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Wolf Protections May Be Restored in West, But ESA Review Could Take until Mid-2022 and Slaughter Is Accelerating

Photos of wolves, call for emergency ESA relisting

November 2021 - Wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction in the 1970s, but remain unrecovered according to top scientists. Ignoring that fact, the federal government began stripping their protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2011 and transferring management to the states. Since 2011 over 8,000 wolves have been killed by hunters and trappers alone in just seven states. In 2020 all federal protections were removed, which leads us to where we are now, with a multi-state killing frenzy kicked into even higher gear in the Northern Rockies and across the West. History | 2021 Highlights

We have spoken out for wolves from the very start, and are currently working with scientists, activists and members of Congress, urging immediate reinstatement of federal protections for the gray wolves via emergency ESA relisting. Progress has been made. On Sept. 15, 2021, the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service announced they'd reviewed our collective petitions, found them substantive and credible, and would perform a comprehensive review on restoring protections in the western U.S. But their review will take 12 months and wolves need help NOW! So that is what we are pushing for. Please take a stand with us.

Honoring John Laundré, Ph.D., 1949-2021: A Brave, Brilliant & Irreplaceable Scientist

Photo of John Laundré holding two baby cougars

March 2021 - We are grieving the death of our dear friend, John Laundré, Ph.D., pictured above in the early 1990s with two baby cougars. A brave and gifted scientist, Laundré passed away March 5. Laundré made groundbreaking contributions to predator ecology, including the landmark concept of "The Landscape of Fear," which addressed the ecological implications of being afraid and proposed that the prey’s fear of predators is important in maintaining ecosystem integrity. He was brilliant, fiercely independent, and cannot be replaced.  Learn more about his work & read memorial tributes from scientists and activists.

Kicking Off a Hopeful New Year

Photo of executive director, Brooks Fahy, with his dogs

January 2021 - Last year we took the following adage to heart:  "Hope is not a feeling; it is a discipline."  We found this helpful, as we were trying to celebrate our 30th anniversary year in the midst of the political nightmare and the pandemic. It was a way of saying that celebrations of good things are essential and better days can come. Thankfully, the Biden administration has already rewarded our hope with quick work to restore sound science, sanity and heart to our politics—and therefore to relationships between humans, pets, wildlife, and the planet. So we are excited about moving forward. We are even optimistic that wolves may be re-listed under the Endangered Species Act and that other species may receive much-needed protections. Here's to a better 2021!

A Win for Wolves in Washington State, But Much More Work Is Required

Photo of Brooks Fahy, executive director, holding Aug. 30 Seattle Times ad

October 2020 - If you've followed our work for any period of time, you know we've long been outraged by Washington State's set up and sell out of wolves "for cows" and that we're not shy about speaking out. From August to September we did again, big time!

We took out a full-page ad in the Seattle Times, which you can see our executive director, Brooks Fahy, holding at left. The ad was part of a month-long print, web and social media campaign designed to jolt the public into awareness of how their tax money is being spent--on an unjust and counterproductive slaughter of our essential apex predators (whose favored diet, mind you, is not cows!).

The ad campaign and the resulting public outcry worked! Within a week Gov. Jay Inslee called for major wolf policy reform by WDFW Commissioners. A few weeks later the kill orders on members of the Leadpoint and Togo Packs were called off. But more work is required to fully succeed. WDFW Commissioners must develop and adopt new policies. So it is vital that the Governor appoints new commissioners who will represent the more than 95% of the public that does not hunt or ranch. They must also understand the vital role wolves play in our ecosystems.

Study Shows Hunting Cougars Increases Human Conflicts, Doesn't Protect Livestock

Photo of bobcat kitten

Wildlife agencies' claims about need to kill cougars to control populations and increase deer supply, also not supported by peer-reviewed science

Since the 1970s, when cougars (aka pumas or mountain lions) were declared a game species, state wildlife agencies in 10 western states have allowed tens of thousands to be killed by sport hunters. Kill numbers have increased over time, with currently over 3,200 cougars slaughtered each year. Wildlife managers have long argued that sport hunting is necessary to control cougars' numbers, reduce the risk of attacks on humans, protect livestock, and augment deer herds for hunters. But a new peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE that tested the effectiveness of this practice shows the opposite to be true. The lead author of this study, John Laundré, Ph.D., 1949-2021, was a member of our scientific advisory board and one of the top wildlife ecologists in the country.

Celebrating New Year with Oregon M-44 Ban; Work toward National Ban Continues

Photo of SB 580 signing ceremony with Oregon Governor Kate Brown 6-19-19

January 2020
- We are celebrating Oregon's statewide ban on M-44 'cyanide bombs,' which officially took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The bill was signed into law on May 6, 2019 by Governor Kate Brown (pictured above at signing ceremony).

Oregon's ban creates an entire West Coast free of these public safety menaces. They have also been banned on public lands in Colorado and on 10 million acres of public lands in Wyoming. And we are pleased to report Idaho's temporary statewide M-44 moratorium continues.

Meanwhile, the EPA has ignored the will of the people and reauthorized sodium cyanide use in M-44s, endangering the public good, pets and wildlife in the 13 states where these deadly and indiscriminate devices are still used. Over 99% of the public who commented before the EPA's decision agree with us that M-44s can never be used safely for predator control and must be banned nationwide. Our work continues at the federal, state and local levels. Learn more

After Wrongful Killing of Bobcat Kitten, Oregon DVMs Join Our Push for Reform

Photo of bobcat kitten


November 2019 Update - A bobcat kitten that mistakenly wandered into an office at the Oak Hill School in a wooded area on the edge of Eugene, Oregon, on Oct. 16 was unnecessarily and brutally killed by state authorities via "blunt force trauma to the head."

The bludgeoning of this young animal--who appeared healthy, was not behaving aggressively, and was either a hungry orphan or made the mistake of being a curious cat--was outrageous and inhumane.

We strongly condemned the actions of the officials involved asking for a full investigation and reform. We urged the governor via petition and legislators via testimony at a special hearing. Learn more

Resigning from Pacific Wolf Coalition; Applauding Gov. Inslee for Speaking Out

We've had it with being a member of a coalition that claims to protect wolves, but whose silence has made them complicit in Washington State's ongoing slaughter. And so, today we resigned from the Pacific Wolf Coalition. Read our resignation letter to coalition members. Meanwhile, we're thrilled to see our efforts with like-minded groups and individuals to get Governor Jay Inslee's attention have paid off. He's spoken out, asking WDFW Director Kelly Susewind to reduce "lethal removal" of wolves, expecially in prime wolf habitat. Read Inslee's letter. To learn more about how Washington's wolf slaughter started, watch our feather-ruffling film, The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up and Sold Out.

Our Film Exposing Wolf Sellout Wins Second Audience Choice Award

Photo link to Profanity Peak Pack film


October 2018 - We're pleased to announce our newest film, "The Profanity Peak Pack: Set Up and Sold Out," won its second award--Audience Choice Award at the Eugene Environmental Film Festival. It previously won an Audience Choice Honorable Mention at the Animal Film Festival, which is featuring it on their new streaming platform, ECOSTREAMZ.

We took the Profanity Peak Pack film out on the road for a number of well-attended, big-screen showings, starting near the heart of wolf-killing country in Moscow, ID and Spokane, WA. Each screening featured a Q&A with fearless truthtellers in the wolf protection movement, including filmmaker Brooks Fahy and wolf researcher Robert Wielgus, Ph.D.

The film reveals the surprising players and policies that set up an unjust and unnecessary wolf slaughter on pristine, public forest land in Washington State. It happened regardless of science increasingly showing that killing wolves ultimately increases attacks on livestock. Learn more & watch the film

Judge Slams Idaho's Wildlife Slaughter in Precedent-Setting Ruling

Photo of coyote with link to WaPo article


June 2018 - This incredibly good news simply must be shared! A federal court has ruled that Wildlife Services' barbaric wildlife-killing program in Idaho ignores science and fails to properly analyze how killing thousands of coyotes and other predators each year could impact the environment.

A judge ripped this federal agency’s justification for killing thousands of wild animals - Washington Post, June 25, 2018

We are plaintiffs in this precedent-setting case, which delivers a powerful rebuke to Wildlife Services. One of our favorite statements in the judge's decision is: “The lack of reliable data infects all the agency’s conclusions." He also found they ignored or dismissed essentially unanimous critical comments from conservationists and their own sister organizations.

We were represented in this extremely important case by Advocates for the West and Western Watersheds Project. It will now proceed to the remedy phase, where the judge will consider solutions to the problems identified in the ruling.

“Wildlife Services will now have to fairly evaluate how killing thousands of coyotes in southern Idaho each year affects the environment,” said Talasi Brooks, staff attorney at Advocates for the West. “The opinion is a win for wildlife, and a win for management based on modern science.”

Help Us Stop America's Wolf Slaughter

Since April 2011, when wolves lost federal endangered species protection, over 8,000 wolves have been slaughtered in just seven states. This is truly tragic, and we have taken the government to task for their flawed and biased plan to further remove protections for the gray wolf across the nation.

We are not alone in our thinking. In 2014 an independent peer review panel rejected the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's delisting proposal, saying it is not supported by the best available science and would be premature.

Bobcat Rescued from Illegal Snare

Meet the bobcat we named Freedom and the
man who released him from the strangling
snare, Brooks Fahy, our executive director.

In the course of our work we often receive calls about animals caught in traps. In 2012 we received a call about a bobcat caught in an illegally set strangling snare on private property. We immediately rushed to the location and found an adult male bobcat caught around the torso. He had been trapped for about 12 hours.

Fortunately we got there in time to save his life by restraining him and cutting him free. We were rewarded by his immediate race for freedom, and—amazingly—we caught all this on video. Our footage will be an important tool in bringing about essential trapping reform and we will be sharing it broadly.

Maggie's Death: A Crime

Border collie Maggie pictured on her last Christmas

Read Maggie's story and watch our
video interview
with Maggie's family,
the McCurtains. You'll see the lovely
suburban neighborhood where this
deadly trap was illegally placed by
Wildlife Services. If this could happen
here, it could happen anywhere.

Family's border collie strangled to death in trap near yard

In a pristine suburb of Portland, OR, a family's border collie named Maggie was killed by a deadly trap set in a community common area just 45 feet from their back yard. This is an area where kids play. This trap could have easily injured or killed a child.

No compliant warning signs were posted, nor were instructions for removing the trap or whom to call for help. The trap's placement violated both Oregon state law and the internal directives of Wildlife Services, the government agency responsible. This crime was committed with the help of your tax dollars.

Read Maggie's story and learn how you can help the family honor Maggie and protect others from similar tragedy.

Photo of cougar heads piled up by a tree

The USDA's War on Wildlife

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The USDA Wildlife Services predator control program is the only federal program that kills native predators at the request of ranchers and state wildlife management agencies. They use indiscriminate methods that also endanger humans and pets. This program is a primary focus of our legislative work. About USDA Wildlife Services

Wildlife Patient Stories

Photo of deadly M-44 cyanide device by Brooks Fahy

From 1990-1995, Predator Defense operated a wildlife hospital and care center for injured and orphaned predator mammals.

Many native predators, like the baby bobcat orphan at left, were successfully released back into the wild.

Meet some of our patients