground is interconnected today, it'll be interconnected tomorrow, it's not going to change I mean you can't even do anything on the landscape anymore on federal ground that's good, let alone that's bad. And get it done in any timely way. Most of its roadless, most of its got some kind of forest plan restrictions or development restrictions, controlling access, so it's, it's very well protected. Now we can't forget about it I'm not saying that. You know as far as the few highway crossings I think those things can be dealt with we're doing it up north right now on a highway piece of highway that's being rebuilt and we're putting crossings in. Part of the issues is where? How do you do that so it'll be utilized? What's the proper place, if you're going to make a million-dollar investment you've got to put it in the right place. In order to put it in the right place we need to do some research to find out why they cross here, why they cross there, where do they cross, where do we have you know collisions with the animals on the highways that's consistent or is it fluke deal here just here or there, figure those things out before we make those investments. That's part of the research that'll be going on right now very concertedly in my opinion.
Crosby Allen: Respectfully, animals are animals; they're very adaptable. We have grizzly bears coming into one of our towns it's happened, happened on numerous occasions just last week they had to dart a grizzly bear that was running into the town of Jackson right on the city limits. We don't need linkages they're already there the, the idea of core preserve areas and linkages comes out of international treaties bio-diversity treaties where that comes from and I would suggest to this group that it's more of a political agenda than it is one based on science. If we get into the linkage corridor concept all we're doing is fulfilling that agreement and the next thing that we'll have, that we'll see is buffer zones that comes under the biosphere treaty and if, if you study that and you project it you'll see that most of the western states will be completely regulated by those two things. So this is a very dangerous area and we need to separate the garbage, not to use that term with the word bear, from the science. And right now we're hearing garbage, I'm sorry its not based on science.
Aaron Miles: I guess when we're looking at all this, when 150 years go when westward expansion was happening in the Pacific Northwest, we're faced with the same issues today and right now until that changes, we're still driven by the economy of this nation and so you know you look at developers they're bringing in money, they're bringing in more people from the east and so until we identify those as really as a, as a problem then we're never going to solve this I mean because we're, we're pushing on the brink of more development and we're just getting more into the grizzly bear and wolves habitat and it's rightfully theirs it's not even, wasn't even rightfully ours in the first place and we just put a value to all this. It sickens me that we've done that and now you look, you look at what they've lost the both those predators I mean the range all the way down to Mexico and then we're, they're just fighting for a little couple parcels of this, of this ecosystem. When are we going to identify that we're the problem and not those those other predators?
Tom Parker: Yeah I'm someone who lives and works in one of the first areas to have these grizzly bear linkage zones established and experimented with. I guess my only regret is that it wasn't more comprehensive and I they did the best job they could to, to get you know as much important and critical habitat identified and protected as possible, but what people have to realize that in reality these things will serve to minimize human conflict with, with these animals and the the fact of the matter is that although established for specifically grizzly bears where we are, all species benefited, big games, forest carnivores, small animals there was tremendous benefit to all of these animals from, from the establishment of these linkage zones.
Levi Holt: I'd like to kind of bring it back to center if you will, I think that initially when we consider corridors and the movement of all species we really need to consider the fact as mentioned earlier these land bases were in tact and were without interruption we came in, we fenced the land, we drove the animals away. It seems to me in the three states in the northwest Idaho, Montana and Wyoming a cattle, a cow, has more protection on the highway then any wildlife. If I hit a, a livestock out on the highway I'm perhaps liable, I'm here in court to face a fine and other reimbursement to the rancher who has an opportunity to free graze and, and allow species of livestock to roam freely um, but yet when we consider the grizzly or, or any other predator movement, we're looking to restrict it and we're looking to condense it. This is a problem that not only here in the U.S., but in Canada, in my travels there and working with the uh, Yellowstone to Yukon conservation initiative one of our goals is to connect the Northern Rockies to the Southern Rocky corridors and I have to come back to corridors because I believe we begin to take from the meaning and the emphasis and we get so involved in, in definitions that we forget really what we are here for and I think we're, we're stewards today and we're forgetting about that. It's not all about just putting down an animal. Somehow we need to find a way and I think that the government if, if that is the case needs to be involved. Idaho being largely federally owned has an obligation to work with the federal government and vice versa. The equation here that I think is being left out is that tribes when we signed our treaty in 1855. When we spoke at that our desire was to retain and preserve wildlife and habitat. Yes we're talking about wildlife now, but not so much the habitat and I think with the current administration moving in the directions as they are to, to gut the clean air act, clean water act, the roadless initiatives, we're seeing an influx and an attack on something that has been preserved, something has been America and we're losing that today.
Chuck Schwartz: One of the things I think it's important to recognize when you're talking about linkages there's, there's an issue of scale here and what we've I've heard is mixed scales. The Yellowstone for example is your thinking in global scale, the Northwest for example. A linkage zone connecting the greater Yellowstone ecosystem for example to the Bitterroot cannot be this little narrow interstate highway, particularly if you're talking about a species like grizzly bears. First of all, they won't know where it is and they don't disperse that way. Wolves have a tendency to disperse great distances, but grizzly bears particularly females generally occupy an area within or just adjacent to their mother's home range so their expansion is very slow, it's like an ameba sort of spreading on the landscape. So if we're talking about connections between Yellowstone and the Bitterroot for example we're talking about providing seasonal or even annual habitat that those animals can occupy from one ecosystem to another. If we're talking about movements of wildlife across Togidy Pass Highway for example, then we're probably talking about narrow corridors just a small piece of landscape where the animals can funnel down safely, go under, over or across the highway and, and maintain connectivity. So when you think of linkages or zones connecting pieces of real estate you've got to, you've got to first all put it in perspective relative to what scale that we're talking about. And then when you've picked the scale then you have to tailor it relative to the species because different species have different requirements. And you know Chris is correct the grizzly bear oftentimes is considered an umbrella species if you do it for the grizzly bear there's a lot of other wildlife that falls under that umbrella. A lot of other species will benefit, but there are other species of wildlife that don't fall under the umbrella for the grizzly bear and we don't want to myopically focus on linkage zones or corridors just for grizzlies. We want to focus on linking these large blocks of secure habitat for all of the wildlife species that will be freely moving between them. That equates the healthy wildlife populations and I think that's the goal that we're really striving for here is to maintain healthy populations of wildlife in the western U.S. in the presence of people.
Jim Peck: Let's talk a little bit about the Bitterroot because that's been an area that's come up a couple of times. Chris, is it important that we have bears back in there?
Chris Servheen: Well, the Bitterroot is the largest block of wilderness habitat in the Rocky Mountains and it's some 5,000 square miles of wilderness and it used to have grizzly bears in there. The only reason the bears aren't there is we killed them. It could be a stepping stone between Yellowstone and areas to the north and certainly if grizzly bears got into the Bitterroot the potential for connecting Yellowstone to areas to the north is much higher. I don't think it's necessary to have grizzly bears in Yellowstone. We don't need grizzly bears in the Bitterroot for sure, but the idea that we've got this big block of, of wild habitat that has everything that grizzly bears need, except the bears in it has great opportunity to provide a little more space for bears in the lower 48 states. We've eliminated the grizzly bear from 98% of its habitat in the lower 48 states today. And the few areas where its still possible to maintain bears if we can get populations in there and maintain those populations as healthy then the long-term future for grizzly bears in the lower 48 states will be much better.
Dave Gaillard: And if I could just expand that beyond grizzly bears, the Bitterroot is such a key area. It's great habitat for all sorts of wildlife. A recent study published in the leading scientific journal found that 10 predator carnivore species were looked at from Yellowstone all the way north to Jasper up in B.C. and Alberta and found that Idaho contains the largest block as Chris mentioned, of undeveloped great habitat for these species. And not only that it, that its great habitat, but it's also a linchpin for connections for all those animals south and north. And that's where its particularly frustrating for the current administration federally, the Idaho governor to come out against restoring grizzly bears and, and often the, the, the places where its best to be a predator in terms of the habitat turns out to be the most politically hostile climate. And what I think you know the reason I'm here is for that vast constituency for these wildlife that go beyond the people that want to kill them, that go beyond the people that just deal with the problems that they pose. I don't want to belittle those problems, but in the grand scheme of things there's a tremendous upwelling up support for these animals lives, living, breathing along the landscape and people want to hold on to our heritage. And its really frustrating because the predator policy sometimes does not reflect the will of the majority of these, of Americans and Idahoans who, who support predators in the state and it doesn't, it isn't grounded in good science it's instead often co-opted by politics, by special interest groups that unfortunately are, are concerned more about you know just maximizing elk numbers for hunters or simply trying to make Idaho and the Northern Rockies like every other place in the lower 48.
Paul Hoffman: I think one of the things we've learned in managing endangered species is, is that if you don't have the support of the local population that lives with them they're very difficult to recover. We have a syndrome called shoot, shovel and shut-up that occurs oftentimes when the local population doesn't support having these species co-mingle with them. And so the secretary in her determination not to reintroduce grizzly bears into the Bitterroot area determined as was articulated by the Governor of Idaho that there was not popular support for having these species there and that it would be difficult to conserve them there without that popular support. And when we get to talking about corridors the only reason we can talk now about establishing corridors between the Northern Montana area and the Yellowstone area is because through the good work of several federal agencies, state governments, private landowners, hunters, outfitters and guides we now have a strongly recovering grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone area. So now we're talking about the finer points of how do we achieve the next level of conservation and that next level of conservation is going to be achieved by working cooperatively with the private landowners who own the land that make up these corridors and so we're at, we're at the next level of conservation what Secretary Norton calls a new environmentalism where we need to work cooperatively in consultation and with communication in order to achieve conservation.
Jim Peck: So from the people that you've heard from here, are there people here that you're going to want to be talking to about that?
Paul Hoffman: Absolutely I you know that.
Jim Peck: You're talking about some of these private lands. Jon, I know you were talking about private land earlier. What do you think about what he's saying?
Jon Robinett: To put a block of land together to increase the island area. What I see is that if you can not regulate it, but you can get tolerance and cooperation I think it'll go a lot forward than if you come in and mandate it or try to regulate it into existence.
Paul Hoffman: See we're past the need to go out with a big stick and beat people over the head. We're at the stage where we can hold a carrot out and we can work cooperatively. We can get them to value these predators and, and value the relationship between the predators and the prey and, and have them cooperatively set aside lands for conservation purposes that'll work much more effectively in the long run than a regulatory mechanism and an overlay and an . . . from on high out of Washington.
Amaroq Weiss: Two points, the Selway Bitterroot grizzly reintroduction was the best example in a long time of a cooperative program where locals did buy in and as it turned out the governor of Idaho was opposed to it and the Secretary of the Interior was opposed to it and the idea died. This was a perfect example of exactly what your talking about and yet the Bush administration rejected it. The other point I'd like to make is that in light of enforcing endangered species act types of laws and I completely agree with you that cooperation is where it's at, but when it comes to enforcement, we don't not enforce traffic laws because there are some people that don't want to stop at a stop sign or don't want to use their seatbelt. We don't not enforce criminal laws because somebody feels like holding up a bank. We don't not enforce court orders in divorce cases because someone isn't happy with it. We enforce laws in this country that were established by our legislature according to the will of our people and the fact is, the endangered species act was a major act in this country passed in 1973 by the will of the American people who wanted to see endangered and threatened species recovered. So we'd like to see the law enforced. In combination with cooperative efforts, but by gosh those laws should be enforced too.
Dean Miller: John will be surprised I'm kind of in agreement on this one. When you talk about the cost, you know who pays the price the thing that we found and we looked at the Santa Ana cougars there was a population of cougars around Santa Ana California, huge city 300,000 people and lots of development coming up the foothills and they, they radio collared tons and tons of these cats and followed 'em the number one cause of death was cars they were killing a 1/3 of those cats every year on the road because California's and they're just like anybody else they wanted a straighter, faster road to where they were getting too. Probably the people that drove that road considered themselves good stewards of the land and conservationists and those dang ranchers and developers that are the problem. But I really like having this new State Hwy. 265 to get me to where I want to go. And so I think for the people who are watching this show, I mean I keep brining it back to you, but it's really your problem to solve. If you want a faster way to get somewhere there's a cost. If you're a vegetarian and you're eating stuff that's produced with hydrocarbons you're as big, you're killing things. You may not think you are, but you are. And I think that's one of the problems we have is its easy to go at the big industries and the big land users, but the five zillion ton gorilla at the table that nobody will talk about is the American public which won't do anything difficult to save these critters and that's when you're talking about these corridors, you can't have those roads and have that undisturbed land because in the Santa Ana's that population is going to be extinct and Cal Fish and Game has written 'em off because there's no way, they don't have the linkage between all those places to where those cats can disperse and interbreed and your ending up with all these problems of genetic diversity that Chris was talking about. It's just you know people watching the show you're more a part of the solution than you think and you've got to pressure your agencies to do the difficult thing because they think you don't have the guts to do what's hard. They think that you want it easy.
Carl Scheeler: You know most of the problems that we're talking about here are not ecological problems, they are social problems and there's no time in the future that is going to be better to address those social problems then now when we have the least level of constraints on our options in any time in the future. We're going to see continued development, we've got 150 years of change that has occurred without these considerations ecologically and we've talked a lot of about the individual impacts to commodity driven type issues, cattle operators, to hunting, sportsman's hunting and we, we really do tend to stray away from the, the ecological issues and the ecological role of these species in the ecosystems that we're trying to manage. We tend to error towards to the social and that's natural. The big problems are social in nature. But if we ignore those, those ecological issues we ignore the design that was behind them that was not of our making and we do that at our peril.
Chris Servheen: To focus in this linkage zone issue one more time before we finish, we are at a time right now when we have the opportunity to fix something that was broken. We came into the west and we fragmented the habitat through roads and human development and various other things. We have the tools, we have the partnerships in place and we have the knowledge to fix this. To create linkage zones across the landscape for multiple species. And to create linkages that will allow healthy populations to remain in the American West from now on. But we only have about 10-15 years to do that because soon all those areas that are the, what we call fracture zones, places where people are building and roads are, those will be filled with fast highways and lots of development. And so if we invest now in the near term we'll have the ability to make sure that we have this linkage between the large blocks of land in the Northern Rockies, if we don't invest in the next 10 years or so we will never be able to recreate it and it will gone, it will be fractured forever. So we are at a very pivotal time for this linkage issue and it's critical to the health of all the large mammals in the Northern Rockies so this is a very important issue.
Jim Peck: Okay that's going to have to be our final word on that one. We need to move to the next segment.
Jim Peck: Do we need to restrict people or manage these cats better?
Dean Miller: One of the things we found working on the book was that there's some really smart answers out there already. The Hornacker Institute talks about sort of concentric rings, there are places cougars don't belong. I talked about that earlier. When you've got cougars in downtown Spokane, downtown Salt Lake, all of the cities of the west, Olympia Washington, you name it. They don't belong there, they're not endangered those ought to be eliminated. I'm sorry for people who think we should use non-lethal, but it makes no sense. There are places where people don't belong. I mean I, I think with all due respect to the ranchers there are places where if you move in and set up horse corrals in steep country riparian zones where there's a fair number of deer, you're moving into cougar country, that's a risk you should take and I frankly don't think the government has any responsibility to protect you from that. That's too bad for you. You had the choice to be there, you weren't forced onto that spot, too bad. So that's the, that's the trick that we're coming to now is the public needs to give the agencies some leeway to solve these problems and they need to support them in doing the sensible thing and I think where it needs to start is wildlife groups need to stop talking about cougars as if they're endangered. They are not! It absolutely is not a fact, this was formerly the most widespread land animal in the country in what we now know as the U.S. They were hunted back to about 12 states and they're re-colonizing eastward at the rate, as far as I can tell of about two states a year, it's incredible. You know we went from 300,000 white tailed deer in this country when Teddy Roosevelt sort of kicked off the conservation revolution. There are now like what is it 350 million where there are deer there will be cougars. You move there and put your horses in you're going to lose horses and I don't think that cougar ought to die for that. If a cougar comes in and starts being threatening, habituated yeah, but yeah, but the whole management of the urban area is, is fascinating it's different from, from many of the other species because cougars tend to tolerate interaction with human activity a lot better than other predators at least as far as we know right now. They have actually done some collaring studies on how cougars interact and it's fascinating. I mean they're, this area in Santa Ana there were cougars that sat three feet from a bicycle and hiking trail all day, never bothered anybody, people had no idea they were there. There, there's one story like that of a grizzly bear and I think it was Libby or something, but among predators it's kind of unusual they, they do pretty well in the suburbs a lot of food there, because people build their yards in Boise and those subdivision you know not for your view and my view, not your view, up in the south of the foothills. They're all great deer habitat now, because they water the heck out of it, they grow all these bushes that were never there before. The deer and the cougars are coming. Whose fault is that?
Chuck Schwarz: The issue isn't particular to cougars it, it, its pervasive with all large predators and I honestly believe that large carnivores will live in the west where humans choose to let them live. And we will eliminate them from the places where we don't think their suitable. In the notion that, that large carnivores should not live in developed communities I think is appropriate, and there are places where we don't want large carnivores. We don't want grizzly bears in downtown Cody for example. We don't want cougars in our backyards particularly. But the issue is as the west develops and as this wildland urban interface, particularly the urban interface expands then the conflicts between carnivores and people are going to amplify and that's really where the issues of conservation in the future are going to settle. The people that deal with carnivore bear people wolf livestock problems they're jobs are going to get worse and worse and worse. They're on a treadmill and they can never stop. If they do they're going to fall right off the back. And as we have new people colonize the west or move in from other places that don't know the rules of the road for example, how to live in bear country. How to you know not put your garbage on the back porch because that's what you did your entire life when you lived back east and you didn't have to worry about. Not feed birds in the summer, or if you're going to have small domestic livestock chickens and so on, go ahead and protect 'em with electric fence. If they don't know the rules of the road they come in and they're unaware of the problems that they potentially cause. And you know for grizzly bears for example, once they learn about human foods for example, they become chronic problems and you know we were talking earlier about whether or not lethal means were appropriate or not. Well I think it depends on the species of carnivore and the situation. And for example, a fed bear is considered a dead bear and that adage is real because once bears become habituated to food they become chronic problems, and they become more brazen, more bold and eventually they're going to damage property or worse yet injure or kill an individual. And so lethal mechanisms are probably the one way we have to deal with those bears, but it's unfortunate because the bear pays the price, the bears the animal that dies, but it's not what caused the problem, it's people and people not knowing how to live or not being willing to live compatibly with wildlife in the west, and that's what it's really going to take, it's an exchange. You know I think we can have a system where we can live and have wildlife in our backyards if we do it right, if we do it wrong, the wildlife will pay the price.
Jim Peck: Tom Parker, you have worked a lot with mountain lions; is it reasonable to expect that we can live with them in this sense? And how afraid of them should we be?
Tom Parker: Well the answer to your first question is absolutely we can live with them and by and large mountain lions have a, a high natural aversion to human beings and its you know one out of you know, you know 999 cougars and usually young individuals that have not learned to hunt effectively that will present a problem in terms of conflicts with humans and show aggression towards humans or try to predate and we need to be and we can very effectively you know deal with those individuals because they are vulnerable to capture and being killed and basically eliminate that problem and the rest of 'em can go about their business. And I, I'd just like to add that locally you know in the area I live which is has relatively a small amount of private land acreage and most of it public land and private timber company land and historically one of the highest mountain lion densities in north America. We are in the process of seeing that timberland converted from timber use to private land development which is just feeding right into the hand of this problem that you're talking about.
Jim Peck: You're talking about a lack of run-ins between people and mountain lions and what kind of lions do this. And yet people I've talked to, some of the folks in this room have said, You know, we've talked about wolves and grizzlies, but the ones you've got to watch out for are mountain lions because they'll come up behind you, they'll get you, they'll stalk you. Like he was saying they've been three feet from running paths. How do you evaluate that with not really worrying about 'em too much?
Tom Parker: Well, what I would say is that potential of running into the lion whose aversion has broken down exists, but the, the fact of the matter is that these lions are and the bulk of the population has interaction with humans on a regular basis and makes no attempt to cause them harm and because that's the way they're wired, they're kind of wired that way, but there are individuals if that breaks down and for whatever reason they will key into a human being and it, it doesn't happen that commonly, but when it does you can effectively deal with that individual, with their vulnerable to capture, with trained hounds and experienced hunters.
Jim Peck: And just if it's a problem take 'em out?
Tom Parker: Exactly.
Kent McAdoo: During the course of our conversation we've heard a lot of terms like ecosystem management, ecosystem integrity thinking holistically, managing holistically, terms like keeping all the tools in the toolbox. I think when we think about ecosystem management, we've got to realize that humans are part of that equation. And particularly when we're dealing with these large predators. When you come to a predator, well when we talk about control of these predators whether its non-lethal or lethal control or using sport hunting, all of those are viable tools and it is going to be specific to the situation. With a predator like mountain lions they are much more adaptable than for example the grizzly bears. I've personally been in a situation where I watched my son being stalked to within about 30 feet of an adult mountain lion, that was the exception, not the rule and I was able to scare him away. But I think we have to realize that all these things have their place in this ecosystem management, we've got to, we've got to, we are managing and that's a dirty word to some people, but as humans we have always managed our environments, actively, passively, sometimes more aggressively, sometimes less aggressively, but we are here because we're talking about managing for these large predators. We've got to keep in mind that, that there's going to be times when, and I've personally had experience for example with both the lethal and non-lethal predator control mechanisms with coyotes around sheep. Ranchers for their part have done a great job of adapting, especially sheep ranchers to using non-lethal control. But there's sometimes when those flat don't work and you have to take out the problem animal. That can be done without sacrificing the integrity of the ecosystem.
Amaroq Weiss: In terms of what the public can do, because there's been another gentlemen on this panel that's a couple of times mentioned to the viewing public things that they could do. This is another area where there are actually a lot of programs in many communities that are joint efforts between conservation groups, state agencies and federal agencies to teach the public how to live safely with carnivores. There's a whole set of programs that have been set up in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. There are some that are beginning California, certainly in other western states I imagine those are happening as well. They're advertised if the public doesn't know specifically about them, they can contact their state agency or federal agency or local conservation group to find out. And these are really valuable programs they include experts who speak to the public, get slide shows on how to live safely with bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, any of the general predators for their region. They're really informative, it teaches people about bringing livestock in at night and not leaving pet food bowls out at night, the bird feeder, all of these things that are really common sense, pretty simple things in most cases, but people just don't know. So I would urge the viewing public to check into that in their own locale.
Chuck Schwartz: You know one of the things I think it's important to put into perspective because we've seen it said a couple times in earlier is the real threat here. Carnivores are large animals and are capable of killing people. But if you really look at the death rate in the, you know society from carnivores it's nothing, they're probably more people are killed by our own species in Los Angeles each day, than are killed by grizzly bears. Since Yellowstone National Park was created more than 100 years ago there's only been five people in the entire history of the park that have been killed by grizzly bears for example. You're 20 times more likely to drowned if you visit Yellowstone. You're five times, or four times more likely to be scalded in a thermal area. You're just as likely to be murdered by another human being. And you know we tend to focus on the fact that large carnivores are capable of killing us, but the instances of that are so rare. I mean we take a, we take a bigger chance, I took a bigger chance getting in my automobile and driving to the airport to come to this show today than I will ever take hiking in grizzly bear habitat. And I think it's the same for cougars certainly it's true for wolves because wolves typically don't you know harm humans, but, but we don't think about that. We focus on it sporting magazines for example always have the big snarly grizzly bear and the blood and the you know everything associated with that. There's an awful lot of hype associated with what these carnivores really do. They're not blood thirsty, if given the chance they would just as soon avoid us and the statistics prove that out.
Jennifer Ellis: I guess the thing that concerns me, it sounds like defacto expansion of Yellowstone Park, and when within the park range yes there hasn't been that many, but now you're going to add a whole new demographic to that by the buffer zones and the linkage corridors. And as a private property owner I get really concerned when we had a really disappointing ruling out of the 9th District circuit this year, when Judge Winmill said that wolves have first right of passage on private ground within the Sawtooth National Rec area. Well that started to break down private property rights right there. So if, if you all get these linkages and we have all of this great buffer zones that are added to it are we going to lose all of our private property rights and statistics are all well and good until its your kid that's eaten by one of these carnivores.
Bill Wall: Jim, I think one of the things that we, we haven't talked about yet, we've talked about private lands and human interaction, etc. One of the key issues I think that exists though is taking a look at this thing at a system level. We did hear something about ecosystem management. We've got to look at the prey base that exists that maintains these carnivore populations throughout the west. And the interaction of humans with those prey bases as well as the carnivores with those prey bases. And when you look at where the funding comes from for Fish and Games agencies to both manage these prey bases, which are ungulates, which are elk and deer primarily as well as the carnivore populations, it's the hunters who are paying for that. And one of the issues that we have to look at is a balance, as we manage these carnivore populations with maintaining good healthy productive prey bases, elk and deer populations as well. Because if we lose that hunting tradition, my question is, who's going to pay for all of this? It's hunters who've paid for it traditionally.
Jim Peck: Anybody else see? Who would pay for this?
Tom Parker: Well, I'd just like to take that line of thinking a few steps further in that in order to have the healthy prey populations we need a healthy land base and a healthy ecological base and from watersheds and soil systems to rangelands and forestlands and we right now have largely impaired an impaired ecological base. And we will not in the long-term have to worry about the predators or the prey base in their condition long-range unless we begin to restore and rehabilitate the base in which these animals thrive, the plant communities and so forth and, and begin to work on the, those issues of integrity of the ecological base.
Jim Peck: Is everybody okay with the idea that we're talking about maintaining habitat, we're talking about maintaining a prey base so that we have predators? Is anybody in here okay with the idea of just getting rid of these predators? I mean totally gone?
Crosby Allen: Yeah, absolutely. They've been gone once for a reason, but they weren't ever really gone, and they didn't reintroduce wolves into Wyoming, into the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, they introduced an exotic species out of Canada. We had wolves there, there was sighting after sighting and these scientists know damn good and well that I'm telling the truth. We had wolves. We had grizzly bears. They were kept at a level to, to sustain the way of life that our culture desired, but they were never eliminated and I, I'll suggest to you that they can never be eliminated.
Jim Peck: Agree with the elimination issue?
Carter Niemeyer: Well, I was just going to comment that the wolf population was not viable in the lower 48 states except in the Midwest area. And the gray wolf that we reintroduced from Canada is the gray wolf, it is one species, it is not an exotic species that's been brought into Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. And as far as those animals existing there perhaps were individual animals perhaps in the Wyoming area, the Yellowstone area, but it wasn't viable and they weren't reproducing and that's the reason they were brought in.
Dean Miller: I think the, the overarching question is that when Teddy Roosevelt, I keep coming back to Teddy, but I love Teddy, when the conservation movement started, the idea was that we were sort of these zookeepers. We were stewards of scarce wild animals that were way the hell off in the back country and the fact is that now you really, there is no such thing as a separate human and wild world, those, those two worlds are colliding on the edges of all these western cities. And the question again I keep going back to you, but the question to you is what are you willing to give up? Because it's a really easy myth to say that I can send my money to the Sierra Club or I can send it to the Defenders or I can send it to the Nature Conservancy or whoever and I've taken care of the problem, but the fact is you are the problem. I mean Julia Butterfly was pretty interesting when she tied herself up in a redwood and protected that tree and what I'm waiting for is somebody who ties themself up at the end of a subdivision and, and talks about the fact that suburban soccer moms are the problem. People who want to put their kids in a safe nice neighborhood are developing all this habitat and it really is not somebody else's problem anymore it's everybody's problem. We focus on the ranchers, and the loggers and the miners and there's a lot they can do. But the fact is all of us are making decisions that are costly to these critters. We want to drive fast, we want to get to Yellowstone Park and then we want to scoot over to Butte for some, I don't know what it is. But we have to make those decisions and I think the fact is, the world is changing. We've gone from an era of conservation and stewardship to an era in which we have to co-exist and this is why we wrote the book about cougars because like somebody said here, it's a different question. They come right in around town and they force folks who don't usually deal with wildlife questions to ask themselves am I willing to be a little less safe and have this critter in the world? And it's a very real question. Yeah there aren't a lot of attacks, but a lot of those statistics are a canard, if you took the number of people who went to the wildlands in a year and calculated the attack rate, it's not like calculating lighting strikes or bee stings, bees are everything. But if you just take the number of people who went into bear or cougar habitat it's a fairly high rate. It's still you still are taking a lot more risk driving your car, but we haven't run advertisements on TV constantly saying you know beware in cougar country, take some precautions. When we get to the point of doing that then we'll be having a real discussion with real voters about living amongst predators and they'll making a decision based on some facts. Right now we pretend that they're out there away, they're not, they're here all that habitat stuff is happening on the edges of every town that people live in.
Aaron Miles: Yeah, I think what's missing in this as well is we talked a little bit, you talked a little bit about the cultural identity. When you look at the cultural identity for the tribes, everything our whole society, our identity is built upon these predators. Everything about nature and you know when we look at America in its infancy right now some Americans are still waiting for Photobegans to deliver the ring to Mordor to find out who they're going to be in America and that's their legends. And so for us, with all due respect to, to America regaining its identity in hard times for Indian people we want, we want to be able to share our culture with people and we want you to be able to accept that just as much as we respect people in their, their utilization of the land. I mean cows for example, I mean the fishing is a big part of our culture, but yet at the same time we have to watch cows degrade our riparian zones, our watersheds, but we have to respect that animal because it provides for another individual. But where's the reach around for the American Indian or the tribes, that's what we're looking for is that other for them to pat us on the back when we've already done it, when they've already taken from us. So that's what I have to say.
Jim Peck: What do these animals mean to us? You're talking about what they mean, yeah?
Steve Nadeau: I think that it's, it's fairly obvious from the people in this room and points of view that everybody has that you know people aren't seeing things similarly. The world is, they don't see the world as it is, they see the world as they are. It's clearly a divisive issue. If you're a rancher you see the world through a rancher's eyes. If you're an environmentalist you see the world maybe totally opposite in some fashion. There's a lot of issues here, but we as managers kind of have to pull the sides together at times and make the hard choices. We have to look out for the species, we have to look out for the interests of, of the humans that have to interact with the species, that's our job, that's why we get paid these high state salaries. But unfortunately not everybody agrees with what we do and we're here to try to pull folks together in this room on the other hand we do need some assistance, and some help and, and folks need to work with us as opposed to against us.
Jim Peck: Do you think it was a step that with only one exception nobody jumped up and said, Yeah, let's get rid of these?
Steve Nadeau: I think that's a, that's a positive thing. We've come a long way in wildlife management for people to accept the fact that wildlife, all wildlife has its place. That doesn't mean that we're here to say this is good wildlife, this is bad wildlife and we did that. Bad wildlife were species that conflicted with out interests. We as a state wildlife management area are here to manage all species of wildlife for the preservation perpetuation of those species for, for all of us. Yeah, the truth is, is that we have a tough road ahoe and there's a lot of work to be done.
Jim Peck: Some of the ranchers that we have here . . . how do you feel about these animals being a part of what we think of as the west?
Margaret Soulson Hinson: I guess I have a very healthy respect for wildlife. I think wildlife plays a very important role. We're proud of the amount of wildlife and the abundance of wildlife we have on our operation. I think you know they're certainly a part of the system and we've worked hard to try and use a lot of non-lethal mechanisms for control. But we also recognize that you have to have lethal control once in a while and I you know when I've listened to the conversation today I haven't voiced too much, but a lot of times I hear the same arguments over and over and over again and the same statements. And I don't think we ever quite figure out that we all love wildlife, we all love the outdoors and the system and we all need to find a way to make it work rather than just lodging bullets at each other all the time. So um.
Jim Peck: Do you feel any of that happening here? I mean as you're listening to some of the other perspectives?
Margaret Soulson Hinson: Oh, I've heard a few statements that I would you know take issue with probably but I don't think it ever comes down to how do we work together? How do we solve the issue? How do we make how do we really you know move our state and the west forward?
Jim Peck: Any ideas? I mean how do we bring, how do we bring you together with the folks over here that don't want to see any?
Margaret Soulson Hinson: I, I think there's a lot of the happening on individual basis, I do. But I think always when it comes to the public arena it's always easier for people to fall back into their position statements instead of taking you know a risk on being different or saying something different or looking like you're giving in to the other side or whatever you have to feel like you're doing.
Jim Peck: One other thing that's been sort of interesting in talking with Bill and talking with Nancy is that when you two talk about habitat and about wildlife, about prey base, about predators, you both want them there. You both want to see them increase. You both want land set aside for them. You want this to basically work. You [Bill] want them to be able to be hunted, you [Nancy] don't, and it seems like that's obviously a major sticking point between the two of you, but so much of the rest of it is right online. Am I incorrect?
Amaroq Weiss: We have a lot of, we have a lot of points of agreement, there's no question I think a lot of things that we've heard today have actually been a lot of points of agreement. I think something else to kind of keep in mind is the species we're talking about today are what are known as charismatic megafona. You know these are the big guys, these are the things that stir our cultural imagination. But we need to remember that we also have to think about the enigmatic minifona. You know the bugs and all the other little critters that are just as important too and I think it would be really interesting if someday we had a panel discussion just like this about I don't know dung beetles. You know would that happen? Would that happen? You know this discussion happens because these are critters that stir our imagination, they stir our passion, they're controversial, but they're also native, they're part of our heritage and, and I've heard a lot of points of agreement today.
Jim Peck: You talk about having these discussions about the dung beetles, and I know that's sort of tongue in cheek, but at the same time if you talk to Bill he's going to say this is all part of the same set of animals, that if you're protecting the umbrella species as we talked about with things like the grizzly bear that you're going to protect this whole class of animals.
Amaroq Weiss: Exactly, exactly so.
Jim Peck: And you're saying . . .
Bill Wall: Essentially the same thing and that is that we have to take a system approach to the issues that we face and that system approach includes various perspectives from the sociology side of things, but also it takes into consideration the entire ecological approach to the way that we deal with habitats, the way we deal with ungulate species, the way we deal with, with what's going on with, with urban sprawl etc. All of this is, is still something that, that hunters who are a specific group that, that I represent that I'm a hunter too and involved in a part of our passion and part of our conservation heritage. And I think it's, it's a mistake not to recognize that, that conservation heritage is why we're sitting here today and it will and should play a role in the future of the management of these systems as we try to figure out these very, very difficult problems from private land owners, private land owner rights which also are very important in this process as well as the ecological part of this thing.
Jim Peck: And are you going to say hunting should play no role?
Amaroq Weiss: No I, I think that he's right in terms of hunting also being a part of our cultural heritage. It is a part of human heritage for centuries, for millennia. I think that the concern that our organization has about hunting is not whether it occurs but how quickly it occurs after species are de-listed. Specifically with respect to the state wolf management plans in Wyoming or Montana or Idaho we'd certainly like to see a five year moratorium on hunting while we can see whether or not populations continue to be viable as the plans intend for them to be. So I think it's more a matter of timing.
Bill Wall: Jim just a response please real quick?Well, because one of the key issues here again is prey base and the interaction of the, of that particular species, and to be quite honest I don't particularly like to talk about wolves separate from the rest of the carnivore system that we have. Because I think it's very important that we think beyond individual species at this point. And that we think about ranchers and their issues. We think about wolves, grizzly bears, mountain lions, black bears, which we haven't talked about at all. They're impacts on our native ungulate populations and the interaction of different user groups that go out and use these species and use these habitats. And of course hunters are one of the key ones that, that we're interested in seeing utilized in the process. Whatever needs to be done I think we shouldn't, I think we shouldn't restrict ourselves and say we need a five year moratorium. What we need to do is look at this thing in a systematic approach and take the appropriate actions that maintain what we're looking to maintain out there within this system. Which is wild productive ungulate populations, maintaining rancher viability on their land bases, because without their land bases we don't have the habitat. And that we're looking at maintaining viable predator populations. Now obviously we may differ on what that is specifically, but generally we agree so.
Steve Nadeau: Over the last several years I've been working on the last 20 or so years I've been working on these large carnivores its become clear to me that these issues aren't new. As a matter of fact we had a, a symposium last winter where we had kind of the history of large carnivore management. We had a history of European management of grizzly bear, brown bears and wolves and, and these sorts of issues. The point became clear to me then that with respect to these large carnivores and the education of the public and the issues that come up and have to be solved on a daily basis. There is no finish line. It's a daily issue that we as managers have to deal with from now as long as we have these large carnivores and as long as we have people using the same habitats its a day to day issue and day to day win and a day to day loss. There's no finish line here.
Jim Peck: Hearing these people talk, does it sound like we're getting any closer?
Steve Nadeau: I, I think that . . . who we are most definitely we have, we've made great gains in a lot of these issues over the last several years and we can make, continue to make great gains everyday. These large linkage ideas are great gains. Easements, conservation easements to prevent subdivision building on these large tracts of private land -- that's a win/win sort of scenario situation for a rancher. These are new ideas, these are new approaches to thesame old problems, which is habitat loss and, and competition between predators and humans. These are issues that aren't going to change in the next 50 years. They're going to become more intense everyday. But there are, there are large gains that have been made and we have to continue to make 'em. But we have to also realize that, that there is no end. That this is something that we have to get up every morning and deal with on a regular basis.
Carter Niemeyer: Well, I just want to put a positive spin on this program today you know I've worked with the what we call predator management, I'd just as soon call it carnivore management too and I've been in that arena for close to 30 years. And I think this group that's gathered here today is symbolic of what I've seen in my career from say the start in the mid 70s to the present is that we've had a lot of extremism when I first got in the business. But this room today represents a lot of leadership and it represents the environmental community, the livestock community, the sportsman community, the tribes state, the feds everybody and I've seen great progress in that extremism has minimized and reasonable people have come to the table more and more. And to me we're on the road to, to finding a solution to living with big carnivores and it's all of the things we talked about today you know the urbanites have to recognize some of the problems they're creating so they can minimize those things. Sportsmen, the environmental community -- I think they have a lot in common. I mean we're all here because we enjoy wildlife. I think most of these people are have educations where we chose to support our natural resources. And I'm optimistic that this kind of group and discussion is, is beneficial to finding a solution. And I think we all know what the problems are. I mean we've batted it around and I've made a career of dealing with the people who you know are unhappy with these carnivores in their backyard eating their livestock, eating my deer, eating my elk, eating my pet. And I think that right now there's never been a greater time. I think people are better educated. I think all of us are more aware of extremism too and there's a place for extremism because extreme people make the rest of us realize we're a little more rationale than most. And so I just want to say today that in my career and working with most of the people in this room that we're making great progress.
Jon Robinett: When we started working with these bears in the 90s you know '90, '91 issues drive membership, membership drives money, money drives organization. So either side didn't want to come to the center. And now we're seeing that we can reach a common goal. Like when it, I presented a plan to the legislature for wolf management, made the whole state a trophy game area, we didn't have boundaries. We managed for population density. If we didn't want wolves in downtown Cheyenne you didn't have wolves. They, they'll seek places that they can actually survive without being socially or economically harmful. The same way with the grizzly bear I was on the governor's panel for de-listment. If we, let 'em go wherever they want because where you find them there's something there that they're going to use or they need. But if they're socially unacceptable you eliminate it, population density. And the root of this whole conversation evolves around people are the problem. It's not the wildlife it's too many opinions and too many different ideas of what we should have. We hire these biologists like Chris, Carter all these are supposed to be the best in their field that are doing this work, but yet we never trust 'em enough to let them do it. We question 'em, we don't think they're doing it right. We want to change it just a little bit. Why are we paying 'em if we have to do it for 'em?
Jim Peck: Why are we paying 'em?
Bill Wall: Jim, that was what I wanted to buttle up with and that was a challenge. And that was a challenge, but I wanted to follow up on or sort of end on is a challenge and this is a challenge to everybody in this room and everybody out in that audience. And that is let's go out and figure out the solutions out on the landscape, in the voting box and let's stay out of court, because court eats up money. We had a saying when we brought the Louisiana Black Bear back, feed bears not lawyers, and we did a whole lot more good for the bear than we did going to court.
Jim Peck: I'm seeing lots of nodding heads about not going to court. Except you [Nancy]-- you want to go to court?
Amaroq Weiss: If the current administration and all administrations henceforth promise to enforce our environmental laws to the fullest extent we won't go to court. And if they don't enforce them and if they don't allow their agency personnel to act according to the laws then we have no choice, but to go to court. The Endangered Species Act for instance says that when a species is listed critical habitat must be designated. We don't see critical habitat designations made, therefore we have to go to court to have that part of the act enforced. Our laws are set up so that we can have species that are listed. We're told that species can't be listed, although it's warranted to list them, but it's precluded because there's no money and then the argument is that there's no money because they're busy fighting the lawsuits that we filed because they didn't do the critical habitat designation. Easy solution to that.
Bill Wall: Jim just a quick rebuttal and that is I'll see everybody else out on the landscape. This is what happened with the black bear conservation committee as well and I think it's very unfortunate that we take an attitude like this when there's a real opportunity to create solutions. So we'll see you in court, we'll see everybody else out on the landscape.
Amaroq Weiss: You also see us out in the landscape. We happen to the be the organization that started a wolf compensation fund back in 1987. We started a grizzly compensation fund in 1997 that we took over from the Great Bear Foundation. We have started a proactive fund. In all of these efforts we work with livestock producers. We're trying to figure out how to do similar reach out with hunters because obviously we do have a lot in common. But sometimes those aren't the only way things get done. Why do we have laws if they're not going to be enforced? I, I'm assuming that if someone did a great injury to you that was against the law you would strongly consider taking it to court if you found that there was no other remedy. If you found that sitting down with them, speaking with them absolutely did not solve the problem. You would rest upon your legal right in this country to take a matter to court. We're simply resting upon a legal right that all citizens in this country have. Citizens have a legal right to petition that a species be listed. That's not just an agency action that's a citizen right. It's a legal right. So we're resting on our rights as well. And we're resting on those rights for the benefit of the people that aren't getting their remedies answered any other way.
Dean Miller: Being a hunter I have to admit to my bias in favor of what you've been saying all along, which is that hunters fund a lot of this. But being a journalist, the thing that's been interesting to watch in Idaho over the last 16, 17 years has been the degree to which the so-called mainstream conservation movement and hunters have become disassociated. And it, you see it here really clearly today. It's not a difference in beliefs or approach so much as it is a difference in style and it's I you know Carter has a lot of faith for the future I have some real fears about that, which is that as our culture becomes more urbanized hunting becomes, hunting and hunters become more marginalized and even within the hunting community you have a lot of marginalization. When we debated bear management in Idaho 8 years ago I had one set of beliefs about hound hunters. Then when I went and did this book and I met hound hunters I'll tell you what you send me any randomly selected list of 10 people from Defenders or from Predator Conservation Alliance and I'll take 10 randomly selected hound hunters and we'll debate biology and the hound hunters will clean up. The image of hound hunters is that they're a bunch tobacco spitting you know game wasting fools. The fact is they're the most committed hunters there are because you have to train dogs. They're really more into it for the dogs than anything else and they really have to know the wildlife to be involved. There's all these cultural and sociological divides between people who have basically the same goals. I mean I listened to Levi and, and Aaron talk about the spirituality of hunting as if that was the exclusive preserve of the native community, it's not. Hunting is deeply spiritual part of my life and eating meat that I killed is really important to me on a spiritual level because I don't really like the way domestic livestock is treatment. I'm not squeamish about it. I just think I'd rather eat something that was happy when it died that something that was squeezed into a chicken shoot. So you know what I mean there's all this sociological stuff where we question each other's science. Like John was saying, we question the biologist because they disagree with our values and we're not getting the job done. Somebody's got to be able to bring everybody together and say whoa wait a minute. We're all, we're all different flavors of the same ice cream.
Kent McAdoo: It seems to me that we there's a, a tendency to apply a different standard or a different view, viewpoint at least when we're talking about hunting a an ungulate for example like deer versus hunting a predator. And certainly we've, we've already heard and it's true that conservation, conservation hunting modern hunting with highly regulated means and so on has really contributed to the conservation of wildlife in North America. And as in terms of ungulates and these predator species its interesting that you know hunting of predator species go, or excuse me carnivores whatever you want to call them goes way back as well, even in the native American cultures all you have to look at is headdresses arrow quivers and so on to see that. And while you know certainly there's not the amount harvested or shouldn't be of predators for example as you might harvest a deer animal I don't understand why that would cause such a problem for people to think of harvesting a predator, especially the situation where that predator is inflicting or has inflicted damage. And I think that's something that needs a hard look.
Carl Scheeler: You know I think we've been focusing on, on some of the more defined sound byte type issues that, that drive the social questions surrounding predator management in North America. And I think that's part of the problem. We look at the individual issue it's a bloodthirsty animal. Well we're predators too and we're bloodthirsty too. So is that wrong? I would say no we're focusing on the wrong thing. We look, we look at the the potential health and human safety issues and, and how do you address the, the predator in your backyard. But we really need to shift the discussion, shift the vision to the landscape that we're operating in. We need to be looking for solutions that aren't conservative in terms of protecting the statuesque of the way that we have done in the past. We view our resource priorities management, but rather preserve the opportunity that we have today because that opportunity is going to be fast lost as development continues. We've seen it in urban areas. I was raised in Northern Virginia and I spent a large part of my youth roaming through hardwood forests that are now entirely turned into subdivisions. Now that was important for that area, it was a value to that area. I'm not saying that was wrong, but that type of development continues today. And we need to consider what is it going to take on a landscape level for us to continue to have persistent large carnivores as part of our systems that we're managing. And then we need to figure out social strategies that target achieving that vision instead of arguing whether or not shooting a predator is appropriate versus trying to annoy them to conforming to our desires.
Levi Holt: I can't help but agree that earlier statements by Carter that today is one of the first days that I personally have found much more in common with industry be it rancher agency, state and federal. But I think that really for me today I would like to know that society those of us as well here in the room are willing to admit that we've done things incorrectly of past. We've managed incorrectly and urban sprawl has taken it's toll and now its time to pay back and, and in that is tolerance. The presence of the carnivore is a fact for us as native people of life. It is in fact a creature that we would respect and that we would honor and in doing so we would develop a relationship and an understanding as to how to live alongside of this animal. Unfortunately for the cougar population numbers are outnumbering the habitat and the prey base and of course now humans as they are in danger are, are fearing and looking to remove the animal altogether. That's the second mistake. And somehow unfortunately we'll have to reduce the numbers and that will be hopefully through legal means. But it will be calculated and it will be one that will serve as a lesson for us all for the future.
Jim Caswell: I've got two things that cross my mind. One is I'm not sure the right word's ironic, but I think it's interesting when you talk about are we making progress? When you think about the fact the state of Idaho has a wolf management plan approved by the legislature. First state in the three-state area to ever pull that off. And probably the one that everybody would expect would be the last in line number one. And it's fairly progressive thinking really. Secondly the same thing with grizzly bears in Yellowstone, well all three states do, but and we weren't first, but again the premise behind, the basic premise behind that plan is to let bears go where bears want to go. And we don't even need one according to Chris, I mean as far as you know the overall issues in Yellowstone. But we have one, we know what we're going to do when bears come off the list and, and bears are going to enjoy a lot of freedom out there on the Idaho side. The second thing I wanted to kind of come back to this lawsuit issue for a second and you know I really get perplexed about the motives behind the issue of suing over critical habitat designation. If I knew the motives were pure then I guess that's fine, but you know critical habitat designation doesn't buy anybody anything in reality. Can't even figure out where it is. It holds up scientifically number one. So if we're just suing to sue because it's the law we ought to change the law, excuse me. And some of that's been proposed. And there's a good bill in Congress right now that ought to change the law. I ought to go back and become a part of the recovery planning process, not a part of the listing process and it's an artifact of when they built the law that's where they put it. And did we know it was going to work good or bad? Well, it doesn't really work so well. It's hard to do, you can figure out where it is, it has really no meaning, other than the issue of absence and presence of the species. So if the species is not present you don't have to consult or deal with the Service on issues or projects; if critical habit is designated then you do. So what's the real motive behind the soft underbelly of Section 4 in the Act -- is it simply to grind people into the dirt? Or is it to do something positive to recover species long term? So that's kind of a question I would be interested in hearing a response to.
Amaroq Weiss: I'd like to hope that the motives of our Congress in enacting the Endangered Species Act was to promote recovery and conservation of species, not grinding people into the dirt. And I would like to follow forward with that thought -- that, that is why we have that law. This seems to me very similar to our discussion about grizzly in terms of corridors which aren't necessarily just routes for the grizzly to live, but habitat that they can live in too, whether that's an exponential creep as the species does, but that's a recognition that certain species, all species, have certain habitat requirements. And to say that critical habitat designation means nothing for any species is simply not true. Look at us, we need a certain amount of ground to live in. We need a certain amount of water. We need a certain amount of food. And therefore the environment we live in needs to provide that in order for us to provide. Same thing is true with species, other animal species. So designating critical habitat is a recognition that if we don't identify areas that have what this species needs to survive we can go ahead and list it all we want, but no recovery efforts we do are going to recover it. Are going to assure that we will have a viable population. So I, I don't think that there's an impure motive. I certainly wouldn't ascribe that to our Congress in passing a law.
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