Oct 29

CO: When wolves arrive

When wolves arrive

Management team ponders plan for established packs

By Rob Gebhart

Members of Colorado’s wolf working group say they’ve come to an agreement on how to manage wolves that migrate to the state.

It remains to be seen whether they will make plans to handle established packs of wolves.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife originally charged the 14-member group with developing a plan by the end of October. Although it quickly became obvious the plan would take longer, the diverse group of environmentalists, ranchers and sportsmen is working respectfully together, said Delwin Benson, a professional wildlife biologist in the group.

“We really came to a position where we are working fairly with one another,” Benson said.

The group hopes to finish a plan by mid-December.

The DOW gave them the task of developing a plan to manage migrating wolves. Group members, such as Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton, a local government representative in the group, would end the work at that point.

But group members such as Benson, a professor at Colorado State University, and environmental representative Mark Pearson, director of San Juan Citizens Alliance, think the group should at least discuss management strategies if wolf packs should establish themselves in Colorado.

They’re preparing for the arrival of gray wolves that have been migrating south from Yellowstone National Park, where the federal government reintroduced them. At least one wolf has made it to Colorado. It was found dead on Interstate 70 several months ago.

But since then, Gary Skiba, a state wildlife biologist leading the wolf management effort, hasn’t heard any reports of wolf sightings in Colorado. He said he was surprised by the lack of reports, especially during hunting season.

The DOW had expected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list by the end of the year. But Wyoming has struggled to finish a management plan, and the delisting has been delayed. The delay has removed the time constraints Colorado’s working group faced, Skiba said.

The group has agreed livestock owners will be allowed to shoot depredating wolves, but only if a wolf already has damaged livestock, Hampton said.

Benson described the plan as an “adaptive management approach.” Wolves that cause no problems will be left alone, but wolves that eat too many wild or domestic animals will be removed or killed.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission likely will determine compensation for ranches with damaged or destroyed livestock.

The group is looking for funding sources other than the DOW, so hunters and anglers aren’t the only people shouldering expenses for wolf management, Benson said. Because some surveys have indicated 70 percent of Coloradans would like wolves to be in the state, Benson said everyone should fund the project, either through taxes or donations.

Hampton advocates holding off on discussions or plans to manage wolves should they establish themselves in Colorado, because no one knows how wolves will act in Colorado.

“They may find their own place, where they’re not harassed, where there’s plenty of food, and where they can get established,” Hampton said.

But Wyoming, Montana and Idaho each have wider and wilder spaces than Colorado, so wolves in those states have fewer opportunities to interact with livestock or humans and cause problems.

Before planning for permanent populations, the state should wait to see whether wolves stay in wild places such as national parks and wilderness areas or whether they will migrate into populous areas, Hampton said.

But because the group already has worked together for six months, Pearson thought it would be beneficial to plan for permanent packs in Colorado.

“From our perspective it would behoove us to look further down the road,” Pearson said.

With its large wilderness areas and elk herds, Pearson said the San Juan region would be ideal for wolf reintroduction. One Mexican wolf population is present there, and plans to introduce packs in New Mexico mean Southwest Colorado could see more Mexican wolves.

Pearson argued that a larger wolf population in Colorado could benefit livestock owners.

“If you have an abundance of wolves, you don’t need limits on what people can and can’t do on their private land,” he said.

Source

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Oct 28

France: French environmentalists to demonstrate against wolf cull

French environmentalists to demonstrate against wolf cull

Environmental and animal rights groups say they will demonstrate in Paris
on November 6 in protest at the killing of two wolves in the French Alps
as part of an official cull.

The organisations Ferus, WWF-France (The World Wildlife Fund for Nature)
and the French animal protection society said the cull – brought in to
pacify sheep farmers – was “illegal” under European law.

The first wolf, an 18-month old female, was shot last week and the second,
a two-year old male, on Wednesday.

French law allows four wolves, from an estimated pack of 50 in the Alps,
to be culled in 2004 “to contribute to reducing the pressure of this
predator on flocks”.

The measure was enacted to protect farmers’ livestock following attacks on
sheep in the southern Alps that in some cases saw flocks driven over
cliffs to their deaths.

Environmentalists and animal rights groups protested the measure and
launched legal challenges against it, with the result that the Government
halved the initial number of wolves it wanted to see killed.

Many farmers, though, say the cull does not go far enough and want to see
wolves eradicated from France entirely.

Exterminated in France before World War II, the wolf was reintroduced in
1992 in the Mercantour national park on France’s border with Italy, and
its population has since increased by 20 per cent a year.

Source

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Oct 28

OR: ODFW to address wolf population

ODFW to address wolf population

From Register-Guard
and news service reports

A proposed statewide “Wolf Conservation and Management Plan” will be discussed at an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting in Corvallis next week.

The session at the Benton County Fairgrounds, set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 4, is one of six being held around the state to review a draft plan that was developed by a 14-member Wolf Advisory Committee.

The plan does not call for actively reintroducing wolves to Oregon. Rather, it outlines how wolves expected to naturally disperse into Oregon from Idaho’s growing wolf population will be managed.

ODFW staff members at the meeting will give the history of the development of the draft conservation and management plan, an overview of the contents of the plan, an overview of the proposed administrative rules, and a timeline for adoption of the rules needed to implement the plan.

Among the key points addressed in the draft plan are:

ý Establishment of wolf management regions within the state, with population objectives for each region.

ý Initiating a process to consider removing the gray wolf from the state Endangered Species Act list.

ý A state-run compensation program for livestock losses due to wolf predation. Any compensation package would require legislative action.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hold public hearings on the draft plan at its Dec. 10 and Jan. 6 meetings.

Final adoption is scheduled for Jan. 7, 2005.

Members of the public may comment on the draft plan and proposed rules on forms provided at the meeting. They may also comment via e-mail to ODFW.comments@state.or.us, by fax to (503) 947-6009, or by mail to the ODFW Information and Education Division at 3406 Cherry Ave. N.E., Salem, OR 97303-4924.

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Oct 27

OR: County trapper: The wolves are coming

County trapper: The wolves are coming

By ANGELA TORRETTA

Klamath County may see a population of gray wolves in the next decade,
said Chuck Cleland, wildlife specialist with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division.

In a presentation to the county commissioners on Monday, Cleland said it
was only a matter of time.

“Wolves are definitely going to end up in Eastern Oregon,” he told the
commissioners. Cleland, the government trapper for Klamath County, said
that because wolves are an endangered species in Oregon and can’t be
killed, it would affect his ability to control other predators because
wolves could be killed in an attempt to trap other animals.

“I can’t even go and try to trap coyotes,” he said.

Cleland’s presentation was based on the release of a 184-page report
published this month by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s game
commission.

The report splits Oregon into two regions – east and west divided along
U.S. Highways 97 and 395 and State Highway 31. Both regions can expect to
see from four to seven pairs of wolves that have traveled from Idaho,
where they currently have populations.

Cleland told commissioners that the cost of prosecuting any illegal
killing of wolves could fall on the county.

Commissioner Steve West disagreed, saying that was normally a function of
the federal court.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, gray wolves were
re-introduced to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana as part of a recovery plan.

Since 2003, an estimated 771 wolves in 53 breeding pairs have been
documented in those states.

In Idaho alone the estimated population has increased from 114 animals in
1998 to 345 in 2003. In that time, only three wolves have been found in
Oregon – one was returned to Idaho, one was hit by a car and a third was
found shot. All were in the eastern region of the state.

“The reality of it is that any wild animals are going to go wherever they
want to go,” West said.

Source

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Oct 27

MT: Ranchers tell officials of wolf frustrations

Ranchers tell officials of wolf frustrations

By MIKE STARK
Of The Gazette Staff

COLUMBUS – Walt Snodell wanted a way to deal with the wolves on his ranch near McLeod.

Last May, he was given a federal permit to shoot those that were causing problems with his livestock. Wolves, though, can be hard to shoot, especially when they travel at night.

“It’s just like shooting smoke,” Snodell said, wondering aloud why he wasn’t allowed to use traps or poison on the wolves. “The record on our ranch is wolves 4, rancher 0.”

That frustration was echoed by others in the crowd of about 75 who came to the Stillwater County Fairgrounds on Tuesday to voice concerns about the presence of wolves in the area. The meeting was called on the heels of a wolf attack that killed some sheep near Nye on Oct. 14.

“I’m damned disturbed and frustrated,” said Cliff Bare, a Stillwater County commissioner. “This is a classic example of government gone astray.”

After being reintroduced in the Northern Rocky Mountains in 1995 and 1996, the wolf population has expanded in recent years into areas populated by people. Often, that can mean conflict between wolves and livestock owners.

Increasing calls

Calls have been increasing to Bare’s county commission office from people worried about wolves moving onto farms and ranches.

“Every year it’s getting worse,” Bare said.

Todd O’Hair, natural resource policy adviser to Gov. Judy Martz, has received the calls, too. Sometimes, the person on the other end is in tears, distraught over the loss of sheep, cows or family pets, he said.

“Unfortunately, the phone calls I’ve been getting have been increasing in intensity and in numbers,” O’Hair said.

Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., facilitated the meeting, which included representatives from county, state and federal agencies. On one wall, a continuous slide show displayed photos of dead and bloodied lambs killed by wolves on the Keller ranch near Nye earlier this month.

Rehberg said 51 goats in his ranch operation were killed just before they would have gone to market. Those kinds of losses, he said, have a ripple effect through areas that depend on farming and ranching.

“It’s affecting our communities and it’s affecting our families,” Rehberg said at the beginning of the 90-minute meeting.

Some of the frustration from ranchers on Tuesday focused how problem wolves are dealt with.

Sheep rancher Joe Helle of Dillon said more should be done to break up large packs of wolves. He acknowledged that wolves are probably here to stay, but said the government should manage them with a stronger hand.

“These packs of 15 are too big. They’re killing machines,” Helle said.

Feds should be aggressive

O’Hair said federal agents should be more aggressive in killing wolves that cause problems, especially now that Montana has 19 packs, four more than the minimum number set out in the state plan.

“A problem pack should be a dead pack,” O’Hair said.

Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said 14 wolves have been killed legally by landowners and more than 250 have been killed by government agents. Although the “shoot on sight” permits can do some good, he said, work by “professionals” – the federal government’s Wildlife Services – is more effective.

Landowners could get more power to control wolves next year with new rules that would allow them to shoot wolves that are harassing or killing livestock. The state of Montana would also get more authority to manage wolves.

Bangs said the rules could be the best option while the process of removing wolves from the endangered species list gets bogged down in lawsuits. Even though the Northern Rockies population is “recovered” – there are an estimated 800 to 850 in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho – delisting is several years away because of lawsuits, including one over Wyoming’s plan to manage wolves that was rejected by the federal government.

“Right now, delisting is on hold,” Bangs said.

Rehberg said there are discussions about whether wolves can be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

Even if wolves are delisted, there has been no commitment from the federal government to provide money to the states for management, O’Hair said. He suggested charging an extra $5 or $10 at the gates to Yellowstone National Park to help foot the bill.

“We think that would be reasonable,” he said.

Concerns also were raised about compensating ranchers and farmers for losses caused by wolves. Defenders of Wildlife pays market value for livestock that can be confirmed as wolf kills.

One rancher, though, said it can be extremely difficult to make that confirmation, especially when wolves consume a whole carcass.

“It’s a hopeless situation,” he said.

Elaine Allestad, a Sweet Grass County commissioner, said she was frustrated that the delisting process for wolves and grizzly bears has taken so long. The longer it takes, she said, the more stress it puts on local ranchers.

“It’s going to be a little more probably than producers can bear,” she said, adding that delisting in Montana and Idaho shouldn’t be “held hostage” because of Wyoming’s disputed plan.

Helle said it’s time for a shift in attitude, mentioning a state pamphlet for landowners called “Living with Wolves.”

“I don’t like this living with wolves,” Helle said. “I think wolves have to learn to live with us.”

Source

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Oct 26

Wolf trapped in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Wolf trapped in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

ROGERS CITY, Mich. (AP) — A wolf killed by a trapper in the northern Lower Peninsula might provide the first solid evidence that wolves have crossed the Straits of Mackinac from the Upper Peninsula, state officials say.

The 70-pound female was caught in a trap by a Rogers City resident who had been hunting for what he thought were unusually large coyotes, said Craig Milkowski, a conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The man shot the animal Sunday, discovered it wore a radio collar and contacted Milkowski, who confirmed it was a female wolf, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

Lt. Jeff Gaither, who heads the DNR’s law enforcement office in Gaylord, said the incident was under investigation “and there’s not much we can tell you at this time.”

The agency’s position until now has been that there was no proof wolves had migrated to the Lower Peninsula. About 300 wolves live in the Upper Peninsula.

DNR spokesman Brad Wurfel said the dead wolf was trapped and fitted with a radio collar last November near Engadine, about 50 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie. Its radio signal last was detected Feb. 26 by biologists in an aircraft.

Todd Hogrefe, a DNR wildlife biologist in Lansing, said several more radio-collared wolves have disappeared from the U.P. and also might have crossed the winter ice to the Lower Peninsula with the one that was killed.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct 26

MI: Dead wolf evidence they’ve migrated below bridge

Dead wolf evidence they’ve migrated below bridge

BY ERIC SHARP
FREE PRESS OUTDOORS WRITER

A wolf was killed Sunday by a trapper near Rogers City, the first solid proof that wolves have crossed the Straits of Mackinac from the Upper Peninsula.

Todd Hogrefe, a state Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist in Lansing, said several more radio-collared wolves had disappeared from the UP and also might have crossed the winter ice to the Lower Peninsula with the one that was killed.

Craig Milkowski, a DNR conservation officer, said the wolf was a 70-pound female caught in a coyote trap by Rogers City resident William Karsten, who had been hunting several weeks with some friends for what they thought were unusually large coyotes.

Karsten shot the animal, discovered it had a radio collar and realized from its size and the collar that it might not be a coyote. The DNR’s position until now has been that there was no proof wolves had migrated to the Lower Peninsula.

But Karsten contacted Milkowski, who confirmed that the dead animal was a female wolf.

Karsten could not be reached for comment.

Lt. Jeff Gaither, who heads the DNR’s law enforcement office in Gaylord, said the incident was under investigation, “and there’s not much we can tell you at this time.”

DNR spokesman Brad Wurfel said the dead wolf was trapped and fitted with a radio collar last November near Engadine, about 50 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie. Its radio signal was last detected Feb. 26 by biologists in an aircraft.

About 300 wolves live in the Upper Peninsula. They apparently moved into Michigan from Wisconsin to the west. The Wisconsin wolves are thought to be descendants of the roughly 2,500 wolves that now live in northern Minnesota.

Members of the Odawa Indian tribe have said they have tracked two packs of wolves for three years in the extreme northern Lower Peninsula, one in the Rogers City area and the other at Wilderness State Park west of Mackinaw City.

Dennis Fijalkowski, executive director of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy in Bath, thinks wolves have been in the Lower Peninsula for three or four years, based on sightings by numerous observers.

“This is going to force the DNR to take another look at its management policies,” Fijalkowski said. “Now that we know wolves are in the Lower Peninsula, we’re going to have to answer questions like where are they, and how many will people tolerate.”

Jan Van Hoesin of Rogers City is a former middle school science teacher who now does educational shows for schoolchildren with her pet lynx, bobcat, coyotes, raccoons and foxes.

She also is a taxidermist and said the DNR had contacted her about mounting the dead wolf.

“I’ve mounted a few wolves and coyotes,” she said. “I’ve compared their measurements, and if you have them side-by-side, they’re easy to tell apart. Besides, who’d want to radio-collar a coyote?”

Female coyotes in Michigan average 20-25 pounds and males 25-30. Adult wolves run 70 pounds on up for females and 90-110 for males.

The DNR has put radio collars on a number of UP wolves to monitor their movements and the growth of the population. Wolves are controversial animals, popular with the public at large but disliked by many farmers and hunters, who say wolves kill too many livestock and deer.

The UP wolf population has grown to the point that the state and federal governments are in the process of removing the wolf from Michigan’s endangered species list. That would allow the state to begin a management program, which could include killing wolves in areas where they come into conflict with people.

Source

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Oct 26

OR: STATE’S DRAFT WOLF PLAN DRAWS HEAT

STATE’S DRAFT WOLF PLAN DRAWS HEAT

By Mardi Ford
Staff Writer

Believe it or not, one of the most contentious and heated arguments in the
state of Oregon right now is not in the political arena.

Monday night, representatives from the Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife unveiled the Wolf Advisory Committee’s draft plan for wolves in
Oregon ý to less than enthusiastic response.

“If this was put before the public for a vote right now, it would not
pass,” Union County Commissioner Colleen MacLeod told ODFW’s Bruce Eddy,
Craig Ely and Mark Henjum after their PowerPoint presentation of the draft
plan.

Union County Commissioner John Lamoreau heatedly expressed his lack of
support for the plan, stating the very language of the plan was
“prejudicial.”

“The flavor of the language of this plan is not mutual to all Oregonians.
It’s prejudicial to the rural citizens making us sound like we’ve
persecuted wolves like Nazis,” Lamoreau said.

Henjum responded, “Well, that’s the first time I’ve heard the word
prejudicial with regards to this plan.”

As the rest of the more than 30 people in attendance spoke at this first
of several statewide town hall meetings, the majority expressed concerns
over the issues of property rights and protection, basic economics and
threats to a rural way of life.

Although the issues of economic compensation and property defense are
addressed in the plan, they are contingent upon legislative changes to
Oregon law. If the current draft plan is adopted by the Oregon Fish and
WIldlife Commission as it stands, there is no guarantee cattle ranchers,
sheep ranchers, horse ranchers, or any other owner would be compensated
for the loss of livestock. There is no funding in place for it, admitted
Ely, although he presumes some tax money would jump-start a fund.

Roy Anderson, Baker City, not only questioned the plan’s limited scope of
compensation for livestock loss and depredation, but also expressed
concern over the possibility of facing criminal charges in the event of a
lethal take of a wolf without the guarantee of legislative changes
necessary to fully implement the plan.

Currently, wolves are protected under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act.
Killing one, even in the act of self defense, could result in criminal
charges and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the killer,
Henjum agreed.

“I am uncomfortable with the plan as it stands with regards to the eminent
danger to humans,” Anderson said. “The plan should state in bold print
that humans have the right to take a wolf in self-defense.”

Henjum answered that in the case of an act of self-defense he certainly
hoped prudence would prevail for self-protection and that under the
criminal code, there are laws in place to protect citizens, which would
“probably take precedence.”

However, with regard to property protection, under the draft plan as it
stands, should a wolf come onto private property and be caught by the
owner in the act of killing a cow, a horse, a llama, a goat or even the
family pet, Henjum admitted, “It would be hard, I know it would be hard.
But (the owner) would just have to stand by and let it happen. Under the
current law, that’s all you could do.

“Make no mistake,” Henjum added, “wolves are coming, and we need to have a
plan in place. We need to take this plan to the Legislature in order to
promote the support for the legislative changes needed to fully implement
the plan.”

“We don’t need a plan to get legislative changes,” fired back local
rancher Bob Beck. “Let’s get the changes first and then do a plan. It’s a
bad plan unless the legislative changes are made first.”

Source

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Oct 26

MT: Officials to discuss wolf management

Officials to discuss wolf management

State and federal officials will be in Columbus today to discuss wolves
and the future of wolf management in Montana.

The meeting will include Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., Todd O’Hair from
Gov. Judy Martz’s office and Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator with the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Officials from Stillwater and Carbon
counties also will attend.

Topics will include new rules being developed to give landowners more
authority in dealing with problem wolves on their property.

The meeting is open to the public. The meeting will be at 2 p.m. at the
Stillwater County Fairgrounds, 300 Fifth Ave., Columbus.

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Oct 25

Cable: Listening Session

Cable: Listening Session

LISTENING SESSION: The Natural Resources Board will hold a special
listening session Tuesday as part of its meeting in Cable, Wis., this
week.

The board has received several requests to talk about wolf management
plans in the state, which is not on this meeting’s agenda but will be
considered in summer 2005. The federal government has proposed removing
the eastern population of wolves from the national Endangered Species
List. The gray wolf already has been delisted in Wisconsin, but the
federal protection still dictates how the state can handle its estimated
population of more than 370 wolves.

The session will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Lakewoods Resort in
Cable, which is in Bayfield County in far northern Wisconsin.

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