Aww, aren’t they cute?
At left, baby calf with mama cow.
Yesterday, we talked about government agency failures in wrecked ship removal and mine cleanup.
Today, we’ll bring you the gut-wrenching saga of an Oregon rancher whose cattle were attacked by wolves. http://www.wallowa.com/wc/editorials/20150317/guest-column-wolf-attack-a-cow-mans-worst-nightmare We urge you to read the entire piece, but here are a few quotes:
The column leads with this: “Wolves attacked and stampeded 250 head of very pregnant cows (calving start date March 1) on the Birkmaier private land on Crow Creek pass Feb. 12, 2015.”
It is a guest article published in the Wallowa County Chieftain on March 17, 2015, by Mack Birkmaier, a past president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and lifetime rancher, about the wolf attack on his own cattle on his own land. His language is laconic, rich in detail, and heart-breaking.
He tells how the cattle panicked and split up into smaller groups when they got wind of the wolves.
“The cattle could not be fed for two days. They ran away from hay and the pickup trying to feed them. None were killed, no broken legs or stifled joints; some cuts from barbed wire, not serious. We thought we were lucky. The rest of the story, we feared, would be told at calving time and maybe before.”
Yes, but isn’t there a way for ranchers to prevent this? Birkmaier addresses this:
“Now about fladry and why it wasn’t used. Fladry was not an option under these conditions on a large area with cattle grazing out in the winter time. Fladry is an electric wire with strips of colored plastic attached. Wolf cheerleaders, both local and everywhere, claim this cure-all is the answer to end all wolf depredations.”
It wasn’t. It isn’t. Birkmaier explains in detail why not, then adds, “Talking to other ranches in other states confirms our belief that most ranchers know it doesn’t work, and so does the wolf.”
He was right about calving time. He relates in gory detail what happened to the mama cows and their babies. We’ll skip that and conclude with this:
“My son Tom and his wife Kelly have had to deal with this horrible task night and day, 31 miles from vet clinics and assistance. What kind of people support turning the terrorist of the animal kingdom loose on these defenseless animals and inflicting this kind of pain and loss?”
They lost eight babies and were compensated for one. He blames Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife, because these are the people charged with direct oversight of wolf protection. But it goes back to the federal agencies which hold the purse strings and power of the law: in this case, the ESA – Endangered Species Act, enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Read now, the romance of the wolves on the private organization website, nywolf.org. It’s based in New York State, where we seriously doubt a real wolf has been seen in centuries, since said wolves probably were extirpated by colonial farmers.
There is a wolf cam link on the NY Wolf site, and yes, they name the wolves, Atka, Alawa, Zephyr and Nikai. Contact information for that advocacy group reads: “We are located in South Salem, NY (Westchester County). However, do not list our street address because we are a private facility and are not open to drop-in visits.”
[Side note on Westchester County: Estimated median household income in 2013: $84,220; 53.5% women, self-employed (trust fund babies) – 25%. Get the picture?]
BTW, just in case you think Common Core is a harmless effort to raise academic standards, note this little tidbit from the Wolf Conservation website: “Using Wolf Education to Promote Common Core Standards.” Also, note and appreciate the lovely photo of the Clintons on the home page of the site. Non-partisan much?
What do we learn from this? Context is everything. There is always another side to the story.
Below, darling little baby wolf “Zephyr (meaning “light or west wind”) is a beautiful black male with a prominent nose and a feisty personality.” Awwwww, isn’t he CUTE?