The war on wildlife in the United States
"...about last year’s wolf slaughter of the Profanity Peak Pack in Washington State. It was unjust, and it was unnecessary. It happened on remote, publicly owned lands in Colville National Forest... livestock get priority over native wildlife on public lands, and this slaughter took place on some of the best wolf habitat around. So, for starters, I had to ask, “If wolves can’t live there
in peace, then where can they live?”
And last, but not least, there was an ominous issue involving academic freedom. Washington State University (WSU) silenced their top wolf researcher, Dr. Robert Wielgus, for speaking honestly to the press about the rancher’s irresponsibility. They suppressed the fact that his remote surveillance video show the rancher’s cattle grazing within several hundred feet of the wolves’ den and rendezvous sites, as well as salt blocks the rancher placed there to attract the cattle."
As the Profanity Peak pack started killing cows, WDF&W protocols kicked in and the state launched a trapper and marksmen on the ground and in helicopters to kill the wolves. Wielgus told The Seattle Times and other media outlets that Len McIrvin, a partner in the Diamond M Ranch, “chose to put his cattle on top of the den site.”
The implication was that the rancher — whose livestock losses in 2012 also led to the state killing the Wedge pack — has repeatedly and purposely put his animals in harm’s way to provoke the state protocols' ensuing kill of the Profanity Peak pack.
In a letter of concern written into his personnel file, Wielgus was instructed by Ron Mittelhammer, the dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences to have no further contact with the media without first clearing his statements with WSU. Wielgus duly went silent as the furor raged.
For faculty at WSU, the message nonetheless was clear, said Donna Potts, president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the nation’s oldest and largest advocacy group for academic freedom. “It was very disturbing; I had never seen anything like it,” Potts said of WSU’s treatment of a senior faculty member.
Actions by state lawmakers and WSU administrators such as those taken against Wielgus can have a “chilling effect” on research that could be perceived as controversial, Cary Nelson, former national president of the AAUP said. Pressure from industry and from lawmakers friendly to it is nothing unusual, “but it’s up to a university to protect its faculty.”
The culling of the nearby Smackout pack is currently underway."