Mar 31

NM: Wolfdogs killing livestock

Wolfdogs killing livestock

By Tom Purdom
Staff Writer

CANDY KITCHEN — A pack of four wolfdogs escaped from the Wild Spirit Wolf
Sanctuary here a month ago and the animals have since killed.

The Ramah Navajo Police Department and the Zuni Department of Game and Fish
are trying to trap the animals, but in the hundreds of square miles of
rugged countryside, it is an almost impossible task at best.

No humans have been killed. Nor have any been attacked.

Val R. Panteah Sr., the Ramah Navajo Police Department chief, said four
wolves escaped on Feb. 25.

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary Executive Director Leyton Cougar reported the
animals missing a week after the escape. Cougar was unavailable for comment.

Panteah said the wolves are light colored like a coyote, but a lot larger
than a coyote. “The Ramah Navajo Police Department is currently working with
the Zuni Game and Fish and the caretaker of the wolf ranch to capture or
destroy these animals,” Panteah said.

The police chief said the wolfdogs were raised in homes, but even so, out of
captivity, they are considered a threat to livestock.

The animals attacked and killed an alpaca, a llama-like animal weighing
between 400 to 500 pounds, and possibly attacked and severely injured an
Arabian horse as well. The alpaca and horse were on a 300-acre ranch about
two miles north of the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.

The latest sighting was when two goats belonging to Harry Nez were killed by
the wolves. One of the wolves was shot and killed during the attack. “Leyton
Cougar confirmed the attack was done by his animals,” Panteah said.

The wolf sanctuary is an 80-acre compound in Ponderosa pine trees at an
elevation of about 7,600 feet north of Pinehill in Cibola County. The
compound holds several large high fence enclosures. At one time it was
called the Candy Kitchen Rescue Ranch and was founded in 1991.

Animals in the compound, both wolves and wolfdogs, come from all over the
United States. Wolfdogs are a combination breed of both large dog and wolf.
They do not make good pets and more often than not, they look like a wolf.
The animals carry most of the characteristics of wolves and are powerful,
but socializing animals.

Panteah said his department asked for public assistance a few weeks ago
through a radio broadcast over the Ramah radio station.

As soon as the broadcast was made, results came. “We started getting reports
from people in the (Navajo) community about seeing them,” Panteah said. “We
do not want to create any confusion, but we still need the assistance of the
people.”

Panteah’s police force cannot be everywhere and the animals have several
hundred square miles of territory in which to roam. “If anyone sees these
animals, report it to the police immediately,” Panteah said.

For the most part, Panteah said he does not want people shooting at the
wolves unless the animal is a threat to livestock or humans and then only if
the shot will not put other humans in danger. “If you have livestock that
have been killed by animals, report that to us immediately too,” Panteah
said.

Clybert Peyketwa, a Ramah Navajo Police Department resource officer and
police officer said there have been no more recent sightings. “From the last
sightings (the killing of Nez’s goats) we tracked them back into the Zuni
Reservation,” Peyketwa said.

Peyketwa said it appears the wolves escaped from the double cage enclosure
by climbing over an inner high fence, and then slithering under the outer
fence when they escaped on Feb. 25.

For now, Peyketwa said the wolves may be feeding on a winter-killed cow in
the wilderness. “The stomach content of the wolf that was killed had beef in
it,” Peyketwa said.

The best avenue is to re-capture the animals, not shoot them. An added
danger in shooting one of them, aside from hitting another human being, is
wounding a wolf. Any wounded animal can become dangerous to humans.

Peyketwa said he is still stalking the wolves when a report comes in, but he
needs fresh reports. “People must report sightings soon after they have seen
the wolves,” Peyketwa said. “Most of the tracking we’ve done is from tracks
that are several days old.”

The wolves could be feeding on wild animals too, Peyketwa said.

Because the wolfdogs were around people, they are not afraid of people.
Peyketwa said a sighting two weeks ago put the animals right at a housing
area in Pinehill.

Peyketwa said the wolfdogs can be a danger to humans. “We’ve got Navajo
ladies out there tending to their sheep herds, children walking to their
homes,” Peyketwa said. “People are scared.”

As one area resident said, “If they’re not dangerous, why are they kept in
high cages?”

To report a sighting call the Ramah Navajo Police at 775-3226.

Source

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Mar 31

WY: Daniel pack strikes again, five wolves killed

Daniel pack strikes again, five wolves killed

by Cat Urbigkit

Last week brought not just a snowstorm to Sublette County, but also brought
some unwelcome visitors to Gene and Stella Taylor’s ranch near Merna. A pack
of wolves entered the Taylors’ cattle herd under the cover of darkness,
resulting in the deaths of two cows. One of the cows had its hindquarters
consumed, but was still alive, so had to be put down. Both of the cows were
due to give birth, as calving in the herd has already began, doubling the
losses for the ranch.

Stella Taylor said in an interview that she believes the wolves entered the
herd early in the morning, before daybreak, with the downed cows discovered
in the early morning check. The rest of the herd had milled together,
staying in one big bunch. The kills occurred not far from the ranch house.

The wolves moved on, proceeding to the Bar W Bar ranch, to kill a yearling
cow, according to ranch manager Merrill Dana.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services confirmed the
kills, all of which occurred on private land. FWS issued shoot-on-site
permits to three ranches and authorized Wildlife Services to kill the entire
wolf pack.

FWS’s Mike Jimenez said that on Monday, March 28, Wildlife Services flew the
area of the last confirmed kill, spotted a pack of five wolves and was able
to shoot and kill all five.

Of the five wolves killed, two were females. Three were black in color,
while the others were grays. One was sporting a non-functioning radiocollar.
The wolves were in good physical condition with no mange, Jimenez said. One
was a yearling, while the others were three- and four-year old adults.

Jimenez said that with this control action on the Daniel pack, the
shoot-on-site permits are now cancelled and control actions concluded.

Jimenez noted that although the Daniel pack has been in the news recently
because of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s concerns with the pack
harassing elk on elk feedgrounds, control actions were undertaken based
solely on the pack’s livestock depredations.

FWS reported, “Five wolves were removed from the pack last year during a
series of control actions on a still ongoing chronic pattern of livestock
depredations, 13 confirmed depredations last year.”

Jimenez added that since 2000, the Daniel pack has been confirmed as being
involved in killing at least 21 head of livestock.

Stella Taylor said she and other local ranchers believe there are more
wolves in the area.

“They are hanging in here,” Taylor said. “There could still be more in
here.”

Dana agreed: “They only got about a third of them. We all know there are
more than five wolves in the Daniel pack.”

Dana said he believes there were 10-15 wolves in the Daniel pack prior to
the five being killed earlier this week.

Dana said last week was the third occasion in which elk from a nearby
feedground arrived on the ranch with a pack of wolves in tow.

“Every time the elk leave the feedground and come down here – every time -
the next night, you’re going to get the wolves in on you,” Dana said.

Gary Hornberger of WG&F said, “That particular pack was working the Jewett
elk feedground pretty hard in late February and March.”

Wolves killed 10 elk on the feedground in March, five in February, one in
January and one in December, for a total of 17 confirmed kills, Hornberger
said. From tracks in the snow, it appeared that five to seven wolves were
involved.

The wolves would harass the elk so much, the entire 678-head of elk
repeatedly fled the feedground. Hornberger said this happened “frequently,”
with the herd “balling up” and running together.

“They were hitting them nightly,” Hornberger said.

If the elk fled to the north, there wasn’t much problem, according to
Hornberger. But if the elk ran to the south, they ran to the private lands
of Bar W Bar, increasing the possibility of elk transmitting brucellosis to
cattle should commingling occur, in addition to bringing a pack of wolves to
the cattle herd.

Aggressive action by the ranch kept the cattle and elk separated, and
Hornberger added that WG&F pushed the elk back to the feedground on several
occasions as well.

Wolves have made their presence known on other elk feedgrounds in the county
as well. Two wolves have used the Muddy Creek feedground, killing four elk,
including two bulls and two cows. Three or four wolves have been using the
Soda Lake feedground, pushing the elk off the feedground to the north on
several occasions. Four wolves are often seen at the Green River Lakes
feedground, Hornberger said. Elk have been pressured by wolves on the
Finnegan and North Piney feedgrounds this winter also.

Source

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Mar 31

MT: Official: Landowner legally kills wolf

Official: Landowner legally kills wolf

By The Associated Press Thursday, March 31, 2005

JARDINE, Mont. (AP) — A landowner near Yellowstone National Park legally shot and killed a wolf caught chasing his mules, a state wildlife official said Thursday.

It was the second wolf shooting in the state under new federal rules meant to give landowners more flexibility protecting their livestock from wolves, said Carolyn Sime, wolf management coordinator for the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. An earlier incident, near Dillon, remains under investigation, she said.

The more recent shooting occurred Wednesday, near Jardine in southern Montana. The landowner reported it to federal law enforcement authorities, who investigated and determined the wolf was legally killed, Sime said. She did not identify the landowner.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eased protections of wolves in parts of Montana and Idaho and allowed landowners and others to kill wolves attacking, chasing or harassing livestock. All wolf shootings must be reported, and they are investigated, Sime said.

Tamara Beardsley, a spokeswoman for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, said her group and others are trying to educate ranchers about the new rules. She said she doubts there will be a significant increase in wolf deaths because of them.

“I think this was a case of the system really working,” Beardsley said.

Source

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Mar 31

WY: Wolf legal appeal draws mixed review

Wolf legal appeal draws mixed review

The Wyoming attorney generals move to appeal dismissal of a lawsuit over wolf management is garnering both praise and criticism from across the state.

One group backing the suit lauded the attorney general and Gov. Dave Freudenthal for keeping up the court fight.

“Im pleased with what the state is doing,” said Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, which is a member of the Wolf Coalition. The coalition filed a similar lawsuit, which was merged with the state suit. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson dismissed both legal challenges in a ruling released March 21.

On Friday, Attorney General Pat Crank filed a notice of the states intent to appeal Johnsons ruling. The Wolf Coalition was meeting this week to decide whether to follow suit, Magagna said Tuesday.

The decision to continue litigation, however, drew disapproval from conservationists and some state lawmakers.

“I have to ask does this route serve the people of Wyoming the best or would there be better ways to go. I think there would be better ways,” said Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

Camenzind called the suit a waste of state resources and a detriment to Wyomings relationship with its neighboring states. The service has concluded that it cannot turn over management of wolves to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana until all three states have approved wolf management plans. The service has approved plans for Idaho and Montana but rejected Wyomings plan. Wyoming went to court to try to force the service to accept its plan, thus delaying the transfer of management in the other two states.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service deemed Wyomings plan unacceptable primarily because it labels wolves as predators outside two national parks and adjacent wilderness areas. Predator status means wolves could legally be killed by any means and at any time.

Judge Johnson sided with the service in his ruling, dismissing Wyomings suit. Johnson concluded that the services rejection of Wyomings wolf management plan did not constitute “a final agency action” and that the state should first exhaust other avenues before seeking court review. In particular, the state had failed to file a formal petition to delist wolves. Johnson indicated that the service would have to reject such a petition before the federal court would have jurisdiction to review the case.

The state contests that conclusion, which will be the grounds for appeal, Crank said Monday. The state believes the courts do have jurisdiction to review the federal governments rejection of Wyomings wolf plan, he said.

State officials also are mulling whether to file a formal petition to delist wolves, Crank said. But Crank suggested that filing a petition to delist could be a protracted process because the Fish and Wildlife Service could study the issue for months before rendering a decision. The state may pursue the delisting petition and the court appeal simultaneously, Crank said.

But former state lawmaker Mike Baker, R-Thermopolis, who crafted the state wolf management law now at the heart of the legal dispute, questioned the benefits of pursuing an appeal.

“In the long run, I think we will end up being able to control wolves in Wyoming much more quickly, and have most of the freedom that we want, if we would drop the legal aspect,” Baker said Tuesday.

Source

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Mar 30

UT: Wolf advisory group tackles plan for Utah

Wolf advisory group tackles plan for Utah

Paul Foy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah ranchers should be able to shoot wolves caught devouring livestock, says a wolf advisory group, but it couldn’t agree on a fate for wolves that only chase or harass livestock without taking a bite.

Nonetheless, the Wolf Working Group — looking to the day when wolf packs may return to Utah — issued a 96-page draft management plan that would take

The group is asking for public comment on the draft.

From 66 wolves reintroduced 10 years ago in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, the population swelled to 835 in 2004 and spread to other parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, said Kevin Bunnell, mammals program director for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

A male wolf captured in Morgan County two years ago was returned to Yellowstone. Utah wildlife officials say other stray wolves could start showing up here over the next decade, possibly forming packs.

Without dense concentrations of deer or elk, however, wolves may not find Utah hospitable.

“Our deer population has been in trouble for the last few years, and there’s been a lot of work going on to reverse that trend. Obviously some of the sportsmen are anxious about adding another predator,” Bunnell said Tuesday. “Our plan addresses that.”

The plan calls for collaring Utah wolves with satellite tracking devices and using a database to keep track of them.

One issue that kept the panel’s 13 ranchers, hunters, professors, government officials and wolf advocates apart was whether wolves should be shot on sight for stalking livestock or spared until they act on their instincts.

Bunnell said that while it was true the panel deadlocked on this issue, “it’s worth pointing out they agreed on 99.9 percent of this plan. That’s an accomplishment for such a diverse group.”

The panel will regroup April 12 in an effort to resolve the debate over threatened livestock.

The debate boils down to whether wolves should
be treated differently on
private versus public land,
Bunnell said.

The Wolf Working Group made little progress after its first six meetings and broke into smaller groups to build consensus.

Kevin Conway, the late director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, once likened the wolf debate to “abortion and guns. People carry strong views. Seldom do they change very far from where they started.”

The DWR and the Wolf Working Group are seeking public comment on the draft Utah Wolf Management Plan. Comments are being accepted through e-mail at wolfcomments@utah.gov until 5 p.m. on Friday.

Source

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Mar 30

TN: Dinner To Benefit Red Wolf Survival Program

Dinner To Benefit Red Wolf Survival Program

A howling good evening with Will Waddell, Coordinator of the Red Wolf
Species Survival Plan, is set Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the
Fairyland Club, officials of the Chattanooga Nature Center said.

Will Waddell has been the coordinator of breeding and management efforts
for the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan with Point Defiance Zoo and
Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington since 1990. He coordinates the breeding
and management activities of over 37 partner institutions and is a
member of the Red Wolf Recovery Service. Will began his career as a zoo
professional in 1978.

Since 1996, CNC has been a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Red Wolf
Species Survival Plan and is currently home to two breeding pair of
these federally endangered wolves. These four wolves represent over 1%
of the entire population in the world.

Officials said, “We are privileged to play an integral part of the
national effort to re-establish the Red Wolf population to sustainable
levels. Through your generous support, CNC will continue to promote the
survival of these majestic animals.”

The dinner is $100 per person to benefit the CNC’s Red Wolf Program.
Special Pack Leader Tickets at $150 per person are available and Pack
Leaders are entitled to a private tour of the Wanderland Wolf Habitat
with Will Waddell on Friday morning, April 8, at 8:00, including coffee
and doughnuts. Please RSVP by April 1st to 821-1160, ext. 111.

Source

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Mar 29

WY: State appeals wolf ruling

State appeals wolf ruling

From staff and wire reports

CHEYENNE — The state is appealing a federal judge’s order dismissing its lawsuit against the federal government over wolf management, Attorney General Pat Crank said Monday.

Crank said the state is also looking at petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

“We’re still doing some research, but we’ll probably proceed down both courses at the same time,” he said. Crank said a notice of appeal was filed Friday.

Federal wildlife officials say gray wolves in the Northern Rockies are recovered but that they cannot propose delisting until all three states have acceptable management plans.

The agency approved plans for Montana and Idaho last year but rejected Wyoming’s plan, which called for managing wolves as trophy game in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and nearby areas, and as predators that could be killed outside areas where the state managed other packs. Wyoming sued last spring.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Cheyenne dismissed the lawsuit, denying state claims including one that the government had violated the Endangered Species Act by its rejection. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson said the act didn’t come into play because rejection of the plan did not constitute final action by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson wrote that had Wyoming petitioned the federal government to remove protection for wolves, he could have considered more of the merits of the state’s case.

Source

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Mar 28

WY: Governor lauds wildlife fund

Governor lauds wildlife fund

By BUZZY HASSRICK

The Wildlife Trust Fund recently passed by the Legislature represents a start at protecting habitat, two state leaders said Saturday in Cody.

“It’s a pretty good bill. We’re halfway there,” Gov. Dave Freudenthal said.

“Fifteen million is a start. Fifteen million is more than there was a year ago,” said House Speaker Randall Luthi of Freedom.

Freudenthal also talked about the state’s wolf lawsuit at the annual banquet of the Big Horn Basin chapter of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife at Cody Auditorium. The event attracted about 400 people, while another 200 were turned away, organizer Lou Cicco said.

The trust fund idea arose in the 1980s and came close to reality until the state ran out of money, Freudenthal said. This year Wyoming had the cash available.

“The Senate bill was good, but it got butchered in the House,” he added.

The Senate allocated $30 million, which the House Appropriations Committee eliminated. Amendments almost killed the bill, but it finally emerged with $15 million. The governor had proposed $75 million.

“That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the habitat needs in this state,” Freudenthal said.

Revenue from the fund will protect wildlife ranges.

“The interest income will not buy much habitat,” he added, estimating 6 percent would generate $900,000 per year. “Given the prices of land, that doesn’t go far.”

One House amendment prevented the state from buying land, which didn’t upset the governor, but Freudenthal disagreed with another change that removed the requirement for public access to the habitat.

People want to do more than just drive by habitat, Freudenthal said. They want to hunt, fish and recreate on it.

He also disagreed with the provision that the wildlife board had to seek legislative approval when grant totals surpass $200,000 and vetoed that measure. He said the restriction would limit the flexibility of the board from partnering with another group.

“The real value of the fund will be seen if the state’s investment can be leveraged,” Freudenthal added. “It will multiply ten-fold if they can take advantage of other groups.”

Luthi said the House wanted to move cautiously to see what the board would be like and what regulations it establishes.

On the wolf lawsuit, Freudenthal discussed a federal judge’s recent dismissal of the case.

“We kind of had our butt handed to us,” he said.

The judge said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rejection of Wyoming’s wolf management plan was not a “final action by the agency,” so he didn’t consider the merits of the case, Freudenthal said.

“It was a final decision,” he said.

FWS questioned whether Wyoming’s classifying wolves as predators outside Yellowstone and Teton parks and adjacent wilderness areas would ensure their survival. A majority of the scientists asked by FWS to review the plan approved it, Freudenthal added, but the judge didn’t consider that.

The state’s options include filing a petition to delist the wolf, he said, but that would enable FWS to pick another panel that might reject the state’s plan, further postponing delisting.

The state could let the federal government retain wolf management.

“That’s tempting, but I’m not sure it’s the responsible thing to do,” Freudenthal said, because a federal agency might let the pack numbers grow.

The state could also do nothing, an idea the governor discounted. Freudenthal said he’s leaning toward an appeal though he doubts Wyoming will have much chance in the 10th Circuit Court.

“I intend to do everything on my watch to move this forward,” he added. “They may whip me, but I’m not going to make it easy on them.”

Source

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Mar 28

WY: State appealing wolf decision, considering delisting option

State appealing wolf decision, considering delisting option

By The Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The state is appealing a federal judge’s order dismissing its lawsuit against the federal government over wolf management, Attorney General Pat Crank said Monday.

Crank said the state is also looking at petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

“We’re still doing some research, but we’ll probably proceed down both courses at the same time,” he said. Crank said a notice of appeal was filed Friday.

Federal wildlife officials say gray wolves in the Northern Rockies are recovered but that they cannot propose delisting until all three states have acceptable management plans.

The agency approved plans for Montana and Idaho last year but rejected Wyoming’s plan, which called for a dual-classification of wolves. Wyoming sued last spring.

Earlier this month, a federal judge in Cheyenne dismissed the lawsuit, denying state claims including one that the government had violated the Endangered Species Act by its rejection. U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson said the act didn’t come into play because rejection of the plan did not determine wolves’ status under the act.

Source

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Mar 28

WY: WOLF MANAGEMENT

WOLF MANAGEMENT

Wyoming is appealing a judge’s dismissal of its lawsuit against the federal government over wolf management. Attorney General Pat Crank said today that Wyoming might also petition the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from endangered species act protection.

Federal wildlife officials say since gray wolves in the Northern Rockies are recovered, they can’t propose de-listing until Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have acceptable wolf-management plans. The agency approved plans for Montana and Idaho last year. But it rejected Wyoming’s plan, which allowed less protection for wolves outside the Yellowstone region.

Wyoming sued last spring. In throwing out the lawsuit, Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne said the Endangered Species Act didn’t come into play with the states’ wolf plan and that Wyoming couldn’t invoke the act in contesting the rejection of its wolf plan.

Source

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