Aug 31

Wolf hearing set

Wolf hearing set

ASHLAND, Wis. — A Sept. 29 public hearing is scheduled in Ashland on the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove the timber wolf from
protected status in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

The hearing will begin with an open house at 6:30 p.m. at the Northern
Great Lakes Center on County G. A public hearing will follow.

Similar hearings are being conduced Sept. 27 at Madison and Sept. 28 in
Wausau.

Timber wolf numbers have grown to around 4,000, spread across several
states, with the majority in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Minnesota has the largest gray wolf population in the lower 48 states, at
2,400, while Wisconsin has about 370 and Michigan an estimated 360. Those
states would take over management of their own wolf populations, with
federal oversight, for five years.

Wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 30

SC: Female wolf dies after capture, inoculation

Female wolf dies after capture, inoculation

Associated Press

BULL ISLAND, S.C. – A female wolf has died after scientists inoculated her
in preparation for her release into the wild.

Her death leaves two 4-month-old pups without a mother.

The female, male, and two pups were to have been returned Monday to Bull
Island, which for 17 years has been a cornerstone of federal efforts to
save the endangered red wolves from extinction.

Two breeding wolves live in the wild on the island and teach survival
skills to their offspring. Eventually, the young wolves are shipped to the
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, the
government’s main site for restoring red wolves to the woodlands of the
United States.

Today, about 300 wolves exist in the world. Until recently, red wolves
were not known to have reproduced at Bull Island since 2001.

One mother wolf became too old to breed. Another female swam off the
island and died when a car hit her on U.S. Highway 17.

But last spring, the newest female mated with a male and produced puppies.
The adult wolves had been caged since January to bond and mate.

Federal officials spent Wednesday morning giving the four wolves shots and
checking their vital signs to prepare them for release. The female died a
few hours later.

Now, scientists must try to determine what caused the death and whether to
release the young wolves with their father.

Biologists speculate the stress of being captured and inoculated caused
the female wolf to overheat and die. Another theory is the wolf had an
unknown medical condition that killed it.

The 45-pound wolf’s carcass will be sent to Clemson University for study
this week.

Federal wildlife officials also will assess handling procedures to see if
mistakes were made with the wolves.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 30

Alaska: Citing fewer moose, state plans to widen wolf control

Citing fewer moose, state plans to widen wolf control

The Associated Press

FAIRBANKS – The state will expand its wolf control program this winter in
areas of the state where biologists say moose numbers are declining.

Not only will hunters in airplanes be zeroing in on wolves in the Nelchina
Basin and McGrath, as they did last year, but they will also be targeting
wolves west of Cook Inlet near Anchorage and in the central Kuskokwim
River region near Aniak.

The Alaska Board of Game at a meeting in March expanded the program to
include the last two areas.

The state is aiming to kill upward of 500 wolves this winter in the four
regions, all of which are reported to have declining moose populations due
to predation by wolves, according to both the state wildlife biologists
who manage the areas, and hunters who use them.

The state began accepting applications for the program this week. Permits
are issued based on a pilot’s familiarity and flying time in an area, as
well as previous experience hunting wolves.

Last year, the state issued 33 permits for Unit 13 and five for the
McGrath area. Hunters killed a total of 144 wolves last year – 127 in the
Nelchina Basin and 17 in the McGrath area. It was the first time since
1994 that state has employed a lethal wolf-control program.

Then-Gov. Tony Knowles, who is running for the U.S. Senate, called a halt
to the program. He refused to approve any lethal wolf control programs
during his eight-year tenure.

His replacement, Gov. Frank Murkowski, supports the wolf control program.
He overhauled the Alaska Board of Game shortly after his election two
years ago and the new board almost immediately approved wolf-control
programs for the McGrath area and Nelchina Basin by allowing private
pilots to hunt wolves.

“The governor is committed to this course of action,” said spokeswoman
Becky Hultberg. “He thinks it’s in the best interests to the people of
area and he thinks the people should have some role in the game management
where they live.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 30

MT: Libby man conducting research on wolf pack

Libby man conducting research on wolf pack

By Jim Mann
The Daily Inter Lake

LIBBY – Jay Mallonee knows where the wolves will be.
His pickup, with “WLFINDR” license plates, bumps and bounces along winding
forest roads east of Libby. Then the radio receiver at his side picks up
the steady beeps of a wolf’s radio collar. He’s getting close.

Eventually, Mallonee is standing on an indistinct stretch of road lined
with thick timber. Moving a hand-held antenna back and forth, he dials in
on the signal and takes compass bearings to narrow the location of the
signals.

“All three of them are here,” he said, referring to the three members of
the Fishtrap Pack that are fitted with government radio collars. The
wolves are about a mile away, in a densely forested valley where they
often rendezvous.

After studying them for three years, the wolves have become “predictable
to a point” for Mallonee, who is conducting what he says is the only
independent wolf research project in Montana.

“The bottom line is we don’t know that much about wolves, and the wolves
of Northwest Montana are pretty much unknown,” said Mallonee, whose work
has been self-financed, primarily through work as a science teacher at the
community college in Libby and his job at a local video store.

While there has been extensive research on wolves around the world,
Mallonee said that the collective body of knowledge is not specific to
wolves in Northwest Montana. He contends that his research will be unique
in that it is a long-term project, focusing on wolves in an area where
there has been little research.

“If people tell me that they think they know a wolf pack works out here,
I’d be amazed,” Mallonee said. “They simply don’t know.”

Mallonee has identified the pack’s 240-square-mile territory and how the
the wolves use it at different times of year. He has located the wolves’
den site, has counted their numbers from year to year, and has figured out
many of their travel routes and rendezvous sites.

He has recorded their howls to study their vocalization patterns.

Mallonee said he has gone out nearly every day for the last three years,
spending at least a couple of hours searching for the wolves or traces
they’ve left behind.

After all that work, he has managed to actually see the wolves only a
handful of times, largely because of the dense forest cover in which they
live in and because Mallonee intentionally distances himself from the
wolves.

“They are very elusive,” he said. “And they are horribly difficult to
study.”

Before coming to Libby, Mallonee, 47, had previously done research on
marine mammals in the Bering Sea, studied a wolf in captivity for three
years, and done wolf field studies with students from the University of
California, Santa Barbara, for 13 years.

His work with the Fishtrap Pack is not officially sanctioned by government
wildlife agencies, but he has developed an informal working relationship
with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Joe Fontaine, the agency’s wolf recovery coordinator for Montana, said
Mallonee is a credible and ethical researcher whose work was considered an
asset by Tom Meyer, a federal wolf biologist who was based in Kalispell
until he took another job earlier this year.

Fontaine anticipates, however, that Mallonee will need to develop a
relationship with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as the federal
government hands over management of Northwest Montana’s wolves to the
state.

And state officials may insist that Mallonee have a more formal
arrangement, possibly through some form of research permit.

Mallonee said he wants to work with the state. But he is concerned that
state wardens and other officials in the field may know little about
wolves, and that they may have little time to work on wolf management.

He said he thinks state officials would be wise to make use of the
information he has gathered on the pack.

Eventually, Mallonee expects a clear picture of the pack to emerge that
will be quite different from studies done on other wolves.

Yellowstone National Park’s Druid Peak Pack has been extensively studied,
but to Mallonee, that research is irrelevant to wolves in Northwest
Montana.

“That’s Yellowstone. This isn’t Yellowstone,” he said. “It’s way different
here.”

Although they do leave the national park, Yellowstone wolves mostly roam
within a protected area with a different prey base.

“This is a huge interface between humans and wolves,” Mallonee said. “It
is a totally different context.”

And for Mallonee, working with local residents is as important as studying
the Fishtrap Pack.

“If I’m going to do this kind of research, I’m going to have to work with
people who hate wolves,” he said.

While there are plenty of people in the area who don’t like wolves,
Mallonee said there are plenty of people who are willing to work with him.

Mallonee’s research got under way soon after the Fishtrap Pack made itself
known in 2001 by killing two llamas in the McGinnis Meadows area,
incidents that triggered hostile reactions from many residents in the
area.

Mallonee said he has become good friends with the rancher whose llamas
were killed. The rancher has since kept his remaining llama closer to the
ranch, rather than letting it range on public lands.

Mallonee lets the rancher know when the wolves are near so other
precautions can be taken.

There have been no documented kills of domestic animals by the pack since
2001.

“The remarkable thing is how many times a year these predators meet these
range cattle and nothing happens,” he said.

Mallonee said he is frequently asked by hunters with anti-wolf views how
much wildlife the Fishtrap Pack kills.

“If they take out less than 100 deer a year, that’s next to nothing”
compared to the overall deer population, he said. Far less frequently,
they kill elk or moose, usually animals that are young or crippled.

People often contend that the area’s wolf numbers will mushroom. But
Mallonee said that’s not likely to happen because the pack’s size
fluctuates, and the pack will aggressively defend its territory from
outside wolves.

Last year, the pack had six adults and seven pups. This year it had six
adults, and Mallonee believes there are only three pups.

Mallonee said some locals don’t necessarily resent wolves as much as they
do the government and wolf management policies that come from Helena and
Washington, D.C.

“I get told lots of things because I don’t work for the government,” he
said.

Mallonee said he thinks government officials need to be far more engaged
with the public in areas where there are wolves.

“Killing one-third of your wolves every year is not management, but that’s
what’s happening,” said Mallonee, who is convinced that wolf managers can
do more to head off conflicts between wolves and humans.

More information on Mallonee’s research is available on the Internet at:

http://www.wolfandwildlifestudies.com

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 30

WY: Lights, shells keep wolves from attacking cattle

Lights, shells keep wolves from attacking cattle

JACKSON (AP) — Bright lights and firecracker-like blasts are deterring
wolves from attacking cattle in Grand Teton National Park, officials said.

Ranchers have not reported any depredations since wolves from the Teton
Pack killed a 400-pound calf Aug. 10 in the park, said Mike Jimenez, the
federal wolf recovery project leader for Wyoming.

The attack was the first recorded in the park since the wolf pack took up
residence at Grand Teton in 1999.

After learning of the incident, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
assigned a crew to spend three nights with the cattle. Each time wolves
approached the herd, “we would shine a light and fire cracker shells to
scare them away or make them uncomfortable,” Jimenez said.

Although the crew had to chase the wolves away several times, no
depredations occurred.

The methods sometimes work in the short term but do not have as much
success with chronic problems, he said. But for now, the techniques are
paying off.

“(The wolves) have gone back to their regular pattern, so hopefully they
don’t go back to bothering the cattle,” Jimenez said.

This summer, the Teton Pack has hunted elk primarily along the Snake
River. But to reach the elk from the pack’s rendezvous site on the eastern
edge of the park, the wolves must cross pastures where cattle graze.

Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation
Alliance, said the grazing allotment is an unnecessary temptation for
wolves that ought to be phased out.

“It’s like having a field trip every day with your third-graders, right
through the middle of the candy store, and expecting them not to get
addicted to candy,” he said.

The grazing permit, issued to the Porter, Lockhart and Gill families,
originally expired in 1995.

Congress passed a law in 1997 to extend the permit and that of another
ranching family while authorizing a study of whether grazing helps
preserve open space in Jackson Hole by helping ranchers stay financially
afloat, which can discourage them from subdividing their property.

The study was completed in 2001, and the National Park Service and
Department of the Interior are working to draft a recommendation to
Congress on whether grazing in Grand Teton should continue.

Until Congress acts, the Park Service is legally obligated to allow
grazing, park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo said.

Grand Teton officials have asked the ranch families to assign a rider to
stay with the cattle overnight to discourage depredations.

“We’re working closely with the grazers to mitigate any extra temptation
for those wolves,” she said. “So far, these things have been successful.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 29

SC: Shocking setback: Red wolf’s death deals blow to repopulation plan

Shocking setback: Red wolf’s death deals blow to repopulation plan

It will be at least a year before biologists try to find another female
for Bull Island

By SAMMY FRETWELL

Staff Writer

BULL ISLAND – The mother wolf’s eyes widened with fear as she struggled to
free herself from the people who had pinned her to the ground.

Moving quickly, the scientists stuck a medicine-filled needle into the
wolf’s flank and attached a radio-tracking collar to her neck.

It was a routine, typically harmless procedure to prepare endangered red
wolves for reintroduction to the wild.

But hours after her capture, the wolf died, leaving two 4-month-old pups
without a mom.

The perplexing death prevents what was to have been a happy occasion
Monday – the return of an intact red wolf family to Bull Island.

Bull Island, northeast of Charleston, has for 17 years been a cornerstone
of federal efforts to save the world’s remaining red wolves from
extinction.

The deserted, subtropical island is a place where two breeding wolves live
in the wild and teach survival skills to their offspring. Eventually, the
young wolves are shipped to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
in North Carolina, the government’s main site for restoring red wolves to
the woodlands of the United States. Today, about 300 wolves exist in the
world.

Until recently, however, red wolves were not known to have reproduced at
Bull Island since 2001.

One mother wolf became too old to breed. Another female swam off the
island and died when a car hit her on U.S. 17.

So, wildlife biologists were ecstatic when the newest female at Bull
Island mated with a male and produced puppies last spring.

Federal officials spent Wednesday morning giving the four wolves shots and
checking their vital signs to prepare them for release. The adult wolves
had been caged since January to bond and mate.

Scientists had planned to open the cage Monday and allow the wolves to
leave for the woods, where the adults could teach their offspring to hunt.

Now, scientists must try to determine what caused the mother’s death and
whether to release the young wolves with their father.

Biologists speculate the stress of being captured and inoculated caused
the female wolf to overheat and die. Another theory is the wolf had an
unknown medical condition that killed it.

The 45-pound wolf’s carcass will be sent to Clemson University for an
autopsy this week.

Donny Browning, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official who oversees
Bull Island at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, and Bud Fazio,
who runs the red wolf recovery program nationally, said federal wildlife
officials also will assess their handling procedures to see if they made
mistakes with Bull Island’ s wolves.

“Everybody’s reaction was one of astonishment that this happened,”
Browning said.

Getting the animals ready for release proved easy with the father and the
babies, but preparing the mom was another story.

Not handled often by humans, she fought tenaciously after wildlife
officials captured her and prepared to administer a shot to prevent
heartworm. The mother wolf even bit the hand of a Fish and Wildlife
Service technician, drawing blood.

For nearly an hour after the team finished its work Wednesday morning, the
wolf lay on the ground, panting heavily and barely moving. She tried to
crawl at one point. A veterinarian then administered a stimulant and the
animal began walking.

The wolf was pronounced fit and healthy by the time the crew left for the
mainland.

That soon changed.

When agency biologist Sarah Dawsey and science technician Mary Catherine
Martin returned to feed the red wolves later that day, they found the
mother dead in the enclosure.

The wolf lay slumped against the back fence of the cage she shared with
her mate and the pups. There were no signs she was involved in a fight.

“We cried,” Martin said. “She adapted so well to being here. She mated and
produced pups. She was a good mother. I really mourn for her.”

Brian King, the veterinarian who injected the wolf Wednesday, said stress
might have killed what was a highly excitable animal.

“There’s nothing delicate about capturing a wild animal and doing this,”
he said, “but usually when you catch them, they will just give up.”

Fazio and Browning said there’s a good chance the baby wolves will be
released at Bull Island with their father.

The big male has roamed free on the island before and has taught previous
litters survival skills. Red wolf males often interact with their
offspring.

If the pups are released, they will face a challenge not only in learning
how to find food but also in avoiding danger.

Since the program began in 1987, alligators have killed at least three red
wolves that strayed too close to freshwater lakes on Bull Island,
according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Among those was an adult wolf,
whose leg was found inside the belly of a dead, 11-foot-long alligator,
Browning said.

Despite the loss of the mother, Fazio said, the red wolf program will
continue.

Fazio said it will be at least next year, if not longer, before the
service tries to find a new female wolf for Bull Island.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 29

MT: Attorney urges attack on wolves through litigation

Attorney urges attack on wolves through litigation

By Jason Lehmann, Enterprise staff writer

Challenging federal management of gray wolves in the Greater Yellowstone
area should start with questioning procedures by which the animals were
reintroduced and are now managed, says a lawyer for a local conservation
group.

Karen Budd-Falen, legal counsel Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk
Herd, said, “We can’t just go head-to-head on science” in a lawsuit with
the federal government, “even though ours is better.”

Roughly 40 people, including various Montana county commissioners, met for
the meeting meant to challenge federal management of the gray wolf.
Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd arranged and sponsored the
meeting.

Gray wolves, brought back to the Yellowstone Park 1994, are currently
protected on the Endangered Species List and killing one is a felony
punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Local stockgrowers have suffered livestock losses to wolves in recent
years, and have groused they have no relief because of federal
restrictions.

Budd-Falen said some wolf data collected by federal agencies, like the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is “absolute nonsense” and said methods
used in collecting data for the 1994 FWS wolf reintroduction into
Yellowstone National Park could be used in a lawsuit in federal court and
“to do something about the wolves that truly are devastating your economy.

“We found all sorts of data they didn’t do right in their (environmental
impact statement),” Budd-Falen claimed.

Finding procedural errors in government studies “is a way to get into
federal court and to question the procedural merits” of federal wolf data,
she said.

Budd-Falen said environmental groups have successfully used the National
Environmental Policy Act in lawsuits to halt federal actions.

She said FWS has already violated NEPA by not drawing “designated critical
habitat” areas for wolves in YNP and Park County, and by not notifying
Park County commissioners when the wolves roamed outside their original
reintroduction area.

She urged commissioners in attendance to use their political position to
support wolf litigation.

“We have to have county commissioners working with their citizens so we
have standing” in a potential lawsuit, she said. “It’s not enough that
(ranchers) are losing livestock.”

Commissioners can become involved by offering alternatives to federal
animal management plans, which Budd-Falen said the federal government is
obligated to consider.

Alternative plans could include economic impacts of livestock losses,
cultural impacts, and other data not included in government studies, she
said.

Following Budd-Falen’s talk, Park County Commission Chairman Ed Schilling
said, “We’re looking at a long-term problem and solution either way you
look at it.”

He said he was concerned with the cost to the county of an ongoing legal
battle with FWS, and said a joint effort between counties might be one
solution.

“My big question is what’s this going to cost, who’s involved, and are
they willing to help financially, even if this is a good cause,” Schilling
said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 28

Canada: The value of running in packs

The value of running in packs

By STEPHEN STRAUSS

The existence of most carnivores is akin to an unanswered ad in the
personals column, as 85 to 90 per cent of meat eaters live solitary lives.
But for science the question has remained: Why do the rest of them run in
pairs or packs.

At first blush, it would seem that hunting is the clue, because packing
together should be a more efficient way of capturing prey, particularly
when what is being pursued is something fast and large. The problem is
that while it may be easier for groups to bring down a big animal, packs
also mean that there are many more hungry mouths to share kills with.

When scientists looked at the relationship between optimal pack size and
maximal food consumption, they often found that pack animals apparently
got less meat in their mouths than they would have if hunting alone or in
pairs.

Now, an analysis of data garnered from 27 years of observation of
moose-hunting wolves in Isle Royale, the U.S. national park in Lake
Superior, has shown a largely unappreciated virtue to packing: It’s an
effective raven swatter.

American scientists calculated that a pair of wolves loses about 37 per
cent of a moose carcass to ravens, which can at times form 100-bird
flocks.

If a single wolf takes a run at one or more scavenging ravens, it leaves
the carcass open to be picked at by other birds.

When a moose-hunting wolf pack numbers six animals, some eat and some
guard, and the result is that only 17 per cent of the moose meat goes down
the ravens’ voracious throats.

If there is less to eat — some wolf packs feast mostly on deer — the
animals adjust to the change in food needed to be guarded by hunting is
smaller packs.

Given their new appreciation of the scavengers’ ability to cut down on the
wolves’ dinner, the scientists are hoping to see whether they have found
an explanation for packing that fits animals worldwide.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 26

Wolves kill more bear-hunting dogs

Wolves kill more bear-hunting dogs

WISCONSIN:State’s hunting laws allow dogs to track bears, unlike Minnesota regulations.

BY JOHN MYERS

NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

A wolf pack in Ashland County has killed seven bear-hunting dogs in four incidents over the past month, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials are warning hunters to keep their dogs out of the area.

Another wolf pack recently killed a bear-hunting dog in southern Sawyer County, said Adrian Wydeven, DNR wolf expert, putting the total at eight dogs killed this summer.

Bear hunters often turn their dogs loose near where a bear sign is found and allow the hounds to follow bear scent to train them for the coming hunting season, which starts Sept. 15.

In some cases, the dogs stumble into an area that wolves fiercely defend, often near pups, and wolves kill the dogs. The seven dogs were attacked in an area of the Chequamegon National Forest west of Glidden. The attacks occurred between Aug. 4 and Monday.

“It seems like it takes one incident that gets the wolves going after dogs. Once we had one (dog killed), the wolves became more aggressive toward dogs,” Wydeven said Wednesday. “They may consume some of (the dog). But it’s mostly a territorial defense thing over pups.”

In investigating the attacks, Wydeven conducted a howling survey and had pups answer him in the area. Wolf experts say the wolf pack would act just as hostile toward coyotes, other wolves and even small bears. The pack in the Glidden area has about 10 animals and is one of the largest in the state. Wolves have been in the area for years but this is the first attack on dogs, Wydeven said. Wisconsin has about 400 adult wolves in more than 90 different packs, and only two packs currently are attacking dogs, Wydeven noted.

“It’s usually not a problem. But it seems like once a pack attacks a dog, they do it again,” he said.

Six bear-hunting dogs were killed in 2003, 10 in 2002 and 17 in 2001, DNR records show.

The state will not attempt to trap or kill the Glidden wolves because they are simply defending their territory, Wydeven said.

“If they were going onto private land and killing livestock or pets, then we go in (with federal trappers) and can take the wolves out,” he said.

Hunters who lose dogs are compensated by the DNR’s state wildlife depredation fund, usually between $500 and $2,500 per dog.

Dogs can be trained on public land for bear hunting in Wisconsin from July 1 through Aug. 31. The bear-hunting season for people hunting with the aid of dogs opens Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 5.

Hunters are being asked to avoid the area south of State Highway 77, north of Forest Service Road 164 and east of Forest Service Road 168 to the eastern edge of the National Forest.

Wolves currently are listed as a federally threatened species in Wisconsin and Minnesota. They can be trapped and killed only by federal authorities and only near where livestock or pets have been killed. Federal officials have proposed removing protections for wolves and giving wolf management back to states, including allowing broader hunting and trapping, but that move is a year or more away.

In Minnesota, which has about 2,500 wolves, attacks on dogs are rare. Dogs are not allowed for bear hunting in Minnesota, and other hunting dogs are usually close to their owners while in the field, causing wolves to stay clear.

Wolves occasionally do venture into yards in remote areas or on the edges of towns and kill dogs, said Bill Paul, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s animal damage control program in Grand Rapids.

“We’re not getting as many reports of wolves killing pets as we were about three years ago. We used to get 15 to 20 every year and it’s down to five or 10 now,” Paul said. “It’s usually a territorial thing where wolves run into a dog and they just won’t tolerate it in their territory, even if it’s in someone’s yard.”

Grouse hunters and people walking their unleashed dogs have also had their dogs killed, Paul said. “It happens… People need to remember we have a lot of wolves out there and they don’t like dogs.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Aug 25

UP MI: Incident leaves couple worried

Incident leaves couple worried

By RALPH ANSAMI
Globe News Editor

MATCHWOOD — After their dog was killed and eaten by a wolf in a brazen attack under their front porch, John and Sandra Smith are worried about family members.

The Matchwood couple Tuesday discussed the Aug. 14 attack on the family pet that occurred at their trailer home and added fuel to the anti-wolf fire that has been growing in the Ontonagon area.

“I don’t trust wolves,” Smith said. “We have a grandson, 11, who lives down the road and walks to the school bus in the dark in the morning.”

“We’re afraid for him,” his wife said.

They said they’ve seen many other wolves in the Matchwood-Topaz area, although there have been no reports of wolves attacking people anywhere in the Upper Peninsula.

After an autopsy in Crystal Falls, Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Douglas Wagner confirmed the wolf not only ate the family’s dog, Chewy, a German Shepherd-beagle mix, but also had the contents of a calf in its stomach.

The Smiths’ daughter, Lorie Fooce, peeked under the porch to look for Chewy that fateful Sunday and was greeted by a snarling wolf. “She saw the wolf lying on the dog,” Sandra Smith said.

Smith said a neighbor who farms, John Koski, who was profiled a few years ago in a Daily Globe story, continues to have problems with wolves. It may have been one of Koski’s calves that had been eaten.

Smith said the gray wolf, which was wearing a radio collar, appeared to be suffering from mange.

The whole experience has angered Smith to the extent that he’d like to set up a meeting with the DNR and victims of the wolf situation. He cites an incident in the Lake Gogebic area where a young girl found what remained of a pet dog — just the animal’s head.

The Smiths are not pleased at law enforcement’s response time.

“We called the (Ontonagon County) sheriff’s department at 9 a.m., but nobody showed up. At about 11, they told us the area game warden was at the Gogebic County Fair. The DNR biologist showed up at about 12:30 p.m. with a stick,” Smith said. “He told us, ‘Maybe it will run away and leave its kill.’”

The wolf, which was wearing a tracking collar, was finally tranquilized around 3:30 p.m. and was later euthanized.

A state police officer eventually showed up, but no deputy arrived, Smith said.

Although it’s tough to put a price on a family pet, the Smiths are upset they won’t be reimbursed for Chewy and the fact that the skirting around the trailer was torn off and hasn’t been replaced.

“You can’t put a price on the loss of a pet,” Sandra Smith said, although she believes there should be some sort of compensation.

“The state won’t reimburse us, but they’re there to defend the wolves,” said Smith, who believes the gray wolf population in the U.P. is vastly underestimated at around 350. “They want tourists to come see our beautiful wolves but don’t think about the rest of us,” he said. He added he’s contacted State Rep. Rich Brown, D-Bessemer, about the incident.

Sandra Smith said the incident could have been much worse because Chewy knew how to open the door to the house with his paws and the wolf could have chased the dog into the home.

Smith said he has the tragedy recorded on a video camera. He had his grandson operate the camera, although the boy started crying when his grandfather told him to focus it on the partially-eaten family pet. “He couldn’t do it,” he said.

The couple still has Chihuahuas. “I won’t let them out of the house much now,” Sandra Smith said.

A Marquette television station requested the video, but Smith declined to send it there.

Wagner was off from work Tuesday. Co-workers said he won’t return to the office until Friday. A fellow DNR wildlife biologist at Crystal Falls, Monica Joseph, said the MDNR doesn’t reimburse pet owners for losses, but it does compensate people who lose livestock.

Wisconsin pays up to $2,500 for dogs killed by wolves. It also pays for losses of other animals.

Joseph, who saw the wolf, said although it was an adult, it wasn’t unusually large. Regarding the damaged skirting, she said the DNR doesn’t usually pay property damage claims regarding wildlife damage. She said she wasn’t at the scene and doesn’t know exactly what happened.

The attack so close to an inhabited house was unusual, Joseph acknowledged.

Smith believes other similar wolf incidents may occur. “They’re all around us,” he said.

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