Jun 30

Extinct wolf a symbol of what Japan has lost

Extinct wolf a symbol of what Japan has lost

The Japanese wolf officially became extinct 99 years ago. More accurately,
there has not been a confirmed sighting since the last of the species was
captured in the village of Higashi-Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, in 1905.

But is the species really extinct? My thoughts turned to various extinct
animals when the Paleontological Society of Japan last Sunday released a
picture of a wolf’s skull, said to be the largest ever discovered.

Two years ago, a forum titled “Nihon Okami-no Sonogo’ (What’s become of
the Japanese wolf?) was held in the village of Otaki in Saitama
Prefecture. There had been reports of wolf sightings and howls heard. In
this village, they once tried to lure wolves by playing an audio tape of
howling Canadian forest wolves.

Folklorist Kunio Yanagita was also interested in the Japanese wolf. In the
early Showa Era (1926-1989), Yanagita wrote in his book “Okami-no Yukue’
(Wolf’s whereabouts): “I do not subscribe to the theory that this species
is extinct.’

However, he was unable to conclude the animals were still around, either.
With too little evidence to go on, he noted, “My sense tells me we may
never know the answer.’

In Australia, a cloning project is under way to bring an extinct species
back to life. The project team has taken a DNA sample from the preserved
specimen of a Tasmanian tiger, and has succeeded in partially duplicating
this sample. The Tasmanian tiger is believed to have been extinct for 68
years.

The concept of “regeneration’ is the theme of “Warai Okami’ (Laughing
wolf), a novel by Yuko Tsushima published by Shinchosha.

The author draws a parallel between Japanese wolves and a boy and a girl
who are living in the chaos of post-World War II Japan.

In the novelist’s mind, the Japanese wolf is a symbol of what Japan is
losing today, and the wolf also stands for the vitality that can
“regenerate’ contemporary society.

A monument inscribed with a haiku was erected in the village of
Higashi-Yoshino five years ago. The haiku by Toshio Mihashi says: “I
walk/ With that wolf/ That is no more.’

Source

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Jun 30

UT: Wildlife consultant to draft wolf plan

Wildlife consultant to draft wolf plan

By Tom Wharton

The Salt Lake Tribune

Members of an advisory group trying to write a Utah wolf management
plan have made little progress in six previous meetings.

After another morning of disagreement Tuesday, Utah’s Wolf Working
Group decided to allow a Wyoming wildlife consultant to come up with a
basic outline. Then the 13-member volunteer panel of academics,
hunters, wolf advocates, farmers, ranchers and county government
officials will form smaller groups to attempt to reach consensus on a
plan.

“There is no way this group is going to be able to tackle tough issues
with a consensus,” said Division of Wildlife Resources director Kevin
Conway. “I can’t think of a more polarizing issue in the wildlife
community. It is like abortion and gun rights. People carry strong
views. Seldom do they change very far from where they started.”

The advisory group is trying to develop contingency plans for wolves
that might migrate into Utah and kill domestic livestock or put a dent
in big game populations sought by hunters. Conway said that if the
advisory group cannot come up with a plan, his agency will write one
in time to get it to the Utah Legislature, which wants a draft
proposal by November.

The DWR director said that many state legislators originally wanted no
wolves in Utah. But a joint House Resolution passed in 2003 instructed
wildlife managers to come up with a wolf management plan.

The big predators will not be transplanted into Utah but are expected
to move into the state from Wyoming if they haven’t already.

The wolf study group attempted to reach consensus with only two or
fewer dissenting votes.

Judging from Tuesday’s discussion, and from the decision to allow
consultant Walt Gasson of Wyoming-based Dynamic Solutions to draft a
preliminary plan before the group’s next meeting on July 27, that
appears unlikely.

“Utah does not have to have any wolves,” said Don Peay, who represents
the powerful Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife hunting lobby. “We ought
to not have wolves for 10 years. From a sportsmen standpoint, there
are no positives for wolves, only downsides.”

Kirk Robinson of the Western Wildlife Conservancy said pro-wolf groups
fear that the study group’s process may be used to keep wolves out of
Utah.

Bill Burbridge, chairman of the Utah Wildlife Federation and a former
U.S. Forest Service biologist, said zero wolves is not an option.

“As they come in, we have to manage conflict,” he said. “What are the
triggers when we go forward with control actions when they damage
livestock or wildlife?”

Source

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Jun 30

UT: Officials rethink wolf issue after group’s gridlock

Officials rethink wolf issue after group’s gridlock

By BRYCE PETERSEN JR.
Standard-Examiner staff

SALT LAKE CITY — Alan Clark, wildlife section chief for the Division of
Wildlife Resources, used to use abortion as an example of an issue so
polarized that compromise could not be hammered out through a public
process.

“I couldn’t think of a good wildlife example at the time,” Clark said. “I
think wolves is it.”

The Wolf Working Group, a group of ranchers, hunters and wolf advocates
empowered by the Wildlife Board to draft a wolf-management plan, may be
proving that right. After a tense meeting last month, DWR is taking a
second look at the group’s role in formulating the plan, which would take
effect when wolves are removed from the endangered-species list.

“Maybe it was too much to take on such a polarized issue without a
hard-and-fast goal. … All we had to work with was the Fish and Wildlife
Service, (which) didn’t give a darn whether we had wolves in Utah or not,”
DWR Director Kevin Conway said.

Conway’s speech, which began Tuesday’s meeting, was part pep talk and part
veiled threat, with the director calling for progress while remaining
openly skeptical of the group’s ability to put aside differences.

“Folks, the plan will get written,” Conway said. “There can be gridlock at
this table. If this group can’t help us do it, we’ll do it ourselves.”

The group originally decided that every plan component must pass the group
with all but two members in agreement, and every member must accept the
plan as a whole before it can go to the Wildlife Board for approval.

“We’ve been at this long enough that I’m convinced that there’s no way
this group can go with a consensus-minus-two approach and make any
substantive decisions on tough issues,” Conway said.

Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, a vocal anti-wolf group, had a seat at
the table next to the Utah Wolf Forum. Here are two examples of the
differences:

“Our position is we ought to not have wolves for at least 10 years,” Don
Peay, of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, said. In the meantime, big game
impacts in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana would become more clear.

“There are no positives from a sportsman’s perspective. There are only
negatives.”

Across the table was Utah Wolf Forum’s Kirk Robinson.

“We’re not asking for a certain number of wolves; we just don’t want them
all killed off for doing what wolves do,” Robinson said.

Conway said zero wolves was exactly the Utah Legislature’s original
intention, but House Joint Resolution 12, which directed DWR to come up
with a management plan, was a chance to see if a management plan could be
written that included wolves but that would also mitigate concerns,
particularly of ranchers and hunters.

He took issue with both sides trying to read their views into the
Legislature’s action.

“If anyone thinks the Legislature’s intent was to establish wolves at all
cost, I can tell you that was never there,” he said. “The original
thinking was to have no wolves, period. This was the next option, ‘OK,
we’ll give you a chance.’ ”

Moments later, he said, “I think zero is an unrealistic number if we are
going to be in line with HJR 12. If they would have wanted no wolves, they
would have said no wolves.”

The Legislature, meanwhile, is getting impatient with the 7-month-old
process, Conway said, and legislators expect progress by the beginning of
the next session.

“Not necessarily a finished product, but they’d like to know,
conceptually, where we’re headed,” he said.

But the original goal of a draft by May 2005 now seems far-fetched.

“I doubt they’ll get there,” Conway said.

The group agreed to divide into four-member subcommittees to take on
controversial issues, but mandated that those groups maintain the
“diversity” of the whole, and that the whole group be allowed to vote on
the finished product.

Source

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Jun 30

Wolf Advisory Group Deadlocked on Utah Plan

Wolf Advisory Group Deadlocked on Utah Plan

(Salt Lake City-AP) — Polarizing views on how Utah should treat wolves
that migrate into the state have deadlocked an advisory group working on a
management plan.

Despite holding six meetings, the 13-member Wolf Working Group has made
little progress, and has now decided to form smaller groups to attempt to
reach a consensus.

The group is made up of academics, hunters, wolf advocates, farmers,
ranchers and county government officials.

The group has asked a Wyoming wildlife consultant to come up with a basic
outline.

If the group can’t come up with a plan, the Division of Wildlife Resources
will write one in time to get it to the Utah Legislature.

Lawmakers have said they want a draft proposal by November.

Source

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Jun 30

ID: Valley County official, ranch hand fined in wolf killing

Valley County official, ranch hand fined in wolf killing

Rocky Barker

Valley County Commissioner and rancher Phil Davis and his hired hand have
been fined $750 each in the shooting death of a wolf. Few ranchers in
Idaho have been fined for killing a wolf since their reintroduction in
1995.

The wolf, protected under the Endangered Species Act, was found dead by
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement officers May 25 on Davis’
6,000-acre Bar O Ranch north of Cascade. Jerry Ussery, an employee of
Davis, told officers he shot the wolf May 24 while it was near a herd of
cattle north of the Warm Springs Highway.

Davis said Ussery heard two cows bawling when he came on the scene and saw
the wolf running across a road past the cows, which had week-old calves.

“There’s no doubt this wolf was going to kill a calf,” Davis said.

More than 380 wolves roam central Idaho, and federal officials say the
population is high enough to remove them from Endangered Species Act
protection. But a dispute with Wyoming has delayed the delisting process.
If wolves were removed from the list, ranchers like Davis would be able to
shoot them legally.

Suzanne Stone, Northwest field representative of Defenders of Wildlife,
has worked with Davis, providing compensation for cattle losses in the
past. She called the incident unfortunate.

“It seems like a small amount,” she said of the fine. “But the extenuating
circumstances may justify it. Hopefully, this will encourage the rancher
to try other tactics the next time.”

Ussery was charged with the unlawful taking and unlawful transport of an
endangered species. Davis was charged with unlawful transport and failure
to report the taking of an endangered species. Davis paid both fines.

Under the Endangered Species Act, Davis and Ussery could have faced fines
of up to $100,000 and a year in jail.

“Obviously, there are strong views of what should be done on both sides of
the issue,” said George Breitsameter, an assistant U.S. attorney in Boise.
“I look at it from the aspect of what I can prove in court.”

Davis said Breitsameter told him he would have sought $20,000 in
restitution – an estimate of the cost of reintroducing one wolf to the
state – if the case had gone to court. The rancher didn’t want to take
that risk and paid the $1,500.

Under the current rules, a landowner can shoot a wolf on private land if
it is killing, wounding or biting livestock.

“We would have given them the benefit of the doubt if there had been
evidence that cattle had been attacked,” said Craig Tabor, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service officer who investigated the case.

Davis and Ussery might not have been fined had they called authorities
within 24 hours, Tabor said.

Davis runs 4,000 head of cattle on the ranch with the oldest brand in the
state, dating back to 1863. May is his busiest month of the year. He was
in the middle of moving cattle from his winter and spring range near
Mountain Home to summer range near Cascade when Ussery called and told him
he had shot the wolf.

Davis was too busy with other work to respond immediately, he said. He
told Ussery to hide it because he thought it was visible from the road and
could have prompted calls from passers-by.

When Davis woke up the next morning, he was preparing for 500 head of
cattle to arrive then.

“I plumb forgot about it,” Davis said.

Meanwhile, biologists for the Nez Perce Tribe picked up a signal from the
wolf’s radio collar that indicates an animal isn’t moving.

Tabor and another officer realized the signal was coming from Davis’ ranch
and stopped by his house to get permission to look for the wolf.

Davis and Ussery took them to the wolf and told them their story. Ussery
said he could have shot the wolf numerous times but didn’t until it
threatened the calves.

The wolf, a male, had just joined the Orphan Pack, which has been living
in the areas since 1996. A member of the same pack is believed to have
killed two of Davis’ calves in 1996 and also a neighbor’s calf.

Ussery acknowledged that the wolf was running away from the cattle when he
shot, which was one of the reasons charges were filed, Tabor said.

But for a rancher seeing his cattle threatened, that distinction is a fine
line. Davis had no doubts Ussery made the right decision.

“I’m thinking we were justified except for my error of not calling,” Davis
said.

The best outcome, Tabor said, would have had Davis calling federal, tribal
or state biologists and reporting the wolves were near their cattle. They
would have tried teaching the wolves to avoid the cattle. If those efforts
failed, wolves would have been moved or even killed.

The fines Davis and Ussery paid are half what a rancher paid for
accidentally shooting a wolf in 1999 near Salmon and far less than a fine
paid by a hunter for killing a wolf.

Van Eron Coiner turned himself in for shooting a wolf he was trying to
keep away from elk in 1999. Daniel Thomas Kloskowski of Eden Prairie,
Minn., was fined $10,000 plus restitution costs of $5,477 for killing a
wolf while on a guided hunting trip in Idaho in 1998.

Source

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Jun 27

NY: A wolf in coyote’s clothing raises questions

A wolf in coyote’s clothing raises questions

Had a loner made its way to the Adirondacks? Should wolves be brought back to New York state?

By Michael Virtanen
Associated Press

EDINBURG, N.Y. – The night Russ Lawrence shot dead the first confirmed Adirondack wolf in a century, the big canine wasn’t alone. It came for the hunter’s bait on a winter night with another animal.

“It wasn’t as big, but it was a pretty good size,” Lawrence said. “That’s why I figured it was a female.”

At first, Lawrence figured he’d killed a record-size coyote that January night in 2002, and he contacted state conservation officials. It was a healthy 85-pound male, more than twice the average coyote size, but with the same features and color as its common relative.

Two years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took tissue for genetic analysis and concluded it was pure gray wolf. That quickly raised questions: Had a loner wandered down from Canada or from the upper Midwest? Was the other animal Lawrence saw a gray wolf, too?

And the big one: Had wolves, once at risk of extinction, made their way back to the Adirondacks?

Wildlife experts agree they haven’t, because populations would be noticed, as they have been in the West and upper Midwest. The animals, also known as timber wolves, tend to live in small packs, move around, vocalize frequently and hunt.

But the kill touched off a new round of debate over whether to bring the wolf back to New York. Farmers say coyotes are enough of a problem, preying on young calves and other livestock. But some advocates of reintroducing the wolves say the animals would help the environment.

“If they’re filling essentially the same niche, does it make a difference whether we call it a coyote or a wolf?” said Al Hicks, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “I guess it’s whatever makes you feel better.”

Feared as threats to livestock and people, wolves were hunted nearly to extinction by the 1930s in the continental United States.

In August, after their cultivated resurgence in the West and Midwest, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service moved the gray wolf from endangered to threatened after 30 years. There are now almost 4,000 gray wolves and about 250 red wolves in the lower 48 states.

Killing them still can bring a fine up to $100,000 per individual, $200,000 per organization.

Lawrence won’t be prosecuted, said Diana Weaver, spokeswoman for the wildlife service.

“At times the goal of enforcement is not so much punishment but education and compliance,” she said.

The U.S. agency has no plans to reintroduce wolves in the Northeast, and would first need backing from the states. New York state officials have said wolves might be incompatible with the interests of residents and farmers.

Brad Devries, spokesman for Defenders of Wildlife, disagrees. He says wolves are effective predators that will move deer around the territory, benefiting plant species and smaller animals.

Wolves now inhabit parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Individuals have been known to travel hundreds of miles.

Lawrence was hunting at the southeastern edge of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, on private land 40 miles north of Albany. He was 200 miles from the Algonquin Park and more than 400 miles from Michigan. The 48-year-old roofer has hunted coyotes for about 10 years, selling the furs in Canada.

Scientists say it is possible the animal came down from Canada, though intense hunting and trapping outside the Algonquin Park would make the trip treacherous.

Source

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Jun 26

WY: Governor waxes on wages, wolves

Governor waxes on wages, wolves

By TOM MORTON
Star-Tribune staff writer Saturday, June 26, 2004

Four decades and then some ago, a young Tom Walsh would cross paths with a younger Dave Freudenthal at the school in Thermopolis.

The swaggering Walsh often harassed fifth-grader Freudenthal, said the older of the two at the 100th annual Casper Area Chamber of Commerce dinner held at the Parkway Plaza on Friday.

A sometimes tearful Freudenthal would go home and complain to whoever would listen that Walsh picked on him.

Now, it’s payback time.

Walsh, now the Republican representative of Casper’s House District 56, that he has had to descend the wide stairs from the House chamber to the first floor of the Capitol to humbly meet with now-Gov. Freudenthal over legislative issues.

After the youthful confessions, Freudenthal told the several hundred business and civic leaders at the dinner that he and legislators alike are gearing up for the special week-long legislative session on health care scheduled for July 12.

Besides questions about the session, Freudenthal also answered questions ranging from the gender wage gap to wolf reintroduction.

Wyoming’s gender wage gap, one of the nation’s worst, will find some resolution through more nontraditional business roles for women and greater entrepreneurship, he said.

PacifiCorp Vice President for Wyoming Bob Tarantola attended the recent Western Governors’ conference where some promoted a much greater role for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Freudenthal acknowledged the importance of alternative energy sources, but noted that natural gas and coal will still dominate energy production in the near term, he said.

Casper family lawyer Jacqueline Brown wondered what could be done to help attorneys who work with foster children and are paid only $175 for a child’s entire life through the foster care system.

Freudenthal responded that he opposed the creation of a parallel public defender’s office for foster children, said the state has increased its commitment to local governments, and those local governments are responsible for distributing money for foster care.

No forum dealing with Wyoming public policy would be complete without a question about wolf reintroduction, to which Freudenthal pointed to the state’s lawsuit against the Department of Interior that demands the federal agency recognize the state’s plan.

Wolves won’t be taken from Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks, but the state can do something about how it controls them outside the parks’ borders, he said. “We needed to have this fight.”

Freudenthal doesn’t expect any change in policy until after the November election, but he’s not giving in to the feds, he said.

“I may lose, I’m not going to make it easy,” he told the applauding crowd.

Source

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Jun 26

OR: Pendleton to host advisory panel meeting

Pendleton to host advisory panel meeting

Statesman Journal

The eighth meeting of the Wolf Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Pendleton.

Wednesdayýs meeting begins at 10 a.m. Thursdayýs session starts at 8 a.m.

Both are being held at the Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate Ave.

The agenda includes a review and discussion on the first full draft of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, population objectives and delisting criteria, economic impacts, and predation on deer, elk and livestock.

Members of the public can attend the meetings. Fifteen minutes are available at the end of the meeting Thursday for oral public comments.

Or you can send written comments via e-mail to: ODFW.Comments@state.or.us

No wolves are confirmed to be in Oregon.

But numerous unconfirmed sightings have been documented, and biologists said they expect wolves to enter Oregon from the ex-panding population in Idaho and eventually establish a permanent population in the state.

Anyone who thinks they have seen a wolf should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bend at (541) 312-6429.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission appointed the 14-member committee in 2003 to help study all the issues surrounding wolves in Oregon and to recommend management actions that will be used once a permanent population becomes established.

Source

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Jun 26

TX: KING OF THE COYOTES

KING OF THE COYOTES

Huge predators near White Rock Lake puzzle experts

By J.D. Sparks
Special to the Star-Telegram

DALLAS – Something has happened to the coyotes that roam the underbrush and dank creeks and drains that wind through northeast Dallas.

Built like canine tanks, the coyotes in this North Texas pack are taller, longer and more massive than the streamlined, wasp-waisted coyotes found elsewhere in the state.

They make their homes alongside sleepy subdivisions and bustling thoroughfares. Drainage canals that eventually dump into Dallas’ White Rock Lake have become a kind of superhighway for the four-legged.

Reports of these enormous animals have drawn the attention of one of the nation’s foremost wolf biologists, L. David Mech, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and professor at the University of Minnesota. A typical Texas coyote weighs 25 to 35 pounds, Mech said, and these animals weigh between 40 and 50 pounds.

No researcher before has reported coyotes of this size in Texas, he said.

“Coyotes and wolves are closely related,” Mech said. “When I heard about those large coyotes in Dallas, I thought it was worth looking into because they are consistently large. It isn’t just one extra-large animal but several, like the whole pack is larger than usual.”

Coyotes — traditionally known as solitary creatures that howl in the distance at night — have learned to live among humans. And researchers say that the coyotes captured in North Texas may have a remarkable ability to adapt to their changing environment or have crossbred with other canine species.

“It’s possible that the coyote is changing genetically,” said veteran trapper Mike Trpkosh, who has caught a number of these coyotes. “The coyotes are huge. They’re off the charts — a super species of coyote.”

He has combed through tangles of mesquite, ragweed and cottonwood in the reedy outback of the Lochwood area near White Rock Lake in search of coyote tracks, waste, kill sites and dens, hoping to track down an enormous alpha male coyote.

“I’ve been looking for him for over a year,” he said. “I found some scat with bones and a large print in the gravel on Tuesday. I’m pretty sure it’s him.”

Trpkosh contracts with a number of cities, including Dallas, to trap and dispose of coyotes and other nuisance animals.

Over the past few years, he said, he started noticing a change in some of the coyotes he was trapping, particularly in the Lochwood neighborhood. These coyotes are bulkier than most, with deeper chests and fur with a downy undercoat like a dog’s.

At first he attributed the coyotes’ change to diet.

“I figured they were eating pets and pet food and their size was a product of good nutrition — but good nutrition’s not enough to explain the change,” he said.

These “super coyotes” may be the first signs that the species is crossbreeding with dogs, Mech and other researchers say.

In March, Mech flew to Dallas to collect DNA samples from the coyotes’ fecal matter, and geneticists at the university are examining it to determine why the coyotes are so big. The results will be available in August.

Mech said crossbreeding between coyotes and dogs has been well-recorded in the Northeast but is new to Texas.

Some animal experts are skeptical.

Ron Cornelison, a public health technician with the Texas Department of Health, attributed the coyotes’ size to diet.

“They simply have more access to dog food or cat food,” he said. “The food supply is more plentiful, so you’d expect to see coyotes a few pounds heavier with a better coat and appearance.”

Cornelison said he doubts that dogs and coyotes are interbreeding.

“Coy-dogs are very rare,” he said. “People claim to see these mixes — and genetically they can breed, they’re not that far apart — but most of the time coyotes and dogs just don’t mix.”

But Mech said arguments in favor of diet fall short. Coyotes throughout Texas have the same access to the usual fare of rodents, rabbits and garbage in addition to pet food and small, domesticated animals found in greenbelts and neighborhoods, he said, and record weights are being reported only in a specific area of the state.

Crossbreeding between coyotes and dogs might also explain the animals’ aggressive behavior.

“A coyote bred with a dog is dangerous — it removes their fear of humans,” said Capt. Garry Collins of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “They can be aggressive if you’re between them and a food source.”

However, Collins said he is unaware of a population of coy-dogs in the Dallas area. “Dogs are a bigger problem,” he said. “I think that’s what people are seeing.”

Mech said a second explanation might be that Trpkosh stumbled upon a pack of coyotes that had bred with wolves. This cross-hybridization accounts for larger coyotes in the Northeast and in Canada. But given that Texas’ indigenous red wolf population was virtually hunted to extinction and has not been seen in the state for nearly 30 years, Mech said this theory is not likely.

Trpkosh said the trend reaches beyond a single strain or group of giant coyotes; the big animals have been trapped in Garland, Murphy and Mesquite, 15 miles away. Packs usually range five to seven miles, Trpkosh said.

Source

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Jun 25

CO: I-70 wolf was new arrival to state
investigation reveals death by vehicle, not case of foul

I-70 wolf was new arrival to state
investigation reveals death by vehicle, not case of foul play

By Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News

A wolf found dead on Interstate 70 west of Idaho Springs on June 7 was run
over at that spot, indicating that at least one wolf made its way into
Colorado, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported Thursday.

“A test of the stomach contents reveals no sign of poisons and indicates
the wolf was surviving on deer,” said Roger Gephart, senior resident law
enforcement agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office
in Lakewood.

Preliminary necropsy results on the 2-year-old female gray wolf indicate
that she died of a broken back and other injuries consistent with being
hit by a vehicle. The animal had last been seen in Yellowstone National
Park on Jan. 14.

The results put to rest theories that the wolf might have been killed
elsewhere and dumped in Colorado to give the impression that wolves had
wandered into the state.

“There are no gunshot wounds or any other trauma to the animal except
those consistent with being killed by a motor vehicle on the highway,”
Gephart said.

The radio-collared wolf, 293F, was a member of the Swan Lake pack in the
northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park near Mammoth Hot Springs.
Wolves were reintroduced there from Canada in 1995.

When last seen in January, she would have been the perfect age to leave
the pack in hopes of finding a male to establish a pack of her own, said
Ed Bangs, Fish and Wildlife Service wolf coordinator.

“We did a rough map measurement and believe it was about 420 miles from
Yellowstone to Idaho Springs, which isn’t much of a distance to travel for
a wolf looking for a mate,” he said.

“Since she took off in winter, you can bet she stayed to the valleys and
foothills where she could find game.

“If another wolf comes into Colorado, it probably will follow the same
route.”

Any wild wolf in Colorado has dual federal protection. North of I-70 they
are a “threatened” species, and south of the interstate, they are an
“endangered” species, a more heavily protected classification.

Because this wolf was found on that dividing line, it raised a lot of
eyebrows because of its political significance.

“We definitely noticed it,” Gephart said, “but we have absolutely nothing
to show foul play connected with its death.”

In the weeks before the death, public sightings were reported of a
wolf-like animal wearing a collar south of Yampa and Gore Pass.

Source

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