Dec 31

SE: Wolf area in the Lisjö region?

Wolf area in the Lisjö region?

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The male wolf which was found recently frozen in the ice on Lake Gryten near Lisjö in Surahammar, could have created a family pack. Wildlife researcher Olof Liberg says to VLT that the wolf ought to be at least two years old and at that age have most created their own territory, he says.

The county government in Västmanland estimates that today there are up to 11 wolves in the county over two areas. The total in the country ought to be between 180 and 200 wolves.

Vargrevir i Lisjötrakten?

Den varghanne som nyligen hittades död fastfrusen i isen på sjön Gryten nära Lisjö i Surahammar, kan ha bildat familj. Viltforskaren Olof Liberg säger till VLT att vargen bör vara minst två år gammal och i den åldern har de flesta bildat ett eget revir, säger han.

Länsstyrelsen i Västmanland bedömer att det idag finns upp mot elva vargar i länet fördelade på två revir. Totalt i landet bör det finnas mellan 180 och 200 vargar.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 31

Wyoming might be left behind in wolf delisting

Wyoming might be left behind in wolf delisting

BY: Kevin Bottrell

Wyoming’s wolf management plan is again coming under fire as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has informed Gov. Dave Freudenthal that they will exclude Wyoming from their plan to remove the grey wolf from the Endangered Species List.

While it was speculated that wolves might be delisted in early December after the end of the public comment period set up by the FWS, no delisting proposal has materialized. This week, Grey Wolf Recovery Coordinator Ed Bangs said the wolf delisting may take place after the first of the year.

Federal regulations require that Montana, Idaho and Wyoming each have a federally approved wolf management plan before any delisting takes place. Although no formal action has been taken to remove federal approval from Wyoming’s current wolf plan, Freudenthal’s office has said it was informed by the FWS that Wyoming would have to alter the dual classification system.

This system, which would classify wolves as trophy animals in the northwestern part of the state and as predatory animals in the rest of the state, has been at the center of the dispute over delisting from the start. In 2003, FWS rejected the plan, saying it didn’t adequately protect the minimum number of wolves. FWS then approved the plan in 2007. Earlier this year, a district court judge in Montana ordered the wolves to be relisted in part due to Wyoming’s dual classification rule, finding that FWS’s decision to approve Wyoming’s plan was arbitrary.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 30

SA: Wolf hunting a popular pastime in Yanbu

Wolf hunting a popular pastime in Yanbu

Muhammad Al-Sheikh | Arab News —

YANBU: The view is like something out of a Wild West movie. As one approaches this crooked tree located by the side of a dusty and busy highway around 75 kilometers outside Yanbu, one cannot help but notice dead furry animals hanging from its branches by their legs.

As one comes closer, it becomes apparent that the furry beasts are local wolves, killed and strung up on Yanbu’s infamous “Lynch Tree” as a warning to their packs that this would be their fate if they attacked livestock.

Hunting wolves is a popular sport among the tribal people living in this part of Saudi Arabia, something that men often boast to their friends and relatives. The hunters’ pride is justified, as it is difficult to kill wolves, which operate in packs very cautiously.

“This is a famous tree, which is locally known as the Lynch Tree,” said Hameed Al-Sulami, who lives in Kamil. “I’ve killed six wolves and hung them on the tree over the past few years … people who hunt wolves bring them to this tree and hang them here. The bodies stay here until they decompose and fall off or someone with a fresh kill takes one down to hang a new one,” he added.

People traveling long distances stop by the tree to see wolves killed. Shepherds and farmers hate wolves, which attack in packs causing numerous fatalities in a single attack. Wolves are extremely careful and organize their attacks to ensure they get their targets, they say.

Ahmad Al-Juhani, 50, said the dead wolves are hung from the top of the trees to drive other wolves away from farms. “When wolves see a dead beast hanging from a tree or smell its blood, they simply leave the area and do not return for ages,” he said.

“However, I condemn the random killing of wolves. They’re an important element of the country’s wildlife. I’ve killed six wolves in total, but all of them were in self-defense,” Al-Juhani added.

Khaled Al-Harbi, from Yanbu, said there are many lynch trees in the area. “There’s probably one in each valley. They’re not just for wolves, they’re also aimed at other predators in the area,” he said.

“It’s untrue that wolf hunters hang wolves off trees to show off. Most hunters tend to be livestock owners whose animals have been attacked by wolves. They place them on trees in revenge to drive other wolves away,” he added.

Ali Al-Bugaili, a hunter, said hunting wolves is something that he enjoys. “It’s a brilliant sport,” he said. “Most often wolf hunting takes place at night because wolves come out at night, as it’s a perfect time not to be seen by farmers, shepherds and their prey. Shepherds, on the other hand, are ready with loaded weapons waiting for the unexpected,” he said.

“Wolves are smart creatures and they can sense human beings easily. They smell us from a distance. Hunting wolves after overcoming these obstacles is very difficult. I can’t describe the joy I feel when I kill one,” he added.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 30

SE: Controlled hunt has begun

Controlled hunt has begune hunt has begun

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The controlled hunt for a wolf in the Herrestad region has begun.

Forty or so hand chosen hunters will carry out the hunt for a wolf which has killed several dogs. Yesterday a strategy was selected.

On Monday the County government in Västra Götaland and the hunters met in Uddevalla in order to plan how the protective hunt for a wolf in Herrestad mountain region should be carried out.

On December 22 the Natural Resources Agency gave permission to carry out the controlled hunt for a wolf within the so-called Herrestad mountain region.

The region touches parts of the Uddevala, Färgelanda and Munkedal communities. It is the hunters who are active in the area who are given the possibility that through a maximum of 14 days in January to hunt one of the wolves which caused five or six dogs’ death.

A special hunt leader has been appointed by the County government. Below the hunt leader there are four persons, representatives the four different hunting areas which are affected. The County government wrote this in a press release.

Snow is needed. This is in order to be able to track the correct wolf and in order that the hunt will be able to be carried out in a good way.

Skyddsjakten har inletts

Skyddsjakten på en varg i Herrestadsreviret har inletts.

Ett fyrtiotal handplockade jägare ska genomföra jakten på en varg som har dödat flera hundar. I går lade man upp strategin.

På måndagen träffades Länsstyrelsen i Västra Götaland och jägarna i Uddevalla för att planera hur skyddsjakten på en varg i Herrestadsfjällsreviret ska gå till.

Den 22 december gav Naturvårdsverket tillstånd att bedriva skyddsjakt på en varg inom det så kallade Herrestadsfjällsreviret.

Reviret berör delar av Uddevalla, Färgelanda och Munkedals kommuner. Det är jägarna som är verksamma i området som getts möjlighet att under högst 14 jaktdagar i januari månad jaga en av de vargar som orsakat fem eller sex hundars död.

En särskild jaktledare har utsetts av Länsstyrelsen. Under jaktledaren finns fyra personer, representerande de fyra olika jaktvårdskretsar som är berörda. Det skriver Länsstyrelsen i ett pressmeddelande.

Omkring 40-50 personer kommer att handplockas för att genomföra jakten. En förutsättning är att dessa personer har jakträtt inom del av det aktuella området. Jakten får ske på annans mark enligt Naturvårdsverkets beslut.

Tillgång på snö är en förutsättning. Detta för att kunna spåra rätt varg och för att jakten ska kunna utföras på ett bra sätt.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 30

SE: Protest against demand of wolf hunt

Protest against demand of wolf hunt

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

The Predatory Animal Society and Animal Protection Sweden objects that the Swedish Hunters League requested to get to shoot 18 wolves in six regions in order to reduce the wolf population.

In a letter to the government and the Natrual Resources Agency the groups believe that the Hunters League mistakenly has itself as spokesman for all residents in the wolf regions. Moreover, the Predatory Animal Society and the Animal Protection group considers that the Hunters League’s low tolerance goes against several major instances of referrals.

Protest mot krav på vargjakt

Svenska Rovdjursföreningen och Djurskyddet Sverige invänder mot att Svenska Jägareförbundet begärt att få skjuta 18 vargar i sex revir för att minska vargstammen.

I en skrivelse till regeringen och Naturvårdsverket menar föreningarna att Jägareförbundet felaktigt gör sig till talesman för alla boende i vargrevir. Dessutom anser Rovdjursföreningen och Djurskyddet att Jägareförbundets låga tolerans för tillväxt i vargstammen går i strid med flera tunga remissinstanser.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

SE: Boys found a wolf frozen in the ice

Boys found a wolf frozen in the ice

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

Two boys in Surahammar made a remarkable find on Monday. They found a dead wolf frozen in Gryten lake outside Lisjö in Surahammar. Grownups took out the frozen predator by sawing up a large block of ice. Then the police fetched the wolf and dragged it to the police station in Västerås on a wagon.

“It is a large wolf, it probably weighs a good bit over 50 kg.. We did not get it in the car but got permission to take it on a wagon,” says thomas Gustafsson, commander of the police county communications center in Västmanland.

“The wolf looks totally undamaged. It has possibly lain there a long time, since the beginning of December when the ice was thin. Probably it went through the ice and became lying down,” says Thomas Gustafsson.

Now the wolf lays outside in the police station’s grounds in Västerås, awaiting for examination at the National Veterinary Medicine institute in Uppsala.

Pojkar fann varg fastfrusen i isen

Två pojkar i Surahammar gjorde ett märkligt fynd på måndagen. De fann en död varg fastfrusen i sjön Gryten utanför Lisjö i Surahammar. Vuxna fick upp det infrysta rovdjuret genom att såga upp ett stort isblock. Sedan hämtade polisen vargen och körde den på släpkärra till polishuset i Västerås.

– Det är en riktigt stor varg, väger nog en bra bit över 50 kilo. Vi fick inte in den i bilen utan fick lov att ta den på släpkärra, säger Thomas Gustafsson, befäl vid polisen länskommunikationscentral i Västmanland.

– Vargen såg helt oskadd ut. Den har förmodligen legat länge, sedan början av december då isen var tunn. Antagligen har den då gått genom isen och blivit liggande, säger Thomas Gustafsson.

Nu vilar vargen utomhus på polishusets område i Västerås, i väntan på undersökning vid Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt i Uppsala.

Monica Elfström


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 29

WY: Gray wolves becoming star attraction at Yellowstone

Gray wolves becoming star attraction at Yellowstone

More than 350 now roam the park

William Kronholm

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.(AP) – It is a sunny winter afternoon, and Simond Raymond has a problem.

His flight home to Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland leaves this evening from Bozeman, Mont. But at the moment, Raymond is standing in the snow of the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park, 120 miles away.

He must get his rental car over 30 miles of twisty mountain road, much of it snowpacked and icy, before even reaching the main highway, then another 90 miles, including a mountain pass, to the airport.

How late, he asks, can he delay his departure from Yellowstone? How far can he push his luck before he must leave? After 10 straight days of wolf-watching, how many more minutes can he squeeze in on this snowy, remote roadway, in hopes of just one more sighting?

Still, he assures me, it has been a successful trip.

“We’ve seen wolves every day,” he says, smiling. “Sometimes the weather is very bad — but we saw the wolves.”

Raymond fits into a category of Yellowstone visitor that did not exist 15 years ago — the wolf-watcher.

After being wiped out in the park early in the 20th century, 31 gray wolves were re-introduced in 1995 and 1996. They flourished. Today, more than 350 of their descendants roam the park and surrounding area, preying on the abundant elk, deer and bison.

When they were first released, some experts predicted they would fade quickly into the Yellowstone backcountry and sightings would be rare.

But the opposite happened. Wolves quickly learned that humans seldom left the ribbons of asphalt through the park, and that binoculars and spotting scopes fired no bullets. They learned to ignore people, as long as they weren’t approached, and Yellowstone frontcountry — that area visible from the road — simply became another part of their turf.

Wolf-watching began almost immediately after the first wolves were released from acclimation pens, and some people became addicted. They have become a subculture of Yellowstone — enthusiasts from afar who devote their vacations, and locals who devote their days off — to watching and recording wolf behavior in the park.

The combination of wolves cavorting close to the road and a dedicated cadre of amateur wolf experts has helped make wolf-watching one of Yellowstone’s favorite activities. Longtime wolf-watchers usually are happy to share their expertise with other visitors, explaining wolf activity and often offering to let visitors use their already-aimed, high-powered spotting scopes.

And winter is a prime time for watching wolves. Deep snow in the high country drives elk and deer down into the valleys. Wolves and their prey are easier to spot against the snowy background. And crowds are almost nonexistent.

The best wolf-watching is in northeastern Yellowstone, in the Lamar Valley. While success in finding and viewing wolves involves both persistence and luck, it is not a difficult pursuit.

Like other predators, wolves are most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Given Yellowstone’s short winter days, being in the Lamar Valley early and late is not onerous, but it requires a measure of dedication. Once there, watch for people clustered around spotting scopes on tripods in roadway turnouts. They will be your best sources of information.

Don’t be abrupt or demanding in seeking their guidance. Wolf-watchers are not paid to be tour guides; they are in the Lamar for their own enjoyment, and their expensive scopes are for their own use. A friendly and respectful approach can yield tips, stories, pointers and a chance to watch wolves through their spotting scopes; demands may draw nothing but a shrug.

If no wolves are visible, ask around. Many hard-core wolf-watchers stay in touch by two-way radio, and they may know of activity elsewhere in the valley. They may also know of a wolf pack frequenting a different part of the valley at a different time of day; plan to be there.

For those who want a more structured approach, a great option is to enroll in a course offered by the Yellowstone Association Institute.

The Yellowstone Association,, is the nonprofit educational group affiliated with the park that operates book stores at visitor centers around the park; its institute offers courses all year ranging from one to several days on various Yellowstone topics, including wolves.

The association maintains a field station in the Lamar Valley called the Buffalo Ranch — buffalo were indeed raised there a century ago, when a different philosophy governed the parks — complete with winterized cabins for rent. Classes are based there and at Mammoth Hot Springs; courses are limited to adults and, in some cases, teenagers.

Prices vary, but average roughly $150 per person per day, plus lodging.

When I met Raymond last winter, my wife and I were on a short wolf-watching excursion during a trip otherwise devoted to cross-country skiing. He was standing with a group of other wolf-watchers, but there were no wolves around. I wasn’t surprised; it was early afternoon, not prime wolf viewing time.

In fact, the best my wife and I managed this trip was hearing a wolf howl close to a backcountry ski trail as we passed by, and finding the antlers and scattered, still-bloody bones of a huge bull elk along another ski trail.

But living only three hours from Yellowstone, we make frequent trips to the park in winter, and our wolf sightings over the years have been memorable.

There was one occasion when we watched with delight as a full pack of wolves played “king on the boulder” less than 50 yards from the Lamar Valley road. One wolf stood atop a 3-foot-high boulder while others in the pack charged and leapt, trying to knock him off and take his place. Their play went on for hours, to a thrilled audience.

More serious was the small pack of wolves we once watched that casually circled a cow elk grazing by herself in the Lamar. They did not charge. They simply surrounded her slowly, cut off all her avenues of escape, and then lay down in the snow, waiting, waiting, waiting ….

And in their waiting, they provided a matchless view into the natural world of Yellowstone.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 28

UK: If you go down to the woods…

If you go down to the woods…

Support is growing for ‘rewilding’, which could see bears, wolves and elk roaming Britain

Jonathan Leake, Environment Editor

You are on safari amid lynx, bears and elk. The wetlands around you are dominated by small lakes created by beaver dams. In the distance a wolf howls.

Nothing unusual perhaps – except that this is not northern Canada but Scotland sometime in the near future.

Down in the Lake District, the neat fields and walls that make the area one of Britain’s most manicured “wildernesses” are also changing. The native woodlands of the Ennerdale valley are spreading, Highland cattle have replaced sheep and there has even been talk of reintroducing beaver and bison.

Welcome to rewilding, a movement that is radicalising conservation biology, turning what had been a scientific backwater into one of its most controversial areas. What the rewilders want is nothing less than the reversal of thousands of years of domestication, returning vast tracts of countryside to the way they looked thousands of years ago. They believe the best way to achieve this is by bringing back the biggest and fiercest animals of all – the elk, wolves, lynx and even bears that roamed Britain 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene era.

It sounds extreme but some of Britain’s most respected wildlife and conservation organisations, including the National Trust, are buying into the idea.

This week the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, which already supports the reintroduction of beaver to Scotland, will suggest northern Britain could support about 450 lynx.

Early next year Natural England, the government’s conservation watchdog, will ask its board to consider making rewilding part of its formal policy for protecting our natural heritage.

“Rewilding is an idea whose time has come,” said Keith Kirby, a woodland and forestry officer for Natural England. “For a long time conservation has been fighting a rearguard battle, simply trying to save species threatened with extinction and reduce the damage caused by humans. Now we need to look at things more holistically, preserving and recreating entire landscapes and habitats.”

Such ideas may sound attractive – but they raise many questions, especially in a country as crowded as Britain. Will the public really accept sharing the countryside with potentially dangerous mammals?

Some of the answers may be emerging from Alladale, a 23,000-acre estate in Sutherland, northern Scotland, where Paul Lister is creating what he hopes will become one of Europe’s best wildlife reserves.

Lister, a multi-millionaire, has already released wild boar on to the estate and earlier this year imported two young European elk from Sweden to found what he hopes will become a breeding herd. In coming years, he wants to reintroduce beavers, wolves, lynx and brown bears.

Lister has found himself facing powerful opposition. Farmers worry that his animals will escape; ramblers fear they will be blocked from Alladale’s footpaths or attacked by wild animals. It shows that in Britain we may profess a love of wildlife – but the idea of dealing with a real wilderness is highly controversial.

“The Highlands are considered one of Europe’s last great areas of wilderness, yet much of the flora and fauna that once thrived here has been driven to extinction by the activities of man,” said Lister.

Even the beautiful mountain-scapes of northern and western Britain are unnatural, a result of ancient forest clearances. Bears disappeared 900 years ago; lynx died out in medieval times; and the last wolf was shot in Scotland in 1743.

The inspiration for rewilding comes largely from America, where in one scheme wolves have been reintroduced to Yellowstone national park. However, the much larger open spaces of the US mean animals can roam without coming across humans.

A more comparable example lies in the Netherlands. Oost-vaardersplassen is a 14,000-acre tract of uninhabited fen, scrub woodland and wild grassland that was reclaimed from the sea just 40 years ago and set aside for wildlife. The reserve offers Europe the best glimpse of the Pleistocene it might wish for, with ancient breeds such as Heck cattle and Konik horses already living there and plans to introduce European bison.

In Britain, private landowners have been keenest to adopt such ideas. In West Sussex, the 3,500-acre Knepp castle estate, owned by Sir Charles Burrell, has abandoned modern farming methods and removed nearly all the fences to allow Old English Longhorn cattle, Exmoor ponies, Tamworth pigs and fallow deer to roam at will through the spreading undergrowth.

Conservation bodies were a little slower climbing aboard but the National Trust, Britain’s largest landowner, is adopting the same “let nature take its course” approach. At Ennerdale it is working to replace sheep with hardy cattle, remove exotic trees and push for a switch to organic farming, while in Cambridgeshire it is trying to recreate ancient wetlands around Wicken fen.

The one thing played down in most of these schemes, however, is any mention of the reintroduction of wild animals, especially large predators.

The experience of people around the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire shows why. They have been pestered by growing numbers of wild boar, whose population has grown rapidly after a handful of animals were released into the wild. Some churned up the turf of a football club’s pitch, others attacked passing horse riders, and one had to be shot after its visits to a primary school became aggressive. The Forestry Commission last week announced that it had sent rangers from the area to Germany, where there is greater experience of dealing with boar.

Concerns about similar problems have affected Britain’s most ambitious rewilding project, the release early next year of four families of beavers into the countryside in Knapdale forest, mid-Argyll.

Beavers were once common throughout Britain but were exterminated for their fur and because their dams and tree-cutting make woodlands awkward for humans. For rewilders, they are an important species – their engineering opens up woodlands, creating glades and encouraging the growth of fruit-bearing bushes needed by other creatures. If they survive in Britain’s woodlands, then eventually many other species might follow.

It has taken 10 years to persuade the Scottish executive and local people to accept the idea of beavers being introduced – and most rewilders are understandably cautious about talk of wolves. Some, however, cannot restrain their enthusiasm.

David MacDonald, director of the wildlife conservation research unit at Oxford University, said: “The reintroduction means we could see beavers impacting woodland ecology for the first time in 400 years. It is very exciting to think of the other species for which they could pave the way.”

This week the People’s Trust for Endangered Species will publish a report by MacDonald showing that Scotland could support a population of 450 lynx, a medium-sized cat that preys on small mammals and deer, in northern and central Scotland. The prospect of lynx roaming wild is far less frightening than it may sound. Such creatures seldom cause problems for humans.

For true rewilders, the real aim is to restore all lost species – including dangerous ones. Peter Taylor, a founder of the Wildland Network, which campaigns for the reintroduction of larger creatures, said: “The most wild experience available for a human becomes the unarmed walk into territory where humans are not only not in control, but also not the top predator. That frisson of risk and vulnerability marks the transition from a tame landscape to a truly wild one.”

With leading organisations backing rewilding, that may not be as wild a prospect as it seems.


Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 26

CN: Great Wall wolf to be resettled in mountains

Great Wall wolf to be resettled in mountains

FORESTRY workers have caught a wild wolf near Badaling, a section of the Great Wall in northern Beijing, ending widespread fear among residents and travelers.

The adult wolf, caught on Tuesday afternoon, is being kept at a nearby safari park and will be later freed in uninhabited mountains away from the Great Wall, said a spokesman with the forestry department in Beijing’s rural Yanqing County.

“We’ll put it under quarantine for a couple of days to ensure it is healthy,” the spokesman said.

Zoo workers said the wolf appeared healthy and was fed raw meat.

It was caught with a tranquilizer dart while it was eating bait at one of the traps forestry workers set in the mountains close to the wall.

“We were certain the wolf was alone. Probably it left its companions to search for food,” said forestry worker Zhang Wenzhu.

Rumors that a wolf was wandering near the Great Wall caused widespread fear among residents over the past week.

“We set many traps in the nearby mountains last Friday, when we received a digital image of the wolf-like animal shot by a villager,” said the forestry spokesman.

“We wouldn’t have interfered had it been seen in a remote place,” he said. “But we cannot put the safety of the Great Wall visitors at risk.”

A survey conducted in 2000 found about 20 wolves in the mountains north of Beijing, said Wang Minzhong, a chief wildlife preservation specialist with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry.

Wolves disappeared from the Beijing area in the 1950s, but there were occasional reports from farmers who had spotted the animals.



Posted in Uncategorized
Dec 25

SE: Watch cameras for wolves and lynx

Watch cameras for wolves and lynx

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

Dals-Ed commune in Västra Götaland has received permission to set up four watch cameras which will document wolves and lynx behavior by attacked prey animals.

The cameras kan film in both light and dark and will be a complement to the traditional tracking when there is snow.

Kameraövervakning av vargar och lodjur

Dals-Eds kommun i Västra Götaland har fått tillstånd att sätta upp fyra övervakningskameror som ska dokumentera vargar ock lodjurs beteende vid slagna bytesdjur.

Kamerorna kan filma i både ljus och mörker och ska vara ett komplement till den traditionella spårningen när det finns snö.


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