Feb 28

West End’s sick wolves to be trapped

West End’s sick wolves to be trapped

Joan Farnam/Staff writer


Traps have been set out for the two remaining wolves in a mangy wolf pack that has been sighted close to homes and vehicles in Lutsen this winter.


“The Fish and Wildlife Service gave me permission to try to capture the remaining wolves in Lutsen,” said Bill Paul, assistant state director for Wildlife Services, an agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “We got a special exemption. Lutsen is in Wolf Management Zone l, and normally we aren’t allowed to take wolves in that zone. But when a wolf gets used to people or becomes bold, it can pose a possible threat.”


The nine-member pack, all of whom appeared to be suffering from mange, was first sighted this fall.


“We have a field in our backyard with a transmission line above it,” said Alta McQuatters, a resident of Lutsen, who reported her concerns about the wolf pack to Paul. “All the wild critters use that — bear, moose, wolves, whatever. And some of the people use it as a walking trail. We’ve had these wolves around forever. They’d usually come through the area on their route about every five or six days or so.”


But last fall, McQuatters said she and her husband, who are both trappers, noticed the wolves looked mangy. Their fur was falling out, they had bloody scabs on their legs and flanks and were scratching all the time.


“They’d come into our field,” she said. “There’s a lot of grass and trees, and it’s protected from the wind. They’d go by the trees and lie down, but they could never rest because they were scratching all the time.”


As the season progressed, McQuatters said they began to notice the wolves were acting strangely. They appeared to be weak, and in some cases disoriented.


Then the cold hit, a fatal problem for a wolf who doesn’t have all his fur.


“When the wolves have mange, the lose a lot of fur,” Paul said. “They become pretty debilitated. When it becomes really cold, they die of exposure.”


By December, McQuatters said the wolf pack was down to about five or six individuals. And people began seeing them in situations that made them pretty nervous.


They came in people’s yards, they didn’t run when they saw people walking to their vehicles. In some cases, they actually approached people, who jumped into their cars.


“The wolves walked around the vehicles,” Paul said. “That’s not normal for a wild wolf.”


“One day, they had come through our yard,” McQuatters said. “A wolf walked right on our sidewalk to our front porch. My husband stepped out. It didn’t hardly run. It was all raw on the sides from being scratched.”


At that point, McQuatters and her neighbors called Paul to see what could be done about the wolf pack.


McQuatters said she and her husband were concerned about their grandchildren as well as the wolves themselves.


“As an adult or teenager, you know enough to stay clear of them,” she said. “But a younger child, 2 1/2 and 7 years old, have no concept. The younger ones think it’s a big dog. And if they’re hungry, who knows what they’re going to do.”


Also, she said, the wolves were obviously in distress.


“Our main object of calling was that we didn’t want them to suffer,” she said. “That’s a slow agonizing death. You scratch yourself, freeze yourself and slowly starve to death.”


Paul said he and other consultants went to Lutsen and interviewed McQuatters and her neighbors to determine what to do.


What concerned them most was how unnatural the wolves were acting.


“They’ve had a lot of contact with people and gotten used to human activity. That’s not normal for a wild wolf,” Paul said. “They could pose a threat to people, especially young children.”


Although there have been no reports of wolves attacking children in the lower United States, there have been incidents in Canada and Alaska, he said. “There’s potential there. You don’t want to cross the line by not doing anything.”


The two wolves remaining in the pack will be trapped. Rehabilitation is not possible, he said.


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Feb 28

OFWC to hear public testimony on plans

OFWC to hear public testimony on plans

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets March 20-21.

PORTLAND – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet for two days in Newport, March 20-21, to hear staff reports and public testimony on wolf management, a draft hatchery policy and options for the 2003 ocean salmon seasons.

The regular March meeting of the Commission was extended to two days from one due to the volume of agenda items and expected public testimony. The Commission is the rule-making body for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The seven-member panel meets monthly.

The Thursday agenda will include a staff report on items related to wolf management. While wolves are not confirmed to live in Oregon at this time, biologists working with wolves in Idaho expect wolves to eventually establish themselves in Oregon. People seeking to speak on this agenda item will be asked to limit their testimony to three minutes due to the expected amount of public testimony.

“We really hope that the many Oregonians with a passion on this issue take time to prepare a three-minute summary of their recommendations and, if they havent already, provide us with written testimony that goes into more detail,’ said John Esler, chairman of the Commission.

The two-day meeting is slated to begin at 8 a.m. both days in the ballroom of the Embarcadero Hotel, 1000 SE Bay Boulevard, Newport.

The Commission also will host an informal reception for members of the public on Thursday, 5:30 – 7 p.m., in the Embarcadero Hotels Fireside Room.

The following items are on the agenda for March 20:

Access and Habitat Projects: Approval of funding requests.

Wolf Management Alternatives: Informational briefing on options used in other states.

Powerdale Hydroelectric Project: Approval of fish passage proposal.

Developmental Fisheries Board Appointments.

The following items are on the agenda for March 21:

Directors Report: Informational briefing on deferred maintenance, regional activities and agency logo.

Fish Passage Exemption Approval Process: Rule adoption.

Other Business: Briefing on construction of new ODFW headquarters building in Salem. Briefing will occur during Commission lunch around noon.

Public testimony is taken on each scheduled agenda item. Persons seeking to testify must sign up in the back of the meeting room the day of the meeting. Anyone wishing to provide written material to support their testimony is asked to bring 20 copies.

Persons wishing to speak on items not on the formal agenda must call Mike Lueck in the ODFW Directors Office at (503) 872-5272 by Tuesday, March 18. Unscheduled testimony will be heard about 1 p.m. on Friday, March 21.

More information on agenda items can be found at dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/commission-meeting.html as it becomes available.

Fisheries Subcommittee Examines Progress at 12th CITES Convention; Number of advances for the conservation of marine species

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Feb 28

Freudenthal vows to press on with wolf plans

Freudenthal vows to press on with wolf plans


by The Associated Press – 02/28/03 04:21:23

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – Despite last-second misgivings from Washington, Wyoming will proceed with its plans for eventually managing gray wolves in the state, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Friday.

Freudenthal said he would sign a bill passed Friday by the Wyoming Legislature that sets the state’s plans for managing the wolves.

House Bill 229 creates a dual classification for wolves. Within Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, wolves would be classified as trophy game and could not be hunted without state permission. However, the wolves would be considered predators outside the parks and could be shot on sight. The bill stipulates that Wyoming maintain 15 wolf packs _ eight inside the parks and seven outside.

In order for the gray wolf to be removed from the Endangered Species List, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho must develop acceptable plans to take over management of the animals. Idaho has produced a plan, while Wyoming and Montana are still developing their plans.

The U.S. Interior Department must approve each state wolf management plan before the process of delisting the wolf can proceed.

However, Freudenthal said he has received word that Interior officials are now concerned about the wording of Wyoming’s plan.

Freudenthal said he was irritated that Interior officials had not voiced any concern before.

“There’s a point at which they have to stop moving the target, and we’re past that point,” he said.

He produced a Feb. 21 letter from Craig Manson, assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, that notes how closely the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working with the state and Legislature on its wolf management plan and that the 15 packs “should satisfy” recovery levels.

Freudenthal said the state “operated off that response” and intends to continue to proceed until he is advised in writing that the Manson letter is no longer valid.

He said Wyoming has made “a great step forward on this issue, and I expect Interior to honor their commitment and move with us.”

He characterized Wyoming’s efforts so far in dealing with the wolf issue as “reasonable and rational” and that he and the Legislature both had worked in good faith.

“It’s time for us to settle in and get this done,” he said. “Fair is fair.”

Two other wolf-related bills nearing final legislative approval would allow the state to investigate whether it could recover damages caused by federal wildlife management decisions and direct the state attorney general to prepare a plan for potential litigation asserting the state’s authority to manage wildlife within its borders.



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Feb 28

Feds suspect foul play in wolf killing

Feds suspect foul play in wolf killing


By Chris Hunt - Assistant Managing Editor

POCATELLO - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suspects foul play in a wolf's death this week near Weston, according to Craig Tabor, the agency's chief law enforcement officer.

Tabor said Thursday an agent will investigate.

"He will talk to folks down there and hopefully see what happened," Tabor said.

Tabor confirmed the wolf, discovered Tuesday by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game after it received a phone call from the Weston area, was shot to death.

It's illegal to kill wild wolves - the predator is protected under the Endangered Species Act.

"If someone shot the wolf because they were protecting livestock, that hasn't been reported," Tabor said. Ranchers are allowed to protect stock from wolves that are harassing them, he said, but the law forbids shooting a wolf on sight. "Foul play is certainly a possibility."

Most likely, according to Ed Bangs, federal wolf recovery coordinator based in Helena, Mont., the wolf is from a Yellowstone National Park pack - wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995.

The journey from the park to the Weston area would be relatively easy for a wolf to make because the terrain is wolf friendly, Bangs said. A journey from central Idaho to Weston would require crossing two interstate highways and the Snake River Plain.

"But it's certainly possible the wolf is from central Idaho," Bangs said. "If you draw a straight line from Weston to central Idaho and one from Weston to Yellowstone, it's about the same distance."

Weston is just north of the Utah line, about 75 miles southeast of Pocatello.

There's also a chance the animal isn't wild at all, but a wolf hybrid that got loose from its human owner, Bangs said.

"They look exactly the same," he said. "We'll know for sure once a necropsy is done and we can see what it was eating and we get some blood samples."

Local wolf expert Ralph Maughan, who operates a Web site detailing wolf expansion near Yellowstone (http://www.forwolves.org/ralph/wolfrpt.html), thinks the wolf is likely a roaming Yellowstone wolf, too.

Maughan thinks wolves will continue coming into the area, but he doubts any will persist for the long haul.


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Feb 28

‘Predator’ comments nip at wolf plan

‘Predator’ comments nip at wolf plan

By TOM MORTON Star-Tribune capital bureau

CHEYENNE — The dual listing of the gray wolf as a predator and a trophy game animal has raised questions about Wyoming’s proposed management plan for the endangered species.

Earlier this week, U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton raised an 11th-hour concern to Gov. Dave Freudenthal over language in the wolf management proposal in the Legislature, according to the governor’s legal counsel.

Thursday, an Interior Department spokesman said the bill outlining the plan did not satisfy all concerns of the department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The secretary expressed her concern with the use of the word ‘predator’ in our proposed legislation,” Mike O’Donnell said Thursday.

“The governor shared with the secretary his frustrations: No. 1, that something as key to these wolf bills as that type of language was being raised at the very last minute,” O’Donnell said. “And No. 2, that the wolf is not called a ‘predator’ in this bill; the phrase is ‘predatory animal.’”

A “predatory animal” is an animal that has the potential to create economic hazards, Rep. Mike Baker, R-Thermopolis, said. A predator, on the other hand, describes an animal behavior, which does not necessarily resulted in economic damage.

Freudenthal was out of the state and not available for comment.

Hugh Vickery, spokesman for the Department of the Interior, declined to comment on the conversation between Norton and Freudenthal.

But the Interior’s position on delisting the wolf is clear, he said in an interview from Washington, D.C. “The Fish and Wildlife Service will not delist the wolf until the state has a management plan in place that ensures long-term conservation of the species as required by the Endangered Species Act.”

The state’s efforts came closer Thursday when the Senate overwhelmingly passed House Bill 229 on third reading. The bill now goes to Freudenthal for signing.

HB 229 , sponsored by Baker, would set up a “dual classification” management program in which the Wyoming Game and Fish Department would be responsible for maintaining seven packs.

Wolves would remain under federal protection in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. In certain wilderness areas next to the parks, wolves would be classified as trophy game.

Outside those areas, if the number of packs exceed seven, people could kill wolves as predators at any time for any reason.

Early Thursday, before emotions calmed, O’Donnell and others used the “predator” comment for an angry incentive to urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve $250,000 for HB 300 to establish a program to analyze and monitor federal natural resource issues, and take legal action if necessary.

HB 229 sponsor Baker later expressed some queasiness about the fate of the bill he and others worked so hard to create.

“Why on the third day in the last hours are they objecting?” Baker asked. “Those things caused little bells to go off in my mind.”

Baker recognized that Norton may have a public relations problem as the wolf nears delisting, he said.

While ranchers in western Wyoming regard the wolf as a predator that attacks their animals and livestock, many other U.S. residents know it only as a wild big dog that frolics in the fields in Yellowstone.

“How are we going to sell this to the housewife in Connecticut?” Baker said.

But that public relations problem should have been dealt with a long time ago, he said, because back in 1988 — seven years before wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone — biologists knew that people would need to kill 30 percent of them a year to keep the population stable.

Baker also believes that the “predator” comment refers to lingering doubts about dual classification, he said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like all wolves outside the parks to be listed in just one classification of trophy game, but that won’t happen now, Baker said.

Baker is confident that the Denver regional office, which has expressed its support for HB 229 , will make the final decision about delisting the wolf.

He and O’Donnell referred to recent letters from Fish and Wildlife Service officials to Freudenthal and U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin that stated the Legislature’s work “should satisfy the requirement” of maintaining and monitoring packs.

But Vickery of the Department of the Interior appeared to contradict that.

“We don’t think it quite gets us there, but we think we can work with the state to get us there,” Vickery said.

The “unregulated taking” of a wolf as a predator, compared to that of killing it as trophy game, causes problems for monitoring the size of packs and the number of wolves, Vickery said.

Norton’s and Vickery’s comments about wolves as predatory animals, and doubts about the future of a wolf management plan in Wyoming, should not come as a surprise, said Jason Marsden of the Wyoming Conservation Voters.

“I’m not surprised that the ‘predator’ term got them in trouble,” Marsden said. “They passed a bill that has language that concerns the federal government.”

The problem with “predator” could have been avoided if those working on wolf legislation had listened to the biologists who recommended trophy game status statewide, he said. “It’s always been a gamble that the feds would accept dual status, and Secretary Norton’s remarks really underscore the risk the Legislature is taking with this approach.”

On the other hand, Tom Thorne, interim director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, didn’t think the “predatory animal” language would affect delisting.

“It should not make a difference in what we call (the wolf) in any given area,” Thorne said. “What makes a difference is how we manage it.”


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Feb 28

Study shows slight effects from wolves at elk areas

Study shows slight effects from wolves at elk areas

By MIKE STARK
Gazette Wyoming Bureau

For wolves in winter, Wyoming’s elk feed grounds near Jackson must seem like a giant, open-air smorgasbord.

But the wolves aren’t overindulging, and the elk aren’t being driven out of the area, according to Mike Jimenez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf coordinator in Wyoming.

“These elk have adjusted to wolves being around,” Jimenez said. “Even though these are very accessible elk (to wolves), we’re not seeing any kind of mass killing. They’re not slaughtering the elk and they’re not chasing them off forever.”

Jimenez and others have spent three winters watching wolves and elk interact on the Alkali, Patrol Cabin and Fish Creek feed grounds in the Gros Ventre River drainage outside Jackson. About 800 elk were fed hay during the winter at each feed ground.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and 1996, many feared that the predators would flock to the elk feeding grounds to kill large numbers and force elk out of the area.

“That became a real hot issue right off the bat,” Jimenez said. “But it hasn’t happened.”

Biologists primarily tracked two wolf packs in the area, the Teton and Gros Ventre, and observed the elk they killed and how the species dealt with one another.

Over three years, researchers located 119 elk that were killed by wolves on the three feed grounds and adjacent areas. The average age of the adult elk that were killed was 10; the oldest was 23. Forty-three percent of all the elk killed were cows and 53 percent were calves.

Fourteen elk were deemed “surplus kills,” in which wolves left much of the meat behind.

“There are not that many occasions when wolves kill for the fun of it, despite what a lot of people think,” Jimenez said. “It sometimes happens, but it’s not a rule of thumb.”

The rate at which wolves are killing elk on the feed grounds is similar to how wolves kill elk in Yellowstone National Park, he said.

Beyond how much the wolves were eating, researchers also wanted to know how elk on the feed grounds reacted when wolves showed up.

At Alkali and Fish Creek, elk often scattered and regrouped at the Patrol Cabin feed ground. But when wolves made a kill at Patrol Cabin, the elk would either leave and return after a few days or simply stay put.

Jimenez said the behavior could be connected with how much snow is on the ground and what kind of tree cover wolves had to hide in.

“We speculated that elk congregated in larger herds as a predator defense strategy,” he said. And elk may have preferred Patrol Cabin because there was less snow cover and better visibility to see approaching predators.

He noted that last winter the cow-calf ratio, which is often used to help determine the overall health of the herd, dropped from a five-year average of 24 calves per 100 cows to 17 calves per 100 cows.

The overall trend for the last 10 years has been a decline in that ratio with a few minor ups and downs, Jimenez said. It’s too early to tell what the numbers from last winter mean and how much wolves can be blamed for the decline. In Yellowstone, biologists have attributed declining rates to several factors including wolves, the ongoing drought and past severe winters.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the trends do,” he said.

Jimenez said the winter study also couldn’t help predict whether wolves would drive elk off other feed grounds in the state and onto private property, which has been a concern especially in the Pinedale area.

Anecdotal evidence from the Gros Ventre area indicates that elk stick close to the feed grounds even when wolves arrive because the grounds are a time-tested food source for the elk.

“When we saw elk move, it was often a short-term move,” Jimenez said.

The study of wolf-elk interaction at the feed grounds is continuing this year.


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Feb 28

Pack of wolf bills move ahead

Pack of wolf bills move ahead


By ROBERT W. BLACK
Associated Press Writer

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday recommended a bill allowing the state to pursue a lawsuit against the federal government over reintroduction of wolves.

The committee voted 3-2 to send House Bill 300 to the Senate for further debate.

Since gray wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and 1996, their numbers have grown to about 300 in western Wyoming, raising concern from ranchers and outfitters that attacks on livestock and other wildlife will increase.

HB300 would allow funds to be used from the state’s Federal Natural Resource Policy account to investigate whether the state could recover damages to state wildlife or its citizens resulting from federal wildlife management decisions.

Although the measure was amended by an earlier committee to remove references to wolves, their reintroduction is among the federal actions the state’s attorneys could investigate.

The bill funds three new positions in the attorney general’s office at a cost of $250,000 to help implement the act.

Sen. Rich Cathcart, D-Carpenter, suggested there are enough lawyers in the office, which he referred to as ‘the biggest law firm in the state.’

‘What are all the attorneys we have on the payroll doing?’ he said.

Attorney General Pat Crank conceded his office has a large number of attorneys but said there are few that deal with wildlife issues.

‘Right now I do not have the bodies in the Natural Resources Division to do the litigation,’ he said.

The committee voted to give the attorney general’s office flexibility to hire any mix of attorneys or environmental experts rather than stick with House language which mandates hiring two attorneys and one expert.

HB300 is one of three wolf management bills; the other two are in the final stages of passage.

‘The goal of the bills is to give us a mechanism to go fight the federal government and get compensation for the state of Wyoming,’ said Michael O’Donnell, counsel for Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

Senate File 97 would direct the attorney general to prepare a plan for potential litigation asserting the state’s authority to manage wildlife within its borders. The plan would be forwarded to the Joint Travel Committee by Sept. 1.

The measure was passed by the House 54-6 and returned to the Senate for a review of House changes.

House Bill 229 sets forth the state’s plan to manage wolves once they are removed from the federal Endangered Species List. The proposal includes allowing hunting outside the Yellowstone-Grand Teton area if there are at least 15 wolf packs in the state, seven outside the national parks area.

HB229 was approved 27-3 by the Senate and goes back to the House for a look at a minor Senate amendment.

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Feb 28

Wolf shot near Weston?

Wolf shot near Weston?


Wildlife officials examining slain animal; one says it may be 'pure wolf'

By Lance Frazier
staff writer

In what could become the first confirmed case of a wolf in Cache Valley, federal wildlife officers are examining the body of an animal found dead near Weston.

"What is possibly a wolf was shot and killed in the Weston area, and that's about all we know," said Craig Tabor, the Resident Agent in Charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It was reported as a wolf, and we will conduct whatever investigation is necessary."

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officer Tom Lucia, who is based in Franklin County, responded on Wednesday to a call claiming a wolf had been killed in the Weston area. Lucia told The Associated Press that he believes the animal was a pure wolf.

''But I can't be certain until the DNA analysis is done,'' he said. ''In my opinion, in all likelihood, it's a wolf.''

The investigation was immediately turned over to Fish and Wildlife officers, and Tabor said they will determine whether the animal is actually a gray wolf -- using DNA testing if necessary -- before seeking the shooter. Wolves are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and anyone convicted of killing a wolf would be charged federally.

"These reports sounded reliable," Tabor said of the Weston shooting, "but we try not to assume too much."

Although a sheepherder in the Monte Cristo area last summer reported losing more than a dozen sheep to a canid predator that may have been a wolf, and ranchers on the West Side of Franklin County have reported seeing possible wolf tracks, the existence of a wolf has yet to be proved. In December a wolf trapped near Morgan was the first to be confirmed in Utah, and Tabor said more are probably on the way.

"If this does turn out to be a wolf, it won't be a shocker to us," he said. "There's nothing to stop them from moving into that area from Central Idaho or Yellowstone. They've certainly demonstrated that they're able to cover a lot of ground."

Experts say wolves can cover 100 miles a day. The Morgan wolf, for instance, was a member of the Druid Pack in Yellowstone Park before drifting south, covering the 200-plus miles to Utah in a matter of weeks. (He was returned to Teton National Park and at last report had rejoined the Druid Pack.)

Since wolves were released in Idaho in 1995, Tabor said, "there have been a number of what were ultimately determined to be illegal kills" of wolves, and numerous other wolf deaths that were ruled accidental or inconclusive. Idaho is now home to several hundred wolves.

Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon are all in the process of drafting wolf management plans in anticipation of the Fish and Wildlife Service possibly removing wolves from the endangered list and turning over their management to state governments.



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Feb 27

Ruedas calls wolf meeting a success

Ruedas calls wolf meeting a success

By Walter Mares, News Editor

No one cried wolf. Neither did anyone shout it. Instead, the wolf was discussed at great length. The meeting covered an entire day.

After all was said, Greenlee County Supervisor Hector Ruedas called it a “very successful” session.

A standing-room-only crowd packed the upstairs conference room of the Greenlee County Courthouse in Clifton Feb. 13. Some supported the ongoing Mexican Gray Wolf re-introduction program. Most in the crowd were from Greenlee County and oppose, or at least strongly question, the rationale of the program.

Several ranchers told horror stories of their cattle being killed by wolves and the economic hardship the program is causing them.

The meeting was potentially volatile, but self-restraint and leadership on the Interagency Management Advisory Group (IMAG) defused any explosive action. Ruedas serves on IMAG. He has often voiced strong opposition to the wolf program.

“Personally I thought it was a productive meeting,” Ruedas said. “Anybody who wanted to, spoke their piece.”

That included Supervisors Chairwoman Dixie Zumwalt and Justice of the Peace Rocky Manuz, who said he was speaking as a rancher. Manuz and his family run a cattle ranch in the Black Hills between Clifton and Safford.

Zumwalt said she has yet to see an actual accounting of the money spent on the program by the federal government, particularly the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“I would like to challenge this group to come up with an actual cost, not the phony baloney we were given at the (previous) Clifton meeting,” Zumwalt said.

“I think part of any issue in our world is the cost. I feel people have a right to know that cost. These are, after all, taxpayer dollars being used.”

A meeting facilitator and Brian Kelly of the USFWS both said it is something that will be done and released to the public.

Manuz introduced himself. “I am a family man first, a rancher second and a JP third.”

He told IMAG members, “You get a paycheck every two weeks. We ranchers get a paycheck once a year.” He said even that depends on several factors, from the weather to market prices and the presence of predators.

He looked at the crowd and said, “I see some smirks, some comments made and some grinning.” He said it wasn’t a laughing matter.

“We’re trying to come up with some type of common factor. I feel ranchers are environmentalists, too. We’ve got to take care of the land if we want to keep using it.”

Manuz said he takes exception to attacks on ranchers and grazing rights on public lands. He referred to an article he said he read in a Phoenix periodical which quoted a metropolitan resident as saying cattle were “range maggots.” The man reportedly said, “I don’t want those range maggots on my (public) land.”

Manuz said about the time the man was making the comment, “This range maggot,” and pointed to himself, “was working hard with his family laying six miles of 21-inch water line to water our cows.”

He strongly pointed out wildlife also benefit greatly from the water line in the rough and rocky Black Hills.

“I wasn’t going to say anything at this meeting, but I felt I had to say what I’ve had to say,” Manuz said.

A man in the audience who supports the wolf program said the meeting itself probably had a positive economic impact with people staying at motels and eating at restaurants in Greenlee County. He said there could be other positive local economic results from the wolf program.

Zumwalt told the audience, “Those of you who spent the night in a motel in Greenlee County, please raise your hands.” She asked government agency representatives to exclude themselves. Only two in the audience raised their hands.

Zumwalt said the economic loss of cattle can’t be compared to the small benefit from events such as the meeting. She called for a cost- ratio report from wolf program management.

Terry Johnson of the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AG&F), who facilitated the meeting, said, “”We’re extremely dissatisfied with the way we, collectively, have handled things.”

Ruedas pointed out management has been transferred from the federal game and wildlife service to the AG&F. He sees that as a step in the right direction as it allows more localized control of the program.

“I think we need to give them a chance,” Ruedas said after the meeting. “They are certainly going to look at improving communication, especially with the stake holders (ranchers).”

Ruedas said like it or not, the wolf program probably “isn’t going to go away.” He said for the meantime it appears communication and coordination between all involved is critical.

“Let’s work with game and fish. They will get us information on money actually spent. They will also establish a phone number to call for information,” he said.

Ruedas added, “I think I see a lot of positive things coming out of this.”



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Feb 27

Wolf shot and killed after killing calf near Mackay

Wolf shot and killed after killing calf near Mackay


by Todd Adams

The
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) authorized the shooting
of an adult gray wolf near Mackay February 18 after it killed
calves on a nearby private ranch.

The wolf was shot and killed from the ground that day by an
agent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services,
who tracked the wolf to determine whether it was responsible
for killing the livestock, according to a USFWS news release.

The two- to three-year-old uncollared wolf was not known to
be a member of any established pack. A second wolf was reported
to be involved in the depredation of calves but was not located
in the area.

The lone wolf had killed one calf, had probably killed two
others and possibly another two, for a total of five calves killed
on private ranch property in the Chilly area northwest of Mackay
Reservoir. The depredations took place over a period of 10 days,
Rick Williamson of Wildlife Services told the Messenger
last week.

The carcass of the one calf confirmed to be a wolf kill was
found on Saturday, February 15, said Williamson and Jim Holyam,
a biologist with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Wolf managers couldn’t say last week whether the wolf
responsible was a member of the Wildhorse Pack, Holyam and Williamson
told the Messenger, but Williamson said the Wildhorse
Pack is not suspected. The Wildhorse Pack has dispersed from
its territory in the Copper Basin area, the two said.

The alpha female of the Wildhorse Pack died of probable natural
causes in January of 2002, Williamson said, and the alpha male
dispersed to the Salmon River drainage. The defunct Wildhorse
Pack had nine members, he said.


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