A smattering of protests Monday in cities from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Seattle drew attention to wolf-hunting as well as to Thursday’s deadline for comments on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.
A pro-wolf organization called Wolf and Wildlife Action Group scheduled about a dozen “civil disobedience actions” across the Midwest and West, primarily in states that allow wolf hunts. Several demonstrations attracted media coverage, especially in Montana.
Leslie Howry of Laredo, Texas, one of the leading organizers of the protests collectively called “The Wolf Howl Heard Around the World,” says the group opposes delisting, and any wolf hunting, and believes current wolf-hunting practices are inhumane.
“They are gunned down from helicopters, they are run down by snowmobiles and ATVs, they are torn apart by dogs while they are caught in cruel leg-hold traps,” Howry states on her Facebook page.
Demonstrations were scheduled this week to publicize the March 27 deadline to comment on the FWS proposal to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endgangered and Threatened Wildlife.
A group of about five people in Cheyenne neglected to obtain a permit for their protest at the Capitol, but were allowed to gather on the sidewalk. When one woman climbed the steps to the Capitol doorway, she was briefly arrested, according to KGWN Channel 5.
“Without civil disobedience or protest, no one will do anything,” Donald Stedman told the news station. “You can ask, and ask, and it only goes the wrong way, not our way, against the wolf.”
Mandy Varona, a self-proclaimed “wolf warrior” who organized a “group howl” in Seattle, became interested in the issue after reading newspaper accounts that the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife killed seven wolves in eastern Washington that were suspected of killing or injuring 16 calves on a ranch.
“They just shot them from helicopters,” she told the radio station. “It just shocked me.”
A protest in Helena, Mont., also on Monday, was notable for a speech by Blackfeet spiritual leader James St. Goddard who tried to meet with Gov. Steve Bullock earlier this month while carrying a bison heart wrapped in a plastic bag, the Independent Record reported. Following the demonstration, the governor’s chief of staff invited St. Goddard to meet with him.
In addition to protesting the killing of wolves, the Helena group spoke out against killing of bison outside Yellowstone National Park and the potential hunting of grizzly bears.
About a dozen wolf advocates gathered at a city park in Missoula, Mont., to object to what protester Seth Hogue called “a management plan rife with errors.”
In response to the pro-wolf protest, the Missoulian reported, a passing man yelled from the Higgins Avenue Bridge, “I stand in protest to the wolves!”