Mar 31

SE: Finnish / Russian wolf is in Torsby

Finnish / Russian wolf is in Torsby

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

News P4 Värmland

The female wolf that for over a week ago was moved from Jämtland to Orebro now for a few days has remained in Värmland. The wolf is moving northward in the county and is now in the Torsby area.

The female wolf who is of Finnish / Russian origin is marked and, through its hiking in Värmland passed through two wolf territories. The County Board can track her on an hourly basis.

“What we know, it has not encountered any female wolves, other wolves, but it sometimes stops to rest and maybe have some food. It has gone straight north through the county and is currently in the Torsby region, but exactly where do I not tell,” says Lars Furuholm, carnivore manager at the County Administrative Board of Värmland.

Where it will ultimately stop Lars Furuholm does not want to speculate in. Some nights it goes five mil(50 km) because snow is crusty and easy to get around.

“She may be on her way back to Jämtland. But we’ll let her have peace and quiet so that she ends up where she wants,” says Lars Furuholm.

Later, the county board to lay out a map on their website so the public can see how the wolf has been moving through Värmland.


Finsk/ryska vargen är i Torsby

Nyheter P4 Värmland

Det vargtik som för en dryg vecka flyttades från Jämtland till Örebro har nu några dygn befunnit sig i Värmland. Vargen rör sig norrut i länet och finns nu i Torsbytrakten.

Vargtiken som är av finskt/ryskt ursprung är märkt och har genom sin vandring i Värmland passerat två eller vargrevir. Länsstyrelsen kan följa henne timme för timme.

– Vad vi känner till så har inte vargtiken mött några andra vargar, men den stannar ibland för att rasta och kanske äta mat. Den har gått spikrakt norrut genom länet och befinner sig just nu i Torsbytrakten men exakt var får jag inte berätta, säger Lars Furuholm, rovdjursansvarig på länsstyrelsen i Värmland.

Var den hamnar i slutändan vill Lars Furuholm inte spekulera i. Vissa nätter går den fem mil eftersom det är skare och lätt att ta sig fram.

– Hon är kanske på väg tillbaka till Jämtland. Men vi ska låta henne få lugn och ro så att hon hamnar där hon själv vill, säger Lars Furuholm.

Senare kommer länsstyrelsen att lägga ut en karta på sin hemsida så att allmänheten kan se hur vargen har rört sig genom Värmland.

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Mar 31

MT: Lawmakers try to lift wolf protection despite deal

Lawmakers try to lift wolf protection despite deal

By MATTHEW BROWN
Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. — Key lawmakers in the political skirmish over gray wolves in the West say they will continue their efforts to lift federal protections for the predators, despite a proposed settlement between environmentalists and the government.

The settlement is pending approval in federal court. It would lift wolf protections in Idaho and Montana, but keep them at least temporarily in Wyoming Utah, Washington and Oregon.

The deal also includes safeguards sought by environmentalists – features absent from pending legislation in Congress. But whether the agreement will be approved before lawmakers act is uncertain.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana told The Associated Press he won’t wait if Congress can act more quickly. And in the House, Idaho Republican Mike Simpson says he remains committed to legislation lifting wolf protections.

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Mar 31

OR: Oregon ranchers want compensation from wolf damage

Oregon ranchers want compensation from wolf damage

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A hearing in Salem on proposed wolf management bills showed agreement from just about everybody involved on one issue — Oregon ranchers should be compensated for livestock losses. But other issues may not be as easy to resolve.

About 35 people showed up for the two-hour hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on five bills backed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

In addition to a pair of bills proposing a compensation plan, two other bills would authorize killing wolves — one when they attack livestock and another, without cause. A fifth bill would cut the state’s population goal for wolf recovery in half, to four breeding pairs.

Ranchers said they need the proposed changes to deal with livestock losses and threats to safety.

But conservation groups said the proposals amount to a political end run around the current Oregon wolf management plan.

“I am extremely disappointed to have to be here again today to discuss efforts to undermine Oregon’s wolf plan and fragile wolf recovery that were proposed, discussed, debated, and soundly rejected in last year’s extensive public process,” Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild told the House committee.

Opponents of the proposed management changes said the state should stick to the requirements for both wolf numbers and constraints on killing the animals outlined in the state wolf management plan updated last year.

“The vast majority of Oregonians are proud of this compromise plan and the process that was used to create it, and it is important that state legislators defend it,” said Randy Comeleo, of Corvallis.

Suzanne Stone, with Defenders of Wildlife, said coyotes alone kill 10 times more livestock than wolves, while cougars, bears, bad weather, disease and birthing complications also take a toll.

But ranchers told lawmakers that wolves are costing them money and peace of mind.

Karl Patton, a rancher from Joseph in northeastern Oregon, said he was awakened last March by six wolves in the dark “coming full speed.” He started shooting until they ran off.

Wolves have killed his livestock twice, including two pregnant cows, one of which was carrying twins, he said. “When they were coming at me and the dogs, they were not coming to shake hands,” Patton said.

Ramona Phillips, also of Joseph, said wolves are changing the behavior of livestock and the members of her family.

“Now we live the stress of wolf attacks 24/7,” she said.

Wildlife experts already are authorized to kill problem wolves, which can be killed if they are an immediate threat. But conservationists say easing protection for wolves as proposed by the bills could lead to poaching.

“It would essentially take us back to the good old days where killing a wolf on sight was OK,” Klavins said. “There’s no way to prove after the fact that that wolf was, in fact, threatening your cattle or was within 500 feet of a house.”

Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, the animal populations in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington and eastern Oregon have grown to nearly 1,500.

The first wolf crossed into Oregon in 1999. Wildlife managers confirm 39 domestic animals have since been killed by wolves, whose population now totals at least 23.

Another hearing by the committee is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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Mar 31

OR: Testimony heard on wolf debate

Testimony heard on wolf debate

Five bills would help protect ranchers from livestock loss

Written by Henry Miller

Statesman Journal

About the only consensus among those who testified at a hearing on five wolf management bills on Wednesday was that ranchers should be compensated for livestock losses.

The five bills backed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association would roll back statewide population goals for wolves, liberalize the allowed taking of wolves and establish a compensation plan for losses.

About 35 people showed up during the almost two-hour hearing in front of members of the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

A second session to take public testimony is scheduled at 5 p.m. Tuesday in front of the committee.

Ranchers said they need them, citing livestock losses and threats to safety.

Karl Patton, a rancher in Joseph in the northeastern Oregon, recounted a close encounter last March when he went out to investigate his barking stock dogs and bellowing cattle.

“I encountered at least six wolves in my cow-calf pasture,” he said, adding that the wolves charged him and his dog. “When they were 30 to 40 yards away, I fired warning shots,” that drove them off.

The wolves were coming hard, “and they weren’t coming to shake hands,” he said.

In May, Patton said he lost two pregnant cows, one with twins, “an incident where wolves took the lives of five animals.”

Wolves are changing the behavior of their livestock, and the the members of her family, said Ramona Phillips, also of Joseph.

“Now we live the stress of wolf attacks 24/7,” she said.

Their neighbor, Scott Shear of Joseph, said that he has had wolves within 200 yards of his house, and had chased them off his property several times.

The bills’ opponents said that the state should stick to the requirements for both wolf numbers and constraints on take in the state’s Wolf Management Plan.

“The vast majority of Oregonians are proud of this compromise plan and the process that was used to create it, and it is important that state legislators defend it,” said Randy Comeleo of Corvallis.

Rob Klavins, the wildlands advocate for Oregon Wild, said the return of wolves to Oregon “has the potential to be one of our greatest conservation success stories.”

“Wolves are not a serious threat to human safety, the livestock industry, or (native wildlife),” he said.

Several legislators on the committee had differing views.

“What I hear here is what is called the urban/rural divide,” Rep. Mark Johnson, R-Hood River, said about the two sides.

Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, told the cattlemen, “I think you folks should have veto power over bike lanes and Max lines …” in Portland.

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Mar 30

Two Dogs Taken By Wolves This Month In Iron, Ashland Counties

Two Dogs Taken By Wolves This Month In Iron, Ashland Counties

Hunting beagle and pet collie; two separate wolf packs

Wolves killed two dogs in Iron and Ashland counties since the beginning of March.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the first dog was hunting snowshoe hare on Iron County lands about five miles northwest of Saxon in northern Iron County.

The dog was a three-year-old female beagle and the incident, believed to have involved the Morrison Creek wolf pack, occurred on March 10.

After the incident, the DNR set up a caution area for hunters and dog trainers that follows the Montreal River from Lake Superior to Highway 122 to Saxon on the east side, the Soo Line Railroad on the south side, the Iron/Ashland County line to U.S. Highway 2, and then along Highway 2 west to Madigan Road, and north to Lake Superior.

The second incident was reported on Monday and involved a pet collie that was killed sometime on March 25 or 26 in the Town of Peeksville on private land about five miles northeast of Butternut.

An investigation by U.S. Wildlife Services determined that the Magee Creek wolf pack had most likely attacked and killed the dog. Though attacks on pet dogs are rare, they do occur, the DNR says. For tips on helping keep your pet safe, see “Guidance of Bear Hunters and Pet Owners.”

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Mar 30

AK: Alaska Clash Over Resources and Rights Heats Up

Alaska Clash Over Resources and Rights Heats Up

By WILLIAM YARDLEY

JUNEAU, Alaska — Anyone interested in learning more about the distinctive flora and fauna here in the Last Frontier will want to pick up a copy of an unconventional new field guide: the 2010 Annual Report of the Alaska Department of Law.

Just published in January, the report, on Page 21, tells the fascinating tale of the Cook Inlet beluga whale — specifically of Alaska’s legal battle to remove it from the federal endangered species list. On Page 22, it recounts the state’s continuing fight to remove protections for the Eastern Steller sea lion. Page 24 provides an update on the battle against a federal decision that prevents Alaska from killing wolves to protect a declining caribou population.

Yet as the report goes on to say, and as the state’s attorney general, John J. Burns, made clear in an accompanying letter to Gov. Sean Parnell and state lawmakers, the fate of Arctic wildlife is just one front in the fight to free Alaska from the federal environmental restrictions that limit its ability to drill for oil, build roads, mine precious metals and otherwise make a living developing the state and its abundant natural resources.

“The Department of Law, in conjunction with other state agencies and with the assistance of the administration and the Legislature, must and will remain vigilant in protecting against the federal regulatory overreach that threatens our socioeconomic well-being,” Mr. Burns wrote.

Amid the recent rush of resistance to federal initiatives nationwide — with terms like “state sovereignty,” “constitutional conservative” and “nullification” becoming increasingly common in the political patois — Alaska stands out for the considerable experience and irony it brings to the debate. No matter which party is in power in Alaska, the state has long cried for more autonomy, and its governors have boasted of filing suit, even as it has routinely received more federal money per capita than any other state.

Yet setting aside that contradiction, what legal observers say is notable about Governor Parnell’s administration is the degree to which it is following up its words of resistance with legal action — all at once and on many fronts. It is involved in high-profile issues, like protections for polar bears and overturning the health care law, but also in more obscure matters like the fate of wood bison or a small population of caribou on a remote island.

“There’s a lot more litigation,” said Mayor Bruce Botehlo of Juneau, a Democrat who served as attorney general under two governors. “It reflects a deep conviction on the part of the Parnell administration that the federal government has overstepped its bounds.”

The same week that the Department of Law released its report, Mr. Parnell, addressing a Rotary Club meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska, outlined what his office called his “strategy to fight federal overreach.” In February, speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, he said the federal government was “openly hostile” to oil production in Alaska.

“I used to think we in Alaska were the only ones being ill-treated by the federal government,” he said this month in a meeting here with reporters.

Underscoring Mr. Parnell’s commitment is that he recently named his former attorney general, Dan Sullivan, who led many fights against the government, as commissioner of the state agency that promotes oil production.

But Mr. Parnell, who succeeded Sarah Palin as governor, said his perspective broadened after he spoke with Republican governors from other oil-producing states, including Texas and Oklahoma. “I think you’re seeing a new alliance of states that are crying foul,” he said.

That is about as blustery as Mr. Parnell gets. He is not floating threats of secession. (“Don’t get me wrong. We are thankful to be part of this great republic, the United States of America,” he told the crowd in Fairbanks.) Mostly, say people who have been involved in legal issues in Alaska for decades, he is just serious.

Resisting Washington is “part of the cultural fiber of Alaska, but it has definitely been taken to a new level by this administration,” said Tom Waldo, a staff lawyer here for the environmental law firm Earthjustice.“You see this particular eagerness to respond even to imagined provocations.”

He pointed to a lawsuit that the state filed last year seeking to block a federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling in Alaska that did not actually exist. The state filed the case after the United States secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, suggested during a news conference that a moratorium would be put in place, but it was never carried out.

In dismissing the suit, Judge Ralph R. Beistline of Federal District Court in Alaska, wrote that “the court interprets this claim as a request that the court require Secretary Salazar to formalize a moratorium on oil drilling in Alaska so that the state has something which can be appealed under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). The court lacks the authority to issue such an order.”

Alaska is also among the states whose lawsuit against the federal health care law led a judge in Florida to strike down the overhaul. When the judge later clarified that the law should remain in effect pending appeals, Mr. Parnell issued a statement saying that Alaska would decide how to put the law into effect “on a case-by-case basis,” with the goal of using “state resources for state-based health care solutions to increase access and improve affordability, rather than become more entangled.”

Entangled with the federal government, that is.

Yet nothing seems to generate more legal work here than Alaska’s wildlife. The more federal protections for wildlife there are, the harder it can be for the state to develop natural resources. And while the Parnell administration has attacked the growth of the federal government, it has grown a bit itself in fighting back. It recently created a new position for a lawyer who deals specifically with issues involving the Endangered Species Act.

In 2010 alone, the state fought (sometimes against the federal government and sometimes with it) over polar bears, beluga whales, ribbon and other seals, humpback whales, Steller sea lions, wood bison, caribou, wolves and salmon. In some cases the state was simply challenging a decision through administrative channels. In others, like with protections for polar bears, it filed lawsuits.

States, of course, have been fighting the federal government since the nation’s birth. California has a history of successfully pushing for more regulation, not less. For Alaska, winning or losing might not be determined by the outcome of a single case.

“If all people ever do is roll over, then agencies can become more and more aggressive in their rule-making,” said Stewart Jay, a constitutional law professor at the University of Washington School of Law. “But whenever you’re dealing with agencies that are expecting to be sued, you can expect to have a lot more care taken in the process.”

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Mar 30

AK: Citizen Group Asks Fish and Game to Hold Off on Wolf Removal Program

Citizen Group Asks Fish and Game to Hold Off on Wolf Removal Program

Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage

A citizens volunteer group in Anchorage wants the state Department of Fish and Game to hold off on culling wolves that roam a popular state park. The Chugach State Park Citizens Advisory board has contacted Fish and Game Region 2 supervisor Mark Burch with a request that a predator control program aimed at reducing the number of wolves in the Anchorage area avoid killing the Ship Creek pack of wolves.

Gary Gustafson, Chair of the Advisory board, says that the public has had little or no notice of a draft plan to eliminate all wolves in the area.

Gustafson says that the Ship Creek wolf pack is a separate pack from one that roams near Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson that has recently been blamed for attacks on dogs and threats to humans.

Last week, Burch issued a press release detailing the success of Fish and Game’s wolf removal program. Burch said nine wolves from the base pack were eliminated through trapping and ground shooting. Tuesday, Burch said that in his viewpoint, the wolf control program is over

Burch said officials will continue to monitor the situation, and that researchers will study tissue and bone samples from the wolves to determine their dietary habits.

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Mar 30

MI: One wolf responsible for more than half of Isle Royale pack’s genes

One wolf responsible for more than half of Isle Royale pack’s genes

By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune

More than half the wolf genes on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale can be traced to one wolf — known to researchers as the Old Gray Guy — that crossed the ice to the island in 1997.

That’s one of the findings of scientists who used new genetic testing as part of their annual study of wolves and moose on the Michigan-owned island off Minnesota’s North Shore.

It’s the first confirmed influx of new wolf blood into the island’s wolf population since wolves first came to the island about 60 years ago. And so far, there’s proof of only the one new wolf.

The researchers from Michigan Technological University, along with others from Arizona State, examined wolf feces collected for 12 years and found DNA genetic tracers not found in previous wolves. From that they concluded that a lone male wolf came to the island in 1997 over ice from Ontario.

“Before this discovery, the Isle Royale wolf population had been considered completely isolated since it was founded in the late 1940s,” said John Vucetich, lead researcher in the island’s long-running predator-prey study. “We’ve been stockpiling scat for 12 years and finally got enough money to analyze it.”

The Old Gray Guy was bigger than others on the island and quickly became the alpha male of one pack. He died in 2006, but not before fathering 34 offspring and 22 grand-pups and counting.

Scientists say 56 percent of all wolf genes on the island trace back to the one male.

The discovery, published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, could be important as managers decide what, if anything, to do to rescue the island’s dwindling, inbred wolf population.

“His crossing came just as the moose population crashed and the wolves had less food, but the wolves still had a little population increase,” Vucetich said. “So there may have been some benefit from his presence that we can’t see just counting their numbers. But we do know that his fitness and his health was so much better than other Isle Royale male wolves, we know he became a dominant factor in the population.”

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Mar 30

SE: Subject wolf moved to Kilsbergen

Subject wolf moved to Kilsbergen

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

News P4 Värmland

It was the subject wolf that was moved from Jämtland to Kilsbergen in Örebro County for over a week ago.

DNA analysis is now completed and it shows that the female wolf who was moved, was the Finnish / Russian wolf was as believed, a wolf that is genetically important to the Scandinavian population.

After a few days in Kilsbergen however the wolf bitch walked on and the latest GPS signals indicating that she is now in Värmland.


Rätt varg flyttades till Kilsbergen

Nyheter P4 Värmland

Det var rätt varg som flyttades från Jämtland till Kilsbergen i Örebro län för en dryg vecka sedan.

DNA-analysen är nu klar och det visar att vargtiken som flyttades, var den finsk/ryska varg man trodde, en varg som är genetiskt viktig för den skandinaviska stammen.

Efter några dygn i Kilsbergen vandrade dock vargtiken vidare och de senaste GPS-signalerna visar att hon nu befinner sig i Värmland.

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Mar 30

RU: Russian wolves ready for Sweden

Russian wolves ready for Sweden

Russia is ready to help Sweden in restoring its wolf-population, Russia’s Deputy PM Sergey Ivanov stated in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Recently, Sweden asked Russia for help in restoring its ecosystem.

Russia may assist by moving some of its wolves to Swedish territories as it has a vast experience in conserving wildlife species such as the Siberian tiger and leopard.

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