Aug 29

Wolf Sanctuary Formed in Minnesota and Wisconsin

Wolf Sanctuary Formed in Minnesota and Wisconsin

WASHINGTON, DC, August 29, 2002 (ENS) ­ The Humane Society of the United
States Wildlife Land Trust has acquired 120 acres of land to establish a
greenway for wolves in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The parcel is located near Askov, Minnesota and was purchased through a
donation of more than $100,000 from Juliana Kickert, who was inspired to
save wolves by her relationship with a wolf hybrid named Pasha.

The land – ideal wolf habitat because it is a mix of wetlands and forest -
provides a critical corridor for wolves to roam between Minnesota and
Wisconsin. It also provides a needed sanctuary for these and other wild
animals because of its prohibition on hunting, trapping, logging and

The land is adjacent to wildlife management areas and forests and is close
to a state park. It will be an important stepping stone between these

“This piece of land is an essential part of a wildlife corridor, a series
of connected habitats in which wolves and other wildlife can breed, move
about and establish their territory,” noted Jim Reed, The Wildlife Land
Trust’s director of sanctuaries. “Without connected habitats like these,
wolves and other wild animals are forced to live in pockets of territory
surrounded by land developed and used by people, making it difficult for
threatened populations to recover and stable populations to remain

The acreage was dedicated as the Pasha Wildlife Sanctuary in memory of the
now deceased wolf hybrid adopted by Kickert more than a decade ago.
Kickert stressed that wolves and wolf hybrids should not customarily be
kept as pets.

“When I adopted Pasha I was not aware that he was a wolf hybrid. I thought
he was a husky mix,” said Kickert. “He was a true companion to me, but the
greatest lesson he taught me was that wolves need to be free and in the
wild. That is why I helped The Wildlife Land Trust purchase this land so
that it would be a permanent part of a much larger habitat for wolves.”

The Humane Society of the United States opposes keeping wolves and wolf
hybrids as pets. While they share some characteristics with dogs, these
animals are not domesticated, and behaviors that are natural for them in
the wild pose dangers to people and other companion animals in the home.
In addition, their needs cannot be met in a home setting.

Several wolf packs have been moving through the sanctuary and some wolves
may be using it as home territory.

“We are very grateful for Ms. Kickert’s donation, which allowed us to
purchase this wolf habitat and to help us establish more wildlife friendly
sanctuaries in Minnesota,” said John Kullberg, the Trust’s executive


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 28

Wolf Center Needs Your Help

Wolf Center Needs Your Help

Center Damaged By Pines Fire
Updated: 4:08 p.m. PDT August 28, 2002

SAN DIEGO — Officials at a local wildlife conservation center are seeking
donations to help repair damage caused by a fire that burned near Julian
this summer. The California Wolf Center, which reintroduces wolves to the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, established a fund this week to collect

The Pines Fire, which began in late July when a helicopter clipped a power
line, tore across the 50-acre wolf center. It killed four rare Mexican
gray wolves and damaged shelters.

Some 27 wolves continue to live at the center.

Donations can be sent to:
California Wolf Center Pines Fire Recovery Fund
P.O. Box 1389
Julian, CA 92036-1389


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 28

Wolves making comeback in upper Midwest

Wolves making comeback in upper Midwest

Careful management in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan likely to lead to
emergence from endangered status

By Tom Nugent – Special to the Chicago Tribune
Published August 28, 2002

Perched behind the wheel of her 1997 Ford Escort, Pam Troxell drove slowly
along a winding dirt road on a recent summer evening, deep in the heart of
Wisconsin’s isolated Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

After reaching a sharp curve in the road–a familiar landmark–the
43-year-old Troxell pulled the car to the shoulder and got out. Minutes later,
standing in a forest clearing, Troxell threw her head back and sent up a
long, echoing howl.

After a lengthy silence, she howled again–a high-pitched, sirenlike
wailing that floated out over the silent forest.

This time she got a response, the faint but clearly identifiable cry of a
barred owl, which sounds like: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?

Wailing chorus

Then silence again. Troxell took a few steps toward her car and froze.
Suddenly the air was full of sound, as several wolves howled in a wailing

After listening carefully to determine whether there were any newborn
“pups” among the howlers, Troxell returned to the car and recorded the
results of her latest “wolf survey” in her notebook.

Like Troxell, a volunteer coordinator at the Northland College-based
Timber Wolf Alliance in Ashland, Wis., nature-lovers across the Upper
Midwest have been celebrating the return of the gray wolf (also known as
the “timber wolf”) to forest habitats in Minnesota, Wisconsin and

After coming perilously close to extinction in the first half of the 20th
Century, the Midwest’s wolf population has soared to more than 3,100
animals, with about 2,600 wolves ranging freely through the wilds of
Minnesota and the remainder divided about equally between Wisconsin and

Experts say the federal government is about to take the wolf off the
endangered list in Michigan and Wisconsin and list the animal in the “threatened”

“The return of the gray wolf is a wonderful symbol of the success of
wildlife recovery programs in this country,” said Jim Hammill, wildlife management
supervisor for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

L. David Mech, a Minnesota-based federal wolf researcher for the U.S.
Geological Survey, said “wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin are increasing
by 25 to 30 percent a year, and they continue to thrive in Minnesota.”

“The wolves are doing well these days, thanks in part to the Endangered
Species Act,” said the researcher and founder of the International Wolf
Center, a public education center in Ely, Minn., the heart of northeastern
Minnesota’s wolf country. “These are magnificent animals, and I’m sure the
reclassification from `endangered’ to `threatened’ will please many
wildlife advocates and environmentalists.”

But Mech warned that the rapidly expanding wolf population has already
begun posing an increased economic threat to farmers in some areas of the

“If we’re going to have more wolves moving around on the landscape, we
have to manage them very carefully,” Mech said. “For a lot of farmers,
this is a very important economic issue, since the law prohibits them from
killing wolves, even when they lose a cow to a wolf pack.”

Minnesota cattleman Chuck Becker, who runs a large farming operation in a
wilderness area where wolves are frequent visitors, said wolves have cost
him in recent years. “As livestock farmers, we turn our cattle into
money,” he said. “This is our livelihood, and when you get out there in
the yard and find your cow ripped to shreds [by wolves], that really

While pointing out that a dairy cow can easily cost a farmer up to $1,800
to replace, Becker said farmers rarely receive enough compensation under
state wildlife-conservation programs to make up for the loss when wolves
kill one.

Although he frets daily over the safety of his cows, Becker described
himself as an admirer of the gray wolf. “They’re fast and they’re powerful
and they’re one of the smartest animals you’ll ever see.”

Michigan cattleman Frank Wardynski, who watches over 300 cows near
Ontonagon in the Upper Peninsula, said that “one of the biggest problems
we face is proving to the wildlife people that we lost a cow to a wolf” in
order to receive compensation.

Wardynski said that in one recent incident, a local livestock farmer who
had suffered a wolf-kill hired an expert to analyze samples of wolf dung
from his farm yard. “The dung had cow hair all through it, but the state
people said that wasn’t enough for them,” he said.

Responding to complaints by farmers that wolves have killed more than 600
of their cows in the three states during the 1990s, wildlife officials
said the success of the wolf recovery program will require them to do a
better job of relocating–or even exterminating–wolves that attack
livestock. Once the reclassification takes place, they said, occasional
“rogue” wolves that eat farm animals in Michigan and Wisconsin can be
exterminated by state officials.

`Have to be controlled’

“We have to do a good job of managing the wolves and preventing them from
harming the livestock farmers,” said Michigan DNR specialist Hammill.
“It’s important that we not put the wolf on a pedestal. They have to be
controlled just like other animals or we’ll gradually lose our respect for

Adrian Wydeven, an ecologist with the Wisconsin DNR, pointed out that
wolves perform a valuable service in nature by helping to control the
population of deer, beaver and coyote. While speculating that the recovery
program has restored perhaps 10 percent to 20 percent of the pre-Columbian
Great Lakes wolf population (estimated at 40,000), Wydeven said the
elegant animals often provide wildlife lovers the thrill of a lifetime–a
wolf sighting.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 28

1st wolf victim in Teton found

1st wolf victim in Teton found


For the first time since gray wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and 1996, a
wolf has killed a domestic calf within Grand Teton National Park.

The calf was killed sometime Sunday on the Elk Ranch grazing allotment
near Moran Junction. A park worker discovered the body of the calf on
Monday morning.

Evidence at the scene indicated that predators had been feeding on the
carcass. The area is known to be habitat for wolves, coyotes, mountain
lions and bears.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife services
determined that a wolf killed the calf.

Wolves from the Teton Pack have denned in the area known as Elk Ranch in
1999, 2001 and 2002 without any livestock-related incidents, according to
park officials. The pack had a double litter of pups this spring,
increasing the size of the pack to 23.

Park officials said it’s not clear whether the wolf involved in Sunday’s
kill was a member of the Teton Pack because other wolves often wander
through the northeastern corner of the park.

Park staff will continue to monitor the Elk Ranch area, but there are no
plans to remove or relocate wolves in the area.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 26

Wolves captured in Wisconsin

Wolves captured in Wisconsin

Published Monday, August 26, 2002 1:45:26 PM Central Time

PARK FALLS, Wis. — Fifteen wolves have been captured in northern
Wisconsin this spring and summer to reduce domestic animal losses.

Adrian Wydeven, Department of Natural Resources mammalian ecologist from
Park Falls, said wolves were captured after depredations occurred near a
Danbury beef farm in Burnett County, a dairy operation north of Deerbrook
in Langlade County, and a rural residence in Taylor County, where wolves
attacked a dog.

More wolves have been trapped in 2002 than any previous year, Wydeven

Trappers for the Wildlife Services branch of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture work with the DNR to control wolves, as well as other problem

Six sites with wolf depredations were trapped by Wildlife Services this
spring and summer, and wolves were captured at the three locations.

“Because wolves are listed as endangered by the federal government, all
wolves trapped at depredation sites must be relocated into the wild
somewhere in Wisconsin. Any wolves released into the wild are equipped
with radio transmitters and are tracked by DNR from airplanes. Three of
the wolves captured this year died in captivity or after release into the
wild, while five are being monitored by radio telemetry,” Wydeven said.

Seven wolves are in captivity, waiting to be released into the wild.
“These wolves make up a pack, including an adult male and female with
pups, that was removed from the farm near Dearbrook after USDA staff
confirmed the wolves had killed a calf and cow on that farm. One of the
six pups removed from the farm died in captivity. The DNR is preparing the
other pack members for release back into the wild on the Menominee Indian
reservation,” Wydeven said.

The Danbury operation is a beef cattle farm that has experienced
depredation in the past. Six wolves have been removed from that farm,
according to Wydeven. All six were released back into the wild in
Bayfield, Price and Vilas counties. “All were adult or yearling females.
The apparent alpha female died after just four days in the wild,” Wydeven

An adult male wolf was trapped in Taylor County May 18 after attacking and
injuring a dog. The wolf was released locally, but was recaptured at the
same site May 19. It was then translocated 52 miles northeast into Price
County. The male wolf was found dead from an unknown cause in eastern
Price County in early July, Wydeven said.

Since 1991, 34 wolves that depredated on domestic animals in Wisconsin
have been trapped. Of 17 wolves that have been translocated long
distances, only one caused depredation on livestock in a new location,
Wydeven said. Seven of these previous livestock depredators are still
alive in the state, he added.

Eight problem wolves were trapped and moved in 2001.

The population in Wisconsin is about 323 wolves, not including pups born
this spring.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is in the process of reclassifying the
Great Lakes wolf population, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan
and the Dakotas, from an endangered to a threatened species. Once
reclassification is accomplished, the DNR will have more authority to
manage Wisconsin’s wolf population. Until then, any depredating wolves
must be trapped and relocated within the state, Wydeven noted.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 24

Agents kill wolves near Fairfield … Animals had preyed on livestock

Agents kill wolves near Fairfield … Animals had preyed on livestock

By Sandy Miller
Times-News writer

FAIRFIELD — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials Thursday
authorized killing two adult gray wolves after the animals killed five
sheep grazing on a U.S. Forest Service allotment near Fairfield.

The attack on rancher John Faulkner’s sheep took place Aug. 10. A
guard dog was also injured, a Fish and Wildlife news release said.
Faulkner on Friday verified the wolves had killed some “bucks and
ewes” but referred other questions to wildlife agency officials.

Agents from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services shot
the male and female gray wolves just after daybreak Thursday on private
property near Fairfield, according to the news release.

The two wolves were part of a group of four young wolves that
included a black male known as B-133 that was collared after killing sheep in the
same area two months ago, the release said.

Carter Niemeyer, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery
coordinator for Idaho, said the two wolves were not from a known pack, but
were believed to be part of a loose group of subadults — which is
preliminary behavior to pack formation and breeding. B-133 and another
uncollared gray wolf were not harmed.

Niemeyer said the other two will be killed if more livestock are
lost. “We left the collared wolf out there so that we can monitor its
movements,” he said.

Rick Williamson, a wolf specialist with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, and other federal specialists examined the sheep carcasses
last week and determined they were killed by the wolves. Because wolves
were responsible, Faulkner is eligible for monetary compensation under a
program administered by Defenders of Wildlife.

Idaho’s wolf population has grown to about 260 since the first 35
wolves were brought to the state from Canada in 1995-96. About two dozen
wolves have been killed by federal officials after the animals attacked
livestock, most of those considerably north of Fairfield.

In November and December, two wolves were found shot to death near
Fairfield. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been investigating those
killings. Wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, though
federal officials have the authority to kill wolves that repeatedly prey
on livestock.

Although wolves might kill livestock for food, there has “never been
a documented incident where a healthy wolf has killed a person,” said Ed
Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service office
in Helena, Mont.

“Of all the things in life you have to worry about, wolves are at the
bottom of the list,” Bangs said.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 23

Wolves attack calves near Malay Gap, one dies

Wolves attack calves near Malay Gap, one dies

By Tom Jackson King, Managing Editor

The Cold War between Mexican gray wolves and ranchers grazing cattle on
public lands in Apache National Forest turned hot Thursday with two wolves
observed attacking and feeding on two calves from the 4 Drag Ranch about
20 miles northwest of Clifton.

Darcy Ely, in an interview with The Copper Era, said her husband Gary and
two cowboys came upon a scene in the Malay Tank-Cowhead Tank pasture area
that badly shook up the three men.

“It was a shock. The anguishing screams of the calf shocked them all. My
husband called in at 1:30 p.m. He had witnessed the wolf eating the heifer
calf. This is the heifer Gary saw being eaten alive and that was
screaming. You could hear this horrible wailing of a calf. My husband fell
apart over this and so did the rest of the crew,” she said.

The fatal attack on the hindquarters of a 300-pound black heifer calf was
the tail-end of a ferocious scene Gary Ely chanced upon moments earlier,
in company with cowboys Jamison Hargrave and Martin Suarez.

“Before the eating he saw another hereford calf with injuries underneath
it,” she said. “They chased off the wolf with their horses and dogs, then
came back and saw another wolf attacking the black heifer.”

The total from the mid-day wolf attack was one heifer dead and one injured
from underbelly bleeding, Darcy Ely said.

“We baby-sat those calves to July, then took them back to our ranch and
they didn’t even last a month. Last year we lost 40 calves in May. Part of
it was the mountain lions. The lions would kill them and the wolves would
eat them,” she said.

Despite her livestock owner upset at losing calves they planned to use as
breeders for their herd, Darcy Ely says she knows wolves are just being

“What makes it worse is, we like the wolves. It’s not their fault. They’re
hungry. They’re looking for food. It’s not fair to the wolves. They’re
punishing them. The program isn’t working,” she said.

The Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program isn’t working, and wolves are
attacking livestock, because of a four-year drought that has cut back on
the numbers of deer and elk that are the normal wild prey for wolves, Ely

“The Saddle Pack has been feeding on our cattle. They were released in our
winter pasture. For two winters we’ve let the Saddle Pack eat our cattle.
The statement the diet of the wolves is 75 percent elk is a lie,” she
said. “We’ve collected wolf scat with plenty of cattle hide and hair in

Dan Stark, acting field coordinator for the Mexican wolf program of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, confirmed he radio-tracked four members of
the Francisco Pack to the Malay Tank area, then he e-mailed Ely to warn
her of the presence of wolves where her cattle were pasturing. By Friday
morning Stark was on site along with a Wildlife Services representative.

“We have confirmed a depredation and we are increasing our monitoring to
determine what animals are responsible. We made the decision to go down
there and do the monitoring over the weekend. With the Elys we’ve tried to
update them on wolf locations,” he said.

As for witnessing the wolf attack on two heifer calves, Stark said he
sympathized with the 4 Drag Ranch people.

“I agree they have a right to be frustrated about the situation. It’s hard
to put up with something killing your calf,” he said.

“With the Elys we’ll spend time down there monitoring. If we can target an
animal responsible for the depredation, that would be more effective,”
Stark said.

On the issue of prey elk and deer, Stark said, “What I’ve been seeing is
the same over the last two years. The elk numbers seem to be staying
pretty stable. There’s adequate prey out there for wolves to exist on.”

Darcy Ely claims both the Francisco Pack and the Saddle Pack have
“cow-killers” in them that regularly pursue and kill cattle.

Stark said he needs documentation. “This is the first case that has been
documented of wolves doing this (to the Ely herd),” he said.

Darcy Ely said she and husband Gary bought the 200-head, 53,000 acre ranch
from Dean Warren, who was himself attacked by a wolf while riding his
horse from one pasture to another. She said they understood wolves were
around but she expects USFWS to do something to reduce the conflict
between wolves and grazing cattle.

“They need to address the issues that are the problem. Every pack they’ve
released has a cow-killer in it and there is a food shortage up there.
We’ve gone through two years of this program. We’ve moved the cows off.
we’ve been open-minded. We begged them to come (to wolf attack sites). Now
the wolves are in the middle of the pasture. Where do we go now?” she

Stark said ranchers who find a wolf killing livestock do have some
options. If the killing is happening on private land or deeded land, “you
can shoot it.” The rancher has to give immediate notice to USFWS of such a

On forest allotment land, a rancher can haze or scare or chase off wolves
but not kill them. In the future, once the agency can confirm there are
six breeding wolf packs in the two-state area, USFWS can “issue permits to
livestock owners to remove, or take, a wolf in the act of killing
livestock,” Stark said.

In the meantime, the Cold War between wolf hunger and rancher economics
will go on, with both sides pursuing what comes naturally — eating and
ranching, ranching and eating.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 20

Researcher blasts Norway’s wolf hunts

Researcher blasts Norway’s wolf hunts

A wildlife expert claims Norway’s controversial wolf hunts have done more
harm than good, in terms of saving domestic herds from the jaws of

Wolves have a hard time surviving in Norway.

Researcher Petter Wabakken told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Tuesday that
the hunts angered wildlife officials in neighboring Sweden, damaging
coordination of conservation management between the two countries. The
Swedes are much more concerned than the Norwegians with preserving the
once-nearly extinct wolf population in southern Scandinavian. Norwegian
officials instead have been influenced by the sheep ranchers who want to
continue open grazing and keep wolves at bay.

The ranchers’ concerns, coupled with local fear of the wolf, prompted
Norwegian officials to authorize the recent wolf hunts. Some renegade
hunters also have apparently taken matters into their own hands and
illegally hunted wolves in an attempt to reduce a growing population.

But Wabakken notes that never before have so many Norwegian sheep been
killed by wolves, despite Norway’s sanctioned effort to control the wolf
population. In Hedmark and Oppland counties alone, wolves have been blamed
for double the amount of attacks on sheep this year as last.

“Poor cooperation with the Swedes on wolf management is the reason,”
Wabakken told NRK.

Swedish wildlife officials have responded to the Norwegian hunts by
allowing expansion of its own wolf population. Many of these wolves are
crossing the lengthy border that Norway and Sweden share.

“There will continue to be more cross-border migration of the wolves,”
said Wabakken, noting that Sweden is aiming to triple its wolf population.
“This will lead to more sheep being injured.”


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 18

Wolf numbers continue to escalate

Wolf numbers continue to escalate

By Jim Lee
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

MADISON – Wisconsin’s winter wolf population increased 25 percent from a
year ago, continuing a trend expected to lessen protection of a species
considered endangered just three years ago.

A minimum count over winter 2001-02 consisted of 323 to 339 wolves in 81
packs and eight to nine loners, according to a Department of Natural
Resources report.

A year ago, the state winter wolf population was estimated at 257.

“A population of 350 wolves in Wisconsin represents the desired management
population, and once the population exceeds this level, pro-active
controls and possibly a public harvest can be considered,” the DNR report

Wolves were reclassified from endangered to threatened status by state
officials in 1999.

A population of 80 or more wolves for three or more years was the criteria
for state and federal reclassification to threatened.

Federal criteria for removing the animals from threatened protected status
required a population of at least 100 wolves in Wisconsin and Michigan
combined for at least five years.

“The combined state populations have been at this level since 1994 and
currently are approaching 600 wolves,” the DNR said, adding that the
federal delisting process should begin soon.

The state goal for delisting is 250 wolves outside Indian reservations.

As a result, “the state process to delist wolves will probably start in
fall or this winter,” said Adrian Wydeven, a DNR biologist working with
the wolf recovery program.

Wisconsin’s wolf population has increased at a 20 percent rate since 1985.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 15

Wolves were hit by vehicle, feds say

Wolves were hit by vehicle, feds say

By SHERRY DEVLIN of the Missoulian

Two wolf pups killed on Ninemile Road last week were hit by a car or
truck, possibly while their parents were away hunting for food, federal
officials said Wednesday.

But the investigation continues into the pups’ deaths, as it is illegal to
kill a threatened species.

“Law enforcement would like to talk to the person who may have hit these
wolves,” said Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery
coordinator. “We’d like to see how it happened.”

It may be that the wolves were playing in the road and were not seen by an
approaching motorist, Bangs said. “Maybe they were just playing around
while the adult wolves were out hunting. Or maybe one pup got run over,
and the other one was checking it out.”

If the deaths were “purely accidental,” the motorist would not be
prosecuted, he said. “But we want to know the circumstances.”

Karen Miranda, a public affairs specialist in the agency’s Denver office,
added that the Endangered Species Act does not require humans to put
themselves at risk to save the life of an at-risk species. And that could
include swerving to miss animals.

Another pup from the same litter was hit and killed in the same spot on
July 20. The young wolves were all about 4 months old.

“Highways are tremendous killers of wildlife, and wolves are no
exception,” Bangs said. “The numbers are just staggering. A few years ago,
the alpha female of the last breeding pack of wolves in Banff was killed
on the highway.”

Three adult wolves have been killed in the Ninemile this year by federal
agents trying to stop a rash of llama depredations in the lower part of
the valley. But Bangs said he doesn’t believe there is any link between
the road-kills and the llama troubles.

“These are two separate problems,” he said. “Hopefully, people can
remember to slow down for wildlife on the road. And our law enforcement
guy would like to talk to someone if they think they may have run over a

The pups were killed on upper Ninemile Road, near where the property
ownership changes from private to public land. Anyone with information
about the incident should contact special agent Rick Branzell of the Fish
and Wildlife Service office in Missoula, at 329-3000.


Posted in Uncategorized