Jun 30

Wyoming wolf plan likely to include hunting

Wyoming wolf plan likely to include hunting

Associated Press

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – Wyoming’s plan for managing wolves after removal from
Endangered Species Act protection will be more difficult to craft than
those written in Idaho and Montana, according to a game and fish
department official.

Larry Krukenberg, a special assistant for policy, said hunting will
probably be part of the proposal because Wyoming must consider the state’s
elk feedgrounds.

“How are we going to manage wolves in that setting?” he asked. “The plan
is ultimately going to reflect how to deal with it so our staff has
guidance and the public knows what actions are going to occur when.”

Another hurdle will be reimbursing ranchers for losses due to wolves,
Krukenberg said.

Wyoming has resisted writing a wolf management plan. State officials have
said the federal government should pay for it, not the state.

Wyoming’s plan is the last piece of the puzzle to remove wolves from
protection as an endangered species – Idaho and Montana already submitted
plans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must approve all plans.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 29

Red wolf pups grow steadily at Durham museum

Red wolf pups grow steadily at Durham museum

(AP)

DURHAM, N.C. – While the five wolf pups at Durham’s Museum of Life and
Science aren’t yet long in the tooth, they are healthy, and quickly
getting longer legs and bodies since they were born April 10 to the pair
of endangered adult red wolves at the museum.

The litter originally included three male and three female pups, but a
half-pint male runt died at four days of age.

Sherry Samuels, animal director at the museum, recently joined other
museum staff members and veterinarian Debbie Vanderford for a health check
of the fast-growing pups.

Papa wolf paced nervously as the intruders approached his young and
removed them for their exams.

The process included all the usual poking and prodding, plus the infusion
of de-worming medicine and treating a cut on the eye of one of the pups.

Each red wolf is precious, since it was listed as an endangered species in
1967 under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It’s
the most endangered mammal in its native North America, where fewer than
300 remain. Most of those were bred in captivity, in facilities such as
the one at the Durham museum.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the captive red wolf
breeding program in 1973, biologists began to remove the few dozen that
remained in the wild in an effort to save the species from extinction. In
1977 captive pairs started producing offspring.

These animals were taken to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma,
Wash. The red wolf was considered extinct in the wild by 1980, mainly
because of hunters.

In 1987, four captive pairs were reintroduced to the wild in the
120,000-acre Alligator River refuge near Manteo. They were equipped with
radio transmitters so biologists could monitor their movements. Additional
releases were made, and the first wild litter among the reintroduced
animals came in 1988.

The expanded reintroduction area now includes 100 wolves in 20 packs
ranging through 1.5 million acres of federal and private lands in Dare,
Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Beaufort counties

Another captive litter whelped April 19 at the North Carolina Zoo in
Asheboro. That facility also participates in the Fish and Wildlife
breeding program.

The federally operated captive rearing program involves some 30 facilities
nationwide. Besides the Durham museum and the Asheville zoo, the state
also boasts wolf breeding at the Western N.C. Nature Center, also in
Asheville.

Wildlife specialists started the captive population to conserve a diverse
genetic pool to represent the red wolf species.

Visitors who want to see Durham’s wolves can now do so through a unique
touch-screen viewing station, without disturbing them.

The monitor developed by the museum allows visitors to pan, tilt and zoom
a surveillance camera inside the red wolf enclosure.

“It is wonderful to see these endangered mammals on our edge-to-edge
interactive monitors and watch visitors share in their experiences,” said
Tom Krakauer, museum CEO and president.

The camera _ part of an all-weather outdoor computer kiosk developed at
the museum _ is an outgrowth of a $2 million grant from the National
Science Foundation. Related technologies developed by the museum for
outdoor kiosks include video microscopes, video thermometers and specimen
display cases.

The grant was part of BioQuest II, an $18.5 million expansion project.

Wolf fans who want to “talk” to red wolves in the wild can join in
supervised “howlings” held at the Alligator River preserve. Packs of
humans howl as a group, and the wild wolves howl back.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 28

Wolf future lies in classification

Wolf future lies in classification

LARAMIE – Wyoming will have to remove the gray wolf from the predator
classification or risk delaying the process to remove the animal’s federal
protections under the Endangered Species Act, Game and Fish Department
officials told a legislative committee.

But agency officials warned that any change in the state’s classification
of the wolf as a predatory animal will most likely be met with stiff
resistance from the state’s agricultural community.

And any delay in the delisting process will mean the state has to manage
even more wolves once they are delisted, wildlife officials said.

The agency officials asked the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and
Cultural Resources Interim Committee on Wednesday to sponsor a bill that
would change the wolf’s classification.

The gray wolf’s current classification as a predator in Wyoming means the
animal can be killed any time and anywhere, much like the coyote, jack
rabbit and skunk, said Bill Wichers, Game and Fish deputy director of
external operations. However, it is protected by federal law as a
threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has told the agency it will not begin
the delisting process unless the classification is changed, Wichers said.

Wichers suggested that the state pursue some sort of “hybrid class”
designation for the wolf that would include a predator designation for the
animal on the eastern part of the state and a wildlife classification on
the western side of Wyoming.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 28

Environmentalists sue to stop Sawtooth grazing

Environmentalists sue to stop Sawtooth grazing

By CHUCK OXLEY
Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A coalition of Idaho conservation and environmental
groups is asking a U.S. District Court to close eight grazing allotments
in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to protect gray wolves.

Jon Marvel, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, said the
requested closure would encompass more than 100,000 acres and potentially
displace between 2,000 and 4,000 sheep and up to 200 cattle. The motion
seeks to close the allotments at least through the current grazing season.

The environmental groups say all eight allotments in the motion are
problem areas where wolves have been in conflict with cattle in previous
grazing seasons.

The action of the Western Watersheds Project and the Idaho Conservation
League follows a ruling by U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill, prohibiting
federal wildlife managers from automatically moving or killing wolves that
tangle with livestock.

A 1972 law created the scenic recreation area and gives wolves precedence
over grazing. Earlier this month, Winmill said those rules must be
balanced with rules established in the 1990s, which directed the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service to move and eventually kill wolves that prey on
stock.

Stan Boyd, executive director of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association, said
the motion shows that environmental groups simply want to remove livestock
from public lands.

“These folks are using wolf recovery as a tool to pursue other agendas,”
Boyd said.

The Idaho Conservation League and the Western Watersheds Project sued the
Forest Service in 2001, when two wolves in the Whitehawk Pack were killed
for attacking stock that June.

Since then, federal wolf managers have killed the entire pack, generating
worldwide opposition.

In the past three years, 27 wolves have been killed or moved out of the
White Cloud Peaks and the East Fork of the Salmon River in or adjacent to
the recreation area.

“The U.S. Forest Service’s refusal to alter its management strategies for
livestock in the SNRA in the wake of the court’s ruling leaves us no
alternative,” Marvel said in a prepared statement. “Our action is the only
way to stop the killing of wolves in the SNRA.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 27

Killing of some wolves may be approved

Killing of some wolves may be approved

Racine – Troublesome timber wolves could be killed later this summer if
the federal government goes ahead as expected and removes the wolf as an
endangered species in Wisconsin, Michigan and other states, an official
said Wednesday.

Because of a growing population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is
expected to downgrade the wolf’s status from endangered to threatened.

The overwinter wolf population was about 320 in Wisconsin – the highest
count since the turn of the last century. The current wolf population is
probably twice that because pups are being born, said Adrian Wydeven, the
Department of Natural Resource’s lead wolf biologist.

While not all pups will survive, growing numbers of farmers have reported
livestock losses where most of the wolves live. Each year, five to 10
farms report livestock losses from wolves.

Until the change in status, the only way to deal with problem wolves was
to trap and move them to another location, Wydeven said. But he told
members of the Natural Resources Board on Wednesday that many of those
wolves did not survive after they were released into the territory of
other packs.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 26

Landowner urges return of wolf and lynx to Scotland

Landowner urges return of wolf and lynx to Scotland

By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent
(Filed: 26/06/2002)

The biggest foreign landowner in Scotland called yesterday for the
reintroduction of wolves and lynx to add “excitement” to the countryside.

Paul van Vlissingen, a millionaire Dutch businessman, said the Government
should consider bringing back large predators in order to boost overseas
tourism.

He added that no one had been killed by a wolf in Europe in the past
century, and suggested that the animals could be tracked by satellite, and
farmers could be compensated if they attacked livestock.

Small conservation groups have called for the return of the European grey
wolf, but Mr van Vlissingen is the first prominent landowner to support
the idea. He said he would be happy to have them released on his estate in
Wester Ross.

The last wolf in Britain was killed in Morayshire in 1743, but the lynx
has been missing for the past 1,800 years.

He put forward the idea after publishing the result of a £300,000
privately-funded three-year study by biologists and botanists that showed
that traditional culling is having little impact on deer numbers.

Scientists found that the population of 4,000 deer on the 80,000-acre
Letterewe estate was controlled by winter weather and competition for
food, rather than the annual cull by stalkers.

Mr van Vlissingen said the findings suggested that deer were not being
properly managed, and called on the Scottish Executive to fund detailed
research into the animals.

One of the aims of deer culling is to reduce grazing pressure to allow
native trees to regenerate, but the study, by Prof Tim Clutton-Brock of
Cambridge University and Prof Michael Crawley of Imperial College,
suggests that common culling levels of 12 to 15 per cent would have to
rise to 80 per cent to make a substantial difference to the survival of
trees.

Mr van Vlissingen suggested that Scotland could be divided into zones
managed for deer, and areas managed for native trees, with deer eliminated
from the landscape.

He also proposed the return of the wolf and lynx – which would have a
small impact on deer numbers – to help to revive Scotland’s flagging
tourist industry.

“I think wolves and lynx would fit very well into areas of land managed
for deer,” he said. “In this century there are no known cases of anybody
being eaten by wolves in Europe, and there are thousands of people living
among wolves in Canada and Alaska.

“With modern telemetry you can fit them with tags and follow them by
satellite technology and if there is damage you can set up a system of
compensation.

“Scotland needs to become far more successful than it is at the moment in
tourism. Scotland has to create more excitement than the tired old monster
of Loch Ness. There is an enormous interest in eco-tourism building up in
the world.”

Research four years ago found that 36 per cent of people would support the
wolf being released in the wild, with 20 per cent undecided. However, the
percentage was lower in the Highlands.

Rob Gibson, the Scottish National Party prospective candidate for
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross – where sporting estates dominate
the countryside – said he would not rule out the idea, but it would have
to be looked at very carefully.

Source

Call of wild to help in deer cull

DAVID ROSS

WOLVES and lynx should be reintroduced in parts of Scotland to help keep
red deer numbers down as culling alone has not worked, a landowner claimed
yesterday.

Paul van Vlissingen, who owns a 32,000-hectare estate at Letterewe, near
Loch Maree in Wester Ross, made the claim at the launch in Inverness of a
three-year study of deer and their impact in the wild.

He first came to Scotland 25 years ago and, as a gift to the Scottish
people, commissioned the report into the ecological effects of red deer in
the Highlands, particularly on Letterewe. Employing five scientists, the
project cost around £300,000.

Mr van Vlissingen said A Highland Deer Herd and its Habitat concluded
that, contrary to belief, culling of deer – except near total removal -
had a low long-term effect on their numbers.

Around 70,000 red deer are officially culled each year, leaving a
population of around 300,000 to 350,000. But Mr Vlissingen said: “Culling
of deer – as has been happening for many years under official policy – has
not been effective … the present situation is unsustainable. It doesn’t
work.”

He believes the research proved that under certain circumstances herds
would naturally self-regulate population, but he thought other measures
should now be considered.

“I think that something that could be debated is to divide Scotland into
voluntary zones. Some areas where you have practically eliminated deer,
those areas you want specific natural regeneration of forests, and other
areas where you manage deer as part of a concept of wild land.

“In that concept, I think wolves and lynx would fit very well. I can
promise you that in the last 100 years there are no known cases of anybody
ever having been eaten by a wolf in Europe. And there are thousands and
thousands of people who live amongst the wolves in Canada and Alaska, and
there is no problem at all.”

He did not think the wolves or lynx would have too much impact on the deer
numbers, but could prove important to the tourist industry. The lynx left
Scotland 8000 years ago, while the last wolf is thought to have been
killed around the time of Culloden (1746)

“I would hope that Scotland would be far more successful than it has been
in tourism. Scotland is losing business … There are so many other places
in the world where people can fly on cheap airline tickets, and they are
so much more exciting.

“Scotland has to create more excitement than a monster in Loch Ness. There
is an enormous eco-tourism industry building up in the world and Scotland
is losing out.

“Wolves and lynx might take only 5% or 10% of the deer population, but it
would create tremendous excitement … Certainly, I would be happy to have
them reintroduced to Letterewe.”

Nick Reiter, director of the Deer Commission for Scotland, was not
convinced. He thought having some areas where there were deer in numbers
and others where there were virtually none would not provide a natural
balance, and would raise as many environmental problems as those it sought
to solve. Culling was still necessary, he said.

George Baxter, spokesman for WWF, said yesterday: “I have not read the
research published today but I am very surprised by its conclusions. Most
scientists and observers see culling as a vitally important element in
regulating deer numbers. It must also be remembered that many owners of
sporting estates see culling as contrary to their own commercial
interests.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 20

SNRA must meet deadline, consider grazing impact on wolves

SNRA must meet deadline, consider grazing impact on wolves

by Anna Means in the Challis Messenger

Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and the Idaho Conservation League (ICL)
prevailed last week on two counts considered by U.S. District Judge Lynn
Winmill’s court.

The Federal District Court ruled wolves are wildlife that must be
protected in the SNRA, so the Forest Service must evaluate whether grazing
impacts wolves. It also ruled that SNRA cannot give grazing carte blanche
priority just because another federal agency considers wolves
non-essential.

In August of last year WWP and ICL filed suit asking that the Sawtooth
National Forest be made to protect wildlife values in the Sawtooth
National Recreation Area (SNRA).

Point

Specifically, the plaintiffs objected to the SNRA allowing “impairment of
wolf populations to occur in recent years as a result of conflicts with
livestock grazing, despite the express requirement of the SNRA Organic Act
that wildlife and recreation values are to have primary importance in
management of the SNRA.”

Plaintiffs argued the SNRA should do an analysis under the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate whether livestock grazing and
SNRA policies allowing grazing were causing substantial impairment of
wildlife, fish and recreation values–namely, wolves.

Another argument considered by Winmill was that the defendants had
violated the 1995 Rescissions Act by failing to comply with a mandatory
schedule for completing an environmental analysis under NEPA of certain
grazing allotments in the SNRA.

Counterpoint

The Forest Service asserted that District Court lacked jurisdiction
because the plaintiffs weren’t challenging any final decision of the
agency. Defendants cited cases where it was established that the court
lacks jurisdiction prior to final agency action to “prevent the court from
interfering in the agency decision-making process.”

They argued that ongoing grazing operations “do not constitute a final
agency action.” They noted plaintiffs had not identified one single permit
that caused harm but rather had broadly challenged ongoing grazing, and
such broad strokes had been shot down in previous court cases.

As for the Rescissions Act, the defendants conceded they had failed to
comply with such a schedule for seven allotments in the SNRA, but the act
provided “reasonable discretion to depart from the schedule for NEPA
compliance.” They said they should be allowed to extend deadlines to
accommodate budget and manpower limitations.

Defendants also argued that the SNRA Organic Act allowed grazing as an
“historic” and “pastoral” value, which they are charged to conserve as
well as wildlife.

Besides, they argued, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified
reintroduced wolves as “experimental and non-essential” and in so doing
doesn’t require that existing grazing practices be changed for the wolves
once six breeding pairs have been established in the recovery area. Idaho
has had at least six breeding pairs for at least three years.

Decision

Winmill disagreed with the Forest Service. He said the plaintiffs were
trying to force the Forest Service to meet a Congressionally-mandated
schedule (Rescissions Act) and to conduct an analysis under the SNRA
Organic Act. Either way, the judge wrote, the plaintiffs asked the court
to order the Forest Service to take action unlawfully withheld. He
asserted the Administrative Procedures Act and Ninth Circuit Court have
consistently recognized a district court’s right to hear such claims.

Winmill wrote that the Rescissions Act language is “unambiguous” in saying
the Forest Service will establish and adhere to NEPA analysis on all
allotments. He cited the Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. Bosworth case
(adjudicated in May of this year) where a court ruled that the Forest
Service may not amend its schedule for NEPA compliance.

Winmill reviewed the SNRA Organic Act and quoted a passage saying the
Forest Service must administer the SNRA “in a manner that will best
provide … the conservation and development of scenic, natural, historic,
pastoral, wildlife, and other values …, and the management, utilization,
and disposal of natural resources on federally owned lands such as timber,
grazing, and mineral resources insofar as their utilization will not
substantially impair the purposes for which the recreation area is
established.”

With that, the judge wrote the statute is clear in that Congress
identifies wildlife as a primary value, while grazing is conditional, and
the Forest Service must evaluate whether grazing is substantially
impairing the conservation and development of the gray wolf. He said the
analysis should be conducted at the same time the Forest Service is doing
its NEPA analysis mandated by the Rescissions Act.

When considering the Fish and Wildlife Services’ rule that grazing
practices won’t be changed once there are six breeding pairs in the
recovery area, Winmill said that rule provides broad guidance but isn’t
site-specific as required by NEPA. He said the Forest Service must
consider both the Fish and Wildlife Services’ rule and the SNRA Organic
Act.

He wrote that even though the act and the rule seem to contradict each
other (Organic Act says grazing must not “substantially” impair gray
wolves and the FWS rule says that wolves will be “generally” removed if
they cause conflicts with livestock) “the provisions are not
irreconcilable.” Given the two qualifiers “substantially” and “generally”
in the two different rules, Winmill wrote that “while there is some
tension, there is not intractable conflict.”

Winmill ruled that his court will set a hearing to establish a schedule to
complete the NEPA analysis of the remaining SNRA allotments. He reiterated
that the Forest Service must analyze all grazing allotments under the SNRA
Organic Act to see if livestock “substantially impair” wolf populations.
The Organic Act does not include grazing as an historic or pastoral value;
the wolf reintroduction plan is a broad programmatic document that is
relevant to, but not a substitute for, a site-specific NEPA analysis of
each allotment in the SNRA.

In a press release issued last week the plaintiffs saw it as a major
victory that Winmill gave “wolves and all other wildlife precedence over
livestock.”

John McCarthy, ICL conservation director, was quoted as saying, “We will
wait to see how the Forest Service balances any conflicts that may happen
before we consider possible injunctions against livestock grazing.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 20

Wolf pack released in Arizona

Wolf pack released in Arizona

By Tom Jackson King, Managing Editor

The population of Mexican gray wolves alive and well
in the forests of the Southwest increased by nine
recently when the Bluestem Pack was released near Fish
Creek, about 15 miles southwest of Alpine, on June 10.

“The Bluestem Pack consists of nine wolves, an alpha
male, a two-year-old male and female and five pups,”
Vickie Fox, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, said. “Their name results from
native bluestem grasses found in their new territory.”

Fox said the wolf family was transferred to Arizona
from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New
Mexico, with the wolves being placed into a soft
plastic mesh pen.

“Last evening the alpha male and the two two-year-olds
had chewed out of the pen. The female and five pups
remained inside the pen,” she said.

While the pups and female remain in and around the pen
,the USFWS is supplementally feeding them, but that
will discontinue once the family group moves off to
set up its own territory.

Brian Kelly, wolf program manager, said the
supplemental feeding was being done “to maximize the
survival of all members of the pack.”

The pups, which were born near the end of April in
Sevilleta and are only about two months old, were
inoculated against rabies, parvovirus and distemper,
according to Kelly. The alpha adults and the
two-year-olds were also inoculated before release.

“We’re trying to provide safety and to maximize their
probability of survival,” Kelly said.

A novel element of this wolf pack release is the
agency’s decision to include young adults in the
release along with the pups and their parents.

“We’re trying to mimic what the wolf biology tells us
is normal. The ‘helper’ wolves are from the same
parents and they’ve been around since the pups were
born,” Kelly said.

In the wild, wolves and other mammal predators such as
coyotes, lions, wild dogs and hyenas will often rely
upon “helper” young adults to feed and protect the
pack’s pups while the alpha pair are off hunting. In a
case like the Bluestem Pack, where the pups are still
taking milk from their mother and are not yet weaned,
having “helpers” present reduces the stress on the
parents, increases pack cohesion and improves the
survival rate for pups. Since 50 percent or more of
newborn wolf pups often die in their first year, the
release of this pack with “helper” animals may reduce
that natural level of death in the wild.

Kelly said the Bluestem Pack members are mainly wolves
that were born in Sevilleta. The five pups and two
two-year-olds were all born at Sevilleta, while the
alpha female came from a zoo. The alpha male was born
at Sevilleta.

Of the nine wolves released, the four adults are
radio-collared for tracking. The pups are not collared
because of their age and small size. As they grow,
USFWS field biologists will later capture and fit them
with radio collars.

Another pack of Mexican gray wolves continues to rest
in limbo at Sevilleta while blood and DNA tests are
run to determine whether one, several or none of the
pups born to the Pipestem Pack are hybrid animals — a
mixed mating with a dog — or purebreed wolves.

“We’re still waiting for the second go-round of
testing,” Fox said.

The first round of blood tests that was analyzed in
late April “was inconclusive” as to the parentage of
the seven pups born to the Pipestem Pack, a group that
was captured in Arizona and moved to Sevilleta partly
due to its history of attacks on cattle. Another
reason to move the Pipestem Pack was to inoculate the
pups and do whatever might be needed to ensure a high
survival rate for the pups. The pack continues to
reside at Sevilleta as blood testing continues.

“We have three very good genetics labs working on
this,” Kelly said. “A lot of people think genetics is
black and white, but it isn’t. It is truly
inconclusive (results).”

Kelly had earlier questioned the coloration of one
Pipestem pups and that raised questions about its
parentage.

“The coloring on one pup is not consistent with what
we expect of Mexican gray wolves,” he said.

A photograph supplied to the Era from a reliable
source shows seven pups arranged in a group. Six of
seven pups show a dark fur coloration. The seventh pup
shows a spotted fur, where the fur is light in tone
while the spots are dark ovals and oblongs. The
photograph was published in the Era’s June 5 edition.

Kelly was asked if it was true one Pipestem pup is
spotted.

“I wouldn’t be sure enough to say that,” he said.

Kelly then expressed concern that someone in his
agency had made an unauthorized release of wolf
photos. He said the agency hadn’t released any
photographs of Pipestem Pack pups to the news media
partly to avoid speculation prior to the arrival of
factual scientific data on the parentage of the
Pipestem Pack pups.

The Pipestem parentage issue is important because if
one or more pups is found to be a hybrid with mixed
blood it will likely be euthanized, or killed, by
USFWS as part of the agency’s effort to keep the
Mexican gray wolf gene pool pure and uncontaminated.

Copyright 2002 Eastern Arizona Courier.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 17

Cull threatens wolf population–Experts say there are 13 wolves left in Norway

Cull threatens wolf population

June 17, 2002 Posted: 1346 GMT

Experts say there are 13 wolves left in Norway

By CNN’s Gary Strieker

OSLO, Norway — Wildlife authorities in Norway are
re-thinking plans to continue killing wolves following
a bad year for the threatened population.

Last winter, government-sponsored hunters killed 10
wolves in southeastern Norway because sheep farmers
complained the predators were attacking their stock.

Conservationists protested against the hunt saying the
country’s wolf population — just 28 animals — could
not survive.

Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) CEO-Norway Rasmus
Hansson told CNN: “Last year we told [the government]
that harvesting such a great fraction of a very small
population was biologically completely unsafe.”

Experts now say there are only 13 wolves left in
Norway and that the single remaining wolf pack will
probably scatter without breeding, because its alpha
male was among those killed.

It is a major reversal for wolf recovery in southern
Scandinavia where a few wolves migrated south from
Finland — where wolf hunting is still permitted in
some areas — into Sweden, and then into Norway nearly
10 years ago.

Hunters wiped out the wolves in southern Scandinavia,
Sweden and Norway, in the early 1900s.

There are now fewer than 100 wolves — which experts
describe as an isolated and vulnerable population –
in the two countries. Norway’s share of that
population, experts say, has now suffered a
catastrophic loss.

The government was planning to launch another wolf
hunt this winter, but those plans are said to be on
hold until Norwegian authorities develop a new policy
on wolf management.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Jun 16

Spreading fires terrorize and kill Colorado wildlife

Spreading fires terrorize and kill Colorado wildlife

Newborns vulnerable; rescue center packs up its wolves to flee flames


By Stephen Kiehl
Sun National Staff
Originally published June 16, 2002

FLORISSANT, Colo. – Stressed over a rapid evacuation to escape a raging
wildfire, the 14-month-old timber wolf-mix Shunka was shaking so violently
the other night that her keeper took a sheet into Shunka’s stall and lay
down on the hay beside her. Darlene Kobobel was able to calm Shunka, but
she is worried about her wolves. Tuesday, she moved all 12 of them from
her Wolf Rescue Center to a small barn in this town 30 miles west of
Colorado Springs.

“When you see orange flames at night and you’re one ridge away and the
wind is blowing in your direction, it’s time to go,” Kobobel said
yesterday, explaining why she left her 8 1/2 -acre center in Lake George,
a town on the front lines of the Hayman fire.

The fire has engulfed 102,000 acres in central Colorado in the past week
and forced 5,400 people from their homes. It was 30 percent contained
yesterday. No one has been killed or seriously injured, but the toll in
wildlife is far higher, officials say.

The fire is centered in Pike National Forest, home to elk, deer, coyote
and mountain lions. Spring is the birthing season for these animals, along
with birds of prey. While the species are not in long-term danger, many
individual animals are.

“Around the perimeter of the fire, the only thing they’ve found is
carcasses,” said Linda Cope, president of the Wild Forever Foundation in
Colorado Springs. “We’re going to lose quite a few of the babies of the
deer and the elk. They’re just being born and they can barely walk.”

Some of the adults, she said, have escaped to towns just beyond the fire,
where they have encountered people and traffic they’re not used to. Just
yesterday, a friend of Kobobel’s pulled up to her barn in a pickup truck,
with the bloodied carcass of an elk that had been hit. She wrapped the
elk’s haunches in plastic bags and put them in a freezer.

“Thank you for that,” Kobobel told her friend. “They’ll totally enjoy it,”
she said of her animals.

Kobobel, 40, founded the Wolf Rescue Center a decade ago when she was
volunteering at an animal shelter near here. The shelter had a wolf-dog
hybrid it was going to destroy that it could not place for adoption.

The animal’s name was Chinook, and it was a beautiful white malamute-wolf
mix with gray and black markings. Kobobel took it in and immediately began
her quest to save these hybrid animals that cannot survive in the wild but
are too wild for people’s homes.

“I put an ad in the paper, and in the first week I ended up with 17
animals,” she said. Most of them were more dog than wolf, so she was able
to find homes for them. Thirteen states, including Maryland, ban people
from owning wolf-dog hybrids at all.

“When an animal has wolf blood, they’re going to have predatory
instincts,” said Kobobel, sitting in the barn, surrounded by dozens of
bales of hay and bags of high-quality dog food. “They will kill cats. They
won’t get along with other dogs. They will tear up homes.”

People get wolf-dog hybrids because they think the wolf is majestic or
spiritual, she said. “But the new wears off fast when they don’t chase a
ball or ride in the back of a pickup truck.”

The howling at sunrise doesn’t help, either.

Wolves are most often bred with German shepherds, huskies and malamutes,
said Kobobel, who travels to schools and state parks to provide wolf
education programs. “People think it’s a neat thing to have a wolf as a
pet,” she said. “It’s cruel.”

Kobobel separates her wolves into packs of two – otherwise the alpha males
would kill each other. Yesterday, each pack was confined to a
15-by-15-foot stall in a horse barn on Black Bear Ranch.

They are not used to such a small space. Most were sleeping from the
stress of the move. One kept backing itself into a corner. Another was
shaking, its eyes wide with fear.

Kobobel had planned to move the wolves here in August, after she and her
volunteers had time to set up 3/4 -acre pens for each pack. She signed the
lease just this month. But the fire forced her to move before she was
ready.

She moved 10 wolves Tuesday, loading them into horse trailers for the
6-mile trip from Lake George to the ranch. The other two wolves had to be
sedated, and one slept for two days.

From the ranch yesterday, 9,000 feet above sea level, Kobobel kept a wary
eye on the sky. The scent of smoke was light on the air. She does not want
to move her wolves again. She’s not sure they would survive.

“Wolves can have a heart attack from stress,” she said. “I can’t move
again.”

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