May 31

CA ON: No bounty for Northumberland farmers

No bounty for Northumberland farmers

PORT HOPE — The growing wolf and coyote population in Northumberland County has area farmers pleading for help from municipalities.

Specifically, they want municipal permission to eradicate these predatory animals that are killing livestock and livelihoods.

“You lose a lamb today, you lose a duck tomorrow,” explained Northumberland Cattleman’s Association (NCA) spokesperson Sue Jouwstra. “It’s a situation that’s getting worse and worse.”

Port Hope’s agricultural advisory committee, however, is not in favour of a bounty on wolves or coyotes, and recommended the municipality only support such a request if the animals become aggressive toward humans.

In a letter to council this month, committee chair David Montieth wrote, “There is a concern here about who is going to police bounty hunters who go on private land.”

He also suggested that the present policy, which allows farmers to control nuisance wildlife, is sufficient.

In a recent interview with the News, Ms. Joustra said some municipalities in Northumberland County are in support of a bounty, while others are not.

Members of the NCA will meet month to further discuss the situation.


Posted in Uncategorized
May 31

Alaska Suing Over Predator Control on Unimak Island

Alaska Suing Over Predator Control on Unimak Island

Posted in Alaska News

The state of Alaska is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over predator control on Unimak Island. The state filed suit on Friday seeking a court order to allow it to go ahead with plans to kill seven wolfs in the federal refuge. Seven is the minimum number state biologists say will need to be eliminated to maintain the Unimak Island caribou herd at depleted levels.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says if the Alaska Department of Fish and Game goes ahead with its plan to conduct aerial predator control inside the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, it will consider those state employees trespassers and file complaints with the U.S. Attorney.

The Associated Press


Posted in Uncategorized
May 31

OR: ODFW authorizes lethal removal of wolves

ODFW authorizes lethal removal of wolves

Breeding pair to be protected


The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department today has ordered the killing of two wolves believed responsible for the killing of five calves in the upper Wallowa Valley.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services will kill only two uncollared wolves.

“This selective removal is meant to protect the alpha male and alpha female, Oregon’s only known breeding pair of wolves at this time,” said ODFW in a press release issued today. “Protecting the collared wolves will also help ODFW, the Wildlife Services and ranches continue to monitor wolf activity.”

ODFW confirmed two wolf-caused livestock kills on Saturday.

The killing of the two wolves, ODFW said, is aimed only at those showing an interest in livestock. It will be limited to an area where three of the confirmed livestock kills are clustered – within three miles of locations with confirmed livestock losses by wolves and only on privately-owned land where livestock is being pastured. The lethal removal of the wolves is only valid until June 11,?ODFW said.

The specificity of the lethal action, ODFW?said, is aimed at protecting the breeding pair and the Imnaha wolfe pack’s den site, where the alpha female may be caring for new pups. Wolf pups are typically born in mid-April, but no new pups have been observed by Oregon wildlife biologists.

In addition to the specific kill permit issue to the federal Wildlife Services, ODFW has now issued seven “caught in the act” permits to landowners. That includes two issued after the two confirmed livestock losses on Saturday. The permit gives landowners the legal authority to shoot wolves caught biting, wounding or killing livestock.

For more information on wolves in Oregon, visit the web site


Posted in Uncategorized
May 30

Five-state wolf plan panelists divided

Five-state wolf plan panelists divided

By Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review

Five states are working at dramatically different paces to deal with the reintroduction of gray wolves.

Wyoming’s kill ‘em on sight plan landed them in last place, mired in court rulings that left their wolves on the endangered species list.

Montana and Idaho are heading into the second year of actively managing delisted wolves with sport hunting, which the states plan to ramp up to kill more wolves this season.

Idaho is even considering trapping and baiting after hunters failed to kill the quota of wolves in remote areas where packs were decimating elk herds.

Oregon led the pack of states dealing with gray wolf reintroduction by adopting a management plan in 2005 — long before wolves had been documented as breeding in the state.

Washington, however, continues to scratch away at a plan despite being on par with Oregon as home for two confirmed wolf packs heading into this year’s denning season. Washington officials also suspect a few more pairs might be breeding.

Meanwhile, the door remains open to wolves wandering in from Canada and Idaho.

The most contentious point among the proposals centers on the number of wolves Washington will tolerate.

The draft plan sets the threshold at 15 breeding pairs. Once that number is reached, the state’s wolf protections could be relaxed and management options, such as hunting, would be on the table. (The gray wolf is an endangered species throughout Washington under state law, while still protected by federal law only in the western two-thirds of the state.)

But the number 15 isn’t making anyone happy in a state that tends to be polarized into more conservative east-side camps and more liberal west-side contingents.

“The science tells us that 15 breeding pairs qualifying for recovery is not high enough for sustainable populations,” said John Blankenship, a retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and the current executive director of Wolf Haven International in Tenino, Wash.

Jack Field, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president, sees it differently: “Fifteen is too many — I hope we’ve learned at least that much from the experience of Idaho and Montana.”

Blankenship and Field were named in 2007 to the 18-member citizen working group that helped the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife formulate its draft plan. Blankenship co-authored a working group minority report that recommended a threshold of eight breeding pairs.

For comparison, Oregon’s plan would allow wolf management to begin at seven breeding pairs

“I think the proposed number wolves must reach in Washington before they can be managed is high compared with other Rocky Mountain states that have more suitable habitat and lower (human) population densities,” said Tommie Petrie Jr., another group member and hunter who lives in Pend Oreille County.

“The faster we can get to management status, the better off the wolves are going to be, no matter where you stand,” he said.

Scientific backing can be found to support the broad range of these conflicting viewpoints.

Three anonymous wolf experts, their locations undisclosed but apparently from North America, were contracted through the University of Washington for a blind peer review of the state’s latest revised draft plan.

“For many of us in the conservation world, the peer review comments are what we’d hoped for,” said Linda Saunders, Wolf Haven’s conservation director. “They’ve mirrored a lot of our concerns: mainly that the number of pairs the plan cites as substantial enough for recovery (15) is not based on science. At the minimum maybe we should be looking at twice that number.”

Blankenship, Saunders’ boss, tends to favor letting nature run its course, although he acknowledges that Washington’s wolf-sustaining deer and elk herds should not be equally compared to those in Montana or Idaho.

“Even if you left wolves alone and stepped in only to take care of depredation, there probably would be room for only a couple hundred wolves in Washington,” he said. “Some scientists say the habitat and prey base isn’t there.

“Will the wolves turn on livestock?” he said, anticipating the next question. “We don’t know. They multiplied much faster than experts expected in the Northern Rockies. Only time will tell how fast they will multiply in Washington.”

That leads to the draft plan’s other hot topic: compensation to ranchers who lose livestock to wolves.

“The compensation package for livestock growers is outstanding,” Field said, “but without funding, it’s an empty mandate and little more than bait to get livestock producers on board. So far there’s no commitment to funding, so there’s no support from the livestock community.”

Sportsmen’s groups contend the proposed plan is too vague on how much wolves would be allowed to gnaw away at already struggling deer and elk herds.

“Hunters and the economy they support don’t appear to have much standing in the plan, the way I see it,” said Duane Cocking, a working group panelist and member of Safari Club International.

When the working group meets for the last time in late summer, the livestock grower and sportsman contingents will try to make the case that so-called Population Viability Analysis should be given more weight in the plan.

This effort to balance social and biological aspects of wolf management is generally supported by the blind peer review.

“PVA looks at all factors that would influence a specific area or game management region,” said Field. “The PVA would consider ungulate herds, hunting and existing harvest, for example, as well as livestock, and then move forward in a holistic fashion.”

Environmental representatives likely will come to the final meeting holding firm to a minimum of 15 breeding pairs or more.

WDFW officials have been chary to be specific on changes as they’ve pored through nearly 7,000 public comments this spring.

However, they indicated they won’t be swayed in a major way by the 51,000 e-mail comments channeled to the Washington governor’s office by the Defenders of Wildlife.

“All comments are considered,” said Rocky Beach, WDFW wildlife diversity manager. “But you have to use common sense when you categorize comments; there’s a lesser weight to all that duplicity.”

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department’s wolf coordinator warns Washington that much can change as the wolf plan enters its last stage.

“After two years and the largest public involvement process our agency had every undertaken,” said Russ Morgan in La Grande, “our (Fish and Wildlife) Commission made more than 200 changes to the draft before adopting the plan.”


Posted in Uncategorized
May 30

MT: 5 deadly days for wolves

5 deadly days for wolves

By EVE BYRON Independent Record

Fifteen gray wolves from five different packs were killed in Montana for preying on livestock between May 17 and May 21, making it one of the deadliest five-day stretches for Canis lupus this year.

So far this year, 64 wolves have died, with the majority — 44 — being shot by federal agents for preying on livestock. The others were killed by cars or property owners or died from unknown causes.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials also have authorized the shooting of at least 18 more wolves from five packs. If successful, that will bring the total to 82 dead wolves in Montana so far this year.

“It seems a little heavy handed, when at last count there were only 524 wolves in Montana and a lot more cows,” said Jesse Timberlake with the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.

Liz Bradley, a Missoula-based wolf management specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, readily acknowledges that the state is acting more aggressively this year on control actions because more wolves are on the landscape than have been here in the past decade. It’s part of an ongoing upward trend; in 1999, when about 80 wolves were spotted on Montana’s landscape, 19 were killed for wildlife depredation. Ten years later, with more than 500 wolves in the Treasure State, that number rose to 145 wolves.

“More wolves in more places equals more conflicts,” Bradley said. “We’ve seen that trend over the years. We’re still trying to use preventive methods to reduce conflicts, but there are places that hasn’t worked.”

In those places, agents with the U.S. Wildlife Services typically shoot problem wolves, from the ground and from helicopters. The agency’s Montana director, John Steuber, said the recent increase in activity is causing his agents to sometimes put in 12-hour days, but they’re committed to reducing losses to livestock producers. In years past that effort has focused more on animals like coyotes and mountain lions, but wolves are now taking more of their time.

“We have 20 people scattered throughout the state, and it’s becoming more and more work, which is stretching them thinner and thinner. But these are probably the most committed government workers you’ll find,” Steuber said. “Our wolf work has been increasing for three, four, five years now so we’re getting kind of used to it, but it’s a little overwhelming right now.”

Bradley and Ed Bangs, who managed wolves for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until those duties were turned over to the state, note that high wolf mortality is typical in the spring. That’s because wolves are close to calving livestock in the lower elevations and big game hasn’t moved into the high country yet, drawing wolves out of the valleys.

Bangs added that in previous years, federal agents have taken out large packs for livestock depredation, pointing to the removal of 22 out of 23 wolves in the Livermore pack during a three-day period last September as an example.

But this month, the removal actions are all over the map. Four wolves were killed May 21 west of Missoula and another to the north, from a different pack, on May 20. In the east fork of the Bitterroot, a wolf was shot on May 15 and another on May 17. Two wolves were killed north of Wisdom May 18 and another was shot the next day. Two wolves were killed north of Helmville May 18 and another on May 23. Two wolves were killed May 18 north of Wolf Creek.

“We knew from early on that this would happen, which is why Wildlife Services has been a partner from early on,” Bangs said. “You can see from the wolf reports that we’ve been heading toward this for years — more depredations so there’s more control. When we started, we would move problem animals around, capturing them and putting them somewhere else, but there’s enough now that we just kill them.

“That’s one of the reasons that hunting can be so important; you can have hunters pay to remove some wolves rather than use taxpayers money to go after them. It’s a good management tool to reduce conflicts and costs.”

Last year, 145 wolves were killed for livestock-related reasons and hunters in Montana killed another 68 wolves. With illegal kills, accidental deaths and natural causes, a total of 255 died. However, the wolf population still increased by 4 percent.

This year, FWP is proposing a hunting quota ranging from 153 to 216 wolves. Tom Palmer, a FWP spokesman, said those proposals take into account the 255 wolves that died for reasons other than the hunt last year.

The state agency calculates that without hunting, the wolf population in Montana would increase to 667 wolves this year. The higher harvest rate could reduce the population to around 400 wolves; the lower rate would maintain about 500 wolves.

But regardless what harvest rate is chosen, most of those involved in wolf management expect to see additional wolves shot in the upcoming months by Wildlife Services, since depredations typically pick up twice a year — now, when newborn calves are easy prey, and in the fall, when wolf pups are weaned and they’re looking for an easy meal.

“This has been going on for years, and every year it notches up a little bit,” Bangs said. “Eventually, the wolf population will stop growing because the level of damage is so high and we’re killing so many wolves that the population stops growing.

“There are some year-to-year fluctuations, but the long-term trend certainly shows more problems, so we have more control efforts. The bottom line is with more and more wolves, we’ll have more and more problems.”


Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

AK: Alaska sues feds over predator control

Alaska sues feds over predator control


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday, seeking a court order allowing it to go ahead with a controversial predator control program.

At issue is the state’s plan to kill wolves to preserve a caribou herd inside the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Unimak Island, beginning as early as Tuesday.

Last week, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced it would begin shooting some wolves on Unimak, the eastern-most island in the Aleutian chain, to protect caribou calving grounds as part of its aerial predator control program.

While the program is in place in at least six locations around Alaska, it would be the first time in recent history that aerial predator control would be used inside a national refuge in Alaska.

The department planned on using two biologists and four pilots to kill wolves.

The feds responded Monday, cautioning the state that killing the wolves without a special use permit would be considered “a trespass on the refuge” and immediately referred to the U.S. attorney.

The state has interpreted that as federal officials blocking the program. The lawsuit, which names U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould, his agency and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, seeks a court order allowing the state to kill seven wolves while the litigation continues.

The state announced the lawsuit after federal business hours. Bruce Woods, a spokesman for the federal agency in Alaska, was reached at his home Friday, but said he could not comment because he had not seen the lawsuit.

Caribou are an important subsistence food for approximately 62 people living on the island, but the animal numbers have been declining. In 2002, there were more than 1,200 caribou. Last year, fewer than 300 were counted. The state has an unofficial estimate of up to 30 wolves.

The state says the killing of wolves is imperative to protect this year’s caribou calves.

However, the federal agency says it is required by law to follow a certain process. That, Woods told The Associated Press earlier this week, is a process the state is well aware of but apparently doesn’t want to wait for.

“We definitely are saying that any significant action conducted on a wildlife refuge in Alaska requires a special use permit by the service,” he said.

The federal agency also says it has been working with the state to better understand the biological factors in the herd’s decline since concerns were raised in December. It has issued permits to allow additional radio collaring and biological sampling of wolves and caribou.

“The actions of Fish and Wildlife have set the stage for the worst possible outcome — the potential disappearance of this caribou herd and a total loss of subsistence opportunity in the area for the foreseeable future,” Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd said in a prepared statement.

“We pushed as hard as we could, recognizing that time was running out fast, but I wasn’t going to put my employees into a situation in which the federal government prosecutes them for carrying out their state responsibilities,” he said.

The lawsuit claims Fish and Wildlife is violating the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and a memorandum of understanding with the state.


Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

Ore: 3rd wolf-killed calf; rancher has kill permit

Ore: 3rd wolf-killed calf; rancher has kill permit

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed the third wolf-killed domestic calf this month in northeast Oregon’s Wallowa County.

Spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said Friday the kill was reported Thursday.

Earlier this week, state officials issued permits to five area ranchers, allowing them to shoot wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock. 1 of the permits went to the rancher whose calf was killed Thursday.

The Imnaha wolf pack has been in the area since spring. Dennehy says agencies and livestock producers have tried nonlethal deterrents such as removing any livestock carcasses, aerial hazing of wolves and watching livestock more closely.

Wolves have been spreading through Oregon since crossing into the state from Idaho, where they were re-established by the federal government in the 1990s.


Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

NC: Reward Increased in Red Wolf Poachings in North Carolina

Reward Increased in Red Wolf Poachings in North Carolina

( – Humane Society of the United States National Council member Cathy Kangas is matching The HSUS and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust’s reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing two endangered red wolves in North Carolina. The HSUS and Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust reward was issued on May 19. The total reward now stands at up to $7,500, including $2,500 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Case:

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on April 23, the first wolf was found dead near Engelhard in eastern Hyde County. The second wolf was discovered on April 27 near Scranton in western Hyde County. Both wolves were fitted with radio collars to track their movements.

“I’m hopeful that the combined reward will shed light on the case and those bullies responsible for this crime,” stated Cathy Kangas.

“The illegal killing of these two endangered wolves is truly disgraceful and an affront to the recovery of the species,” said Kimberly Alboum, North Carolina state director for The HSUS. “We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for their tireless work to solve this heinous crime.”

The red wolf is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.


Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.

Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught.

Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.

The HSUS works with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.

The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Sandra Allred at ( 919 ) 856-4786, Refuge Officer Chris Smith at ( 252 ) 926-4021, or North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at ( 252 ) 216-8225.


Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

TN: Bays Mountain wolf Kawoni dies

Bays Mountain wolf Kawoni dies

By Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — One of Bays Mountain Park’s gray wolves has died — the female Kawoni who had escaped from her enclosure twice in the past six months.

Kawoni was one of five wolves that escaped twice following breaches in the wolf enclosure in December and April. During both escapes, Kawoni was the final wolf to be captured — she was on the loose for eight weeks during the first escape, but only a few days back in April.

Chris McCartt, assistant to Kingsport’s city manager, said Friday Kawoni died about three to four weeks ago, and the cause of her death was inconclusive.

“We began to notice, about a week or so after she recovered from getting out of the fence (in April), that she was being very lethargic, not eating or drinking. We immediately called the vet, who did some initial blood work, and everything came back normal,” McCartt said. “She continued with not eating and drinking and being lethargic. We gave her some IV and antibiotics, thinking it was some kind of infection.

“Unfortunately, she died.”

When park officials discovered Kawoni being lethargic and not eating, they separated her from the remaining five wolves and kept her under observation. McCartt said one of the park rangers found her dead, and since then she has been buried on Bays Mountain.

McCartt said a veterinarian conducted a tissue test to determine the cause of death, but the test came back inconclusive.

“The tissue test came back with some infection, but we were unable to determine what caused that infection,” McCartt said. “At times we thought about her being poisoned, but that ended up not being what it was.”

Kawoni had no injuries or cuts on her body during the April escape, and a broken leg from the December escape had healed.

“She had not been poisoned or gotten into any hazardous chemicals while out,” McCartt said.

In order to recapture Kawoni, park officials shot her a number of times with tranquilizers, with the two successful attempts using what park officials described as a double dose of tranquilizers.

McCartt said the tranquilizers were not the cause of Kawoni’s death.

“It’s very unfortunate we were unable to determine the cause,” he said.

The park did not announce the death of Kawoni when it happened, nor when the park received the results from the tissue test more than a week ago. McCartt said the park does not normally announce when one of its animals dies, though he added the park mentioned it on its Facebook page, but soon after removed the announcement.

“Typically you want to do a full test first before you make any public statements, to have a good understanding of the cause of death and make sure other animals are not impacted,” McCartt said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen were notified about Kawoni’s death.

About two and a half years ago, Bays Mountain Park obtained four wolf cubs, with Kawoni being one of them. Another one of the cubs — Adahy — also escaped in December, was never found, and was presumed dead by city and park officials.

McCartt said the city has no plans at this time to replace the two wolves.

Bays Mountain Park is in the process of installing a new security measure for the wolf habitat — a tree-catcher cable strung around the entire habitat on new utility poles, essentially a third fence.


Posted in Uncategorized
May 27

MT: Public meetings on wolf hunting season set

Public meetings on wolf hunting season set

By EVE BYRON Independent Record

Seven open houses for discussion of the 2010 wolf hunting season proposals will be held in Montana, but none of those meetings are in Helena.

Instead, residents in the Queen City can stop by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks office at 1420 E. Sixth Ave. to learn more about the proposal, and also can offer comments online or via regular mail, noted Tom Palmer, an FWP spokesman.

“We’re going to run the open houses out of each regional office, where the regional supervisors and managers will be,” Palmer said. “But if people want to comment directly to FWP, they can come into our office or give us a call.”

He added that if the FWP Commission considers adopting something other than the one of the three quota alternatives in 14 proposed wolf management units, that also triggers a need to open public comment at the commission’s July 8 meeting in Helena.

“This issue is of interest to a lot of people, so I bet if a lot of people show up, the commission also might open it for public comment then even if they are going with one of the alternatives,” Palmer added.

The commission recently approved quota alternatives of 153, 186 or 216 wolves in the proposed 14 different wolf management units. Sub-quota areas are also being considered to limit harvest during early season backcountry hunts and in an area directly north of Yellowstone National Park.

Also proposed this year is a wolf archery season for all of the management units that would open Sept. 4 and run through Oct. 17, the same time as Montana’s deer, elk, lion and black bear archery seasons. Hunting would close when quotas are met, or by Dec. 31.

The meetings, all of which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. June 2 include:

- Billings — FWP Headquarters; 2300 Lake Elmo Drive

- Bozeman — Holiday Inn; 5 E. Baxter Lane

- Glasgow — Valley County Court House; 501 Court Square

- Great Falls — FWP Headquarters; 4600 Giant Springs Road

- Kalispell — FWP Headquarters; 490 N. Meridian Road

- Miles City — FWP Headquarters; 352 I-94 Business Loop

- Missoula — Double Tree Hotel Missoula Edgewater; 100 Madison

Last year, the quota for Montana’s first ever wolf hunt was 75 wolves across three management units. With at least 524 wolves in 101 verified packs and 37 breeding pairs inhabiting the state at the end of 2009, and an increase in predations on livestock, the commission is considering at least doubling the quota.

The current Montana wolf population is predicted to decrease under each of the quota alternatives under consideration.

Public comment on the 2010 wolf season proposals are due by 5 p.m. June 14, with a final decision by the FWP Commission expected on July 8. Comments can be sent to via FWP’s website or mailed to FWP Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

Additional information is available online at

License sales for the 2010 wolf season are scheduled to begin in early August. Hunting licenses will cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents.

Officials caution those purchasing licenses that the wolf hunting season could be blocked by groups that recently sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent wolf delisting. Such legal challenges prevented wolf delisting and a hunting season in 2008 and could affect the wolf hunt this year. FWP has joined the USFWS’ defense of the delisting decision, with oral arguments set for June 15 in U.S. District Court in Missoula.

To learn more about Montana’s wolf population, visit


Posted in Uncategorized