Aug 31

Wolves: the new Nessie

Wolves: the new Nessie

Alan Taylor’s Diary

HAVING made this benighted heath a safe haven for foxes, who would bet
against the Scottish Executive sanctioning the reintroduction of the wolf?
Older readers may recall seeing a wolf as recently as 1745. Since then,
alas, sightings have been rarer than tax cuts. But that could all change .
Paul van Vlissingen the wealthy Dutch businessman who owns the 80,000-acre
Letterewe estate in the Western Highlands, wants to reintroduce the wolf.
His logic is incontrovertible. “To people who say this is a ridiculous
idea,” he says, “I simply pose this question: if there were still wolves
in the wild in Scotland, would you want them killed? It would be
unthinkable.” If Mr van Vlissingen has his way, the wolves would be
protected by law and treated as national treasures, like Tommy Sheridan or
Kirsty Wark.

The forces ranged against him, however, are formidable, including sheep
farmers, who are said to be outraged at the proposal, and Scottish Natural
Heritage, which howls: “Wolves aren’t on our agenda at all!” Presumably
because they don’t exist in these parts. Be that as it may, Mr van
Vlissingen is determined to pursue his dream. “We have to be more daring
in our thinking,” he says. “We can’t keep depending on the Loch Ness
monster for tourists.” Which, when you come to think of it, makes a lot of
sense.

Source

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Aug 28

Wyoming Wolf problems calm

Wyoming Wolf problems calm

by Cat Urbigkit

Wolves in Sublette County haven’t been confirmed as killing
livestock in the
county in the last week, according to Mike Jimenez of the U.S. Fish
and
Wildlife Service.

There was one more confirmed depredation recently near Cora, but
wildlife
officials couldn’t estimate exactly when the kill had occurred, he
said.
That brings the total to two calves killed by wolves in that area in the
last month.

There have been no further reported depredations on domestic sheep
in the
Wyoming Range since two wolves were killed there a week ago, Jimenez said.
Although one black wolf reportedly remains in the area, no problems have
been reported.

Jimenez said he received a report of a wolf with pups in the Daniel
Junction
area on Monday, but hadn’t yet investigated the report.

The female wolf with pups in the Upper Green River region hasn’t been
causing any problems either, Jimenez said. This Green River female has
been seen with other wolves again (her mate was killed earlier this summer
after killing livestock on several occasions), and Jimenez said these
animals are probably members of the Teton pack, some of which have been
roaming in the Upper Green and Union Pass areas. This female has five pups
that weigh about 40 pounds each, and is in the same general area as the
Clear Creek Complex wildfire.

Jimenez confirmed reports that every Wyoming wolf pack that does not
reside in a national park has been involved in livestock depredations,
with the exceptions of two packs; the Beartooth and Thermopolis packs.

“It hasn’t been chronic,” Jimenez said, noting that a variety of
actions
have been taken to address specific problems, including lethal
control to
remove problem wolves.

In other wolf news, other parts of the state are starting to
experience
depredations as well. After a range sheep outfit near Ten Sleep
reported a
wolf had killed about eight head of sheep on a grazing allotment
last week,
federal wildlife officials investigated and confirmed that a wolf
had caused
the sheep deaths. On Sunday, a federal official shot a wolf on a
dead sheep
in the same allotment. This gray male wolf is believed to have been
alone.

Source

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Aug 27

Group upset over proposed wolf trapping

Group upset over proposed wolf trapping

A Silver City staffer with the Center for Biological Diversity is
criticizing a government agency’s effort to trap a Mexican gray wolf.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in response to pressure by U.S. Rep.
Stevan Pearce, R-N.M., has initiated trapping for a wolf for a reason not
spelled out in the agency’s management plan – proximity to cattle,”
Michael J. Robinson wrote in a news release.

The wolf is the only surviving member of the Red Rock Pack, released this
spring in eastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

“He is deemed the most important wolf, from a genetic standpoint,
that is in
the southwestern wilds, as he is the only one descended from all
three of
the Mexican wolf’s captive lineages (Aragon, Ghost Ranch and
McBride),”
Robinson wrote.

“The politically inspired attempt to capture him sets a precedent
that will
further undermine the already hobbled wolf-reintroduction program,”
he
added.

Robinson reported that, during the past two weeks, the wolf “has
twice
scavenged on two dead cattle that were determined to have died from
causes
other than wolves.”

The wolf is suspected of attacking three calves that were seen
limping in
the same region, Rainy Mesa in the Gila National Forest, “but those
calves
have not been examined by recovery team personnel and thus there is
no
evidence that he or any other wolf actually attacked them,” Robinson
wrote.

“The management plan deems a wolf as a ‘problem’ animal subject to
capture
or killing only when he or she is verified to have attacked
livestock or is
living largely outside the Mexican wolf recovery area, which
consists of the
Gila and Apache national forests,” he explained.

“(The wolf in question) does not qualify on these grounds.
Nevertheless,
leghold traps have been set for him.”

Officials with the Fish and Wildlife Service did not return a
telephone call
from the Daily Press this morning. The director of the New Mexico
Cattle
Growers Association also was unavailable for comment.

Robinson wrote that the wolf “has been traveling the past few weeks
with a
female wolf who dispersed from the recently re-released Francisco
Pack,
which also did not attack livestock but was removed from the wild
because
(the pack was) living largely outside the recovery area.”

The female wolf “is just as likely to step into one of the traps as
(the
targeted male wolf) is,” Robinson noted.

“Even though independent scientists have affirmed that Mexican
wolves need
to be able to roam freely outside the arbitrary political lines of
the
recovery area like all other wildlife are allowed (to do), and that
control
actions should be minimized, now the government is coming up with new
reasons to trap them,” he wrote.

Robinson said Fish and Wildlife officials “have stated emphatically
that
wolves will not be trapped simply for scavenging on livestock
carcasses, but
(the wolf in question) is being targeted for returning to an area
where he
twice found carcasses to feed on.”

“Since more than half of the recovery area is grazed by cattle, and
they
regularly die of a variety of causes, this precedent-setting action
will
effectively designate as off-limits most of the only area where the
wolves
are supposed to roam.”

Between 1915 and the late 1920s, the federal government exterminated
wolves from New Mexico, southern Arizona and Texas.

“In 1950, the Fish and Wildlife Service began exporting poison and
federal
personnel to accomplish the same end south of the border,” Robinson
wrote.

After passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the last five
known
Mexican gray wolves in Mexico were captured and placed in a captive-
breeding
program. The animals, the McBride lineage, were supplemented with a
few
Mexican wolves already in captivity (the Aragon and Ghost Ranch
lineages).

In March 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service began reintroducing
wolves in
eastern Arizona. The animals later were released in the Gila National
Forest.

The current population of wolves in the wild is 27 with radio
collars, in
addition to an unknown number of uncollared animals.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 27

Wolf killed near Ten Sleep

Wolf killed near Ten Sleep

By BRODIE FARQUHAR
Star-Tribune staff writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2003

A Wyoming Wildlife Services trapper shot and killed a grey wolf on Sunday,
25 miles east of Ten Sleep — the farthest east a wolf has dispersed from
the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Mike Jimenez, Wyoming wolf recovery project leader with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, said he’d been getting reports for several weeks of an
ongoing predation problem at a sheep camp in Babywagon Canyon, a few miles
north and east of Meadowlark Lake.

“We suspected it was a wolf,” Jimenez said.

A Wildlife Services trapper based in Washakie County waited where earlier
sheep had been killed and spotted the grey wolf feeding on a dead lamb,
Jimenez said.

The trapper shot and killed the wolf, which is estimated to be a
three-year-old male.

“We’ll send some tissue samples in for testing,” Jimenez said, which can
answer whether the male came from Montana or Yellowstone packs.

Jimenez said there had been earlier reports this winter of a black wolf
near Dayton and another farther north in the Big Horn Mountains.

“This is definitely the farthest east that we have a confirmed report,”
Jimenez said. There have been confirmed sightings of wolves farther south,
he said, down to Kemmerer and Cokeville.

Nina Fascione, Defender of Wildlife’s vice president of species
conservation, said from her Washington, D.C., office Tuesday that
compensation for the livestock kill would be available if verified.
Jimenez said that wouldn’t be a problem. The group pays for livestock
killed by wolves and grizzly bears.

Fascione said there was both good news and bad news regarding the Big Horn
wolf kill.

“On the one hand, dispersal of wolves is a good thing, reflecting a robust
population,” she said. “What’s bad is that he got in trouble and was
killed by the feds.”

Jimenez said the Big Horn wolf made a total of a dozen wolves killed this
year for preying on livestock in Wyoming.

“With more wolves in more places, we expected a lot more problems than
we’ve actually had,” he said, “but we have had to kill more wolves this
year.”

Source

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Aug 27

Wolf killed in Big Horns

Wolf killed in Big Horns

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — A federal trapper killed a gray wolf feeding on a
dead domestic sheep in the Big Horn Mountains.

Mike Jimenez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery leader for
Wyoming, said he authorized the shooting, which happened Sunday in Big
Horn National Forest about 25 miles east of Ten Sleep.

“Wolves will come into an area, and if they don’t cause any problems,
fine,” he said. “But if they do we move to stop it quickly.”

Jimenez said six or seven sheep were killed over about a week before the
young male wolf was shot over a fresh sheep kill.

Wolves were first reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1996. He
said that as the population grows, young wolves often leave established
packs and seek new territory.

Source

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Aug 26

Wolf reported in Carbon County

Wolf reported in Carbon County

BAGGS — A gray wolf was reported north of here this spring, and experts
say the animals could easily spread into Carbon County as their numbers
increase.

The wolf was reportedly seen heading toward Muddy Creek. Experts “seemed
fairly certain it was probably a pretty good sighting,” said Dave Moody,
trophy game coordinator for the Game and Fish Department.

Wolves wandering from the Yellowstone region are “going to be the wave of
the future, as we get a few more individuals and they expand,” he said.

“You’re going to get individuals, especially in the spring, when they
sub-adults are looking for mates,” Moody said. “I seriously doubt they’re
going to stick around unless there’s adequate prey basis.”

Wolves have been reported as far south as Mountain View and the north Red
Desert in recent years. One was also found in Utah this past winter, Moody
said.

Source

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Aug 26

Elk was killed by wolves, DNR says

Elk was killed by wolves, DNR says

Both species had been near extinction in state

By Associated Press

Clam Lake – Two species of wild animals that didn’t roam in Wisconsin for decades have now recovered so well that one is preying on the other for food, re-establishing their natural relationship, state wildlife officials say.

A pack of timber wolves attacked, killed and consumed a 2-year-old bull elk near Clam Lake in Sawyer County earlier this month, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

It’s the first time wolves have killed an adult elk since the majestic herd’s reintroduction in 1995, DNR wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven said.

“I think it is good. It indicates we have a healthy wolf population and a healthy elk population, and the two are going to be interacting in the future,” he said. “I don’t think it is anything to be concerned about. It is just the natural process.”

What is surprising is that the wolves went after the large bull elk, given they have no previous experience hunting an animal that big, and much smaller deer were also available in the area, Wydeven said.

“It just tells us that bull happened to be unlucky,” he said.

The DNR discovered the remains of the 450- to 500-pound elk Aug. 14 in a wetland area near Noble Lake after a radio transmitter attached to the animal began emitting signals that its collar hadn’t moved in a day.

“The remains showed typical signs of wolf predation,” DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell said.

Wolves are believed to have killed three elk calves in 1999, Stowell said.

The timber wolf is a native species that was wiped out in Wisconsin by the late 1950s after decades of bounty hunting. Since the animal was granted protection as an endangered species in the mid-1970s, wolves migrated into the state from Minnesota and their numbers have been growing ever since.

According to Wydeven, counts indicated there were 335 wolves across the state late last winter – just shy of the goal of 350 – in 94 packs.

It’s probably the most wolves in Wisconsin since the 1800s, and the animal has been removed from the endangered species list, he said.

In 1995, the state released 25 elk from Michigan in Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake – the first herd to roam the area in more than a century.

The herd has grown to about 120 animals, pushing it closer to the desired size before any hunting can occur.

Elk were once native to Wisconsin but disappeared in the 1800s because of hunting. State officials attempted to reintroduce Rocky Mountain elk from Wyoming in 1932, but only two elk remained by the 1950s, mostly because poachers had killed many of them.

The DNR has proposed allowing the hunting of bull elk once the Clam Lake herd reaches 150 animals, perhaps by 2005.

The bull elk was most likely killed by the Ghost Lake wolf pack, estimated at three to five wolves, Wydeven said.

That pack is not radio-collared. But because of the elk kill, the DNR may try to get radio collars on some of the wolves to follow their movements more carefully, Wydeven said.

Besides the elk killed by wolves, nine others have been killed by vehicles and two others were accidentally shot since 1995, the DNR said.

In another development Monday, Wydeven said 16 wolves have been trapped and killed since April 1 because they were hunting calves or sheep on five different farms in Bayfield, Burnett and Barron counties.

This is the first summer in which problem wolves have been killed instead of just being trapped and shipped elsewhere, he said.

The most wolves the DNR trapped and relocated was 17 a year ago, Wydeven said.

“I suspect we will break last year’s record,” he said.

Source

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Aug 25

Wolves kill adult elk in Wis.

Wolves kill adult elk in Wis.

Wildlife officials are encouraged by an example of a natural predator-prey
relationship in northern Wisconsin, where a wolf pack killed an adult elk
this month.

They say the incident “is actually a sign of the growth and health of this
ecosystem.”

It was the first case of wolves killing an adult elk, which were
reintroduced into the state in 1995.

Since their return to Wisconsin, four elk have been killed by bears, nine
have died in vehicle collisions, two were accidentally shot and others
died from natural causes.

Source

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Aug 25

Young Adult Elk Killed by Wolves Near Clam Lake

Young Adult Elk Killed by Wolves Near Clam Lake

Wisconsin Ag Connection Editors – 08/25/2003

A predator-prey relationship absent from Wisconsin for more than a century
played out last week when a wolf pack attacked, killed and consumed a
young adult elk near Clam Lake. What’s significant about this
relationship, state officials say, is that both species, wolves and elk,
were once extirpated from Wisconsin — meaning there were no longer found
in the state — but that populations of both species have now recovered to
the point where they can again interact in natural predator-prey
relationship. “I can understand how some people may be concerned that
wolves have killed one of the elk we have successfully helped return to
the state,” said Scott Hassett, secretary of the state Department of
Natural Resources, “but we’ve lost four of them to bears.

This is the first time since the elk herd’s reintroduction in 1995 that
wolves killed an adult-sixed elk, though wolves are believed to have
killed three elk calves in 1999, according to Laine Stowell, the DNR elk
biologist at Hayward. The elk killed this month had an attached radio
transmitter that began emitting a mortality signal sometime last week,
indicating the collar had not moved in at least a day.

The elk was most likely killed by a pack known as the Ghost Lake wolf
pack, which during the most recent winter surveys was estimated at three
to five wolves, according to Adrian Wydeven, DNR wolf biologist at park
Falls.

Source

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Aug 25

Fight against German fears as wolf howls again

Fight against German fears as wolf howls again

(Reuters)

25 August 2003

OBERLAUSITZ, Germany – Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Germans are. A
century after hunters killed the last wolf in Germany, the creatures are
stealing across the border from Poland, stoking long-dormant fear and
fascination.

While the wolf is a potent symbol in many cultures, Germans have a
particularly intense relationship with the grey predator that was revered
for its hunting prowess by the Germanic tribes and later the Nazis, but is
demonised in many popular legends.

Wolf is a common surname and dozens of German towns and villages have wolf
in their names. One striking example is Wolfgang Wolf, the former trainer
of VfL Wolfsburg soccer club.

Nature lovers who welcome the wolf’s return have a hard job winning
support in the densely-forested country which gave the world the tale of
“Little Red Riding Hood” and her encounter with the wicked wolf who
disguises himself as her grandmother.

The Protection Society for German Game has declared 2003 “Year of the
Wolf” and a concerted campaign is underway to educate hostile hunters and
shepherds and protect livestock.

“There are some who unreservedly celebrate the return of the wolf and see
it as enriching biodiversity, but there are also those who see it as
damaging and a great danger,” said Michael Gruschwitz of the Saxony
Environment and Agriculture Ministry.

“There is a perception that the wolf is an animal that can be dangerous
for people and pets. We want to get rid of this ‘Little Red Riding Hood’
syndrome so we have to deal seriously with the concerns and needs of the
affected population.”

“We are trying to present an objective picture of the wolf — how he
really is, that he is very shy of people, that he avoids people and that
there is no danger for anybody who goes walking in the woods with children
or a dog,” Gruschwitz said.

OLD FEARS REVIVED

Germany’s last wolf was shot near the town of Hoyerswerda in 1904 after a
campaign of extermination lasting centuries. Wolves were also wiped out in
most of the rest of northwestern Europe, Small populations survived in
Spain and Italy.

A few crossed into East Germany in recent decades but were all killed or
captured, the state declaring they had no place in a modern, industrial
country. Since German unification in 1990, wolves have been protected, but
several have still been shot.

Following an ancient migration route from Poland, a wolf settled in the
Oberlausitz military training ground in Saxony in 1995, not far from
Hoyerswerda. In 2000, its cubs were born there — the first on German soil
for a century — and some of those offspring moved further west on
reaching maturity.

That is when the trouble began. Last May, those wolves attacked a flock of
sheep, killing or injuring 33 and sparking calls for the predators to be
driven out of farmed areas.

The attack prompted the Saxony government to set up a project to track the
newcomers, help shepherds safeguard their flocks and educate game hunters
and the local population.

“It is important to talk about wolves so people get to know them. Much of
the fear and resentment comes from the fact that they are foreign,” said
Gesa Kluth, a biologist researching the Saxony wolf population and leading
the education drive.

There have been no attacks on sheep since last year and Kluth’s “Lupus”
project is slowly winning over nervous locals.

Ines Kowal, a 39-year-old mother who lives opposite Kluth’s office in the
village of Neustadt near the military training ground, welcomes the
efforts to protect the wolves.

“There were always wolves in this region but I wouldn’t like to be
confronted by one myself,” Kowal said. “We need to keep the balance so
that people and animals can live together.”

TOURISM BONUS?

Kluth and fellow biologist Ilka Reinhardt scour forest paths for wolf
tracks and droppings and imitate wolf howls to try to provoke a reply.
They had to wait months to see the animals themselves and rely on
foresters and hunters for much of their information.

A cameraman from German television spent 240 hours over several months at
the military training ground before he captured the wolves on film. While
visitors are lucky to see a paw print, let alone a live wolf, Saxony’s
Gruschwitz believes the Lausitz region can benefit from the return of the
wolf.

“If wolves can live and reproduce, like they can in the Lausitz, it is a
good sign for nature. This kind of unique environment can be used to
promote tourism,” Gruschwitz said.

A Neustadt resident who runs children’s nature activity holidays has
organised one with a wolf theme, the region is printing wolf postcards and
a company in the Lausitz area is planning a new raspberry liqueur called
“Wolf ‘s Howl”.

Kluth and Reinhardt’s work erecting special fences to protect sheep as
well as state guarantees of compensation for any livestock lost to wolves
have won over many shepherds.

With each wolf needing up to 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) of meat a year, the
animals are serious rivals for the private hunters who pay big fees for
rights to shoot deer and other game. But the Lupus project hopes they can
learn to put up with the competition.

“We hunters in the affected region can live with the wolves,” Siegried
Buchholz told the German Hunting Newspaper. “Game losses are not so
serious yet where we are.”

Reinhardt said Germany’s nascent wolf population is at a critical stage.
Left undisturbed, it will probably spread further, but the loss of just
one female could mean its demise. The researchers believe two pairs
produced cubs this spring.

“It is recognition that protects the wolves. Hunters who are critical know
theirs is not the opinion of the majority,” she said. “There is more than
enough game for hunters and wolves.”

Source

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