May 31

NM: Government seeking information on wolf death

Government seeking information on wolf death

RESERVE, N.M. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information about the shooting death of a Mexican gray wolf whose carcass was found in the Gila National Forest outside the western New Mexico town of Reserve.

The remains were found May 9 and 5he agency sent the carcass of what it described as the time as a “wolf-like canine” to its national forensics laboratory in Oregon.

Tests there determined the animal was an endangered Mexican gray wolf, an alpha male from the Luna Pack designated as M925, and that it had been shot.

Fish and Wildlife offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves.

Killing a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the Endangered Species Act and is punishable by criminal fines of up to $50,000 and-or up to a year in jail, plus a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

At the end of last year, the federal agency said there were 59 wolves in the wild along the border of New Mexico and Arizona, 46 of them born in the wild.

The program to reintroduce the wolves back in part of their historic range released its first wolves in 1998 in Arizona.

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May 31

IL: Wolf pups get shots — and spotlight

Wolf pups get shots — and spotlight

Lincoln Park Zoo’s new stars, 5 endangered red wolf pups, meet the public during baby exams near their wooded home

Alexa Aguilar
Tribune staff reporter

Until Wednesday, the newest babies at Lincoln Park Zoo had remained hidden by their protective mother, doing little more than sleeping and eating.

Born almost six weeks ago, the five trembling red wolf pups made their debut Wednesday, when zookeepers rounded them up for vaccinations, a baby exam and a weight check near the fence of their wooded home.

Weighing in between 5 and 7 pounds, the babies recently opened their eyes and are taking their first tentative steps out of the dens created by their mother in the dense vegetation of their zoo habitat.

For zoo officials, the pups’ birth marked the first litter of the endangered wolves born at the zoo. Nationwide, their arrival means another success for the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, a federal initiative to strengthen the numbers of red wolves in the wild and in captivity.

By 1980, red wolves, native to the Southeastern U.S., were extinct in the wild. They have been slowly reintroduced into wildlife refuges and now about 100 red wolves live in a North Carolina refuge. Fewer than 200 more live in captivity nationwide, zoo officials said.

Though baby red wolves resemble a domesticated puppy, it’s a sign of those wild genes that they have yet to venture far from their mother or attempt howls, said Dr. Kathryn Gamble, director of veterinary services.

“It’s instinctive,” Gamble said. “They are not ready to defend themselves, so they are still sticking close to home.”

Surrounded by reporters and cameras, the five pups huddled together in a plastic bin, waiting for their checkup. Their pointed ears flat against their little heads, one by one, they acquiesced to the doctors, who checked their heartbeats and teeth, then inserted long needles holding vaccines into the pups’ hind legs. The puppies gulped the banana-flavored liquid “de-wormer” and perched on the silver scale.

Only one pup, a female, struggled and nipped at the hands of her handlers, her limbs dangling as she wiggled off the scale.

Red wolves are shy by nature, and the pups are taking after their parents, zoo officials said.

The parents were brought to Lincoln Park Zoo in 2005; the female from a Louisiana zoo and the father from a wildlife sanctuary in St. Louis.

Neither had been parents before, so zookeepers were unsure whether they would become a couple. Their first few meetings didn’t go well. The 6-year-old male, who weighs about 80 pounds, repeatedly pinned the 40-pound female. The female finally snapped at him, and the relationship progressed smoothly, said Diane Mulkerin, curator of the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo.

When they brought the female in for an unrelated medical issue earlier this year, an ultrasound showed she was pregnant.

Zoo officials were left wondering whether the first-time parents would care for the pups.

It was a good sign when the pregnant female built her own den at the bottom of a hill in the enclosure, though officials worried it would flood with rain. On a wet day a few days after she gave birth, the mother wolf moved the pups to a den inside the holding area.

“We knew then that she would be an excellent mother,” Mulkerin said.

On Wednesday, the pups received a clean bill of health. After their exam, the Lincoln Park veterinary team deposited them underneath a log, and then released the parents out of the holding area.

“We are supposed to take a hands-off approach,” Mulkerin said.

The mother and father skulked on the periphery of their wooded space, keeping a wary eye on the crowd watching through the gate.

The mother didn’t retrieve them, not wanting to give away the pups’ location, the veterinarians said.

But then, a flash of brown appeared and through the tall foliage, there was a quick glimpse of the pups nipping each other’s ears and tumbling over one another.

In the coming weeks, the pups will be weaned and eat regurgitated meat from their mother. Then the parents will teach them to look for food on their own, Gamble said.

Source

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May 31

WY: A predator hot spot

A predator hot spot

By BRODIE FARQUHAR
Star-Tribune correspondent

The Upper Green River Cattle Association in northwest Wyoming loses livestock to predation by wolves and grizzly bears, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

“We’ve been in existence since 1917,” said Albert Sommers, president of the association, “and we’ve always hired (range) riders to work with our cattle.”

Riders, just like the cowboys of yore, have a number of chores: fixing fence, moving cattle around the allotments, setting out salt blocks and doctoring sick or injured cattle. “They also count the dead and pick up the pieces,” Sommers said.

The Upper Green River Cattle Allotment, near Pinedale in Sublette County, is the largest U.S. Forest Service allotment in the nation, which permits grazing for 7,565 cattle and 27 horses on about 130,000 acres. The grazing permits are held by the 16 members of the Upper Green River Cattle Association.

The association had 50 confirmed predator kills last year and 40 the year before — confirmed by state and federal biologists.

Yet association members strongly believe there are even more losses due to wolf and grizzly bear predation. Their analysis estimates that they’ve been compensated for 45 percent of the calves killed by grizzly bears and 16 percent of the calves killed by wolves on the allotment.

Calf losses from 1990 to 2006 range from about 2 percent the first three years (before wolf and grizzly bear predation got rolling) to about 7 percent in the last three years. Because sick cattle are quickly preyed upon by wolves and grizzlies, because wolves and grizzlies scavenge each other’s kills, and because carcasses disappear so quickly, it is difficult to say with absolute certainty what is causing this high calf loss.

Nevertheless, the ranchers have a gut feeling that predators are disproportionately to blame for their losses.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that less than 1 percent of all livestock deaths in the northern Rockies have been caused by wolves. Reports issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service show that significantly more livestock are lost to disease, birthing problems, injuries, theft and other predators than wolves and grizzlies. The ubiquitous coyote claims top honors in livestock depredation, according to national statistics.

Problem builds

According to Sommers” documents, members of his association found in 1993, for the first time in decades, a bear-injured calf. At the time, it was undetermined whether the predator had been a black or grizzly bear. Two years later, the first confirmed depredation of cattle by grizzly bears was found on the allotment. By 1996, said Sommers, a predation problem on the west side of the river was apparent.

The following year, predator depredations numbered 20 in the confirmed category, and the association began compiling calf loss data from its members. In 2000, the association experienced the first confirmed gray wolf depredation of cattle on the allotment in nearly 70 years.

Generally, according to Sommers’ records, association calf losses from 1990 to 2004 have been much higher on the west side of the river — where the group operates on three grazing allotments — than the east side (one allotment). Over 15 years, there were 1,224 lost calves on the west side and 340 lost calves on the east side. The west side allotments had 28,390 calves, compared with 12,156 calves on the east side.

Predator hot spot

Sommers explained that both grizzly bears and wolves entered the Upper Green River allotment from the north, as they expanded out of Yellowstone National Park. The predators found an elk feedground along the river, just below Green River Lakes, and many of those elk have calves north and west of the river.

“That’s a prey and carrion-rich environment for grizzly bears as they emerge from hibernation,” Sommers said, adding that wolves target elk and elk calves all year.

As the elk finish calving and begin to move out of the area to higher elevations, the cattle move in. Grizzlies and wolves simply switch from venison to beef as their dinner entree.

Mike Jimenez, Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acknowledged that the Upper Green is a predator hot spot.

Jimenez said the area has a “fair number of grizzlies and wolves” and there’s lots of wolf movement through the area, as wolves disperse from their stronghold in Yellowstone.

The peak for wolf dispersal is late fall and early winter, and wolves key into available prey, such as elk feedgrounds, which provide a reliable source of food through the winter, Jimenez said. Come spring, wolves den up in April, when pups are born.

“We’ve tried lots of ideas over the years,” said Jimenez, but because it is extremely difficult to design good experiments and control the variables, ranchers and wildlife biologists are left with lots of anecdotes and little hard science when it comes to managing predators and livestock in the same area.

“On the Upper Green, we’ve taken out an alpha male (wolf), and a new one pops up,” he said. Same thing for taking out an entire pack, only to see a new one move in.

Some techniques for predator management seem to generate good results for a few seasons, he said, only to have expectations blown out of the water the next year.

“There’s huge variability in wolf behavior,” Jimenez said.

Source

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May 30

NM: Government seeks information on wolf death

Government seeks information on wolf death

RESERVE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information about the shooting death of a Mexican gray wolf whose carcass was found about 20 miles east of Reserve.

The remains were found May 9th in the Gila National Forest.

Tests at Fish and Wildlife’s national forensics laboratory in Oregon determined the animal was an endangered Mexican gray wolf and that it had been shot.

Fish and Wildlife offers a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves.

Killing a Mexican gray wolf is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That’s punishable by criminal fines of up to 50-thousand dollars and-or up to a year in jail.

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May 30

NM: County meeting focuses on wildlife

County meeting focuses on wildlife

Burning issues in the Lincoln

Alamogordo Daily News
By Karl Anderson, Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

The Otero County Commission’s monthly meeting Tuesday breezed through unanimous approval of 10 items on their agenda in the first 10 minutes, to focus on the first of what will undoubtedly be many hearings about the creation of a wildlife management ordinance.

Discussion of the proposed ordinance, which specifically deals with introduced species, focused Tuesday on elk, the Mexican gray wolf and oryx.

Of the 45 attendees, some 80 percent were ranchers from several parts of Otero County.

Chairman pro tem, Commissioner Clarissa McGinn, told the group at the outset that “the county commission is in support of creating a draft for a wildlife management criteria ordinance.”

Representatives from all viewpoints, with the exception of environmentalists, were present to express their views and concerns Tuesday.

Chris Turri of La Luz spoke of his distaste of hunters being pitted against ranchers, and he holds the Forest Service responsible.

“Ranchers have a right to their allotments of grasslands,” Turri said. “The problem is mismanagement by the Forest Service.”

Turri said that ranching is what shaped the Southwest.

“I don’t think it’s the agenda of any sportsman to take anything away from the rancher,” Turri said. “And I don’t think the county has the right to step in and take anything from anyone, whether it be rancher or hunter. Do you have any idea just how much revenue comes to Cloudcroft through hunting and ranching?”

Commissioner Mike Nivison said the county is doing that research.

“No county commission is versed in science,” Nivison said. “I can certainly get those figures for you by tomorrow, but I need to say that the overall benefit to the county is a threshold of businesses. We’re collecting true science according to the threshold we get from federal agencies.

“Our goal is to maintain the resource,” Nivison said. “Hunting is a diversification, just like tourism is. It doesn’t matter how many elk or cows you take out of an area, you’re still going to have some kind of loss. Ultimately, the side with the best science wins.”

Hans Steinhof, who called himself a “micro-rancher,” addressed the commission regarding his concerns about compensation for damages caused by foraging elk, or by cattle that move off an allotment.

“I want to see something in this ordinance about compensation or funding for fencing,” Steinhof said. “We end up having to pay for damages to federal or state land if our livestock get through a fence and damage their lands. Why shouldn’t it work the other way? Why can’t we, as ranchers, hold them responsible for damage that their elk do to our fences and our lands?”

Bill Hornback asked the commission where it is on determining road jurisdiction under RS-2477 for Lincoln National Forest. The county is proposing to use the federal law to declare roads that predate the Lincoln National Forest as county roads, so they can’t be closed.

“We’re working on that at this time,” McGinn said.

“I’d like to see you coordinating your activities with other groups, like guides, who know these trails in the forest better than anyone,” Hornback replied.

He also asked how the county would go about quantifying any damages caused by wildlife.

“Conceptually, we have been shown there are avenues to do this with,” Nivison said. “The important thing is that we’ll be able to defend our actions in court, should that ever happen.”

“I am well aware that the elk issue is a big concern with cattlemen in this county,” said Tim Turri, who operates a small outfitting business in the Lincoln National Forest. We’d like to find a better means to a common ground. Pretty much all New Mexico Game and Fish have done is to continuously raise hunting fees. I don’t think the county has the authority to manage our wildlife, and I don’t think it’s any secret as to how much money hunters bring into Otero county. That’s called tourism.

“If you do anything to reduce the size of elk herds, are you (the county) willing to compensate people like me who will be seriously impacted by such a reduction? How can we help the Forest Service to do a better job of managing our forest and improving the health of the forest?”

One rancher said state officials are also turning a deaf ear to their concerns.

“We have a problem in that New Mexico Game and Fish will not listen to us or even acknowledge our concerns,” said Rick Lessentine, representing himself as a rancher and the Otero County Allotment Owners Association. “Even though we own the forage lands and the water, we get no compensation for damages by elk that destroy our fencing and damage our lands. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department doesn’t take care of their elk. You’ll never see them out feeding or watering their herds of elk, because it doesn’t happen.”

Joe Delk, representing the Paragon Foundation, spoke of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program.

“The wolves that were released in Arizona have moved into New Mexico,” Delk said. “We now have 300 wolves in captivity just waiting to be released. There are currently six established, recognized packs of wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.”

Delk said New Mexico Game and Fish has a group of biologists who manage these packs, but said that it is currently three days before people hear from the state as to the present locations of the packs.

“It’s not the wolves I see as the biggest problem,” said Delk. “It’s the poor management. The wolves are leaving the Gila Wilderness area and moving into Lincoln National Forest. There is no prey base in the Gila. Last year, Sam Montoya, a friend of mine who hunts elk, said he came across at least 100 elk carcasses in Lincoln National forest that had been killed by wolves.”

“I think we need to do something fast,” said Charles Walker, a long time rancher in Otero County. “I appreciate the cooperation from the sportsmen and we’ll certainly try to work with them. We got rid of the wolves once. My dad shot a few. I never saw one in my life. They say the wolves are needed in the environment, but I don’t believe that. We don’t need wolves any more than we need criminals running loose. We have a place for criminals and we have a place like that for wolves, too.”

County officials thanked those who came to speak their mind Tuesday, and encouraged more residents to speak out.

“If you aren’t part of the process, it doesn’t work,” said Nivison. “We appreciate all of you voicing your opinions on what you believe in, and want to make you all survivors in this process.”

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May 30

IL: Red wolf pups unveiled at Lincoln Park Zoo

Red wolf pups unveiled at Lincoln Park Zoo

By Alexa Aguilar
Tribune staff reporter

Lincoln Park Zoo officials today unveiled a litter of endangered red wolf pups who have been hidden away by their protective mother since they were born about five weeks ago.

The gangly pups were on full display for the media today as zookeepers rounded them up for a new baby exam to check their progress.

Still, only the occasional visitor will be lucky enough to catch a flash of their tawny bodies in the thick vegetation of their habitat at the zoo.

Their wiggly, brown bodies and wet black noses resemble those of baby dogs, but unlike domesticated dogs these shy and submissive pups are not yet venturing far or attempting tentative howls.

“It’s instinctive,” said Dr. Kathryn Gamble, director of veterinary services at the zoo. “They are not ready to defend themselves, so they are still sticking close to home.”

Before their check-up, the five pups lay huddled, one atop of another, in a plastic bin, their pointed ears laid back and bodies’ trembling. One by one, they acquiesced to the doctors, who checked their heartbeats and tiny sharp teeth, then inserted long needles holding vaccines into the pups’ hind legs. The puppies gulped the banana-flavored liquid “de-wormer” and perched on the shiny silver scale.

Only one pup, a female, struggled and nipped at the hands of her handlers, her limbs akimbo as she wiggled off the scale.

Red wolves were declared extinct in the wild in 1980, but slowly they have been re-introduced into wildlife refuges. Now about 100 red wolves live in the wild and another 200 live in captivity.

The Lincoln Park pups’ parents were brought to the zoo in 2005. Keepers think the 3-year-old female red wolf gave birth about 5 ½ weeks ago.

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May 30

NY: Endangered wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center

Endangered wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center

By CHRIS LEIGHTON

Hoping and waiting for mating

The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem is working toward mating a pair of red wolves and a pair of Mexican wolves, both extremely endangered species, as part of a program to increase their populations. In 2003, the center became part of the Species Survival Plan, a national program led by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums whose goal is to help ensure the survival of selected wildlife species, according to its Web site.

Both red and Mexican wolves number fewer than 300 in the United States and are two of the rarest mammals in North America, according to the centers figures.

If the center does get newborn wolves, or pups, they are generally released into the wilderness in either North Carolina or another part of the southeastern United States after being born here. However, some are kept if they can be useful for future breeding. Wolves exhibiting superior traits or genes are typically kept so that they can pass the superior traits down to later generations.

[The wolves] come from a very limited population, Maggie Howell of the conservation center said. Pups may be held in captivity if they are of high genetic value.

If pups are not chosen for breeding, they are released into what Ms. Howell called a foster-pup program. In this program, wolf pups are separated from their biological parents in captivity and released to a family of wild wolves. This way, a pup does not need to unlearn its captive behavior, and can function normally as a wolf born in the wild would. Ms. Howell said the program has proven to be very successful.

The center minimizes human contact with the wolves, as that affects their ability to survive in the wild once released. For that reason, the red wolves at the WCC are not on exhibit but are being monitored in a secluded enclosure in the hope that they may mate and produce wolf pups. The WCC can do little to entice the wolves to mate. Instead, they must decide when, or if, to mate, Ms. Howell said.

Since they are not being watched directly, no one knows for sure if the red wolf pair has made any progress toward conceiving a pup. Behavior is witnessed secondhand from surveillance cameras placed in the dens. The wolves mating season lasts from about February to April, and now would be the time that signs of pregnancy would be developing.

Were in a wait-and-see pattern, said Mrs. Howell.

One potential problem with mating this year is that the male wolf may be too young. The potential father is only 3 years old, the very minimum age a wolf can be considered mature enough to reproduce.

The Mexican wolves, on the other hand, have begun to show encouraging behavior. The female has begun to scratch fur off her stomach, a sign that may point to pregnancy. These wolves already have been proven to be successful in mating, having mated at the center before.

Source

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May 30

WY: A predator hot spot

A predator hot spot

By BRODIE FARQUHAR
Star-Tribune correspondent

The Upper Green River Cattle Association in northwest Wyoming loses livestock to predation by wolves and grizzly bears, and it doesnt seem to be getting any better.

Weve been in existence since 1917, said Albert Sommers, president of the association, and weve always hired (range) riders to work with our cattle.

Riders, just like the cowboys of yore, have a number of chores: fixing fence, moving cattle around the allotments, setting out salt blocks and doctoring sick or injured cattle. They also count the dead and pick up the pieces, Sommers said.

The Upper Green River Cattle Allotment, near Pinedale in Sublette County, is the largest U.S. Forest Service allotment in the nation, which permits grazing for 7,565 cattle and 27 horses on about 130,000 acres. The grazing permits are held by the 16 members of the Upper Green River Cattle Association.

The association had 50 confirmed predator kills last year and 40 the year before — confirmed by state and federal biologists.

Yet association members strongly believe there are even more losses due to wolf and grizzly bear predation. Their analysis estimates that theyve been compensated for 45 percent of the calves killed by grizzly bears and 16 percent of the calves killed by wolves on the allotment.

Calf losses from 1990 to 2006 range from about 2 percent the first three years (before wolf and grizzly bear predation got rolling) to about 7 percent in the last three years. Because sick cattle are quickly preyed upon by wolves and grizzlies, because wolves and grizzlies scavenge each others kills, and because carcasses disappear so quickly, it is difficult to say with absolute certainty what is causing this high calf loss.

Nevertheless, the ranchers have a gut feeling that predators are disproportionately to blame for their losses.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that less than 1 percent of all livestock deaths in the northern Rockies have been caused by wolves. Reports issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service show that significantly more livestock are lost to disease, birthing problems, injuries, theft and other predators than wolves and grizzlies. The ubiquitous coyote claims top honors in livestock depredation, according to national statistics.

Problem builds

According to Sommers documents, members of his association found in 1993, for the first time in decades, a bear-injured calf. At the time, it was undetermined whether the predator had been a black or grizzly bear. Two years later, the first confirmed depredation of cattle by grizzly bears was found on the allotment. By 1996, said Sommers, a predation problem on the west side of the river was apparent.

The following year, predator depredations numbered 20 in the confirmed category, and the association began compiling calf loss data from its members. In 2000, the association experienced the first confirmed gray wolf depredation of cattle on the allotment in nearly 70 years.

Generally, according to Sommers records, association calf losses from 1990 to 2004 have been much higher on the west side of the river — where the group operates on three grazing allotments — than the east side (one allotment). Over 15 years, there were 1,224 lost calves on the west side and 340 lost calves on the east side. The west side allotments had 28,390 calves, compared with 12,156 calves on the east side.

Predator hot spot

Sommers explained that both grizzly bears and wolves entered the Upper Green River allotment from the north, as they expanded out of Yellowstone National Park. The predators found an elk feedground along the river, just below Green River Lakes, and many of those elk have calves north and west of the river.

Thats a prey and carrion-rich environment for grizzly bears as they emerge from hibernation, Sommers said, adding that wolves target elk and elk calves all year.

As the elk finish calving and begin to move out of the area to higher elevations, the cattle move in. Grizzlies and wolves simply switch from venison to beef as their dinner entree.

Mike Jimenez, Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acknowledged that the Upper Green is a predator hot spot.

Jimenez said the area has a fair number of grizzlies and wolves and theres lots of wolf movement through the area, as wolves disperse from their stronghold in Yellowstone.

The peak for wolf dispersal is late fall and early winter, and wolves key into available prey, such as elk feedgrounds, which provide a reliable source of food through the winter, Jimenez said. Come spring, wolves den up in April, when pups are born.

Weve tried lots of ideas over the years, said Jimenez, but because it is extremely difficult to design good experiments and control the variables, ranchers and wildlife biologists are left with lots of anecdotes and little hard science when it comes to managing predators and livestock in the same area.

On the Upper Green, weve taken out an alpha male (wolf), and a new one pops up, he said. Same thing for taking out an entire pack, only to see a new one move in.

Some techniques for predator management seem to generate good results for a few seasons, he said, only to have expectations blown out of the water the next year.

Theres huge variability in wolf behavior, Jimenez said.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

IN: Wildlife wins: Ban on fur trade in Valley receives shot in the arm

Wildlife wins: Ban on fur trade in Valley receives shot in the arm

Fur traders surrender animal skins after 10 years

ARIF SHAFI WANI

Srinagar, May 28: In a significant development that will promote Kashmir as the first place in world, which has enforced blanket ban of trade of skins of wild animals and fur garments, many fur traders on Monday finally surrendered the skins of endangered wild animals for compensation on the orders of high court before the wildlife authorities at Dachigam National Park here.

The surrender of the fur garments is not only an historic day for Kashmir but an event of global importance for animal lovers. This has happened for the first time. This will definitely send a message around the world that Jammu and Kashmir is concerned about Wildlife Conservation, AK Srisvatava Chief Wildlife Warden told Greater Kashmir.

Srivastava said the international community would appreciate this endeavor of government and people of the state. He said the surrendered skins and furs would be destroyed to discourage the trade of fur.

Few decades ago Kashmir was a hub of trade for animal skins and fur garments. With India being signatory to International Conventions on wildlife protection and also due to pressure from wildlife conservation groups, government in 1997 banned the sale and procurement of fur. The affected fur traders and taxidermists, however, were entitled to receive the compensation for their stock.

A committee headed by the then officers of Wildlife Department, representatives of furriers, State Handicrafts and Forest Departments made an inventory of the stocks in 1997 and also fixed the compensation at Rs 10 crores.

Due to paucity of funds the process got delayed for nine years. The frustrated fur traders who possessed a large stock approached court for compensation.

On the orders of court, a committee comprising of Chief Wildlife Warden, Regional Wildlife Warden (Kashmir), representative from Furriers Association, representative from J&K State Handicrafts Department, representative from Ministry of Environment & Forests, GOI, and Chief Accounts Officer Forest Department was formed.

Finally, the committee gave a green signal to furriers to surrender their stock.

Rashid Naqash, Wildlife Warden Central Division, Wildlife Protection Department told Greater Kashmir that out of 224 furriers, 15 surrendered their stock.

The stock comprises over 3.000 skins of Leopards, Snow Leopards, Foxes, Leopard Cats, Snow Lynx, Brown Bear, Clouded Leopards, Stone martins, Otters, Wolves and Fishing Cats, all schedule 1 and II enlisted animals listed in Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and JK Wildlife Protection Act of 1978. Besides, they are enlisted as appendix I and II of Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species, he said.

We would pay compensation for the skins inventoried in 1997. Any skin that has not been marked would be destroyed and its owner wouldnt be entitled to compensation, said Rashid who is also the member of sub-committees for identification of fur stock.

Regional Wildlife Warden Farooq Geelani said the money for compensation has been deposited with the Court. We will examine the recommendation of the sub-committee and then release the Rs 9.42 crore to the traders. But it will take some months as the number of skins with the traders is in lakhs, he said.

Source

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May 27

WY: State eyes ‘ultimate’ predator

State eyes ‘ultimate’ predator

By WHITNEY ROYSTER
Star-Tribune environmental reporter
and JEFF GEARINO
Southwest Wyoming bureau

JACKSON — Wyoming’s big boost in funding for predator control comes at a time when the state is eyeing management for what many consider the “ultimate” predator: wolves.

State and federal officials announced last week they had reached an agreement that will allow wolves to be removed from Endangered Species Act protection, with management turned over to the state. And state officials have said they intend to reduce the number of wolf packs outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

But it’s not known when delisting will occur, in part because of the likelihood of litigation by wolf advocates.

Until that management handoff takes place, management responsibility for wolves in Wyoming is expected to remain with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services for now will continue to handle control actions for wolves that prey on livestock, and that agency expects to see a big increase in the amount of hours spent on managing wolf predation in the next few years.

The number of wolves in Wyoming outside Yellowstone National Park jumped by 31 percent in 2006, going from 134 to 175. With that increase, 123 cattle were reportedly killed by wolves, more than has ever been recorded in Wyoming since wolf reintroduction. In response, 44 wolves were killed, which is also a record for that time period.

Officials said wolf predation has been increasing in areas of intense sheep operations in Lincoln, Sweetwater and Uinta counties in recent years as wolf populations grow larger.

Merrill Nelson with Wildlife Services told Sweetwater/Lincoln Predator Control District members during their winter meeting that livestock kills by wolves, both confirmed and unconfirmed, were increasing “at an alarming pace.”

For example, he noted Wildlife Service specialists responded to a large number of calls about wolf predation from members of the Little Sandy Grazing Association last summer and fall in the Wind River Mountains.

“We went up there 16 times … but we only took two wolves,” Nelson said. “It’s a big cost when wolves move into the country. It’s costs each time you go up there to check out a call. And you have to have a lot more riders to know what’s going on out there.”

Nelson estimated there are now 23 wolf packs outside Yellowstone National Park that are spreading throughout western Wyoming. He said there have been three wolf sightings as far away from the park as south of Rock Springs in Sweetwater County in the past year.

Wolves are incredibly mobile and can travel 200 miles in a month, he noted. They eat 5 to 6 pounds of meat per day and have a huge reproductive capability because of a genetic predisposition for large litters.

“We’re taking 20 percent of the wolves outside of the park in control actions, and they’re still increasing (in population) by 20 percent,” Nelson said. “As soon as we take them out of an area like we did (last summer) in the Upper Green River Basin, they’re replenished shortly up there. It’s a serious problem.”

Rod Krischke, director of Wildlife Services in Wyoming, said the state’s $6 million appropriation over two years for predator control will not help with wolf control. It’s still “way up in the air” as to how wolf management plays out, he said.

Krischke said the work Wildlife Services does with wolves can be considered a boon to the Endangered Species Act and recovery of endangered animals.

“We work to remove problem animals by providing a prompt and effective response,” he said. “We help to reduce losses and promote greater tolerance for wolves. People feel somewhat comfortable their problems are going to be addressed,” and they are less inclined to take matters into their own hands.

Meredith Taylor with the Wyoming Outdoor Council said she hopes the state’s $6 million appropriation is not positioned for predator control of wolves, “but it sure looks like the state wants to go that way.”

Under the agreement announced last week, wolves would be treated like coyotes in most of Wyoming after delisting, allowing them to be shot on sight.

Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, said the Legislature’s $6 million appropriation for predator control was not targeted at wolves.

He said wolf control has been federally managed, and it was “not in my thought process” when his group helped craft the predator control bill.

The bill was “more a recognition that the ongoing predator problem” with coyotes and foxes was affecting the sheep and livestock industries, and that predator control was getting less federal funding and needed more state funding to be effective.

Magagna said Wyoming’s Animal Damage Management Control Board has been able to add two or three planes to its program as a result of the increased funding, and that may help with wolf control, but it was not part of the bill’s intention.

Even before delisting, it’s possible that wolves will be killed not just for preying on livestock. As part of its agreement with the state, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to pursue changes in its rules to allow killing of wolves that are hurting big game herds in parts of Wyoming, before delisting is finalized.

Although Wyoming elk numbers are above the state’s objectives, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says some herds — particularly those near Cody and Dubois — are seeing significant calf losses because of wolves. They want to reduce the numbers of wolves in those areas to improve calf survival and preserve elk hunting opportunities.

Wolf advocates say that’s unnecessary and that the predator is helping to maintain healthy, sustainable populations of elk and other big game.

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