Jun 29

ID: You’ll be blown away by the big, not-so-bad wolf

You’ll be blown away by the big, not-so-bad wolf

By Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho – Thousands of vacationers in the West will likely see a wolf in the wild for the first time this summer, often from the road but sometimes while camping or hiking.

The federal government and state agencies that manage wolves have rules on what is legal in these encounters, and experts who study wolf behavior offer advice on how to handle what is likely to be an unforgettable experience.

Wolves dont turn and run away immediately like were used to with other animals, said Carolyn Sime, gray wolf program coordinator with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.

Wolves nearly always blink first, experts say, but yelling will drive off a wolf, as will pepper spray.

About 1,000 wolves in 140 packs live in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, steadily increasing since being reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996.

Even though theyre fairly rare in nature, wolves are relatively visible compared to a lot of animals, said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are never many of them because these are big, large carnivores. But they seem abundant because they travel the same areas people do.

Bangs said one study found that more than 100,000 people see a wolf in Yellowstone National Park each year. For comparison, few people ever see one of the 31,000 cougars that inhabit the western United States.

Because meadows are attractive to campers, youre likely to run into wolf activity, said Steve Nadeau, statewide large carnivore coordinator with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Particularly if the meadow has game nearby – elk and deer.

Wolf experts say centuries of mythology – think Little Red Riding Hood – taints present-day wolf-human meetings, and that wolves tend to avoid humans.

If youre walking on a dark trail at midnight and you turn a corner and come across a pack of 20 wolves, enjoy them, said Bangs. Because theyll be gone in a few seconds.

In fact, wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare. But wolves might not run off so quickly if a hiker has a dog along. Northern Rockies gray wolves have killed at least 83 dogs since 1987, and last year killed 30 of their own number in territorial disputes.

Wolves consider dogs as strange wolves, said Bangs. A dog may think that a wolf barking or howling is a dog that wants to play. Trust me, that is not the case.

Another instance where wolves might act aggressively is near a den or a kill site.

If you come into an area where you see a kill, particularly if its kind of fresh, back out of there and go someplace else, said Sime.

Meeting wolves can have legal ramifications. Under the Endangered Species Act, wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened, and wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin, northern Idaho and northwest Montana are endangered.

Wolf populations that resulted from reintroductions are listed as experimental, nonessential. They include wolves south of Interstate 90 in Idaho, Montana outside the northwest corner, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico.

Our regulations allow anyone at any time to scare a wolf away, said Bangs. Just run at it and yell at it and it will run off. Thats legal to do. Just dont hurt it.

Though its legal to kill a wolf in self-defense, expect an investigation, because that is almost nonexistent, Bangs said. The physical evidence better back up your story.

The penalty for illegally killing a listed wolf can range up to $100,000 and a year in jail.

If delisted, wolves would be treated as big-game animals, possibly with hunting seasons, something Bangs said some federal and state wolf managers favor.

Hunting would not be allowed in Yellowstone National Park, where most wolf sightings occur. But sightings are becoming more common elsewhere.

Of all the things you have to worry about in life, wolves are probably on the bottom of the list, Bangs said. People who dont know any better are nervous about wolves, but most people are like, Wow, was that cool or what? 

Source

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Jun 29

MI: Wolf Management Group Meets to Provide Guidance to DNR

Wolf Management Group Meets to Provide Guidance to DNR

Contact: Todd Hogrefe 517-373-1263

Agency: Natural Resources

An advisory group of 20 diverse stakeholders has started a series of meetings to provide recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources for guiding principles for managing Michigan’s wolves and wolf-related issues if the gray wolf is removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The group, called the Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable, recently held its first meeting in Newberry.

“This is a great example of stakeholder groups working together in the best interest of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources,” said Bill Moritz, Wildlife Division chief, who met with the group last Saturday. “Many of these groups have divergent perspectives on wolf management, yet they have made a significant commitment to come together and discuss these issues to craft useful recommendations for the DNR.”

The wolf population in Michigan has met all the delisting criteria identified in both federal and state recovery plans. The recovery has prompted the DNR to revise the state wolf management plan in anticipation of shifting management authority from the federal government to the state.

DNR Wildlife Division Endangered Species Coordinator Todd Hogrefe said the DNR believes the citizens of Michigan have a significant interest and stake in the future management of wolves and should have an opportunity to deliberate on issues concerning that management.

“We believe public input is critical to the DNR planning process. This roundtable is an important step in producing a plan that ensures the viability of the wolf population while taking into account the diverse values of Michigan’s citizens,” Hogrefe said.

The roundtable is planning to meet throughout the summer and fall and will provide a list of recommendations to the DNR by the end of the year. The recommendations will be included in a draft wolf management plan which is slated for public review in March 2007.

Source

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Jun 28

CO: Wolf group pays ranchers for livestock

Wolf group pays ranchers for livestock

BY NICOLE FREY and NIC CORBETT
Eagle County Correspondents

The Defenders of Wildlife recently announced they paid ranchers about $97,000 in 2005 through the Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust to compensate for livestock they lost to wolves.

Suzanne Asha Stone, Northern Rockies field representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said the compensation program increases ranchers’ tolerance of the wolves and helps them co-exist. Since the program was founded in 1987, about 275 ranchers in the northern Rockies have been compensated $600,000.

Source

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Jun 27

ID: What to do if you meet a wolf

What to do if you meet a wolf

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Thousands of vacationers in the West will likely see a wolf in the wild for the first time this summer, often from the road but sometimes while camping or hiking.

The federal government and state agencies that manage wolves have concise rules on what is legal in these encounters, and experts who study wolf behavior offer advice on how to handle what is likely to be an unforgettable experience.

“Wolves don’t turn and run away immediately like we’re used to with other animals,” said Carolyn Sime, gray wolf program coordinator with the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. “The other thing that kind of makes it unnerving is the intensity of their eyes. It’s partly the color, and partly the intensity of the way they’re looking at you.”

Wolves nearly always blink first, experts say, but yelling will drive off a wolf as will pepper spray.

About 1,000 wolves in 140 packs live in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, steadily increasing since being reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996.

“Even though they’re fairly rare in nature, wolves are relatively visible compared to a lot of animals,” said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “There are never many of them because these are big, large carnivores. But they seem abundant because they travel the same areas people do.”

Bangs said one study found that more than 100,000 people see a wolf in Yellowstone National Park each year. For comparison, few people ever see one of the 31,000 cougars that inhabit the Western U.S.

Gray wolves have also been reintroduced along the Arizona-New Mexico border, beginning in 1998, but that population had fewer than 50 individuals at the end of 2005.

About 3,000 gray wolves inhabit northern Minnesota, and another 500 in Michigan and 500 in Wisconsin.

Male wolves average about 100 pounds and females slightly less. They often travel on roads, trails, creek bottoms and ridge tops. When resting, wolves like the same types of areas that draw humans.

“Because meadows are attractive to campers, you’re likely to run into wolf activity,” said Steve Nadeau, statewide large carnivore coordinator with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “Particularly if the meadow has game nearby – elk and deer.”

Wolf experts say that centuries of mythology – think “Little Red Riding Hood” taints present day wolf-human meetings, and that wolves tend to avoid humans.

“If you’re walking on a dark trail at midnight and you turn a corner and come across a pack of 20 wolves, enjoy them,” said Bangs. “Because they’ll be gone in a few seconds.”

In fact, wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare. But wolves might not run off so quickly if a hiker has a dog along. Northern Rockies gray wolves have killed at least 83 dogs since 1987, and last year killed 30 of their own number in territorial disputes.

“Wolves consider dogs as strange wolves,” said Bangs. “A dog may think that a wolf barking or howling is a dog that wants to play. Trust me, that is not the case.”

Other instances where wolves might act aggressively is near a den or a kill site.

“If you come into an area where you see a kill, particularly if it’s kind of fresh, back out of there and go someplace else,” said Sime.

Meeting wolves can have legal ramifications. Under the Endangered Species Act, wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened, while wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin, northern Idaho, and northwest Montana are endangered.

Wolf populations that resulted from reintroductions are listed as “experimental, nonessential.” They include wolves south of Interstate 90 in Idaho, Montana outside the northwest corner, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico.

“Our regulations allow anyone at anytime to scare a wolf away,” said Bangs. “Just run at it and yell at it and it will run off. That’s legal to do. Just don’t hurt it.”

Pepper spray – often carried by hikers in grizzly bear country – can be used on wolves.

It’s legal to kill a wolf in self-defense.

“Expect an investigation because that is almost nonexistent,” said Bangs. “The physical evidence better back up your story.”

The penalty for illegally killing a listed wolf can range up to $100,000 and a year in jail. Bangs said that about 10 percent of Northern Rockies wolf deaths are the result of illegal kills.

Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies met the criteria for delisting in 2002. The Fish and Wildlife Service has approved plans by Idaho and Montana to manage wolves, but federal officials rejected Wyoming’s plan saying it would eliminate wolves outside Yellowstone National Park. That has stopped delisting so far.

If delisted, wolves would be treated as big game animals, possibly with hunting seasons, something Bangs said and other federal and state wolf managers favor.

Hunting would not be allowed in Yellowstone National Park, where most wolf sightings occur. But sightings are becoming more common elsewhere.

“Of all the things you have to worry about in life, wolves are probably on the bottom of the list,” said Bangs. “People who don’t know any better are nervous about wolves, but most people are like, ‘Wow, was that cool or what.”‘

On the Net:

http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov

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Jun 26

Growth of wild elk herd stalls

Growth of wild elk herd stalls

WISCONSIN: Deaths by cars and wolves have prevented the herd from becoming a self-sustaining population.

BY ROBERT IMRIE
ASSOCIATED PRESS

WAUSAU, Wis. – Growth of the new elk herd that was started in northern Wisconsin about a decade ago has stalled, in part because wolves are killing more calves and young bulls, and car crashes are killing cows, a state wildlife biologist said.

The latest count after the birth of at least 25 calves this spring puts the herd at 120 elk — the same as two years ago, said Laine Stowell of the state Department of Natural Resources.

The trend follows years of steady growth — from 15 percent to 25 percent — that already had generated rules for a limited hunt of bulls amid predictions the herd would swell to 500 by 2007 or 2008.

“Things are not on track for that to happen,” Stowell said. “We are observing higher levels of mortality in the herd.”

The verdict is still out on whether the reintroduction of the elk in the Clam Lake, Wis., area can succeed at levels once envisioned, he said. Because of the new challenges, efforts have been started to bring in more elk.

“I think some folks prematurely said it was a success. But it is not a success until the herd is a self-sustaining population, and I submit that we are probably not yet at that stage,” Stowell said. “Whether we are successful in expanding this herd or it just stalls out at a lower threshold than we have hoped, only time will tell.”

Eric Koens, a director of the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and a critic of the number of wolves in northern Wisconsin, said talk of bringing in more elk is ridiculous.

“All they are doing is bringing in additional feasts for the wolves,” the Rusk Countycattleman said. “There is no predator that will decimate that herd like wolves.”

The DNR is a victim of too many wolves, just like some farmers who have lost livestock and pets, Koens said. “Now it is backfiring in their own backyard, in their own project. I am not surprised.”

In 1995, 25 elk from Michigan were released in Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake to determine whether the animals — bigger than deer — could become established again without damaging private land or causing problems for other wildlife.

Wisconsin’s last native elk was shot in 1866, researchers said.

Tom Toman, director of conservation for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Missoula, Mont., said 26 states have wild elk herds totaling about 1 million animals.

There were fewer than 100,000 elk in the U.S. in 1900.

Today, some states have too many, Toman said. Colorado’s 300,000 are about 70,000 more than goal, he said.

In Wisconsin, the higher mortality of elk calves caused by wolves and bears has some people concerned, but the Elk Foundation remains convinced the herd can thrive, Toman said.

“The habitat is there. We just need to give the elk a chance,” he said.

Wildlife experts have documented the killing of 76 elk in Wisconsin since 1995, including three that were accidentally shot by deer hunters last fall and four that fell through ice on frozen lakes and drowned, Stowell said.

Between 1995 and 2003, about 30 percent of the calves born in the spring didn’t survive, Stowell said. The mortality rate has jumped to50 percent the past two years and the number of young bulls being killed before they reach 2 years old is also higher, he said.

“Some of it is related to the expansion and development of the wolf population,” Stowell said. “Wolves took over the No. 1 spot from vehicle collisions this past March. Right now, wolves account for about 25 percent of those deaths. Ten years ago, the wolf population was probably less than half of what it is now.”

A late winter survey, based on tracking and monitoring of radio-collared wolves, estimated 465 to 503 wolves in 115 packs that populate mainly the northern and central forest regions of Wisconsin — up about 7 percent from a year before, the DNR said.

Critics of the wolf contend those figures are too conservative.

The state’s goal is to have 350 wolves on lands it controls outside Indian reservations.

When the elk were reintroduced, the revival of the wolf — after being wiped out in Wisconsin by the late 1950s after decades of bounty hunting — was well under way as wolves migrated from Minnesota.

“Wolves did have a head start on the elk in terms of their colonizing of northern Wisconsin,” Stowell said.

While wolves are an issue, it’s the vehicle collisions with elk that are affecting the reproductiveness of the herd the most, Stowell said.

Of the 14 elk killed in crashes, eight were adult cows, he said.

The state recently got a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to install a $50,000 warning system on elk crossing signs on a six-mile stretch of state Highway 77. It would alert motorists when an elk with a radio collar approached the road.

The radio collar, which has been attached to up to 70 elk, would trigger the warning, Stowell said. It is a system developed in Washington state.

Other changes being talked about to help spur growth in the herd include moving elk to other suitable habitat in the state.

“With our knowledge of where wolf packs are, maybe those placements can be made in areas that are going to give the elk a head start on the wolves rather than vice versa,” he said.

Source

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Jun 24

More wolves helped stall growth of elk herd in northern Wisconsin

More wolves helped stall growth of elk herd in northern Wisconsin

ROBERT IMRIE
Associated Press

WAUSAU, Wis. – Growth of the new elk herd that was started in northern Wisconsin about a decade ago has stalled, in part because wolves are killing more calves and young bulls, and car crashes are killing cows, a state wildlife biologist says.

The latest count after the birth of at least 25 calves this spring puts the herd at 120 elk – the same as two years ago, said Laine Stowell of the state Department of Natural Resources.

The new trend follows years of steady growth – from 15 percent to 25 percent – that had already generated rules for a limited hunt of bulls amid predictions the herd would swell to 500 of the majestic animals by 2007 or 2008.

“Things are not on track for that to happen,” Stowell said. “We are observing higher levels of mortality in the herd.”

The verdict is still out on whether the reintroduction of the elk in the Clam Lake area can succeed at levels once envisioned, he said. Because of the new challenges, efforts have started to bring in more elk.

“I think some folks prematurely said it was a success. But it is not a success until the herd is a self-sustaining population and I submit that we are probably not yet at that stage,” Stowell said. “Whether we are successful in expanding this herd or it just stalls out at a lower threshold than we have hoped, only time will tell.”

Eric Koens, a director of the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and a critic of the number of wolves in northern Wisconsin, said talk of bringing in more elk is ridiculous.

“All they are doing is bringing in additional feasts for the wolves,” the Rusk County cattleman said. “There is no predator that will decimate that herd like wolves.”

The DNR is now a victim of too many wolves, just like some farmers who have lost livestock and pets, Koens said. “Now it is backfiring in their own back yard, in their own project. I am not surprised.”

In 1995, 25 elk from Michigan were released in Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake to determine if the animals – bigger than deer – could become established again without damaging private land or causing problems for other wildlife.

Wisconsin’s last native elk was shot in 1866, researchers said.

Tom Toman, director of conservation for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Missoula, Mont., said 26 states have wild elk herds totaling about 1 million animals.

There were fewer than 100,000 elk in the U.S. in 1900.

Today, some states have too many, Toman said. Colorado’s 300,000 are some 70,000 more than goal, he said.

In Wisconsin, the higher mortality of elk calves caused by wolves and bears has some people concerned, but the Elk Foundation remains convinced the herd can thrive, Toman said.

“The habitat is there. We just need to give the elk a chance,” he said.

Wildlife experts have documented the killing of 76 elk in Wisconsin since 1995, including three that were accidentally shot by deer hunters last fall and four that fell through ice on frozen lakes and drowned, Stowell said.

Between 1995 and 2003, about 30 percent of the calves born in the spring didn’t survive, Stowell said. The mortality rate has jumped to 50 percent the last two years and the number of young bulls being killed before they reach 2 1/2 years old is also higher, he said.

“Some of it is related to the expansion and development of the wolf population,” Stowell said. “Wolves took over the No. 1 spot from vehicle collisions this past March. Right now, wolves account for about 25 percent of those deaths. Ten years ago, the wolf population was probably less than half of what it is now.”

A late winter survey, based on tracking and monitoring of radio-collared wolves, estimates 465 to 503 wolves in 115 packs that populate mainly the northern and central forest regions of Wisconsin – up about 7 percent from a year before, the DNR said.

Critics of the wolf contend those figures are too conservative.

The state’s goal is to have 350 wolves on lands it controls outside of Indian reservations.

When the elk were reintroduced, the revival of the wolf – after being wiped out in Wisconsin by the late 1950s after decades of bounty hunting – was well under way as wolves migrated from Minnesota.

“Wolves did have a head start on the elk in terms of their colonizing of northern Wisconsin,” Stowell said.

While wolves are an issue, it’s the vehicle collisions with elk that are impacting the reproductiveness of the herd the most, Stowell said.

Of the 14 elk killed in crashes, eight were adult cows, he said.

The state recently got a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to install a $50,000 warning system on elk crossing signs on a six-mile stretch of state Highway 77. It would alert motorists when an elk with a radio collar approached the road.

The radio collar, which has been attached to up to 70 elk, would trigger the warning, Stowell said. It is a system developed in Washington State.

Other changes being talked about to help spur growth in the herd include moving elk to other suitable habitat in the state.

“With our knowledge of where wolf packs are, maybe those placements can be made in areas that are going to give the elk a head start on the wolves rather than vice versa,” he said.

Kevin Wallenfang, a program director for Great Lakes region for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said the foundation is investing another $136,000 in Wisconsin’s elk restoration project this year.

“I have every confidence that the herd is going to continue to grow,” he said. “The goal is to eventually have 1,400 animals running around that area.”

ON THE NET

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: http://dnr.state.wi.us

Source

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Jun 23

SD: Wolf found in South Dakota

Wolf found in South Dakota

STURGIS, S.D. South Dakota wildlife officials report a wolf carcass has been found in an interstate highway ditch near the Black Hills National Cemetery.

An official of South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Department says the animal may have come from a group of wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park.

The last time a wolf was found in South Dakota was five years ago.

About one-thousand wolves in 140 packs live in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — steadily increasing since being reintroduced in Yellowstone and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996.

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Jun 23

NM: 6 Wolf Pups Killed At Refuge

6 Wolf Pups Killed At Refuge

Surrogate Dad Kills Relocated Pups From Arizona At Sevilleta

By Mountain Mail staff

SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that six Mexican gray wolf pups were killed after they were captured and relocated to Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge north of Socorro. Two other captured wolves died in unexplained circumstances.

The agency issued a press release, but repeated calls requesting comment were not returned.

The Hon Dah pack was tracked and captured after the White Mountain Apache tribe requested its removal. The removal came after seven confirmed and four probable livestock kills on tribal lands in Arizona since June 7, 2005.

The pack included two adults, three yearlings and seven pups. A press released called the events unprecedented. An adult female, a male yearling and six of the seven pups died following capture.

After being captured and examined by a veterinarian Friday, May 19, the pups were transported to the Sevilleta. The pups were placed with a surrogate pair of wolves that already had two pups in the hope that the pair would care for the captured pups. Although the male from this pair had been successfully used as a surrogate in the past, in this instance the male killed the six captured pups in an instinctive effort to protect his own two pups, according to the press release.

The packs alpha female was captured Sunday, May 21, and sustained a minor injury to her foot. She was then transported to the Alpine Arizona Mexican Wolf Field Office where she was carefully monitored throughout the night. She appeared to be alert and healthy; however, she was found dead early Monday morning prior to a veterinary examination. Necropsies will be performed on the first captured yearling and on the alpha female to determine cause of death.

The press release did not state the cause of death of the eighth wolf  a yearling male. A second yearling male was successfully captured and relocated to the Ladder Ranch in New Mexico.

The loss of these wolves is a blow to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and everyone who is working to recover wolves in the Southwest. We are currently reviewing our capture practices, animal handling and pup placement procedures to determine whether these deaths could have been prevented, and to ensure that any necessary measures are taken to reduce the chance of this happening again, said Benjamin Tuggle, acting Regional Director for the Services Southwest Region, in a press release.

Two of the Hon Dah Pack wolves currently remain free  the alpha male and a yearling of unknown gender. The Service estimates that 32 to 46 Mexican wolves, not including pups, are roaming the forests of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

Source

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Jun 22

CA: Wildlife rehabilitator treating hybrid wolves

Wildlife rehabilitator treating hybrid wolves

ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Herald Staff Writer

MANATEE – Justin Matthews crept through a large cage and carefully sat on a blanket next to the hybrid wolf Wednesday afternoon.

Two more hybrid wolves paced back and forth in the sand, occasionally glancing over at Matthews and swaying their gray tails.

“If one of them bites you, they’re all going to jump on you,” Matthews said, gently reaching over to pet the panting creature beside him. “I spent the night with them in the cage last night, and that’s how I got her to warm up to me.”

But Matthews, a 43-year-old wildlife rehabilitator and founder of a nonprofit effort called Matthews Wildlife Rescue, said he is not afraid of the wild trio found roaming the grounds of Myakka River State Park this past weekend.

“If I was scared, I wouldn’t come in here because they would bite me,” said Matthews, adding that he has experience with similar animals, like coyotes.

Hybrid wolves are the offspring of domestic dogs and wild wolves.

Matthews said humans breed the creatures and sell them as pets. He also said most people who buy them eventually come to realize that hybrid wolves don’t domesticate well and ditch the animals somewhere in the wilderness – a behavior also common among exotic snake owners.

“They basically have every trait that a wild wolf would have. . . . They’ve got that wild blood in them,” Matthews said of the hybrid wolves, but “they would interfere with our native wildlife, and they’re potentially dangerous. . . . In my opinion, it should be illegal to breed these animals.”

So, the hybrid wolves aren’t fit to be pets and don’t belong in the wild.

But temporarily living in a large, shady cage on Mixon Fruit Farms property, the three hybrid wolves – currently recovering from various infections and malnutrition – may soon serve as educators.

Matthews and the owners of Mixon Fruit Farms, located at 2712 26th Ave. E., have teamed up to create a wildlife educational facility on about one-half acre of the company’s grounds. The facility would house various injured animals rescued from the wild and a habitat for native birds.

Dean Mixon, owner of Mixon Fruit Farms, said plans for the habitat include a three-part pond area and various fish.

“People showed quite a bit of interest in it,” Mixon said of a bird demonstration that Matthews performed at the company’s Orange Blossom Festival earlier this year. “A lot of people have never seen those animals.”

Matthews and Mixon said the educational facility will be part of the regular tours of Mixon Fruit Farms property, which is a popular destination for school field trips. Mixon also said he hopes to see the project completed by October.

In the meantime, Matthews said, the hybrid wolves will live in a cage adjacent to that of a 3-year-old red-tail hawk disabled by a run-in with a power line. There, he said, the hybrid wolves will be treated and fed.

Matthews described the first time he fed the hybrid wolves a meal of raw chicken with his hands.

“That was sort of scary, because they were really hungry and sort of wolfing it down,” Matthews said. “They can crush up a chicken bone like a dog can eat a biscuit.”

Erica Rodriguez, Herald reporter, can be reached at erodriguez@HeraldToday.com or at 745-7095.

How to help

Matthews Wildlife Rescue, a local nonprofit effort for the rehabilitation of injured and impaired wild animals, is accepting donations to fund veterinary, food and maintenance costs of caring for its animals. For more information, call Justin Matthews at 447-5369.

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Jun 21

NC: Refuge red wolf howling safaris begin

Refuge red wolf howling safaris begin

Every summer the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Program and the Red Wolf Coalition jointly sponsor weekly howling safaris.

The 2006 summer safari schedule began in mid-June and runs through the first week in September. Pre-registration is required. Times vary as times for sunset vary, so participants should verify the starting time when they register. The highlight of the evening is listening to the characteristic “howl” of one or more red wolves as they communicate with each other and the “howlers” in the group. The 2005 safaris hosted over 1,000 people.

Registered participants meet on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge at Creef Cut Wildlife Trail, located at the intersection of Milltail Road and Highway 64. A short presentation provides an overview of the Red Wolf Recovery Program and the role of the Red Wolf Coalition, a friends organization dedicated to the preservation of red wolves. There are hands-on experiences, and the program is highly recommended for all age groups. While it’s rare to see a wolf, participants are almost certain to hear them howl. Visitors will have the opportunity to try howling and listen for a response. Red wolves howled at every weekly safari during 2005.

Prior to the presentation, the Red Wolf Coalition will have items available for sale, including T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and journals. These sales support red wolf education and outreach and will also go toward building a red wolf visitor center near Columbia.

The red wolf is one of the most endangered animals in the world, and its story of recovery is a remarkable one. According to Bud Fazio, Red Wolf Recovery Program team Leader, “The Service is heartened to see its restoration efforts successfully pull red wolves back from the brink of extinction. Forty years ago, only a handful of red wolves were found in the wild. Today, nearly 100 wild red wolves roam freely across five eastern North Carolina counties. There is a saying, ‘Endangered means there’s still time.’ We have shown there is enough time to restore red wolves to a level more likely to ensure their long-term survival.”

For a 2006 schedule or to register for a safari, please contact the Red Wolf Coalition at 796-5600 or visit its web site at http://www.redwolves.com.

Take advantage of the opportunity to venture out into the wild and ‘howl up’ red wolves. Call 796-5600 or visit http://www.redwolves.com for more information or to register. Alligator River and Pea Island also offer bird walks, canoe tours, and other weekly programns thoughout the summer months. Visit http://www.fws.gov/alligatorriver/spec.html or call the Pea Island Visitor Center at 987-2394 for details.

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