Mar 30

CDN: Opposition demands action to protect people from wolves

Opposition demands action to protect people from wolves

CBC News

In response to a CBC report about a man apparently killed by wolves, the Saskatchewan Party is calling on the provincial government to take action to prevent it from happening again.

And it’s focusing on the problem of unregulated garbage dumps in the north. Kenton Carnegie of Oshawa, Ont., died in November 2005 at Points North Landing, about 750 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Although the RCMP said at the time it appeared he was killed by wolves, the government hasn’t released its findings. Earlier this month, CBC reported there was an unregulated and unfenced dump on Crown land at the mining supply camp. Government officials and area residents have expressed concerns that the dump has been attracting wolves. Several wolves were seen approaching humans at Points North Landing in the days before Carnegie died. The province’s chief coroner has yet to release his report on the incident. On Thursday in the legislature, Opposition MLA Glen Hart quoted from the CBC report, including an interview with Carnegie’s father Kim in which he said he was angry about the possibility the tragedy could have been prevented.

“My worst case scenario is that his life, and his death are going to go unnoticed and nothing is going to change, and that would be a waste,” Kim Carnegie told CBC. Hart demanded to know from Environment Minister John Nilson why the government isn’t making sure northern dumps are properly regulated. “Why is the minister not protecting people,” Hart said. “Why won’t he put policies in place that deal with garbage dumps on Crown land?” Nilson said there are many unregulated dumps in the north and it’s not easy bringing them all under compliance. “We are going to a system of making sure they have permits,” Nilson said. On the hand, Nilson said, there are realities of life in the northern wilderness and people have to be aware. “It can be quite dangerous,” he said. As well, companies operating in the north must adopt wildlife management plans, he said. Carnegie’s death is believed to be the first case in North America where a human was killed by wild wolves in a natural setting. However, the province has not confirmed that. The chief coroner is preparing a report on the incident.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 30

SD: Tests to determine whether carcass is that of wolf

Tests to determine whether carcass is that of wolf

By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer

State Game, Fish & Parks Department officials aren’t quite ready to cry “wolf” about a large canine carcass found last week along Interstate 90 near Sturgis.

The carcass was turned over Monday to GF&P officials in Rapid City by a motorist who had seen it in the median near Black Hills National Cemetery a few days earlier, GF&P regional supervisor Mike Kintigh said Wednesday.

“It’s a very large canine. It’s big enough to be a wolf, and it’s got the general features of a wolf. But we just don’t know if it’s a wolf or a dog or what,” Kintigh said. “I know there are a lot of domesticated wolf-bred dogs in the area. It could have been somebody’s pet.”

Kintigh said his staff gave the animal to an officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who will send it to a federal laboratory in Oregon for genetic analysis. If that testing determines the animal is a wolf, it also could identify its geographic origins, Kintigh said.

“With the baseline data they have in place about wolf populations elsewhere, they can pretty accurately tell where it comes from,” he said.

Although native to South Dakota, viable wolf populations were killed off by settlers during the development of non-Indian towns, farms and ranches. Occasionally, wolves have traveled into South Dakota from existing populations in Wyoming, Montana and Minnesota.

“We have wolves on both sides of us, so getting some in the state running around isn’t impossible,” Kintigh said. “The last one I’m aware of was in Harding County in 2001. And they determined that was a wolf from Minnesota.”

Sometimes, what people report to be wolves are actually wolf-like dogs, Kintigh said.

“You’ll get out there and see the animal, and it has a collar on,” he said. “We haven’t had any reports of wolves in the area for six or eight months.”

The carcass turned in Monday was male and weighed 113 pounds. It was dark gray to black in color with a white spot on its chest. Kintigh said he had not received any reports of wolf sightings before this, nor had he heard of the escape of any captive wolves or part-wolf dogs.

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Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 30

MT: Creature Feeds Conspiracies, Controversy

The Creature of McCone County, Part II

Creature Feeds Conspiracies, Controversy

By Hal Herring, 3-30-06

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series on the creature of McCone county.

In Eastern Montana, permits had been issued and a plan formed to take care of a wandering creature, wolf or not, that had killed 36 sheep and injured some 71 more.

But the level of frustration in the prairie communities continued to build, further feeding a divide between two cultures — one rooted to the land the animal was wandering, and the other filled with regulations designed to protect the animal.

Some of the first questions about how to deal with the stock-killer concerned the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge. Among the least popular of the federal government’s many, many unpopular endeavors in the region, the CM Russell’s one million acres (including the vast acreage of the surface of Fort Peck Reservoir) has been a flash point since it was set aside as a “game range” in 1936, following the general exodus of human population from the region in the wake of the Dust Bowl years. Among the extremely hardy agricultural people who did not leave, who stayed on, year after year, building larger and larger holdings in order to survive, there is ongoing suspicion that the Refuge, which has been the site of prairie dog town recovery (an idea that disgusts many ranchers who have battled the rodents for decades) is also the secret site of wolf re-introductions. Such secret re-introductions, it is theorized, will have the conspiratorial effect of bringing down even more federal regulations on ranching operations and have the wolves killing stock that will help to ease ranchers into the financial abyss.

That event will force the sale of private property and begin the creation of the Big Open, or the even more despised notion of the Buffalo Commons, a huge, unpeopled, wildlife reserve, running through the parts of the Great Plains states that have suffered big declines in agriculture and population since the 1920′s. The re-introduction of protected wolves has long been seen around Jordan as the first sign of a resurrection of the Buffalo Commons idea, a new strategy for the urbanites and nature worshippers to begin the destruction and removal of the farming and ranching culture of the Plains. Everyone, from Carolyn Sime, who directs the wolf program for the state, through the officials at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says that there is no evidence that wolves have ever been released on the Refuge, nor are there plans to ever do so. But the idea has taken root in Garfield County. “This question came up over and over,” Sime said.

What if the Wildlife Services agents have to pursue this stock killer into the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge? What if it attacks stock on the thousands of acres of leased grazing allotments inside the Refuge boundaries?

On March 14th, Montana Senator Conrad Burns organized a meeting in the small town of Circle, the county seat of McCone County, to review the options (as Cohagen rancher Alan Pluhar told me, “It’s an election year. We wish that he would respond like this all the time, but we’ll take what we can get.”)The meeting drew a crowd of more than 100 people. Most of the ranchers who had lost stock were there to present their stories. According to Carolyn Sime, “there was a lot of frustration. It was a passionate, but civil, meeting & You know,” she continued, “with this wolf stuff, common sense and restraint sometimes disappears. It is extremely visceral, it goes way back, and it is all happening in the context of our time &an age-old story, now juxtaposed to rising fuel and land prices, low commodity prices & it is frustrating.”

One of the direct results of the meeting was that the agents from Wildlife Services were granted permission to pursue the stock killing predator, whatever it turned out to be, onto the Refuge. Agents have the right to remove two wolves or wolf-like canids from the area, and from inside the Refuge. Ranchers who hold grazing leases on the Refuge would have the same rights to protect their stock from predation as leasees of other federal grazing lands, by killing the animal if it is attacking their stock, or by harassing it away if it seems like a threat. An indirect result was a difficult bit of legal wrangling to give the McCone County predator contractors the right to kill the animal. In the end, local predator control pilot, Jeff Skyberg and his shooter, Les Thomas agreed to volunteer their services to the FWP, and the FWP agrees to be responsible for their actions. It is a risk, but one worth taking, said Sime. “I was in McCone County with the landowners, and we had a good talk,” she said. “We made a verbal agreement, and by the following Friday, we had everything legal.” Skyberg and Thomas have what is left of the 45-day period following the stock attacks on March 11 to pursue and kill the wolf legally. After April 25th, if there are no more attacks, that permit will expire.

According to Larry Handegard, of the Billings office of Wildlife Services, agents are actively pursuing the creature now in Garfield County, using aircraft and traps. Jeff Skyberg is still flying and searching. They are joined by a good number of men and a few women, all of them busy and out on the prairie calving or lambing right now, who will hold to the time-tested doctrine of “shoot, shovel, and shut up,” a doctrine that received some air time at the meeting in Circle, and probably much more at the Hell Creek Saloon in Jordan. A rancher who asked not to be named said this, “We are calving now, and there is no way we can afford to lose any stock. No way. If you are out there, and there’s no vehicles in sight, and you see this animal, you will shoot it. SSS. And if anybody gets charged for that, we are going to band together, every one of us, and support that person.”

Jim Whitesides, a rancher who lost 21 ewes, and an unknown number of unborn lambs to the animal, discussed the leverage that he and other landowners have over the FWP, if a solution to the predation problem cannot be found: “We have been in Block Management for 18 years, and we kind of initiated the idea of working with sportsmen, getting them access to land in return for them writing letters and helping support our predator control programs. I don’t do any hunting — I don’t have time for it — but we have worked very well together with the hunters. Now, if we can’t work this out, I’m thinking of taking my land out of Block Management.”

Over all of the ranchers on this part of the prairie, a cloud seems to hang, of an increasingly difficult future, made the more so, intentionally or not, by wildlife, and by rules made a long way away, by people whose motives seem ridiculous or incomprehensible. “This is bigger than Jordan and Circle having a little wolf problem,” said another Jordan resident who asked not to be identified. “The USFWS is an out-of-control bureaucracy. The more rules they make, the more fines they bring in, the bigger they get. There so many encroachments on us now, from reducing AUMs on the BLM lands to way back under Nixon when some bleeding heart banned 1080. Why are people so upset over this? It is because everything seems to point to the idea that we can get rid of out farmers and ranchers, even while we import forty percent of our food & if we don’t watch out, they’ll have a fence around this state. We’ve all seen the UN biodiversity maps, there’s not much of Montana left over for human use.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 29

MI UP: Feds Seeking Comment On Wolf De-Listing

Feds Seeking Comment On Wolf De-Listing

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on the proposal to remove the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The wolf was first put on the list in 1974, but since that time the population has grown rapidly. In the winter of 2004-2005, at least 405 wolves were counted in the state of Michigan.

Now, Fish and Wildlife wants to know what the public thinks about de-listing the wolf. A 90 day comment period begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Comments can be submitted three ways.

By email: WGLwolfdelist@fws.gov

By letter: Western Great Lakes Wolf Delisting, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN. 55111-4056

By fax: 612-713-5292

Four additional meetings on the wolf will be held this spring. One will be in Marquette on May 16

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 29

A Montana Wolf Mystery & the Fury it Breeds

The Wolf of McCone County, Part I

A Montana Wolf Mystery & the Fury it Breeds

By Hal Herring, 3-29-06

The creature, whatever it is, came out of Montana’s own McCone County, wandering from the rough breaks of Timber Creek, just south of the Big Dry Arm of Fort Peck Reservoir, and the CM Russell Wildlife Refuge. Where it had wandered before that, Canada or North Dakota, nobody knows.

Since December, it has struck six herds of sheep belonging to stockmen in McCone and Garfield Counties, killing 36 ewes, and injuring 71, many of which will succumb to their wounds.

It leaves a track like a small wolf, or a dog, or a wolf-hybrid, but its killing habits are inefficient, nothing like the surgical lethality of a wolf taking meat from a herd of domestic sheep.

Coyotes, those that survive here in the gauntlet of traps and aerial gunnery and cyanide “getters,” kill a lot of sheep every year, but nothing like this.

This creature is a traveler, and it is not always alone, though its companion leaves a smaller track still, adding to the mystery. Where it has stopped to kill, over an area of more than a hundred square miles, it has created a fury, one that is not entirely directed at the creature itself (the stockmen here know full well how to handle that problem) but at the federal and state governments, at complex regulations imposed to protect an animal that they despise, and at a far-away society that seems to have lost all respect for them and their constant struggle to remain self-reliant, solvent, and on the land.

“I discovered the devastation on January 12th,” said Jim Whitesides, who was keeping his flock of 720 sheep in a half-section holding pasture, right at the corner of McCone and Garfield counties, waiting for drier weather before he moved them onto a grazing allotment on BLM land. “It was terrible warm weather and mud, and when I got there, the sheep were all up milling around on a ridge. I called them all down, and as they came close it just looked like they had all been attacked, blood everywhere, their hams bitten, plugs taken out, like a lemon, and of course then there was some laying around dead.”

Whitesides would have 21 dead ewes in that bunch, and 39 injured. He has estimated that the attacks have cost him over $19,000, an almost ruinous blow. “I’ve seen some terrible coyote damage, but nothing ever like this.”

Whitesides has spent his life running cattle and sheep in the Missouri Breaks country. In his speech, there is a slight but distinct brogue, explained by the fact that his mother came to eastern Montana from Scotland in 1906. His father came to the area in 1912. His parents would have seen the last of the wolves in eastern Montana. “Everybody has relatives who claim to have been in on the last wolf killed around here,” Whitesides said, “and it must have been around 1920 when they finally got them out of here. They had to, if they were going to raise stock.” In his lifetime, he said, he has never had to think about wolf trouble, and he has paid little attention to the conflict over re-introducing wolves to Yellowstone. “That wasn’t in my realm, and I couldn’t imagine all the fuss over it. We always take a lot of losses — normally under a hundred head a year, but it’s always coyotes.” The battle against the coyotes is conducted by stockmen with the help of two full-time trappers who work Garfield County for the federal Wildlife Services Agency.

“We have a very good program here,” Whitesides said, “and we couldn’t raise livestock without it.”

The confusion over the identity of the animal that rampaged though Whitesides’ sheep started at another kill site, back in late December, deeper in McCone County. Mike McKeever took a severe hit on his sheep herd sometime on the night after Christmas.

At first, it appeared that only two ewes had been killed, but closer inspection found 15 more ewes that had been attacked but not killed. Ten of them would die of their wounds. By December 28th, the McKeevers had found five more ewes killed. Mike McKeever called their local predator control contractor, a pilot named Jeff Skyberg to see what could be done. Now the plot thickens. McCone County is one of five eastern Montana counties that, about twelve years ago, became disgusted with the federal predator control agency and decided to take over the job themselves by hiring private contractors. But that was before there were any wolves in Montana, or any regulations to protect them. Faced with the carnage at McKeever’s ranch, Skyberg called in Wildlife Services agents to help him decide what to do. The men looked at two sets of tracks, and agreed that they had been made by medium sized dogs, or even wolf-hybrids, rather than true wolves. The messiness of the attacks suggested domestic dogs, too, a whole lot of killing instinct untempered by skill.

The agents reported the attacks to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, (FWP) which has taken on the responsibility of managing wolves since an agreement was reached with the federal wildlife agency, and federal funding became available, in early 2005. Wolves are, for now, still listed as an Endangered Species, and the FWP makes its decisions “between the guardrails” of the federal policy, as Carolyn Sime, who directs the wolf program for FWP, describes it. The Wildlife Services agents called Sime, and told her that the problem in McCone County was domestic dogs on a rampage. Since dogs that kill stock are fair game for anybody with a weapon, it seemed as though the problem would soon be solved. Then on January 12th, Whitesides found his sheep attacked.

The next day, reports came in of sheep killings at the McKerlick Ranch in northeastern Garfield County. In a pasture within sight of his house, John McKerlick found, according to an account in the Jordan Tribune, “&lambs with meat, hide and wool dragging on the ground; their insides torn out and a front leg on one torn away. Ten were dead and eight still going & He found two more dead and a 100-110 pound lamb (sic: it was actually a wether) had been eaten and dragged in a 20′ diameter circle.” Whatever killed the sheep had stayed in the area for a long time, leaving a lot of tracks. “We had an overflow from a watertank that was frozen and held the snow, and he sauntered around all over on that ice,” McKerlick said. “I don’t know what he was doing all that time.”

Like Whitesides, McKerlick has no experience with predation at the level he witnessed that morning. “The tracks are bigger than anything I’ve seen before. We’ve never had anything like this. My parents lived just south of here, and in 1923, my dad had a little horse, and the wolves followed him and hamstrung him, killed him, but that was about the last wolf in this part of the country.” The Wildlife Services agents that investigated still figured that the mess at McKerlick’s was the work of domestic dogs, so nobody called Carolyn Sime at FWP to tell her about the incident.

On February 6th, Jeff Skyberg and his “gunner” Les Thomas, were flying in Skyberg’s plane, gunning coyotes as part of their contract for predator control in McCone County, and trying to find the stock killing dogs that were lost somewhere in the immense roll of prairie and the jagged coulee country below them. On a ridge below them, they saw what they were pretty sure was a wolf.

“We got a call from Wildlife Services, saying that Jeff Skyberg had a wolf in his sights in McCone County and could he go ahead and kill it,” said Carolyn Sime. “I could not just issue them a kill permit to go out and kill whatever wolves were there. It would have been illegal. We had no reports of wolf kills from there, and the attacks did not fit the pattern of wolf kills. I said no.” But Sime and others in the FWP office knew that the denial would infuriate Skyberg and the ranchers in the two county area. “The anger is easy to understand.” Sime said, “A government agent has just kept you from doing your job. Jeff exercised tremendous restraint, and I know he’s mad & but I could not legally do it. There is no such thing as a no-wolf zone in Montana, no matter what people might think.” The FWP went into “a huddle,” Sime said. First, with the possible federal delisting of the wolf from the federal Endangered Species Act looming, it was imperative that they remain within the law. So far, Montana’s painstakingly achieved wolf management plans are a kind of blueprint for what seems like a balanced management approach for wolves. The plan has been approved by the federal wildlife agency, while Wyoming’s plan, which calls for treating the wolves as vermin away from National Parks, cannot be approved, and has so far been the leading obstacle to taking the animal off of the Endangered Species list. Sime and her office were in an odd spotlight that would shine far ahead into derailing the delisting process if they just went ahead and did what the ranchers wanted them to do.

“We stuck our neck out and we authorized Wildlife Services to take the wolf, even though it was technically illegal.”

During the huddle and the subsequent back and forth, though, the creature disappeared back into the maze of coulees and the scrub pine of the breaks. Attacks that killed one sheep and injured another in Garfield County over the weekend of February 18th are believed to be the work of the animal that escaped that day. Then, the animal, or one very like it, appeared on March 11, about fifty miles away, on a ranch northwest of Jordan. According to the Jordan Tribune, rancher Clifford Highland and his grandson, Ryan Murnion, saw the animal as it was eating the carcass of a ewe. “We saw a wolf for approximately 20-30 seconds at 350 yards,” Highland said, Murnion shot at the animal, but it escaped into the breaks.

Carolyn Sime and her team authorized permits for the ranchers who had suffered losses and for Wildlife Services in Garfield County to kill the wolf, or wolf-hybrid, if it was seen again in the act of attacking livestock. But the level of frustration among the ranchers and the communities remained high. There seemed to be no legal way, for instance, for the freelance predator control contractors in McCone County to kill the wolf if they encountered it. And the animal ranged so widely, the permits issued to the ranchers who had suffered losses seemed to be of little use. Other ranches, where there were no permits, would surely be hit soon. Again, people asked, why could anybody who saw the thing not just kill it?

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on the wolf of McCone County. The second installment will publish Thursday, March 30

Reporter’s note: Thanks to Janet Guptill, editor and publisher of the Jordan Tribune, for source material and for understanding of the larger
issues in this story.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 27

DNR unable to find wolves in northern lower Michigan

DNR unable to find wolves in northern lower Michigan

By Chris Engle, Editorial Assistant

OTSEGO COUNTY – Preliminary results of a recent survey to determine the presence of gray wolves in the county are showing an absence of the predator, according to the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR).

The survey lasted just longer than three weeks before concluding on March 10.

Following tips and leads from county residents, DNR employees studied and photographed tracks in snow and interviewed eyewitnesses about any animals they suspected were wolves. According to Brian Mastenbrook, wildlife biologist and coordinator of the survey, about 40 leads from residents involving track and animal sightings, both recent and old, were investigated.

Any place where there was physical evidence present that we investigated, it turned out to be coyotes or dogs, said Mastenbrook.

Mastenbrook reported that a concentration of sightings lie south of Old State Road near the Au Sable River.

That area was out of our (survey) range, but we had enough calls from there that we decided to spend a day investigating, he said. Mark Monroe, wildlife technician at the Gaylord DNR office followed those leads.

DNR employees and volunteers also spent hours driving down back roads after fresh snows had fallen, looking for tracks or animals. This same process is popularly used during wolf surveys in the Upper Peninsula, where a population of approximately 400 wolves exists, according to a recent DNR press release.

We had a good survey and enough days of ideal conditions that we think we were able to do a thorough job, said Mastenbrook.

Final results of the survey have not yet been compiled, but will be made public on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.com/dnr when they have been completed.

The idea of a possible wolf population in northeast Michigan was conceived after a 70-pound female wolf was killed in Presque Isle County in October of 2004 by a trapper who had mistaken the animal for a coyote. The animal had been fitted with a radio tracking collar by the DNR the previous November.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 27

MT: Costs become an issue as wolf population improves

Costs become an issue as wolf population improves

By BECKY BOHRER/The Associated Press

Since it first declared gray wolves in need of protection, the federal government has footed the bill to help rebuild the predator’s population in the Northern Rockies.

But with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now declaring wolves recovered and eager to hand off full management to the three states involved, the question becomes: Who will pay to manage the predators then?

It’s not an easy question.

“It hasn’t been worked out,” said Eric Keszler, a spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Obviously, it’s going to be an expensive thing to do. I don’t know where the money is going to come from.”

The money spent by the federal government appears to have had the intended effect: The wolf population has risen from a few stragglers in northwest Montana to roughly 1,000 today in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Many ranchers believe the wolves should remain the financial responsibility of the federal government, which — over their objections and worries about livestock losses — reintroduced the predators to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho 11 years ago.

Some conservationists argue that if the states truly want to take on management, they should be willing to assume what comes with that — including costs.

And state wildlife managers, faced with budgets stretched thin by other obligations, want help from Congress — building from the idea that the American public has a vested interest in the longterm future of the iconic wolves.

“So far, Congress has supported the management of wolves to a fairly substantial level,” said Steve Nadeau, large carnivore manager with Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game. “But with all the funding shortfalls and all the agency cutbacks, the longterm prognosis is an open question.”

Fish and Wildlife Service officials say there’s little precedent for continued agency involvement once a species is delisted.

In over 30 years, just 10 species recovered by the agency have successfully come off the endangered species list, according to the agency’s Michelle Morgan. Of those, the agency paid only for surveys of peregrine falcons, under a post-delisting monitoring plan for the raptor. “Right now we don’t have any precedent other than that,” she said.

“The goal is to recover species and give them to the states, and we can then put our resources into species with other needs,” Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Valerie Fellows said.

Managing wolves in the Northern Rockies isn’t cheap: The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that for each year wolves remain listed, it will cost the government about $2.7 million. That covers such things as monitoring, public outreach and tracking down and killing problem wolves.

That’s more than what was spent in 2004 by state and federal agencies to manage nearly four times as many wolves in the upper Midwest, the agency’s Ron Refsnider said, citing figures he said were the most recent. Federal wildlife officials earlier this month proposed delisting those wolves.

Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena, said the amount of money spent in the Northern Rockies is ridiculous.

“It isn’t that wolves need this kind of management. It’s people want this kind of management,” Bangs said. “Everybody wants to know everything. Everybody wants a radio collar on them. Everyone wants to know what they’re doing every minute of the day. Expectations drive costs through the roof.”

A lot of that has to do with the culture of the West and the lay of the land, he said. It’s far different than, say, the Midwest, where wolves were not reintroduced but naturally recolonized. And in the Northern Rockies, the potential for conflict is particularly high because of vast expanses of open country and a patchwork of federally protected and privately held lands, Bangs said.

“It’s very hard to keep wolves alive out here,” he said.

Ranchers like John Helle say wolves have cost them money, and they like knowing how many are around. Wolves, Helle said, can take a sizable chunk out of a producer’s bottom line, requiring the need for more sheepherders and guard dogs and driving down livestock weights. That’s not to mention the added stress of simply having wolves around.

He has tracking gear provided by the government that picks up on wolf radio collar signals. But, he said he doesn’t know all the frequencies and cannot tell for sure if the signal is from “400 yards or 20 miles away.”

“Wolves are in direct conflict with the way we live in the West now,” said the Dillon-area rancher, who believes wolves have been responsible for killing hundreds of his family’s sheep but has been able to confirm fewer than 50. “We can always look back at history; they just did not fit with a civilized West.”

State wildlife officials expect the cost of wolf management to rise, at least initially, once delisting occurs and management authority falls completely to them.

It’s not clear yet when that might happen: Before delisting is proposed, all three states must have federally approved wolf management plans. Montana and Idaho do. Wyoming does not and has sued over the agency’s rejection of its plan.

Currently, Montana and Idaho handle most day-to-day management responsibilities for wolves within their borders, but the Fish and Wildlife Service still handles law enforcement and litigation and is involved in ongoing research projects. Those duties also would fall to the states after delisted, Bangs said.

Wildlife Services, the federal predator-control agency that carries out kill orders for problem wolves, will continue its work after delisting, Bangs said.

Wolf management in Montana and Idaho is funded largely through money earmarked for that purpose in the Fish and Wildlife Service budget, Bangs said. Once wolves are no longer listed, he said, the administration and Congress will have to decide what’s fair.

He believes there will be some measure of federal dollars and, like other wolf managers, doesn’t believe the funding question will hold up delisting.

Still, they say, it needs to be decided. Federal grants could ease the cost of at least a portion of the states’ management costs, but in some cases, such programs require a match. Montana is looking at how it might “share” the costs, tapping into federal, state and private sources.

Idaho, in its wolf management plan, says it’s under no obligation to manage wolves if Idaho’s congressional delegation can’t secure “ongoing adequate funding” to cover the costs.

Kieran Suckling, a policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said he sympathizes with the states. However, “What I see now is a rush to delist, and everyone sitting around pointing fingers,” he said.

“You have to create the safety net before you can leap off the cliff. They’re basically saying, ‘Jump, and we’ll figure it out later.”‘

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 27

MT: Who’ll pay to manage wolves?

Who’ll pay to manage wolves?

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press writer Monday, March 27, 2006

Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. — Since it first declared gray wolves in need of protection, the federal government has largely footed the bill to help rebuild the predator’s population in the Northern Rockies.

But with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now declaring wolves recovered and eager to hand off full management to the three states involved, the question becomes: Who will pay to manage the predators then?

It’s not an easy question.

“It hasn’t been worked out,” said Eric Keszler, a spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Obviously, it’s going to be an expensive thing to do. I don’t know where the money is going to come from.”

The money spent by the federal government appears to have had the intended effect: The wolf population has risen from a few stragglers in northwest Montana to roughly 1,000 today in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Many ranchers believe the wolves should remain the financial responsibility of the federal government, which — over their objections and worries about livestock losses — reintroduced the predators to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho 11 years ago.

Some conservationists argue that if the states truly want to take on management, they should be willing to assume what comes with that — including costs.

And state wildlife managers, faced with budgets stretched thin by other obligations, want help from Congress — building from the idea that the American public has a vested interest in the long-term future of the iconic wolves.

“So far, Congress has supported the management of wolves to a fairly substantial level,” said Steve Nadeau, large carnivore manager with Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game. “But with all the funding shortfalls and all the agency cutbacks, the long-term prognosis is an open question.”

Fish and Wildlife Service officials say there’s little precedent for continued agency involvement once a species is delisted.

In over 30 years, just 10 species recovered by the agency have successfully come off the endangered species list, according to the agency’s Michelle Morgan. Of those, the agency paid only for surveys of peregrine falcons, under a post-delisting monitoring plan for the raptor. “Right now we don’t have any precedent other than that,” she said.

“The goal is to recover species and give them to the states, and we can then put our resources into species with other needs,” Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Valerie Fellows said.

Costs and expectations

Managing wolves in the Northern Rockies isn’t cheap: The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that for each year wolves remain listed, it will cost the government about $2.7 million. That covers such things as monitoring, public outreach and tracking down and killing problem wolves.

That’s more than what was spent in 2004 by state and federal agencies to manage nearly four times as many wolves in the upper Midwest, the agency’s Ron Refsnider said, citing figures he said were the most recent. Federal wildlife officials earlier this month proposed delisting those wolves.

Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena, said the amount of money spent in the Northern Rockies is ridiculous.

“It isn’t that wolves need this kind of management. It’s people want this kind of management,” Bangs said. “Everybody wants to know everything. Everybody wants a radio collar on them. Everyone wants to know what they’re doing every minute of the day. Expectations drive costs through the roof.”

A lot of that has to do with the culture of the West and the lay of the land, he said. It’s far different than, say, the Midwest, where wolves were not reintroduced but naturally recolonized. And in the Northern Rockies, the potential for conflict is particularly high because of vast expanses of open country and a patchwork of federally protected and privately held lands, Bangs said.

“It’s very hard to keep wolves alive out here,” he said.

Ranchers including John Helle say wolves have cost them money, and they like knowing how many are around. Wolves, Helle said, can take a sizable chunk out of a producer’s bottom line, requiring the need for more sheepherders and guard dogs and driving down livestock weights. That’s not to mention the added stress of simply having wolves around.

He has tracking gear provided by the government that picks up on wolf radio collar signals. But, he said he doesn’t know all the frequencies and cannot tell for sure if the signal is from “400 yards or 20 miles away.”

“Wolves are in direct conflict with the way we live in the West now,” said the Dillon, Mont.-area rancher, who believes wolves have been responsible for killing hundreds of his family’s sheep but has been able to confirm fewer than 50. “We can always look back at history; they just did not fit with a civilized West.”

The transition

State wildlife officials expect the cost of wolf management to rise, at least initially, once delisting occurs and management authority falls completely to them.

It’s not clear yet when that might happen: Before delisting is proposed, all three states must have federally approved wolf management plans. Montana and Idaho do. Wyoming does not and has sued over the agency’s rejection of its plan.

Currently, Montana and Idaho handle most day-to-day management responsibilities for wolves within their borders, but the Fish and Wildlife Service still handles law enforcement and litigation and is involved in ongoing research projects. Those duties also would fall to the states after delisted, Bangs said.

Wildlife Services, the federal predator-control agency that carries out kill orders for problem wolves, will continue its work after delisting, Bangs said.

Wolf management in Montana and Idaho is funded largely through money earmarked for that purpose in the Fish and Wildlife Service budget, Bangs said. Once wolves are no longer listed, he said, the administration and Congress will have to decide what’s fair.

He believes there will be some measure of federal dollars and, like other wolf managers, doesn’t believe the funding question will hold up delisting.

Still, they say, it needs to be decided. Federal grants could ease the cost of at least a portion of the states’ management costs, but in some cases, such programs require a match. Montana is looking at how it might “share” the costs, tapping into federal, state and private sources.

Idaho, in its wolf management plan, says it’s under no obligation to manage wolves if Idaho’s congressional delegation can’t secure “ongoing adequate funding” to cover the costs.

Kieran Suckling, a policy director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said he sympathizes with the states. However, “What I see now is a rush to delist, and everyone sitting around pointing fingers,” he said.

“You have to create the safety net before you can leap off the cliff. They’re basically saying, ‘Jump, and we’ll figure it out later.”‘

Wyoming’s threatened and endangered species

Animals

Grizzly bear

* Scientific name: Ursus arctos horribilis

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 1975

* Where found historically: throughout the West

* Where found now: in pockets around the West, including the greater Yellowstone area

* Estimated numbers when listed: 100-200

* Estimated numbers now: 500-600

* Future prospects: The Yellowstone bears have been proposed for delisting by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A decision is expected in 2007.

Bonytail chub (fish)

* Scientific name: Gila elegans

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1980

* Where found historically: Colorado River Basin, including the Green River

* Where found now: Pockets still found in Green, Yuma, Colorado rivers

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear; no wild chub caught in recent years.

* Future prospects: Continued federal protection

Humpback chub (fish)

* Scientific name: Gila cypha

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1967

* Where found historically: Colorado River Basin, including the Green River

* Where found now: Little Colorado River

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: Humpback chub will be considered for “down-listing” to threatened when five viable, self-sustaining populations have been located or restored.

Kendall Warm Springs dace (fish)

* Scientific name: Rhinichthys osculus thermalis

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1970

* Where found historically: in pools of the Kendall Warm Springs in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Pinedale.

* Where found now: same

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: several thousand

* Future prospects: Protected by the national forest and geology, the fish has no immediate threats.

Bald eagle

* Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 1967

* Where found historically: throughout most of the country

* Where found now: same, but in lower numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: about 400 nests in lower 48

* Estimated numbers now: About 7,000 pairs

* Future prospects: Proposals to delist the bird out now

Black-footed ferret

* Scientific name: Mustela nigripes

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1967

* Where found historically: throughout the West

* Where found now: in Shirley Basin and other states in small numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: in 1985, 18 wild ferrets

* Estimated numbers now: 400 wild ferrets

* Future prospects: More management to repopulate the ferret

Canada lynx

* Scientific name: Lynx canadensis

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 2000

* Where found historically: Rocky Mountain, Upper Great Lakes, Upper New England states

* Where found now: Likely same areas but in smaller numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: Forests have implemented lynx conservation strategies to ensure no further harm is done.

Preble’s meadow jumping mouse

* Scientific name: Zapus hudsonius preblei

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 1998

* Where found historically: Colorado, Wyoming

* Where found now: Colorado, Wyoming

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: Wyoming has challenged whether this species is a distinct subspecies of other jumping mice and should even be listed.

Squawfish, pikeminnow

* Scientific name: Ptychocheilus

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1967

* Where found historically: Wyoming’s Green and Little Snake rivers, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah

* Where found now: smaller numbers everywhere but Arizona

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: continued protection

Razorback sucker (fish)

* Scientific name: Xyrauchen texanus

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1991

* Where found historically: Western states

* Where found now: Likely same areas but in smaller numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: Continued protection because of declining aquatic habitat

Wyoming toad

* Scientific name: Bufo baxteri

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1984

* Where found historically: Southern Wyoming aquatic environments

* Where found now: Mortenson Lake near Laramie, in labs around the country

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: 100 adults

* Future prospects: continued protection

Gray wolf

* Scientific name: Canis lupus

* Status: endangered 1967, experimental non-essential 2005

* Year listed: varies

* Where found historically: Rocky Mountain, Upper Great Lakes, Upper New England states

* Where found now: throughout Yellowstone ecosystem, Upper Great Lakes

* Estimated numbers when listed: none in Yellowstone

* Estimated numbers now: 1,000+

* Future prospects: Possible delisting, once Wyoming gets an approved state management plan

Canada lynx

* Scientific name: Lynx canadensis

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 2000

* Where found historically: Rocky Mountain, Upper Great Lakes, Upper New England states

* Where found now: likely same areas but in smaller numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: Forests have implemented lynx conservation strategies to ensure no further harm is done.

Plants

Butterfly plant

* Scientific name: Gaura neomexicana coloradensis

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 2000

* Where found historically: northern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming, western Nebraska

* Where found now: likely same areas but in smaller numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: 50,000 individuals, only 10 percent stable or increasing

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: continued protection

Blowout penstemon

* Scientific name: Penstemon haydenii

* Status: endangered

* Year listed: 1987

* Where found historically: Nebraska, Wyoming

* Where found now: Nebraska, Wyoming

* Estimated numbers when listed: 10 populations

* Estimated numbers now: As many as 5,000 individual plants are believed to grow in Nebraska’s Sandhills area, while northern Carbon County hosts as many as 500.

Future prospects: continued protection

Ute ladies’ tresses

* Scientific name: Spiranthes diluvialis

* Status: threatened

* Year listed: 1992

* Where found historically: Rocky Mountain states, Washington, Nebraska

* Where found now: Same, but in limited numbers

* Estimated numbers when listed: unclear

* Estimated numbers now: unclear

* Future prospects: continued protection

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 27

WY: State shoulders big burden

State shoulders big burden

By JEFF GEARINO
Star-Tribune staff writer Monday, March 27, 2006

An act with impact

A three-day look at the Endangered Species Act in Wyoming

Today:

* Wyoming’s endangered animals and plants — A??

* Who’ll pay for managing wolves? — A??

Tuesday:

* Not just wolves and grizzlies

When Hale Kreycik took over an unexpired term on the seven-member Wyoming Game and Fish Commission in 2001, he had little appreciation for how much time wildlife managers spend dealing with the Endangered Species Act.

He knows now.

“As a private citizen, I had no idea of the depth and breadth of what the (Game and Fish) department had to deal with in terms of endangered species,” Kreycik said in a telephone interview. “I can’t put a finger on a number to tell you how much in total, or how much it cost the department in man-hours and dollars, but yes, I would say we spent an inordinate amount of time on endangered species.”

Most everyone agrees it’s a worthy goal that’s saving species from extinction. But on a day-to-day basis, endangered species recovery is an onerous task that has largely fallen to the wildlife management agencies in Western states including Wyoming.

The 1973 Endangered Species Act caused a fundamental shift in the way the Game and Fish Department allocates resources and priorities as it manages wildlife in Wyoming.

“I don’t think anybody can argue against the intent and purpose of the ESA … but when you take the act and try to implement it on the ground, it gets much more onerous, certainly in terms of the work done by the state, the financial commitment and the regulatory burdens placed upon the state,” Game and Fish Director Terry Cleveland said.

“I would give the act mixed results … Certainly things like the recovery of grizzly bears has been a success … but the bald eagle should have been delisted years ago, and we still haven’t got that done,” he said.

Cleveland said his agency favors “some reforms” of the law to help ease the state’s burdens.

Dealing with protected species costs the Game and Fish Department millions of dollars each year and has resulted in the creation of many new programs and positions.

Agency officials contend every dollar of sportsmen’s money spent on managing listed species such as grizzly bears and wolves takes money away from other bird, fish, big game and non-game species management programs the agency oversees.

Under legislative authority, the Game and Fish Department cares for more than 800 species of wildlife in Wyoming, while at the same time working with both public and private partners to improve wildlife habitat across the state.

The department is largely self-sufficient and traditionally has received no money from the state’s general fund. About 70 percent of the Game and Fish Department’s budget comes from hunting and fishing licenses. The rest comes from federal grants, donations and from interest received from trust funds.

Listed species that inhabit Wyoming include the grizzly bear, gray wolf, bald eagle, Canada lynx, black-footed ferret, Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, the Wyoming toad, four fish species and three plant species.

The big two

No listed species better demonstrate the financial impacts on the Game and Fish Department in Wyoming over the past decade than grizzly bears and gray wolves.

In 1973, gray wolves in the lower 48 states were listed as threatened. Two years later, grizzly bears in the lower 48 were also listed as threatened. Under the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf was reintroduced in 1995 into Yellowstone National Park and portions of central Idaho.

Over the years, Game and Fish grizzly bear and wolf management programs have consumed massive amounts of dollars and manpower for monitoring, planning, habitat improvement projects, research and a host of other required efforts that come with listed species.

Since 1998, the agency has spent about $9.1 million to manage grizzly bears in Wyoming and about $1.3 million on gray wolves.

A good portion of those dollars went for the development of a grizzly bear management plan in 2002 and wolf management plan in 2003. The two plans will go into effect once the animals’ protections are removed under the terms of the law.

Wyoming continues to spend money on its wolf plan. In January 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the state’s plan because it called for a dual classification of the gray wolf as trophy game in some areas and a predator in others.

The state filed a lawsuit against the agency that was dismissed in March 2005. Last June, the state filed an appeal and formally petitioned the agency to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list.

Cleveland said Wyoming sportsmen are bearing much of the burden of endangered species costs, while the federal government contributes little.

“Grizzly bears have been listed for 30 years, and we’re spending about $800,000 of hunters’ and anglers’ money in this state every year to address grizzly bear conservation,” Cleveland said.

“Yet the last time I looked, we’re getting less than $20,000 each year from the federal government for grizzly bears,” he said. “So they have managed to shift in many cases the majority, if not the entire financial burden of species recovery to the state, and that’s just not appropriate.”

Working ahead
v
A lot of the agency’s work on endangered species hasn’t necessarily been on listed species. The department, at the behest of the commission, spent several years developing a sage grouse management plan and a black-tailed prairie dog management plan in an effort to preclude the possible listing of those species.

Wyoming is one of many Western states that has entered into candidate conservation agreements, with an eye toward keeping both the sage grouse and black-tailed prairie dog from being listed. The department has developed management strategies aimed at bringing back dwindling populations of both species.

The department is constantly seeking new approaches and new funding sources to deal with protected species, Cleveland said.

In recent years, the agency has increasingly turned to citizen-staffed “working groups” to help the department draft management plans for such species as grizzly bears, black-tailed prairie dogs and sage grouse.

The department spent about $240,000 in 2000-01 to develop a state management plan for the black-tailed prairie dog using a 20-member working group. And an 18-member working group spent three years developing the sage grouse management plan, which was approved by the commission in 2003.

One down side of the Endangered Species Act in its 30-year history is that by the time most species are listed as threatened or endangered, the species have already suffered dramatic declines in population and habitat range.

Cleveland said the Game and Fish Department believes any reform of the law should include a shift from reactive responses to declining numbers of species to more effort before listing. He said the failure to start conservation efforts before species have suffered declines is one area of the law that needs to be strengthened.

“For example, there should be much greater emphasis on prevention and restorative management,” he said.

“We need to do everything we can up front to keep species from being listed, rather than to have them listed and then go through the onerous exercise of developing conservation plans and strategies and all of those issues required to bring them back,” he said.

Cleveland also said any reform of the law should include “a legislative assurance of a co-equal role” by state game and fish agencies in the listing process.

He said over the years, the state-federal relationship over endangered species “ebbs and flows … Sometimes it’s good, and other times it’s not as good.”

“I don’t think they should throw the whole act out, but clearly there needs to be some tweaking done,” Cleveland said. “We’ve listed all these many species, but when you actually look at the number delisted, it’s dismal.”

What Wyoming spends

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department supports management programs for five mammals, one raptor and one toad that are listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Here’s a look at what it has cost the department each fiscal year since 1998 to manage those species.

Grizzly bear

FY 1998 $902,000

FY 1999 $942,300

FY 2000 $1 million

FY 2001 $1.6 million

FY 2002 $1.43 million

FY 2003 $1.37 million

FY 2004 $937,000

FY 2005 $1 million

Gray wolf

FY 1998 $36,800

FY 1999 $28,600

FY 2000 $10,800

FY 2001 $6,700

FY 2002 $37,100

FY 2003 $506,000

FY 2004 $119,000

FY 2005 $498,000

Black-footed ferret

FY 1998 $56,300

FY 1999 $49,300

FY 2000 $13,800

FY 2001 $62,200

FY 2002 $45,000

FY 2003 $30,300

FY 2004 $80,870

FY 2005 $115,800

Canada lynx

FY 1998 –

FY 1999 –

FY 2000 $5,100

FY 2001 $4,800

FY 2002 $4,600

FY 2003 $187

FY 2004 $1,500

FY 2005 $2,300

Preble’s meadow jumping mouse

FY 1998 –

FY 1999 –

FY 2000 –

FY 2001 $516

FY 2002 $358

FY 2003 $443

FY 2004 $99

FY 2005 –

Bald eagle

FY 1998 $17,000

FY 1999 $33,100

FY 2000 $22,100

FY 2001 $25,800

FY 2002 $17,700

FY 2003 $27,300

FY 2004 $23,000

FY 2005 $40,700

Wyoming toad

FY 1998 $99,500

FY 1999 $94,900

FY 2000 $57,400

FY 2001 $96,800

FY 2002 $150,000

FY 2003 $137,300

FY 2004 $36,800

FY 2005 $702

Source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department annual reports, 1998-2005

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Mar 26

IL: Wolves in Ill. still rare, but future is promising

Wolves in Ill. still rare, but future is promising

BY DALE BOWMAN STAFF REPORTER

When Braidwood Lake reopens to fishing on Wednesday, an island will be cordoned off to protect a pair of bald eagles attempting to nest. This comes as the third wild wolf since 2002 has been confirmed in Illinois.

Last week brought those two stark reminders that the intersection between protected animals and humans is becoming more common in Illinois, enough to warrant more education and understanding.

“It is kind of like bald eagles: If somebody saw a bald eagle [in Illinois] 20 years ago, that was a big deal,’ Tim Santel said. “Now it’s kind of commonplace. Maybe 20 years from now, it will be no big deal for somebody to see a wolf run about across their field

“Are there wolves here? Probably. Will there be wolves here in the future? Probably. As long as we continue to do our jobs, there probably will be.’

In December, Seth Hall shot a canine while coyote hunting in Pike County that has been confirmed by DNA tests as a wild wolf.

Hall’s wolf has put Santel in a bit of a pickle. Wolves are federally protected in Illinois. Santel is the resident agent in charge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service overseeing Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

How do you charge a coyote hunter for shooting a wolf in a state where wolves aren’t supposed to exist.

“The official line is it’s still an ongoing investigation,’ Santel said. “No decision on what will happen next has been made. The main thing we want to do is start the process of educating the public and not to raise the alarm bells and get everybody worked up about wolves. This is a very rare occurrence.’

Donald F. Hoffmeister in Mammals of Illinois suggests “canids weighing less than 50 pounds are coyotes or dogs. Adult Illinois wolves would weigh well over 50 pounds.’ (p. 47) The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will make more of an effort to educate hunters on the differences between wolves and coyotes.

“In the past, we never had a mind-set that it’s possible that they have a wolf; now it is possible,’ Santel said. “You need to think about it twice. Always be sure of your target before you pull the trigger. There has to be some responsibility placed on the hunters. If you’re not sure, let it go.’

In other words, if a coyote looks too big, put the gun down. Wolves are possible.

The first confirmed modern wolf in Illinois was shot by coyote hunter Randy Worker in Marshall County in December 2002. The second was killed by a vehicle in Lake County in the fall of 2004.

“I think it’s safe to assume as we succeed in continuing to protect endangered species like wolves, and their populations begin to increase, we will begin to see animals like wolves in places we haven’t seen them [in modern times],’ Santel said.

Hoffmeister suggests all wolves were gone in Illinois by the 1860s.

“People need to keep things in perspective,’ Santel said. “We are talking about three wolves in the last how many decades? Chances are still rare that you will see one.’

The same used to be true of bald eagles. Not anymore.

As site workers prepared Braidwood, a 2,600-acre cooling lake an hour southwest of Chicago, for Wednesday’s opener, they set up an extra buoy line for the nesting eagles.

Even so, they’re not the most urban of nesting eagles. Another pair has tried for a couple of years to nest on the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side.

“A group of people is always very excited and a group of people is very worried,’ Santel said. “That is the nature of the business.’

The nature of it has me excited.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized