Founder's Blog

Wildlife Research Needs Veterinary Supervision and Ethical Boundaries

July 11, 2022 - Michael W. Fox, DVM and Maureen Hackett, MD


There are several documented, and many word-of mouth accounts of chemically immobilized and otherwise restrained endangered species like the Asian elephant and African wild dog being severely injured, killed or dying soon after capture and/or release. In some instances there was an association with the animals being injected with un-tested and un-approved modified live virus vaccines. In other instances the injured or killed animal was a pregnant or nursing mother.

 Experienced veterinary supervision is called for especially when research biologists are loose in the field using drugs and vaccines on their animal subjects and applying various methods of capture and restraint which may cause serious injury, capture myopathy and even death. (Dr. Hackett's note: Stress Cardiomyopathy is due to the emotional stress of the capture and causes cardiac muscle to be unable to contract properly and pump blood because it becomes like an octopus' motion under the massive surge in stress hormones. The federal trapper whom I discussed this with did not believe me until I informed him this is a common clinical event seen in captive animals and people too--he had no clue. Thus the need for veterinarian supervision).

Wildlife continue to be harassed, stressed, and subjected to these in-field risks so that tissue and blood samples can be taken (though DNA evidence can be obtained from feces and rubbing/marking areas), radio collars and even cameras fitted,  and microchips implanted. The generation of more scientific data from such field research may help advance careers and engender more funding, and give some substance to wildlife management schemes. But when the animals in question are put at risk, and there are no in-place regulations and effective law enforcement to protect and restore their existing habitats, and to extend same in order to help minimize accelerating loss of genetic biodiversity, then these wildlife researchers should cease and desist.

 Such activities alone have nothing to do with wildlife conservation and at best give the false impression that something is being done, the foreign presence alone being a deterrent to poaching etc etc. Yet in reality from a bioethical perspective, the risks to the animals far exceed the immediate and foreseeable benefits. So I appeal to all appropriate institutions, governmental and non-governmental, for-profit and not-for profit, to encourage alternative, non-invasive wildlife research, and to cease funding and permitting any form of wildlife capture except for urgent veterinary and conservation-translocation reasons.

---Dr. Michael W. Fox

Ten Years After

April 22, 2022 - Maureen Hackett

What a difference ten years has made at the Minnesota State Capitol for the wolf.

Yesterday, the Minnesota state senate made a decisive vote against a mandatory wolf hunt. Most would agree that to oppose a mandatory wolf hunt should be a no brainer. But politics of the wolf is so bad, that getting this decisive vote, with both parties on board against a mandatory wolf hunt is a leap forward for the wolf and for the legislature in Minnesota. The vote was 37 nays to 28 yeas. The current senate is Republican majority, but nearly equally divided. Compared to many other votes taken yesterday, this vote was decisive and not close, with Republicans also saying no to a Mandatory Wolf hunt.

Howling For Wolves started 10 years ago this spring.  We let the public know about the wolf hunting bill before it passed into law through the Environment bill. We made sure people knew about the wolf hunt during the lead up to it all summer 2012, as we tried to stop it. Then we protested the horrific wolf hunts. We were the advocates as the press told a slanted story about the wolf hunts. It is tragic, but obviously vital that the courts finally stopped the slaughter. There had been a democratic process accomplished long before in 1998. THis was to have a 5 year moratorium before aa wolf hunt was considered and was to have "full" public comment and scientific research. This was ignored and overturned in the rush to have a wolf hunt. THe Minnesota DNR did not even accomplish a baseline survey of the wolves of Minnesota after 35 years of protections before a public wolf slaughter. And all of the MN media just ate it up with no questions about what should have been and what could happen to our beloved wild wolves.

So much has happened since then. With all of the ups and downs for wolves and their packs, Wolf supporters can smile and feel proud about yesterday’s vote in the Minnesota State Senate. This was a glimmer of hope that a political body can help protect the wolf. This was a glimmer of hope that the legislature is hearing their constituents and voting accordingly. It demonstrated that it actually has an effect when we take actions and reach out to our representatives and senators whether it be in person or electronically. It takes an accumulation of actions to be heard and for all the actions taken over the years, it appears they hear us and are listening. It all started 10 years ago with so many in person actions and lots and lots of communications with our legislators, in person rallies and attempts to inform the public at major events.

Howling For Wolves is heard at the state capitol. Stay proud and stay engaged. They hear us.

(Watch the 40-minute debate on the Senate Environment Finance bill here.  It should start at the right time, 00:30:54. The vote concludes at 01:06:57.






COVID-19 Insights and Hindsight

April 5, 2022 - By Dr. Michael W. Fox

The current coronavirus pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is responsible for over 6 million deaths world-wide and millions of others with chronic health consequences.

Some virologists contend that this virus was genetically engineered in one or more laboratories to have “gain in function”--becoming more contagious---a not uncommon procedure in the steps involving vaccine development and animal testing.

Conspiracy theories have been spun around the U.S. Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s involvement in this kind of vaccine development. It is a very safe investment since people suffering from adverse reactions cannot sue the manufacturers but must prove their case, often difficult, directly to the Government to seek compensation.

My main concern is that these and other agencies have not taken any significant steps to prevent future pandemics from zoonotic ( animal-to-human) diseases by seeking international prohibitions on wildlife trade, live “wet” markets in China and other countries as well as the bush meat markets in Africa and a rapid phasing out of CAFOs-confined animal feed operations ( so-called factory farms) especially of pigs and poultry: also, COVID-19-susceptible fur farms, mink in particular, and deer and “trophy” game farms operations, especially of White-tail deer who are very susceptible to this virus transmitted from humans. New variants will evolve along with other zoonotic diseases which will not be prevented by evermore vaccines, none of which offer zero risk.

We must, as a population soon to crest at 8 billion and which many ecologists and others see as a global infestation, change our eating and breeding habits beginning with better family planning and the rapid adoption of nutritious, plant based diets around the world to reduce our depredation and dependence on animals wild and domesticated as a source of food.The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is now also urging adoption of plant-based diets as a significant step to help reduce climate change.

Remembering Sandy Skinaway

September 19, 2021 - Maureen Hackett

On Friday, September 17, I attended the Celebration of Life for Sandra Marie Skinaway, my friend and teacher. Sandy was a wolf advocate long before I started Howling For Wolves. She was the Chairwoman of the Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi of Ojibwe and she spent her energy and time working for her tribe to gain recognition from the federal government. Sandy taught me about Ma’iingan; Brother Wolf, and the sacred cultural role of the wolf for the Anishinaabe people. I learned so much from Sandy and wish I had learned even more. I am honored that Sandy trusted me to share her culture with me.

Sandy spoke on local television, wrote editorials, and testified at the state capital in MN as we worked to pass wolf protection laws. She was an enthusiastic activist organizing regular rallies and marches against wolf hunting. She taught lawmakers the cultural significance of the wolf. Sandy travelled to Washington, DC to assist environmental groups by representing the indigenous view as they advocated to protect the wolf with Senators and Representatives. She did this even when her health nearly prevented her from doing so.

Sandy was the most peaceful and humble person I have ever known. She never complained and she did not speak negatively about others. I learned the true meaning of humility from Sandy. Ma’iingan is described as symbolizing humility and I think that Sandy emulated the wolf in this part of her character. She had a soft-spoken, selfless manner. She showed me to never give up in our fight to protect the wolf. So many people and so much important work will miss Sandy Skinaway.

Sandy may your spirit be free as you journey to the stars. I will howl for you at this Autumn equinox’s full moon on Sept 21, 2021.




Wolf All Down! Finding the Golden Mean in Conservation and Consumption

November 24, 2020 - Dr. Michael W. Fox

Efforts to protect the wolf in North America have now been thwarted yet again by the U.S. Department of the Interior decision to remove the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Yet there is only a fraction, possibly only less than 10% left of the original population, that once ranged across much of the continent because of human encroachment, trapping, poisoning, snaring, and shooting. Ranchers, recreational “sports” hunters and outfitters, and fur trappers are happy now.

These special interest groups are not representative of the democratic majority that has voted in favor of animal and environmental protective legislation, yet this immoral minority wins once again. I say immoral advisedly, sine there are many ranchers and hunters who respect and chose to protect the wolf, as well as the cougar and other predators. Some who protect their livestock with non-lethal methods of predator deterrence see it as the price they must pay for encroaching on wolf domain when some stock are taken by this increasingly displaced, persecuted, and starving indigenous species.

The immorality of conspicuous consumption and destruction is evident in the recent federal plan to strip protection from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and open up all 16.7 million acres to logging and other forms of “development” in one of the world’s largest and last temperate rainforests. The legacy of America’s imperialistic invasion, genocide and violation of the rights of indigenous peoples and species lives on as we continue to wolf all down that contributes to the GNP: the gross national product. Efforts to protect the environment and threatened animal and plant species are seen as “Taking away our freedom and rights,” to quote some politicians.

No less is happening in other countries striving to live high off the hog and wolf all down as grasslands, wetlands, and forests are turned over to commodity crop monocultures and livestock and poultry-feed production, displacing and disenfranchising small family farm cooperatives and communities in the process and accelerating climate change and loss of biodiversity. When I was a boy, chicken and steaks were too expensive for my family to consume on a regular basis but are now affordable for most who regard poultry, pork, beef and dairy products as dietary staples rather than luxuries, unaware of the hidden costs, especially animal suffering in factory farms and feedlots, and the environmental and public health consequences.

The chemicals and animal drugs used in this global agribusiness industry are making us sick and harming the environment and what is left of our wildlife. Consumers are told to trust agri-science, the food they eat and the drugs they take, while science-deniers of the Climate and Extinction Crises strive to maintain business as usual especially for the fossil fuel and allied industries. In our unbridled, conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels we are indeed burning the Earth’s past as well as future.

As one who has raised and studied wolves as an ethological scientist, winning their trust and devotion and crossing the boundary of scientific objectivity to have communion with one who sang in harmony with my shakuhachi flute, I am crying now for our loss of humanity and sense of kinship with all life. This, I believe, as a veterinarian, is a sensibility without which we will never be well. No one who knows wolves, as I shared in my book The Soul of the Wolf, would ever seek to kill one as a trophy or wear their fur as some fashionable adornment.

I challenge the bioethics of wolf and all wildlife management “science” that calibrates sustainable “harvesting” quotas and acceptable “recovery” counts. (For more discussion see my review article Wildlife Management and Ecological Dysbiosis posted on From a bioethical perspective such management is purely anthropocentric. Like sustainable farming, wildlife management must be eco-centric; Natural systems work best when we step outside, and observe rather than intervene, control, exploit and kill, and see how much needs to be healed, healthful biodiversity restored, like encouraging wolf pack expansion in states like Minnesota and Wisconsin to help prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and other cervids as well as Lyme and other tick borne diseases to humans and other animals..

The efforts of conservation and wildlife and biodiversity protection need support. Restraining order law suits and appeals are costly and take talent. Such disingenuous journalism is archaic and atavistic, if not anarchistic. The eco-tourist value of healthy wolf populations is coupled with the health of ecosystems to which wolves and other predators contribute. Predator “services” have been long documented as contributing to deer and other herbivore herd health and protection of forest habitat from over-grazing/browsing so fewer sapling trees are consumed, enabling forest regeneration, now additionally compromised by climate change.

Beyond anthropocentric religious belief, there is no science-based evidence that Nature was created for man’s exclusive use, becoming dysfunctional when so abused; or that other animals are our inferiors and are natural resources for our own use, best harvested “sustainably” ( called wise stewardship) or to be exterminated as we chose. Indigenous peoples like the Ojibwe have a very different hunting ethic and regard for wolves, and decry this de-listing. For them, and others who share their worldview, the wolf is a totemic species, a sacred presence in the life-community worthy of equal and fair consideration.

Finding Human Equivalence and Wisdom in Nature

February 13, 2019 - Dr. Michael W. Fox

Ecologically, love is inter-species symbiosis. Communion is commensalism. Economically, ecosystems are regeneratively self-sustaining.  Politically, natural ecosystems, as Russian Count Peter Kropotkin concluded from his studies of the Steppes of his homeland. an-archic.  There is no ruler or dictated order beyond the matrix of inter-species symbiosis which he called mutual aid: An organic democracy of diverse species that maintain the life and beauty of that wild community.  Predators like the wolf packs that remove the sick and infirm, keeping herds healthy and protecting the forests from over-grazing by controlling their numbers are vital contributors to biodiversity.  We now threaten such biodiversity, seventy percent of the animals on Earth being us and the animals we raise and kill for food.

Kropotkin's evidence was dismissed by the Darwinists, advocates of the survival of the fittest during the colonial times of Empire building and global exploitation.

French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) proposed that environmental  influences on one generation can be passed on to the next.  He was long dismissed by the scientific community of genetic determinists and the bioengineers of life and patent-holders.  But now epigenetics is being accepted and Lamarck given recognition long overdue.

The science and application of love in all our relationships with other sentient beings has been too long ignored and suppressed by ignorance and exploitation.  Bear scientist Lynn Rogers became friends with the wild bears he studied and told the world about because they were not afraid of him and with that trust behaved naturally around him.  His love-approach to studying an animal, echoing the words of Konrad Lorenz, one of the founders of the science of ethology who said “ Before you can really study an animal you must first love it” was professionally ridiculed and the Minnesota state authorities stopped his research on the grounds that he was making these bears dangerous to the public which was untrue. The scientific method is impartial and objective but that does not mean treating animals as objects, often disposable.

We Have Buggered Mother Earth

February 13, 2019 - Dr. Michael W. Fox

Responsible journalism is warning us of a pending global environmental apocalypse caused by our combined numbers of people and animals raised for human consumption and by a fossil-fuel based economy and petrochemical and drug-dependent agribusiness food industry. See now:

Insects are a foundation class of animals, far more ancient than we, that are the sustainers---from pollinators to recyclers and food for other creatures---of life on Earth.

 As a child growing up in England I became a naturalist exploring local ponds and streams, then a teen-age biologist and at nineteen, just before high school graduation I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. Aquatic caddis flies, the Trichoptera, were my passion, their life cycle and different larval forms captivating my curiosity and awe. They are an indicator species of water quality. Their decline and extinction from agrichemical herbicides, GMOs and insecticides, also applied to livestock that contaminate fresh water, is but one issue on the agenda of civil society awakening to planetary CPR---conservation, protection and restoration which is the foundation for our own health and future viability.


November 25, 2018 - Dr Michael W Fox


By Dr. Michael W. Fox*

On November 16th,2018 House members of  Congress, including Minnesota’s soon-to-be Governor Tim Walz, passed the bill, HR 6784, the "Manage Our Wolves Act" which, if passed in the Senate, will allow states to return to wolf trophy hunting and trapping and removes any opportunity for judicial review, which is a dangerous precedent. Ceding Federal protection under the Endangered Species Protection Act to State wildlife management has been opposed by scientists and conservationists and a large public constituency of wildlife protection. The livestock sector that supports wolf eradication is now recognized as one of the world’s major contributors to climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Wolves need to be protected and their numbers increased so the whitetail deer over-population and related health-problems can be rectified. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in whitetail deer and other ungulates is spreading across the U.S., now reported in 22 states. While deer ranches can be one source of infection, seeking to manage a large deer population for recreational hunting---essentially wildlife farming---and winter feeding, coupled with predator control, especially of wolves, creates the perfect storm for the spread of CWD. 

Outdoors reporter Dennis Anderson’s appeal (StarTribune March 9/18) to the legislature to limit the scourge of CWD in the state’s deer herd by ideally getting rid of deer and elk farms and at least making them secure with double fencing and regular inspections should not fall on deaf ears. A variant of the prions that cause chronic wasting disease in deer, moose and elk across many states caused mad cow disease in the U.K., decimating the beef industry and resulting in brain disease in humans and some companion animals. According to researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), grass plants can bind, uptake and transport infectious prions which are single proteins that cannot be destroyed by typical “kill strategies” such as extreme heat or ultraviolet light. They discovered that even highly diluted amounts of the material can bind to the roots and leaves. From there, they fed the wheat grass to hamsters, which became infected with the disease. The team also found the infectious prion proteins in plants that had been exposed to urine and feces from prion-infected hamsters and deer.

The Bureau of Microbial Hazards (BMH), Food Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada posted on April 26, 2017 a Risk Advisory Opinion: Potential Human Health Risks from Chronic Wasting Disease because CWD has been transmitted to cynomolgus macaques (the non-human primate species most closely related to humans that may be used in research), through both the intracranial and oral routes of exposure. Both infected brain and muscle tissues were found to transmit disease. 

The probability of transmission to cattle, sheep and goats and to humans consuming infected meats and crops from corn to cabbages contaminated by infected deer feces and urine is considerable and concerted action is called for at this time to prevent such a potentially catastrophic eventuality.

Against these research findings, what are the best strategies to control CWD for Minnesota and other State departments of natural resources, wildlife management and animal and public health?  Clearly in Minnesota, high concentrations of deer encouraged by private land owners, deer farms and even the DNR for deer hunters in many zones across the state need to be ecologically managed. “Eco-health” is maximized by protecting optimal numbers of carnivore species, wolves in particular and cougars in other States that may have some immunity to prion infection, who cull weak and sickly deer and prevent high densities that can mean over-brazing and destruction of habitat.

Leading wildlife biologists cited by Tod Wilkinson in his December 11, 2017 Mountain Journal article “The Undeniable Value of Wolves, Bears, Lions and Coyotes In Battling Disease: Will The Fairy Tale Mentality Of Western States Against Predators Hamper Their Ability To Slow Chronic Wasting Disease”? are unanimous in recognizing the role of predators in controlling CWD. Their systematic extermination over the past two centuries especially by the livestock industry has facilitated the spread of this disease across the U.S. and Canada. In this article Kevin Van Tighem, a hunter and former superintendent of Banff National Park in Alberta’s Canadian Rockies opines, “I don’t know of a single credible biologist who would argue that wolves, along with other predators and scavengers, aren’t important tools in devising sound strategies for dealing with CWD.” Van Tighem says it can be rationally argued that wolves provide the best line of defense since they are confronting infected animals. So those States blessed with viable wolf populations need to recognize the role of these predators in ecosystem management and protect such large carnivores from human predation and maintain maximal wolf numbers to optimize deer and elk herd health rather than de-listing the wolf from Federal protection as an endangered species to allow trophy hunting, trapping and snaring.

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in deer, transmissible to cattle, follows a similar pattern of high deer numbers. As Michigan State university veterinary epidemiology professor Paul Bartlett opines, “My conclusion a long time ago was
that if you raise deer like feedlot cattle they’re going to get a feedlot cattle disease.” 

In addition to bTB white tail deer can also transmit other diseases to cattle and humans including Q Fever, Brucellosis and may infect cattle with EHD, epizootic hemorrhagic fever. Also, Leptospirosis, which causes reproductive failure, anemia, liver and kidney disease in ruminants and is typically shed in the urine of infected animals. People acquire the infection by oral ingestion and contact with contaminated urine, placenta, and fetal tissues. The organism can infect hosts through abraded skin. Salmonellosis, campylobacterosis, listeriosis, yersiniosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are acquired from deer by contact and accidental oral ingestion of fecal material from infected animals.

Surely it is time for all State and Federal wildlife agencies to implement ecologically sound wildlife management practices that improve deer health and not continue to put livestock and humans at risk from several diseases by maximizing natural biodiversity. This must include protection of wolves and other predators and not rely on human predation for a few weeks of hunting every year during the breeding season to limit deer population densities. Allowing the hunting and trapping of wolves will only make matters worse. 

*The author lives in Golden Valley MN and is a veterinarian and author of The Soul of the Wolf. Website 

Vote for the Wolf

October 25, 2018 - HFW Action Fund

Use Your Voice. Vote for the Wolf.

In 11 days, it is time to head to the polls. If you live in one of the 34 states that allow early voting, you can vote as early as today.
This is the most important action you will take to protect wildlife this year.

The US mid-term elections on November 6th will be a watershed event for the survival of wildlife, the environment and the future of the Earth’s ecosystem. Control of Congress must change to slow the continuing destruction of wildlife and natural habitat, the selfish philosophy of “greed over all” and the current administration’s attacks on the Endangered Species Act and America’s wild wolves. Democrats are far from perfect, but changing control in Washington is crucial. The wolf and all of America’s wildlife need Congressional leaders - like Betty McCollum - who value the natural environment and the species that depend upon it.  Congresswoman McCollum is the current ranking minority member of the natural resources committee and was instrumental in saving the wolf from extinction in 2015 and 2016: she may again be in a position to protect them if leadership shifts in D.C. If the US House is majority Democrat, then the wolf, other wildlife and endangered species will have a friend in Congress with power to actually protect them. No matter who, please vote blue. We need someone like Congresswoman Betty McCollum to be in charge of that committee. Please vote to change control in your local Congressional election this November.

1: Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date and accurate. Some states allow voter registration and/or changes to registration up to Election Day or at the polls.
2: Find out if your state allows early voting. If it does, go vote!
3: If you are not voting early, find your polling place and make a plan. This is vital. Things come up and plans change. For this one day, Tuesday, November 6th, make voting a top priority. Leave yourself a sticky note, set up a calendar reminder, tell a loved one, do whatever it takes to get out the door and VOTE!
You can find your polling place, find early voting locations, and even look up candidates on the ballot at the Endangered Species Voter Action Center at the link below.
If you need a ride to vote, please visit to find a free ride to your polling place. In many places, Uber is offering free transportation to polling locations.
We have said it before, and we'll say it a few more times before Election Day: the stakes are very high, and deeply consequential.
The outcome of the 35 Senate and 435 House of Representative races could determine whether wolves, grizzly bears, sage grouse, and other plants, fish, and animals lose protections.
The future of the Endangered Species Act itself is in question.Whether you believe in the power of your individual vote or not, choosing not to vote is to be culpable for the consequences that are likely occur if things continue as is and those who would stand up for wildlife are not elected. 
On Tuesday, November 6th (or earlier if your state allows early voting), you can help to decide the future.
Please, wolf advocates, make your plan to vote and carry out a civic duty of the utmost importance in these trying times which have seen endless, relentless, attacks on wildlife and the environment.
Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places.
This has been a message from the Howling For Wolves Action Fund, a registered C4 non-profit.
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Preparing for Wolf Day

April 2, 2018 - Leslie Rosedahl
Organizing all the pieces for a large event like Wolf Day starts about six months ahead of time – because the team at Howling For Wolves values each wolf supporter’s time and advocacy efforts. We know the more planning and thoughtfulness we can do, the more effective Wolf Day at the Capitol will be, and that makes a difference for the wolf! 
This upcoming Wolf Day (on April 11) will be the fifth Wolf Day I’ve assisted Howling For Wolves President and Founder Maureen Hackett. My primary role, year round with HFW, is media and communications – making sure we’re heard in the media to influence the public and decision-makers. Dr. Hackett and I work closely together on press releases, opinion pieces, social media posts, and more. Garnering media attention is a big part of Wolf Day too. We gather in the Capitol Rotunda to rally and represent the wolf - and that’s a terrific and attractive visual for television reporters/cameras to use in their stories, and we set aside time for Dr. Hackett to personally visit with reporters at the event, as well as pitch a press release that day to statewide media outlets. (We are usually pretty successful – having 4-5 media outlets cover Wolf Day!)
Another part of my role for Wolf Day is finding the right words to help wolf supporters tell the Howling For Wolves story during Wolf Day. Every year Dr. Hackett and I update all materials we put in the folders: the HFW “backgrounder,” “legislative priorities,” “wolf facts,” “exit survey,” “daily agenda,” etc. All handouts need new formatting with the new logos, new updated information, etc. 
Also, a large amount of time (hours!) is spent thinking through the right words for the emails we send to likely attendees hoping to motivate and recruit to join us at the Capitol. I usually take the first draft of the emails– and Dr. Hackett always has edits. Lots of edits! And they are working – we already have over 125 advocates RSVP’d for the Wolf Day 2018!
I work with Sophie, who uses the addresses that people submit for registration and checks to see what senator and representative represent them. Then she makes an individual meeting request to that legislator’s legislative assistant (their staff person). On any given day, there are MANY Days at the Capitol in St. Paul (probably 10-15?) so sometimes we compete for meeting times with other organizations and have to make our case. More often than not we’re competing for the legislators’ time against existing committee meetings, House and Senate floor sessions that are called at the last minute, etc., where legislators are required to vote. We try our best to make sure that there is enough time between the House member meeting and the Senate member meeting, but it can get pretty tight if only one time is available. Many legislators don’t know their final schedule for the day until the last minute, or their scheduled changed because of last-minute committee meetings or floor session votes, so right up to the night before we’re changing and re-arranging schedules. The morning of Wolf Day, even after we need to print the schedule, there will always be 5-10 meetings changed. It works best to schedule meetings for people on their behalf – as opposed to having attendees do it – because first, we know it can be complicated to make the request. Secondly, there are normally several people in that House or Senate member’s district, and it’s confusing to have several requests into a legislator’s office for the same meeting. Lastly, it’s easiest for one person to be the point of contact for all scheduling issues.
Ila, the fantastic Howling For Wolves volunteer coordinator who also helps with various administrative items, also helps with Wolf Day by making all the folders – printing handouts, stuffing the folders, stickering the front. She also helps organize the nametags, and the HFW T-shirts as everyone has a specific size they’ve required. (That’s a big job!) Ila also works with several other volunteers to organize buses. (That’s also a big job!) This year, we have buses coming from Duluth and St. Cloud. Ila also takes your questions via phone and email, orders the food, and organizes the volunteer duties too!
Many of our wolf advocates live in the same legislative district and will be together for their meetings with representatives. For example, we are excited to send nine advocates to meet with Senator Pappas  This is our largest group in one district so far this year. 
Howling For Wolves works with professional lobbyists to make sure our legislative priorities and agenda are always top of mind for legislators in committee meetings, etc. They work with bill authors and legislators on bill hearings, draft amendments, and work with the Governor’s office and other political leaders in support of the priorities of Howling For Wolves. Priorities include:
  • Removing the automatic and reckless wolf trophy hunt in current Minnesota law
  • Eliminating snaring of all wildlife
  • Requiring permission to trap on private land
  • Continuing to support farmers with preventative nonlethal strategies to avoid wolf conflict
New to the Howling For Wolves Legislative Priorities this year is a bill to lift the ban on treating injured wolves. Right now, the Minnesota DNR prohibits Minnesota’s wildlife rehabilitation professionals from providing treatment to a wolf, regardless of the circumstances. It should not be a crime to rescue a threatened species from human-caused trauma! 
More work preparing for Wolf Day includes updating the PowerPoint presentations (at the briefing and rally), thank you cards to legislators, and most importantly for some of us, breakfast foods!
All of these pieces come together on Wolf Day to make sure that our advocates can have the best day at the Capitol possible – we know it’s not easy to take time off work and come to a sometimes intimidating and ceremonial place, and we want to be the strongest advocates for the wolf because she needs us. 
Almost 200 wolves were killed last year in 2017 by government agents alone, even while on the Endangered Species List. And those are just the ones we know about and are reported. There is more work to do!
For the wolf to be around for future generations, we need to do the best job we can advocating for her at the State Capitol – because that’s where momentous decisions are made. 
I hope you can join us this year.


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