Wolves, Prions and Gullible Americans

Wolves, Prions & Gullible Americans

Jim Beers

17 December 2017

I recently received the following inquiry from a reader:

Jim,

Mike Phillips from the Turner Endangered Species is using CWD as a bio weapon to bring wolves in places like Co. and to reduce possible harvest on wolves in states like MT., WY.  so that these wolves can clean up the CWD mess in our ungulates.  He has many sportsmen believing this is the cure, as CWD is the next Anthrax or Ebola scare

Is there anything you can do to help us “understand this issue better?”

It is my understanding that Prions will not be denatured in the digestive tract of wolves or other carnivores and scavengers. Is there some sort of scientific paper or study out there that can explain this process to a Joe Blow? Do you know of any more scientific papers, and or researchers and or facilities to help understand this issue better?

Dear Reader,

I have written and spoken about his aspect of the federal wolf debacle for years.  You cannot begin to know how discouraging it is to be told that “many sportsmen” still believe this snake oil being sold as a “cure” by some patent-medicine barker in the pay of a billionaire with many hidden agendas. What is being peddled (that wolves “control” Chronic Wasting Disease) is a lie.  Wolves will not “control” CWD in either wild or domestic animals.  Wolves will actually increase both the presence and prevalence of CWD (plus a long list of other diseases and infections in rural humans, wildlife, domestic dogs and domestic farm animals).

Let me explain with a few observations about what the real facts are behind this latest scam being swallowed by our “sportsmen” and the AWOL Non-Government Organizations, bureaucrats, “scientists” and “our” politicians.

  1. A wolf is a coyote is a dog.  Back in the days when a biological definition didn’t conceal hidden agendas; a “Species” consisted of “like animals that could mate and bear fertile offspring”.  Wolves, coyotes and dogs are “like animals” and they “mate and bear fertile offspring” with the consistency of two rabbits or two basset hounds.  This is important because as we discuss wolves, what we know (or will admit we know) about wolves is “known” mostly through what we “know” about dogs and what is true of one in these regards is true of the others..  This is further explained in II. below.
  2. Any attempt to consult recent and available American research about Canines (wolves, coyotes and dogs for our purposes) regarding:
  • Canines as vectors and carriers of diseases;
  • Historical and current Canine statistics concerning injuries and deaths from attacks on humans;
  • The effect of Canine predation on wild prey populations;
  • The effects of Canines on domestic animals;
  • The desirability of and methods of Canine control;
  • Canine census methods’ statistical reliability;
  • Comprehensive comparisons (biological, social, economic, prosperity, etc.) of settled landscapes and human communities with and without wolves.

Will reveal at least 7 things:

  1. American Canine disease “research” consists of “dogs as pets”-oriented studies for the benefit of veterinarians, the pet industry and the millions of Americans that “love” their dog and in very many ways revere them as much or more than children.  Wolves and coyotes, when treated at all (mostly by government & NGO financed “research” to justify pre-determined outcomes), are characters from a Disney cartoon beloved by all; vilified by a minority, and as pure as Snow White as they wander the countryside bringing back wildflowers, buffalo and eventually a Native Ecosystem everywhere but the cities whose voters put them “out there” and are tickled pink about what is happening.  Conversely, nations like Russia and Brazil, publish reams about wild Canines and their role in carrying and spreading diseases of danger to humans, domestic animals and other wild animals.
  2. Historical and current statistics and records of wolf attacks on humans are either denied as existing, covered up by compliant law enforcement bureaucracies, or blamed on: A. wolves with deformed brains or B. the failure of the victim to behave “properly” when in the presence of wolves.
  3. Regarding research on the effect of wolves on wild prey in settled landscapes, our august state and federal bureaucrats “in charge of wolves” have created two simultaneous and conflicting scenarios. First, to reinforce urban (naïve) “love” for wolves we are regaled with “research” about how wolves ”balance” the ecosystem (i.e. increase/decrease with the prey du jour; and how they bring “willows back to streambanks”: both of these are hokum since wolves have far more foods to shift to in settled landscapes and if controlling wild ungulates (to “bring back willows”) had any importance, which it does not, simply killing more big game would have done the same thing cheaper, more efficiently, more lasting and generated money for conservation and rural communities to boot.  Second, to numb rural outrage over wolves, the same bureaucrats and their allies buy research and tell lies about wolf numbers, prey numbers, dark effects from global warming, the need for more “research” and that the “New Normal” is something “we” all need to get used to because that is the law.
  4. Regarding the effect of wolves on domestic animals; there are only either controversial effects or no effect.  Agriculture Department bureaucrats, farm and ranch organizations, like hunters’ organizations and rural Universities, abandoned rural Americans to the polit56ical correctness of the environmental/animal rights crowd 30 years ago.  Domestic animal predation by wolves is caused by “other animals” or the “farmer/rancher’s fault” and is due mostly to “poor husbandry” in lands “where wolves now belong”.
  5. Canine control methodology has devolved into a morass of ineffective and ludicrous non-lethal methods.  Fladry, guard dogs, fences, corrals at night, smell deterrents, 24-hour guards, etc., etc. are all merely costly things wolves intended only as placeboes for rural malcontents and that coyotes and wolves learn to circumvent in a New York nanosecond, especially where no one threatens them when they appear to figure out how to do it. Persistent lethal wolf and coyote  controls of numbers and distributions by shooting, trapping, snaring, aerial shooting, denning, etc. are the only methods of control that give relief but they are no longer even mentioned in the literature and the longer the wolf protection lasts, the more expensive and the more difficult it will be to eventually either cull the wolves and keep them culled or to once again exterminate the wolves after some kids or elderly folks are found horribly killed.
  6. Canine census reliability is notoriously nothing more than a wild guess because determining significant trends much less “counts” of wolves or coyotes are all but impossible, but no one should know that.  Why, you ask?  Because the esteemed Bureaucrats and their allies use their “knowledge” about wolf numbers (“up 23%”; “5346”, etc.) to bamboozle any rural objections to what is happening in their communities.  Who can question the “trend” or the “numbers”?  When coupled with big game numbers (“up since last year so we can shoot more does”, or “down since last year due to global warming, the bad winter, ticks, brainworms, etc. anything except wolf predation) the “sportsman”, the rancher, the farmer, the farm mother with schoolkids home alone or with a long walk to the school bus, etc. is disarmed by those wolf advocates disguised as government “biologists”.
  7. “Comprehensive comparisons of settled landscapes and human communities with and without wolves” do not exist nor will they ever exist in this religious wolf-worship atmosphere that garners votes, power, and money in the millions.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, what does all this have to do with “Prions”?  The answer is everything.

What I am about to discuss about “Prions” is pieced together from many sources and many foreign places.  It is the most factual explanation I can put together for “Joe Blow” and Rural America.

III. All of the purposeful distortions and censoring of the US Canine “research” literature means that people like urban wolf “lovers”, government bureaucrats, high-paid NGO operators, snake oil drummers like Mike Phillips and even billionaires like his employer (buying up the West and Water Rights as the population recedes and land values drop thanks to things like wolves, grizzlies, etc.) can all say, “What does he know?  Is he a Veterinarian or a microbiologist or a disease expert?”  All I can say is that I would be glad to discuss, argue or debate this publicly anytime they want.

Wolves and coyotes have identical propensities and abilities to contract, simply carry (as a vector) and infect humans, wild animals and domestic animals with a long list of deadly and disabling diseases and infections.  Think of them as dogs without “shots” or a veterinarian hospital nearby (or anyone to take them to it when they sneeze or get a lump on their throat or an infectious sore or some other symptom of sickness).  Think of Fido killing and eating the neighbor’s dog or sheep or a deer, or rolling in feces, or gnawing on an old bone he found or licking his anus with tapeworms sticking out, etc.; and then licking your kid or mouthing the baby’s toy or licking your table or jumping into the kid’s bed and you have the wolf and coyote so revered in the city and so loathed in rural precincts.  It is one of the greta ironies of modern America that the same soccer Mom that yells for her kids to “get inside” and then calls 911 because one or two unfamiliar stray dogs are running loose in the neighborhood is the very same wolf “lover” and contributor to radical NGO’s and politicians that pay bureaucrats to infest rural Americans with dense and uncontrolled wolf and coyote populations.

Wolves and coyotes differ in one matter.  They tend to behave differently as to their lifestyle.  Wolves are much more likely to move in packs the year around. Coyotes tend to be more solitary and while they easily form and move in packs, it is usually an ephemeral phenomenon as they usually soon break apart and return to solitary habits.  This is important to note because wolves are far more likely to contract and carry diseases and infections because, like bats, they spend day and night the year around nipping; fighting; wrestling; licking; sneezing; swapping saliva; mouthing; sniffing; rolling in each other’s feces, eating each other’s feces and communally eating live, infected, dead, and old meat, offal, garbage etc..  What one gets, the others soon have.

One other lifestyle characteristic is important to note.  Although some coyotes will go a distance for food far from a den (often when pups are present), they are more solitary and localized.  Wolves on the other hand have much larger home ranges and they will roam far greater distances year around.  This means they are exposed to and get into far more wild and domestic animal situations where infectious matter and diseases are present and thereby spread infections over much larger areas routinely.  Additionally, when wolves are exposed to infectious matter and disease say in a summer pasture or a wintering ground or farmyard some dark night. They tend to be frequenting such areas at similar times and therefore the CWD on a wintering ground or the Mad Cow or Foot-and-Mouth or anthrax etc. picked up in a certain yard or pasture will tend to be carried repeatedly in a myriad of ways to a similar yard or pasture as the wolves wander looking for beef or elk or deer or sheep in similar locations.

Some diseases like monkey pox, rabies, foot-and-mouth, Hantavirus, distemper and parvovirus are caused by a virus (an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, that is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host) and can be contracted or carried by CaninesViruses are shed in urine, droppings, and saliva, and humans are infected aerogenically by inhaling the virus or through bites or an open cut touching an infected item thus transmitting the virus to humans or other animals. In the case of a rabies or foot-and-mouth outbreak, one of the first and perhaps most important preventive measure taken is to kill all the mammals possible in the surrounding area.  Where wolves are present, this becomes increasingly problematic as the wolves that crossed the pasture last night may not be back in the area for weeks and all the while spreading the contracted disease in similar environments far and wide.

Some diseases and infections like anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, plague, pneumonia, meningitis, cholera, tetanus, Lyme Disease, brucellosis, botulism, and typhoid are caused by bacteria (perhaps the most important distinction between bacteria and viruses is that antibiotic drugs usually kill bacteria, but they aren’t effective against viruses) and can be contracted or carried by wolves and the ticks and fleas the wolves carry about dropping and picking them up over a large area.  Bacterial infections or outbreaks such as anthrax that recur in certain Lower 48 State areas emerge from the soil periodically.  State laws require that infected carcasses be buried, equipment be cleansed to kill bacteria, and clothes used to handle the carcasses be buried as well.  This is because the bacillus can exist for long periods and thus infects whatever it comes in contact with.  A recent catastrophe of weaponized anthrax buried in an isolated island in the Aral Sea caused a series of anthrax outbreaks as the waters receded, the island became populated with wolves and the contaminated soil on their bodies spread the anthrax far and wide. Again, killing all mammals in the surrounding area is recommended.  But what of the wolf pack that transited the area two nights ago and is now 10 miles away, not to return for weeks?  If clothing or equipment are able to transmit the bacillus for a long period; what of the wolf fur, paws, and toes that picked up the bacteria and carried it onward to similar areas far away?  What of the infected bodily fluid of dead or infected animals eaten or killed by the wolves?  What of items of any sort like the kid’s or Bowser’s “toy” left6 outside and sneezed on or coughed on by infected animals and mouthed or sniffed by wolves?  What of infected food or water shared by the pack?  What of some item the dog encounters on a walk or run that was mouthed or sneezed or coughed on by an infected wolf?  Keep in mind that NONE of this was discussed, much less explained, as the wolves were forcibly inserted and protected in rural America.  Where were all those touted “Hearings”, “Environmental Impact Statements” and those nefarious “NEPA Documents”?

Some deadly infections like Neospora caninum, Babesiosis and malaria are caused by protozoans carried by ticks and infecting mammals worldwide.  As an example of how “research” is slanted, note the following three explanations of the deadly disease, Neospora caninum:

  • From the US Government National Institute of Health: 
  • Neospora caninum is a coccidian parasite of animals. It is a major pathogen for cattle and dogs and it occasionally causes clinical infections in horses, goats, sheep, and deer. Domestic dogs are the only known definitive hosts for N. caninum”.
  • From the Merck Veterinary Manual (a “global healthcare corp”.): 
  • “Neospora caninum is a microscopic protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. Many domestic (eg, dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, water buffalo, horses, chickens) and wild and captive animals (eg, deer, rhinoceros, rodents, rabbits, coyotes, wolves, foxes) can be infected”.
  • From a dog-friendly/dog care disease list:
  • “Canine Neosporosis is a microscopic protozoan parasite with worldwide distribution. A disease similar to toxoplasmosis, it attacks animal’s brain and spinal cord and slowly shuts down their body. Neospora caninum is a very deadly parasite that should not be taken lightly. Be aware of your dog’s whereabouts.”

Evidently, this infection is deadly but no one at NIH seems too concerned about wolves and coyotes although their similar morphology and predator role vis a vis Neospora caninum are deadly to a large number of animals and animal owners.  Only one of these three sources even mentions wolves and coyotes as vectors of concern. No sources I found emphasized the important role wolves especially would play in contracting and spreading this deadly infection.  The danger of wolves as vectors of this infection should be apparent to anyone with rudimentary knowledge of wolves.  Mr. Will Graves, author of Wolves of Russia, has tried very hard over the years to get recognition of this danger but the lack of veterinary bona fides has made it easy for wolf advocates to both ignore and disparage his work.

Some infections like heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are endemic in wild Canines and are contracted either through exposure to tiny eggs, infected fleas, walking barefoot through infected soil, sleeping with an infected dog or through mosquitoes.  All four of these parasites are probably widespread in wolves and coyotes but as with other things we neither discuss nor study this.  The eggs are particularly dangerous to rural Americans where wolves roam in yards, campgrounds and other places in search of food.  Research into this area is sorely needed.

All of the foregoing brings us to PRIONSPrions are proteins that can invade cells and somehow direct their own duplication, making more of the isolated proteins.  They are even smaller than viruses.

 There are six recognized Animal Prion Diseases:

  • Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE)
  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
  • Scrapie
  • Transmissible mink encephalopathy
  • Feline spongiform encephalopathy
  • Ungulate spongiform encephalopathy
  • There are two recognized Human Prion Diseases in the United States.  The most common form of human prion disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), occurs worldwide. Variant CJD (vCJD), a recently emerged human prion disease, is a zoonotic foodborne disorder that occurs almost exclusively in countries with outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.  Ongoing research indicates that humans will soon be or already are susceptible for a prion infection from all 8 known Prion Diseases.
  • For our purposes we will start with the three Prion Diseases that wolves can and are currently exposed to, namely 1.) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) commonly called Mad Cow Disease;  2.) Scrapie (a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the nervous systems of sheep and goats is one of several transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), which are related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”); and 3,) Chronic Wasting Diseaseprion disease of cervids (deer, elk, and moose).
  • The 1988 outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in the U.K. was marked by the killing and burial thousands of cattle and untold numbers of wild and other domestic animals.  Farmers could not step off their property in work clothes, including rubber work boots without being arrested.  Wild and domestic animals were rightly feared to be capable of tracking prions to uncontaminated areas on their fur, paws and in their saliva, nasal discharges and other bodily fluids.  If rubber boots can carry BSE prions that are known to remain infectious in soil for years, don’t let anyone laugh when you say wolves transiting a mad Cow or CWD area are not capable of spreading the prions on their fur or between their toes carrying Prion-contaminated dirt.
  • Wolves kill and eat the meat and offal of CWD, BSE and Scrapie-infected animals opportunistically.  Between killing such animals, eating the meat, eating offal and organs, encountering recently killed and old carcasses and feeding off of them, feeding on scraps laying on Prion-infected soil and generally sniffing and licking the sites of such kills and carcasses; wolves ingest and then poop, sneeze, cough and share with other wolves (through rough housing, playing, breeding and otherwise intermingling) Prion-infected bodily fluids with other wolves.
  • It is known that humans eating meat contaminated with either Mad Cow or Scrapie will be fatal to the human within a year.  It is suspected that the same is true of CWD tainted meat but this has not been proven to date.

Regarding human susceptibility to all prion diseases, recent studies report Prions and their remarkable propriety of adaptation could be compared with a highly mutagenic virus devoid of species limitation if given enough time and opportunity. Ten years ago the existence of atypical prions was not considered important yet now it is considered to be a common phenomenon affecting all species that are being studied sufficiently. Prion strains are a dynamic biological entity inclined to change and as a consequence of this new strains with distinct virulence and spectra of susceptible hosts are “spontaneously” emerging or adapting after recurrent passage through different hosts. Therefore, it would be unwise to consider any species, even those never reported as susceptible to prion infection, could not become a risk to human health.  Because prion diseases are terminal, there are no disease-specific indications for blood monitoring; however, patients should be followed up to make sure their symptoms are being successfully managed.

It is now established that Scrapie and CWD can remain infectious after years in the environment.  In one study, the scrapie agent remained infectious after burial in garden soil for three years.  In another report, a previously scrapie-infected sheephouse and pasture were ‘decontaminated’ and left uninhabited; sheep introduced 16 years later subsequently contracted scrapie suggesting that scrapie remained infectious after 16 years.  A controlled lab study indicated that the CWD agent remained infectious for at least two years in a pasture.

Scientists believe CWD proteins (prions) likely spread between animals through body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. Once introduced into an area or farm, it is contagious within deer and elk populations and can spread quickly. Experts believe CWD can live in the environment for a long time, so other animals can contract CWD from the environment even after an infected deer or elk has died.

Additional studies are under way to identify if any prion diseases could be occurring at a higher rate in people who are at increased risk for contact with potentially CWD-infected deer or elk meat. Because of the long time it takes before any symptoms of disease appear, scientists expect the study to take many years before they will determine what the risk, if any, of CWD is to people.  Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.

A concern is that prions of Chronic Wasting Disease could be transmitted to cows grazing in pastures contaminated by cervids. Prions can be detected in deer saliva and feces, and contamination of grass could pass the agent on to cows. In the laboratory, brain homogenates from infected deer can transmit the disease to cows. Therefore it is possible that cervid prions could enter the human food chain through cows. Hunters can remember how some states forbid the importation or export of any big game meat or trophy parts (cape, rack and skull) fearing CWD spread.  If the Prions are that dangerous, how dangerous is a wolf eating some in one wintering area and then travelling to and defecating in another wintering area or pasture for that matter.  Prions that exist for years, incorporate into plant fodder, and lay in wait in the surface soil for ingestion by a cervid, ungulate or some kid that dropped his candy and ate it anyway or stepped in some large “dog” poop in the yard.

Wolves can and will spread Disease Prions of BSE, CWD and Scrapie far and wide: this is exactly the opposite of what the billionaire’s employee is promising Colorado residents with his “using CWD as a bio weapon to bring wolves into places like CO. and to reduce possible harvest on wolves in states like MT and W so that these wolves can clean up the CWD mess in our ungulates”.  Wolves will only make a bad situation much worse just like federal wolf hegemony, that promised only a pack or two where you live, now demands ever more wolves creating ever more havoc throughout rural America.

Lastly, it is my delicious pleasure to answer your question, “It is my understanding that Prions will not be denatured in the digestive tract of wolves or other carnivores and scavengers. Is there some sort of scientific paper or study out there that can explain this process to a Joe Blow?”

Dear “Joe Blow”,

While researching this article I came across something that tickled this old man’s heart.  The National Institute of Health published a research paper released in 2015.  The paper reports a study conducted at my old Alma Mater, Utah State University, (that no longer recognizes me) at the USDA Research Station situated remote from the Logan campus.  It is still evidently staffed by real wildlife researchers examining real wildlife problems.  They have answered your question far better that I could.  They conducted a study titled CWD prions remain infectious after passage through the digestive system of coyotes (Canis latrans)”.

Remember how a wolf is a coyote is a dog?  Well their findings are well explained in the Abstract that is repeated below (the large bold print and underlining is mine) and ends with the words,Results from this study indicate that coyotes can pass infectious prions via their feces for at least 3 days post ingestion, demonstrating that mammalian scavengers could contribute to the translocation and contamination of CWD in the environment.Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a geographically expanding prion disease of wild and captive cervids in North America. Disease can be transmitted directly, animal to animal, or indirectly via the environment. CWD contamination can occur residually in the environment via soil, water, and forage following deposition of bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, and feces, or by the decomposition of carcasses. Recent work has indicated that plants may even take up prions into the stems and leaves. When a carcass or gut pile is present in the environment, a large number of avian and mammalian species visit and consume the carrion. Additionally, predators like coyotes, likely select for disease-compromised cervids. Natural cross-species CWD transmission has not been documented, however, passage of infectious prion material has been observed in the feces of crows. In this study we evaluated the ability of CWD-infected brain material to pass through the gastrointestinal tract of coyotes (Canis latrans) following oral ingestion, and be infectious in a cervidized transgenic mouse model. Results from this study indicate that coyotes can pass infectious prions via their feces for at least 3 days post ingestion, demonstrating that mammalian scavengers could contribute to the translocation and contamination of CWD in the environment.

In other words coyotes (and wolves and dogs) will not only spread any CWD, BSE or Scrapie problem they encounter from Prions on their fur; or in their blood, saliva, mucous, etc.; this study documents (“a coyote is a wolf is a dog”) that for three days they will be contaminating soil, plants and random items with Prions in their feces as they wander!  Forget not too that dogs (“Fido is a coyote is a wolf”) are known to eat canine feces when bits of undigested meat are present.  Wolves indiscriminately spread CWD, BSE and Scrapie like Typhoid Mary spread typhoid in New York for years!  So anyone saying anything else and especially anyone vile enough to sell wolves as a Prion Disease remedy (for money?, for fame?, for infamy??) is no more than an amoral drummer selling patented snake oil that he hopes won’t kill some customers before he can beat it out of town.  Tell all those gullible “sportsmen”, they should be ashamed for not only believing him but also those craven state and federal bureaucrats, those poseur “Sportsman” NGO’s and those self-serving academics that allow representatives of rich billionaires with hidden agendas to foist such an outrageous proposition on rural Americans with all its dangers and costs without any repudiation or exposure.

Wolves Attack Oregon Hunter

PRESS RELEASE BY OREGON STATE POLICE

News Release from Oregon State Police
November 2nd, 2017 10:19 AM
On October 27, 2017 at about 11:30AM, an OSP Fish and Wildlife Trooper and an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist responded to the report of an elk hunter, who had self-reported shooting a wolf in Union County. The two responded to the hunter’s camp in the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit.

The hunter, a 38-year-old male, from Clackamas, told the trooper he had been hunting elk alone, when he repeatedly noticed some type of animal moving around him. A short time later, the hunter observed three of what he assumed would be coyotes. He said at one point one of them began to run directly at him, while another made its way around him.

The hunter stated he focused on the one running directly at him. He began to scream at it, and fearing for his life shot it one time. He said what he still believed to be a coyote died from the single shot. He stated that after the shot the other two disappeared out of sight.

The hunter said he returned to his camp and told fellow hunters what had occurred. He said he was still uncertain if what he shot was a coyote. He said they returned to the location and came to the conclusion it was a wolf. The hunter then notified ODFW and OSP.

Further investigation at the site of the shooting indicated the hunter was 27 yards from where he shot and where the wolf died. The wolf was seized and later released to ODFW for examination. The Union County District Attorney’s Office was consulted regarding the investigation and based upon the available evidence the case will not be prosecuted as this is believed to be an incidence of self-defense.

It is unlawful to kill a wolf in Oregon, except in defense of human life (and in certain instances involving wolf depredation of livestock).

According to ODFW, this incident marks the first time that a wolf has been reported shot in self-defense in Oregon since they began returning to the state in the late 1990s.

ODFW examined the wolf shot and determined it was an 83-pound female associated with the OR30 pair of wolves occupying the Starkey and Ukiah WMUs in northeast Oregon (Union and Umatilla Counties). Initial examination does not indicate that the wolf was a breeding female, but the wolf’s DNA will be analyzed to confirm this.

“Dangerous encounters between wolves and people are rare, as are such encounters between people and cougars, bears and coyotes,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Acting Wolf Coordinator. “They will usually avoid humans and leave the area when they see, hear, or smell people close by. If you see a wolf or any other animal and are concerned about your safety, make sure it knows you are nearby by talking or yelling to alert it to your presence. If you are carrying a firearm, you can fire a warning shot into the ground.”

WOLVES, DISEASE AND REFORMING THE ESA

WOLVES, DISEASE AND THE NEED FOR REFORMING THE ESA

8 April 2017   by Jim Beers

I will speak for about 20 minutes on the topic of wolves and disease; and then for an equal time on what I see as the problems and solutions associated with wolves and the ESA in the United States in 2017 while reserving a similar period for questions.  If this seems like a daunting task to you, it seems to me like being asked to read War and Peace in a similar timeframe!

First, to wolves and disease – More than one of you is probably wondering, who is this guy about to speak about wolves and disease when he probably has never even taken a class in veterinary science?  That is true.  I am no more than an ex-Utah Fish and Game employee; a USFWS Wetland Biologist/Special Agent/Program Analyst/ Chief of National Wildlife Refuge Operations/Congressional Fellow/ Wildlife Biologist and US Trade Representative Delegation Member to the EU on Fur Trade Regulations.  I have a Bachelor’s degree from Utah State in Wildlife Resources and a Master’s degree from the U of Northern Colorado in Public Administration.  I am also a whistleblower to Congress about the theft by USFWS of +/- $60M in State Wildlife Funds from Arms and Ammunition Excise Taxes.  I also testified before a Senate Committee opposing the creation of federal Invasive Species authority.  I have been speaking and writing about wildlife and government programs all across the Nation for the 17 years since I was sent home and forced to retire from USFWS after a 32-year career.

This is the third time I have been asked to speak about wolves and the disease dimensions of their presence in the past 17 years.  Why is that?

Well, I first became aware of why when I was a speaker at a western cattlemen’s affair and I sat in on a talk by the state Wildlife Veterinarian and the Agriculture Livestock Veterinarian.  I innocently asked a question about wolves and they huddled and refused to answer and then said they had to get back to the Capital and left.  A few years later I was asked to explain about wolves and disease to a Natural Resource Committee of a State Legislature.  When I asked why me, they said they couldn’t find anyone else.

Looking back over these 17 years, most veterinarians, like many government wildlife folks, give me a wide berth.  With the exception of an old horse veterinarian who lost two sons to the defense of our Nation, and who squired me around one day through remote wolf, cattle and former elk hunting country, I confess that I have encountered only three kinds of veterinarians in my travels.

First, there are the pet doctors whose customers understandably “love” their pets and who are generally repulsed by trapping or lethal animal control or, for that matter, anyone that would denigrate the wolf or the “native ecosystem”.  They, understandably, wouldn’t touch this topic with a 10” pole.

Second, there are the government veterinarians.  They are like Urban Police Chiefs.  That is to say they are hired (and fired or marginalized) by Mayors and Agency Directors.  When Police “Chiefs” (not elected Sheriffs) chirp about gun control, they are little more than “Charlie McCarthies” for their boss, the Mayor.  Similarly, what state or federal Veterinarian, most of whose Agencies and Directors embrace unconditionally the federal protection and spread of wolves in defiance of many of those forced to live with the wolves, would risk controversial statements jeopardizing the agency’s proclamations and policies regarding wolves as benign additions to a communities’ wildlife?

Finally, there are the University Veterinary Science professors.  Their students flock to this over-manned profession because they “love animals”, a laudable and understandable motive.  The bureaucracies that generate grants and support for much, if not most, of their research (i.e. the ticket for more grad students, bigger budgets, tenure, and retirement security) do so for a wide variety of topics. Today, such “research” fills Veterinary Journals with ever more unintelligible (to the general public) data than modern economic research “papers”.  Additionally, the Universities understand that both state and federal governments are “all in” for wolves and that controversial reports or fodder for complaints that enable public protests would jeopardize far more than funding and other support for wildlife veterinary issues in the future.

So, here you are stuck with me.

  1. Wolves are very wide-ranging Canids that unlike our dogs get no Parvo/Distemper/Rabies/etc. shots and treatments.  They are not only fearless, they frequent human habitations routinely and with growing impunity as they increase in densities or experience no challenging behavior from humans or human settlements.  They are periodically concentrating on pastures or homesteads or big game wintering areas or calving areas as with moose in their wanderings so that when they pick up an infection or disease, they will likely go to similar surroundings where similar animals or humans can be infected.  They are constantly sticking their snout in and eating organs from a variety of animals both dying and deceased for a period of time thus exposing themselves to a very wide variety of bacteria, viruses, prions and other pathogens. It is not that they all carry all these diseases, it is that when they do get a really bad one like anthrax or rabies or foot-and-mouth or Mad Cow or chronic wasting disease – stopping the spread is almost impossible as when dogs and other wildlife disease vectors, that don’t roam far and wide, are killed to stop outbreaks of things like anthrax or smallpox.

Wolves travel in packs; romp; fight; and, like bats, sleep and groom together.  They are very often silent (and therefore unidentifiable) vectors spreading diseases, pathogens and infections among themselves and over a wide area to humans, domestic animals and other wildlife in a multitude of ways.  They are all but impossible to eliminate quickly or efficiently as when there is a rabies, foot-and-mouth, smallpox, anthrax or Mad Cow (BSE) outbreak.  Consider the havoc, often documented in early America of rabid wolves that went for miles biting everything they encounter, or the Russian sawyer (along with many others at the time, several of whom died) bitten by a rabid wolf while running a chain saw a few years ago.  Indian villages, trappers, homesteaders, and even forts with soldiers all are mentioned in historical records and reports of the terror and death rabid wolves were and are capable of imposing.

Certainly bites are an obvious danger for infection.  Less obvious (and ignored or denied) are:

  • Saliva left in yards and along (increasingly urban) paths on objects that are of interest to dogs that mouth them and nose them before returning home.
  • Mucous from a sneeze or runny nose left in areas frequented by people like yards and camping areas where dogs, children and others are exposed and can become carriers.
  • Feces laden with various tapeworm eggs (some of which develop deadly cysts years later; some of which last more than a year on the ground around where deposited and are capable of being transported by dog’s feet or shoes into homes, tents or campers onto rugs and elsewhere where small kids are especially vulnerable to ingesting them unknowingly) and also Parvo viruses that also have long infection periods where deposited.  Feces are a particular problem when undigested meat is passed and dogs do what they often do with
  • feces containing partially digested meat.
  • Blood transfer or deposit from accidents, fights with dogs or other wolves or incidents with other animals creates a potential infectious transfer to others and even a temporarily infected site that can infect others that touch or mouth anything coming in contact with the area, especially in places like campgrounds and rural residence surroundings.
  • Oozing sores or unhealed infections are an area of concern, in my opinion, but I could not find any information on such matter or what threat it may or may not pose.
  • Fur between toes and on the body coming in contact with the ground or infected animals can capture, transport and spread Mad Cow (BSE) prions; anthrax bacterium (capable of being absorbed through the skin, ingested or inhaled); and foot-and-mouth, and smallpox viruses among other pathogens.

For the record, I no longer let dogs lick me. I helped my Dad raise Dobermans as a kid and as a young man I had several retrievers, one of which I am about to tell you about.

The following is a list of diseases carried and transmitted by wolves.  While not totally comprehensive, it represents over 30+ infections and diseases that have been attributed to wolves.  Those that can infect humans are followed by an (H), those that affect other animals are followed by an (OA).

  1. Rabies (H) (OA)
  2. Brucellosis (H) (OA) ** i.e. Undulant Fever
  3.  Hydatid Disease (2):
  4. Echinococcus granulosis (H) (OA)
  5. Echinococcus multilocularis  (H) (OA) ** i.e. Deadly Cysts
  6.  Encephalitis (H) (OA)
  7. Anthrax (H) (OA) ** Cleanup Requirements
  8. Encephalitis (H) (OA)
  9. (Granulomatous meningoencephalitis) (OA)
  10. (Necrotizing encephalitis) (OA)
  11. Great Lakes Fish Tapeworm (H) (OA)
  12. Smallpox (H) (OA) ** i.e. Aral Sea Is.
  13. Mad Cow Disease(BSE) (OA) (H) ** i.e.UK
  14. Chronic Wasting Disease (OA)  From Ticks (13) ** Carried by wolves: Natural History?
  15.  Tick paralysis (H)
  16. Anemia (H)
  17. Dermatosis (H)
  18. Tick paralysis (H)
  19. Babesiosis (H)
  20. Anaplasmosis (H)
  21. Erlichia (H)
  22. E. Coast Fever (H)
  23. Relapsing Fever (H)
  24. Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever (H)
  25. (A new type of Spotted Fever is being investigated) (H)
  26. Powassan Fever (H)
  27. Heartland Fever (H)
  28. Lyme Disease (H)  From Fleas (4) Carried by wolves:
  29.  Plague (H) ** i.e.MT (OA)
  30. Bubonic Plague (H)
  31. Pneumonic Plague (H)
  32. Flea-Borne (Endemic) Typhus (H)
  33. Typhus (H)
  34. Distemper (OA)
  35. Neospora caninum (OA)
  36. 2 Types of Mange (H) (OA)
  37. GID (a disease of wild and domestic sheep) (OA)
  38. Foot-and-Mouth (OA)
  39. Parvo (OA)

Of the 30+ diseases and pathogens listed, 27 affect humans and many of these are deadly.  Whether it is a child ingesting tapeworm eggs from a ranch house floor rug, or a dog walker or jogging soccer Mom encountering wolves as a schoolteacher did recently in Alaska that resulted in a horrible death, the fact that these human health hazards have been given short-shrift and even covered up by government agencies and their allies as they forcibly introduce, protect and spread wolves is nothing short of scandalous.

How do you control wolves as vectors of these diseases when there is an outbreak?  Who pays for control?  What methods are permissible? Who is responsible?  These sorts of questions need to be answered before we can determine where wolves are to be tolerated; in what numbers; and how these things are to be achieved ad infinitum.  I am a strong believer that State Governments, recognizing the primary interests and desires of the Local communities expected to bear the costs of hosting wolves in their midst, are the proper government authority for such decisions if the first and foremost purpose of all government as defined in the Preamble o0f our Constitution, i.e. – “domestic Tranquility” and “the general Welfare” of the all the citizenry – is to be achieved and maintained.

What are we to make of all this?  How did it happen?  Most importantly, what can or should be done?

Wolves are like mosquitoes: both are numerous, found worldwide, and both create serious and increasing problems for humans closely correlated in magnitude to the human densities found in modern settled landscapes where each is found.  Each has benefits that are marginal as when mosquitoes and their larva provide food for fish and especially young birds with brief time windows in which to grow, fly and migrate.  Similarly wolves existing in relatively uninhabited (by humans) habitats create an insular plant and animal community that, while described by some appreciatively as “native” or “balanced”, provides a biological comparison for plant and animal management in more densely inhabited and settled landscapes as found in the Lower 48 States.  Even in these less inhabited landscapes like Alaska and Siberia, human interventions are required.  Examples of the latter being:

  • When humans are killed, attacked or injured
  • When disease outbreaks occur
  • When moose and elk et al needed for human food are being decimated
  • When wildlife licensing revenues and matching funds dwindle due to scarcity of game
  • When cattle, reindeer or sheep et al husbandry is being decimated.
  • When always fragile rural economies and communities worldwide are diminished in any of the many myriad ways that wolves can affect them from dog killings to threatening or attacking especially children and the elderly.

To say that a world with a Canada full of thousands of wolves; an Alaska bursting with wolves; a vast Siberia ** Magadan/Kazakhstan/India (indeed much of Asia) with high wolf densities; a Europe currently dealing unsuccessfully with wolves continent wide; and a world full of dogs & coyotes (that are currently cross breeding with wolves in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States) dingoes and jackals (all 4 of which breeds can breed with wolves and produce viable or fertile offspring) ** current crossbreeding – to say in such a world that WOLVES ARE (currently) ENDANGERED in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States and :

  • Require federal pre-emption of traditional and Constitutional State Wildlife Authorities and Jurisdictions.
  • Require the expenditure of millions of scarce federal and state general taxes and wildlife funds.
  • Require preposterous federal bureaucratic authority to take private property without compensation in defiance of the Constitution.
  • That rural communities forced to host the wolves are to have NO say regarding their presence, numbers, distribution, control or impacts.

Is (*?) to say the least.

* What? – “Absurd”? “Crazy”?  “Misguided”? “Ignorant”? “Unjust”? “Illegal”? “Not what it appears to be”? “A direct threat to rural ‘domestic Tranquility’ and the ‘general Welfare’ of the Nation”?  NOTE: I confess to wrestling continuously with the right term to use both for the policies and instigators of this misbegotten fiasco. Too harsh or too truthful words turn off many readers and listeners.

The federal bureaucratic placement of wolves is an arbitrary nightmare for groups out of political favor **New England? and almost always not in any direct way affecting those lobbyists, ideologues and politicians enabling the wolf programs.  Wolf types in the Lower 48 (i.e. red, Mexican, timber, etc.) are simply names for varieties similar to other widespread mammals like the large whitetails in Saskatchewan descending in size and varying in coloration to the tinier and lighter whitetails found in the Southwest to the tiniest whitetails found in the hot and food-poor FL Keys.  Was the ESA really passed to preserve such morphologies?

There is an abundance of hidden agendas behind wolf programs from human population and gun control to eliminating hunting and trapping and surgically parsing rural America into expanding federal ownerships and easements with decreasing land costs.

As with grizzly bear expansions in the Lower 48 States, no one is responsible for the calamities brought about by wolves.

Only last week the morning the paper reported the first Zika-infected childbirth in the US.  The child was born in San Diego.  Imagine if you will, if mosquitos had been eliminated from the San Diego area one hundred years ago and if only ten or twenty years ago the federal government had announced the “scientific” finding that the lack of mosquitoes in the San Diego environs was unacceptable.  Suppose further that the federal government then initiated and the government of California enthusiastically embraced (no surprise there) the reintroduction, protection, and spread of the “native San Diego Yellow Mosquito”. This was done with the enthusiastic support of:

  • Midwest, East Coast and Northwest environmental organizations that collected millions to “save the San Diego Yellow Mosquito”.
  • Federal politicians that accepted “contributions” from these groups and then were subsequently featured in the news as a “friend of the Mosquito”.
  • Professors and entomologists that shared in a bonanza of grants, graduate student increases, tenure and public adulation as they justified the banning of spraying and other controls of mosquitoes and their kin; the need to further regulate and restrict chemical production and use; and the need for a myriad of new laws forbidding the removal of any standing water suitable for the mosquito’s many needs to reproduce and live.
  • Federal and State bureaucrats that outlined the need for more employees, bigger budgets, more regulations, new amendments to existing laws, “key” land acquisition and easement, and promotions and bonuses as their “workload increased”.

Could that be a “just” law authorizing such actions?  Would the Constitution in any conceivable way allow such a travesty?  Would San Diego parents and parents-to-be tolerate such a law?  Would the parents of an infected child be able to sue federal politicians, federal bureaucrats or “scientists” that denied or hid the dangers they knew to exist? Of course this could never happen, but not because:

  • Mosquitoes (and wolves) are ubiquitous
  • There is no San Diego Yellow Mosquito
  • The environmental organizations and government would look silly.

This would not happen because it would be the urban voting majority being imposed upon.  The suburban (with a few exceptions like NJ) and rural voters neither demand nor contribute to such impositions on their city cousins so the National Organizations do not reap millions; politicians do not reap votes; professors do not reap emoluments; and bureaucrats do not reap dollars and fame.

It is a fact that no one is responsible for any of the many wolf, or grizzly bears’ deadly effects or the economic and cultural sectors that they diminish and that what happened here with the Mosquito is and has happened with the wolf and grizzly bear to name just two such “Listings”.

Here is what I have learned in 17 years of dealing with the ESA and wolves et al:

  1. It is unjust and unconstitutional to empower federal bureaucrats (and their enablers from politicians and “scientists” to wealthy environmental lobby groups) to seize State wildlife and wild plant authorities and jurisdictions and violate with impunity such Constitutional Rights as are found in the I, IV, V, VI, VII, or X Amendments as defined in The Bill of Rights, and as is being done under the color of the Endangered Species Act.
  2. Large predators like wolves and grizzly bears are not endangered or threatened.  (Grizzlies are abundant in W Canada, Alaska and N. Asia). Both are very dangerous and destructive animals; and their presence, abundance, and distribution should be under State authority with primary attention given to those local communities expected to live with either of these animals.  To say that either, especially grizzles, belongs anywhere in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 in a protected status is a position that anyone valuing human life and American freedoms should think long and hard about. Current magnanimous “return of management” to State governments by federal bureaucracies with attendant “minimum” wolf levels is a chimera or mirage, like promises of “compensation” to ranchers and others, simply short-term public relations ploys intended to continue drainage of wildlife conservation funding and programs until a future push to invigorate greater federal control is judged politically possible.
  3. State wildlife agencies, state governments and Universities have each been corrupted by the current system ** PR theft w/o repayment and have become little more than subcontractors to federal bureaucrats, powerful Non-Government Organizations and their agendas.  Governments no longer serve constituents, and Universities and science no longer seek nor publicize the truth regarding these issues.  A companion issue with wolves that draws only snickers today is the downplayed but very real concerns that present wolf immersions in the dense Canid populations on the Lower 48 States spell disaster for future wolves as crossbreeding with coyotes and dogs point to a future similar to that of Russian Caucasian immigrants to Formosa over a hundred years ago that today only linger in a rare Caucasian facial feature in that otherwise dense Mongolian populous.
  4. If urban/environmental organizations and voters want wolves or grizzly bears in XYZ let them first convince those folks living in XYZ to appeal to the State government with a plan to do so and how to finance it.  Counties could allow these animals if the residents and their neighbors agree under a system like Virginia has for deer hunting wherein the Counties decide what guns, methods, seasons, bags, and goals are permissible for deer hunting in THEIR County recognizing the County  resident’s desires.  Adjoining Counties could oppose the proposal and/or authorize the dispatch of any such animal in their County under certain or any circumstances. In other words if Wyoming and Idaho and Montana do not want any wolves, when a wolf  steps out of Yellowstone, State laws and regulations could authorize shooting or trapping 365 24/7.  Other federal Parks, Forests, BLM and USFWS lands would and should need State permission as with other property owners in the State to introduce or maintain such wildlife just as if they wanted to introduce and maintain pythons or Asian carp in or on their ownership. Yellowstone has a very singular and unique legal status regarding such matters.
  5. Non-large-predator Endangered Species Act programs and policies have also become corrupt political activities.  Too often they are thinly-disguised environmental and animal rights agendas and ploys to destroy dams, irrigation, farms, ranches, private property, hunting, trapping, fishing, public land access, Local governments, sustainable and renewable natural resource use and management, national sovereignty, corporations, human development nationally and internationally, and a long list of human cultural and traditional pursuits considered politically incorrect at the moment.For instance, while I was in Washington recently, the paper described a pending Endangered Listing of a Bee that is declining nationally.  The Bee occupies burrows in intermittently plowed fields and are “thought to be” affected by pesticides sold by “Dow” Chemical.  The Listing article (like snail darters intended to stop a dam; or smelt and suckers intended to close down farms and irrigation; or spotted owls intended to eliminate forest – i.e. timber – management) painted objecting farmers and the Dow Chemical Corporation as villains.  The Listing will and is intended to importune widespread farm production and practices in the Midwest thereby adversely affecting the national economy, the food supply and food availability for the poor.  It will also disrupt a giant Chemical “Corporation” bottom line, facilities and processes for an unknown time and with likely significant financial and job losses.  Now while all this may please some elements in the country it is counterproductive to American prosperity and our modern way of life.  This is the opposite of the bureaucratic hammer in use today and returns to recognition of the Constitutional role of elected officials authorizing, funding and administering things currently left to bureaucrats with a bag of money to do all sorts of mischief and harm without accountability or responsibility except for their own careers.
  6. What if the process for conserving true species in extremis was harmonized between Federal and State lawmakers and authorized and mandated that federal and state scientists first jointly determine what is causing the decline and not just hammer “all the usual suspects”?  Then work with USDA and farmers to identify and evaluate alternatives and their costs to modify practices or equipment.  Then have federal and state scientists work with and through the National Institute of Science and Technology (that routinely works with American Corporations on such matters) to cooperate with Dow Chemical on research for specific adjustments and tolerable costs to their products and existing infrastructure to reduce bee declines.  All of this should be accomplished with specifically requested Congressional funding which, if not authorized, means it is not of sufficient importance in line with other national priorities at the moment.
  7. I am constantly told the ESA will NEVER be repealed (even though a similar travesty, Prohibition, authorized by a Constitutional Amendment, was repealed when its pernicious and corrupting effects were no longer deniable).
  8. I am constantly told that the ESA will Never be amended because any politician supporting such a thing would be deported or jailed by environmentalists, animal rightists, professors, teachers, bureaucrats, and a hodgepodge of urban residents that could be mobilized to “save” the environment.
  9. Could elected rural Sheriffs resist these federal impositions like some Mayors, Governors and County officials are resisting federal illegal immigrant enforcement activities?
  10. Could ESA reforms be enacted in laws, regulations and policies amid the turbulence of reform and confrontation now taking place in Washington, DC?