Mar 30

Gray wolf found hunting near town

Gray wolf found hunting near town

By JOHN PEPIN
Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials say they
have no plans to trap and relocate a gray wolf that has been hunting deer for
the past week or so near Marquette Mountain.

“It’s been seen in parts of the Carp River valley,” said Ann
Wilson, DNR spokeswoman in Marquette.

DNR biologists said the first reports were received around March 18 from corrections
officers at the Marquette Branch Prison who spotted the wolf on restricted prison
property.

The wolf was photographed by officers and seen on prison surveillance cameras.
None of the areas the wolf was seen by prison officials are accessible to the
public.

The dirty-white-colored wolf, which appears to be healthy and weighs an estimated
80 pounds, has been seen numerous times. The wolf is alone and has been feeding
on deer that have naturally herded into a secluded pasture.

“They (prison officials) were first concerned about their dairy herd,”
said Brian Roell, a wildlife research technician with the DNR in Marquette.

“But the wolf has not caused any livestock damage.”

Roell went to the area and positively identified the animal as a gray wolf.

Eventually, the animal was also spotted on Marquette Mountain, was seen feeding
on deer carcasses and chasing a group of deer.

The wolf has no radio collar or identification tags.

Biologists predict the wolf will leave the area in a few days after deer disperse
from the yarding area once the snow melts.

“For a wolf to show up there, it would have been drawn there by the deer,”
Roell said. “I fully expect that animal will disappear once those deer
disperse.”

Unless the wolf preys on cattle, DNR officials will not try to trap and relocate
the animal. They have also decided against using other means to chase the wolf
from the area, including strobe lights and sirens.

A recent ruling by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified gray wolves
from endangered to threatened species in Michigan. The ruling gives state officials
the ability to trap and move wolves, if necessary.

But despite the reclassification of wolves, they are still fully protected by
state and federal wildlife statutes.

Wildlife officials are hoping those people who do happen to see the wolf will
not try to approach the animal or try to feed it.

DNR biologists said this is the time of year when wolf packs are dispersing
their ranks to outlying areas to prepare for the birth of pups. As a result,
reports of wolves in oddball settings, like Marquette Mountain, can sometimes
occur.

Source

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Mar 29

Oregon producers steamed over Idaho wolf strays

Oregon producers steamed over Idaho wolf strays

By ED MERRIMAN
Ag Weekly correspondent

SALEM, Ore. — Cattle and sheep producers traveled across Oregon to urge lawmakers and the state Fish and Wildlife Commission to preserve their right to trap and remove or kill stray Idaho wolves that pose a threat to their livestock.

Officially there aren’t any wolf packs residing in Oregon, and livestock producers told lawmakers and state wildlife officials they’d like to keep it that way during hearings held recently in Salem and Newport.

Rancher Sharon Beck said she takes issue with an opinion issued last month by assistant attorney general William Cook that as long as the wolf is listed as an endangered species under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act it is illegal to kill wolves on public or private land.

That prohibition applies statewide, whether or not the wolves are escapees from Idaho’s reintroduced wolf packs.

In response to the assistant attorney general’s opinion, the OCA, along with the Oregon Sheep Growers Association, Oregon Farm Bureau and Oregon State Grange are supporting legislation such as Senate Bill 97, which would remove the ESA listing for wolves and restore their classification as predators.

In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Commission held a series of hearings around the state concluding last week in Newport to take public comments on proposals to rewrite the state ESA to provide greater leeway for ranchers to kill wolves and other predators that threaten or attack their livestock.

During hearings before both the Legislature and the Fish and Wildlife Commission , Beck, a past president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association whose family has been raising cattle in Wallow and Union counties for more than 100 years, said Cook’s opinion contradicts state laws as well as pledges made by federal wildlife officials involved in setting up the federal wolf recovery program launched in Idaho in 1995.

“This is exactly what we were afraid would happen even though they looked us right in the eye and swore it wouldn’t,” Beck said.

In addition to assurances from federal agencies, state officials from former Gov. John Kitzhaber on down promised that any wolves entering the state from Idaho would be rounded up and returned across the border or killed, she said.

Margaret Magruder, a Columbia County sheep producer who served on the Oregon Board of Agriculture and is a member of Oregon Sheep Growers Association and Oregon State Grange, pointed out that congressional authorization of the wolf recovery program was contingent on containment of reintroduced wolf packs within designated wilderness areas in Idaho.

While struggling to maintain her composure, Magruder said depressed lamb and wool prices have driven many Oregon sheep producers out of business in recent years, and those who have survived are struggling and can’t afford to lose any sheep to wolves.

Three Idaho wolves known to have invaded Oregon since 1995 were either killed or captured and returned. However, several other undocumented wolf sightings have been reported in eastern Oregon around John Day and as far north as Meacham (between La Grande and Pendleton).

Glen Stonebrink, OCA executive director, provided lawmakers with copies of state statutes that — contrary to the assistant attorney general’s opinion — spell out the right of livestock producers to kill predators such as wolves that threaten or attack their animals.

Skye Krebs, an eastern Oregon sheep producer and past president of Oregon Sheep Growers Association, brought photos of sheep mutilated by wolves and cougars to enlighten lawmakers and Fish and Wildlife Commission members about the type of damage those predators can and do cause to livestock.

Source

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Mar 28

Wolves endangered no more

Wolves endangered no more

Friday, March 28, 2003
By ALASDAIR STEWART, stewarta@telegraph-nh.com

When was the last time you saw a wolf running wild in New Hampshire?

Seeing as how gray wolves were killed off in the state in the 19th century, a fair guess for most people would be “never.”

North of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, however, there are still plenty of wolves, stoking hopes among enthusiasts that they will eventually repopulate the Northeast by crossing on river ice, as they have in the past.

In fact, a couple of wolves have been reported in Maine over the past decade or so, and some wolf-coyote hybrids – so-called super-coyotes – have been observed in the region, too, evidence of wolves wandering south.

And although wolves could someday set up shop here, they might do so without the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

Based on growing populations of wolves in the Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes region, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reclassifying gray wolves in two broad regions – including the Northeast – as “threatened” after three decades on the endangered list.

Wolves in the Southwest will continue to be listed as endangered under a rule announced this week.

In addition to changing the wolves’ status, the rule also establishes three “distinct population segments,” one of which lumps the Midwest and Northeast together.

Michael Amaral of the Fish and Wildlife Service said the agency looked into establishing a distinct population segment in the Northeast but was unable to do so because, among other reasons, a population has to be in a place to enjoy federal protection.

The lumping of regions is important locally because Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are home to about 3,000 wolves – well above Fish and Wildlife’s recovery goals so far – that will be included when calculating the health of the “regional” population.

In other words, should the Upper Midwest population continue to rise, the wolves could be de-listed entirely, which means any wolves that wandered into Northeastern states would do so without federal protection.

They wouldn’t go completely unprotected, because no states in the Northeast allow trapping or shooting of wolves, should they come snuffling across the border.

Source

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Mar 28

Wolves circle calves

Wolves circle calves

by Cat Urbigkit

One Wyoming Range livestock producer has his first bad encounter with wolves two weeks ago at Jon Malinski’s High Lonesome Ranch at the head of South Cottonwood Creek.

Lyman Clark said in an interview that the ranch lost four calves in two nights earlier this month. The third time the wolves returned, Clark said he had just finishing feeding, and saw the pack “had a bunch of calves in the willows.”

“They had the calves in a circle,” Clark said. “They were working them, playing that game, getting ready to kill.’

Clark jumped on his snowmachine and raced to the scene.

“I ran them off,” Clark said, with two gray wolves jumping the fence to escape, while he chased a third gray animal through the meadow and off the property. He chased the grays over the next hill as well, he said.

Clark didn’t contact federal officials for several days, but once contacted, USDA Wildlife Services arrived on the scene in less than two hours, Clark said. There was little left of the calves, with the exception of one carcass. In that case, the mother cow had apparently circled over the top of the calf as the wolves attacked, stomping the calf to death in the process. Clark said while the wolves hadn’t actually left a tooth mark in that calf, they were certainly responsible for its death.

“You could see the whole story in the snow,” he said.

Since then, Clark said he’s moved the cow herd closer to the house, but the wolves haven’t returned yet.

“I’m sure they will,” he said.

Source

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Mar 28

TACOMA: Point Defiance zoo plans workshop on red wolves

TACOMA: Point Defiance zoo plans workshop on red wolves

Skip Card; The News Tribune

Organizers of Olympia’s earthy Procession of the Species will collaborate with animal experts at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium during a red wolf workshop Saturday at the zoo.

Participants can learn about efforts to save the endangered red wolf from extinction. Will Waddell, director of the national red wolf species survival plan, will discuss efforts to rebuild wolf populations through a captive breeding program.

Participants also can view wolves at the zoo’s exhibit and receive help making wolf costumes for next month’s Procession of the Species. Processions take place April 19 at the zoo and April 26 in Olympia.

Attendance at the workshop is limited to 20 people. For details, call the zoo at 253-404-3636.

Source

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Mar 28

Wolves could be part of Red Lodge pack

Wolves could be part of Red Lodge pack

BILLINGS — Federal officials thought they wiped out the Red Lodge wolf pack in February, but a rancher has reported seeing two more wolves in the area.

The new wolves could be unaccounted-for members of the pack, or could be wolves moving in to the newly open area, said Ed Bangs, the wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena.

Four wolves in the Red Lodge pack were killed in February after a rancher reported that wolves had killed a cow on a ranch near Belfry. Bangs said game was plentiful.

Source

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Mar 28

FWP compiles varied views of wolf future

FWP compiles varied views of wolf future

By JOHN FITZGERALD
Of The Gazette Staff

Amanda Stevens thinks of the wolf as a “keystone species” in the Montana environment.

Jim Ruff’s opinion of the wolf is simple, too.

“The only good wolf is a dead wolf,” he said.

Both joined about 30 others to offer their opinions Thursday night to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials at the Montana Hotel and Convention Center.

A special committee has drafted five proposals to manage the wolves in Montana. FWP wants everyone with an interest in the plans to be able to comment on them, so they are conducting meetings around the state to gather input.

The gray wolf is plentiful enough in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho that it is about to go off the endangered species list. When the wolf goes off the list, it leaves federal protection, and states have to have a plan in place to manage the species.

The five proposals created by FWP range from strong protection to minimal protection to doing nothing at all.

FWP’s preferred plan calls for 15 breeding pairs in Montana, which translates to roughly 300 wolves in the state, officials said; money to come from a combination of public and private sources to both run the program and to reimburse landowners for stock depredation; possible regulated wolf “harvest;” FWP management of both predator and prey numbers; and giving landowners “flexible tools” to protect their stock. This plan is similar to FWP management of black bear and mountain lion populations, officials said.

Stevens, an environment studies student at Montana State University-Billings, said she is the daughter of a farmer and rancher and can see both sides of the issue.

onthenet: FWP

FWP “I disagree with hunting and trapping the wolf, but I do agree with ranchers being able to protect their property,” she said. She also wondered how well FWP could regulate how many wolves are taken.

Ruff is retired and living in Billings now, but he farmed and ranched on 700 acres near Custer his entire life.

“I feel that any time wolves go beyond federal land, the farmer and rancher should have the right to shoot or trap it,” he said, adding that he doubted hunting and trapping by sportsmen will keep the wolf population in check.

FWP officials meticulously wrote down each person’s comments. They will do this at each of the 11 remaining sessions and then compile the comments, which will be used to pick which of the five plans, or a combination of all of the plans, that FWP will use to manage the wolves.

John Letcher of Laurel said he was pleased to have the ability to comment.

“I’m happy the FWP is doing this,” he said. “We’re asking questions and getting answers. This is the way to do it. The feds just come in with a mandate, drop it all on the states and then leave.”

The community work sessions are set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. at: Glasgow, Cottonwood Inn, April 1; Avon, Community Center, April 3; Missoula, Meadow Hill Middle School, April 8; Bozeman, Holiday Inn, April 14; Gardiner, high school gym, April 15; Butte, Red Lion Inn, April 16; Ennis, high school gym, April 17; Great Falls, MSU College of Technology, April 21; Kalispell, Flathead High, April 23; Whitefish, Muldown Elementary, April 23; and Rexford, Rexford Plaza, April 24. Comments will be accepted through May 12.

Source

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Mar 27

Farm’s popular resident euthanized

Farm’s popular resident euthanized

Sierra, Hampton’s celebrity wolf, had untreatable cancer

By Mike Holtzclaw
Daily Press
March 27 2003

HAMPTON — Sierra, the 12-year-old gray wolf who became a cause célèbre at Bluebird Gap Farm, was euthanized Tuesday after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Jim Wilson, superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the city of Hampton, said a local veterinarian discovered cancer in Sierra’s mouth and estimated the wolf would not live through the spring.

“With the inability to treat this kind of disease,” Wilson said, “we chose euthanasia to prevent her from suffering. She was having a lot of trouble eating, and this was in her best interests.”

The wolf was born at the Hampton park on Feb. 28, 1991, and lived her entire life there. She drew media attention in 2001 when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a Norfolk-based animal rights advocacy group, arranged with the city of Hampton to transfer the wolf to a Texas wildlife sanctuary more similar to the gray wolf’s natural environment.

Before the wolf could be moved, a letter-writing campaign by Richmond sixth-grader Christina Powers brought the decision to the public’s attention. Powers wanted Sierra to stay at Bluebird Gap Farm, and a groundswell grew around her efforts. Local residents convinced the Hampton City Council to keep Sierra at Bluebird Gap Farm, and a fund-raising drive began in February 2001 to raise $26,000 in donations to upgrade the wolf’s enclosure.

“Sierra was, to me, what Bluebird Gap Farm is all about,” said Gloucester resident Alice Osgood, who headed the fund-raising campaign. “She was such a special part of it, and I’m really happy that we got to have her here. Had she been moved, I don’t think she would have made it to this age. I’m glad we got to have her here with us for the last two years of her life.”

The fund-raising drive raised about $13,000, and the city started planning a new enclosure.

On April 3, the Friends of Bluebird Gap Farm committee plans to meet with the people who organized the Sierra Sanctuary Fund. Originally, the meeting was planned as a discussion about the new enclosure; instead, the group now will discuss how to spend the money that has been donated.

Wilson said he expects the money to be used for other projects at Bluebird Gap Farm. Osgood agrees.

“I’d like to see it used to make improvements on some of the living facilities for the other animals,” she said. “But I’d like to see, if possible, a plaque or maybe a statue to serve as a memorial for Sierra. After all, she’s the reason the money was raised in the first place.”

Source

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Mar 27

NE – Wolf shot near Spalding is Nebraska’s first in 90 years

NE – Wolf shot near Spalding is Nebraska’s first in 90 years

The Associated Press

SPALDING, Neb. (AP) – A gray wolf was shot near Spalding in the state’s first confirmed wolf sighting in 90 years, state wildlife officials said.

A coyote hunter shot the wolf Dec. 15 in a farm field near Spalding, about 55 miles straight north of Grand Island. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said Wednesday the 100-pound male canine, which was turned in by the hunter, was recently identified by federal officials as a pure gray wolf.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a criminal investigation to determine the circumstances of the animal’s death.

Gray wolves are a protected species under state and federal laws. The wolves recently were down-listed by federal authorities from an endangered species to a threatened species, which allows ranchers to kill wolves they catch attacking livestock.

Under the previous endangered species designation, killing a wolf carried a maximum $100,000 fine and a one-year jail sentence.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined the animal originated from a population of wolves found in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The last confirmed wolf sighting in Nebraska was in 1913, when a carcass was recovered near Oconto, said Richard Bischof, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s furbearer and nongame mammal program manager.

There were reported sightings of the animals in the state as late as 1920, but none were confirmed, Bischof said.

Gray wolves are native to Nebraska, but they were killed off in the early 1900s by the widespread use of poison, traps and shooting for fur harvest and population control. Their numbers in Nebraska started to dwindle years earlier as the state’s bison population – the wolves’ main food source – began to disappear.

Today, there are an estimated 300,000 captive wolves and wolf-dogs in the United States.

“We occasionally receive reports of possible wolves in Nebraska, but it is sometimes difficult to positively identify a wolf-like animal,” Bischof said. “Wolves and domestic dogs are the same species and readily inter-breed, resulting in wolf-dog offspring.”

Recent efforts to restore wolves to part of their former range in the United States may result in more wolves immigrating to Nebraska, Bischof said. Wolves have been reintroduced in states as close as Wyoming and Minnesota.

“The commission does not support the artificial release of wolves or wolf-dogs into the wild in Nebraska and has no wolf reintroduction plans,” Bischof said.

—-

On The Net

Gray wolf information: http://endangered.fws.gov/i/A03.html

Gray wolf recovery information: http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf”

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission: http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: http://www.fws.gov/

Source

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Mar 27

Idaho delegation supports, DOW opposes change in wolf status

Idaho delegation supports, DOW opposes change in wolf status


by Todd Adams

Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) nationwide
change of status for gray wolves doesn’t directly affect
Idaho wolves, Idaho’s congressional delegation and Gov.
Dirk Kempthorne supported the March 18 action, while Defenders
of Wildlife (DOW) opposed it in separate news releases.

Wolves north of Interstate 90 that had migrated down from
Canada were reclassified from endangered to threatened, but the
change does not affect the non-essential, experimental wolf population
in the central Idaho and Yellowstone recovery area.

Idaho officials see a “silver lining” in supportive
comments from FWS Director Steve Williams on Idaho’s draft
wolf management plan.

During a March 18 Senate subcommittee hearing chaired by Idaho
Sen. Mike Crapo, Williams said he’s “comfortable”
with Idaho’s program “as long as it’s consistent
with the law.” If that remains the case, Williams told Crapo
he will be “supportive of what Idaho wants to do.”

Williams said during the Senate Environment and Public Works
subcommittee hearing that he’s not aware of any problems
with how Idaho has proposed to manage wolves so far and saw no
reason the state could not take over management after delisting,
barring any legal challenges.

Sen. Larry Craig called the FWS action “a step in the
right direction toward the delisting of wolves. However, I continue
to feel that the federal government is a step behind in recognizing
that Idaho’s wolf population is much more prosperous than
the definition of ‘threatened species’ allows.”

“Making the Endangered Species Act (ESA) work requires
collaboration and local input,” Sen. Crapo said. “With
the growing number of wolves now in Idaho and the state’s
management plan getting federal support, Idaho should soon be
able to manage wolves within its borders. That is what we hoped
to hear today from director Williams and it appears he supports
Idaho’s efforts.”

Rep. Mike Simpson said it was “unfortunate” the
FWS decision will not affect wolves in his district, in the Challis
and Salmon areas. “I am hopeful FWS will continue to move
toward delisting Idaho’s experimental population,”
Simpson said.

“I’m encouraged that FWS is working with stakeholders
on a plan to move toward delisting,” Simpson added. “It
is important that FWS continue to work with private landowners
and ranchers as the wolf population continues to increase.”

DOW disagrees

In its news release, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) said FWS is
“turning its back on one of its crowning achievements”
by “moving to sharply limit areas for wolf recovery in the
lower 48 states.”

Lessening ESA protection in most regions “threatens the
long-term success of one of the 20th century’s most significant
wildlife achievements,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, DOW president.

The FWS rule will leave wolves vulnerable to “legalized
killing by hostile state governments and illegal killing by anti-wolf
fanatics,” DOW stated.

FWS downlisted wolves from endangered to threatened and DOW
objects because it says only three of nine states in the Rockies
and Pacific Northwest have “vast areas of suitable habitat”
and have seen wolf recovery efforts. In the West, wolf recovery
will be limited to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, DOW claimed.

Several state legislatures are now considering and adopting
“increasingly vitriolic anti-wolf bills,” said Nina
Fascione, DOW vice president for species conservation. She noted
Idaho passed a 2002 resolution calling for removal of wolves
“by any means necessary,” while Montana and Wyoming
are considering legislation that would allow the killing of wolves
“on sight.”

“The ultimate goal of the Endangered Species Act is to
restore species and give management back to the states, but these
legislatures are showing their true colors, and true intentions,
for how they plan to ‘manage’ wolves once they are
delisted,” Fascione said. “There’s no doubt that
wolf recovery will essentially cease, and probably reverse, if
this moves forward.”

DOW calls “actual livestock losses” to wolves “minuscule”
since reintroduction in 1995. DOW figures that on average, Idaho
lost eight cattle and 23 sheep each year since 1995, Montana
six cattle and five sheep per year, and nine cattle and 41 sheep
per year in the Yellowstone area.

DOW maintains a trust fund it claims compensates ranchers
for the full value of livestock lost to wolves and has a carnivore
conservation fund which uses cost-share assistance for structures
and practices to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock.


Source

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