Information Sources, Beliefs and Values of Key Stakeholder Groups in Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction

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Information Sources, Beliefs and Values of Key Stakeholder Groups in Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction
Beeland, Theresa DeLene
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (144 p.)

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Master's ( M.S.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Interdisciplinary Ecology
Committee Chair:
Walsh-Childers, Kim B.
Committee Members:
Ross, James P.
Carriker, Roy R.
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Subjects / Keywords:
Cattle ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Government employees ( jstor )
Grazing ( jstor )
Livestock ( jstor )
Public land ( jstor )
Ranching ( jstor )
Wildlife ( jstor )
Wolves ( jstor )
Interdisciplinary Ecology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
analysis, beliefs, carnivore, endangered, interviews, mexican, policy, predator, southwest, stakeholder, values, wolf
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
Interdisciplinary Ecology thesis, M.S.


In 1998, Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) were reintroduced to a politically-bounded area of federal public lands in New Mexico and Arizona. Citizen's reactions ranged from extremely positive to extremely negative. Today, the program is marked by both stakeholder conflict and restricted growth of the wild population. Three stakeholder groups are most visible in the current reintroduction effort: government employees from the agencies that develop or implement Mexican gray wolf management policies, livestock producers with permits to graze federal lands and wolf conservation advocates. This study explores stakeholder groups' beliefs and values regarding Mexican gray wolves and their reintroduction management, and assesses types of wolf information sources used by stakeholders. The study implemented a qualitative research design and methodology, using in-depth stakeholder interviews and a systematic analysis. Findings revealed that livestock producers tended to most value land rights and land control, whereas wolf conservationists most valued scientific concepts of wolves' role in the ecosystem and the chance to restore an endangered carnivore and government employees tended to emphasize solving stakeholder issues. ( en )
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Includes vita.
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Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Adviser: Walsh-Childers, Kim B.
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by Theresa DeLene Beeland

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2008 Theresa DeLene Beeland 2


To my family, and dear ones, who have lovi ngly supported my passiona te pursuit of knowledge. Only passions, great passions, can elevate th e soul to great thi ngs.Denis Diderot 3


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are numerous people to thank for assisting with or encouraging this project. First, I thank the participants themselves, and the peopl e who helped me get in touch with them, for taking time from their busy days to sit down and ta lk to me for several hours at their kitchen tables, in cafs and in their offices across the so uthwest. I hope this project reflects the great value of their time and ability to share their beliefs and expe riences with me. Second, I thank those that sponsored the proj ect: Scot Smotherman, a privat e hunter, conservationist and good friend; and the Mexican Wolf C onservation Fund. Third, special thanks go to the School of Natural Resources and Environment for admitting me to their Interdisciplinary Ecology program; and to Professor Kim Walsh-Childer s of the Journalism Department for agreeing to advise me in the emerging path joining journa lism with studies in natural resources and ecology. Last but not least, sincere and long-overdue thanks go to my family and l oved ones for their endless support and encouragement. 4


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7 LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ..........................................................................................................9 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................................10 CHAPTERS 1 INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................... .....11 Study Purpose .........................................................................................................................11 Study Justification ..................................................................................................................11 Contextual Background: Mexi can Gray Wolf History ...........................................................13 Species Description and Historic Range .........................................................................13 Extermination of Gray Wolves in the Wild .....................................................................14 Captive Breeding Program ..............................................................................................15 Listing Status ...................................................................................................................16 Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area ....................................................................................18 Wild Wolf Removals and Livestock Death Rates ...........................................................20 Organizational Structure ..................................................................................................21 Stakeholder Conflicts ......................................................................................................22 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.........................................................................................................24 Information Sources, Beliefs and Values ...............................................................................24 Public Opinion and Public Policy ....................................................................................25 Public Opinion Polls on the Mexica n Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program ....................25 Studies of Human Attitudes toward Predators ........................................................................27 Compensation Studies for Wolf Depredation ..................................................................30 Anti-Carnivore Beliefs in Rural Communities ................................................................31 Ecological Significance of Wolves .........................................................................................32 Wolf-Prey Relationships .................................................................................................32 Non-Prey Relationships ...................................................................................................33 Ecosystem Effects of Wolves ..........................................................................................34 Research Questions .................................................................................................................38 3 METHODOLOGY...................................................................................................................39 Qualitative Research ...............................................................................................................39 Research Design and In-Depth Interviews .............................................................................40 5


Objectivity, reliability and validity ..................................................................................41 Interview guide development ..........................................................................................43 Pre-tests and refinement ..................................................................................................44 Data Gathering .................................................................................................................45 Data Analysis ...................................................................................................................47 4 FINDINGS................................................................................................................................49 Emergent Themes and Categories ..........................................................................................49 Stakeholder Group One: Livestock Producers ................................................................50 Diagrammatic Summary ..................................................................................................68 Stakeholder Group Two: Wolf Conservationists ............................................................69 Diagrammatic Summary ..................................................................................................85 Stakeholder Group Three: Government Employees ........................................................86 Diagrammatic Summary ..................................................................................................98 Summary .................................................................................................................................99 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION.....................................................................................105 Examination and Comparison of Stakeholder Beliefs ..........................................................105 Study Limitations..................................................................................................................112 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................114 APPENDICES A MAPS....................................................................................................................... ..............120 B INTERVIEW GUIDES..........................................................................................................1 25 Livestock Producers ..............................................................................................................125 Wolf Conservationists ..........................................................................................................127 Government Employees ........................................................................................................129 C INFORMED CONSENT FORM ..........................................................................................131 D CAPTIVE BREEDING FACILITIES ..................................................................................133 E EXCERPTS ...........................................................................................................................135 LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................137 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................144 6


LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1: Total audio times and transc ribed pages per stakeholder group .............................................47 4-1: General findings ...................................................................................................................102 4-2: Significant beliefs about Mexican wolves and wolf program ..............................................103 4-3: Significant views on wolf policies.......................................................................................104 4-4: Significant views on information sources ............................................................................104 7


LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1: Emergent themes in livestock producers interviews .............................................................69 4-2: Emergent themes in wolf conservationists interviews ..........................................................86 4-3: Emergent themes in government employees interviews .......................................................99 A-1: Historic range of gray wolves in North America ................................................................120 A-2: Mexican Wolf Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area ................................................................121 A-3: Livestock grazing allotments in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area ...............................122 A-4: Mexican wolf historic range................................................................................................123 A-5: Quarterly wolf location map Oct.Dec. 2007......................................................................124 8


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AMOC Adaptive Management Oversight Committee AZGF Arizona Game and Fish Department BRWRA Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area FWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service GE Government employee IFT Interagency Field Team LP Livestock producer PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder SOP-13 Standard Operating Procedure 13, a policy governing management of Mexican gray wolves WC Wolf conservationist 10(j) rule Legal listing de signation of a species under the Endangered Species Act as an experimental population. 9


Abstract of Masters Thesis Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science INFORMATION SOURCES, BELIEFS AND VALUES OF KEY STAKEHOLDER GROUPS IN MEXICAN GRAY WO LF REINTRODUCTION By Theresa DeLene Beeland May 2008 Chair: Kim Walsh-Childers Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology In 1998, Mexican gray wolves ( Canis lupus baileyi) were reintroduced to a politicallybounded area of federal public lands in New Mexico and Arizona. Citizens reactions ranged from extremely positive to extremely nega tive. Today, the program is marked by both stakeholder conflict and restrict ed growth of the wild populati on. Three stakeholder groups are most visible in the current rein troduction effort: government empl oyees from the agencies that develop or implement Mexican gr ay wolf management policies, livestock producers with permits to graze federal lands and wolf conservation a dvocates. This study explores stakeholder groups beliefs and values regarding Mexican gray wolves and their reintroduction management, and assesses types of wolf information sources used by stakeholders. The study implemented a qualitative research design and methodology, usi ng in-depth stakeholde r interviews and a systematic analysis. Findings revealed that liv estock producers tended to most value land rights and land control, whereas wolf conservationists most valued scientific concepts of wolves role in the ecosystem and the chance to restore an endangered carnivore and government employees tended to emphasize solvi ng stakeholder issues. 10


CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Study Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore the beliefs and values of three stakeholder groups in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction project, and to learn what sources of information may contribute to the formation or perpetuation of th ese constructs. The research design employs indepth interviews based on a semi-structured in terview guide, which allows participants to express their beliefs in their own words, shar e experiences and anecdotes and openly discuss their views. Identifying these beliefs and pe rceptions is helpful to understanding areas of stakeholder conflict, which is a necessary co mponent for reducing polarization. Public opinion polls show substantial statewid e support for Mexican gray wolf recovery in Arizona and New Mexico, and nationwide polls indicate high percenta ges of public support for gray wolf recovery in the United States, but deep local opposition to the wolves southwestern reintroduction exists. It was the purpose of this study to discover what people who are involved with the reintroduction programwhether they support it or oppose itbelie ve about Mexican gray wolves, and to look for belief and values differences that may aid in further explaining or understanding areas of stakeholder conflict. Study Justification National attitudes toward large predators and wilderness changed dramatically in the second half of the 20th Century, and broad support developed for conserving large charismatic species such as wolves, grizzly bears a nd mountain lions (Kellert et al. 1996, 979). Reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves is mandate d by law, yet the process is characterized by marked stakeholder conflict. Wolf conservationists complain that ta rgeted wolf population numbers, projected by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the Final Environmental Impact 11


Statement, are only half achieved due to what they characterize as heavy-handed management policies, while livestock producers complain that the wolf program is negatively impacting their livelihoods and way of life. This deep tug of wa r is, in part, acted out on the public stage via mass media. Often livestock produc ers and wolf conservationists ar e depicted as entrenched in opposing perspectives, differing starkly over how the program should be managed by federal and state wildlife agencies. Conservation problems are, at their root people problems (Nie 2001, 2), and the Mexican gray wolf conservation problem is lin ked to human uses of public land, local politics and possibly to differing stakehol der beliefs and values. Peoples beliefs and values are an important aspect of large carnivore conservati on because these elements are linked to policy preferences, and social groups canand doi nfluence public policy. Public support is necessary for the reintroduction of large pred ators because in its absence human-induced mortality may hamper reintroduction projects or drive them to failure (Kellert et al. 1996). According to Clark et al., social, organi zational and policy fact ors are the ultimate cause of ecological and conserva tion crises (1996, 937), which i ndicates that scientists and researchers need to look beyond pure ecology fo r solutions to ecological problems and employ tools in the social sciences to assess impacts of human actions, beliefs and values. The historic relationship between humans and large carnivores is complex but clearly demonstrates that humans are the most influential factor determin ing their fate, (Ibid, 936). Human beliefs and values comprise a large part of the challeng es presented by large predator conservation. The Mexican gray wolf is a good example of this historic complexity. Whether or not humans are able to restore the Mexican gray wolf depe nds little upon wolf biology, but rather hinges upon whether stakeholders can reach agreements with each other regarding multiple use management 12


on the federal lands where the wolves were re introduced. However, in order to reach these agreements, we must first thoroughly understand the information sources, beliefs and values differences of the stakeholderswhich is the focus of this study. Contextual Background: Mexican Gray Wolf History Species Description and Historic Range Mexican gray wolves weigh between 50 and 80 pounds and tend to be intermediate in size between a coyote ( Canis latrans ), which weighs between 20 and 35 pounds (AZGF 2008), and a northern gray wolf ( Canis lupus), which weighs between 80 and 100 pounds (FWS 2008). Mexican gray wolves have rust or buff colored patches on their coats, in addition to the typical mottled gray, black and silver coats of gray wolves. While northern Rocky Mountain wolves sometimes demonstrate a black color phase, Mexican wolves are not known to do this. They are about 60 to 65 inches long, including their tails which are typically about 14 to 17 inches long (AZGF 2008) whereas northern Rocky Mountain wo lves are 60 to 72 inches long. The historic prey of Mexican gray wolves includes native ungulates such as deer, pronghorn antelope and collared peccaries (Ibid; Robinson 2005, 348). The historic range of the Mexican wolf is thought to extend from southern Mexico northward through the Sonoran Desert into cen tral Arizona and cent ral New Mexico. Wolf taxonomy has been revised in a continual process as more is learned about the species and its genetics; Nowak collapsed up to 24 previously named subspecies of gray wolves into five subspecies (1995), and this revision in turn altered what is believed to be their historic ranges. In the southwest, C. l. mogollensis was previously thought to have ranged in central western New Mexico and across a broad sw ath of central Arizona and C. l. monstrabilis was previously thought to have ranged between central New Mexico and central Texas; but both subspecies are now considered to be the same as C. l. baileyi which slightly expands the historic range north 13


and east (Nowak 1995). (Appendix A: Historic Ra nge map.) This study adopts Nowaks stance that the Mexican gray wolf represents the southern range subspecies of the gray wolf, which likely had genetic interchange with wolves from the northern Rocky Mount ains (Leonard et al. 2005). Extermination of Gray Wolves in the Wild European colonists carried fears of wolves w ith them across the Atlantic Oceanfears that were largely rooted in Old World myth and fo lklore (Fritts et al. 2003, 293). In America, the settlers faced many new challenges from the natu ral world, and wolves raiding their livestock presented an immediate and rational basis for nega tive attitudes toward the predators (Ibid). But soon this negative attitude stre tched beyond rational explanation, and wolves ultimately became a metaphor for the environmental challenges the new North Americans had to contend with and felt a moral obligation to subdue. The goals of subjugating wolves and wilderness became synonymous (Kellert et al. 1996, 978). A period of wolf persecution followed, with the end outcome of North American gray wolf populations decimated after years of targeted killing. Wolves were trapped, shot and poisoned by settlers and ranchers but they were also targeted through anti-predator programs sponsored by li vestock associations and state and local governments offering bounties. In the first two decades of the 20 th Century, a federallysponsored anti-predator extermination campaign (Robinson 2005, 76-80) targeted all gray wolves, as well as other predator y species throughout the United Stat es such as coyotes, bears, mountain lions, foxes and even eagles. Mexican wo lves were eventually pushed all the way to the southernmost portion of Mexico with the he lp of organized anti-predator programs, and individual efforts of ranchers. However, small pockets of wolves remained and occasional dispersers from these made their way to the borders of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas sporadically until the 1970s (FWS 1982, 8-9). In 1981, Mexican biologists reported there were 14


perhaps 30 wild wolves left in the Sierra Madr es, and by the late 1980s they reported there were no more confirmed sightings of wild Mexican wolves in Mexico, and they were believed extinct in the wild (Robinson 2005, pg. 185 and 349). In fact, th ey were so rare that the last ones were well documented, mostly near Durango and Chihuahua, Mexico (Busch 1995, 171). The last wolf shot in Arizona was in 1975 according to some sources (Busch 1995, 170), but others say there were no confirmed sigh tings in the United States after 1970 (FWS 1998, 1753). The majority of sources agree that wolves in Arizona or New Mexico after 1970 almost certainly came across the border from Mexi co (Robinson 2005, 284). Extensive howling surveys and searches for wolf sign in the 1990s turned up no evidence of any w ild Mexican wolves in Arizona or New Mexico (FWS 1996, 3-41). Captive Breeding Program In 1976, three years after Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into federal law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the potential of extincti on for the gray wolf in America and classified it as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In the same year, the Fish and Wildlife Service hired a former federal trapperRoy McBride, who was involved with the wolves eradication progr amto determine the status of the Mexican wolf south of the border (Robinson 2005, 348). After extensive se arching over a threeyear period, McBride reported between 30 and 50 wolves remained in Mexi cos Sierra Madre area, and that the species faced imminent extinction as Mexican ranchers we re also killing wolves to protect their livestock (Ibid, 348, 185). Between 1978 and 1980, the Fish a nd Wildlife Service then hired McBride to secure alive any Mexican wolves that he could. He caught four males and one pregnant female. Most experts agree the last five Mexican wolves a live in the world were likely in the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and that the Mexican gr ay wolf had been largely exterminated before much was known about its natural history or biology (FWS 1998, 1753). In fact, the Fish and 15


Wildlife Service wrote, Normal Mexican wolf populations were gone before an adequate body of scientifically acquired data was amassed on the subspecies, (FWS 1982, 23), which is a telling insight as to what an extreme challenge the biological recovery of Mexican gray wolves was perceived to be in the early stages of the program. Two additional breeding lines from zoo populations, the Ghost Ranch and the Aragn lineages, were added to the certified Mexican gray wolf lineage after genetic testing determined that they were genetically pure Mexican wolv es (Hedrick et al. 1997; Garca-Moreno 1996). Garca-Morenos study compared allele frequencie s at 10 microsatelite loci, which are molecular markers in nuclear DNA, in Mexican gray wolves with allele frequencies in gray wolves, coyotes ( C. latrans ) and dogs ( C. l. familiaris ). Measuring an allele frequenc y is basically a test of the occurrence of alternate forms of a gene, either how it is physically expressed or how it is coded, within a given population. Garca -Moreno et al. determined th at the Ghost Ranch and Aragn lines were as closely related to the certifie d Mexican wolf lineage as northern gray wolf populations are related to each other (Garca-Moreno 1996; FWS 1996, 19,238). Adding these animals to the captive breeding program saved th e program from inbreeding depression (GarcaMoreno 1996). Interestingl y, the researchers also found that th e Mexican gray wolves were the most genetically distinct populat ion of gray wolves in North America (Ibid, 384). Today, the captive breeding program contains approximate ly 350 Mexican gray wolves in facilities throughout the U.S. and Mexico, ensuring the sp ecies survival. (Appendix D: Captive Breeding Facilities). Listing Status Originally, the gray wolf was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1974, and the Mexican gray wolf was listed in 1976. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified all listings of gray wolves in 1978, a move wh ich recognized that wolf taxonomy itself had 16


undergone significant revision, as previously me ntioned. The legal recl assification followed taxonomic revisions and the species level was listed as endangered or threatened. All previously listed subspecies, including C. l. baileyi became protected under the species-level entity, C. lupus (FWS 1978, 9607). The Service wrote the following: This listing has been unsatisfactory because th e taxonomy of wolves is out of date The Service recognizes that the entire species Cani s lupus is Endangered or Threatened south of Canada, and feels that this matter can be handled most conveniently by listing only the species name. (Ibid) Wolves in the lower 48 states were granted an endangered status, and wolves in Minnesota were granted a threatened status. In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service p ublished the Final Rule listing reintroduced Mexican gray wolves as a nonessential experimental population under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act (FWS 1998, 1752). A nonessential experimental designation differs from a standard listing of endangered or threatened in terms of the types of protection it provides the species, an d type of management and rec overy plans that the Fish and Wildlife Service designs for the species. The Me xican gray wolf was a ssigned this particular listing to allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servic e and private entities flexibility in managing the wolves, including the elimination of a wolf when there is a confirmed kill of livestock (FWS 1998, 1762). Flexibility, in this context refers to the governments ability to manage problem wolves by hazing, trapping or shooting them, partic ularly those that have been found to prey upon domestic livestock or to be exhibiting nu isance or habituated behavior, as well as administering vaccines. This leve l of management differs from typical conservation procedures for federally endangered or threatened species. The intention of the nonessential experimental 10(j) listing status is to ease objections over reintroduction of controversia l species (FWS 1998, 1753). The gray wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park we re also given the nonessential experimental 17


designation under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act; a lthough those wolves were livecaptured in Canada and released in Yellowstone National Park two months later, after an acclimation period, and were not from captive stock. Bobbie Holaday (2003) reported in her popular media book that the sheep an d cattle livestock associations of Arizona and New Mexico requested the nonessential experimental populati on designation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She wrote that for some of the groups, this designation was the only way they would not legally oppose reintrodu ction (Holaday 2003, 55). Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area Eleven captive-bred Mexican gray wolves we re released into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in March 1998. The reintroduction ar ea is composed entire ly of federal public lands and some tribal trust lands. The Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is one contiguous forest spanning between New Mexico and Arizona, composed of the Gila National Forest and the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona, all of the units are managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Its about 6,845 square m iles and contains rugged mountainous lands ranging in elevation from about 3,500 to 11,500 feet (AMOC 2005, TC-3). (Appendix A: Mexican Wolf Blue Range Recovery Area map.) The addition of Fort Apache Indian Reservation land through the cooperati on of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in 2001 added an additional 2,500 square miles to the recovery area in Arizona (IFT 2001, 1). The U.S. Forest Service grants permits to livestock pr oducers for grazing allotm ents on these federal lands. There are 79 range allotments on the Arizona side of the wolf recovery area, and 134 on the New Mexico side (Taylor 2008, personal co mmunication with D. Beeland). (Appendix A: Quarterly Wolf Location map.) Private properties are associated with these allotments, sometimes physically but sometimes only through a grazing permit. The private properties may range in size from 40to 70,000-acres but most are typically 60-100 acre s (information obtained 18


during interview with participant WC-6). Levels of livestock vary with the conditions and stocking levels are determined annually by the U.S. Forest Service. The Adaptive Management Oversight Committee reported an average of ,800 cattle grazed in the BRWRA annually (AMOC 2005, SEC-ES-3). Wolves released into the Blue Range Wo lf Recovery Area may learn to prey upon domestic livestock (Paquet et al. 2001, 69), and some livestock producers may have more serious or more consistent problems with wolves than other livestock producers. Ranchers may contact specified government employees (described in the next section) if they believe wolves are causing problems or have killed li vestock on their private or leased land. If it is confirmed as a wolf kill then the rancher can apply for compensation at fair market value by the non-profit organization Defenders of Wildlife. There is no documentation in the historical record or otherwise of a Mexican gray wolf att acking or killing a human (FWS 1998, 1753). About 52 wolves were present in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area at the end of 2007 (FWS 2008a). The population target was 100 wo lves (FWS 1982) by about the year 2005 (FWS 1996, 7). The wild population incurs persiste nt losses of wolves killed or removed from the wild by government agencies if they are confirmed to have met certain requirements. These losses, combined with human-related causes such as illegal poaching and collisions with vehicles while crossing roads have prevented the wolf population from reaching its projected goals (Paquet et al. 2001, 31-33). In 1997, before Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced, livestock producers in Arizona and New Mexico incurred about a 4 percent death rate of their livestock due to a variety of factors including: predation by black bears, c oyotes and mountain lions respiratory disease, lightening strikes, calving complications a nd rough terrain (AMOC 2005). The number of 19


livestock deaths attribut able to wolves is comparatively very low: approximately 1,310 cattle and calves and six sheep died from causes other than slaughter in the BRWRA in 2002 (the year of highest recorded depredations 1 ) compared to five to 33 ca ttle killed by wolves (AMOC 2005, SEC-ES-3). The Fish and Wildlife Service estima ted that wolf predation on cattle in the wolf recovery area ranges from 0.3 percent to 2.5 pe rcent; this range is based on a high estimate provided by rancher-reported wolf kills and a low estimate based on confirmed wolf kills. Wild Wolf Removals and Livestock Death Rates The Mexican gray wolf wild population has b een marked by slow gr owth and has not met reintroduction goals laid out in the 1996 Final Environmental Impact Statement: 100 wild wolves by 2005 (FWS 1996, 7). An annual survey in January 2008 found a minimum population count of 52 wolves in the wild, down from 59 wolves in January 2007. It is import ant to remember that these are minimum counts. In the initial stages of the reintroduction, Mexican wolves were released from captivity to augment the wild pop ulation, but in 2007 there were no new releases. Wolves are also removed from the wild population each year: 22 Mexican gray wolves were removed from the wild population in 2007, 19 were removed in 2006 (FWS 2008a) and 12 were removed in 2005 (IFT 2005). Management measures in clude lethal control actions, or killing the wild wolves, and account for some of the rem ovals but the majority of the removals are done by trapping the wolves and moving them to captive breeding facilitiessometimes this move is permanent and sometimes the wolves are placed there to await re-release into the recovery area. Most of the removal incidences are due to livestock conflicts unde r Standard Operating Procedure 13. This policy determines that wolves must be removed from the wolf recovery area 1 To depredate means to kill or injure and is a commonl y used term by the government to describe wolf-caused livestock injuries or wolf-caused livestock deaths. 20


when they have three strikes against th em within a 365-day calendar period. Strikes accumulate when individual wolves are determined to have injured or killed livestock. Personnel use a combination of wolf sign and necropsy of th e livestock carcass to determine if wolves were responsible, and if so, which ones. Wolves ar e also removed from the recovery area for repeatedly dispersing outside the boundary line a nd attempting to set up territories in new places, or exhibiting nuisance behavior such as hanging around residences. Organizational Structure The Mexican wolf reintroduction program is a cooperative program between six agencies: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S. Departme nt of Interior), the U. S. Forest Service and U.S. Wildlife Services (both in the U.S. Departme nt of Agriculture), the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the New Mexico Department of Ga me and Fish and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Together, these agencies form the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee which develops the policies and protocols for wolf management and the general program. An Interagency Field Team is composed of biologi sts and technicians from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Game and Fish Depart ments from both states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was originally the lead agency, but in a Memorandum of Understanding published in 2003, more control was given to the states. Arizona Game and Fish historically exhibited more support for the program than New Mexico Game and Fish and so they have informally taken a lead role. Policies developed by the Adaptive Manageme nt Oversight Committee are implemented by an Interagency Field Team co mposed of biologists, field team leaders, technicians and volunteers from Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish and New Mexico Game and Fish departments. They respond to reports of wolf sightings, nuisa nce behavior or depredations, and they perform various on the ground tasks such as monitoring wolves, providing wolves 21


with vaccinations, conducting a nnual population surveys, weekly telemetry flights, managing wolves that leave the boundary by trapping and relocating them back in to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, hazing wolves from private pr operty and performing outreach to permittees, hunters and forest visitors. U.S. Wildlife Services (a divi sion of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and notably an agency that controls species perceived as agricultural pests) responds to livestock depreda tions to determine if a wolf killed the animal, and they file the depredation reports. A separate program is in place to compensate ranchers at fair market value if they have livestock determin ed to have died or been injured from a wolf attack. The program is administ ered by the Defenders of Wild life and relies entirely upon ranchers contacting them with completed depreda tion reports prepared by Wildlife Services (the organization does not automatically get a c opy of the report from Wildlife Services). Stakeholder Conflicts Several areas of stakeholder conflict existed prior to the Mexican wolf reintroduction. The largest area of conflict is the pre-existing debate over what c onservationists call public lands ranching and what livestock producers call federa l lands grazing. In both cases, it involves a private rancher holding a permit to graze lives tock on federalor state-owned lands. Environmental advocates claim grazing causes nega tive ecological damage in arid lands (Jones 2000; Fleischner 1994; Belsky and Blumenthal 1997; Belsky, Matzke and Uselman 1999) and they often cite the federally-s ubsidized costs of using public lands for ranching (GAO 2005) as an added reason why grazing practices should be reformed. It should be noted that other literature exists demonstrating no effect to posit ive effects of livestock grazing on insect and plant communities (Rambo and Feath 1999; Siem ann et al. 1998) and supporting the idea that vertebrate grazers create an inte rmediate disturbance in systems which increases plant diversity 22


(McNaughton 1983, Howe 1994, Crawley 1997, Olff a nd Ritchie 1998) and reduces fire risks (Collins et al. 1998). In short, there are studie s that conclude livestock grazing has negative impacts, no impacts and positive impacts. It is an issue of intense debate among Westerners with competing interests: the livestock producers who want to continue raising cattle on public land, and the conservationists that advo cate for grazing reform to increase the health of the landscape. 23


CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Information Sources, Beliefs and Values Examining both peoples beliefs and values, a nd their information sources, is important because of the interplay between these factors and public policy (Knutson et al. 1983, 4). In the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program, public policy determines the biological management of wolves, as well as how the wolves are managed for the stakeholders living within the wolf recovery area. Peoples beliefs communicate what they thi nk the facts of a phenom enon are (Knutson et al. 1983, 5). However, people sometimes have differ ent interpretations of what these basic facts are. Beliefs are accepted mental convictions ab out what a fact is, and beliefs may coincide with facts, partially agree with facts, or bear no relationship at all to facts (Ibid). Facts, on the other hand, communicate something that can be verified objectivel y, or known with certainty (Ibid, 4). Knutson et al. state that f acts tend to be more cl ear cut in the physical sciences than in the social sc iences (Ibid, 4), because people a ssign subjective interpretations and perspectives to concepts and phenomenon that are not easily measur ed or quantified. Peoples values describe what they care abou t, and a persons values delineate what that person perceives to be good and right. Values are shaped by peoples beliefs and by facts, but values also influence a persons beliefs (Knutson et al. 1983, 6). Values are also related to a persons attitudes and behavior because they provide justification for actions (Ibid). Peoples beliefs and values are an important aspect of large carnivore conservation because these elements are linked to policy prefer ences, and social groups canand doinfluence public policy; and because public support is a ne cessary component of predator reintroductions (Kellert et al.1996). According to Clark et al., social, organizational and policy factors are 24


the ultimate cause of ecologi cal and conservation crises (1996, 937), which means that scientists and researchers n eed to look beyond pure ecology and biology for solutions to carnivore conservation problems and employ tools in the social sciences to learn how human interactions may be affecting the situation. Large predators have a complex historical relationship with humans that contin ues to be the most influential factor determining their fate, (Ibid, 936). Human beliefs and valu es are a major part of the ch allenges posed by large predator conservation. Public Opinion and Public Policy Social and political scientists largely agree th at public opinion has an influential effect upon public policy and that this rela tionship is strengthened when the issues are more relevant to the public (Burstein 2003, 29). But this is not to say that public opinion de termines public policy (Ibid). In 1993, three researcher s analyzed several years of CBS/New York Times polls and found that state policies correlate d highly (0.82) with public opinion (Erikson et al. 1993; Gray et al. 2004, 411). Page and Shapiro state, We can be confident only that public opinion, whatever its sources and quality, is a factor that genui nely affects government policies in the United States (1983, 189). Public Opinion Polls on the Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program At least five polls and su rveys published between 1990 and 2005 indicate overall public support for Mexican gray wolf reintroduction in Arizona and New Mexi co. An independent statewide public survey in Arizona and Ne w Mexico in 2005 found that 67 percent of respondents were familiar with the Mexican wolf reintroduction project, and 62 percent of all respondents favored reintroduction of the wo lf, while 13 percent opposed it (AMOC 2005, AC2). A 2005 poll conducted by Northern Arizona Univers ity found that four out of five Arizonans support letting Mexican wolves roam a wider area of the southwest than current policies 25


currently allow them to occupy. The poll used a random sample of 695 urban and rural residents and was sponsored by the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council and the Defenders of Wildlife (both are environmental non-profits advocating for Mexi can wolf conservation) A New Mexico State University thesis study surveyed public opini on on Mexican wolf reintroduction by sampling New Mexico residents, Sierra Club members and New Mexico ranchers; the survey reported overall support but found that support varied by region (Biggs 1998; Williams et al. 2002, 576). An earlier poll, commissioned by the League of Women Voters of New Mexico in 1995 and conducted by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Va., revealed that more than half of the residents of New Mexico, incl uding those living in counties near the reintroduction site, approved of or supported the wolf reintroduc tion program (Williams et al. 2002, 577; Taugher 1995). In 1990, Johnson conducted a statewide su rvey for the Arizona Game and Fish Department on Arizona residents attitudes about the Mexican wolf. The survey sampled urban and rural households, and special interest groups such as hunters, members of Defenders of Wildlife and Game and Fish employees (Johnson 1990; Williams et al. 2002, 576). Johnsons public attitudes study was conducted in two pha ses. Phase one involved face-to-face and telephone interviews with 726 rura l and urban residents, and phase two involved mail-in surveys sent to 3,221 individuals representing five so cial groups: Arizona Game and Fish employees, hunters, members of Defenders of Wildlife, and urban and rural residents. Unfortunately, livestock association leaders opt ed to not participate so thei r voices were not represented (Johnson 2008). The first phase of the survey f ound that 71 percent of Ar izona residents were unaware wolves had historically inhabited their state; and that 61 percent of residents approved the concept of reintroducing Me xican gray wolves; and that respondents under the age of 35 were more likely to approve it than those ove r the age of 55. The second phase found that among 26


special interest groups, the majority of res pondents displayed positive attitudes toward wolves, even among rural residents; and that the major ity of respondents believed that preventing the wolves extinction was the strongest argument for their reintroduction. In 1997, Schoenecker and Shaw conducted a telephone survey on the proposed reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves and used residents of Greenlee County, Arizona as their sample. They chose this county because it encompa sses Arizonas side of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction area. Par ticipants were chosen at random from telephone book tables, and the results reflect rural residents attitudes but do not specifically separate out livestock producers. Of the 130 participants, they found 58 percent disapproved of the proj ect, 22 percent approved, and 20 percent had no opinion (Schoenecker a nd Shaw 1997). Interesti ngly, 48 percent of the participants who said they oppos ed Mexican wolf reintroduction al so said they felt that the program would have little to no impact on their lifestyle or businesses (Ibid, 42) and yet 65 percent of those opposed to Mexi can wolf reintroducti on cited ranching and livestock concerns as their number one reason for opposing the program. Given that five of the six surveys and polls indicate overall public support for the program in both urban and rural areas near and far from the reintroduction area, it is perplexing that the policies developed to manage Mexican gray wolves appear to be restricting the wolf population instead of fostering growth and reestablishment. This may reflect the nexus of beliefs and values about Mexican gray wolves and the developm ent of policies managing their reintroduction. Studies of Human Attitudes toward Predators Historic attitudes of American settlers toward wolves di ffer significantly from modern attitudes. Chapter One briefly covered the historic extermination of gray wolves from the time of European settlement to about the mid-20 th Century when the national attitude shifted toward 27


conservation. Picking up from that point, this sect ion will briefly discuss modern attitudes in the United States regarding predators, with a focus on gray wolves. In 1996, Stephen Kellert reported that predator conservation in the United States had undergone a significant attitudinal transformation during the latter ha lf of this century (Kellert et al. 1996, 977), yet considerable variations in public opinion re main and attitudes vary among geographic regions and demographic groups (Fr itts et al. 2003, 294-300). Kellerts national study of attitudinal differences toward wolves sampled urban and rural residents and revealed citizens to be almost evenly divided in negative versus positive views of wolves, with wolf dislike especially prominent among livesto ck producers, elderly persons, rural dwellers, and the least educated (Kellert et al. 1996, 980). The urban-ru ral correlations to wolf support or opposition can be partly explained in terms of personal im pact: those who are least likely to be impacted directly by wolvesthe urban dwellerstend to support reintroduction efforts, while those who are most likely to be impacted directlythe rural residentstend to oppose reintroduction or conservation efforts (Kellert et al. 1996). Oppos ition tends to be stronger in communities where economies are tied to livestock production, as Fr itts et al. state, In many parts of the world, especially where livestock are a means of ec onomic survival, people co ntinue to have an antagonistic relationship with wolves that is not likely to change in the foreseeable future (2003, 316). In this regard, reintroducti on sites with livestock production in close proximity are not optimal. Reintroduction failures involving large carn ivores typically includ e two very significant factors: deeply ingrained anti-predator and anti-government attitudes (Hook and Robinson 1982; Kellert 1996). Peoples motivations for wanting to conserve wolv es vary just as widely as do the range of attitudes toward wolves among demographi c groups. Some people advocate conserving 28


predators such as wolves for moral or aesthetic purposes that often are related closely to preserving wilderness, or they may see wolves as symbols of wilderness (Smith and Ferguson 2005; Fritts et al. 2003, 290 and 316; Mech and Boitani 2003, xv; Kellert 1996, 978; Kellert 1985, 168). Other people rely on scientific concepts of the wolves as apex carnivores that regulate prey populations and vegetative cover in a top-down control process triggering cascading effects through lower levels of the food web (Mech and Boitani 2003, xv; Hebblewhite et al. 2005; Ripple and Beschta 2005). Fritts et al. argue that only affluent countries can afford to conserve their carnivores because less affluent or subsistence-based communities or economies are in direct competition with carnivores for a limited food source (2003, 315-316). These concepts can be scaled down to a region al level and applied to the Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area, where public-lands livestock production occurs on the same U.S. National Forest land designated for the wo lf reintroduction project. Some scientists have found that carnivores and human population density are not mutually exclusive if favorable legislation is introduced to assist in carn ivore management (Linnel et al. 2001). In a study of predators and human density in North America and Europe, Linnel found that the relationship of predator populations to human density was not a strict density-dependent ratio, as has been previously suggested, but that the existence of effective wildlife management structures or legislation favor able to predator conservation was more important than human density per se (Ibid, 345). By this line of thinking, the types of public policies protecting wolves, and the strength of their implementation, is vastly more important for wolf conservation than the number of humans living in proximity to wolves or wolf packs. In affluent or urbanized regions that rely on extensive but distant agricultural and tran sportation systems, humans and wolves can learn to coexist without conflict (Fritts et al. 2003, 315), and as Linnel et al. suggest 29


(2001), stronger predator protection policies assist predator rec overy and survival in such situationsthough the creation of pol icies protective to predators is only possible with strong public support. Compensation Studies for Wolf Depredation When wolves and livestock, or pets, come into conflict with each other, peoples tolerance for wolves on the landscape tends to decrease. Part of the problem is the economic loss to the livestock producer, so some predator conserva tion organizations offer compensation payments for wolf-killed livestock as a tool to increase tolerance for wolves. Additional reasons to offer compensation include attempting to reduce retaliat ory killing of wolves, and an opportunity for the public to share the burd en of wolf recovery. Whether or not compensation is an effective t ool is debatable. A survey study in Wisconsin investigated whether or not compensation for wolf depredation of livestock or pets increased rural citizens tolerance fo r wolves (Naughton-Treves, Grossberg and Treves 2003). The researchers found that although all the participants approved of compensation as a management strategy, it did not necessarily incr ease tolerance of wolves on an i ndividual basis, and that most who had lost livestock or pets be lieved the payments in themselv es to be inadequate, given the emotion and years invested in each animal (Ib id, 1509). The researchers also found that an individuals social group (wheth er a bear hunter, or a sheep farm er or a rancher) had a greater influence on their attitudes toward wolves than did individual experiences with wolves, leading them to conclude that attitudes are not highly sensitive to wolf numbers and depredation frequencies (Ibid). This is interesting becau se it suggests a belief pattern independent of immediate facts about wolves or experiences with wolf conflicts. A second study suggests that an unintended negative effect of compensation payments may be that such programs worsen 30


wildlife conflicts by decreasing efforts to prevent the conflicts in the first place (Bulte and Rondeau 2005). Anti-Carnivore Beliefs in Rural Communities A qualitative study on anti-carnivore beliefs in southeastern Norway reported that community members perceived wolves as a sym bolic attack on rural communities by urbanized cities (Skogen and Krange 2003). The researchers chose the rural community of Stor-Elvdal as their study site because it contai ned four of the native Norwegia n predator species: wolverines, lynx, brown bears and wolves. However, of these, wolves had only recently recolonized the area and their new presence had reawakened latent tensions about predators (Ibid, 313). Skogen and Krange sampled 88 informants of various ages, education backgrounds and social groups and used semi-structured, in-depth interviews to elic it information from the participants about their views on land use, their relationship to nature and local social relationships (Ibid). The researchers found that while different subgroups within the communit yland owners, hunters, sheep farmers and othersdiffered in opinions of land use and their perception of their relationship to the land, they all banded together in an anti-car nivore alliance (Ibid, 318) which helped them symbolically construct their community and what constituted threats against it (Ibid, 323). This social construction of beliefs about predators was ac knowledged by Fritts et al.: Ultimately, the wolf exists in the eye of the beholder. There is the wolf as science can describe it, but there is also the wolf that is the product of the human mind, a cultural constructsometimes called the symbolic wolf colored by our individual, cultural, or social conditioning (Lawrence 1993). This wolf is the sum total of what we believe about the animal, what we think it represents, and what we want and need it to be. To many, humans, this animal is the ultimate symbol of wilderness and environmental completeness. To others it represents nature out of cont rol, a world in which the rights and needs of rural people are subjugated by city-dwelling animal-lovers intent on imposing their conservation values on others (2003, 290). 31


Ecological Significance of Wolves Because there is scant literature on the speci fic ecological role of Mexican wolves, the following section focuses on the ecol ogical role of gray wolves in general, with an emphasis on North America. Wolf-Prey Relationships Wolves and their prey have coevolved behavior al and physical adaptations that both help wolves to catch their prey, and help the prey to escape wolves. Wolves also directly and indirectly affect other species in their habitat though the further aw ay the affected species is in the food web, the harder it is to determine causality. Wolves are highly discerning hunters (Mech and Peterson 2003, 131) that can make snap judgments regarding the cost-benefit ratios of attacking their prey. Studies ha ve shown that wolves will target young, weak, sick or old individuals from among healthy herds, and that they consistently tend to kill less fit prey (Ibid, 141). Prey have evolved many anti-predator resp onses and defenses to prevent being caught. Clearly, speed and agility help. Smaller prey su ch as mountain sheep combine alertness with agility and speed over rough terrai n to outmaneuver and evade wolves, but when targeted on flat ground they are almost always caught (Ib id, 132). Larger prey such as deer use a combination of tactics to mini mize their risk of predation, in cluding traveling in herds where they find safety in numbers, seeking water bodi es to escape, and sync hronizing group births within a short time period to swamp wolves or other predators with a s hort burst of vulnerable individuals of a given species (Ib id, 136). Deer with large antlers may also use these in defense in a direct attack. Some prey sp ecies, like beaver and deer, can di scriminate the scent of predator urine and feces from among others, and use this information to increase alertness or avoid an area (Ibid, 132). Larger prey su ch as moose and bison will so metimes stand their ground in a direct attack, whereas deer will almost always run. Presumably, those that stand their ground are 32


fit enough to ward off attack; a moose that stands its ground is almost never taken. Wolves will bite the rump of their prey to distract it, wh ile a fellow pack-mate will bite the nose to suffocate the prey. Wolves have evolved strong anterior teeth and mandibles cap able of supporting the wolfs weight if it is lifted off the ground while the wolf is locked in a bite on struggling prey (Peterson and Ciucci 2003, 113). In prolonged fights wolves rely on many sharp cuts from their teeth to disable their preyin cont rast to large cats which delive r one crushing bite to the neck or head to break the spine or slash the jugular vein. In contrast, wolf bites are almost always shallow (Ibid, 112). Accounts of older wolves with broken ribs are likely the result of struggles to bring down prey. Non-Prey Relationships Once a wolf pack disables its prey, the kill site becomes important to other species, especially scavengers. If the wolf pack does not fully consume a carcass, they have to make the choice of whether to invest the time and energy in defending and guarding it for future feedings, whether to cache it, or whether to abandon it to scavengers; in some cases a certain level of sharing and concurrent feeding occurs. Wilmers et al. state that other meat-eating species are subsidized by wolf kills (2003). For example, ra vens are drawn to the kill sites to scavenge, sometimes appearing within minutes, because they preferentially associate with gray wolves (Ibid, 910), particularly in wint er, which allows them early discovery of fresh carcasses (Stahler et al. 2002). Ravens are not capable of eas ily breaking open carcasses, but will remove considerable amounts of meat in opene d carcasses (Wilmers et al. 2003). Grizzly bears are known to share wolf-kille d carcasses, or steal them. Since these carnivores are larger than wolves, they can dominate the carcass, t hough a large enough pack could defend the carcass against th e bear. Bears have been observed feeding at the same time as wolves on wolf-killed elk in Yellowstone National Park and scientists observed that after the first 33


feeding, wolves are more likely to acquiesce to the bears (Mech and Boitani 2003, inset 1, photo 1). Mountain lions are not highly affected by wo lf kills. These cats prefer fresh kills but are documented to be scavengers as well (Bauer et al. 2005), but since they almost exclusively cache their kills, mountain lion kills create dissimilar relationships with non-prey species than do wolf kills. Coyotes, on the other hand, are considerab ly smaller than wolves and risk predation themselves if they approach a wolf-killed carcas s while wolves are still present. Yet, Paquet reported that coyotes will track wolves to a kill site and feed despite this risk (1992). Foxes, which are even smaller than coyotes, must wait until a carcass is fully abandoned before they may scavenge it. Raccoons, wolverines, eagles and a dditional birds of prey will also scavenge on whatever pieces of the kill are left behind. Once d ecay sets in many invertebrates such as worms and maggots make use of the bits of tissue and flui d left of the carcass part s. Sikes et al. (1995) documented over 400 species of beetles associated with a wolf-killed elk in Yellowstone National Park. Smith and Ferguson (2005) discuss possible impacts to soil quality from regular carcass decomposition: But once all the aforementioned animals have ha d their turnthe inve rtebrates take over, especially beetles. And what the beetles dont get leaches into the soil in the form of nutrientsso many nutrients, in fact, that a study on the Konza Prairie Reserve in Kansas found that carcasses contributed more nutrients to the soil than did either feces or urine. (Ibid, 126) The larger a wolf-pack is, the more of the carca ss they consume, and the less carrion mass is left for scavengers (Peterson and Ciucci 2003, 129), so the individual importance of wolf-kill sites varies in time and space. Ecosystem Effects of Wolves There is extensive literature and debate about the ecosystem effects of wolves and what is termed predator-driven trophic cascades (B eschta 2003; Beschta 2005 ; Ripple and Beschta 2005; Switalski 2003; Eberhardt et al. 2003; Wilmers and Getz 2004; Wilmers et al. 2003; Creel 34


et al. 2003; Mech and Peterson 2003, 158-159; Stahler et al. 2002; Smith and Ferguson 2005, 117-131). This is an important concept for unde rstanding the ecological value of wolves in relation to landscapes, and why human control of wolves can have indirect landscape-level effects. As with any concept where ecosyst ems and landscapes are the unit of study, it is incredibly difficult to claim causality, but anecd otal observations, trends and patterns derived from long-term and large-scale studies provide cumulative evidence that wolves (and other apex predators) exert strong influencing effects on their habitat (Ibid). What wolves prey upon, and how, has direct and indirect effects upon all the food levels and species interactions below thema cas cading reaction known as a trophic cascade because it has a domino effect that ripples th rough sequential food chain levels (Smith and Ferguson, 118). Primary and secondary effects of wolves are the most clear-cut examples to discuss because once effects move to tertiary levels, too many exte rnal factors cloud the scenario (Mech and Peterson, 158-159). The recent reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park provided a unique scenario in which to examine these effects, because Yellowstone is a mostly wild and somewhat bounded ecosystem from which wolves were removed for close to 70 years wh ile other native wildlife populati ons were restored (bison) or were allowed to naturally recolonize and prol iferate (such as elk, m ountain lions and coyotes) (Beschta 2003; Beschta 2005; Switalski 2003; Stahle r et al. 2002; Wilmers et al. 2003; Creel et al. 2003; Smith and Ferguson 2005, 117-131). There is growing consensus that the presence of wolves in Yellowstone is leading the native el k to graze differently (Beschta 2003). Apparently, elk sense their vulnerability to wo lf attack and graze where they f eel more secure (Creel et al. 2005). This behavioral change in elks grazing habit is an anti-p redator response. When wolves are present, elk are documented to stay more of ten in protected forested areas and avoid open 35


grassy areas and unprotected ripa rian habitat (Ibid) which some ecologists dub the ecology of fear (Ripple and Beschta 2004). Reduced grazing by elk in the riparian areas has in turn allowed willows, aspens and cottonwoods to reestablis h in numbers and densities not recorded since the mid-1920s (Beschta 2003), which is helping to restore the health of vital riparian corridors. Supplemental, anecdotal observations state that with the re growth of the riparian corridor s has come increased habitat for songbirds and for beaver, whose dams and pools have in turn created habita t for trout and aquatic species (Smith and Ferguson 2005). An historic al study on the stand composition and structure of cottonwood trees in Yellowstone showed that during the absence of wolves, their growth beyond a certain trunk diameter (re presentative of soft, immature seedlings) was very low to nonexistent. This means that something was preventing the cottonwood seedling growth from progressing to mature, woody trees. Beschta wrote the following: The paucity of cottonwood recruitment appears to have occurred independently of fire history, flow regimes, channel migrations, or factors affecting normal stand development, but over the same period of time that wolves (Canis lupus) had been extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. With the removal of this wide-ranging and keystone predator, elk (Cervus elaphus) populations were able to browse riparian plant communities unaffected by wolves. (2003, 1295) Also in Yellowstone, studies show that c oyote populations have been reduced due to displacement or direct competition with the reintr oduced gray wolves; and, similarly to the elk, coyotes change their behavior wh en wolves are present (Switals ki 2003). Specifically, Switalski found that coyotes spent more time resting and were less vigilant when wolves were not present, but they also spent significantly less time scav enging on carcasses when wolves were not present (2003). Conversely, when wolves are present, co yotes spend more time scavenging because they consume leftovers from wolf-killed carrion. Presum ably, when wolves are absent, coyotes spend more time preying upon small mammals such as mice and rodents (Ibid, 986). These eating 36


habits affect species in the tr ophic levels below coyotes. Switalski also observed that coyotes took advantage of buffer zones between wolf pack territories where they exhibited less vigilance and took advantage of more rest time (2003, 9 87). Overall, coyote popul ations are documented to decrease 25 to 33 percent each winter in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone, and this is attributable to their reliance on wolf-kills in times when snow cover is deep enough to exclude regular hunting (Crabtree and Sheldon 1999, Switalski 2003). Scavenging on wolf-killed carcasses increases wolf-c oyote interactions during the winter months, often fatally for the coyotes, (Switalski 2003). Coyotes overlap ecological niches with re d foxes, and some scientists predict that the red foxes in Yellowstone will soon rebound because of the corresponding decrease in coyotes (Mech and Peterson 2003, 158; Switalski 2003). However, an increase in meso-carnivores such as foxes can negatively im pact other species such as ground nesting birds and small vertebrates (Mech and Peterson 2003, 1 58), which suggests addi tional ripples in the food chain. American naturalist Aldo Leopold discussed pred ator control and regulation of deer in the southwest in the later parts of his career. He observed landscape effects from an extreme overpopulation of deer on the Kaibab Plateau which coincided in time and space with the absence of wolves and a reduction in other natura l predators of deer. The timing of these events led him to associate the overbrowsing effects fr om a larger-than-normal deer population with the absence of wolves. He wrote the following: I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its d eer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades. (Leopold 1966) Not all scientists agree on the top-down m echanisms of predator-d riven trophic cascades. Some assert that trophic cascad es are driven from the botto m upfrom factors affecting the 37


growth, distribution and abundan ce of foliage which in turn fuel ungulate population growth by changing the carrying capacity and consequently fueling predator population growth (Mech and Boitani 2003, 159). It is also possible that multiple stable states exist for ecosystems and that they are alternately driven by bottom-up and top-down flows (Krebbs 2001, 509-510). However, most wolf biologists and ecologist s can agree that wolves definite ly have primary and secondary effects upon other species and that their kill sites ar e beneficial to many scavengers and even soil and water quality (Smith and Ferguson 2005, 116). Because they are such a strongly interactive species, wolves are considered a protective umbrel la for other wildlands species (Clark et al. 1996, 936). Research Questions What information sources do stakeholders seek out or use regularly to get information about Mexican gray wolves and specific wolf reintroduction policy issues? Which information sources do they reject, and why? How might these sources shape stakeholder beliefs and values? What are the beliefs and values of three key stakeholder groups of the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction regarding the subjects of: Mexican gray wolf management and specific wolf reintroduction policy issues? How do these beliefs differ, and how might they be similar? 38


CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Qualitative Research Research that seeks to discover and understand how people create meaning from lived experiences, or seeks to capture an emic view (o r insiders view) of a social group, is well suited to qualitative methods. When a re spondent in a research project can answer a question quickly and definitively, quantitative methods may be more appropriate, but when detailed answers are likely, and when the questions may cause the re spondent greater difficulty and imprecision when answering, then qualitative methods are suited for capturing th e data (McCracken 1988, 16-17). Qualitative research places an empha sis on discovering how individuals or groups construct and perceive meaning, in contrast to quantitative traditions that emphasize discovering frequencies in natural phenomenon (Kirk and Miller 1986, 5). McCracken emphasized the differences in quantitative and qualitative lines of inquiry: The purpose of the qualitative interview is not to discover how many, and what ki nds of, people share a certa in characteristic. It is to gain access to the cultural categories and assumptions accordi ng to which one culture construes the world (1988, 17). Qu alitative research is generally inductive, and the researcher typically focuses on a few cases and many variables, as opposed to quantit ative research, which is deductive and relies on ma ny cases with few variables (Creswell, 1998, 15-16). Creswell defines qualitative research as: an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inqui ry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes word s, reports, detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting (1998, 15). Ki rk and Miller describe it more simply, The accumulated wisdom of the academic tradition of qualitative research is largely a formal 39


distillation of sophisticated techniques employed to find things out about people (Kirk and Miller 1986, 10). Research Design and In-Depth Interviews In-depth interviews are a type of qualitative da ta collection that facilitates the collection of extremely detailed information from a study participant. These types of interviews, also called long interviews, have protocols th at must be observed in order to preserve the validity of the study and to encourage the intervie w participant to answer questions as honestly and deeply as possible. The researcher crafts the interview que stions in such a way that they are probing without being leading, and the seque nce of questions is logically di rected but not so rigid as to preclude the participant offering new informa tion. Questions aim to be unobtrusive, and the researcher uses promptssometimes non-verbal, such as an arched eyebrow or questioning lookto encourage the part icipant to keep talking (McCracken 1988, 21-22). McCracken outlines a four-step method of inquiry or research design for studies employing in-depth interviews as their data co llection tool (1998, 29) an d I chose to follow his stepped sequence in this thesis study. Step one is an exhaustive literature review through which I sought out conscious and unconscious a ssumptions of scholarly enterprise and began to establish categories and relati onships for organizing the data (I bid, 31). In the second step, I reflected on my personal experience of the topic and used this to identify cultural categories and relationships that may not have been identified by the scientific literature (Ibid, 33). This helped me to establish familiarization and defamiliarization 2 with the topicwhich was needed to 2 If a researchers personal or life ex periences have shaped her to be too familiar or close with certain perspectives, cultural assumptions or experiences, she must manufacture objective distance, or defamiliarize herself, to maintain objectivity. 40


augment my listening skills and also to be able to recognize my own embedded cultural assumptions in order to manuf acture distance from them (Ibid, 34). Steps one and two assisted me with formulating questions for the intervie w guide. Step three was the construction of the questionnaire and the interviewing process, whic h often generated continual feedback loops as the interviews brought new inform ation to light. McCracken notes that the interview questions must allow respondents to tell th eir story in their own terms (Ibid, 34). Lastly, McCracken describes step four as an analysis of four stages with the objective of analysis to determine the categories, relationships and assumptions that inform the respondents view of the world (Ibid, 42). The analysis process began with observa tions of the particulars of the transcripts and then moved toward the general, in a systematic process that will be discussed in the Data Analysis section. Objectivity, reliability and validity Because I was the instrument of data collection, and because all qualitative research is interpretative in nature, certain steps were in corporated to ensure objectivity of the study, reliability of the methods and validity of the resu lts. Studies in the natural sciences strive for these components, and qualitative research does not differ in this re gard. Objectivity in qualitative research can be assessed by the concep ts of reliability and validity (Kirk and Miller 1986, 13), which are also known as precision a nd accuracy. These two concepts have an accepted working definition with the quantitative tradition, which can be applied to qualitative research: When a procedure (such as an interv iew) is repeatedly performed and produces the same results (or answers), it is sa id to be reliable; and a result (or interview response) is valid when it comes as close to the true result (or respons e) as possible. Therefore, a procedure such as an interview is judged to be reliable when perf orming it repeatedly produces the same results or responses (Kirk and Miller 1986, 19). This study used three main techniques, one each in the 41


design, data collection and data gathering phases, to demonstrate reliability and rigor throughout the research phases. Bracketing is a technique that was used in the research design and data collection phases of this study. It consists of me, the researcher, acknowledging what I have learned through the literature review and setting it as ide, so to speak, to allow the discovery of new information from the study participants themselves during the data collection phase. This allowed me to learn from the data (Morse and Richards, 169) and not let suppositions or judgments based on my literature review interfer e with listening to what study participants were telling me during their interviews. A second commonly used technique known as saturation was used during the data collection phase (Morse & Lyn 2002, 174; Creswell 1998, 56). Before beginning the interviewing phase, I did not have a specific number of participants in mind. Rather, I continued interviewing new participants until no new information was gained with each additional interview; in this way, I could be satisfied that the data were saturated. Lyn and Morse state that data gathering must continue until each categor y is thick and rich, and until it replicates (Morse and Lyn 2002, 174). Lastly, constant comparison was used in th e data collection and analysis phases, which entails a process of continual comparison betwee n information from the literature review and gathered data, as well as comparison between th e data gathered from the three stakeholder groups, and comparison between the data within each stakeholder group. I used open coding for the analysis, which consists of reading a sma ll sample of interviews and assessing initial emergent categories, then analyz ing the remaining interviews in that stakeholder group in a constant comparative process, comparing new da ta to the emergent categories. New categories 42


often emerged, or sometimes categories merged toge ther as the data were refined, but the data were consistently compared back and forth and the categories compared against new data throughout the analysis (Creswell 1998, 56). I also used constant comparison throughout the data collection, or interviewing, phase to refine the interview guides. Interview guide development As a first step, I read extensive literature re lated to gray wolf and Mexican gray wolf history and the Mexican gray wolf reintr oduction program, including government agency literature such as: the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan (FWS 1982), the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FWS 1996), the 1998 Final Ru le (FWS 1998), sections of the Adaptive Management Oversight Committ ee 5-Year Review (AMOC 2005) and the programs Standard Operating Procedures. Then I condu cted a literature survey for peer -reviewed scientific articles on predator reintroductions, carni vore conservation, ecology of wolves, tolerance for wolves through livestock compensation, trophic cascades northern Rocky Mountain wolf reintroduction, anti-predator techniques and tool s, public lands grazing and urba n and rural attitudes toward wolves. Anecdotal and secondor third-source literature was also reviewed on historic attitudes toward wolves in the southwest, as well as first-hand accounts of advocating for the Mexican wolf reintroduction and the politi cs of wolf reintroduction and recovery. I monitored popular media with the aid of a Google Alert for news and feature stories pertaining to Mexican gray wolves between January 2006 and the start of the study in September 2007, which allowed the researcher to monitor events and themes repres ented in print media. Lastly, numerous informal conversations and email communications took place with four key inform ants: two affiliated with wolf advocacy groups, one affiliated with a Mexican gray wolf cap tive-breeding facility, and a former administrator of a wolf reintroduc tion program. This information was synthesized, 43


and I developed a list of information objectives to be obtained from participants and created a draft interview guide. I also identified inherent bi ases I might bring to the pro cess by writing down my opinions favoring wolf reintroduction, accepting research supporting the significant role of wolves in ecosystems, and approaching the idea of wolf reintroduction with a pers pective rooted in the conservation of natural resour ces and biodiversity. Writing thes e biases down and bracketing them made it easier to identify where bias in wo rding or phrasing may have colored the interview guide and to change the questions to more neutra l words or phrases. Explicitly identifying these biases also aided in opening my mind to accep t differing beliefs and perspectives without judgment and with an earnest desire to learn how the study participants perceived the problem. Pre-tests and refinement As a pre-test to assess that the interview gui de presented questions in an unbiased and nonleading fashion and that all salient topics were covered, I contacted ke y informants and asked them to review the interview guide and provi de feedback to me. Af ter incorporating the feedback, I sought a second round of feedback by contacting additional individuals who represented each stakeholder group and I asked them to review it. Again, feedback was assessed and incorporated to the guides where appropr iate. Obtaining feedback from the livestock producer stakeholder group was pa rticularly problematic. My init ial emails and phone calls to individual contacts (provided by a government employee) produ ced no responses. I decided to wait to refine this groups guide until field work commenced and I was able to secure face-toface meetings with participants or key inform ants. This proved adequate, and after I received feedback from two individuals from livestock as sociations, I made the necessary adjustments to the guide. I was also aware that some info rmation objectives might not emerge until the 44


interviews were being conducted. Af ter the first two or three inte rviews, minor adjustments were made to all guides and I considered them to be completed. (Appendix B: Interview Guides.) Data Gathering Participants were chosen through purposeful theoretical sampling, and snowball sampling was used within the livestock producer stakeholder group. Particip ants were purposefully chosen in large part based upon how they were involved with, or had experienced, aspects of the Mexican wolf reintroduction progra m. Consistent monitoring of Mexican wolf news media over time led me to understand certain key players and organizations that were consistently present in news stories. I contacted pros pective individuals in mid-Augus t 2007 and initiated conversations explaining the project and its objectives. Some i ndividuals contacted in this time period became gatekeepers for eliciting introductions to other individuals who became participants, and some individuals contacted during this time became part icipants themselves. Participants were chosen based on their history of involveme nt with the process, job level with a government agency or non-profit advocacy organization, or their experiences with wolves if a livestock producer. Because the livestock producer group is somewhat of a closed community to an outsider, I contacted a person with the poten tial to act as a gatekeeper to the community. After discussing the project, this individual assist ed me with introductions to potential participants. Two livestock producers were interviewed based on the recomme ndations of other part icipants, in snowball sampling fashion. Information obtained from ga tekeepers was often used to increase my contextual understanding of stakeholder perceptions, experien ces and perceptions. Insight gained through these individuals was particularly helpfu l for tailoring interview questions specific to each group and learning about issues not repr esented in the scientific literature. Informed consent forms were presented to indivi dual participants prior to the start of each interview session. (Appendix C: Informed Consent Form.) After the partic ipant read and signed 45


them, a digital voice recorder was turned on and the interview began. In most cases, the interviews proceeded roughly along the path laid out in the guide. However, in a few instances, it was difficult for me to reign the participant in to a specific format. Sometimes, because of the nature of the conversation or the participants co mfort level, questions were not asked exactly word for word as they appear in the guide. Instead I had to adapt to the situation and talk to each participant on his or her level, in a fashion th at maximized his or her participation and comfort and encouraged the participants willingness to share their beliefs and experiences. Interview participants were assigned a coded id entification number, and I kept an interview log to record the date of each interview, the part icipants code and the length of his or her audio interview. (Coded identifications: Government employees=GE; livestock producer=LP; wolf conservationist=WC. Numerals following each code identify individuals, e.g.: WC-1 or LP-8.) All participants provided verbal approval to contact them in the future if clarification was needed regarding subjects they discussed. Some particip ants divulged pertinent information after the digital recording had ceased. In those instances, I wrote the information down after the interview in a log. It is important to note that participants were allowed to talk for as long as they wanted. In no instances did the researcher place limits on the interview length. Transcription began as soon as the first six interviews had been completed. I reviewed transcriptions completed by others while listeni ng to the original audio and, when necessary, made edits. Changes made to the transcripts refl ect corrections to restore their accuracy. Each transcription bears the name of the transcriber on the last page. When all transcriptions were completed, each word document file was converted to a PDF format to preserve the original text from accidental alteration, and then the orig inal word document file was deleted. All transcriptions have uniform fonts and formatting and total page numbers were logged in a master 46


file. Total pages of transcribe d interviews differed between th e stakeholder groups consistent with the differences in total recorded interview times. (Table 3-1.) Table 3-1: Total audio times and tran scribed pages per stakeholder group Number of Participants Total Transcribed Pages Total Audio Time [Hr.:Min.:Sec.] Livestock Producers 8 174 11:10:58 Wolf Conservationist 10 316 15:44:08 Government Employee 9 261 14:22:10 I interviewed participants using interview guide s generated from one template and then customtailored it to fit each group based on feedback from pre-tests. There were six to nine questions unique to each stakeholder group (nine unique to livestock producers, six unique to wolf conservationists and eight unique to government employees). Th ese unique questions pertained mainly to the participants job or history in the southwest (e.g. For LP s: Can you please briefly describe your livestock business ? For WCs: Do you have a history of advocacy work in the southwest? For GEs: Can you brie fly describe the type of work you do related to Mexican wolf reintroduction?). These unique quest ions, therefore, represent an issue of applic abilityit would have been illogical to ask the same question of participants in the other groups. They were not substantial enough in content or number to have caused any significant comparative difference in the total interview lengths of each stakeholder group. Rather, the different cumulative interview lengths and times reflect the amount of information the participant s divulged in their interviews and the detail of their responses. Data Analysis The first step in the data analysis was coding the transcripts. This study employed a process of open coding, which is a process of fo rming initial categories that segment aspects of the phenomenon under study (Creswell 1998, 57). In itially, during the interviewing phase, I 47


tracked emerging categories using a process of mental reflection a nd periodic journaling after the interviews. I compared emergent categories agai nst new data in ensuing interviews, using the constant comparative method. When the interviews were complete I further refined categories within each stakeholder group by reading two or three interviews from one stakeholder group, tracking the categories, and then color coding th e interviews and highlig hting content that fit within each category. I then tested subsequent in terviews to see if the categories also worked on them. This process was repeated for each stakeholder group. Next, I produced data sheets for each category, within each stake holder group. The goal of this step was to condense the data by reorganizi ng it by category and subcategory. To do this, I processed the transcripts a second time and cut an d paste coded information into newly prepared word document data sheets, keeping track of partic ipant attributions. This process allowed me to begin seeing emergent hierarchical patterns in the data both internally between participants of the same stakeholder groups and externally by comparing patterns across stak eholder groups. Some categories contained substantially more data than others, which indicated that participants had more to say about these topics, or held more vari ed opinions, or that that particular category was linked to other categories in a way that the topic surfaced more often throughout the interview. In the end, data sheets for each category ranged from three to 19 pages. Finally, I further condensed the data by drafting oneto three-page summarie s of each category sheet. This step further refined the data by identifying the overarching id ea of each category and di stilling the context of participants individual voices into the common ideas of each category and subcategory. 48


CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Emergent Themes and Categories The following discussion reflects findings from the analysis discussed in Chapter Three. This chapter compares the minutiae of categories internally within each stakeholder group and the next chapter will offer a big picture co mparative look between the stakeholder groups. Throughout this chapter, the them es within each stakeholder gr oup are presented hierarchically with regard to the order of importance expressed by the stakeholders themselves. On the whole, I am confident that participants offered honest answers. There were a few instances where it seemed that the participant was attempting to sell me a far-fetched argument, and whether they actually believed it or not is uncertain. Only they know. Broadly, government employees framed their answers to emphasize stakeholder percepti ons and processes, while livestock producers generally framed their answers to emphasize con cepts of land and resource control and wolf conservationists generally framed their answers to emphasize wolf ecology and biology or policy. As discussed in the data gathering section in Chapter Three, there was a comparative difference in the amount of transcribed materi al generated per stakeholder group. Because the transcripts were analyzed for the consistenc y of general themes and ideas within each stakeholder group, and how these compared am ong stakeholder groups, this difference in transcribed materials did not aff ect the findings. On the whole, liv estock producers tended to talk less even though their inte rview guide contained one to two more questions compared to the other stakeholder groups. This may be because they felt less at ease with me an outsider to their community. Or it may be because they had less detailed opinions about the specific questions asked of them. Generally, government employees and wolf conservationists tended to have 49


longer and more detailed res ponses regarding specific wolf management policies, whereas livestock producers tended to offer longer a nd more detailed accounts of their personal experiences with Mexican wolves, or anecdotes about family, friends or community members experiences. Stakeholder Group One: Livestock Producers Most of the livestock producers who participat ed in this study opera ted their businesses on the central or southern portion of the Gila Natio nal Forest within the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, mostly in Catron and Grant Counties in New Mexico. Two livestock producers operated their ranch immediately south of the wolf recovery area within the buffer zone on a combination of private and state land roughly northwest of Silver City, New Mexico. Catron County is widely known within the wolf program as an area where people are the most resistant to, and outspoken against, Mexican gray wolf reintroduction. At least one of the participants had retired from ranching but still lived in the area, and th ree held policy-making positions within their communities. Participants ages ranged from in their 20s to 70s, and interviews took place in their homes, at their kitchen ta bles and in their offices. Two interviews were conducted by phone with participants when in-person interviews were infeasible. The most important emergent theme was that of livestock producers perception of the land they ranched and how it was controlled, and by whom, for particular uses. The second-most important theme concerned how anti-federal govern ment attitudes influenced their perception of the Mexican wolf reintroduction program. Other sub-themes included perceptions of particular wolf-management policies, beliefs about Mexican wolves and types of information sources that were accepted or rejected by livestock producers; th ese latter issues were information objectives identified within the interview guide, while th e two former ones were discovered. Please see 50


Figure 4-1 at the end of this section for a di agrammatic summary of the findings for this stakeholder group. Land and resource control Overall, responses from livestock producers clustered around concep ts of the landscape and its resources. Most livestock pr oducers felt that the stakeholde r conflict in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program extended past wolv es and encompassed who controls the land, how, and for what uses. Livestock producers viewed the land in the Gila as settled land, where families lived, ranches produced cattle, hunting gu ides operated and children went to school. Many felt that urban elites external to their comm unity wanted to preserve the Gila as their playground and that these urban citizens didnt fully understand that rural residents lived and worked within the wolf reintroduction area and were impacted by the environmental regulations and campaigns, such as the wolf campaign, that urban elites supported. Love for the land. All livestock producers expressed a deep love for, and personal attachment to, the land they ranched in the Gi la National Forest. Whether it was private base properties or national forest land, and whether their family had ties to it dating back to the late 1800s or whether they had lived there for only a few decades, all participants expressed a deep and overriding attachment to the area. One woma n, LP-7, whose family had been in the same county her whole life, described moving away from her family ranch only to move back after college because she missed it a great deal; its something dee p. I think some people are just born to have that longing to work the land. Wo rking the land and loving the land seemed to be intertwined in most liv estock producers minds: LP-6: I mean, its your livelihood and its a way of life and sometimes you wonder why youre doing it (chuckle) but you just kind of continue to do it, its a lifestyle and you know, you have to love it to do it, I can tell you that Its about being outside and being in beautiful country and being around animal s and being around wildlife. And just the 51


family structure that it brings, you know, you te nd to have close families and its just kind of a way of life. Just kind of a tradition, I guess. Most livestock producers talked about how ranch life kept their families close and instilled good work values in their children. Many also expr essed that they valued the land for its productivitynot just for growing cattle, but for it s ability to support other wildlife, such as elk and deer, and for past extractive uses such as logging. They were proud that they lived off the land, and they felt they were more connected to the landscape and wildlife than city dwellers: LP-1: Were in a society today that is so far removed from the land. I go buy my vegetables at the grocery store, I go get my milk out of the refrigerator, I dont have a clue about animals except my fat, overweight dog th at lays on the couch during the day, and I take outside to go to the bathroom three or f our times. Thats as close to nature as the average American that lives in the city ever gets and theyre so far removed from the land, and from survivaltheyre never hungry. Th ey dont need this, they dont need cows and ranching to survive. They get their meat at the grocery store, [and] dont have a clue that it probably comes from China. They also felt that because of their day-to-day existence managing their ra nches or their farms, they had more experiential knowledge and knew best how to manage the land compared to environmental advocates or government agencies. More than one participant sa id, in earnest, that they believed they could manage the wolf pr ogram better and procure more wolves on the landscape than those currently in charge: And I think Im right on the money, I really do. I think I could actually manage their wolf progr am better than anybody else could. (Laughter) And I dont have a degree in wildlife but I think I could (LP-6). Some livestock producers talked about i nvesting their own m oney, often hundreds to thousands of dollars, into imp rovements on their grazing allotments in the national forest. These were generally fences, ri ghts of way or water modifi cations, including channelizing 3 3 Channelizing is a process of clearing a stream or river bed, often with a bulldozer, to pr event flooding or the stream or river from jumping its banks. In southwestern agricultural areas, it is considered important and often vital for 52


streams, creating or maintaining dirt tanks, windmills or wells, and laying pipe or creating stream diversions. Several livestock produ cers talked at great length a bout maintaining forest health on their leased federal grazing allotments and ex pressed frustration with both environmental regulations and government entities limiting or sl owing down what they could and couldnt legally do on the allotments. Fear of being pushed off the land. Many participants believed that the Forest Service, environmentalists and wolf conservationists want ed ranchers off the landscape entirely. This sentiment reflected the percep tion of many livestock producers that environmentalists and government agencies (mainly the Forest Servi ce and Fish and Wildlife Service) are united against ranchers by their environmental goals. LP-3: Theyre anti-livestock, they want us out of here Oh, absolutely. Oh, theres no doubt about that. Everybody knows that. All th e groups have got together with the environmentalists and this is their goal, is to have The Wildlands Project. And theyre gonna make a linkage from Mexico to Canada where animals can travel and go wherever they wanna go, by these networks. And one of em is right here. Six of the eight participants percei ved this alliance as an orchestr ated effort to get ranchers off the land and to change the pre dominant land uses from livestock production to extreme wildlife conservation projects, and they pe rceived the Mexican wolf program as a symbol of this effort. The majority of participants mentioned The Wild lands Project by name, while others alluded to it more generally. Livestock producers in Catr on County expressed a general concern that environmental campaigns such as the Mexican wolf program were being used by some people as a cover to achieve much larger goa ls regarding changing land uses: protecting surrounding land from the erosive forces of flooding. Environmentalists, on the other hand, advocate against channelizing practices because they believe it alters, degrades or destroys aquatic habitats and constrains a rivers natural cyclical behavior. 53


LP-6: the bottom line is, those people who are so much on the other side, they dont want us here, they want us gone. They really do. And I think they see this wolf program as a way to do it. LP-8: Yeah, and I can tell you, you know, although there are thos e out there that want the wolf back because they think it belongs, there s a lot of them out there that may have that desire, but the ultimate goal is basically to remove livestock and other human uses of the landIts not a theory. Its a fact. Most livestock producers also fe lt that the general public didnt understand the effect that projects such as the Mexican gray wolf program have upon rural communities. LP-5: The consequences of the program are not being presented by the environmentalists, whose entire goal in life is to institute some thing along the lines of The Wildlands Project where the entire western half of the United St ates becomes a big, giant animal reserve. Though The Wildlands Project was mentioned speci fically on numerous occasions, a deeper reading of the scenario reveals a values differe nce where livestock produ cers value land that is put to use for producing cattle or farming, a nd they perceive wolf conservationists and environmentalists as valuing land that is loc ked up and set aside for wildlife. As one participant said, I think honestly some of them believe that th ey can keep this like it was 150 years ago. And you cant. Theyre too many people on the planet. You gotta start using it, I think (LP-2). The constellati on of factors livestock producers perceive aligning against them was reflected upon by one young man who said, Its not about the wolf real ly; its just that you see it all coming in the wolf project (LP-1). So me ranchers talked about subdividing their base properties if they were forced to sell out, and they felt that environmentalists were largely unaware what the possible impacts could be if they did subdivide their base properties within the Gila National Forest. Private property rights. Many ranchers felt that the wolf program represented not only a debate about control of the land, but also a de bate about property ri ghts. They felt it was unjust, un-American, and unconstitutional that they were prevented from defending their 54


cattle from a wolf attack when their cattle were on public land in the national forest. Several drew analogies to the government releasing thieves into the city and telling city-dwellers they couldnt defend themselves from the thieves if they were robbed. LP-1: And I dont care, you want to put the Wo lf Program out thats okay, but do not take the rights away for us to defend our land here. I mean, I dont care if it s on state, BLM or Forest Service land, thats our livelihood. Thats how we live. If theyre atta cking cattle, you should have every right to kill em. Be rid of em. While most framed the property rights issue as relating to defending their cattle, a few framed it more broadly by making the case th at the purpose of their private base property was to house a ranch operation associated with a national forest grazing allotment, and if wolves were impacting their business then it was essentially a take of their private property. One person stated that many people in the Gila feel they own their a llotments based on a complicated legal argument associating their chain of title 4 to water rights, implied access to forage and an extension of the water rights to the surface rights of the allotmen t. (This is further discussed in Chapter Five.) Though this was not a widespread idea among the pa rticipants interviewed for this project, many did feel that the wolf program represented the government and environmentalists dictating to them how land in their area could be used: LP-1: Its something for me to die for, and I believe in it that ha rd. Its a huge issue. Its all about getting control and tel ling humans, Americans, where we can live and where we cant. Environmental advocacy for land health. In general, environmental regulations affecting grazing uses and environmental advocacy (both ag ainst public lands ranching and in support of more wolf-friendly ranching practices) were percei ved by livestock producers either as direct 4 Chain of title refers to legal reco rds documenting ownership over time. In this case, individuals must prove an unbroken chain of title, or continuous ownership, to be able to claim the arguments tenets. 55


threats to ranching practices or as indirect efforts to make ranchi ng increasingly difficult so as to eventually force ranchers off the landscape. So me expressed the perception that environmental regulations were the environmentalists and the g overnments way of chipping away at what the livestock producers saw as their ri ghtful uses of the land in orde r eventually to eliminate human use of the landscape. Some ranchers felt that environmentalists hate ranchers personally. Generally, they felt that environmental gr oups advocating for grazing reform and wolf conservation groups are better funded and organized than livestock groups. One rancher said, Weve got such an uphill battle here because of the power of the environmental groups, because of the money that they have. Some felt that th e context of ranching culture and its business side are poorly understood by environmentalists: LP-4: And a lot of these people choose to feel good about this romanticized predator. So, theyre not going to look at anything that has any negative connotations on this particular animal. And so, theyre not going to be objectiv e. They are going to sit down and write a check to these organizations that continue to propagandize this whole thing. And were on the receiving end. LP-5: The most egregious part of this whole thing, is that these people who are in this, these environmental groups, ar e the ones saying, This is the way you should do it. This, this, this. However, they have absolutely no concept, none, zero, zip of how things work here. So what kind of position are they in to have recommendations? Attitudes toward environmentalists were gene rally negative among the ei ght participants, who saw them as meddling, arrogant and generally ill-informed or callo us about the impacts to people that they, ranchers, perceived from not only th e wolf program but also from other forms of environmental policy and regula tion restricting land use. Because many government employees enforce environmental regulations on the grazing allotments, such as National Environmental Polic y Act reviews or protection or management of endangered species, there was sometimes little di stinction made between government employees and environmentalists. Some livestock producers used negative words such as mischievous, 56


deviant, sneaky, and dishonest to desc ribe both environmenta lists and government employees. Livestock producers expressed fee ling very strongly and personally that environmentalists are a strong negative force to be dealt with, in part because of the belief that environmental groups want to eliminate livest ock producers on federal public land. One young man expressed this in a rather heated moment while discussing how wolf conservationists and environmentalists tell ranchers how to better manage their cattle herds: DB: So, what do you see as a solution to your dilemma as a livestock producer, dealing with environmentalists acting against you? LP-1: My solution would be, is ship these sons of bitches to the moon. Just get rid of them. I mean, they need to be gone. Theyre gonna destroy America. DB: Are you talking about the wolv es or the environmentalists? LP-1: Im talking about all th at! All of it! All those groups the Sierra Club, those ecoterrorists get rid of em. Because they d get rid of us, in a heart beat. Other ranchers took more moderate stances. On e woman said she didnt pay much attention when the environmental crowd advocated better grazing practices because she didnt feel that their message applied to her. In fact, most ra nchers felt that they t ook very good care of their leased land and pointed out that th ey had to take care of the land to be able to make a profit each year and continue ranching the following year. About half also expressed the belief that environmentalists value animals and nature more than humans. LP-3: Shoot. Theyre winning. Its a Wild Animal Religion, and theyre putting that animal in front of all of us. They dont care about people. They hate us. Proposed policy to remove livestock carcasses. One current issue was some wolf conservationists arguments that ranchers using public land in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area should be required to remove all livestock carcasses from their al lotments. Their reasoning was that wolves may learn to prey upon cat tle after they have scavenged upon livestock carcasses that died from other causes. It is a co ntroversial issue. Most livestock producers who 57


participated in this study felt that this was just another attempt by environmentalists to increase the work burden on ranchers, to pressure them into leaving. They also said the ruggedness and expanse of the land was such that it was impossible to search constantly for livestock carcasses: LP-4: I mean, you got to understand, this is not like a lot of ranchi ng areas. You cant get out there in your pick-up and drive out there and look for your cows. This is all horseback country. This is all country that you might not see a cow for several months. And I had a ranch here for awhile, and you can gather your cattle and there ll be 30 missing, and you may not see them til next year. And you can ri de and ride and ride, and theres canyons and trees, and they can find a little water or they can go where you just cant find them. Its big, big country. Ranches are 70, 80 and 10 thousand acres LP-5: let them [the environmentalists] come out here and put thei r butt in a saddle and let them ride 20 or 30 thou sand acres looking for cows Two livestock producers said they already removed livestock carca sses when it was feasible, so they didnt closely follow the i ssue, feeling that it didnt pertai n to them. But overall, livestock producers felt that implementing this requirement would have no net benefit to wolf survival but would have a negative impact upon ranchers. And in this way, it was perceived as a regulation intended to burden ranchers and increase envi ronmental pressures to make them leave. Some livestock producers worried that elk he rds would be negatively impacted by wolves, a sentiment that expressed both concern for the natural environment and concern for the guided hunting economy that they say be nefits their area. Most believ ed that the elk population has dropped, and they discount or distrust a New Mexi co Game and Fish Department study from late 2007 that found there was no negative impact to elk from wolves. Some also fear that the elk herds will begin to be managed for the Mexican gray wolves and that hunting tags will be reduced to meet this goal. One livestock produc er who was also a huntin g guide said that 2007 was the first year his business was hurt by the presence of wolves: LP-6: And actually, we lease a ranch right next to my familys ranch, and its all private [base] property, and theres a pack of wolves that moved on in the fa ll and really, really hurt us with our hunting business, you know, di splaced elk that are normally on the ranch. You know, we had a very difficult time. Ther es still some wolves there, and were 58


actually still hunting that ranch and having a problem with finding elk that and we struggled this year, and I know its because these wolves have displaced the elk on the ranch and that is private property, too. Anti-government attitudes A common theme in many interviews with lives tock producers was a general distrust of federal and state government agencies, government employees and federal or state laws or policies. Many general comments fell along the lin es of, Its history re peating itself, with government, big government coming in an regulatin us all to death (LP-2). As previously mentioned, some livestock producers discussed individual government em ployees within the Mexican gray wolf program whom they distrust ed, and there were a few specific employees who were collectively viewed as all right. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service and state Game and Fish Departments ranked am ong the least trusted agencies and employees, while employees of the U.S. Wildlife Services, if mentioned, were talked about in friendlier or neutral tones. Almost half repeated similar anecdotal stories about government employees routinely poaching elk to feed the wolves or s neaking onto their pr operty to look for wolf signs. Ranchers from Catron and Grant Countie s expressed resentment that the federal government exerted control over the land in their area. One stat ed the following: LP-4: Its my belief that the game of New Mexico belongs to the people of New Mexico, not to the federal government. And without our permission, they have no right to come in here and put in a large predator that will kill tens of thousa nds of game animals, without the permission of the people. The two livestock producers from the central Gila expressed less antagonism toward the government, but the six from the southern Gila regi on talked at length about negative perceptions of the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service, and New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the regulations and programs they imposed such as the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction, as well as other endangered species re gulations, such as thos e designed to protect 59


spikedace and loach minnows, spotted owls and jaguars. Most echoed th e sentiment that the wolves had been forced or imposed on th em by the government, without their permission. These statements give insight beyond the immediacy of having to learn to live with wolves into a broader philosophical statement about somebody forc ing them to live a certain way. In short, they perceived a web of environmental issues theyre faced with that the government regulates and that impact them in real or perceived ways but that they themselves dont support. LP-3: Theres no liberty or justice if youre a Forest Service permittee. None whatsoever. You know, when we have our Commission meeti ngs and we say the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning, I close my eyes when I get to the part about liberty and justice for all. Wheres the justice here? Wheres the liberty ? These animals were forced on us. And we cant do anything about it. And nobody is helpin g us. We ask for help and the government just ignores us. LP-4: I think its unconstitutional for them to br ing a large predator into our county. And I think its unconstitutional for them to come in here without any consent of the people, and bring a large predator, dangerous predator, into our county and do that. Various livestock producers descri bed situations in which a government employee had come to their private or leased property to investigate what the livestock producer believed to be wolf activity (wolves chasing stock, wolf signs, nuisance wolf activity or a depredation incident), and the livestock producer felt the employee had acte d in poor faith by not fully investigating the scene, disregarding evidence the rancher thought important, or not interp reting the evidence in the same way as the livestock producer. In one anecdote, a livestock producer described an incident in 1998 in which he felt a government em ployee purposefully tried to sabotage an effort to trap a nuisance wolf. In a nother incident, a lives tock producer was thoroughly dissatisfied when a depredation on his property was judged to be the work of a lone feral dog instead of the lone wolf he was certain had killed his calf. Yet another participant said that she didnt notify employees of the wolf project when she suspected that facial injuries on her cow were due to wolf bites. She said that, in a previous inci dent, she felt the government employees had done 60


everything possible to avoid a ssigning a confirmed assessme nt to a wolf attack on her livestock. (Livestock producers must have a confirmed decision in order to receive full compensation for their losses.) So when it happ ened again, she said: Why bother? When you know all youre going to get is a p robable wolf assessment (LP-2). Ignoring science. Many livestock producers also expressed frustration that they felt the government was ignoring science by reintrodu cing the wolves. Many livestock producers believe the Mexican wolves are not genetically pure because of their origin from zoo lineages and captive breeding facilities. They expressed deep doubt about studies that determined the founding lineages were pure, stating that they be lieved the Fish and Wildlife Service had used poor science to get what they saw as the wo lves impure genetics approved. About half also expressed that the rein troduced wolves were likely breedi ng with dogs in the region, further diluting the gene pool. Several said that when they had reported wolf activity, they were told no wolves were in the area and that they may have seen a hybrid, yet they sa id the officials didnt seem concerned about the possibili ty of hybridization of the rein troduced wolves, which they felt made no sense. There was also a sense among some that the combination of several subspecies of gray wolves into the Mexican wolf subspecies was a deceitful attempt to make more land and habitat eligible to qualify as the wolves histor ic range. This perception further supported their belief that the goal of the program was land control. Unfair burden. Most livestock producers felt the government created an unfair burden on rural residents through the wo lf program, and nearly all pointed out that the majority of support for the wolf program came from people li ving in urban areas far removed from the wolf reintroduction area. Severa l ranchers expressed that they felt the government simply didnt care about rural people and that their lack of concern over what the ranchers viewed to be clear 61


threats to human safety simply fit in to this gr eater pattern of neglect. Several ranchers also expressed they felt the government tried to keep them quiet rath er than fully addressing their concerns about the wolf progr am or individual incidents. Wolf management and wolf control policies Some livestock producer s said they felt that opening the boundaries to the wolf recovery area would assist them in terms of garnering more opposition for wolves as more people would begin to have conflicts and in teractions with them. One livestock producer outside the wolf recovery area said the boundaries helped him, but he felt they created an undue burden on those within the boundaries. LP-6 said he felt the boundaries should not be opened, because he doesnt want other people to have to deal with the problems. LP-1 felt that opening the boundary had been the governments number one thing since the beginning of the program and that they were going to open it regardless of possible ne gative impacts on the people outside. Nearly all the livestock producers who comm ented on the policy of wolves being translocated to New Mexico echoed the sentiment that New Mexico was receiving Arizonas problem wolves. A few declined to comment on this question because they didnt feel they had enough information; about half expressed disbelief that simply movi ng a nuisance or problem wolf would change its behavior. SOP-13. Some ranchers expressed frustration th at under Standard Operating Procedure13, multiple depredations, or attacks on livestock by wolves, in one 24-hour period would result in only one strike against the wo lf or wolves deemed responsib le. Strikes accumulate within a 365-day period, and three strike s result in a wolf being removed from the wild by the government. Others expressed that they felt the government waited as long as possible to keep problem wolves on the ground, wolves that the liv estock producers believed to present a clear threat to either livestock or people. Some felt three strikes were too many and that wolves should 62


be removed after one strike. Despite frustrati on with SOP-13, there was a general feeling that without it, were sunk (LP-3), because from their perspective it was the only policy that provided them a legal path for removing wolves known to attack livestock. Some livestock producers expressed frustration that if they were on private land, th ey had to wait until the wolf bit their livestock before they c ould attempt to deter the wolf. Compensation. Generally, livestock producers expre ssed aversion to the concept of someone giving them money to compensate for a livestock loss when they were stripped of (their) rights to protect their st ock in the first place. A few felt it was the responsibility of the government to pay them, not the wolf conservationists. They also believed that fair market value for a wolf-killed cow did not begin to cover the tr ue loss because most heifers produce calves for 10 years, and of those calves, some are kept to grow the herd and some are sold. So they felt that future losses tied to each lost cow were not fully addressed. Furthermore, most livestock producers believe that there are carcasses that are never discovered for every one that is found, that the existing program had too many delays, that not everyone who rightfully applied received compensation and that it was much too difficult to get a confirmed kill from Wildlife Services. LP-7, whose cattle herd was unusually affected by wolves in 2005, said, some compensation does help. Beliefs about wolves Many ranchers expressed the view that live stock predators must be actively hunted for them to learn to avoid people and livestock. This conventional wisdom expressed by most livestock producers was summed up by LP-1 when he stated: Cause I guarantee, you start poppin em off, theyre gonna star t getting warier of humans. Nearly all of the ranchers interviewed expressed the belief that because they were legally prohibited from shooting at the wolves, the animals were growing bolder a nd were learning that there was no negative 63


consequence to preying on cattle, whereas if th ey were allowed to shoot at them, the wolves would learn to stay away: LP-2: And if you could protec t your livestock, well, theyd probably start figuring out, Well, I better not go there, because thats where I lost my mate. LP-8: Theyre an animal, and unless you inflic t some pretty good pain on them, they dont understandif a pack of wolves keeps comi ng up to a house, if you shoot one of them, that pack would not come back. Probably, I m ean thats really the only effective way to do it. Some even felt that allowing the livestock producers to shoot at the wolves would increase the wolf population: LP-4: Its my belief that they could turn as many wolves loose here as they wanted to if we had the right to shoot it. Believe me, theyd learn, and they could survive. Excess kills. Nearly all the livestock producer s expressed the belief th at wolves kill more prey than they need to eat. Ranchers used descriptive phrases like killing machines, most killingest predator, and bred for killing. Some believed wolves killed for fun, and one talked of an ole timer story about a family of wolves killing up to 40 head of cattle in one night in order to teach their pups how to hunt. A few ranchers expressed th ey didnt like that wolves began feeding on their prey before it was dead and one rancher who said she had been open minded about dealing with wolves changed her mind when she saw first-hand evidence that one of her cows had been killed by a wolf and eaten while still alive. She also sa id she read historical documents about wolf spree killing in the Southw est, and while she doesnt think its routine, based on her experience, it was also not uncommon. Threats to human safety. All ranchers interviewed believed wolves were a threat to human safety, and many expressed a fear that eventually a child or rancher working alone in the forest would eventually be attacked and even killed by a wolf. They talked about hearing information or reading informati on that allowing habituated wolves to exist in proximity to 64


humans created conditions for an attack on a hu man. Given that some Mexican wolves exhibit nuisance behavior and frequent peop les yards, barns and homes, th ey felt fearful of an eventual attack: LP-1: So whens it gonna be that a wolf starts going, Hmmm. Humans are easier food. Thats when theyll start goi ng after them. Its going to be nobody, but itll be some ranchers kid. Or some rancher thats out ther e workin his cows and he gets bucked off, and wolves are gonna eat im. LP-4: And right now, today, we have two wolv es, a male and a female, who are what we call habituated; theyre not afra id of humans. And once theyr e not afraid of you, they see you as a prey base. LP-5: The agencies seem hellbent on continuing with this program in spite of what they already see going on. And our conc ern is, Is it going to take a child being killed and eaten before somebody decides that this is not a good idea? Some individuals in Catron County felt very st rongly about the potential of wolf attacks on humansso strongly they said theyre willing to go to jail for trapping a nuisance wolf in order to protect their community. Many newspaper st ories from 2007 had references to children developing post-traumatic stress disorder from liv ing in close proximity to the wolves, seeing wolf-killed carcasses, or losing pe ts or livestock to wolves. A study commissioned by the Catron County Commission found that several children and adults in the county were suffering from PTSD. When asked about their opinions on whethe r children or adults could get PTSD from living in the wolf recovery area, most particip ants walked a fine line between discussing the stress they themselves experienced when they ha d dealt with wolves and extrapolating their own experiences to other people. One individual who ha d warded five wolves off from stalking bulls in his pasture said that even though he was a big guy, he was a litt le leary of em because they are dangerous predators. Another participant who had experienced repeated livestock losses said that his relationship with his wife was strained during that time period, and a third participant reported that when her ranch endured an unusually active period of wolf attacks, that she and her 65


young daughter were under a lot of stress when goi ng out and searching for new cattle kills (they searched almost daily for several months in an attempt to get confirmed assessments and receive compensation). Some livestock producers expressed belief that a wolf literally had to bite you before you could legally physically defend yourse lf or injure the wolf to stop the attack. Severa l participants made comments such as, And I didnt fu lly understand the law, but nobody does when explaining that they were unclear what they could and could not do on private and public land to defend their livestock and themselves. At least two livestock producers said they had felt threatened by government employees who told them that the policies may say they could defend themselves if they felt their liv es were threatened by wolves, but that youd wish you hadnt. There was also expression of frustration that pub lic lands and private lands were often so poorly defined that they felt they couldnt risk harass ing a wolf they thought to be on private land, out of fear of making a mistake a nd being fined or imprisoned: LP-1: And this land down here is so scattere d with state and BLM, why would you want to take the risk? You may know the area, but when they come out and you show em, theyre going to GPS and when the GPS they re going to know exactly where the wolf was. And if one of his toes is on that line, youre dead. A nd even if it is on private property, youre still takin a risk. Cau se howre you gonna prove it? I mean, are you gonna sit there and watchin it kill five cows, and youre takin a vide o picture of this? No. Youre not goin to do that. I mean, and how many times do you go out there with a camera on you? I mean, its your word against th e federal government; whore they gonna believe? Not wild wolves. As previously discussed, some liv estock producers distrusted the genetic tests used to designate Mexican wolves from the captive breedi ng facilities as pure wolves. This belief, combined with other factors such as the captive breeding angle, use of radio collars and vaccinations, and supplemental feedin gs provided for the wolves, created a view among some livestock producers that the reintroduced wolves are not fully wild or natural. 66


Words and phrases used to describe the reintroduc ed wolves included: not wild, unnatural, pen-raised, hand-raised, z oo-raised, hybrids, welfare wolves, and habituated. Information sources and personal experiences In general, livestock producers most truste d information from personal experiences or first-hand observations or information pr ovided by trusted neighbor s or friends. These experiences tend to be shared orally, or sometimes over email or through blogs. Most participants interviewed had experienced at l east one depredation, had had first-hand encounters with wolves stalking their livestock or had susp ected wolves of taking their newborn calves. The bulk of their personal experiences focused on livest ock conflicts, pet conflicts, and instances of human conflicts with Mexican gray wolves. These personal experiences app ear to be the largest factor shaping and confirming ranc hers beliefs about the wolves. Government data and information. Most livestock producer s reported that they distrusted, disregarded, or took w ith a large grain of salt government data and information about wolves, especially when the information conflicte d with what they had experienced, observed or believed to be true. Numbers of wolves on the ground and wolf impacts on elk were two of the most distrusted issues. Two livestock producer s said they were more likely to believe government employees who worked on the ground, meaning they gave greater weight to those employees who had first-hand wolf experiences. So me livestock producers said they felt that the government slanted its data and would do anything to enhance the wolf program. A few ranchers expressed resentment that the pro-wolfers appeared to never look beyond pro-wolf information and did not examine information from all sides. One said she is less inclined to believe something put out by environmental groups because theyre not living it like we are. Her statement illustrates the livestock producer s preference for persona l experiences as the purest source of information. 67


News media. More than half the ranchers interviewed said they didnt follow news media on the Mexican wolf too clos ely, but that they tended to trus t stories in their local papers more so than papers from the urban areas outsid e the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. They felt that urban papers in general tende d to represent their side of the story unfairly: Its been very one-sided, its pro-wolf, a nd its not objective at all we re common comments about the accuracy of the urban coverage. A livestock produ cer who is also a hunting guide said he spoke with people from other states with wolf rein troduction programs and re lied on their experiences to inform himself. Most ranchers, when asked if they searched for wolf information online or in the news, said they felt no need to because Im living it, we live it every day, or Im right here. Many felt the major urban newspapers conveyed general anti-grazing attitudes through wolf news stories. Diagrammatic Summary Figure 4-1, below, is a diagrammatic repres entation of the major findings discussed in this stakeholder group section. Hierarchy is e xpressed through color, size and line width and continuity. Dashed lines express the relatedness of themes and categories. Dominant themes are depicted in solid-lined circles with colored backgrounds and capita l letters, and sub-themes are depicted in colorless circles with hatched outline s. This diagram depicts the dominant themes of land and resource control, and anti-federal government attitudes, linked to beliefs about Mexican wolves, and how information sources and experi ential knowledge interplay with perceptions of Mexican wolf management policie s. Sub-themes depict how the livestock producers deep love for the land combine with their hi gh value of property rights and ag ricultural uses of the land to create a unique lens through which they perc eive Mexican wolf policies and management. Lastly, the diagram shows the livestock producers most trusted information source as their own experiential knowledge of wolves, and the in terplay of this with their beliefs. 68


Figure 4-1: Emergent themes in livestock producers interviews. Stakeholder Group Two: Wolf Conservationists Participants in this stakeholder group were selected from advocacy groups in both Arizona and New Mexico whose agendas ranged from nati onal to local issues. Interview participants spanned hierarchical organizational positions from executive directors to program directors to outreach specialists and researchers. 69


In general, wolf conservationists emphasized the ecological value of restoring Mexican gray wolves to their historic range in the southwest, as well as the environmental ethic or justice underlying the program, as the most important th eme in their interviews. They discussed the issue of land and resource contro l as important, but they perceived it in a fundamentally different way than livestock producers; they saw it centere d on controlling for the ecological health of the land and designing policies that protected ecosystem integrity. (In contrast, livestock producers viewed it within the lens of property rights.) Though they tend ed to fault particular wolf management policies with having negative effect s on the population growth of Mexican gray wolves, they also tended to perceive revamped policies as the preferred solution to improving the program. Wolf conservationists, as a stakeholder group, tended to express the most unified beliefs of all three stakeholder groups interviewe d for this study. This may reflect the high level of communication advocacy organi zations tend to have as they seek alliances and share information to achieve shared advocacy goals; or, it may reflect the type of person that is drawn to perform advocacy work for Mexican gray wolves and their shared core values. Beliefs and values shaping wolf support Generally speaking, all wolf cons ervationists assigned a high va lue to wildlife, nature and science. The two top beliefs cited by wolf conserva tionists as integral to their support of Mexican wolf reintroduction centered around the concepts of biophilia and maintaining or preserving ecosystem integrity. Biophilia is a hypothesis developed by E. O. W ilson that all humans have an inherent, biologically-rooted l ove of nature and living systems (Wilson 1986). Some believed that the animals have an inherent right to b e (WC-7), which expresses a value of wildlife as equal to humans, or that wildlife has an e qual right to exist as any other form of life. All of the wolf conservationists expressed an innate love for nature and wildlife, and some expressed a belief that humans cant be fully human without having nature in their lives. 70


WC-5: ..and anybody who really appreciates being in wild nature just, it just comes from the heartAnd I think I think anybody would pine to go out and see a wolf in the wild. Its something thats an extrao rdinary feeling. I think that, you know, in our day to day life extraordinary feelings are hard to come by I think people need to see these wolves. I think that theyre a very charismatic animal. I think theyre beautiful, and I think people will get and feel a certain pull, an emotional pull towards them. WC-4: I come to things pretty much in afr om a biocentric perspective I try to keep this sort of argument out of particularly public discourse, but I really think that for people to be human its really hard for people to retain their humanity in a totally mechanized, urbanized and biologically impoverished planet. Thats not where we evolved, and its not where I want to be. And so, in this sense, the effort to restore Mexican gray wolves was imbued with a greater gesture signaling societys embracement of biodiv ersity and value of wild animals and wild nature. Some participants discussed their percep tion that gray wolves in general symbolized wilderness and the effort to conserve wildlands, while others discussed the importance of society valuing wild nature beyo nd its ability to provide benefits to humans: WC-3: There have got to be some places set as ide for nature to operate on its own terms, and the wolf is a key part to that I would hope that human society c ould arrive at a point where it values nature for the sake of nature and not for what it can provide people. WC-10: I like the full diversity of life The wolf is symbolic of wilderness. Its return to the wild is very significant for our effort to restore wild nature, not only for its ecological value, but because its return demonstrates so cietal acceptance of this long-maligned top carnivore. Wolf conservationists who reporte d hearing or seeing Mexican wolv es in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area while backpacking, camping or hiking expressed that the experience was exciting, positive and gratifying and that it generally reinforced their belief that Mexican wolves needed to be restored to their historic range. Ecosystem integrity. Nearly all wolf conservationists interviewed also talked about the vital role of wolves and predat ors within ecosystems, from an ecological perspective. They believe the wolf has an important role in th e ecosystem and that preserving biological integrity and top carnivores are important to maintaining healthy ecosystems. A statement by 71


WC-1 that, Its important ecologically, it s the right thing to do for the wolves, the right thing to do for our landscapes represen ted a commonly-held view. WC-2: Im not a woo-woo wolf-hugger type. I m grounded in an education in ecology and wildlife biology, and Ive come to understand that the wolf has a very significant role in the ecosystem. Driving biological di versity all through the ecosystem. WC-5: They are part of the ecosystem, and they just everything about our environment benefits from them being there. WC-6: Ecologically, its the right thing to do in terms of restoring a piece of the puzzle that is obviously important to the functioning of the whole system. WC-8: To me, the main reason is were missing top carnivores everywhere in this country, and its part of the reason the worlds fa lling apart because were losing the whole web from the top down Participants also tended to talk about the n ecessity of recovering wolves to ecologically important population levels. Environmental justice. Seven of the wolf conservationist s interviewed reported that they believed Mexican gray wolf recovery was a way of righting a past environmental injustice. In their view, the historic eradication of the Me xican gray wolf embodied a deep injustice of humanity against the animal, and the current at tempt to reintroduce and recover them reflected an ethical amelioration of this pa st history. Some framed this in terms of a moral responsibility to bring wolves back, while others used te rms like environmental et hic and justice to describe what the wolfs recovery meant to them personally. About half of the wolf conservationists stated that part of the reason they believe Mexican wolv es should be recovered is because there is a legal requirement to do so under the Endangered Species Act. Arguments opposing wolf recovery. Wolf conservationists responded to several arguments against wolf reintroduction as outlined by livestock producers and rural residents. First, most wolf conservationists did not believ e that wolves posed a serious threat to the continuation of ranching businesses in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Some 72


acknowledged that a handful of smaller ranching operations might be legitimately threatened by business losses to wolves, but they also believ ed that the compensation program would rectify this and that ranchers needed to modify their cattle husbandry methods to take responsibility for their animals. In general, they expressed be lief that the oppositional response from livestock producers against the wolf program is highly disproportionate to actual damages incurred from wolves. Some said they believed ranchers fee l threatened but that there was a difference between perception and reality. Some believed that livestock pr oducers perceive wolves as a surrogate for the federal government trying to re gulate them, or as a symbol of a changing balance of power as to who controls the landsca pe. Several wolf conservationists expressed the belief that public lands ranc hing was a dying industry in which the wolf had become a scapegoat for other industry ills such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, cattle prices, the vertical integration of the beef industry and public health studies advocating reduced beef consumption. Several also expressed the belief th at other American cultures based on jobs had changed with time and the changing of their indust ries and that public la nds ranching would have to do the same despite ranchers deep ideologica l opposition to change. On e participant drew an analogy to the end of anot her job-based subculture: WC-3: And every other subculture has gone through tremendous change, I think. And people lose jobs. There arent cabooses on tr ains anymore and there arent jobs for caboosemen. They had to find something el se to doTheres such a resistance among ranchers, and apparently theres very large public support fo r retaining the cowboy culture even though its useful lifespan is over, part icularly in this area Its run is over. Many felt that the most outspoken ranchers in opposition to Mexican wolves harbored antifederal government and anti-natur e attitudes that predisposed them to negative beliefs and attitudes toward wolves. Most wolf conservationists countered arguments by livestock producers that elk populations were being negatively impacted by wolves. They tended to dismiss this argument by 73


livestock producers as a political attempt to ga in support of hunters against wolves. They were also likely to cite a 2007 st udy by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department that found no negative effect on elk herds from wolves. Some wolf conservationists said that if there was not enough elk for wolves to eat, it was because the Fo rest Service allocated t oo much of the forage to cattle. Others said the hunters would have to work harder to find the elk because they were behaving differently and moving in different patte rns now that wolves were on the landscape. Several wolf conservationists stated that prio r to wolf reintroduction, ranchers wanted elk hunting tags increased because they complain ed that elk were eating all the forage. Most wolf conservationists stated that they accepted the numbers of wolves reported by the government as the minimum population count. They dismissed accounts that there were up to twice as many wolves on the ground. Most wolf conservationists dismissed the argum ents that children were developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to Mexican gray wolves. They acknowledged that the sense of fear may be very real, but almost all said that the parents were responsible for creating unnecessary fear in the children. To my mind, if these kids have PTSD, their parents should be hit with emotional child abuse charges, said WC-4, expressing a commonly-held opinion. In a contrast of beliefs, several participants said th ey wanted their own children to experience wolves: WC-2: You know, Id pay money <> for my kid to have that opportunity, to see or hear a wolf. So, I think whats happening in Catron is, the pare nts are so fearful of wolvesbecause of misunderstanding mostlytha t theyre instilling fear in their kids. Another participant said she felt the argument for human safety initially garnered sympathy but that by claiming the wolves were causing PTSD, it made those perpetuati ng the argument appear silly: WC-8: if I could think of a way to make them think that was their best argument, I would do it. I think it makes them look silly I think a lot of people can sort of feel their pain and sympathize with them when they sa y, were afraid for our kids But I think 74


when they carry it as far as saying our kids have PTSD then, I think people start to think, Oh, youre just nuts. If I c ould get them to launch a giga ntic public awareness campaign saying our kids have PTSD, I would do it. Still another participant, WC-9, had a relativ e who administers PTSD testing to veterans applying for military benefits, and stated that sh e believed the test administered was flawed and would not pass a rigorously academic peer-review process. In general, wolf conservationists played down or dismissed the heartfelt and even visceral fears expressed by many livestock producers who pa rticipated in this study. They tended to express genuine disbelief that the bases for these fears were real, or grounded in reality, while at the same time acknowledging that the experience of th e fear itself may be real, or in some cases, exaggerated. Control of land and resources All of the wolf conservationists interviewed believed public lands gr azing issues to be tied closely to what they percei ve to be problems with the wolf program. However, they viewed the issue of public lands grazing as a pre-existing conflict between livestock producers and environmentalists, and one that supercedes the wolf program. Conversations that began about wolves quickly turned to discussion about what th ey perceived to be negative effects of grazing upon the environment, cattle husbandry methods used in public lands ranching, individual good versus collective good and grazing buyout programs designed to compensate ranchers for relinquishing long term grazing leases on federal public la nds. About half the wolf conservationists emphasized this larger issue of land control and reforming grazing practices as necessary to fixing what they saw as the obstacles to wolf recovery, while others felt that wolf management could improve with only moderate ch anges to grazing practices. It appeared that most wolf conservationists believed that public lands should be contro lled and regulated to protect ecosystem health, even if this meant ne gatively impacting ranchers who currently use 75


those same lands. The results of grazing reform, in their view, would also benefit wolves. One participant tied these two issues together and addressed the competing goals for land control between livestock producer s and conservationists: WC-5: See, what you find at the end of the day is that this isnt its a debate thats really not about the environment. Its really a deba te that turns in to a debate about power. And who controls the Southwest. And youve got a ranching interest that felt like they are in control and have been in control for generations. And its an affront to them to see something like wolf recovery. To them its an erosion of their power when this occurs. And it becomes a real battle. S o, you know, this is a cultural batt le. Its not necessarily an environmental battle. And thats whats sort of hard to unde rstand initially. Generally, wolf conservationists expressed beliefs about grazing that could be grouped within the following four categories: negative eco logical impacts from grazing and ecological incompatibility;, public lands and public versus private good, grazi ng buyouts and grazing patterns and cattle husbandry tied to wolf depredations. They discu ssed damage to riparian areas, water quality, grassland degrad ation, the enhancement of woody growth, loss of native biodiversity, soil erosion, the spre ad of invasive grasses and the s uppression of natural fire cycles as effects that were all attributable to cattle gr azing in the southwest. So me individuals expressed their belief that grazing was ecologically incompatible with Southwestern lands. WC-3: if it were done in an ecologically sensitive way, there probably wouldnt be enough cattle there for it to be a viable enterprise. WC-6: My primary perspective on wolf recove ry and endangered speci es recovery in the Southwest has a heavy lens or filter of the damage from gr azing and the negative influence of the livestock industry. Most of the wolf conservationists talked about public lands grazi ng as a privilege and asserted that ranchers do not own the la nd their cattle graze. Rather, they believe that the federal government and the general public do. Wolf conservationists view ed the general public to be bearing huge costs from public lands ranching (due to the adverse ecological effects), while private ranchers profit from the ope rations, even if the profit marg ins are small. One participant 76


explained that the practice is so entrenched, in part, because banks and th e real estate market assign value to private ranches in part based on the fact that th ese smaller pieces of private property are attached to larger pieces of public lands. Its a false market, WC-3 said. Cattle husbandry methods. Wolf conservationists expr essed various views on what they believed to be the primary cause of the conflicts between cattle and wolves within the context of cattle husbandry methods. Because current stakeholder opposition to wolves stems from real and perceived wolf depredations on cattle and because curr ent wolf management policies are structured to remove wolves w ho depredate three times or more, some wolf conservationists are tuned into fi nding ways to reduce wolf-cattl e conflicts on the landscape by keeping wolves and cows separated. Current grazing patterns and cattle husbandry methods were identified as issues. Wolf conservationists believed that New Mexico suffered a higher depredation rate than Arizona because the Forest Service allows year-round grazing in parts of New Mexico, whereas grazing is s easonal in Arizona. They felt that the permanent presence of livestock on the landscape, y ear-round open-range calving, and the low forage per acre, which results in cattle being widely sp read across rugged terr ain, all created conditions that encouraged higher depredation rates. This, coupled with relatively low-in tensity management by livestock producers, created a bad scenario for both wolves and cattle, they said. Fewer than half of the wolf conservati onists interviewed were knowledgeable about particular cattle husbandry methods, but nearly all of them stated they would like to see improved methods on public lands. The few that were knowledgeable tended to focus on ways to minimize wolf-cattle conflicts. Using range riders and confined calving were believed to be the two most viable methods to reduce wolf depredations, but there was a general concession that most livestock producers operated at such low prof it margins that even these measures might be 77


cost prohibitive. Some wolf conservationists believed resistance to ch anging cattle husbandry methods lay not in the economics but in the tr aditional practices and culture of public lands ranching. Radio-activated guard boxes, guard dogs and fladry 5 were believed to have usefulness only in point-source situations were cattle were penned in smaller, confined areas. Of these, turbo fladry was believed to be the most effective. Most of the wolf conservatio nists interviewed supported the concept of a grazing buyout program to offer struggling livestock producers a path to sell their ranch and allotment, usually at an above-market value. They recognized the strong, collective resist ance of the ranching community to buyouts, but most believed that indi vidual ranchers would ta ke the option if they were financially pressed. One pe rson expressed that they could even take the money and move somewhere else where it was easier to ranch a nd start a new operation there. Buyouts of public lands grazing allotments could re sult in the permanen t retirement of that allotment through a collaborative effort with the Forest Service, or grazing allotments within a national forest can be retired through an act of Congress. About half the wolf conserva tionists perceived livestock pr oducers, particularly in Catron County, to harbor anti-nature perspectiv es, especially toward endangered species and predators. Theres a long histor y of anti-environmental attitudes there. Its a scapegoat for the fact that you really cant make a living ranching out there, WC-4 said. Nearly all agreed that the wolf recovery area overlaps with communities that hold strongly anti-federal government attitudes. Some said they felt that livestock pr oducers perceived the wolf as a surrogate for these 5 Fladry is a method of tying red flags or pennants to rope and stringing the flagged rope around a pasture fence. It creates a visual barrier that wolves ar e afraid to move past, and protects livestock for up to three months. Wolves may eventually test the flad ry and move under it. Adding an electrical current to the rope, termed turbo fladry adds extra protection against predators, but is dependent upon having an electrical source nearby. 78


issues because the government helped eradicat e wolves and now is putting them back. Many expressed beliefs that the area chosen for Mexica n wolf reintroduction contains some of the most radically conservative counties in the nation. They did not expr ess that they felt this was intentional on behalf of the govern ment; just that it was an unfortunate coincidence that the best wolf habitat in the two states also contained what they perceive to be some of the most conflicting sociological factors. Wolf management and wolf policies In general, three specific policies were viewed to be most problematic by wolf conservationists and to be thwarting reintroduction pr ogress: Standard Op erating Procedure-13, the boundary line, and the lack of initial releases in New Mexico coupled with translocation of wolves from Arizona. Generally, wolf conservati onists expressed a belief that wolf-management policies were designed to benefit li vestock producers to a greater de gree than they were designed to benefit wolf recovery. They also felt that government employees worked more closely with livestock producers than th eir own stakeholder group. SOP-13. Standard Operating Procedure-13 was la rgely viewed to embody a management style characterized by wolf conser vationists as heavy-handed, rig id, formulaic, punitive, inflexible, and the cause of many unnecessa ry wolf removal incidents. Most wolf conservationists believed that this standard operating procedur e significantly hindered wolf recovery efforts. Some felt it allowed too many ge netically valuable animals to be removed, that it results in broken pack structures creates a put and take system, and is too harsh on wolves in light of the perception that ranc hers are not required to modify their cattle husbandry methods to prevent more depredations. Releases in New Mexico and translocations. Nearly all of the wolf conservationists believed the program would improve if wolves were allowed to be released directly from 79


captivity into New Mexico. Some cited a recent genetic study of Mexican gray wolves that recommended increasing initial releases from the captive population to improve the genetics of the wild population. They pointed out that this recommendation is thwarted by a lack of space in Arizona for new releases, and some stated that the small area desi gnated for initial releases was placing an unnecessary biological limit on the population. A second factor was the standard operating procedure of relocating wolves from Ariz ona to New Mexico after they have attacked cattle there or have been deem ed a nuisance (termed transloca tions in the government jargon); this practice is meant to break the wolves cycl e of problematic behavior However, most wolf conservationists pointed to the fact that this created a negative frame for New Mexicans to perceive the translocated wolves, which they believed increased hostility toward the wolves. Boundary line. All the wolf conservationists interv iewed believed the boundary line to be a highly problematic policy, thou gh for various reasons. Some said it acted against the wolfs biology, because it is a disperser, and others said it created conditions for unnecessary wolf control actions. Nearly all the wo lf conservationists in terviewed believed wolves would have to be allowed to disperse naturally from the re introduction area if the program is to succeed. Program problems, failures and successes Most wolf conservationists expressed negative views on the overall management of wolves and the progress of wolf reintr oduction, but this was also comp limented by a feeling that the program had been successful biologically. In genera l, they felt that past gains made for wolf recovery had reached a plateau and that the current management was stuck, bogged down, losing traction, not su stainable, going nowhere, a disast er, reactive not proactive, and stuck in an old paradigm. Despite the sens e of frustration, disappoi ntment and disapproval expressed by wolf conservationists regarding wolf management, they do not want to see the program shut down. Rather, they want to see certain wolf policies changed. 80


Elected officials. Nearly all wolf conservationists a ssigned full or part ial responsibility to either specific elected offici als in their state, or the Bush Administration in general, for creating obstacles to the advan cement of Mexican wolf recover y. Some discussed anecdotes of local Congressmen disseminating false informati on to the public and trying to destroy the program, while others outlined their perception th at the Bush Administrations hostile attitude toward endangered species and conservation placed the governmental agencies entrusted with recovering Mexican wolves in an awkward position. WC-7: the Bush administration has been totally hostile to endangered species and theres really no question about that. Theyve de monstrated outright, u tter hostility. And so that has put up a framework for a backlash against the wolves In general, wolf conservationists believe that the governmental agenci es entrusted with the Mexican wolf reintroduction are not acting strongly enough on beha lf of recovering wolves and that too often the government act s to appease livestock producers in the wolf recovery area. Some individuals expressed the belie f that political will to recover wolves is lacking within the agencies; others pointed to the fact the agencies have failed to meet Mexican wolf population goals projected in the Environmental Impact Stat ement. Some felt that the adaptive management approach used by the cooperating agencies led to inaction or poor decision-making. WC-3: I think theyve been doing conflict resolution in all the wrong ways for wolves. WC-1: The agencies are in utter de nial about the scope of poaching. WC-5: I think a lot of what I see seems to be more about making ranchers feel comfortable and not about whats best for the Mexican wolf. WC-9: None of the decisions are based on sc ience right now; its all based on politics. 10(j) rule. A generally-agreed upon belief was th at though the 10(j) rule had been designed with the intention of allowing the agen cies flexibility in managing the wolves, they were using it instead to manage wolves for cat tle. Some wolf conservationists expressed in 81


frustrated tones that they felt the agencies were acting illegally by failing to use the flexibilities afforded within the 10(j) rule to advance the conservation of the species. A similar belief was that the agencies were giving preference to stakeholder input from lives tock producers in their decision-making and policy processes, to the detriment of wolf survival. Successes. Most of what wolf cons ervationists considered to be program successes were either political or biological in nature, t hough a few wolf conservationists mentioned the overwhelming support of public opinion as a grea t success. Wolf conservationists generally agreed that getting the program approved in the first place and getting wolves on the ground were the largest political successes. Several sa id they felt the actual wild wolves were the greatest success, that they were able to be rel eased from captivity and within a very short time revert back to being wild, killing native prey, and reproducing and raising young in the wild. One wolf conservationist summed it up by recountin g an anecdote told to him by a government employee he knows. The employee was in a hot spring in the Gila, fall of 2007, when a fleeing elk literally bounded over his head: WC-5: And the guys laying there, buck naked in the hot spring, and an elk goes flying over his head! And he said 30 seconds later, a wolf went flying over his head! And he got to see that. That, to me, is the success of this! Wolf conservation advocacy Wolf conservationists reported focusing th eir advocacy messages on different areas. Some focused on attempting to change wolf policie s to increase wolf su rvival, reintroduction or recovery, while others focused on general public education. Several wolf conservationists reported that they, or their or ganizations, were revamping their messages and trying to break down the science into more basi c components in an effort to better reach the public, mainly because they believed their opposition was wi nning the message war using largely emotional claims: 82


WC-8: Enviros are terrible at tel ling their story. We tend to keep thinking if we just keep saying all these facts and so we dont tell th is story as the compelling story about this wonderful animal thats teetering on the br ink of extinction and is so good for the environment and everyone should love it and re spect it and we should make room for it. We tell the story about, you know, 59 percent are moved here and 29 percent are lost here; we tell it in this totally wonkish (way): What we need is an amendment to change section 402-B. Of course nobody cares! And you put that up against Im afraid for my children as a compelling story, or I am losing my live lihood versus, Well, we need to recover wolves, and the way we need to do it is to ch ange subsection 12. It s like, were just not good at it. Most wolf conservationists repo rted increasing their advocacy e fforts within the past year because of a perception that the cowboys are ahead. Most wolf conservationists reported vary ing advocacy goals. Several mentioned an ultimate goal of recovering Mexican gray wolves, but they were more preoccupied with intermediate steps, such as nudging of the agencies to pay more attention to enhancing wolf recovery and growing the wolf population. An upcoming scoping meeting to change the 10(j) rule governing Mexican wolf management had many of them occupied, tryi ng to mobilize people to attend meetings and submit comments on sp ecific items of thei r agendas. One wolf conservationist stated that his ultimate goal wa s to mobilize support for a grazing retirement campaign. Information sources All wolf conservationists interviewed reported using four main types of sources for their advocacy work with wolves: peer-reviewed scie nce, agency information, other conservation groups information and news media. Peer-rev iewed science was generally given the most preference and credibility, along with academic books published by scientists and wolf experts. Because there are a limited number of studies available on Mexican gray wolves, most conservationists reported using st udies on gray wolves from ot her regions, stating that the ecological roles were similar and many factors within the studies correlated to the Mexican wolf 83


reintroduction. Second to science, wolf conservationists reported using data and information distributed by the government agencies. They used policies and reports distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, endangered species email updates distributed by Arizona Game and Fish, telemetry flight locations for wolves a nd monthly maps showing wolf movements also distributed by Arizona Game and Fish, and also information about grazing allotments obtained from the U.S. Forest Service. Science-based ma terials were reported to be the most trusted sources, and their second-most trusted source tended to be colleagues, typically scientists or activists, and first-hand experiences (such as hearing or observing wolv es in the wild, or experiences interacting with government employees in the advocacy process or experiences interacting with the livestock producers). News media. News media were cited as an inform ation source, largely in the form of newspapers from Albuquerque, Silver City, and Reserve in New Mexico, and Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona. News storie s were not generally relied upon to obtain new or original information so much as to monitor what types of news stories were reaching the general public and being reported by papers local to the Blue Range. Most wolf conservationists believed the majority of news articles on wolves contain vary ing degrees of fact errors, usually nuances of policies or dates, locations or tim es of specific incidences. In gene ral, most wolf conservationists felt the news media overall had po rtrayed wolf stories negatively for 2007, with a few periods of positive stories interspersed. They perceived the negative stories to be ones focused on wolfcattle conflicts and depredations, incidences where adults or children reported feeling threatened by wolves, or stories that tended to focus largely on emotional cl aims of rural residents without investigation or fact checking. 84


Misinformation. Most wolf conservationists reported feeling appalled or frustrated by what they perceived to be inaction of the governmental agencies in countering what they believed to be misinformation. They felt that allo wing rumors and false claims to be repeated was essentially condoning them to become conven tional wisdom. One wolf conservationist with a journalism background stated that most news stories used typical frames of villains and heroes, pitting conservationists versus ra nchers, instead of just giving a balanced story. In general, about half the wolf conservationists intervie wed reported a perception that those who oppose wolves had become very savvy in manipulating th e media in the past few years and had become more successful in framing emotional issues of the wolf debate. Least trusted sources of information included items disseminated by livest ock associations, livestock spokespersons, and anti-wolf websites and blogs: WC-8: Well, and some of these web sites from the opposition are just laughable, but they probably think our stuff is just laughable too. Diagrammatic Summary Figure 4-2, below, is a diagrammatic representa tion of the major findings discussed in this stakeholder section. It shows th e dominant themes of assigning a high value to the ecological aspects of both wolf conservation and ecosystem health and integrity. Concepts of biophilia, environmental ethics and environmental justice an d the key role of wolves in driving biological diversity were emphasized by this stakeholder group as reasons why they supported Mexican wolf recovery. They also discusse d issues of public-lands grazing as a larger issue that the wolf program was nested within as it relates to the ecological health and inte grity of the landscape, from their perspective. Their belie fs about specific wolf policies te nded to be rooted in scientific perspectives of what would stre ngthen wolf recovery, and they te nded to frame solutions to the current problems within political and policy-dr iven frames. Lastly, the diagram depicts wolf 85


conservationists most trusted information sources as scientific literatu re and government data and the interplay between these sources and their beliefs. Figure 4-2: Emergent themes in wo lf conservationists interviews. Stakeholder Group Three: Government Employees Government employees from all levels of st ate (Arizona and New Mexico) and federal government agencies participated in the study. Be cause of the small number of employees in some agencies involved in the program, specifi c agencies and job positions are considered 86


identifying information and cannot be used to describe the participan ts type of work or hierarchical position. In general, participants in this stakeholde r group expressed a wide variety of beliefs and opinions, with overall less unity than emerged among the other two stakeholder groups. Even so, common themes and categories em erged and of these, people problems were generally most discussed. That is, issues that the government employees viewed as centering upon stakeholder satisfaction, opposition to the progr am, depredation problems, cultural attitudes and fears. They also discussed the polarizati on between stakeholders and the difficulty of designing policies suitable to ev eryone that also met cons ervation goals. Specific wolf management policies were discussed and though ther e were varying degrees of consensus, nearly everyone agreed that the boundary line had led to unforeseen conflicts and too many wolf removals. They discussed behavioral and biological wolf issues, though nearly all felt that these were secondary to the stakeholde r issues in terms of making the program successful. And lastly, they discussed information sources and all govern ment employees stated they most trusted both government-produced data and information and scientific literature They reported using information from livestock produc ers and livestock associations as well as wolf conservation organizations or individual cons ervationists, but they tended to view these as more likely to contain bias than the prev iously discussed types. People problems The largest theme that emerged from govern ment employee interviews was that of people problemsissues they perceived to be pe oples attitudes or beliefs that complicated Mexican gray wolf recovery. One participant su mmed up this idea this way: That is the single biggest issue, human values and human tole rance for this animal (GE-2). Government employees often answered questions by first t houghtfully reflecting on how the question at hand was perceived differently by stakeholders who oppose or support wolf recovery, commonly 87


called anti-wolfers and pro-wolfers, respec tively. Most government employees expressed beliefs that solving problems related to people presented the greatest cha llenge to Mexican gray wolf reintroduction and recovery success. Where they saw the biology of wolf recovery as easy, they viewed the sociological aspects as damn tough. One participant, GE-4, said, Its like 98 percent peoples politics and 2 percent wolf bi ology. Among the biggest people problems government employees identified, program opposition and stakeholder polarization ranked the highest. GE-3: Environmentalists and ranchers on both sides of the equation havenot all environmentalists and not all ranchersbut have equally false percepti ons of what a wolf is in terms of being the devil or bein, ah, you know, the symbol of wilderness and not causin any problems and killing the weak, si ck and the young only Neither one is right. Program opposition. Generally, government employees tended to view livestock producers and landowners as the most outspoken st akeholder group opposed to the Mexican wolf program. They also tended to in clude in this group ru ral residents of diff erent occupations and tribal entities and wolf conservationists who supported th e program but opposed management aspects. Government employees talked about th ree main perceived prob lems with livestock producers including depredation issues, cultural attitudes, and fears. First, depredation issues presented the mo st immediate challenge of working with livestock producers to minimize conflicts be tween livestock and cattle. A few government employees expressed that people mistakenly conceive of either the cattle or the wolf as being the problem, when from their viewpoint it was the juxtaposition of the tw o animals being in the same area at the same time that led to pot ential problems. A few government employees expressed frustration with the lack of willingness to accept some depred ation on the part of livestock producers, coupled with a management sy stem that results in a fairly stern response that punishes wolves. Others talked more openl y about the very real impacts to ranchers: 88


GE-3: I mean, there will always be cattle depred ations. That will be an aspect whether its wild, captive or otherwise. There will always be some level of cattle depredations that are out there. And some level of cattle depreda tions that are not found. So theres always a baseline economic impact to the people out there on the ground th at live with these critters. The idea of compensating ranchers for depr edation was viewed favorably by nearly all government employees, though their opinions varied on how it should be carried out. Several government employees believed that the existing compensation program has some flaws and was not a complete solution for removing the ec onomic burden the wolves create for some ranchers. Some felt that a certain proportion of livestock produ cers in the region would always be fundamentally opposed to accepting money from a conser vation group. Most government employees felt that some background level of de predation would always be present, given the nature of the landscape and that ranchers typically dont tend thei r animals daily. At least three government employees believed positive incentives would need to be tied to the compensation package if the wolf program was going to be successful. Positive incentives include compensating ranchers for the presence or densit y of wolves on or near their property, which would create a positive frame fo r wanting wolves in higher numbers, versus compensating for wolf-killed livestock which many claimed is a disincentive for wolf conservation because it requires no change in behavior on behalf of the ranchers. A few government employees discussed proac tive efforts to work with ranchers to prevent depredations with the intention of lessening economic impacts and also mitigating opposition to the program. GE-3 said the most important element was to provide them a solution they can believe in. He said most ranc hers feel they dont have many options, but that a small minority is willing to consider new solu tions. GE-7 discussed techniques like community calving, range riders and confined calving but stated that in her experience, many of the livestock operations did not have enough peopl e or resources to be operated that intensively. Almost all 89


government employees talked about ways to empowe r ranchers to feel that they were more in control, either by allowing them to haze wolves or giving them additional resources to deal with wolves. GE-5: a lot of it is not about real issues. I mean, thats the most important thing you could ever learn about it. Its not about, I had a problem and nobody showed up, or my problems went unresolved, or the problem is, the government lied to me. They said thered be somebody here to help me and nobody came. Rather, the issu e is that, Im the victim. Its that constant sort of nagging thing. Most government employees were in favor of ch anging management rules to allow ranchers and rural residents to haze wolves themselves with non-lethal means rather than waiting for the Interagency Field Team to arrive if there is an incident. They said th is would benefit rural residents and ranchers in terms of feeling that they had more control: GE-5: Then that cuts out the bitching that the gubment isnt doing anything to help me. Cause then, if you want to spend all night with a rifle in your pastur ego nuts! Do it! If you dont, then thats not my decision that you didnt want to go out there. So it kind of puts the onus on them. But others emphasized that the more immediate issue was to minimize the lag time between a wolf displaying a nuisance behavior and the ne gative reinforcement, wh ich livestock producers and rural residents could deliver more quickly than the field team could. Second, government employees discussed cultur al attitudes that added to livestock producers opposition to the program. GE-3 said he encountered a cultural attitude of family pride that my granddad shot the la st wolf in this country, this family history or cultural history contributed to opposition. Some government employees recogn ized that anti-government attitudes in the wolf recovery area made their jobs more difficult. GE-6: Its become a political beast more so than in it used to be just because people are not necessarily against wolves or predators per se as much as they might have been back in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Its more so the govern ment. Its a staged protest against the government, utilizing the Mexican wolf recovery project. 90


But many government employees also believed th at taking time and energy to develop working relationships with ranchers and affected landowners, and particular ly finding useful solutions to their problems, went a very long way. A few g overnment employees stated that the program may have collectively miscalculated the streng th of some of thes e attitudes prior to reintroduction and underestimated how deep the oppos ition would be from some ranchers in both states, especially in New Mexico. We misse d some of those attitudes, GE-7 said. Third, government employees discussed several issues connected by the concept of fear. People opposed to the wolf program, including rura l residents and policy makers in addition to livestock producers, have objected to the Mexican wolf program based on fear for human safety. Most government employees expressed personal opinions that allegations of post-traumatic stress disorder among children were attempts to inflate safety issues by people who opposed the program. They were careful to recognize that the f ear in some cases may be very real but stressed that the probability of a wolf harming a human is statistically very low. Still, most government employees believed the source of ch ildrens fears, if they existed, was due to the parents teaching them to have a fear response. GE -3 said that if any person who seriously felt fearful for his or her life or the life of someone with them due to a wolf, then they should weigh that thing down. Doesnt matter what it is. Damn the consequences. 6 Another fear some government employees a ddressed was the perception that the wolf program is an attempt to take over control of the land used by livestock producers. All government employees denied that this was the case, and about half explici tly said they wanted to see ranchers stay on the landscape, even give n some of their opposition to the program. A few 6 To weigh something down is a colloquialism for killing it, taking it out or taking it down. 91


discussed the idea of ranchers s ubdividing their private base pr operty and felt that this was a clear threat to wildlife. GE-2: The purpose of the reintr oduction-slash-recovery program is not to force ranchers off the landscape. I do believe that wolves a nd livestock can be compatibleand the other thing is that creating an environment where th ey feel like theyre being driven out, and then they sell their base pr operty is an even worse solutio n. Taking a hundred acre parcel and splitting it into ranchettes is not conducive to wolf recove ry, or for that matter, good wildlife management. Its not in our best intere st. Its not in the best interest of wolf recoveryand even if it were, it s not in the [Fish and Wildlife] Services mandate to do something like that. Several also interpreted this fear of being driven out as an ex tension of how endangered species are framed as threats to private property. A fe w mentioned specific environmental groups who proclaim this goal of driving ranchers off the landscape, but it was generally addressed that there are people out there who would like to see that sort of thing, but its not us. Government employees responded in various ways to questions about livestock producers fear of regional elk herds being decimated by wolves. Some felt that livestock producers were using the issue disingenuously or out of ignorance to oppose the program, citing recent surveys showing that the elk herd in New Mexico had actually increased. Others said that perhaps livestock producers and hunters were observ ing local patterns of sh ifting elk behavior in response to the wolves, and were erroneously in terpreting these area-spe cific changes in elk locations as a regional population decline. Stakeholder conflict and polarization. Many of the government employees characterized the livestock producers and wolf c onservationists as lackin g middle ground; a few conceded it made their jobs very difficult in terms of catering to the differing stakeholder goals. Several specifically said that both ranchers a nd environmentalists have values-based perceptions of wolves, and these values reflect a spectrum wh ere the agencies are often caught in the middle. GE-2 expressed it well when he said that most thi ngs in life can fit a bell-curve but with the wolf 92


program, the continuum of stakeholders values can be graphed as a double camel hump with the agencies in the trough. This was his depictio n of how deep the polar ization is. Government employees were somewhat divided about the role of wolf conservationists in the program, and this division seemed to reflect their personal views more so than their agencys. Many felt the program would not have gotten st arted without the help of wo lf conservationists garnering support, but they generally e xpressed divided opinions about how different groups were currently advocating for the wolf s recovery; some government em ployees were critical of the tactics of a few groups, but not nece ssarily critical of all the groups. Wolf management and wolf policies Many of the policies that government employees discussed were framed in terms of how they affected or were received by stakeholders particularly ranchers, while others were discussed in terms of how they affected the wo lves and the wolf program. In general, most government employees viewed the program as successful, though some drew distinctions between the biological success of the wolves adap ting to life in the wild from captivity and the people challenges the program faced. Most pointed to successes such as the fact that there are wolves on the ground, that there is wild reproducti on and pups, and multiple generations of wildborn wolves are on the ground. Most government em ployees conceded that there were too many wolf removals due to several stringent manageme nt policies that initially had been designed to increase human tolerance of the reintroduced wolv es. GE-1 said, We can count just as well as anybody else, what the losses are. Some said th at without lessening th e stringency of wolf policies, they didnt see the program progressing beyond the populat ion plateau it has reached in the past few years. SOP-13. Government employees tended to be divided on the most controversial of standard operating procedures, Standard Operating Procedure-13, w ith no clear general 93


agreement about it emerging except that it had led to more wolf removals than anticipated and that among the stakeholders perceptions of it, ranchers viewed it as too liberal while wolf conservationists viewed it as too punitive. In general, most government employees agreed it needed to be addressed and revised. Only one government employee framed his answer in the positive, stating that it was consistent with wolf management in the Northern Rocky Mountains. GE-6 stated, Its a heavy-handed management t ool thats almost like an anvil when you only need a hammer. GE-1 stated that his department viewed the SOP as part of the reason why the wolf population has failed to grow notably in the past few years. Several government employees stated that it would be better fo r all the agencies if they could deal with depredations on a caseby-case basis instead of having to adhere to a rigid protocol. Boundary line. There was a general agreement am ong government employees that the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area boundary had led to unforeseen conflicts, such as more removals of wolves than antic ipated, and that it was contribu ting to restricting the wolves population growth. Some reasoned that dealing with the wolves that leave the boundary area causes a drain on Interagency Field Team pers onnel and resources that could otherwise be allocated to preventing depreda tions or conducting wolf studi es. However, a few government employees were cautious in discussing future scenarios if the bounda ries were opened. One foresaw more illegally killed and road-killed wolves; and another predicted possible hybridization problems as wolves disperse d across a certain ar ea known for hybrid-wolf breeding. Several government employees expressed that they believed the current Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area was too small to meet unsta ted recovery goals and that the program would eventually require a bigger area. 94


Translocations to New Mexico. Nearly all government em ployees recognized that ranchers held a negative perception of the po licy to translocate (move) nuisance and problem wolves with documented instances or strikes to New Mexico from Arizona. Some realized it fueled opposition from ranchers, but most felt the i ssue was really whether or not to allow initial releases from captive breeding into New Mexico. Several government employees cited data that initially released wolves are documented to have mo re conflicts and issues than translocated wild wolves, but they said there was no more r oom for initial release sites in Arizona. Planning for recovery. Many government employees expr essed frustration that the Mexican gray wolf program did not have recovery goals, the result of th e recovery team being put on hold due politics internal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They talked about intermediate reintroducti on goals, a wolf population of 100, but felt that the lack of a clear direction for recovery goals was leading to a general foundering of the program. Most government employees believed Mexican wolves would be present on the landscape in the future, but they were divided as to what form that would take: free ranging wolves whose habitat was good as far north as Colorado and Utah and as far south as Mexico, or a permanently managed population of gray wolves in the Blue Range or state-managed populations that could be hunted. The main recurring idea, however, was th at without recovery goals, they were unsure what they were working toward. We just dont have a recovery goal, GE-9 said, sounding frustrated. Biological and behavioral wolf issues In general, government employees gave less emphasis to biological and behavioral wolf issues than the people problems. Across the board, there was agreement that the greatest success of the program lay in the wolves biological capacity for the wild reproduction that has continued over several generations of wolv es, and the fact the captive-bred wolves have learned to hunt 95


native prey on their own. All government employees felt the numbers of wo lves counted in the annual surveys were accurate to within plus or minus 10 individuals, dismissing claims by livestock producers and rural residents that th ere are up to twice as many wolves on the ground. A few expressed concern for managing the wolves genetics in light of a recent study indicating some inbreeding depression in the wild population, a nd stating that more frequent releases from the captive population needed to occur in the immediate future to correct the problem. They stated that initial release wolv es had been proven to cause more problems than wild-born wolves or translocated wolves and that they have seen reductions in nuisance issues over time. A few government employees said they thought the captive breeding facili ties predispose certain wolves toward having nuisance problems, but others felt this wasnt the case. In general, most government employees estimated that nuisance wolv es made up less than 5 percent of the total wild wolf population. Information sources When discussing information sources, gove rnment employees both use information sources about Mexican wolves and produce inform ation about Mexican wolves and the program. Across the board, government employees reported using any and all information sources in their work. However, they gave the most weight and credibility to government-produced data and peer-reviewed scientific information. Nearly a ll government employees recognized that everyone is biased to one degree or another in terms of how they filter or accept information about Mexican wolves, but they also fe lt strongly that data and inform ation released by their agency was accurate. Government and scientific sources. The types of wolf information produced and disseminated by the government agencies are nume rous and variable. They generally fall into three categories: wolf outreach information (prese ntations to public schools or other agencies, 96


fact sheets, brochures, one-on-one work with fo rest and wilderness visitors such as hikers, hunters and recreationists, signs for hiking trails), wolf data (monthly wolf location maps, weekly telemetry flight locations monthly wolf updates to email subscribers) and wolf policies (memos, policy documents, standard operating pro cedures). People closer to the ground in the wolf program said they felt they strived to pr oduce unbiased information and to simply put out data, and someone higher up in the program said they go to great lengths to strive for accuracy with any information they release to the public. A few government employees believed the program should seek to publish Mexican wolf studies and increase the scientif ic literature; one of these justified the lack by stating that most resources deal with wolf management and stakeholder issues. Most government employees reported relying on scientific biologica l sources to obtain information about wolves, in addition to using government-produced data on wolves. Most reported using science pertaining to other wolf reintroductions, as well as information gained from monitoring the Mexican wolf reintroducti on, because comparatively little scientific information exists for Mexican wolves specifi cally. Nearly every government employee said they were most likely to turn to both government data and peer-reviewed science as their first source, and trusted colleagues as their second choice. They said they used public input from their scoping process 7 and public meetings, but that certain t ypes of comments were more informative and productive to them than other types. This was because they typically were looking for solutions to specific problems and used the public scoping process to learn new ideas. A few 7 Scoping periods are times when the Fish and Wildlif e Services announces they are taking public comment during a specified time period regarding their published actions or proposals for action. They then review the comments and publish responses. 97


reported that their greatest information source wa s personal experiences, such as interacting with both livestock producers and wolf conservationist s, experiences with monitoring or observing wolves in the field, or past experiences they may have garnered from previous wolf-related projects in other areas. News media. News media sources were viewed by government employees as variable and across the spectrum, depending upon specific me dia outlets and where they were located. Most said they did not explicitly seek out news on the Mexican wolf program, but a few reported following it in order to better understand what type s of information stakeholders may be using. A few government employees reported monitoring both proand anti-Mexican wolf websites to be familiar with what stakeholders may be usi ng. Some wolf blogs and websites mentioned were viewed as having purely selfis h interest one way or the othe r. When misinformation about Mexican wolves or the wolf program was repor ted in the media, most government employees didnt believe it was the place of th eir agency to respond. In extremely blatant cases, they said the agency might publish corrections in the ne wspapers about biological or public safety misinformation, but they generally dont get in the prac tice of arguing over lette rs to the editor (GE-7), because there are too many to track and it s not considered a good use of employee time. Diagrammatic Summary Figure 4-3, below, is a diagrammatic repres entation of the major findings discussed in this stakeholder section. It shows the dominant th eme of people problems, which they defined as predominantly the two other stakeholder groups, cl osely linked to stakeholder polarization and how it references the pre-exis ting conflict over public lands grazing. It also shows how government employees view the other stakeholde rs as perceiving the conflict, and possible solutions. Most stakeholders in this group did not perceive wolf biology as problematic but they did express a need for clear recovery goals to guide policy changes. Lastly, it also shows the 98


value assigned to government and scientific literature as the most trusted forms of wolf information sources, with secondary sources depicted outside the main circle. Figure 4-3: Emergent themes in government employees interviews. Summary In summary, livestock producers expressed an overriding theme throughout their interviews that addressed a deep concern for pr operty rights and land control, and the Mexican wolf program tended to be perceived as one el ement within a greater bundle of factors they 99

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perceived to be threatening ranc hing practices and lifestyles. Fu rthermore, deep anti-federal government attitudes compounded their distrust of the wolf program and even specific employees within the program. Many felt that th e wolf conservationists, environmentalists and government employees were allied in an effort to remove ranchers from the land and change the predominant land use to non-use for extreme conservation goals. They felt specific po licies that govern Mexican wolves infringed upon their proper ty rights, and wanted stronger protections for their livestock. Also, livestock producers expres sed an ideological oppos ition to the concept of compensation because it was coupled with the fact they were unable to protect their property (their cattle) in the first place. However, those who had received it said it did help. They also expressed fears for human safety and some felt th e wolf conservationists valued the wolves over human safety and human life; and they also believed that wolves kill excessively and that people should be able to shoot wolves in order to modi fy their behavior to be more wary of humans. (Figure 4-1.) In contrast, wolf conservationists expressed an overriding theme of supporting Mexican wolf recovery because of scientific or ecologi cal arguments, or because they believed it was morally right or was a question of environmental ethics or justi ce. They offered point-by-point counterarguments to livestock producers arguments against wolf recovery and generally dismissed or down-played arguments about human safety, threats to ranching and property rights. Wolf conservationists also believed land an d resource control were an important aspect of the Mexican wolf recovery program, but they te nded to perceive it differently. Instead of focusing on property rights, they focused on the ecological health of the land and ways to mitigate adverse impacts from livestock grazing; they discussed ecologically-sensitive ways to graze and made suggestions for modified cattle husbandry methods that would reduce predation 100

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by wolves and other predators, but would be more time intensive or costly than current practices. Wolf conservationists had detailed beliefs about specific policies and tended to frame solutions within political and policy-driven contexts. In this same vein, they were also the only stakeholder group to hold local and regional el ected officials, and the curr ent White House administration, responsible for what they perceived to be politi cal obstacles thwarting progress of the Mexican wolf program. They also tended to perceive th at wolf-management policies were designed more to benefit livestock producers th an wolf recovery, and that government employees worked more closely with livestock producers. Wolf conserva tionists tended to most trust scientific and government-produced information and data about Mexican gray wolves and wolves in general, and they most distrusted information disseminate d by livestock associations or statements from livestock producers reported in the news media. Most said they did not use news media as a source of original information a bout Mexican wolves, but some tr acked news media to be aware of what the general public was receiving. (Figure 4-2.) Government employees emphasized the peopl e problems of the Mexican wolf program during their interviews. They t ypically responded to interview questions by discussing how both livestock producers and wolf conservationists vi ewed the topic at hand. In particular, they discussed the opposition they faced from livesto ck producers and measures they thought would mitigate it, such as empowering ranchers to haze wolves non-injuriously. Government employees discussed the livestock producers fear of being forced off the land, fear of safety and fear of the regional elk herds being decimate d by wolves. Government employees were less cohesive in their views on specific wolf management policies, but tended to express a belief that SOP-13 and the boundary line in particular had produced largely unpredic ted negative effects upon the growth of the Mexican wolf populatio n. For information sources, the government 101

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employees said they most trusted scientific and government-produced data or information, but that they were willing to c onsider any sources and all comments from stakeholders when searching for information to help them in deci sion-making. (Figure 4-3. ) Significant findings are summarized in Tables 4-1, 4-2, 4-3 and 4-4. Table 4-1: General findings Wolf Conservationists Livestock Producers Government Employees Land control Important: high value of managing for healthy ecosystems Highly important: high value of agricultural productivity N / A Property rights Irrelevant Highly valued Somewhat important Anti-federal sentiments Not prevalent Very prevalent N / A Wolf program is attempt to gain control of land No Yes No Wolf conservationists want ranchers out of the BRWRA A few do, but not all All do, or most do N /A Government agencies want ranchers out of the BRWRA No Yes No WCs and GEs are allied in effort against LPs No Yes No GEs work more closely with LPs than WCs Yes No No 102

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Table 4-2: Significant beliefs about Mexican wolves and wolf program Wolf Conservationists Livestock Producers Government Employees Wolves should be restored for ecological health and balance Yes Not necessary: land is already healthy YesNo opinion Wolves should be restored because of environmental ethics Yes No N / A Wolves threaten ranching operations No Yes Effect is uneven and small, but present Wolves are one factor in many threatening ranching Yes Yes Yes LPs should be compensated for wolflivestock Support, but current program needs changes Ideologically opposed; functionally, its not working Support, but current program needs changes LPs should be empowered to haze wolves No Yes YesUnder specific conditions Cattle husbandry practices should be modified to reduce predation opportunities Yes Too costly; Too much burden When possible: recognition of burden Wolves kill excessively NoKill what they need YesFrequent behavior Documented, but uncommon Wolves threaten human safety Valid fear, but downplayed Critical issue Valid, should be addressed Wolves exhibit nuisance behavior Some, but small number: nuisance behavior will decline over time and wild born generations More do than general public knows about: adults will teach pups nuisance behaviors Less than 5 percent are nuisances Believe wolves cause PTSD Absolutely not PossiblyYes Not likely Wolves need to be hunted to be wary of humans No Yes N / A 103

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Table 4-3: Significant views on wolf policies Wolf Conservationists Livestock Producers Government Employees Boundary line Remove: let wolves roam free Remove: spread the burden out to others Remove, unintended negative effects SOP-13 Too rigid, inflexible, causing too many removals Not strong enough, not implemented as intended, too liberal Working okayCausing too many removals Translocations to New Mexico Provides basis for negative perception Arizona gives its problem wolves to New Mexico Provides basis for negative perceptionNot a problem Policies as best solutions Yes No Sometimes Table 4-4: Significant views on information sources Wolf Conservationists Livestock Producers Government Employees Trust sciencebased wolf information Yes Not as likely Yes Trust wolf info. from WCs Yes No Sometimes Trust wolf info. from LPs No Yes Sometimes Trust wolf info. from agencies YesMost of the time Not as likely Yes Trust news media More likely to trust urban papers More likely to trust rural papers Depends on the source, full spectrum Follow news media NoSometimes, to see what general public gets Not likely NoSometimes, to monitor whats there 104

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CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Examination and Comparison of Stakeholder Beliefs Throughout the analysis it became evident that not only did stakehol der groups interpret the same questions differently, but that they experience the phenomenon of Mexican wolf reintroduction in fundamentally different ways. In general, livestock pr oducers relied most on first-hand experiential kn owledge or the experiences of trus ted friends or family members to inform their beliefs and values about Mexican gr ay wolves. Some also discussed ol timer stories, either oral histories or historic records describing livest ock conflicts with wolves in the Southwest. Livestock producers were comparatively less likely than the wolf conservationists or the government employees to ac cept scientific information about Mexican gray wolves, especially if the specific information, study or su rvey ran counter to what they themselves had directly experienced or believed to be true. In contrast, government employees and wolf conservationists reporte d placing a high value on scientific literature, and gove rnment employees placed an equally high value on information or data generated by their agencies; both stake holder groups reported rely ing on this information source more than any other. This finding wa s similar to a study by Weeks and Packard that focused on how local managers of natural reso urces, Gulf Coast oystermen and west Texas ranchers, assessed scientific information, and by extension, scientific management of natural resources (1997). Just as in this study, theirs found that local managers of natural resources rejected scientific recommendations or findings when they did not match the individuals experiences with the subject matte r. Wolf conservationists, in particular, were less likely to accept information disseminated from livestock pr oducers or their organizations, and livestock producers were not likely to accept information di sseminated by the wolf conservationists. Both 105

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livestock producers and wolf conservationists reported varying degrees of trust for information and data disseminated by the government, with wo lf conservationists overall seeming slightly more likely to accept government information than livestock producers. News media did not play a significant role as a source of original information to any of the stakeholder groups. Some government employees reported following it in order to be aware of what sort of information was being disseminated to the public, most wolf cons ervationists reported usi ng news media similarly but did not rely on it for original information. Livestock producers we re the least likely of all the groups to follow news media about wolves. This scenario sets up a complicated framewor k in which the various stakeholder groups disagree as to what constitute the basic fact s of the situation and wh ich information can be trusted and relied upon to make decisions rega rding the management and policies governing Mexican gray wolf reintroduction. The interviews revealed that wolf conservationists and livestock producers each most distrusted the other groups info rmation, even to the point that many participants felt the oppos ition purposefully twisted and misrepresented information from their side to achieve advocacy goals cen tered on either supporting the wolf program or detracting from it. Ironically, a ll stakeholder groups cited pers onal experience as one of their best information sources, though these types of pe rsonal experiences varied from monitoring and observing wolves to hearing them howling while backpacking to finding the remains of wolfkilled cattle. The difference between groups in terms of who accepted and who rejected which information sources also reflects the low levels of trust between stakehol ders, particularly the distrust between livesto ck producers and wolf conservationists and the distrust that livestock producers have for the government agencies. Th e wolf conservationists emphasis on trusting and using scientific literature creates a possible explanation for the finding of their overall unity 106

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in beliefs and values about wolves as centered on concepts of ecosystem integrity and health, biophilia and environmenta l justice or ethics. Livestock producer interviewees emphasis on concepts centered on the land and who controls it reveals that their overarching focus was trained less on the particulars of the Mexican wolf program or its policies than on the larger cluster of issues and scenarios that they perceive to be threatening ranching practices on federal la nds. Many even said that the wolf was just one factor within a suite of factors they perceive d as threats. And because this group considers ranching to be not only a professi on but also a cultural id entity, these threats are perceived to be very personal attacks on their community and their way of life. In this way, these findings echoed those of the Norwegian case study of St or-Elvdal (Chapter Two) where Skogen and Krange (2003) found that the community created a socially constructed a nti-predator alliance that helped them to define their cultural and social identity by unifying in their opposition to wolves. This was somewhat true in the case of the livestock producers in the Mexican wolf reintroduction, where they expresse d a unified alliance against not only the wolf as a physical animal, but the symbolism of what it represen ted: encroachment of property rights and land control, federal governmental regulation and urban environmentalists exerting control or judgment over their lifestyles and livestock operations. While conducting follow-up questions to livestock producer participants, I discovered additional information that some individuals in the Gila either promote or support an extreme interpretation of a property-righ ts argument that livestock produ cers using federal lands own the surface rights of their allotments, based on a complicated legal argument relying on proof of an 107

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extensive chain of title for water rights. 8 Various U.S. Forest Service range specialists across Arizona and New Mexico, who had not previously participated in the interviewing phase, provided feedback on this idea and seemed to be in agreement that it was not a widespread belief but that it was more prevalent in the Gila Natio nal Forest where a small group of individuals and politicians continue to promote it. (Appendix E: Excerpts, contains comple te responses by Forest Service employees.) Two U.S. Forest Service employees who responded were careful to point out that this argument had not been upheld by courts in either state. In fact, three recent legal cases in Arizona and New Mexico related to this argument have b een struck down; these either challenged the U.S. Forest Services and the fede ral governments right to charge grazing fees, or asserted that the permittees owned the fede ral grazing allotments within national forests (Walker vs. U.S. 2007; U.S. vs. Martin ez 2007; 2008; Kamin 2004; Diamond Bar Cattle Company vs. U.S. 1999; Diamond Bar Cattle Company vs. U.S. 2003). However, I found a fourth case in Nevada where the plaintiff was ab le to prove an extensiv e chain of title that showed his family owned land and water rights of which the federal government previously claimed ownership, and it was determined that a t aking of his property had occurred (Hage vs. U.S, 2002). This finding was issued from a U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Within the context of the Gila National Forest, this view appears to represent the more extreme interpretations of property rights advocates and one U.S. Forest Service employee estima ted that less than 5 percent of permittees ascribe to this view. 8 The argument relies on an exhaustive documentation of chain of title or ownership to water rights dating back to before the land was owned by the federal government, and asserts that the water rights imply a right to access the surrounding forage, which in turn extends to the surface rights of the allotment. 108

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Discovering the livestock producer s attitudes toward real or perceived ownership of the land provides a good deal of insight into the perc eptions of some livestock producers in the Gila National Forest and why there is such conflict between this stakeholder group and the wolf conservationists and government employees. All wo lf conservationists in terviewed in the study believed that there is no question that the federal governmentrepresenting the publicowns the land (many scoffed at the idea and even appeared indignant at the questi on) and that livestock producers are granted the privile ge to graze their stock on th e public land; but a livestock producer who grazes cattle on federal land may be more likely to question or challenge this position. And so because the wolf conservationi sts summarily dismiss the question of land ownership as legally valid, to them the Mexican wo lf stakeholder conflict focuses more squarely on the scientific basis and po litical framework of Mexican wolf reintroduction. But to the livestock producer, the stakeholder conflict repres ents a greater bundle of issues than just the Mexican gray wolf, as many stated outright, and it may actually encomp ass a broader set of beliefs: being able to defend their personal privat e property (their cattle) from a wolf attack, private property rights on the fe deral grazing allotmentsuch as water rights, right of ways or surface rightsthat are impacted by the Mexican wolf program in a way that they believe constitutes a taking of their property. Als o, livestock producers perception that wolf conservationists and environmentalists want to pu sh them off the land appears partially justified as at least one non-profit does embrace this goal. However, this was not a stated goal of most wolf conservationist interviewees. It is my opi nion that attempting to remove livestock producers from the landscape would be a serious black mark for wolf conservation, in part because it would prove true the suspicion that ecological conser vation can only be won at the expense of human jobs and uses of the land. 109

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Contributing to these fundamental differences of perception is the fact that although both wolf conservationists and livestock producers assi gned a high value to the health of the land, they viewed this concept of la ndscape health in different ways : livestock producers interpreted landscape health in terms of trad itional agrarian utilitarian values, whereas wolf conservationists interpreted it in terms of ecol ogical measures of biodiversity, species richness and reversing human-influenced ecosystem changes. This finding is mirrored in the research of Clark et al. into the sociological aspects of wolf restoration in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem area and especially in Wyoming. He wrote, Farmers, ranchers, loggers, miners, and resi dents of open country tend to hold stronger utilitarian and dominionistic valu es than do other people (Clark et al. 2005, 12). He also stated that conservationists tended to ground their discourse about predator management policies in what they believed to be object ive science, using terms like restoration ecology, ecosystem management, and ecological connectivity (Ibid, 233). Both of these findings lend validity to the findings in this study. The role of the federal and state governments further complicates the differences between livestock producers and wolf conservationists. Mo st wolf conservationists viewed solutions to the Mexican wolf program as largely political ones, yet livestock producers deeply distrusted federal government and environmental regulations, so it is difficult to craft a policy that both aids wolf recovery and satisfies livestock producers concerns. (And as previously discussed, nested within this fundamental difference in experi ences is how each stakeholder group perceives ownership and control of public lands.) As reported in Chapter Two, Hook and Robinson stated that deeply-ingrained anti-predator attitudes combined with anti-gov ernment attitudes are significant common factors in re introduction failures (1982; Kellert 1996). Livestock producers 110

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that participated in this st udy exhibited both of these factor s, and while the Mexican wolf program is not failing in the rein troduction efforts, it is strugg ling to grow the wolf population, due in part to trying to find wolf-management po licies that are acceptable to this stakeholder group. These fundamental differences in perception a ffect how the stakeholders experience the Mexican wolf reintroduction progra m. To the livestock producers, the program is perceived as yet another challenge within an entire web of challenges woven from threads of environmental and governmental regulations, a web which they perc eive to be restricti ng land use ever tighter and challenging their property rights (perceived or real) ever more. They perceive the Mexican wolf program as a government-imposed program they dont support that impacts their business and challenges what they most va lue: how the land is controlled and for what uses, the safety of their families and communities, a nd the integrity of their proper ty rights. In addition, they perceive the other two stakeholde r groups as assigning a higher value to an animal, the Mexican gray wolf, than to their valu es or even to human life. To the wolf conservationist, the Mexican gray wolf program represen ts an opportunity to restore an ecologically valuable large carnivore, a keystone species, a nd to right a past environmental wrong. They perceive the larger debate centering around their perception that what they most valuescience and ecologyis be ing subverted by the government, whom they see as assigning a greater value to producing li vestock in the Gila National Forest than to recovering wolves. Government employees, in most cases, perceive the Mexican gray wolf program as a legal mandate to restore an endangered species, but they see the real ch allenge as reconciling diverse stakeholder goals and developing management pr ocedures that meet both stakeholder groups 111

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goals or could at least be tole rated by all. The government empl oyees and wolf conservationists agreed that increasing tolerance for wolves on the landscape with in the recovery area was a huge challenge, but within the partic ipants interviewed, there was a much higher recognition among government employees as to how difficult it can be to live with wolves on the landscape. The finding that experiential knowledge played a large role in livesto ck producers beliefs about Mexican gray wolves, in comparison to gove rnment or scientific literature, should be useful to wolf conservationists and government employees seeking to work with livestock producers to find pragmatic and co st-effective methods for reducing livestock and wolf conflicts. This is useful is because it can help govern ment and conservation groups learn how to better communicate with the livestock producers and to seek step s to achieve commonly-held pragmatic goals, such as increasing calf survival or finding ways to help ranchers implement penned calvingbecause the end product of suff ering less depredations from wolves will dismantle some of the obstacles to wolf-rec overy erected by livestoc k producers. But the discovery of livestock producers views toward the land and its control, even possibly its ownership, and impacts to their private property rights was perhap s the most fascinating finding of this study, and it merits further research. Fu ture work should seek to explore or test how livestock producers that graze cattle on federal la nds view their legal arrangements and their relationship to the land. It would be valuable to quantitatively compare these attitudes both within and outside the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Study Limitations This study offered a qualitative exploration of st akeholder beliefs and values but it must be recognized that the findings are limited to the Mexican wolf reintroducti on project in Arizona and New Mexico in the fall of 2007. The findings ar e limited in that they are not meant to be generalizable to other wolf or predator rein troductions, participants views may not have 112

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captured an entirely representativ e view of stakeholder groups, a nd the intent was not to produce measurable results or test a hypothesis. However, the views represented by this study do offer deep and richly detailed insight into some stake holders views, and the prominent themes present in each stakeholder group. Wolf conservationist and government employee participants were purposefully selected for their level of involveme nt or key positions, but the livestock producers were selected predominantly from areas that likely represent the more extreme views against the Mexican gray wolf recovery program; that is, their stakeholder group is probably less representative than the other two and interviews with livestock producers in other regions of the wolf recovery area may produce slightly different findings. I also acknowledge that each government agency involved, whether state or federal, has its own institutional culture and ha s varying levels of support for and involvement in the Mexican wolf reintroduction program. Unfo rtunately, due to the confidentiali ty of participants, I refrained from specifying participants agencies, largely because the number of employees staffed on the wolf program within each agency are so few. Th e same is true for the wolf conservationists and their organizations. As one participant joked, Its like we all know each other by name at this point. Therefore, while naming the participants agencies, or naming the organizations would have bestowed a large degree of credibility to the study, this was sacrificed with the assumption that protecting participants iden tifications would yield more detailed and perhaps even sensitive data. Furthermore, factors of truth must be c onsidered by taking into account that some government employees may not have felt at liberty to discuss their own personal opinions and they may have more often been providing their agencys standard line. Livestock producers and wolf conservationists may have also postured to some extent, that is, they may have been 113

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exaggerating their positions or poi nts in order to impress certain issues upon me. However, in most cases, I am highly confident that the part icipants provided accurate and honest responses. One last point that should be addressed is that both livestock producers and wolf conservationists appeared to beli eve that the more extreme view s of the other stakeholder group were generally representative of that stakehol der group. This raises an interesting question regarding the full spectrum and composition of beliefs in each stakeholder group, and quantitative survey methods would be most appropriate for addr essing this question. Conclusion Fundamental differences in values, beliefs, perceptions and experi ences exist between stakeholder groups in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program, and this is compounding stakeholder polarization as well as creating a generally intractabl e climate for the wolf program. Nie stated that natural resource problems are often wicked probl ems that go beyond scientific, economic and techno-rational analysis methods of problem solving (2003, 307). Values-based political conflicts, such as the Mexican wolf pr ogram, are typically controversial, acrimonius, symbolic, intractable, divisive and expensiv e (Ibid, 307) which begs the question: How do you fix them? We can begin to answer this question by addressing the most critical barriers to resolving the conflict between stakeholders in th e Mexican gray wolf program; these appear to be the incredibly low levels of trust groups expressed for each other, and a truly fundamental misunderstanding or lack of understanding betw een wolf conservationists and livestock producers about each others perceptions of th e reality of the program, and each others experiences, beliefs and values. Before stake holders can begin attempting to find solutions tolerable or acceptable to all, they need to st ep back and assess how they perceive the other stakeholder groups positions versus what these po sitions truly are. Wolf conservationists were generally unsympathetic or dismissive toward livestock producers fe ars for human safetyyet 114

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fear of large carnivores is a basi c instinct ingrained in human beha vior for tens of thousands of years. Perhaps this stakeholder group needs to develop a better understanding or sympathy for this particular issue and better balance this concer n with what they perceive to be the ecological benefits of Mexican wolves. It is not a fear that shoul d be dismissed lightly. With that said, I detected contextual evidence of some posturing from the livestock producers particularly regarding claims of post-traumatic stress disorder due to wolves; th at is, there are incidences of publicized claims that were likely exaggerated to better illustrate a heart-felt point. Given the polarization among stakeholdersprima rily the lack of trust between livestock producers and wolf conservationists, and the distrust livestock producers exhibited for government agencies and employeesthere ap pear to be extremely limited areas where stakeholders values and goals overlap. Livestock producers appear to be lieve that all wolf conservationists want to see public land ranc hing and even private lands ranching either reformed for ecological sensitivity or eliminated all together, and they are partially justified in this perception. From what I learned, it seems that the majori ty of wolf conservationists advocate for reformed cattle husbandry practices that, at a maximum, address a wider range or ecological issues, and at a minimum address reducing opportunities for wolf predation. The latter appears to be one clear area where wolf conservati onists and livestock producers may be able to put aside their differences and work together for a common goal. Implementing programs or techniques that increase livestock su rvival will have the desirable result of reducing the number of wolves removed from the wild popul ation due to livestock conflicts. However, the stakeholders should also recognize that there will always be a certa in background rate of livestock predation, despite implementing anti -predator methods, and that some sort of compensation program should be used to addres s this background level. A combination of 115

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prototype programs to reduce liv estock predation, compensati on and positive incentives and taking steps to help livestock pr oducers feel more empowered to pr otect their livestock could be employed to increase tolerance for wolves, though its not likely that such a three-tiered plan will uniformly appease livestock producers. Clark et al. advocate resolving a similar grid locked stakeholder process in Wyoming by working one-on-one with ranchers to implement innovative techniques that help them increase their livestock survival (2003, 20). Such s mall-scale protoypes developed with the cooperation and participation of ranchers, environmentalists, businesses and government test new approaches designed to reduc e carnivore damage and change carnivore meanings (Ibid). In the context of the Mexican wolf program, two such prototypes exist in the form of programs run by the Defenders of Wildlife. First, they offer a program which provides range riders to ranchers who have experienced depredation problems, and th ese riders protect the stock from wolves. At least one of the livestock producer interviewees had utilized this service, at no cost to his business. He reported it provided a great sense of relief to know someone was watching his stock when he was unable to. However, not many liv estock producers interviewed knew about this program, and a larger and more widely publicized program would be needed to address the full scope of allotments and range of wolf territories. The existing Defenders program could be used as a prototype, assessed for its efficiency, tweaked where necessary and adopted on a larger scale. A truly interdisciplinary approach would be if it were funded by conservation organizations who want wolves on the landscape, but implemented by livestock associations who have the on-the-ground knowledge of cattle husbandry. Second, many wolf conservationists advocated penning pregnant cows and ending practices of calving on the open ra nge. This technique places a higher burden on the livestock 116

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producer because they have to provide feed for the penned animals in addition to gathering them, and many livestock producer interviewees said this made it infeasible for them. Yet Defenders of Widlife, as part of its proac tive program, offers to purchase supplemental hay for livestock producers to encourage this prac tice and help alleviate the eco nomic burden it entails to the producer. Again, this pre-existing program coul d be used as a prototype, tweaked where necessary, and applied to a larger scale. Implementing both of these techniques would re quire each stakeholder group to overcome the ideological opposition of cooperating wi th each otherbut if both groups are truly more interested in reducing ca ttle and wolf conflicts than they ar e in prolonging their own ideological conflicts, then perhaps they can achieve this common goal. Another area where stakeholders may be able to come together would be to switch the current mode of compensation from a negative incentive to positive incentives which might build more tolerance for wolves. Currently, livestock producers are compensated after their cattle are confirmed to have died or been injured from Me xican wolves. Wolf conser vationists charge this creates a negative framework because it doesnt require livestock producers to modify their practices to reduce depredation opp ortunities. Yet, livestock produ cers say they are ideologically opposed to being compensated when they were prev ented from protecting their cattle in the first place. Instead of compensating liv estock producers for individual wolf-killed livestock, turning to a new process that would compensate them fo r the presence of wolves may cast wolves in a more tolerable light. If they were compensated ba sed on the density of wolv es in their area, the total numbers of wolves in the recovery area, or for wolves denning and producing pups on their properties or allotmentsit would switch the pe rception of wolves as a negative burden to wanting to document the presence of wolves to receive compensation. This could be combined 117

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with a formula that calculates a background preda tion rate and compensates ranchers fairly and accordingly. Both of these types of compensatio n shift the emphasis from compensating on a per livestock basis. Both would also require wolf conservationists to overcome their ideological opposition to creating more incentives for livestock producers, but doing so would create a valuable opportunity for wolf conservati on. Because of the ideological opposition to compensation that livestock producers expressed, th is option would work best when incorporated with other measures, such as the two predation-reduc ing program models previously discussed. Lastly, there appears to be a vast need for improved communications outreach on behalf of the government agencies in terms of working wi th the livestock producer s. Increasing staff positions devoted to outreach, or reallocating exis ting resources to outreach, appears to be highly warranted. Conducting face-to-face m eetings with individual livestock producers and attempting to build productive relationships through finding solutions to lives tock producers concerns will go a long way to not only reducing stakeholder c onflict but increasing trus t levels on a case-bycase basis. In conclusion, the wolf program is so extremel y polarized that simply agreeing that there is a legal mandate to restore Mexican gray wolves reveals an immediate bias. The lines in the sand have been drawn so deeply that livestock produc ers and wolf conservatio nists typically assume their goals are mutually exclusiv e: either livestock production or wolf recovery. The real challenge that wolf conservati onists and government employees s hould be considering is how to successfully recover Mexican wolves while also reducing wolf impacts to livestock producers. By focusing their attention and their advocacy e fforts on minimizing conflicts between cattle and wolves, these two stakeholder groups could work together to recover Mexican gray wolves and simultaneously improve trust and communication channels with livestock producers on a case118

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by-case basis. There are some conservation group s who already do this, and hopefully more will follow their lead in a well-coordinated fashi on in the future. Wolf conservationists who expressed frustration that the current Mexican wolf manageme nt was not based on science should take a moment to reflect on the fact that carnivore manag ement is as much a response to peoples beliefs about carnivores, especially a bout predatory behavior and potential danger to humans, as it is a response to the animals act ual ecology (Clark et al 2005, 11). Meaning, they should integrate into their eco logical and science-based view s a greater sensitivity of the concerns local people face in the wolf recovery area. Similarly, livestock producers local to the wolf recovery area need to integrate into their perspectives a less emotional and overtly symbolic view of wolf recovery. As many interviewees pointed out, the probl em with the Mexican wolves are not the wolves themselves but rather the people involved and the values they assign to the wolf and what it represents to them. Wolf cons ervationists tended to frame their ideas for solutions as largely political ones, that is, modifying policies based on science to improve wolf recovery. But unless these modified policies address livestock producers concerns about propert y rights, land control and safety fears then large areas of stakeholder conflict will persist and trust levels will further erode. The future of Mexican wolf conservation, therefore, may lie in the hands of people who are willing to venture out beyond the objective science and ecology underl ying biological gray wolf conservation, and who are willing to se arch for on-the-ground solutions tolerable to stakeholderssolutions that si multaneously reduce wolf and cattle conflicts while growing the wolf population to a self-sustaining level a nd are combined with implementing positive incentives for wolf conservation. 119

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APPENDIX A MAPS Figure A-1: Historic ra nge of gray wolves in North America. 1. Canis lupis arctos (Arctic wolf); 2. C. l. baileyi, (Mexican wolf); 3. C. l. lycaon (Eastern wolf); 4. C. l. nubilis (Plains wolf); 5. C. l. occidentalis (Northwestern wolf); 6. Canis rufus (Red wolf). Map compiled by taxonomist Ron Nowak. (Nowak 2003) 120

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Figure A-2: Mexican Wolf Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Map showing primary and secondary recovery zones with boundary line. Currently, Mexican wolves only occupy the area within the pink boundary. The White Mountain Apache Reservation cooperates with the wolf program and allows wolves on their tribal land, shown in the northwest. Map available online: canwolf/BRWRP_map.shtml 121

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Figure A-3: Livestock grazing allo tments in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Map of New Mexico side of the Blue Range Wolf R ecovery Area, showing the Gila National Forest and Gila Wilderness grazing allotmen ts. Map courtesy of the Forest Service (Taylor 2008, personal email comm unication with D. Beeland). 122

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Figure A-4: Mexican wolf hist oric range. Map from the 1982 Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan depicting what was understood at the time to be the historic ranges of Canis lupus baileyi and two other named subspeci es of gray wolf. Nowaks reclassification of gray wolf taxonomy in 1995 was based on a morphological study and a statistical analysis of 580 skull measur ements that resulted in the collapsed of 24 named subspecies into just five subspecies. This moved both C. l. mogollensis and C. l. monstrabilis into C. l. baileyi. This revision also revised our understanding of the Mexican wolfs historic range. As science learns more about gray wolf genetics, its possible that wolf taxonomy will be revised again. 123

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Figure A-5: Quarterly wolf location map Oct.Dec. 2007. Map obtained from Arizona Game and Fish website, accessed on February 11, 2008. 124

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APPENDIX B INTERVIEW GUIDES Livestock Producers 1. Can you tell me a little bit abou t your history in the southwes t? How long youve been here and where you moved from? 2. How long have you ranched? In the southwest? 3. Can you please briefly describe your livestock business? 4. What does ranching mean to you, personally? 5. Has your business been impacted by wolf reintroduction? Can you describe how? 6. What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your ranching work? 7. Do you have jobs other than ranching? What kind? 8. What sources do you use to get information about Mexican wolves? 9. Are there any sources that you believe dissemina te biased or faulty information? Which ones? 10. What sources do you believe to be most reliable? Why? 11. What type of information do you most frequently look for? 12. What type of information about Mexican wolves or the program, do you perceive to be most frequently in the news? 13. Do you think the mainstream media reports accurately on Mexican wolf news? 14. Tell me a little about your be liefs regarding the management of Mexican gray wolves. 15. Have you or your family had any direct or indi rect experiences with Mexican gray wolves? 16. How did the experience impact your beliefs about wolves? 17. The current reintroduction program has been described by some media as gridlocked, while others say it is failing a nd still others say it is success ful. This is a broad spectrum. How do you think the program is doing? 18. Do you believe that rural cultur es, specifically livesto ck production, are threatened by wolf recovery? Why or why not? 19. What do you believe are the largest challenges or problems with the MW recovery program? 125

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20. What do you believe are the biggest successes or achievements in the recovery program? 21. How do you believe SOP 13 is affecting li vestock economies and wolf recovery? 22. How do you think the Arizona-onl y direct-release policy is affecting ranchers? How do you think it is affecting wolf recovery? 23. What do you think of the political boundary ke eping wolves within the recovery area? 24. What do you think overall about the curre nt wolf management policies? 25. Different cattle husbandry techniques have been cited as potential ways to deter wolves from preying upon cattle. What do you think about these methods? (Community calving, penning pregnant cows, carcass removal, range riders.) How would these affect the way you ranch? 26. Do you use any anti-predator techniques, such as technical devices or herding methods? 27. Do you know any ranchers who are using predator deterrent methods? 28. Its been suggested that putting lime on the car cass of dead livestock will potentially deter wolves from scavenging, and then learning to prey on live livestock. Do you use lime on your carcasses? Why or why not? 29. Have you lost any livestock to wolves? How many, and when? 30. Can you describe the experience? 31. Have you had problems with predators other than wolves? Which ones? 32. Some people say that there isnt enough game in the BRWRA to sustain wolves. What do you think of this? 33. Some people say that there are more wolves than the government counts in their surveys. What do you think? 34. What do you think of the compensation program? 35. What about the argument that wolves threaten children or cause PTSD? 36. How do you feel when people argue that mo st of the grazing permittees are hobbyist ranchers and don't rely on ranching for their main source of income. What do you think about this? 37. Where do you see this conflic t going in the future? 38. Is there anything I havent asked you about rega rding wolf recovery, public lands grazing or wolf policy issues that you would like to discuss? 126

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Wolf Conservationists 1. Can you tell me a little bit abou t your history in the southwes t? How long youve been here and where you may have moved from? Do you have a history of advocacy work in the southwest (or elsewhere)? 2. What got you interested in Mexican wolf advocacy? How long have you worked on Mexican wolf issues? 3. Briefly describe the type of work you do on Mexican wolf recovery? 4. Who are your target audiences? 5. What are you hoping to effect through your advocacy work? 6. Do you visit the area where they are bei ng reintroduced? How often? To do what? 7. What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work? 8. What sources do you use to get information about Mexican wolves? Which ones do you trust? 9. Are there any sources that you believe dissemina te biased or faulty information? Which ones? 10. What sources do you believe to be most reliable? Why? 11. What type of information do you most frequently look for? 12. What type of information about Mexican wolves or the program, do you perceive to be most frequently in the news? 13. Do you think the mainstream media reports accurately on Mexican wolf news? 14. Do you think, personally, that the Me xican wolf should be recovered? 15. What does their reintroduction and recovery mean to you, personally? 16. Please tell me a little about your beliefs rega rding the management of Mexican gray wolves. 17. Have you had any direct or indirect experiences w ith Mexican gray wolves? 18. How did the experience impact your beliefs about wolves? 19. The current reintroduction program has been described by some media as gridlocked, while others say it is failing and still others say it is s uccessful. How do you think the program is doing? 127

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20. Do you believe that rural cultur es, specifically livesto ck production, are threatened by wolf recovery? Why or why not? 21. What do you believe are the largest challenges or problems with the Mexican Wolf recovery program? 22. What do you believe are the biggest successes or achievements in the recovery program? 23. Some people Ive spoken with say that the wolv es who are released are zoo animals or are pen raised and that this causes the hab ituation problems. How do you respond to this claim? 24. How do you believe SOP 13 is affecting wolf recovery? How is it affecting livestock producers? 25. Do you think that ranchers should be required to treat their livestoc k carcasses and make them unpalatable? Why or why not? 26. Different cattle husbandry techniques have been cited as potential ways to deter wolves from preying upon cattle. What do you think about these methods? Community calving, penning pregnant cows, carcass re moval, range riders. 27. Do you know any ranchers who are using predator deterrent methods? 28. How do you think the Arizona-onl y direct-release policy is a ffecting wolf recovery? How do you think it is affecti ng public lands ranchers? 29. What do you think of the political boundary ke eping wolves within the recovery area? 30. What do you think overall about the curre nt wolf management policies? 31. What do you think of the statement that ther e isnt enough game in the BRWRA to sustain wolves? 32. What do you think of the statement that there ar e more wolves than the government counts in their surveys? 33. What do you think of the compensation program? 34. What about the argument that they threaten children or cause PTSD? 35. What do you think of the argument that most of the grazing permittees are "hobbyist" ranchers and don't rely on ranching for their main source of income? 36. Where do you see the program headed? 37. Is there anything I havent asked you about rega rding wolf recovery, public lands grazing or wolf policy issues that you would like to discuss? 128

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Government Employees 1. Can you tell me a little bit about your history in the southwest? 2. Why did you go into wildlife management? What drew you to it? 3. Briefly describe the type of work do you do rela ted to Mexican wolf re introduction? What is your role or the role of your agency? How long have you worked on the program? 4. Do you visit the area where they are bei ng reintroduced? How often? To do what? 5. If working in the area: How often do you go out into the BRWRA to deal with on the ground management issues? 6. What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work? 7. What do you find most rewarding about your work? 8. What are your agencies short and longt erm goals with the program right now? 9. Please tell me a little about your, or your ag encies, beliefs regarding Mexican gray wolf reintroduction and recovery in the southwest. 10. Can you tell me what Mexican gray wolf reintroduction and recovery mean to you personally? 11. The current reintroduction program has been described by some media as gridlocked, while others say it is failing and still others say it is succe ssful. From your perspective on the inside -and given the multiple land us es you have to work around -how do you think the program is doing? 12. What do you, or your agency, believe to be the largest challenges or problems with the Mexican Wolf recovery program? 13. What do you, or your agency, believe are the biggest successes or achievements in the recovery program? 14. What types of information does your agency produce and disseminate about Mexican wolves? What kinds or types? 15. What information sources does your ag ency use regularly that you trust? 16. What sources do you believe to be most reliable, and why? 17. Are there any sources that you believe disseminate biased or faulty information? 18. What type of information about Mexican wolves or the program, do you perceive to be most frequently in the news? 129

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19. Do you think the mainstream media reports accurately on Mexican wolf news? 20. What do you think of the policy that allows in itial releases in Arizona only? What do you think of the policy that allows wolves to be translocated to New Mexico from Arizona? 21. How do you think the boundary line is affecting wolf recovery? 22. How do you think SOP-13 is affecting wolf recovery? 23. What do you think of the idea that ranchers should be required to remove livestock carcasses? Do you think this would help wolf recovery? 24. Overall, how does your agency think the curren t wolf management policies are doing? 25. Can you describe the process of what is done to haze wolves away from livestock, homes or private property where they may be exhibiting nuisance behavior? 26. Ranchers have said there is a habituation problem with some wolv es, and they arent behaving like normal, wild wolves. Have you had any experiences with this problem? 27. Do you know of any ranchers who are using predator deterrent methods? 28. Different cattle husbandry techniques have been cited as potential ways to deter wolves from preying upon cattle. Do you think these are vi able methods for this area? (Community calving, penning pregnant cows, car cass removal, range riders.) 29. How do you respond to the claim that th ere isnt enough game in the BRWRA? 30. How do you respond to claims that there are more wolves than government surveys show? 31. What are your beliefs about compensation fo r livestock injured or killed by wolves? 32. How do you respond to the claim that wolv es threaten childre n or cause PTSD? 33. Some environmentalists invoke the argument that many of the ra nchers are hobbyist ranchers and don't rely on ranching for their main source of income. What do you think about this argument? 34. Some people Ive spoken with say that the wolv es who are released are zoo animals or are pen raised and that this causes the hab ituation problems. How do you respond to this claim? 35. Where do you see the program headed? 36. Is there anything I havent asked you about rega rding wolf recovery, public lands grazing or wolf policy issues that you would like to discuss? 130

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APPENDIX C INFORMED CONSENT FORM My name is DeLene Beeland, and I am gradua te student at the University of Florida working under the supervision of Professor Kim Walsh-Childers. Im conducting this project to complete requirements for my masters degree in the School of Na tural Resources and Environment. Please read this consent document caref ully before you decide to participate in this study and consent to being interviewed. Protocol Title: Information sources, beliefs and values of key stakeholder groups in the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction Scientific purpose of the study: The purpose of this study is to learn what sources of information stakeholders regularly use to lear n about Mexican wolf issues, and to explore beliefs and values of stakeholders in the Me xican gray wolf reintr oduction regarding wolf management policies. What you will be asked to do in the study: You will be asked to participate in an interview with a researcher (DeLene Beeland). The in terview will be audio-recorded digitally. Questions in the interview will provide you the opportunity to discuss your personal views on Mexican wolves, wolf management and controversial policy issues. You will also be asked to discuss what sources you use to obtain information about Mexican wolves and what sources you avoid or dislike, and why. Time required: I expect your interview to take at least one hour but not more than three hours. The total time for your inte rview will depend on the answers you give. I will schedule the interview at your convenience as much as possible. Risks and benefits: Benefits for this study include contributing to know ledge regarding stakeholders beliefs and values in the Mexican wolf reintroduction and having the opportunity to talk to someone (the researcher) who is genuine ly interested to hear your story and to learn what you th ink. There are no anticipated risk s from participating in this study that are greater than those experienced in your daily life. Compensation: There is no compensation for pa rticipating in this study. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. This interview will be digitally recorded. Digital a udio-files will be stored on the researchers

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computer and will be password-protected. They will be transcribed, and transcription will be done by either a professional or gra duate research assistants. Computerized transcription files will also be password-prot ected. After the digital audio files are fully transcribed, they will be destroyed. You will be assigned a coded identification, and this code will be used to identify you in the tr anscript; the intervie w transcript will not identify you by name. Neither your name nor id entifying information will be used in any published materials. Voluntary participation: Your participation is voluntar y. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at any time without consequence, including requesting your interview transc ript to be destroyed after the interview is complete. In addition, you can choose not to answer any question you dont wish to answer. Whom to contact if you have a question about this study: Kim Walsh-Childers, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Journalism, College of Journalism and Communications, (352) 392-3924, Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, BOX 112250, University of Florida, Ga inesville, FL 326112250; ph (352) 392-0433. Agreement: I have read the procedure described above I voluntarily agree to participate in the study, and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ________________________________________ Date: ___________________ Principle Investigat or: ________________________________ Date: __________________

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APPENDIX D CAPTIVE BREEDING FACILITIES Captive Facilities in the United States Alameda Park Zoo: Alamogordo, New Mexico Albuquerque Biological Park: Albuquerque, New Mexico Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Tucson, Arizona Binder Park Zoo: Battle Creek, Michigan California Wolf Center: Julian, California Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park: Colorado Springs, Colorado Chicago Zoological Park: Brookfield, Illinois Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden: Cincinnati, Ohio Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: Powell, Ohio Dakota Zoo: Bismarck, North Dakota El Paso Zoo: El Paso, Texas Fort Worth Zoological Park: Fort Worth, Texas Fossil Rim Wildlife Center: Glen Rose, Texas Heritage Park Zoo: Prescott, Arizona Hillcrest Park Zoo: Clovis, New Mexico Houston Zoo: Houston, Texas Living Desert State Park : Carlsbad, New Mexico Minnesota Zoological Garden: Apple Valley, Minnesota Navajo Nation Zoological and Bota nical Park: Window Rock, Arizona Oklahoma Zoo: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Phoenix Zoo: Phoenix, Arizona Sedgwick County Zoo: Wichita, Kansas Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Washington, District of Columbia Southwest Wildlife Rehabil itation and Education Foundati on: Scottsdale, Arizona The Living Desert: Palm Desert, California Utica Zoo: Utica, New York Walter D. Stone Memorial Zoo: Stoneham, Massachusetts

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Wild Canid Survival and Research Center: Eureka, Missouri Wildlife Science Center: Forest Lake, Minnesota Wildlife West Nature Park: Edgewood, New Mexico Wolf Conservation Center: South Salem, New York Captive Facilities in Mexico African Safari: Puebla, Puebla, Mexico Centro Ecologico de Sonora: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico Chapultepec Zoological Park: Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico Guadalajara Zoo: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico La Michilia Bio Reserve Inst de Ecolog: Durango, Mexico Pargue Zoological de San Juan de Aragon: Mexico City, Federa l District, Mexico Parque Zoological de Leon: Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico Pargue Zoologica del Pueblo: Cd Netzahual, Estado de Mexico Parque Zoologico la Pastoria: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico Rancho "Los Encinos": Cuidad Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico Rancho La Mesa/Org Vida Silvestre AC: Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico San Cayetano Wildlife Facility: Mexico City, Mexico Zooligico de Tamatan: Cuidad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico Zoologica de Zacango: Toluca, Mexico, Mexico Zoological de Los Coyotes: Cuidad Mexico, Federal District, Mexico Pre-release Captive Facilities Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility: Caballo, New Mexico Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility: Socorro, New Mexico Wolf Haven International: Tenino, Washington

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APPENDIX E EXCERPTS Responses of Forest Service employee in Arizona and New Mexi co to arguments by grazing permittee property rights arguments and ranchers feeling of ownership of the land. FS-1: (New Mexico) there has been a move ment here on the Gila by some of our most out-spoken permittees and a few local Catron County politicians to promote the theory of private property rights, grazi ng rights, permittee owned water rights etc. The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer who is in charge of managing water right claims has tended to lean towards State/Private rights verses Federal ownership of the water. All of these property rights theories have been around for awhile and they build up support, but then get dashed when the Forest Service goes to c ourt and wins cases such as the recent Walker case here in New Mexico and the Martinez case in Arizona. So, the an swer is, there is a small group of out spoken private property ri ghts advocates who are not necessarily all Forest Service Term Grazing Permit holders who are constantly promoting a private property rights theory. The normal Forest Service permittee may buy into it and then reject these theories based on court decisions and how the Forest Service deals with the issues. Most of the Forest Service permitt ees listen to and would like to believe the promoters, but soon realize that it is them and not the promoter that stands to lose everything if the theory is found to be false in court. FS-2: (Arizona) Clearly this is an emotional issue. I can onl y share with you my personal perspective of growing up on a cattle ranch and running cattle on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service grazing allo tments on the Oregon side of Hells Canyon. Yes, I certainly did feel ownership of the la nd the grazing associati on ran livestock on. It made me sick to ride up on some hunters camp and see black plastic strewn all over the place because they didn't care enough about the land to clean up after themselves; or to find broken booze bottles and ammo brass li ttering the landscape because a bunch of irresponsible gun enthusiasts went target shoo ting on public lands; or to find two feet deep wheel tracks cut across a meadow because so me thoughtless weekend warrior was too lazy to get out of his four wheel drive and walk across the meadow My dad made his kids clean up the messes other people left behind because This is our land and our responsibility to leave it in better condition than we found it. He was the same way when he took his family on vacation up the Alcan Highway to Alaska in 1964we cleaned up other peoples garbage along the Black River. Gue ss he thought he owned that land too, grumpy old rancher! It was the grazing association that packed chainsaws into [what is now] Hells Canyon and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area and opened the "recreation" trails in the spring. And it was us who packed salt in fo r livestock and packed out other peoples garbage. That was the ownership I fe lt about the landand I won't apologize for occasionally feeling like the abusive visitors I cleaned up after had no right to be there. You should see some of that country nowit's a freaking garbage dump that neither the Forest Service nor Bureau of Land Management has the budget to clean up. Too bad there arent some people left on the land who feel enough ownership to clean up the mess the public has left behind.

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FS-3: (Arizona) Ninety-eight pe rcent of the ranchers I have dealt with on the Gila and the Apache-Sitgreaves do not feel they own the allotments, if they did feel this way they would not be dealing with me as a partner. In fact some of them have been left out or not taken very serious about a lot of decisions ma de on the allotments on which they run their operation. The feeling I get from them is th at they have been impacted greatly by Endangered Species Act, Wilderness Act, Road less Areas and much more and they have not had the standing of someone who is making a living by u tilizing the National Forest and keeping the private land from being de veloped and trying to sustain the natural resources. Seems like they give and give a nd sometimes feel the arrogant bureaucrat knows more about how to run their business than they do. The drought during the last 10 to 15 years have impacted them greatly, a lot of decisi ons were made pertaining to the allotments during this time with no flexibility for better years with more moisture, such as last year and this coming year. I have found that if you meet them half way they will meet you there and with both parties a mutual respect. The level of ownership the ra nchers have, in my opinion, is to take care of the country so th ey can ranch tomorrow and into the future. You can't make a profit with a skinny cow. The ranchers want to do the right thing but sometimes get tired of the red tape to get a project done, and sometimes it is us who are dragging our feet. FS-4: (Arizona) Growing up ranching on the Navajo Indian Reservation and to this day, our family do feel that we have ownership of the land we graze onwe cleaned after wood cutters, pinyon pickers, water ha ulers, visitors and even afte r people that made pit stops. So, I do understand when many of my grazing pe rmittees express their concerns over trash, people driving through meadows, disturbances made by recreationists, hunters, ATVs [all terrain vehicles] and even by the Forest Service or other agencies. I would say at least about 80 percent of my grazing permittees feel th at since they are paying grazing fees, they have ownership over their allotment(s). Th ey report cut fences, new roads, people camping near their stock tanks or troughs, illeg al wood cuttings and many other things. At least three of my permittees claim wa ter rights on their allotments.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH DeLene Beeland entered the School of Natu ral Resources and Environment in May 2005 to pursue an interdisciplinary path joining studi es in ecology and natura l resources management issues with training in journali sm. She plans to pursue a care er in science writing focused on ecology and natural history. At the time of this project, Beeland worked part-time at the Florida Museum of Natural History as a science writer cove ring current research and ongoing museum projects. She intends to use wr iting for popular media as a co mmunication tool to translate scientific research for general audiences, and she hopes her interest in large carnivores will aid in appropriate conservation efforts. This study re presents a journalistic research design using qualitative methods applied to an ecologica l natural resources management issue.