Oct 31

Ethiopia’s endangered wolves are dying of rabies

Ethiopia’s endangered wolves are dying of rabies

Ethiopian Wolves, one of Ethiopia’s most endemic mammals, are currently dying because of a rabies outburst in the Bale Mountains National Park.

The main habitat for the Ethiopian Wolf are areas 3200 ms above sea level, namely Abune Josseph Mountain, Semine Mountains National Park, Guasa Menze Gera heather moorlands, Arsi and Bale Mountains. The planet’s around 300 individuals are expected to be found in the Bale Mountains, where the disease is currently raging.

After the deaths of the Ethiopian Wolves at the end of September, blood and tissue samples were sent to Addis Ababa Pastor Center for laboratory investigation and it was found that the cause for the deaths is rabies.

In order to control the outburst, a team of 10 people from Oromiya Agriculture Office, Ethiopian Wildlife conservation Authority and Ethiopian wolf Conservation Project went to the area to start a vaccination campaign. While the group was lead by Dr. Fikadu Sheferaw, Dr. Claudio Silerio, the Oxford University canine specialist, is among the members.

Even though an estimated hundred Ethiopian wolves are thought to be infected, the group managed to capture and vaccinate only 5 wolves up to yesterday.

Ethiopian wolves have a behavior of living in a family constituting up to 13 individuals; they are territorial.

The objective of the vaccination campaign is to separate and vaccinate uninfected animals in order to prevent further damage.

Ato Addisu Asefa, Biologist Bale Mountains National Park and a member of the team said that the spread of the disease is very worrying. He further explained that a similar outbreak in the year 2003 has killed almost 90 Ethiopian wolves while around 40 wolves died of distemper two years before

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Oct 31

SE: Queen defends husband over wolf row

Queen defends husband over wolf row

Queen Silvia has leapt to her husband’s defence after a prominent Swedish author ridiculed comments made in support of wolf hunting by King Carl Gustaf XVI, Aftonbladet reports.

In an interview with Sveriges Radio, the queen reacted angrily to Kerstin Ekman’s theory that the king had been drinking when he told journalists that he was not opposed to allowing the hunting of wolves in Sweden.

“I don’t know why anybody would ask an author who doesn’t know anything about wolves,” the queen said in an interview scheduled to be aired on Saturday.

Kerstin Ekman, a prizewinning author who recently wrote the screenplay for the Swedish movie Varg (Wolf), voiced her criticism of the king’s remarks in an article on the Newsmill website.

“The question is whether our king had knocked back a couple of drinks beforehand in light of his inarticulate and ill-considered comments on the issue of wild animals,” she wrote.

Comments by the king that the number of wolves in the country could “explode” if not kept in check also prompted concern from members of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), for which the king serves as honourary chair.

Wolves remain a protected species in Sweden with a pack size estimated to be around 200 wolves.

The WWF was quick to distance itself from the King’s remarks, arguing that Sweden’s wolf population was very much under control.

Sweden’s main hunting association, Svenska Jägareförbundet, has long called for a removal of the wolves’ protected status.

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Oct 31

CA: Wolf Warning Issued!

Wolf Warning Issued!

A warning today from the RCMP about wolves in Labrador. Residents in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mary’s Harbour are on high alert after several wolf sightings. Constable Peter MacIntyre says there have been recent wolf attacks against ducks and chickens and a dog was killed this week. The wolves first showed up during the summer. Pet owners are advised to keep their animals inside. MacIntyre says efforts by wildlife officials to trap the animals have failed and he believes they migrated recently. He says parents are asked to supervise their children closely this Halloween night. He says kids should be kept in sight. He says it appears the wolves are around more in the evenings than during the daytime.

And the Department of Natural Resources has issued similar warnings for Happy Valley-Goose Bay. They’re on call 24/7 and patrolling day and night. Officers have also set wolf traps and are encouraging anyone who sees a wolf to contact them at 896-3405.

Meantime, Olive told VOCM Night Line with Linda Swain she’s very concerned in the wake of the attack by two wolves that left the family’s 13 year old Husky dead. She says the wolves came into her father’s backyard where the dog was tied on. She says they managed to get the dog out of her collar and dragged her into the woods. She says she is afraid the public doesn’t know how serious the situation is.

Olive says she is very concerned for children this Halloween night.

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Oct 31

MT: 2 wolves killed southwest of Kalispell

2 wolves killed southwest of Kalispell

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) – Wildlife officials say they’ve killed two wolves in northwestern Montana after wolves killed livestock in the area earlier this month.

The wolves killed Tuesday west of Niarada were members of the Hog Heaven pack.

Kent Laudon, a wolf management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says the pack has five to seven members left.

Also Tuesday, a young female wolf was found dead near Murphy Lake in the Trego area. FWP wardens and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents are conducting a criminal investigation into the incident.

On Wednesday, USDA Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a cow on private land in the Big Hole Valley east of Wisdom.

The FWP authorized Wildlife Services to kill two wolves in the area, and issued a permit to the landowner to shoot two wolves.

On the net:

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf/default.html

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Oct 31

MT: New state agency releases payments for wolf kills

New state agency releases payments for wolf kills

By KARL PUCKETT
Tribune Staff Writer

Despite dwindling funds, a new state board charged with considering financial claims for livestock killed by wolves doled out $28,000 last week and approved an agreement allowing payments on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

George Edwards, program coordinator for the Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program, said the program’s long-term fate is unknown.

“I’m below $20,000 now in remaining funds,” he said.

If the state can’t reimburse ranchers for livestock losses to wolves, they will be “left holding the bag,” Edwards said.

The program was created in April to take over reimbursement duties from the not-for-profit Defenders of Wildlife after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned over management of wolves to the states.

The wolf has since been returned to the federal list of threatened and endangered species but the new livestock board still is in charge of the reimbursements.

“I’ve been paying claims all summer long,” Edwards said.

He reports to the seven-member Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board, which approved $28,000 worth of claims on Oct 24 for 125 sheep, five head of cattle and two goats.

The largest claim came from a producer southeast of Dillon, who lost 90 sheep, Edwards said.

At the same meeting, the board also approved an agreement with the Blackfeet Tribe that allows the state to reimburse for wolf depredation that occurs on tribal lands. Montana law prohibits payments for losses on tribal land until tribes have state-approved wolf-management plans, Edwards said.

The Blackfeet submitted a plan to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in July, which approved it, Edwards said.

The owners of two heifers killed west of Browning were the first producers on the reservation to receive payments, but Edwards is expecting more claims from the reservation.

“Now I don’t have to try to pinpoint through (Global Positioning System) coordinates whether it was on tribal land or not,” Edwards said.

He added he is working on a similar agreement with the Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.

Since the state reimbursement program started in April, Edwards or the board has authorized $62,828 in payments to 38 producers. Edwards said he handles most claims, bringing only the large or complicated cases before the board, which meets twice a year.

The Defenders of Wildlife kicked in $50,000 for the reimbursement program when its duties were turned over to the state, and has pledged another $50,000 infusion after Jan. 1. The Legislature also appropriated $30,000 for the program.

Edwards is trying to raise private funds for the program, but with little success. The Yellowstone Coalition has given $1,000, and a couple from Texas who attended the Northern International Livestock Expo in Billings gave $20.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has proposed a bill that would provide a 50 percent federal match for funds raised by the state agency, Edwards said. That provision is part of the omnibus bill, which has yet to be heard by the full Senate.

The Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Board also will form a legislative committee whose goal will be finding a lawmaker to carry legislation asking for additional state funding.

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Oct 30

SE: Hunters want to have a controlled hunt of 18 wolves

Hunters want to have a controlled hunt of 18 wolves


Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The Hunting League has applied for three wolves in six wolf areas in the counties of Värmland and Örebro, altogether 18 wolves. The Hunting League has demanded an appraisal of the wolf population’s effects of the Environmental Department.

The reason is that the government’s goal of 200 wolves has been reached. An inventory which the Wildlife Center did shows there are now between 230 and 240 wolves in Sweden.

In a press release, Torsten Mörner, head of the League, that the wolf population ought to be held to and unaltered level until the Natural Resources committee investigates the question of a future administration of the population. The Hunting League wants to shoot a total of 18 wolves over six wolf territories.

Jägare vill ha skyddsjakt på 18 vargar

Jägareförbundet har ansökt om skyddsjakt på tre vargar i sex vargrevir bland annat i Värmland och Örebro län, sammanlagt 18 vargar. Jägareförbundet har dessutom begärt en utvärdering av vargstammens effekter hos Miljödepartementet.

Anledningen är att regeringens etappmål på 200 vargar har uppnåtts. En inventering som Viltskadecenter gjort visar att det nu finns mellan 230 och 240 vargar i Sverige.

I ett pressmeddelande säger förbundsordföranden Torsten Mörner att man bör hålla vargstammen på en oförändrad nivå tills det att Naturvårdsverket utrett frågan om en framtida förvaltning av stammen. Jägarförbundet vill därför skjuta totalt 18 varg fördelat på sex vargrevir.

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Oct 30

SE: The wolf population gets new, fresh blood

The wolf population gets new, fresh blood


Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The heavily inbred Swedish wolf population has been provided with new, fresh blood. The DNA test from wolf droppings in Hälsningland shows that the Russian-Finnish female wolf who wandered into Sweden has had pups this year.

Olof Liberg, coordinator for the Scandinavian wolf research project Skandulv, says that this is the first time since 1993 that a litter was born without signs of inbreeding in the country.

The Swedish wolf population was founded by a single wolf pair in the 1980s. Since then only one other wolf assisted in the population’s genetic composition, a male who wandered in from the east and is the origin of three litters in 1991-1993.

All wolves in the country originate from only three individual wolves and the need for new genetic material has been acute for a long time.

DNA from droppings

The hope grew when yet another male from the east showed up near Pessinki in Norrbotten in the fall of 2006. He wandered southwards slowly and paired up with a female near Galven in Hälsingland. It is suspected that pups were born this spring, but no one knew anything with certainty before the DNA analysis of the droppings was confirmed.

“We had a little luck. Three droppings were gathered and one of them was from the Pessinki wolf and from the female. But the third showed itself to be from an offspring from the two, a male pup,” says Olof Liberg.

Genetically valuable pups

The wolf family, who is in a thinly populated region in inner Hälsingland, is wholly intact presently. In the neighboring region near Voxnan a controlled hunt of a wolf was permitted last year when the wolves destroyed a number of dogs. But in Galven there have been no conflicts with humans so far. It is very important that the family continues intact and further get the chance to reproduce more.

“The more litters, the better. It will be interesting when the first tracking snow comes to see how many pups they had this year,” says Olof Liberg.

Vargstammen får nytt, fräscht blod

Den svårt inavlade svenska vargstammen har tillförts nytt, fräscht blod. DNA-prover från vargspillning i Hälsingland visar att den rysk-finska varghannen som tidigare vandrade in i Sverige har fått valpar i år.

Olof Liberg, koordinator för det skandinaviska vargforskningsprojektet Skandulv, säger att detta är första gången sedan 1993 som det fötts en valpkull utan inavelstecken i landet.

Den svenska stammen grundades av ett enda vargpar på 1980-talet. Sedan dess har bara ytterligare en varg bidragit till stammens genetiska sammansättning – en hanne som vandrade in österifrån och gav upphov till tre valpkullar 1991-1993.

Alla vargar i landet härstammar alltså från endast tre individer och behovet av nytt genetiskt material har varit akut länge.

DNA från spillning

Hoppet växte när ännu en hanne österifrån dök upp vid Pessinki i Norrbotten hösten 2006. Han vandrade så småningom söderut och bildade par med en hona vid Galven i Hälsingland. Misstankar om att valpar föddes i våras har funnits, men ingen visste något med säkerhet förrän DNA-analyserna av spillningen var klara.

- Vi hade lite tur. Tre spillningar insamlades och en av dem var från Pessinki-vargen och en från honan. Men den tredje visade sig vara från en avkomma till de två, en hanvalp, säger Olof Liberg.

Genetiskt värdefulla valpar

Vargfamiljen, som håller till i ett glesbefolkat område i inre Hälsingland, är helt intakt i dagsläget. I grannreviret vid Voxnan tilläts skyddsjakt på en varg i fjol sedan vargarna rivit ett antal hundar. Men i Galven har än så länge inga konflikter med människor uppstått. Det är mycket viktigt att familjen förblir intakt och helst får chansen att fortplanta sig fler gånger.

- Ju fler kullar, desto bättre. Det ska bli intressant att när den första spårsnön kommer se hur många valpar de fått i år, säger Olof Liberg.

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Oct 30

NM: Wolf being released in southwestern NM

Wolf being released in southwestern NM

BEAVERHEAD, N.M. (AP) – A Mexican gray wolf removed from the wild as a pup is being turned loose next week in the Gila National Forest.

The release of male wolf No. 922 is intended to increase the wolf population in the Gila. The Interagency Field Team hopes the wolf also will help them locate female wolves in the forest.

Collared wolves such as No. 922 can lead biologists to other wolves that have never been collared.

Marty Frentzel of the Game and Fish Department in Santa Fe says it’s 1 of the ways the term determines if there are uncollared wolves or wolves with nonfunctioning collars.

The wolf was born in New Mexico in 2005. Frentzel says he was removed from the wild as a pup when his parents were removed for depredation.

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Oct 30

AK: A call to provide broader protection for Denali wolves

A call to provide broader protection for Denali wolves

Posted in Alaska News

There’s a new call for additional protection of Denali National Park wolves that stray outside the park boundary. Wildlife scientist Gordon Haber and University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner have teamed on a letter sent to the state’s Fish and Game Commissioner requesting emergency expansion of an existing protective buffer zone on state land north and east of the park.

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

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Oct 30

MT: New book covers 16 years of MSU research in Yellowstone Park

New book covers 16 years of MSU research in Yellowstone Park

By EVELYN BOSWELL
For the Tribune

BOZEMAN — A multitude of findings about life in the heart of Yellowstone National Park are described in a new book covering 16 years of Montana State University research.

The book titled “The Ecology of Large Mammals in Central Yellowstone: Sixteen Years of Integrated Field Studies” covers many of the large charismatic animals that receive national and international attention, said editor and MSU ecologist Robert A. Garrott. It also deals with ecological processes that interest the general public, scientists, policy makers and park managers.

Wolves were reintroduced halfway through the study, so the researchers were able to document their effect on the behavior and population dynamics of elk and bison, Garrott said. As the park’s winter recreation policy became controversial, the scientists also became involved in studying wildlife responses to snowmobiles and snowcoaches and the potential effects of grooming the roads in winter on bison migration and movement patterns.

The purpose of the book is to provide readers a synthesis of a diverse body of research, Garrott said. He added that the effort was unique in its length and breadth.

Initial chapters describe characteristics of the landscape, climate, precipitation and snow pack dynamics. The core of the book presents several studies on elk, bison and wolf ecology and the interactions mong them. The authors conclude with an introspective discussion of the strengths and limitations of science to contribute to the contentious debates about wildlife and natural resource management in Yellowstone.

“My hope is that lots of people can pick up the book and understand everything we did, what we learned, what we didn’t learn, the surprises and the uncertainties about where the system is going in the future,” Garrott said. “The themes are ecological processes that are pervasive in all ecosystems and communities throughout the world.”

Garrott edited the book with P. J. White, his long-time collaborator and the supervisory wildlife biologist in Yellowstone, and Fred G.R. Watson, an earth systems scientists from California State University, Monterey Bay. Garrott also oversaw and coordinated the work of approximately 66 scientists and professionals and 15 graduate students whose research is explained in the book.

“It was difficult to keep collaborations going for 16 years and keep it integrated, but we worked really hard on it,” Garrott said.

The book demonstrates the value of long-term interdisciplinary collaborations, Garrott continued. Researchers in MSU’s College of Letters and Science worked with scientists in the College of Agriculture, for example. Research projects not only involved MSU, but the National Park Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and other state and federal agencies. Eight of the book’s 30 chapters represent doctoral theses of Garrott’s students. Jason Bruggeman, one of those students, focused on bison movements. Matt Becker studied wolf predation. Claire Gower studied elk behavior in response to wolves.

Garrott started the Yellowstone research in 1991 while a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He continued it after moving to MSU in 1995.

As a new professor, he didn’t want to muscle his way into the crowd of researchers already established on Yellowstone’s northern range, so he focused on the park’s interior, Garrott said. It was a unique, diverse and largely-ignored area that includes the range of the largest migratory populations of bison in North America. It’s also home to a unique non-migratory elk population associated with geothermal environments.

He suspects few researchers wanted to work in the harsh and isolated winter conditions in the park’s interior, Garrott said. Garrott, who had research experience in the Arctic and Antarctica, was undeterred.

“I saw really exciting opportunities that nobody seemed to recognize or just didn’t care to pursue,” Garrott said. “It was a good place for a new professor.”

Garrott and his teams of researchers were able to work relatively unnoticed for a decade until the arrival of the controversies surrounding wolves and winter recreation, Garrott continued. Suddenly, people who had been concerned about the debates of over-population of elk and bison focused their attention on these new issues. The profile of MSU’s research raised dramatically.

While the Yellowstone book is academic in nature, it is written and organized in a manner that will be useful to scientists, resource managers, policy makers, students and anyone interested in wildlife ecology, Garrott said. More than 100 color charts, maps and photos are interspersed over 736 pages.

The book — published by Elsevier in its Academic Press Terrestrial Ecology Series — is available through Amazon.com for $99.95.

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