Apr 29

13 rare Mexican gray wolves killed last year in Ariz.

13 rare Mexican gray wolves killed last year in Ariz.

The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thirteen endangered Mexican gray wolves were killed in Arizona and New Mexico last year, six of them shot to death, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife records.

One wolf was killed by those on the project that is trying to reintroduce the wolves to the wild because the animal had a habit of killing cattle.

Agency records show four others were hit by vehicles. One wolf’s body was too decomposed by the time it was found to determine what killed it. One death is still under investigation.

Two wolves have been found dead this year, one of them shot. The other death is being investigated.

The number of deaths in 2003 made it the deadliest year for the federal project aimed at bringing Mexican gray wolves back to southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

“That’s definitely concerning,” said Colleen Buchanan, assistant coordinator for wolf recovery. “Most of these seem to be random.”

Fish and Wildlife and other agencies involved in the program are discussing ways to cut the number of wolf deaths. For example, they are increasing patrols during hunting season when people are in the forest with guns and could mistake a wolf for a coyote, Buchanan said.

Biologists also were worried because more than half the wolves killed were pack leaders, or alpha wolves.

Buchanan said most of the alphas have been replaced by other wolves, and biologists are optimistic the packs bred in the wild this year.

“The major concern at first was, ‘Oh, gosh, we’ve lost all our breeding pairs,’ but that doesn’t seem to have been the case,” she said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 29

Wyoming sues over wolves

Wyoming sues over wolves

by Cat Urbigkit

Last Thursday, the State of Wyoming filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court that asserts the U.S. Department of the Interior exceeded its own authority and ignored the weight of science when it rejected Wyoming’s wolf management plan in January.

Both Governor Dave Freudenthal and Attorney General Pat Crank said they had been reluctant to pursue litigation, but that little choice remained.

“I had frankly hoped it wouldn’t come to this,” Freudenthal said in a release. “I had hoped that the Department of the Interior would abide by the Endangered Species Act and make its decisions according to science, but the department has amply demonstrated that is not the case.”

In January, when FWS rejected Wyoming’s wolf management plan, it did so based on political considerations, fear of lawsuits by environmental organizations and speculation regarding future actions by Montana and Idaho to adopt plans similar to Wyoming’s.

The state of Wyoming actually filed two documents Thursday. The first is a suit under the federal Administrative Procedures Act, which essentially argues that the U.S. Department of the Interior acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it did not approve Wyoming’s wolf management plan.

The second is a notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA requires that defendants receive 60 days notice before they are sued under the act. In 60 days, the suit filed Thursday will be amended to include the ESA arguments.

Wyoming attorneys are pursuing five causes of action against the federal government. Causes of action are the grounds on which the plaintiff’s case is based.

Four contend violations of the Administrative Procedures Act and maintain, among other things, that the Department of the Interior acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it put a legal-risk analysis above science in rejecting Wyoming’s wolf management plan.

With its fifth cause of action, the state argued that the Department of the Interior usurped Wyoming’s rights under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees state sovereignty. The Endangered Species Act permits the FWS to protect endangered or threatened species and to monitor a recovered species, but it does not give FWS authority to mandate a state’s legislation.

Livestock losses

In its complaint, the state argues some of the same issues contained in the Sublette County Farm Bureau notice of intent to sue, filed in February. The complaint states: “In developing its wolf reintroduction program, the FWS recognized that the reintroduced wolves would come into contact with livestock production and other human activities. From the outset of the program, the federal government assured ranchers that the FWS would control the wolves in order to limit the harm to landowners. In its environmental impact statement, FWS explained that the ‘overriding goal of the wolf control program’ is to minimize wolf depredation on livestock. FWS recognized that a responsive program to address conflicts between wolves and domestic livestock reduces the degree of livestock depredation by wolves.”

The complaint continued: “Despite the formal declaration of a policy of preventing and responding to wolf depredation, the federal government has repeatedly neglected to fulfill its commitment to Wyoming residents. Wolves have killed a very large number of livestock in many parts of the state to the detriment of Wyoming residents and directly to the detriment of the state. Wolf predation of livestock causes income loss for Wyoming residents, which then results in a loss of expenditure within the Wyoming economy and a corresponding loss of sales tax income for Wyoming.

“Because ranches in Wyoming can be very large, and livestock often is scattered over a vast area, ranchers frequently do not find carcasses from wolf kills, if at all, until well after evidence of the cause of death is available. Ranchers are therefore unable to demonstrate, to the degree demanded by FWS, that wolves killed the animals at issue. As a consequence, FWS statistics grossly understate the number of cattle and sheep wolves have killed.

Wildlife losses

The state’s complaint alleges harm to Wyoming’s wildlife as well. It stated: “Wolf predation has caused a decrease in elk and moose herds in Wyoming. Calf-cow ratios and populations for both elk and moose in Wyoming have declined significantly where wolves have become established. Cow-calf ratios in elk herds not in close proximity to substantial wolf populations have maintained pre-wolf reintroduction levels, while cow-calf ratios in elk herds near Yellowstone National Park have decreased by up to 26 percent since the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Wyoming.

Financial harm

The reduction in wildlife herds means a reduction in revenue to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the complaint said, which classifies as harm to the state’s resources. The complaint stated: “The elimination or significant reduction in the sources of revenue, which is the direct result of the FWS’s unlawful refusal to approve the Wyoming Plan, causes an irreparable harm to Wyoming’s sovereignty. Wyoming’s ability to exercise its authority as a sovereign state in managing Wyoming’s wildlife, both game and non-game species, is eroded by the unlawful withholding of agency action by the FWS.

“By unlawfully withholding agency action, the FWS is not only compelling Wyoming to forego revenue that could be used by Wyoming to manage game and non-game species, but also is compelling Wyoming to use other resources to address negative wolf impacts. These two results, caused by the FWS’s unlawful withholding of agency action, cause an immediate and irreparable harm to Wyoming’s sovereignty.”

Politics

FWS repeatedly acknowledged that the reason for rejecting the Wyoming wolf plan was more political than biological, according to the state complaint. The complaint quoted FWS Wolf Recovery Coordinator Ed Bangs as stating while is agency “is mandated to focus on science and biology, public attitudes and comments will influence subsequent litigation.” This fear of litigation was a driving force in rejecting the wolf plan, according to the complaint.

FWS Director Steve Williams told state officials that FWS would approve the Wyoming plan only if three changes were made: eliminate the “predatory animal” status and classify the gray wolf as a “trophy game animal” only; amend the law to unambiguously commit to managing for at least 15 wolf packs in Wyoming; and; Wyoming’s definition of the term “pack” must be consistent with the definitions in Idaho and Montana state plans, and, if the pack size must be established by law, the state law must define pack size as at least six wolves traveling together in the winter.

Count one

The Wyoming complaint notes that under the Administrative Procedures Act, “a reviewing court shall compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed.” Wyoming argued that the FWS rejection of the Wyoming wolf plan is unlawful. Rather than complying with the Endangered Species Act mandate to use the “best scientific and commercial data” in making decisions, FWS “disregarded the best scientific and commercial data available regarding the Wyoming Plan and rejected the Wyoming Plan based upon political considerations, fear of litigation by environmental groups, and speculation regarding Montana and Idaho adopting plans similar to the Wyoming Plan”.

The state argues that FWS will not propose a rule to delist the gray wolf until Wyoming changes its statutes and the Wyoming Plan, even though the gray wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountain region satisfies all of the legal requirements for delisting under the ESA, and the Wyoming plan satisfies the “adequate existing regulatory mechanism” requirement for delisting.

According to the complaint: “Unless Wyoming capitulates to the Defendants’ unlawful and unconstitutional political demands, Wyoming’s wildlife resources will continue to be harmed, Wyoming’s economy will continue to be harmed, and Wyoming’s sovereignty will be compromised.”

Thus, according to the complaint, Wyoming is entitled to an injunction ordering FWS to immediately approve the Wyoming plan and to proceed forthwith to propose a rule to delist the gray wolf in this region.

Count two

The second cause of action cited in the state complaint notes that wolves in Wyoming are killing significant numbers of livestock and wildlife, and FWS has not taken adequate steps to control this depredation by wolves in Wyoming as required by federal regulations.

“The Defendants have neglected to fulfill their commitments or abide by their own regulations that mandate control of depredating wolves,” the complaint stated. “The Defendants have exclusive authority to control depredating wolves and have failed to properly manage wolves in Wyoming pursuant to their own regulations.”

This failure to properly manage the gray wolf population in Wyoming means FWS has unreasonably delayed or unlawfully withheld agency action, the complaint stated. Thus, Wyoming is entitled to an injunction ordering FWS to control wolf depredation of livestock and wildlife in Wyoming in accordance with existing federal regulations until the state is authorized to assume management responsibility for wolves in Wyoming.

Count three

By rejecting the Wyoming plan because of the “predatory animal” classification, FWS acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and not in accordance with law, according to the complaint, so Wyoming is entitled to an injunction ordering FWS to immediately approve the Wyoming plan and to delist wolves in this region.

Count four

In its fourth cause of action, the state complained: “FWS has offered Wyoming a choice between two coercive alternatives: either the gray wolf will remain ‘protected’ under the ESA and Wyoming will thereby lose its authority to manage the species in a way that limits harmful impacts on livestock and wild game and permits control of the wolf population consistent with Wyoming’s management of other species; or Wyoming succumbs to FWS’s mandate that the Legislature enact a statute of FWS’s choosing.

” Under FWS’s interpretation, the ESA would commandeer the Wyoming Legislature into federal regulatory service. Thus, the interpretation would work an unconstitutional application of the ESA on Wyoming.

The complaint asks the federal court to declare the U.S. Constitution prohibits FWS from imposing its will upon the Wyoming Legislature and declare that the FWS’s mandate is unconstitutional.

Count five

The state’s final cause of action serves as a catchall, in which the state seeks a declaration from the court that FWS acted illegally on five issues: 1) Rejecting the Wyoming plan. 2) Failing to properly manage the gray wolf population in Wyoming. 3) Considering other than best scientific and commercial data available. 4) Considering an alleged ambiguity in the language of existing state law after previously approving the language. 5) Rejecting the Wyomng plan because of the “predatory animal” classification.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 29

Alaska: Aerial wolf control programs wind down for season

Aerial wolf control programs wind down for season

RESULTS: State reports 147 animals were killed in McGrath, Nelchina areas.

By MARY PEMBERTON
The Associated Press

A state-sponsored program in which aircraft are used to hunt wolves as part of an effort to increase moose numbers in two areas of Alaska is winding down for the season.

Under the aerial wolf control program, 147 wolves have been killed in the McGrath and Nelchina Basin areas — short of the state’s goal of about 180 wolves.

The seasonal program ends Friday and will start up again next fall or winter.

“We are pleased with the results of the programs this season,” Kevin Duffy, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said Wednesday. “Through the diligence of our staff in administering the programs established by the Board of Game, along with the localized control efforts to reduce predation, we are a step closer to providing adequate moose harvests in areas where Alaskans depend on moose for food.”

Two animal rights groups had harsh words Wednesday for Duffy and the program.

“We find the program reprehensible,” said Priscilla Feral, president of the Darien, Conn.-based Friends of Animals, which has organized more than 150 gatherings nationwide to protest the Alaska program. “We are committed to another reign of protest when the program starts up again next winter.”

Karen Deatherage, spokeswoman for Defenders of Wildlife in Anchorage, said it’s hard to square Duffy’s statement with two ballot measures approved by Alaska voters in 1996 and 2000 banning land-and-shoot wolf hunting.

“I find it hard to believe any government official in this state would be pleased with the result of a program that goes against the will of Alaska voters,” Deatherage said.

The state Board of Game approved the program for the McGrath area last fall in response to residents’ longtime complaints that predators were killing too many moose calves. Under the program where hunter and pilot teams could shoot wolves from the air, 40 wolves were to be shot. Half that number were killed in the McGrath area.

The program fell short of its goal largely because the weather around McGrath, particularly early on, was not conducive to hunting wolves.

The board authorized a second wolf control program in the Nelchina Basin area near Glennallen. That program was structured differently, with pilots required to land their planes first before the wolves were shot. The program, with a goal of taking 135 to 150 wolves, also fell short. As of Tuesday, 127 wolves had been reported killed, Fish and Game said.

Feral said what the Game Board is implementing its blueprint for wolf control for the entire state. Alaska’s wolf population is estimated at between 7,700 and 11,200 animals.

“We see it as a routine extermination plan that will continue for years,” she said.

The Game Board, at a meeting in March, approved wolf control for two more areas of the state, one in the central Kuskokwim area in western Alaska and the other west of Anchorage across Cook Inlet in Southcentral Alaska.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 28

Romania: Bardot slams Romanian ‘massacre’ of bears, wolves

Bardot slams Romanian ‘massacre’ of bears, wolves

BUCHAREST, April 28 (AFP) – Former French film star and now ardent animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot accused Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase on Wednesday of encouraging the massacre of bears and wolves in his country.

In an open letter to Nastase, she said that Bucharest was hosting “an international conference on the hunt of wolves and bears.”

“You are making yourself the defender of (a …)
massacre which gives your country a backward and bloody image,” she said of the hunting.

“Romania has the good luck to have a magnificent environment, a rich range of wildlife. Why do you then rush to destroy this heritage while it is essential to preserve it,” Bardot said.

While wolves face extinction in most European countries, they are thriving in Romania, according to official figures.

But the ecological association AVES said these figures were too high and that the bear population in Romania had dropped by 60 percent over the past three years.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 28

Greenlee ranchers oppose wolf project

Greenlee ranchers oppose wolf project

By John Kamin, assistant editor

Greenlee County ranchers voiced their displeasure with the Mexican Gray Wolf Reintroduction Program’s proposed Moonshine Park release during a public meeting in Morenci.

The April 23 meeting was held to collect public opinion on the project, and at least 10 ranchers showed up to voice their opinions. The Greenlee ranchers opposing the project included the Staceys, the Cathcarts and the Cannons.

The Moonshine Park release is only a proposed release, and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) Nongame Wildlife Coordinator Terry Johnson reminded the audience that project heads would take public opinion into account.

The meeting sharply contrasted with a recent meeting held in Silver City, in which wolf conservationists outnumbered opponents.

Greenlee County Supervisor Hector Ruedas summed up the opinions of some of his constituents when he read seven letters opposing the release of wolves in an area known as Moonshine Park. Moonshine Park, located in the Blue Primitive Range, is near the northern tip of Greenlee County and is east of Highway 191. The letters highlighted how the release would put wolves within five miles of the Moonshine Park Post Office. They said the wolves will threaten the safety of children, adults and clientele.

Charlie Gold, the author of one of the letters, requested permission to explain why he opposes the release. Gold’s family owns and runs a guide service and has lived in the area since the 1800s.

“I would be very adverse to wolves being on that ground,” he said. “Clients won’t be involved in any place where there are wolves. That is a direct impact on my day-to-day income, which I do not find acceptable.”

Gold added that his wife, parents and children would all feel threatened by the presence of the wolves.

He said the wolves would threaten a stabilizing mule deer population.

“You’re going to overload one of the few stable populations of mule deer that are in the area,” Gold said. “If you dump those wolves in there, I promise you you’re going to overload the population of mule deer.”

At this point in the conversation, AZGFD wolf biologist Paul Overy said there is a much larger number of elk in the area that are feeding on Aspen trees.

“I’ve been in consultation with the Forest Service,” he said. “They’re finding that 80 percent of the aspen population is being fed on by elk.”

Forest Service officials want the aspen to regenerate and a smaller presence of elk would help that, Overy said.

Another letter mentioned that the elderly and the young would “have no chance.” The sixth letter Ruedas read requested that the funding go to forest thinning projects and questioned whether the project responsibly uses taxpayer dollars.

All seven of the letters showed opposition not only to the release, but to the entire reintroduction project, as well.

The first letter Ruedas read said, “They (wolves) were hunted out of existence for very good reasons. The entire wolf release project has been a miserable failure at a large cost to the public.”

Shortly after the reading of the letters, interagency field team coordinator John Oakleaf presented statistics of documented wolf attacks (on humans) in comparison to attacks from other large predators.

He said the statistics took into account documented attacks since the 1800s until now. There have been 25 documented wolf attacks from this time period, he said.

Wild wolves have an average of .14 attacks per year, while captive wolves average .27 attacks on humans per year. Wolf hybrids average about 2.1 attacks per year, he said.

The statistics, which Oakleaf said were taken from a research paper, showed that domestic dogs average 1 million documented attacks per year. About 29,000 motorists will collide with a deer during an average year, and 8,000 snakes will bite humans a year.

Black bears average 25 attacks per year, brown bears average four, and cougars average .65 attacks a year. An average of 750 skunk attacks, 27,000 rodent attacks, and 500 fox attacks will also occur during an average year.

Oakleaf also noted that wolves that have been removed from the wild for cattle depredations are more likely (by five percent) to be removed again for depredations in the future. A depredation is an attack on a cow by a wolf.

Wolves that have been in captivity less than one year have had a zero percent removal rate from the wild. When the canines are held in captivity for more than a year, they are more likely to be removed, Oakleaf said.

Seventy-four percent of the wolves’ diet is elk, according to a scatalogical study, Oakleaf said. The same study showed the wolves ate ungulates 11 percent of the time, livestock four percent of the time, small mammals five percent of the time and deer five percent of the time.

Center for Biological Diversity representative and wolf advocate Michael Robinson asked what an ungulate was defined as in relation to the survey.

Oakleaf responded that it means an elk or a deer.

He then showed statistics from two winter aerial surveys supporting this trend.

The wolf reintroduction project in the Southwest has a much higher number of depredations per 100 wolves. Southwestern wolves have more than three times the number of depredations per 100 wolves than wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The Southwestern wolves are also seven times more likely to attack a cow than Midwestern wolves.

“Another thing to consider in this slide is that grazing schemes in the Southwest are different,” Oakleaf said.

One rancher noted that the prey density is also different. This led into a discussion in which ranchers recalled releases in areas they thought had insufficient prey bases.

Oakleaf agreed that those areas did have depredations in the past. He also said that Moonshine Park is on an open grazing allotment, causing a rancher to add that it is grazed during portions of the year.

Robinson noted a change in policy during the meeting.

“The service began a concerted effort to release the wolves before birth,” he said. Later, he asked, “Is this the first time that wolves being born into captivity are released into New Mexico?”

Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator Colleen Buchanan answered, “Yes,” to his question. Robinson said he disapproves of this change.

Robinson also corrected a rancher who said the Center for Biological Diversity was suing the Fish and Wildlife Service for three proposed rule changes. He said no lawsuit has been filed.

Robinson said the group filed a formal petition for rule-making with Interior Secretary Gale Norton and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams under the Administrative Procedures Act. He added that if no action is taken towards implementing the proposed changes after one year, the Center could use its right to sue to make the changes.

The next public meeting for the project will be on July 9 in Silver City.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 28

Idaho: Possible Dog Poisoning in Upper Sawtooth Valley

Possible Dog Poisoning in Upper Sawtooth Valley

A dog belonging to a resident of the upper Sawtooth Valley has become the victim of a possible poisoning. The dog’s owner let the dog out of her vehicle to run approximately one mile up to the owner’s residence. By the time the dog reached the house, it began vomiting and continued to do so. The dog was subsequently taken to a Hailey veterinarian who was unable to save the dog. According to the veterinarian, the symptoms exhibited by the dog were consistent with those caused by organophosphate poisoning, but the exact cause of death was not determined.

ýýýýýýý
Given the poisoning incidents that occurred in the Salmon area in February, Fish and Game Conservation Officers suspect that this may be a “copycat” case. At this time the means of spreading the poison is unknown. It is possible that poisoned baits have been scattered anywhere in the valley.ýýýAnyone finding any sort of suspicious meat such as meatballs or hotdogs scattered in an area should use extreme caution and notify Conservation Officer Gary Gadwa immediately. Recent snowfalls in the valley will have covered any baits present, but residents should be aware that they will become re-exposed when the snow melts. The organophosphate poison possibly used in this case is highly toxic for long periods and poisoned baits covered by snow and re-exposed will be just as toxic to pets, wildlife and humans as when first put out.

ýýýýýýý
Poisoned baits present an extreme danger to public safety. Organophosphate poisons are highly toxic and can be absorbed through ingestion and direct absorption through the skin. Exposure to these materials is potentially fatal to adults and especially children. Pets poisoned by organophosphates will die unless they receive immediate veterinary attention. Symptoms in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, trembling and shaking, excessive salivation, and constricted pupils. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms and you suspect ingestion, see your veterinarian immediately.

ýýýýýýý
Spreading poisoned baits is a felony in the state of Idaho. It is also a crime against all residents who become afraid to enjoy their own backyard for fear that their pets or children may be poisoned. If you have any information about this case or note unusual deaths of foxes, coyotes, birds of prey, ravens or magpies, please contact the Salmon Region Fish and Game office at 756-2271 or contact Conservation Officer Gary Gadwa at 774-3321.

Source

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Apr 26

Wolves galore

Wolves galore

By BUZZY HASSRICK
Staff writer

State agents in Montana and Idaho could kill wolves that are significantly
impacting big game, under rules proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service.

Other rules would let owners shoot wolves attacking their pets and let
ranchers shoot wolves harassing their livestock. They would apply to
private property.

Current regulations do not include pets and require livestock be under
attack by wolves. Altering those rules represents a loosening of the
restrictions.

“It’s our carrot to reward the states that wrote management plans that we
could approve,” Paul Hoffman said Tuesday from Washington, D.C. “It’ll
also benefit the hard work of those who put up with wolves.”

He is the deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks for the
Department of Interior and former Cody chamber executive director.

Wolves, re-introduced 1995-96 to the Yellowstone area, grew to number 301
in 2003. They are classified an experimental population, managed under 10j
regulations.

For wolves to be removed from Endangered Species Act protection, F&WS must
approve management plans from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. The first two
passed.

Wyoming could drop the predator part of dual classification, which F&WS
found unacceptable, and still have broad control over wolves by managing
them as trophy game, Hoffman said. The state could set liberal hunting
seasons.

The people of Montana and Idaho will gain a degree of control over life
and property under the proposed changes to the 10j regulations, Hoffman
said.

“And they’ll serve as a demonstration of our commitment to restore control
to the states,” he added.

Montana and Idaho, if they request the authority, would receive federal
funding toward wolf management, Hoffman said. He cited additional examples
of increased flexibility in the rules.

One depredation, not two or more, would trigger a shoot-on-sight permit
for private land, he said. Permittees with federal grazing allotments
would also be eligible for such permits.

Public comments on the proposed rules are due May 8 and should be mailed
to F&WS, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 100 North Park, Number
320, Helena, Mont. 59601, or e-mailed to westerngraywolf@fws.gov.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 26

Wolf saunters through Meeteetse subdivision

Wolf saunters through Meeteetse subdivision

By CAROLE CLOUDWALKER
Staff writer

The wolf was at the door of Micki Campbell’s Vision Quest Estates home
north of Meeteetse last week.

Well, almost at it.

“I was in my yard unloading groceries when I saw it,” Campbell said. “I
wondered whose dog it was.”

Then she looked again. It was no dog, she says.

The large, handsome, silver-gray and black animal was in the subdivision’s
Valley Road, said Campbell, who watched as a woman in a pickup truck
“swerved to avoid it.”

Campbell ran to get her video camera. When she came out of the house with
the camera, she also was on her cell phone talking with her husband.

“He said, ‘Walk toward it,’” she said. That did not seem like the best
idea to Campbell, especially when the wolf “came toward me” and was 100
yards away. She said the animal appeared to have no fear of her.

“I took off running back toward the house,” she says, though the wolf “was
not aggressive.”

But the wolf headed toward a neighbor’s calving pasture, so Campbell got
in her car and went to tell the cattleman.

The Vision Quest subdivision is about two miles north of Meeteetse.
Campbell says the wolf “came up from Meeteetse Creek, past our house,
through a field and to the (Greybull) river,” then appeared to head toward
the Wood River.

Among her wolf souvenirs are the home video she recorded and a clump of
hair.

“He left it on a fence,” Campbell says.

Campbell’s Vision Quest neighbor, Sue Hiser, also saw the wolf at about
noon and also initially mistook it for a dog.

“I was in my house and just happened to be looking out the front door,”
Hiser says. “He was just trotting on down Valley Road.”

She ran outside but lost sight of the animal. Hiser’s dogs did not bark,
but when the animal passed closer to the neighbor’s horses, “they got real
riled up,” she said.

Ken Beers, Campbell’s cattle-raising neighbor, also has no doubt the
animal he saw Wednesday was a wolf.

At noon Beers was entering the back door of his home on the east side of
WYO 120 about a mile closer to Meeteetse than Campbell and Hiser. He
turned toward the road after hearin g a car slow down and saw an animal
crossing the road.

“I said to myself, ‘I wonder where my dogs are, where my grandkids are and
where my wife is.’” He said his youngest stock dog at one point was just
five feet from the wolf.

“In my opinion … this animal was accustomed to being in this area. …
He was on a route,” Beers said. “His actions indicated to me this was a
route he took (before).”

Beers says in recent weeks he’s noticed “some things out of order,” such
as “cows you normally get along with” that now charge or “calves 200 yards
from where they’re supposed to be and through two fences.”

Because of that, he concluded the wolf has visited before and feels
comfortable in the neighborhood.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Apr 26

Michigan UP Facetoface with wolves

Face-to-face with wolves: Dairy farmers say packs not afraid of humans

Editor’s
note: This
is the second of a two-part series on increasing timberwolf numbers
in the Upper Peninsula.

By PAUL PETERSON
For the Gazette

BARAGA ý Timberwolves are said to be shy animals that would rather run than confront humans face-to-face.

But that wasnýt the case at the Bud and Kerrie Keranen dairy farm outside of Elo in southern Houghton County two years ago.

ýIt got to the point where they were coming right into the yard and around our calf stalls,ý Keranen commented. ýWe would holler at them …. and they would barely move. They were unafraid of humans.ý

When the pack attacked, and killed, an 8-year-old cow in a back field of the Keranen farm, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was called to live-trap and relocate the animals.

ýThey (DNR) trapped nine wolves off my land,ý recalled Keranen, who operates a 500-cow operation on 1,500 acres of land. ýI have to commend them for acting quickly to remove those wolves.ý

The DNR depredation program eventually reimbursed Keranen for the loss of the animal. Another cow was killed by wolves in the Pelkie area in 2003. That case is pending.

In response to the increasing number of U.P. wolves, the DNR is in the process of hiring a wolf coordinator, according to Ann Wilson, agency communications representative from the Marquette office.

ýWe feel itýs an area that needed its own coordinator,ý said Wilson. ýThe departmentýs stance is that wolves are an important part of the outdoor scene in Michigan.ý

While wolves have so far been confined to the U.P., DNR wildlife habitat biologist Rob Aho feels itýs just a matter of time until they cross the Straits of Mackinac and make their way to the Lower Peninsula.

ýCertainly, thatýs a good possibility. Wolves have no trouble traveling on the ice and they very well could make it downstate before long,ý he said.

Increased contact with humans in more populated areas is almost certain
to spark incidents. That could include more people shooting at the
animals.

The DNR is currently investigating several cases of wolves being shot
in the U.P. Wilson said information on such incidents is always welcome.

ýAnyone with information about a shooting incident can call a DNR office or the DNR hotline,ý she said. ýThey donýt
have to give their names …. just what they know about it.ý

Wilson said because wolves were moved from the endangered to the threatened
list in 2002, the DNR has additional latitude in dealing with troublesome
animals.

ýNow, weýre able to translocate wolves that are causing
trouble to other areas,ý she explained. ýWe didnýt
have that option before.ý

Joe Dyke, president of the 350-member Ottawa Sportsmenýs Club,
says his club takes a neutral view on wolves.

ýI donýt believe there is an anti-wolf sentiment in general,ý
said Dyke. ýBut I know there are members of our club who arenýt happy to see the wolf population increasing. The club does support
a resolution proposed by another club that would put wolves in a lottery
(hunt), much like the state now has for elk.ý

The DNR maintains a supply of a booklet at its headquarters in Baraga
entitled ýSharing the Land with Wolvesý thatýs published
by the National Wildlife Federation.

The booklet offers tips to farmers and livestock owners, pet owners
and sportsmen who use dogs to hunt.

ýPeople hear stories from other people about wolves and they form opinions right away,ý Aho said. ýIf they read more
about (wolves) theyýll get a better idea.ý

Harold Filpus of the Otter Lake Sportsmenýs Club has his own view of the wolf increase.

ýThey had a lot wolves up (in Minnesota) when I was traveling there,ý Filpus said. ýAnd I didnýt see very many deer
during all those trips.ý

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Apr 26

Mexican wolf recovery is going slowly

Mexican wolf recovery is going slowly

By Brent Israelsen

The Salt Lake Tribune

PINOS ALTOS, N.M. — A slot in Utah’s spectacular San Rafael Reef is called “Spotted Wolf Canyon,” but it has been a century since any wolf has been spotted there.

ýýý That may change this century as wolves reintroduced in the wilds to the north and south of Utah try to colonize the Beehive State.

ýýý If a canis lupis comes in from the south, chances are it will be a Mexican gray wolf, an endangered species struggling to gain a pawhold here in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

ýýý This is Aldo Leopold country, a vast expanse of roadless areas where native forests of pinyon, juniper, Pondersa and fir remain largely intact and support herds of elk and deer. It is prime habitat for the Mexican wolf, which was exterminated from the United States in the first half of the 20th century.

ýýý In 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, began reintroducing Mexican gray wolf packs into Arizona’s Apache National Forest, later relocating packs into New Mexico’s Gila National Forest.

ýýý The goal was to establish 100 wolves by 2006.

ýýý But unlike the northern gray wolf of the Yellowstone region, where recovery goals have exceeded expectations, the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort is under- achieving.

ýýý The Fish and Wildlife Service had projected that by this year, however, the Mexican wolf population would total 55, including 11 packs and 10 breeding pairs.

ýýý At last count, there were only a handful of breeding pairs, eight packs and an estimated 40 wolves, most of them in Arizona.

ýýý Joy Nicholopoulos, supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s ecological services division in New Mexico, said the program’s setbacks are due mainly to a high number of wolves killed illegally. Most ranchers in southwestern New Mexico oppose wolf reintroduction.

ýýý She said she is heartened, however, by a steady number of wolves being born in the wild — a good sign for continued survival of the species.

ýýý Michael Robinson, a Pinos Altos resident who advocates for the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, points to a more objective statistic: Wolves equipped with radio collars have decreased from 28 a year ago to 18 today.

ýýý “There are reasons not to be optimistic,” said Robinson, whose organization was among several environmental groups that filed suit in the late 1980s to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf.

ýýý Despite the setbacks, wolf advocates have new reasons to be hopeful. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Game Commission, under orders from Gov. Bill Richardson, reversed its anti-wolf stand and asked the federal agency to consider changing its management policies to give the wolves a better chance of long-term survival.

ýýý Nicholopoulos said the commission’s support of the wolf will give the agency more flexibility.

ýýý Historically, the Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo,” ranged throughout much of northern and central Mexico and the American Southwest, from Mexico City to Albuquerque and from San Antonio to Phoenix.

ýýýThe Fish and Wildlife Service last year convened a team to revise a 1982 wolf recovery plan designed to lead to the wolf’s eventual removal from the endangered-species list.

ýýý Some groups are lobbying for that revision to include a reintroduction of wolves to the Kaibab Plateau on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

ýýý “They are going to have to reintroduce wolves into other areas, and we think the Grand Canyon is the best remaining habitat in the Southwest,” said Lara Schmit, a Flagstaff, Ariz., activist coordinating a coalition of environmental groups trying to bring wolves back to northern Arizona.

ýýý If wolves get established on the Kaibab, they undoubtedly would spread into southern Utah, heightening concerns among Utah ranchers and big-game hunters already wary of wolves moving into the state from packs in Yellowstone National Park.

ýýý The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is devising a plan to manage the northern gray wolf, which soon may be removed from the federal endangered-species list.

ýýý But the management plan would not apply to the Mexican gray wolf, which will remain on the list for several years.

ýýý Although the two wolf species can be distinguished by experts, mainly by size and coloring, the Fish and Wildlife Service has made management simple with an arbitrary line that divides Utah in half.

ýýý The southern half of the state was designated a “distinct population segment” for the Mexican gray wolf.

ýýý The dividing line, coincidentally, is Interstate 70 — which slices through Spotted Wolf Canyon.

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