Jun 30

NM: Wolf pair returned

Wolf pair returned

The Interagency Field Team of the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project translocated a pair of wolves to the Gila Wilderness in June.

The wolves, Adult Female 1028 and Adult Male 1008, were moved from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge June 16, and transported by mule into the wilderness June 17. Maggie Dwire, Assistant Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said a monitoring flight confirmed the pair remained in the translocation area June 24.

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Jun 30

NM: Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch

Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch

By BARRY MASSEY Associated Press Writer
News Fuze

SANTA FE—A possible gray wolf has been sighted on a ranch in northern New Mexico, raising the prospect that wolves may have migrated into the state from the Northern Rockies where they were reintroduced more than a decade ago.

There’s been no confirmed gray wolf in the wild in New Mexico since the animals were exterminated from the state in the early and mid-1900s.

The animal was seen several times and photographed on Vermejo Park Ranch, which is owned by media mogul Ted Turner. It was first spotted about a month ago, but government biologists have not been able to capture the animal to obtain genetic material to confirm whether it’s a wolf.

“We don’t know what it is. It looks like a gray wolf. It looks like a big black gray wolf. Where did it come from? We don’t know,” Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund in Bozeman, Mont., said Monday in a telephone interview.

“It’s not a coyote. It doesn’t mean it’s not a socialized gray wolf that somebody let go and it just wandered around and ended up in Vermejo. And it doesn’t mean it’s not a gray wolf that came out of the northern Rockies.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies of the larger gray wolf, in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

But the markings on the animal seen on Turner’s ranch were not that of a Mexican gray wolf, according to Elizabeth Slown, a spokesman for the agency in Albuquerque.

Slown said the agency took the sighting seriously enough to send one of its wolf biologists from Arizona to the ranch last week. Traps were put out but nothing was caught. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department also participated.

“Our biologists have seen photos, but they haven’t seen the animal,” said Slown.

Game and Fish spokesman Marty Frentzel said the government agencies hoped to capture the animal on the ranch, attach a radio collar and then track it. A gray wolf in New Mexico would be protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

Turner’s ranch covers more than 900 square miles near the New Mexico-Colorado border and offers prime habitat for a wolf—large populations of elk and deer along with diverse ecosystems ranging from forests and nearly 13,000-foot peaks along the ranch’s western flank to prairie along its southern and eastern borders.

Phillips said he’s confident the animal isn’t a coyote because it’s not gray and tawny, but biologists and ranch workers have not found any scat that’s confirmed from the animal.

“The mystery may never be solved,” said Phillips.

Phillips knows wolves. He worked on reintroducing the gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s before joining Turner’s organization.

Because the animal is black, he said, “that just significantly reduces the odds that it’s anything but a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid or a socialized wolf.”

Wolves have thrived in the northern Rockies—Idaho, Montana and Wyoming—since their reintroduction. The federal government earlier this year removed wolves in that region from the endangered species list. That allows Idaho, Wyoming and Montana to manage wolves and the states are planning public hunts.

Phillips said wolves can travel great distances. Although they typically move in packs, it’s not uncommon for lone animals to explore new territory, he said.

In 2004, a dead wolf was found in Colorado along Interstate 70 west of Denver and its radio collar showed that it was from Yellowstone National Park.

“Northern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado is a motherlode for gray wolves,” said Phillips, because of its terrain, big tracts of public and private lands and plentiful elk and deer.

———

On the Net:

Vermejo Park Ranch: http://www.vermejoparkranch.com/

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Jun 29

ID: Howlbox might help estimate Idaho wolf population

Howlbox might help estimate Idaho wolf population

Posted by The Associated Press

A device that records wolf howls is being tested in the Idaho wilderness as a possible way to help the state meet federal guidelines required to keep gray wolves from returning to the endangered species list, state officials say.

The Howlbox is set up and broadcasts a recorded howl, then records responses from nearby wolves for the next two minutes. Biologists say it’s a much cheaper method than capturing wolves and attaching radio collars to try to get wolf population estimates required by the federal government.

“We think it has some real potential to assist us, particularly in areas we have difficulty getting in to trap and radio collar,” Steve Nadeau, large carnivore coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, told the Idaho Statesman.

The federal government transferred responsibility for wolf management to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana last spring following a 13-year restoration effort that has seen the animals’ population soar to an estimated 1,500 wolves after the predators were largely exterminated in the U.S. outside of Alaska in the early 20th century.

However, if the wolf population in Idaho were to fall below 10 breeding pairs, or 15 over a three-year period, wolves could again come under federal protection in the state.

The federal government, as a condition for removing wolves from federal protection, requires Idaho to report wolf numbers for the next five years.

But state officials say federal money for tracking wolf populations could disappear. So they are searching for a cheaper method to estimate populations rather than trapping them and attaching radio collars.

Curt Mack, wolf-recovery coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe, said attaching a radio collar costs about $1,500 to $2,000 per wolf, and then about $1,000 per year per wolf to track their locations.

“There just isn’t going to be the funding there to continue the intensive radio collaring,” Mack said.

Teresa Loya designed the Howlbox after being asked by David Ausband, a research associate with the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit.

Loya then asked her sons, both computer programming majors at Montana State University, to help with the components and programing.

“It is truly, truly a family project,” Loya said.

Each Howlbox costs about $1,500. It’s programmed to howl once in the morning and once at night, and has a hard drive that stores audio recordings from any wolves that howl back. It’s typically placed in a tree for several days.

By listening to the recordings, biologists could get an estimate of the number of wolves in a particular area, eliminating the more expensive process of capturing and attaching radio collars to wolves.

“Theoretically, it all should work,” Mack said. “But you never know until you get it out there in real-word situations.”

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Jun 29

ID: Scientists experiment with tracking wolves by recording howls

Scientists experiment with tracking wolves by recording howls

By Joe Jaszewski

Snug in her sleeping bag near Bull Trout Lake about midnight one night last week, Teresa Loya heard the howls. The first started high and then dropped an octave lower. Then a second wolf sang out, at a lower pitch than the first. At least one more wolf joined in for a chorus that lasted for about 15 minutes and echoed off the surrounding mountains.

She was tempted to venture into the darkness right then and there. “I was laying there going, ‘Should I get up? Should I check the telemetry?’ ” Loya said.

Those howls aren’t just the sounds of nature to Loya. To her, they sound like the future of wolf management. In fact, the fate of Idaho’s wolves may rest on a small black box Loya developed in her spare bedroom in Missoula, Mont.

Loya’s invention broadcasts a recorded howl into the wilderness and records any responses from wolves in the following two minutes. From that response, Loya hopes wildlife biologists will be able to get an accurate count of the number of wolves in any particular area, reducing the need for the expensive, invasive and time-consuming process of outfitting wolves with radio collars.

As a condition of removing Idaho’s gray wolves from the endangered species list, Idaho must report wolf numbers to the federal government for the next five years. But officials expect federal funding to dry up after the wolf is delisted for good, so the state is searching for a cheaper alternative to radio collaring.

Enter the Howlbox.

IDAHO IMPLICATIONS

Curt Mack, wolf-recovery coordinator for the Nez Perce Tribe, said it costs about $1,500 to $2,000 to attach a radio collar to one wolf, then about $1,000 per year per wolf to keep tabs on their locations.

“There just isn’t going to be the funding there to continue the intensive radio collaring,” Mack said.

Mack sees the Howlbox – which cost about $1,500 each – being used in remote, rugged country that is difficult to access.

Steve Nadeau, large carnivore coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has a similar vision.

“We think it has some real potential to assist us particularly in areas we have difficulty getting in to trap and radio collar,” Nadeau said.

Both Nadeau and Mack are cautiously optimistic that testing will reveal the Howlbox to be a valuable tool in the state’s management of a healthy, sustainable wolf population, post-delisting.

“Theoretically, it all should work. But you never know until you get it out there in real-word situations,” Mack said.

NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

The Howlbox is being tested in central Idaho to determine its reliability and accuracy in the field. But in order to test the Howlbox, you must first find the wolves.

“They’re very elusive, they’re very mobile, and they live in some really harsh landscapes,” Loya said.

During a recent research trip in the Lowman area, Loya and two wildlife technicians, Lacy Robinson and Ryan Kalinowski, camped out for nine days to find packs in the area for Howlbox tests.

Armed with radio telemetry gear, GPS receivers and previously gathered data on wolf locations, the three spent their 10- to 14-hour days chasing faint radio beeps across ridges and down draws and through 8-foot-high alder thickets.

Tracking wolves, Loya says, is like finding a needle in a haystack. Except the needle moves. Quickly.

One wolf they tracked moved about 10 miles through rugged country in just two hours.

“We can’t keep up with the four-legged critters,” Loya said.

When the researchers spot a wolf, Loya sets up a Howlbox.

The box is usually installed in a tree and covered with a black garbage bag about one kilometer away from where the wolf was spotted. One major benefit of the Howlbox is that it is less invasive and disruptive to the wolves, which have to be trapped and sedated to be collared.

Loya will leave the box in the field for several days, and then hike back in to retrieve it and listen to the recordings. Each box is programmed to howl once in the morning and once in the evening.

Now, the programming is done in Linux code, but one of Loya’s priorities is to develop a menu-driven interface so the user doesn’t have to know Linux to operate it.

The howl the boxes broadcast was acquired from Fred Harrington, a Canadian behavioral ecologist and wolf-howl expert. Harrington characterizes the high-pitched howl as “friendly” and “non-aggressive,” which he has found to be more effective than a lower-pitched, aggressive howl in eliciting a response.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

When David Ausband, a research associate with the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, tapped Loya, then an undergraduate student, to develop the Howlbox, she went to work on it in her sons’ former bedroom.

She laid boards over a twin-sized bed for a work table. Her two sons, David, 24, and Eric, 20, both computer programming majors at Montana State University, helped their mother with the components and programming.

David and Eric still consult with their mother about the development of the box, and Loya plans to tap their expertise in developing a more user-friendly interface.

“It is truly, truly a family project,” Loya said.

IDAHO A TESTING GROUND

Loya hopes to learn several things from her summer of Howlbox testing in Idaho.

She wants to know how long the Howlbox needs to stay in the field to record enough howls. Current battery capacity lets her leave the box for three to five days.

She wants to gauge the right howl-to-wolf ratio. That’s why Loya puts the box in places where the number of wolves have been documented, so she can cross-reference that number with how many howls the box recorded to get an accurate idea of how many wolves are in the area.

For instance, if the box is in an area frequented by a pack known to have eight members and the box records four different howls, she knows that the box captures the howls of about half the wolves in a given area.

Loya uses a spectrometer to see a visual representation of the howl frequencies. From that she can count how many unique howls the box recorded.

She also hopes to determine if, like a human’s voice, each howl has a unique sound and, therefore, a unique frequency plotted on the spectrometer.

Loya’s goal by the end of the summer, after several research excursions, is that she will have enough data to tell biologists the capabilities of the Howlbox.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

WHAT IS A HOWLBOX?

The Howlbox plays a pre-recorded howl through speakers then records any responses. Researchers and wildlife officials hope the box will allow them to count wolves based on the number of responding howls. They currently count wolves using radio telemetry, which is expensive and time consuming.

HOWLBOX FACTS:

Records for two minutes after playing a wolf howl.

80 GB hard drive stores audio.

Programmed to howl once in the morning, once at night.

Costs about $1,500 per box.

Usually placed in a tree and secured with zip-ties.

WOLF POPULATION

Wolves were hunted and trapped to near extinction in the American West, but the federal government reintroduced a handful of Canadian gray wolves in the mid-1990s. Since, wolves have thrived in Idaho and nearby states, and they are estimated to number almost 800 within Idaho’s borders alone.

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Jun 28

WA: Is gray wolf making a comeback?

Is gray wolf making a comeback?

By K.C. Mehaffey, The Wenatchee World

TWISP — One or more packs of gray wolves may be living in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley, which would make them the first resident population of the endangered species in Washington state since before 1930, a state biologist says.

“There’s certainly a distinct possibility that we actually have some wolves here, and they may be reproducing,” said Scott Fitkin, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in Winthrop.

Packers have made numerous reports of wolves in the high country in the past couple of years, and residents have made increasing reports in lower elevations, he said.

Fitkin said his agency is reviewing two photographs and hopes to gather hair samples or feces to confirm through genetic analysis that the animals seen in areas between the Twisp River and Libby Creek, about 50 miles north of Wenatchee, are gray wolves.

The wolves captured on film have a brown color to their coat, causing biologists to wonder if they might be hybrid wolves that have bred with dogs or coyotes. However, some gray wolves in British Columbia also have a similar tawny-brown color mixed in with their black, gray and white fur, he said.

Wolves are about four times as large as coyotes, with a male generally weighing 100 pounds or more. Fitkin said photographs have confirmed the presence of gray wolves in northeastern Washington, but those wolves would not be endangered.

In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the gray wolf from the endangered list in Washington state east of Highway 97 because recovered populations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are expected to repopulate that area of the state.

They are still considered endangered in north-central Washington.

By 1930, wolves were completely killed off in Washington state, through shooting, trapping, poisoning and government bounties, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Fitkin said there have been reliable wolf sightings in the Methow dating back to the early 1990s, but only sporadic, unconfirmed reports of wolf packs.

“My suspicion is, based on the sighting history, its development is very similar to how recolonization in the Rockies occurred,” he said. “This is looking like we very well may have some wolves on the landscape.”

Bill White, a Twisp cattleman and cougar tracker, is also convinced that wolves are living in the Methow. White said he saw tracks this winter as large as those left by a cougar, only more oval in shape, with distinct toenail marks left in the snow. He said his son also spotted wolves.

State and federal officials questioned the sightings, he said, so he set up a remote camera and caught them on film. He said he also gathered hair at one location.

White said he’s not happy about the sightings, worrying that gray wolves will create more restrictions on public land.

“Are they going to rope it off, and say no more logging or hunting or snowmobiling?” he asked.

“Everybody’s not supportive” of repopulating the area with wolves, he said, adding, “The cattleman’s the only one that’s going to make a sacrifice.”

Fitkin said there’s no question that wolves will kill pets and even livestock, particularly if they can’t find enough of their usual prey, which would be deer in the Methow Valley.

However, Fitkin said having endangered gray wolves in the Methow Valley wouldn’t create significant land use restrictions, because wolves’ habitat needs are not specific.

“As long as they have an adequate prey base, which are deer, and don’t get killed,” recovery should take care of itself, he said.

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Jun 27

NM: Wolves released into wilderness

Wolves released into wilderness

An interagency team has released a pair of wolves in the Gila Wilderness.

The Interagency Field Team of the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project relocated the male and female wolves to the Gila from the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge on June 16.

Maggie Dwire, assistant Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said a monitoring flight June 24 confirmed the pair still were in the wilderness.

The 3-year-old male had been removed from the Gila National Forest in 2006 after it was caught in a foothold trap on private land just outside the recovery area. The female was released in Arizona in 2006 but was recaptured and removed from the wild north of Alpine, Ariz., that June because of a leg injury. It was paired with the male in July 2007 at the captive breeding facility in the Sevilleta Refuge.

The pair was released now because the Gila National Forest has an abundant wild food supply, including elk calves.

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Jun 26

Washington Fish And Wildlife Investigates Reports Of Wolf Pack

Washington Fish And Wildlife Investigates Reports Of Wolf Pack

By Austin Jenkins

Olympia, WA June 26, 2008 12:37 p.m.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is intensively investigating photographs and reports of wolves in North Central Washington. But so far the agency says there’s no proof yet that a pack of wolves has taken up residence in the state. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

The photographs — published this week — show what appear to be individual wolves near Twisp, Washington.

The images were captured by a camera placed in the woods in the Methow Valley. But whether these are transient wolves moving through the area or evidence of a resident pack is not known.

Jeff Koenings heads the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says his agency has a new genetic testing kit. He says the first step is to determine if these are wild gray wolves or a hybrid species.

Jeff Koenings: “The next question is: is he here today or gone tomorrow or is he actually here to stay. That’s the big question. That’s what was put on the table by this sighting.”

If a lone wolf has taken up residence in Washington State that would be significant. It would be even more significant if a breeding pair was living in Washington.

Koenings says both are possibilities, Washington has not had resident wolves since the 1930s.

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Jun 26

MT: Wolf ‘plays’ with grizzlies

Wolf ‘plays’ with grizzlies

By SUSAN GALLAGHER
Associated Press Writer

HELENA, Mont. — The grainy footage shows two grizzly bear cubs under the watchful eye of their mother as they romp through a field and playfully tease a nearby wolf.

The remarkable scene was captured by the U.S. Geological Survey as part of a research project into the bear population in northwestern Montana. It’s one of several intriguing clips recently posted on the agency’s Web site that depict life inside Glacier National Park — from a bear rubbing its backside on a tree to a wolf feeding on an elk carcass.

The five-minute video of the bear cubs shows the wolf drawing close several times. At one point, a cub takes a playful swat at the wolf. Other times, the mother bear makes her presence known and “bluff charges” the wolf, stopping short of an attack.

Although seemingly playful, the underlying forces of nature are clear.

“I have no doubt that if the mom was not there and the wolf had the opportunity, it would eat the cub,” said USGS research biologist Kate Kendall, in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The video was shot Aug. 10 by an unmanned, sensor-activated camera positioned for Kendall’s research. The grizzlies and wolf apparently were drawn to the area by an elk carcass.

Kendall said the adult bear was relatively small, perhaps 150 to 200 pounds. A typical sow in Glacier National park in August weighs about 250 pounds, she said.

“Maybe that’s why the wolf was not as impressed” by the bear defense and kept returning, Kendall said.

There was no indication the bears or the wolf were injured during the encounter.

Fatal wolf attacks on bear cubs have been documented, according to Carolyn Sime, gray wolf coordinator for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. However, she knew of no instance in which a wolf has killed an adult grizzly bear.

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Jun 26

MI: Wolves, eagles face state delisting process

Wolves, eagles face state delisting process

By Shannon Jones
Staff Reporter

NEWBERRY – “It seems to be people are more protective of eagles than wolves,” said Department of Natural Resources representative Todd Hogrefe upon opening the informational session on endangered species delisting in Newberry. The June 16 hearing, the third of four scheduled, was the first to have more than a dozen people attend. Hogrefe said the previous two in Lansing and Grayling drew a total of six people combined. One member of the audience chimed in that the reason for the interest in the Upper Peninsula is because “we have wolves.”

The information session was the precursor to an official hearing, aimed at informing and explaining the DNR’s proposed changes under the Endangered Species Act. The most noteworthy proposal on the agenda was the state delistment of gray wolves. Osprey and bald eagles are also up for consideration. Though the list is to be reviewed biannually, since its inception in 1976, only six times has the list been officially modified. Hogrefe attributed this to the amount of work that goes into determining what species should and should not be on the list. “Once we are done with this process, we will start back over,” he said. “The department has never been able to keep up with that [biannual review].”

Gray wolves have been on the DNR’s radar for a number of years as scientist have proclaimed their numbers are increasing and that the animal is no longer suited for the endangered species list. The most recent U.P. wolf census counted 509 wolves. Their presence has yet to be confirmed in the Lower Peninsula. In 2007, the federal government delisted wolves as well as eagles. This step enabled states to take control of regulating the populations. A state delistment is the next step, said Hogrefe. After the four hearings and a period of public comment that is open until July 10, options will be weighed. Hogrefe said the implementation of any rule changes will fall on the legislature’s schedule, but that he hopes to have the process completed by the end of the summer.

Members of the Michigan Wolf Roundtable were in attendance to share their views at the hearing. The Roundtable was developed in 2006 to create a plan for wolf management when the DNR expected the federal delisting would take place. Roundtable members had a consensus about wolves – delist them.

John Hongisto of the U.P. Sportsman Alliance wants to take the delistment a step further, and turn wolves back into a game animal.

“Addressing this problem is imperative for protecting its long term population,” he said. “Too many people consider the wolf the modern-day version of the golden cat. The Endangered Species Act is designed to help them recover, not keep them on it forever.”

Sierra Club member Marvin Roberson called the wolf comeback “a great example of a success story” and congratulated the DNR on a “job well done.” He said he would like to see other species listed under the act, including woodland caribou and the coaster brook trout.

Even if the state does delist wolves and eagles, both animals would continue to be protected by state laws. It will continue to be illegal to harass or kill wolves unless they threaten human safety. Eagles, currently at 515 nesting pairs in the state, would continue to be protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act if delisted.

To comment on the proposal, write: Endangered Species Coordinator, DNR Wildlife, P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909-7944. All written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on July 10. E-mailed comments can be sent to endangeredspecieslist@michigan.gov.

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Jun 26

NM: Catron County Dismisses Poll About Mexican Gray Wolves As ‘Bogus’

Catron County Dismisses Poll About Mexican Gray Wolves As ‘Bogus’

By Mike Sievers
special to Mountain Mail

SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) — A poll showing statewide support for the Mexican gray wolf recovery program has not gone over well in Catron County.

Catron County Commission Chairman Ed Wehrheim called the poll, commissioned by several environmental groups, “biased” and “bogus” in a press release sent out Thursday, June 19. Wehrheim said reintroducing the wolves has caused suffering among ranchers and families in Catron County.

“We are paying a big price for protecting wolves that don’t need protecting,” he said. “People here are losing their livelihoods, their kids are at risk.”

The 19-question poll was conducted via telephone by the Albuquerque-based Research and Polling Inc. among 507 registered voters statewide between April 25 and May 11. A random sample of voters was generated from an R&P database, according to the poll summary, available at www.rpinc.com.

Voters were asked if they generally support or oppose reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf into public lands in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

Among those polled, 69 percent said they either “strongly” (37 percent) or “somewhat” (32 percent) support reintroduction. On the other hand, 21 percent said they either “strongly” (12 percent) or “somewhat” (9 percent) oppose. Sampling error was 4.4 percent.

“The survey may tell us how people think who know only one side, but what does that have to do with the reality of the Mexican wolves here in the recovery area?” Wehrheim said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife manages the wolf recovery program. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Elizabeth Slown said 13,598 people have submitted comments about different aspects of how the program should be managed. Slown said those comments will affect policy, while the R&P poll will not.

“It’s always interesting to see poll results, but in terms policy, we are soliciting specific input from people,” Slown said.

Catron County Manager Bill Aymar described the wolf program as a “miserable, stinking failure.”

“We’ve been dealing with this thing for 10 years or more; this poll is nothing more than PR stuff. It’s just out there to continue to sway people who don’t understand what’s going on,” Aymar said in a phone interview.

Aymar and Wehrheim believe R&P skewed the poll to satisfy the groups who paid for it.

“It’s too small of a sample group and too selective of a sample group,” Aymar said, adding that a survey of Catron County residents would produce much different results.

R&P conducted an identical poll among voters in Arizona, where the program has more support (only 13 percent of Arizonans polled said they oppose the reintroduction program).

Representatives of R&P did not return phone calls from the Mountain Mail.

“In polling people whose opinions are formed by biased information, and who don’t know first-hand or even second-hand what is really going on, the survey is pretty useless,” he said in the release.

Biologists began releasing the wolves into the Gila and Apache national forests in 1998, when they were on the verge of extinction.

There were 52 collared wolves in the wild when Fish and Wildlife conducted its last count, in January.

“Any survey should ask taxpayers if they think that spending $285,000 for each wolf introduced to an ecosystem that does not need them is a wise expenditure of public funds,” Wehrheim said.

Slown said she was not sure how that specific dollar amount was calculated.

She said as of June 2007, Fish and Wildlife had spent a little more than $7.3 million on the recovery program, while releasing between 95 and 100 wolves into the wild.

Poll respondents also were asked if they knew “a lot,” “a little” or “nothing at all” about the wolf reintroduction program.

Among those polled, 48 percent said “a little,” while 31 percent said “a lot” and 20 percent said “nothing at all.”

The poll showed a statistical tie when people were asked if they supported killing or removing wolves that prey on three or more head of livestock during one year – 36 percent were opposed and 33 percent were in support.

According to the poll, 49 percent of voters agreed that livestock grazing is good for the environment.

An overwhelming majority (79 percent) said ranchers should receive help in reducing conflicts with wolves when it comes to taxpayer money paying for the program.

Catron County has called a special public meeting “to come up with a strategy to save our livelihoods, our pets, our livestock and our children” for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 9 at the Reserve Community Center.

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