Feb 28

AK: Board of Game ponders wolf trapping in Denali buffer zone

Board of Game ponders wolf trapping in Denali buffer zone

by Tim Mowry

FAIRBANKS — Priscilla Feral spent a full day flying to Fairbanks from Connecticut to speak before the Alaska Board of Game for five minutes on Saturday, even though she doesn’t think it will do any good.

It was the least she could do for Gordon Haber.

Feral, president of Friends of Animals, one of the country’s most prolific animal-rights groups and based in Connecticut, showed up Saturday to testify in support of expanding a 122-square-mile buffer zone. The zone sits on state land in the northeast corner of Denali National Park and Preserve, and trapping wolves is prohibited in the buffer zone.

It was Haber, a well-known biologist who studied Denali wolves for more than 40 years with funding from Feral’s group, who originally proposed the buffer zone that the Board of Game adopted in 2000. The board reduced it to its current size in 2004. Haber died in a plane crash while tracking wolves in Denali in October.

“Gordon’s gone, and I don’t know how to fill his footsteps, but I can start by showing up,” Feral said following her testimony.

“What I’m doing is framing what he taught me over 17 years of his work and trying to give it some hope. We want to organize a movement here to keep some decent protection areas for wolves around the Denali area,” she said.

The Denali buffer zone, as it is commonly called, was the hot topic of discussion on the opening day of public testimony Saturday on day two of the game board’s 10-day meeting in Fairbanks. Feral’s presence at the meeting only turned up the heat.

The game board is considering proposals to expand and/or eliminate the buffer zone, which has been a point of contention for trappers since it was created.

Critics argue there is no biological reason for having the buffer zone because there are plenty of wolves — about 70 at last count — to see in Denali Park while advocates say the zone protects wolves near the park road that have become “habituated” and are “tolerant” of humans, which makes them easier to trap.

Out of place

With long blonde hair and wearing a white, long-sleeve shirt, gold necklace, brown pants and black boots that seemed out of place in a crowd dominated by camouflage and Carhartts, Feral sat behind a microphone facing the board and pleaded for protection of Denali wolves.

“At Friends of Animals, we acknowledge the inherent value of wolves,” she said. “Regardless whether we deem them endangered or plentiful, and whether or not we see them and believe they are beautiful, their individual lives and their freedom have meaning to them.”

Feral went on to rehash the importance of Haber’s research, quoting from papers he wrote. She said a few trappers benefit by trapping wolves that cross park boundaries while thousands of summertime tourists potentially lose out on an opportunity to see a wolf.

“These trappers exploit their legal ability to reduce Denali’s wolves to ruffs for the hoods of winter parkas, arguing that such deaths assure more moose and caribou for human hunters,” she said.

After her testimony, Feral admitted she didn’t expect the Board of Game to pass any of the proposals to expand, or even retain, the buffer zone, especially after hearing board chairman Cliff Judkins compare Denali wolves to “mangy dogs walking down the road” during a National Park Service presentation on Friday. She likened the Board of Game meeting to “an NRA meeting.”

“I’ve never spoken before a board in which the chairman made such rude remarks about wolves,” Feral said. “I find it frightening.”

Even so, Feral said she plans to keep up the fight for Denali wolves and plans to attend future Board of Game meetings in Fairbanks.

“I’m devoted to not quitting,” she said.

Differing views

Coke Wallace of Healy, one of the trappers Feral was referring to in her testimony, urged the board to get rid of the buffer zone during his five-minute testimony.

“We’ve got a park that’s already as large as most of the states on the eastern seaboard,” said Wallace, whose trapping exploits have been publicly targeted by Feral’s group. “These aren’t buffer zones. They’re extensions of the park.”

Alaska Trappers Association president Randy Zarnke also spoke in favor of eliminating the buffer zone. His organization resents the term “park wolves,” he said.

“Those wolves do not belong to the park, it’s employees or the federal government, but rather to the (residents) of the state of Alaska,” Zarnke said. “They should be managed for our greatest benefit.”

That’s precisely why Denali wolves should be protected, said Rick Steiner, a 35-year Alaskan and retired marine scientist from Anchorage.

“If the object is to provide the maximum value of a wildlife resource, in Alaska the highest value of park wolves is to keep them protected for the 400,000 people who visit the park,” said Steiner, who has picked up Haber’s torch. “The viewing opportunities at Denali Park are extraordinary. It’s one of the best places in the world to see wolves.”

Vic Van Ballenberghe, a retired wildlife biologist who has been conducting moose research in the park for 36 years, spoke in favor of the buffer zone. Wolves in Denali Park can offer spectacular viewing opportunities, even if they are habituated, he said.

“I kind of liken Denali to the wolf equivalent of McNeil River Falls,” Van Ballenberghe, a former Board of Game member, said, referring to the popular bear viewing area. “It’s a wonderful viewing opportunity, and I think we need to do whatever it takes to protect it.”

Pete Buist, a trapper and former Board of Game member from Fairbanks, called the buffer zone “ridiculous, politically motivated and completely logic free.”

“The hand-wringers have 6 million acres of park for themselves and the wolves to frolic in with little interference from hunters or trappers,” Buist said. “It is patently unfair to inflict preservationist park philosophy onto public and private lands outside the park boundary. That is precisely why parks have boundaries.”

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Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 27

UK: Bears, lynx, wolves and elk considered for reintroduction into British countryside

Bears, lynx, wolves and elk considered for reintroduction into British countryside

Lynx, brown bears, wolves and elk are among a range of animals being considered for reintroduction to the countryside centuries after they died out in Britain.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent

A report compiled for Britain’s largest national park has identified 23 species of mammals, birds, amphibians and fish that once thrived in Britain and have the potential to live here again.

Ecologists who wrote the report, which is still in draft form, claim that large carnivores such as wolves, brown bears and the Eurasian lynx can all have beneficial impacts on the environment and act as a huge draw for tourism.

Campaigners have been pushing for lynx and wolves to be reintroduced in Britain as they could help control deer numbers and so protect woodland areas, which can be devastated by large herds.

Researchers claim it would require at least 250 brown bears and a similar number of wolves to maintain viable populations of the animals.

But the report warns that as a result such large species would be difficult to sustain in relatively small areas of land and can pose a threat to livestock unless carefully managed.

Proposals to reintroduce large carnivores into the wild have met with opposition from landowners and farmers while they have also sparked fears that the predators could pose a threat to humans.

The Cairngorms National Park report is due to be presented to the park’s board later this year and will be used to help decide which species the park authorities will attempt to reintroduce into the Highlands.

Among the other species put forward as possible candidates in the report are large herbivores such as elk, typically found in Scandinavia, reindeer and the Eurasian beaver.

Dr David Hetherington, an ecologist with Cairngorms National Park Authority and an expert on species reintroduction, insisted that some of the species such as common cranes, lynx and beavers were stronger candidates than others.

He said: “We were trying to identify those animals we know or strongly suspect existed here in the past, which human activity had a major factor in their decline or eventual extinction in this country.

“One animal that could be considered in the relative short term for reintroduction to this part of Scotland, however, would be the common crane as it would have very little impact in terms of needing to be managed.

“Wolves are certainly viable but their introduction could create quite a few problems in the countryside. Out of all of the large carnivores we looked at, the Eurasian lynx is the best candidate and would have the best ecological impact.

“These are theoretical candidates for reintroduction, but the brown bear is not a species likely to be a realistic candidate for further consideration.”

European brown bears currently survive in parts of Eastern Europe, such as the Romanian forests, Russia and in parts of Scandinavia. Small populations also exist in the French Pyrenees, Italian Alps and in the Austrian Alps after reintroduction projects in the 1990s.

They are thought to have died out in Britain shortly before the medieval period due to heavy deforestation and hunting by humans.

Bones and skulls have been found scattered in many parts of the Scottish Highlands while bears are often depicted on Pictish stones.

The omnivores typically dwell in forests, feeding on berries, grasses, honey, insects, fish, carrion and small mammals.

While its American cousin is known to kill an average of two people every year, there have only been three fatalities due to brown bears in Scandinavia in the past century.

The report states that while brown bears would be a very significant wildlife tourism attraction and icon, the Highlands would struggle to support enough bears to produce a viable population.

Wolves are also known to have been present in Britain at least until the early 18th century when they were eventually killed off by persecution by landowners and hunters.

The report claims that wolves, which are currently found in the US, Eastern Europe and parts of Scandinavia, could help to reduce grazing pressure on forestry by controlling deer numbers while also providing a significant tourism attraction.

The report also proposes introducing Western polecats, which were driven out of Britain by the late 19th century, and wild boar, which have been extinct in the UK for at least 300 years.

But it concludes that the Eurasian lynx, beaver and common crane are the most likely candidates for reintroduction due to successes elsewhere in Europe.

Lynx, which disappeared from the UK around 1,000 years ago, could be reintroduced using animals captured in continental Europe where there are now populations living in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia and France following reintroductions.

The common, or Eurasian crane, is a large wetland bird thought to have become extinct in the 17th century.

There are already attempts to reintroduce the Eurasian beaver into the UK with a pilot scheme currently under way on the west coast of Scotland and there are plans to reintroduce the species in Wales.

Natural England conducted a feasibility study on the reintroduction of the beaver across the UK, finding that the animals could help to boost wildlife populations by creating new habitats and prevent flooding by slowing the flow of water with the dams they build around their burrows.

Areas that have been suggested as potential sites for beaver reintroduction include the Weald of Kent, the New Forest, Bodmin Moor and the Lake District. Landowners, however, claim beavers could destroy crops and damage woodland.

Species reintroduction has been a controversial subject in recent years and Natural England has faced intense criticism over proposals to reintroduce the white tailed sea eagle.

Ross Montague, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, a body who represent supporters of the countryside, said: “Conservation efforts, in the Cairngorms and throughout Scotland, should be focused on maintaining and enhancing the native species already present – not introducing alien species which may or may not have been present in the dim and distant past.

“We are especially concerned with proposals to introduce species which could have unknown impacts on our fragile biodiversity and already endangered species such as the Scottish wildcat.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 27

CA: Frustration boils over at meeting

Frustration boils over at meeting

Posted By JOANNE COURNEYA-FITZROY, QMI AGENCY

The frustration by local farmers over livestock losses from coyote and wolf kills spilled over in a heated debate in Picton this week.

The public meeting was called by the Prince Edward County agricultural advisory committee to hear deputations on whether the municipality should adopt a coyote/ wolf bounty bylaw, or look at other ways to curb livestock kills. In attendance were the agricultural advisory committee members, some members of county council and representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Around 40 members of the public, mostly from the agricultural sector, attended to have questions answered and make deputations.

Chief Building Official Garry Davis said a draft coyote/ wolf by-law should be ready by early March, and the by-law could be in place as early as April. The draft allows for a budget of $30,000 for a compensation program, at a cost of $100 per coyote/wolf “if approved by the MNR”. It is estimated 200-300 coyotes/ wolves could be presented for payment for the first year of the program requiring up to $30,000 payouts.

“The yearly number should lessen over subsequent years,” Davis said.

Davis acknowledged that the OMAFRA compensation program for farmers does not fully account for all animals lost. The program only reimburses farmers when evidence of a carcass remains. No funds are paid out of there is no carcass left for evaluation.

MNR Area Supervisor Gerry Mulder of the Kingston office said that there is no current information on the numbers of coyotes or wolves in Prince Edward County.

“We have estimates in the County only,” he said. “From anecdotal information gathered from hunters, trappers and farmers.”

Sheep farmer Alan Whitlam, of Lansdowne, brought up the spread of disease by coyotes or wolves. A mite that burrows under a coyote’s skin causes mange. Untreated, mange can kill the host animal. A coyote with mange can pass the infection to the farm dogs protecting the livestock.

“I get no compensation for treating my sick dogs,” he said.

He suggested coyotes have decimated the populations of much of their natural prey in the area — rabbits and groundhogs — that is why there is an increase in livestock kills.

John McKelvie of Bowmanville spoke on behalf of a group of local taxpayers and farmers. Calling himself “The Critter Gitter,” the trapper said he is concerned with the lack of education for farmers to deal with coyotes.

“I’m not about killing coyotes that don’t deserve to die,” he said. “I have seen coyotes feeding on sheep killed by dogs.”

He offered to evaluate the coyote and wolf situation in Prince Edward County free of charge, with his fee structure for dealing with nuisance coyotes to be discussed at a later date.

Senior Fish and Wildlife Technical Specialist Lorraine Norris of the MNR’s Peterborough office amade a presentation on the ecology, history and habits of the coyote. She said the eastern coyote is the breed present in Prince Edward County and is actually a crossbreed animal between the eastern wolf and western coyote. The animals were unknown in eastern North America before 1850. Coyotes travel in mated pairs, not in packs, and sometimes with a family group of pups. They are omnivorous -eating fruit, live meat and scavenging carcasses, eating on average on kg. per day.

Norris said effective coyote management “targets the breeding adult coyotes just prior to lambing season.” A landowner can, on their own property, capture, kill or harass a coyote or wolf “if there are reasonable grounds it is damaging or about to do damage to the property,” she said.

McKelvie’s offer to trap coyotes here isn’t finding much welcome in the County.

In a telephone interview after the meeting, Davis disagreed with McKelvie.

“He (McKelvie) lives and works in the Municipality of Clarington and their municipal clerk Patty Barrie has confirmed their 2009 livestock losses were the highest ever at $142,770.” The Clarington clerk, said Davis, has requested copies of the Prince Edward draft bylaw for Clarington’s perusal.

Under the proposed bylaw, not just anyone who wants to hunt coyotes can do so. Potential hunters and trappers have to be presented to county council by the concerned landowner for approval.

Mulder and Norris expanded on the effectiveness of bounties on nuisance coyotes/wolves.

When asked by South Marysburg resident James Pounder why the bounty system may not work, Mulder said, “coyotes are very adaptable. If you kill a number of them in an area, this makes food more available, and the remaining breeding adults will produce young to fill the niche.”

Mulder concluded, “The compensation program by the municipality is one of the effective tools in managing coyotes” and the MNR “is working hand in hand with the municipality.”

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 27

WA: Is there a new pack of wolves near Lake Chelan?

Is there a new pack of wolves near Lake Chelan?

By K.C. Mehaffey

CHELAN — They’ve had no confirmed sightings, but U.S. Forest Service biologists in Chelan think gray wolves might be living in remote areas above Lake Chelan’s north shore.

The Chelan Ranger District set out three cameras this winter to try to confirm it.

Just over the Chelan Ridge, which separates the Methow and Lake Chelan valleys, the state’s first confirmed wolf pack is being monitored.

“There could be a separate pack,” said Mallory Lenz, Chelan’s district biologist. Lenz said they’ve been getting reports since the early 1990s from hunters and outfitters who thought they saw or heard wolves.

“The outfitters that go up there have said for several years now they think there’s another pack,” she said. The areas include Miners Basin and the upper east fork of Prince Creek, she said. Both are more than halfway up the lake, across the lake and southeast of Lucerne.

The reports were basically discounted, she said. Everyone thought the animals were probably wolf-dog hybrids.

Then, after state officials confirmed in 2008 that the Lookout Pack members in the Methow Valley are pure wolf and genetically linked to wolves in British Columbia, biologists started to think those reported in the Chelan basin might also be purebred, Lenz said.

She said this winter was the first time her district has set up remote cameras for the purpose of finding wolves. A few years ago, she said, a remote camera did capture an image that could have been a wolf, but it was from the animal’s back side, and could also have been a very large dog.

Next week, Lenz will retrieve the three remote cameras and download the images to see if there’s any proof of another pack.

“I’m excited about the possibility, because it’s an indicator we have a healthy, working ecosystem out there,” she said. It’s also a unique opportunity to have wolves in an area where they’d have little impact, since there are no active livestock ranges in that area.

But this winter may not have been the best opportunity to capture proof, Lenz said. With so little snow, the deer have been ranging higher than usual, and the wolves —if there are any — would probably follow them to higher elevations where cameras are not set up.

John Rohrer, Forest Service biologist for the Methow Valley Ranger District, said the Lookout Pack has traveled over the Chelan Ridge crest, and up into the North Cascades National Park.

But it’s unlikely that the sightings in the Lake Chelan area are of the Lookout Pack. He’s been helping monitor the alpha male and female since 2008 and “They’ve never been down by Lake Chelan. They’re always up in the high country,” he said.

Residents in the Methow Valley have also been reporting what they believe is a second wolf pack, in the War Creek drainage of Twisp River. But Rohrer said feedback from radio collars shows the pack has been in that area a number of times, so it’s probable that those sightings are of the Lookout Pack.

Scott Fitkin, state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist in Winthrop, agreed. “To what extent there are other individual wolves wandering on the landscape, or additional packs, that’s an unknown,” he said. “But War Creek is in the middle of the Lookout Pack’s range. A pack there more than likely will be the Lookout Pack,” he said.

At last count, the Lookout Pack included seven wolves — an alpha male, an alpha female, an adult pup born in 2008, and four pups born last spring

Fitkin said the pack continues to behave itself. “At least nobody’s reporting any problems,” he said.

The pack also appears to be healthy, and living longer than wolves that compete with other packs.

“The expected lifespan tends to be less than what we’re seeing on the Lookout,” Fitkin said. The adult male wolf was about 5 years old when they started monitoring the pack two years ago. “We’ve got pretty old adults. The fact that they’ve persisted this long makes it a pretty successful pack,” he said.

That may be because the habitat could support many more wolves, so there’s not as much competition for food, he said. The pack also doesn’t have to contend with “intra-species strife,” he said, and the fighting between males that can significantly reduce an individual wolf’s lifespan.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 26

ID: Sun Valley concerned about wolves entering town

Sun Valley concerned about wolves entering town

By Ariel Hansen – Times-News writer

SUN VALLEY — A large audience Wednesday heard Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich do some howling about community concerns of wildlife within city limits.

Willich called for the Wood River Elk Trust II to quickly come up with a plan to feed elk on a ridge above the Elkhorn neighborhood of Sun Valley next winter, hoping they won’t then attract predators into the city.

The elk have not been fed by an organized group in three years, and last year wolves hunted them as they wandered through town. The wolves have not been present in the city this winter, which is attributed to the wolf hunting season launched last year.

Following a self-described “lecture” about the wildlife situation in Sun Valley, Willich took questions, but refused to take comments, on his proposal to have the elk trust present its plan to the Sun Valley City Council in two weeks.

“I’m finished with these town hall meetings, we’re moving to a solution,” Willich said. “The time for discussion is over.”

He said if the elk trust can’t resume feeding, or if the council fails to approve a resolution in support of their feeding, he will demand that Idaho Department of Fish and Game be more proactive. Several Fish and Game agents were in the audience.

“We’ll put you on notice that whenever there’s a predator around, you need to use whatever techniques to get the predators out of town,” Willich said, calling Sun Valley a “no-predator zone.”

Fish and Game Regional Supervisor Jerome Hansen said that’s already the department’s policy.

“We’ve got a document specifically developed to deal with urban large-animal conflicts. This is all about public safety,” he said. “Our guys are Johnny-on-the-spot.”

The department’s policy is to avoid feeding programs whenever possible, although they maintain feeding sites in other areas of the state, including nearby Warm Springs.

“Their plan to start up a feeding program (in Elkhorn) is an easy short-term solution, maybe, but I don’t think it’s the long-term solution,” Hansen said. “It takes a while (for the elk) to develop new patterns. It takes longer than we’ve had.”

He said he would prefer to find other solutions to keep the elk out of town, such as reducing the size of the herd and enhancing habitat in areas to attract the elk to areas not as close to homes, such as Parker and Independence gulches.

Willich said the City Council will take comments on March 11 on the elk trust’s plan. He said the council would likely offer moral, not monetary, support for a feeding plan.

Source

Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 26

MT: Crying wolf

Crying wolf

Elk Foundation calls out motive of wolf groups

Special to ESPNOutdoors.com

MISSOULA, Mont. — In letters to legislators and newspapers across the West, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling out groups like Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk.

The RMEF action was prompted by each group’s recent op-ed articles in the media, as well as testimony before Utah lawmakers by Western Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director Kirk Robinson. All cited RMEF statistics to argue that restored wolf populations have somehow translated to growing elk herds in the northern Rockies.

“The theory that wolves haven’t had a significant adverse impact on some elk populations is not accurate. We’ve become all too familiar with these groups’ tactic of cherry-picking select pieces of information to support their own agenda, even when it is misleading,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We will not allow that claim to go unchallenged.”

RMEF population data, which come from state wildlife agencies, show that elk populations are expanding the most in areas of the northern Rockies where wolves are not present. However, where elk share habitat with wolves, such as the greater Yellowstone area, some elk populations are declining fast.

In fact, since the introduction of gray wolves in the mid-1990s, the northern Yellowstone elk herd has dropped from about 17,000 to 7,100 animals — a 58 percent decline. Other localities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming also are documenting precipitous downward trends.

Additionally, some research shows that elk remaining in areas of concentrated wolf populations are suffering nutrition loss, lower body weights and decreasing birth rates.

“Every wildlife conservation agency, both state and federal, working at ground zero of wolf restoration — Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — has abundant data to demonstrate how undermanaged wolf populations can compromise local elk herds and local livestock production,” Allen said. “There’s just no dispute, and emotion-over-science is not the way to professionally manage wildlife.”

RMEF continues to support state-regulated wolf management to include hunting and other viable methods. This position is supported by new reports of diseased wolf populations in the Yellowstone area.

“When wolves are too abundant, they’re more susceptible to diseases, just like all wildlife. The viruses and mange now spreading through wolf packs is another sign of way too many wolves,” Allen said. “Defenders of Wildlife would like to spin sick wolves as a reason to end hunting. But real conservationists know that diseased wildlife populations need better management. Hunting as a management tool delivers that, period.

“Remember, pro-wolf groups make their living by prolonging this conflict. There is no real incentive for them to admit that wolves are overly recovered. Fundraising is their major motive and they’ve built a goldmine by filing lawsuits and preaching that nature will find its own equilibrium between predators and prey if man would just leave it alone. That’s a myth.

“The truth is that people are the most important part of the equation. This isn’t the Wild West anymore. People live here — actually quite a lot of us. So our land and resources must be managed. Wildlife must be managed. Radical spikes and dips in populations show that we should be doing it better. It’s not profitable for plaintiffs, but the rest of us would be better served if the conflict ended and conservation professionals were allowed to get on with their business of managing wildlife, including a well-regulated hunting strategy.”

In 2009, RMEF got involved in the ongoing wolf litigation, supporting defendant agencies by filing legal briefs used in federal court to help delist wolves and proceed with hunting — “facts conveniently ignored by groups who misuse our name, data and credibility to prolong the conflict. We stand for elk and other wildlife and what is happening right now is simply not good wildlife management,” said Allen.

See Allen’s letters to editors, Utah Senator Dennis Stowell and more at RMEF.org.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.7 million acres — a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

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Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 26

DE: Hunters urge calm as wolves return to Bavaria

Hunters urge calm as wolves return to Bavaria

The ÖJV ecological hunters’ association urged Bavarians on Friday to remain calm following confirmation that a lone wolf has been spotted near the southern community of Brannenburg.

“Fear of a single wolf would be totally unfounded,” ÖJV leader Wolfgang Kornder said, advising anyone out for a walk in the forest to behave “normally.”

“Wolves have no interest in coming into contact with humans,” he said.

On Friday, Bavarian Environment Ministry wildlife manager Manfred Wölfl confirmed with daily Münchner Merkur that a wolf had been identified based on sightings and evidence of bite marks found on deer carrion. According to Wölfl, the animal has been seen in the area since December and has not attacked any livestock.

The ÖJV’s Kornder speculated that the rare canine was a young male on the prowl for a new area to settle.

“It can’t be assumed he brought along a whole pack,” Kornder said, adding that his organisation hopes the animal stays in the southern German state. “It’s a fascinating occurrence when the big predators return. We should be happy that it’s happening.”

The return of wolves to the area means that environmental conditions are improving, Kornder asserted, though he admitted that there could be problems too.

“Naturally one has to assume that in the future he could kill a house pet or two, or for example sheep in the fields at night,” he said.

But people can erect electric fences and anyone who loses an animal to a wolf is entitled to compensation from the state, he assured.

“We just need to be engaged,” he said, urging residents to be understanding.

The Canis lupus, or grey wolf, was hunted in Germany beginning in medieval times. The species disappeared from the country in the 19th century, when they were driven east to Poland and Russia.

But the wolf has been making a slow return to Germany despite residents’ fears and several lethal incidents with angry hunters. Experts estimate there are about five packs totalling in some 45 wolves in the northeastern part of the country. The five wolves in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are believed to have wandered into the country from Poland.

In June 2009 a hunter in Saxony-Anhalt was charged with killing a male wolf that lived with a female and their young cubs at the military training facility in Altengrabow.

DDP/The Local

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Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 26

SE: Scare away intrusive wolves

Scare away intrusive wolves

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

Falun / TT

The County Administrative Board of Dalarna says no to the protective hunt of wolves which have plagued the villagers in Sörsjön in the northwestern part of the county.

Instead you should try to distract and scare away the wolves. Snowmobile tracks can be drawn in the countryside, and intimidating shots fired.

Villagers are experiencing major problems with wolves near the settlement, writes provincial government said in press release. Wolves have repeatedly passed right next to occupied houses.

Shortly before Christmas a wolf was shot in the area after a protective hunt.


Närgångna vargar ska skrämmas bort

Falun/TT

Länsstyrelsen i Dalarna säger nej till skyddsjakt på vargar som har besvärat byborna i Sörsjön i nordvästra delen av länet.

I stället ska man försöka att avleda och skrämma bort vargarna. Skoterspår ska dras upp i terrängen, och skrämskott avlossas.

Byborna upplever stora problem med att vargar rör sig nära bebyggelsen, skriver länsstyrelsen i ett pressmeddelande. Vargar har flera gånger passerat alldeles intill bebodda hus.

Strax före jul sköts en varg i området, efter en skyddsjakt.

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Posted in Uncategorized
Feb 26

CA: Local farmers frustrated

Local farmers frustrated

PRINCE EDWARD — The frustration by local farmers over livestock losses from coyote and wolf kills spilled over in a heated debate in Picton.

The public meeting was called by the Prince Edward County agricultural advisory committee to hear deputations on whether the municipality should adopt a coyote/wolf bounty bylaw, or look at other ways to curb livestock kills. In attendance were the agricultural advisory committee members, some members of county council and representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Around 40 members of the public, mostly from the agricultural sector, attended to have questions answered and make deputations.

Chief Building Official Garry Davis said a draft coyote/wolf by-law should be ready by early March, and the by-law could be in place as early as April. The draft allows for a budget of $30,000 for a compensation program, at a cost of $100 per coyote/wolf “if approved by the MNR”. It is estimated 200-300 coyotes/wolves could be presented for payment for the first year of the program requiring up to $30,000 payouts.

“The yearly number should lessen over subsequent years,” Davis said.

Davis acknowledged that the OMAFRA compensation program for farmers does not fully account for all animals lost. The program only reimburses farmers when evidence of a carcass remains. No funds are paid out of there is no carcass left for evaluation.

MNR Area Supervisor Gerry Mulder of the Kingston office said that there is no current information on the numbers of coyotes or wolves in Prince Edward County.

“We have estimates in the County only,” he said. “From anecdotal information gathered from hunters, trappers and farmers.”

Sheep farmer Alan Whitlam, of Lansdowne, brought up the spread of disease by coyotes or wolves. A mite that burrows under a coyote’s skin causes mange. Untreated, mange can kill the host animal. A coyote with mange can pass the infection to the farm dogs protecting the livestock.

“I get no compensation for treating my sick dogs,” he said.

He suggested coyotes have decimated the populations of much of their natural prey in the area – rabbits and groundhogs – that is why there is an increase in livestock kills.

John McKelvie of Bowmanville spoke on behalf of a group of local taxpayers and farmers. Calling himself “The Critter Gitter,” the trapper said he is concerned with the lack of education for farmers to deal with coyotes.

“I’m not about killing coyotes that don’t deserve to die,” he said. “I have seen coyotes feeding on sheep killed by dogs.”

He offered to evaluate the coyote and wolf situation in Prince Edward County free of charge, with his fee structure for dealing with nuisance coyotes to be discussed at a later date.

Senior Fish and Wildlife Technical Specialist Lorraine Norris of the MNR’s Peterborough office made a presentation on the ecology, history and habits of the coyote. She said the eastern coyote is the breed present in Prince Edward County and is actually a crossbreed animal between the eastern wolf and western coyote. The animals were unknown in eastern North America before 1850. Coyotes travel in mated pairs, not in packs, and sometimes with a family group of pups. They are omnivorous – eating fruit, live meat and scavenging carcasses, eating on average on kg. per day.

Norris said effective coyote management “targets the breeding adult coyotes just prior to lambing season.” A landowner can, on their own property, capture, kill or harass a coyote or wolf “if there are reasonable grounds it is damaging or about to do damage to the property,” she said.

McKelvie’s offer to trap coyotes here isn’t finding much welcome in the County.

In a telephone interview after the meeting, Davis disagreed with McKelvie.

“He (McKelvie) lives and works in the Municipality of Clarington and their municipal clerk Patty Barrie has confirmed their 2009 livestock losses were the highest ever at $142,770.” The Clarington clerk, said Davis, has requested copies of the Prince Edward draft bylaw for Clarington’s perusal.

Under the proposed bylaw, not just anyone who wants to hunt coyotes can do so. Potential hunters and trappers have to be presented to county council by the concerned landowner for approval.

Mulder and Norris expanded on the effectiveness of bounties on nuisance coyotes/wolves.

When asked by South Marysburg resident James Pounder why the bounty system may not work, Mulder said, “coyotes are very adaptable. If you kill a number of them in an area, this makes food more available, and the remaining breeding adults will produce young to fill the niche.”

Mulder concluded, “The compensation program by the municipality is one of the effective tools in managing coyotes” and the MNR “is working hand in hand with the municipality.”

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Feb 25

MI UP: Endangered Species or Protected Pest? Part 3

Endangered Species or Protected Pest? Part 3

Perception is one of the biggest issues facing wolves today.

Wolf tracking is one of Nancy Warren’s favorite activities. It involves finding wolf tracks and markings near her Ewen home.

A volunteer with the Timberwolf Alliance and the Defenders of Wildlife, she said the biggest issue facing wolves today is perception.

“People who just randomly kill wolves, the illegal killing of wolves, all show that those negative attitudes towards wolves still exist,” said Warren. “That is what caused wolves to be put on the Endangered Species List to begin with.”

Warren said the key to solving the wolf problem is education and making decisions based on science, not playing to people’s fears, which she feels the state legislature has done.

Warren supported removing wolves from the Endangered Species List until the Michigan State Legislature changed the language of the management plan. Now wolves can be killed if they are preying on animals or livestock. That, she said, is too vague.

What Warren hopes to see are wolves being assigned federal threatened status, giving the state more, but not total, control.

“Take it off the Endangered Species List, place it at threatened, and leave it at federally threatened the way it is in Minnesota,” Warren stated. “This would give the state the control to take care of problem wolves.”

As a wolf predator consultant and a Minnesota resident, Karlyn Berg has seen the threatened status at work firsthand. She said it usually solves problems without significantly affecting the population.

“Unless you kill the depredating animal, the one that’s actually causing problems–and that can be single animals or pairs–if you go in and take those, you’ve ended the problem,” said Berg. “But if you kill 1,000 animals that aren’t involved, you haven’t solved anyone’s problem.”

Another major disagreement between activists and DNR officials is this: can wolves regulate themselves?

Warren said the environment can support around 1,300 wolves based on space and available food, and that’s evidence that wolf numbers will level off.

“They’re not going to explode, we’re not going to have 10,000 wolves,” Warren added. “We probably aren’t even going to reach the 1,000 mark anytime soon; they’re a slow growing animal.”

Until middle ground can be reached, it’s unlikely wolves will be delisted anytime soon.

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