May 31

ID: Wolf that attacked sheep killed in central Idaho

by Associated Press

KETCHUM, Idaho — The state director of U.S. Wildlife Services says a central Idaho female wolf preying on sheep has been killed.

Todd Grimm tells the Idaho Mountain Express the wolf was tracked and killed May 24 after it killed a sheep on the Carey-area Flat Top Ranch owned by John Peavey.

Grimm says the wolf was less than 2 years olds and weighed between 70 and 80 pounds.

A kill order was issued earlier this month for two adult wolves after Peavey reported ewes were killed. The kill order for the second wolf remains in effect through mid-July.

Defender of Wildlife spokeswoman Suzanne Stone says Peavey isn’t using enough non-lethal deterrents to keep predators away from about 1,200 pregnant ewes spread over federal, state and private grounds.

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May 31

SE: How few wolves can there be?

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

STOCKHOLM / TT

The government wants to know the minimum number of large carnivores we may have in Sweden, but that the species’ survival is not threatened. The EPA has therefore been commissioned to investigate the issue with the help of scientists.

According to Environment Minister Lena Ek data on minimum viable population is needed in order to define what is called a favorable conservation status. The result for the wolf is to be presented on 2 July this year, and for bears, wolverines and lynx January 15, 2013.

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May 30

ID: Lost Wolf Pup Sent to Zoo Boise For Care

POSTED BY GEORGE PRENTICE

Zoo Boise has become a temporary home to a lost pup, while officials await DNA test results to determine “whether it is a wolf, a wolf-hybrid or something else,” according to Idaho Fish and Game.

Out-of-town campers discovered the pup outside of Ketchum over the Memorial Day Weekend. A technician at a local veterinarian clinic initially thought the animal was a wolf, so Fish and Game officials spent four days looking for a wolf pack in the area where the pup was found, but couldn’t find fresh tracks.

In the meantime, the pup was in need of care and was transferred to Zoo Boise.

“The pup is not in the best physical condition,” said a Fish and Game spokesman.

Wildlife officials theorized that it was possible that a pack was moving with pups—perhaps from a den to a rendezvous site—and may have been disturbed by traffic.

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May 30

ID: Wolf killed on Flat Top Ranch

Officials say animal preyed on sheep

By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

One female wolf was killed near Carey last week in response to nearly a dozen sheep deaths earlier this month, state officials reported.

Todd Grimm, state director for U.S. Wildlife Services, said that the wolf was tracked and killed Thursday morning. A Wildlife Services fixed-wing plane flew over John Peavey’s Flat Top Ranch property on Thursday and found a recently killed sheep, Grimm said.

“The herder pointed in a direction [that he had seen a wolf run],” Grimm said. “They followed it, and found the wolf.”

Grimm said that because of the swiftness of the response, the wolf killed was certainly one that had killed at least one ewe.

“They got a guilty party,” he said.

The wolf was a subadult, meaning it was less than 2 years old and could have been a pup from last year, Grimm said. The gray female was estimated at between 70 and 80 pounds.

He said the wolf was not killed on a 1,100-acre conservation easement held on Peavey’s ranch. The terms of the easement, held by The Nature Conservancy, include a restriction on lethal control methods within the easement’s borders.

“[The Flat Top Sheep Co.] shall comply with all applicable laws and use selective and humane control practices, including, where practicable, non-lethal deterrents and management practices,” the agreement states.

Blaine County contributed $200,000 toward the purchase of that conservation easement in December. The funds came from the Land, Water and Wildlife Levy, a two-year $3.4 million assessment on county property taxes meant to preserve open land and farm space from development.

A kill order for one more wolf remains in effect, as an order for two wolves was issued May 18 following the death of three ewes on the Flat Top Ranch property. The order was actually reissued on that date, as a kill order had been issued earlier this month following the death of seven ewes.

Peavey has stated that he is trying nonlethal deterrents such as fladry—red flags flying to keep wolves away—guard dogs and herders around his bands of ewes, which are currently lambing. The efforts were launched in conjunction with the Wood River Wolf Project and wildlife advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife.

However, Wood River Wolf Project and Defenders of Wildlife spokeswoman Suzanne Stone said she has not seen enough nonlethal deterrents to make a difference on Peavey’s property—or to his roughly 1,200 pregnant ewes.

“He’s sprinkling sheep that are lambing over a very long band of federal, state and private grounds,” she said last week. “There are only a few of these bands who have guard dogs. There are no deterrents with [some] of those bands, which means they’re extremely vulnerable.”

Stone said the organization continues to work with Peavey, but the organization’s effectiveness is limited until he agrees to increase the number of deterrents with his sheep—and clean up a number of sheep carcasses left when sheep have died of natural causes, which Stone and other wolf advocates have said they’ve seen on the property.

“They pose a very irresistible attractant to predators in the area—wolves and coyotes,” she said. “We’ve done pretty much what we can unless there’s any willingness to increase deterrents out there.”

Stone said the amount of fladry and the number of guard dogs that Peavey has with his lambing ewes aren’t enough to be effective.

“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on an amputation,” she said. “It’s not gong to be sufficient to address what the problems are, and we’ve made that clear [to Peavey].”

One kill order remains for the wolves of the Little Wood Pack near Carey, and will remain in effect until mid-July or until a wolf is killed. Stone said she believes two adults and several pups remain in the Little Wood Pack.

Source

May 30

ID: Idaho officials search for wolf pup’s missing pack

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Idaho wildlife officials are searching for a missing wolf pack to reunite with a lost pup.

Near starvation, the five-to-six-week old male pup was found alone, picked up over the weekend by campers at Sawtooth National Forest near Twin Falls, Idaho.

“He doesn’t really have a name yet,” says Susanne Stone, a Defenders of Wildlife wolf conservation program official on Tuesday. “I’ve never seen a pup this young away from its pack in 25 years of working with wolves,” Stone says. “He is kind of in a bad way.”

Idaho Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists are searching for the pack that the pup belonged to. Wolves typically mature at ten months old or so, when they can hunt independently.

If the pack is found within the week, the pup will likely be reintroduced to its parents. Alternately, biologists could try to find a surrogate pack, a more dicey option, or finally, look to a captive wolf program to foster the young wolf, Stone says. Wildlife biologists are consulting on methods to reintroduce the pup to its pack or to a new one.

Source

May 30

Wolf Hunt Stirs Passions in Midwest

By JOE BARRETT

Hunters in the Upper Midwest are gearing up for the region’s first-ever wolf-hunting season this fall, the latest sign of the comeback of an apex predator on the verge of being wiped out in the U.S. when it was placed under federal protection nearly four decades ago.

But animal-rights groups that have blocked such moves in the past could still sue to try to scuttle the plans. Critics also raise concerns about the potential cruelty of the hunt in Wisconsin, which is to allow hunting at night and the use of dogs.

For some, particularly farmers concerned about attacks on cattle and hunters who say wolves have reduced the number of deer, the hunt is long overdue.

“A lot of people are just looking forward to getting the population down to a more reasonable level,” said Mark A. Toso, president of the Wisconsin Deer Hunters Association.

There are about 3,000 wolves in Minnesota, 800 in Wisconsin and 700 in Michigan—far above the federal goals for sustainable populations of 1,400 in Minnesota and 100 in Wisconsin and Michigan combined.

Legislatures in Wisconsin and Minnesota quickly pushed through laws authorizing hunts after wolves were removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act for the third time in January. Michigan doesn’t plan hunts so far.

But defenders of the wolves counter that since the delisting, farmers have gotten enough flexibility to kill wolves that threaten livestock and pets—and that the predators should be allowed to play their role keeping deer and other animals in check.

“We believe there’s no biological reason to hunt wolves in either state. The hunts are basically recreational killing,” said Howard Goldman, Minnesota director of the Humane Society of the United States. The animal-welfare group successfully reversed the removal of wolves from protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act twice in recent years and is considering another lawsuit since they were delisted for the third time in January.

The gray wolf, a pack hunter weighing up to 130 pounds that rarely attacks humans, was exterminated in most of the contiguous 48 states by the 1950s, but a few survived in heavily forested northern Minnesota. After wolves were placed under federal protection in 1974, the population slowly increased and spread into Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

While the comeback generally has been hailed as a success story by environmentalists, wolves have returned to only about 5% of their former hunting grounds in the U.S. And they remain highly controversial in those places.

Separately, the gray wolf was also reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park—which is located primarily in Wyoming and extends into Idaho and Montana—as well as into elsewhere in Idaho in the 1990s. Wolves in Montana and Idaho were removed from federal protection in 2009 and hunts have been held there since. Wyoming is working on a delisting plan that would allow hunting.

Minnesota last week laid out proposed ground rules for two short hunting seasons with a combined quota of 400 animals and a goal of keeping the wolf population around 3,000, where it has hovered for the past few years, state officials said.

In Wisconsin, a state board last week gave the go-ahead for the Department of Natural Resources to set wolf-hunting quotas for a hunt whose parameters were largely set out in legislation signed by Gov. Scott Walker in April. The goal in Wisconsin is to gradually reduce the population from at least 800 to somewhere above 350, a state target designed to be sustainable for wolves and acceptable to humans, state officials said.

Some scientists and defenders of the wolves say the Wisconsin rules are too lenient for hunters—and too cruel for the wolves. At up to 4½ months, “the season is too long; it covers too wide of an area and it comes with too many untested methods,” including using dogs and allowing night hunts, said Adrian Treves, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who studies predator-prey ecology.

Officials say night hunting will involve limited use of flashlights and hound hunters are likely to go slow as they learn how to track a new prey. “They’re going to make sure they have well-trained dogs” before taking off in large numbers against animals as fierce as wolves, said Kurt Thiede, lands division administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Kelly Shepard, a hunting and fishing guide in Grand Marais, Minn., near the Canadian border, said his phone has been ringing off the hook with prospective wolf hunters from all over the U.S. and as far away as New Zealand. But he has bad news for them: “I tell them it’s going to be the hardest hunt they’ve ever been on.” In his 30 years of hunting in the wolf-rich area between Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Mr. Shepard has happened upon a wolf unawares only once. “They’re smart,” he says. “The wolves are going to have the upper hand.”

Source

May 27

MT: Mountain lions kill collared wolves in Bitterroot

By PERRY BACKUS – Ravalli Republic

Mountain lions are taking a toll on Liz Bradley’s collared wolves in the Bitterroot this year.

Since January, two wolves radio-collared by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf biologist have been killed by mountain lions.

Last week, she found the latest dead wolf in the Warm Springs area, west of Sula.

Like all the others she’s investigated since 2009, the wolf’s skull showed a severe puncture wound – a trademark of a lion kill.

In the Sula case, the lion ate a good portion of the wolf and then covered the carcass with debris.

“It’s hard to say what happened,” Bradley said. “There was no elk or deer carcass nearby that they may have been competing over.”

There was, however, a deer carcass near the dead wolf she found in the Carlton Creek area west of Lolo in January. In that case, the wolf wasn’t consumed, but it did have the same canine tooth puncture through the skull.

“That one was probably a conflict,” she said.

Last year, Bradley found two dead wolves that were probably killed by mountain lions. One was in Davis Creek, east of Lolo, and the other was south of Conner.

In both cases, the carcasses were too far decomposed for positive identification on the cause of death. Both had clear puncture wounds through the top of their skulls.

In 2009, the first apparent lion-killed wolf was discovered in the West Fork area.

The number of wolf and lion encounters is unusual.

“I haven’t heard of it happening anywhere else,” Bradley said. “It’s pretty interesting that the Bitterroot has had so many.”

Large predators sometimes do kill each other. There have been documented cases of that happening in many places around the West.

“They compete for the same resource,” she said. “When there is overlap in areas where you have lots of prey, conflicts occur.”

Four of the five wolves that Bradley knows were probably killed by mountain lions were fitted with a radio collar.

“It’s too bad because we don’t have those now,” she said.

At the end of last year, Bradley had collars in seven packs in the Bitterroot. She’s now down to four.

“Ideally, we would have at least half of the packs collared in the Bitterroot,” she said.

Bradley estimates there are 14 packs in the Bitterroot, which includes the area around Lolo all the way down the east and west forks of the Bitterroot River.

On average, pack sizes are smaller in the Bitterroot following last year’s hunting season. The largest pack now has nine wolves. Most have four to seven adults, with several including just a male and female.

Going into the pup season, Bradley estimated that there were between 60 and 70 adult wolves in the entire Bitterroot area.

“That’s a little bit lower than what we had in 2011,” she said. “We had about 80 last year. We had some mortality.”

Bradley won’t know this year’s numbers of pups until sometime later this summer.

She is asking the public for help in locating packs for collaring this spring, especially in the Darby and Sula areas, as well as the north Bitterroot Valley.

Sightings can be reported by going to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website under the wolf section. For recent wolf sightings of multiple animals, Bradley asks that people call her cell phone at (406) 865-0017.

“I’m especially interesting in hearing about sightings in the Sula area right now,” she said.

If anyone stumbles across a dead wolf or mountain lion, she would be interested in hearing about that too.

Source

May 27

MN: DNR outlines wolf season details, seeks public comment

Minnesota’s first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season will be conducted this fall and winter. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public comment on details of the proposed season.

Consistent with state law, the state’s first regulated wolf season will start with the beginning of firearms deer hunting on Saturday, Nov. 3.

The DNR is proposing to split the season into two parts: an early wolf hunting season coinciding with firearms deer hunting; and a late wolf hunting and trapping season after the firearms deer season for those with a specific interest in wolf hunting and trapping.

A total of 6,000 licenses will be offered, with 3,600 available in the early season and 2,400 in the late season. Late season licenses will be further split between hunting and trapping, with a minimum of 600 reserved for trappers. The target harvest quota will be 400 wolves for both seasons combined, and will initially be allocated equally between the early and the late seasons.

The early hunting only season will be open only in the northern portions of Minnesota where rifles are allowed for deer hunting. It will start on Saturday, Nov. 3, the opening day of firearms deer hunting. It will close either at the end of the respective firearms seasons in the two northern deer zones (Nov. 18 in Zone 1 or Nov. 11 in Zone 2), or when a registered target harvest quota of 200 is reached, whichever comes sooner.

The late hunting and trapping season will begin Saturday, Nov. 24. It will close Jan. 6, 2013, or when a registered total target harvest quota of 400 in both seasons combined is reached, whichever comes sooner. The late season will be open statewide.

“The DNR is taking a very conservative approach to this first season,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations program manager.

Total proposed licenses and target harvest quotas are consistent with DNR testimony during the Legislative session, Merchant said. While Minnesota’s wolf population of approximately 3,000 animals likely could sustain a much higher harvest rate, this first season is designed to provide information on wolf hunting and trapping interest and success rates that will help inform the design and implementation of future seasons, Merchant said. The proposed season is consistent with the goal of the state’s wolf management plan to assure the long term survival of the wolf and address conflicts between wolves and humans.

The DNR is also continuing to consult with tribal governments and tribal resource agency staff on the proposed state wolf season.

Wolves were returned to state management in January 2012 when they were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act. Prior to their complete protection under federal law in 1974, wolves were unprotected under state law and DNR had no wolf management authority. This proposal marks the first regulated harvest season for wolves in state history.

Wolf numbers and their distribution have remained relatively stable for the past 10 years and have been well above the federal wolf recovery population goal since the late 1990s.

Merchant said wildlife experts took into account wolf damage control mortality when setting the harvest number. Typically, about 80 farms have verified wolf depredation complaints each year. Over the past several years, an average of 170 wolves have been captured or killed each year by federal trappers in response to verified livestock depredation. About 70 wolves have been trapped and killed so far this spring following verified livestock damage complaints, primarily on calves.

Wolf hunting licenses will be $30 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. Nonresidents will be limited to 5 percent of total hunting licenses. Wolf trapping licenses will be $30 (limited to residents only). A lottery will be held to select license recipients. Proof of a current or previous hunting license will be required to apply for a wolf license. The application fee will be $4.

The DNR is required by law to take public comment prior to implementing a wolf season. While decisions about whether to have a wolf season and when to start it have already been made through the lawmaking process, the DNR is seeking public comments on remaining details, many of which are outlined in this announcement. The complete proposal is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/wolves. Given how soon the season must be put in place, the DNR will only take comments through an online survey, also at www.mndnr.gov/wolves through June 20.

Specific details of the wolf season proposal include:

Season Structure

The early wolf hunting season (legal firearms or archery) will be concurrent with the deer season and open only in that portion of the state where rifles can be used to hunt deer.

The early season dates are Nov. 3-18 in Zone 1 (Series 100 deer permit areas – northeastern and east-central Minnesota) and Nov. 3-11 in the rifle zone portion of Zone 2 (Series 200 deer permit areas – central and northwestern Minnesota). The early season will close before those dates if the target harvest quota of 200 is reached sooner.

No trapping will be allowed in the early season.

The late hunting and trapping season will open Nov. 24 statewide. It will close Jan. 6 or when the total target harvest quota of 400 is met, whichever is sooner.

Licensed wolf hunters will be responsible for checking each day to assure that the season is still open.

The bag limit is one wolf per licensee.

Licensing

A person cannot purchase both a hunting and a trapping license. A person with a hunting license may take a wolf only by firearms or archery; a person with a trapping license may take a wolf only by trap or snare.

3,600 licenses will be available for the early season and are only valid for the early season.

2,400 licenses will be available for the late season (at least 600 trapping) and are only valid for the late season.

The number of hunting licenses offered to nonresidents will be capped at five percent for both the early and late seasons.

Application process

Application materials will be available online on or around Aug. 1

A person must have proof of a current or previous hunting license to apply

Trappers born after Dec. 31, 1989, need a trapper education certificate or proof of a previous trapping license to purchase a wolf trapping license.

The application deadline will be Sept. 6; online winner notification will be no later than Oct. 14. Licenses will be available for purchase no later than Oct. 15.

Groups of up to four individuals many apply as a single group and may assist another licensed wolf hunter but may not shoot or tag for each other.

Applicants can apply for only one of three license types: early wolf hunting; late wolf hunting; or late wolf trapping.

Registration

All animals must be registered by the day following the day of harvest (can be done electronically at ELS agent or by phone).

Harvest registration information/reporting will be available online and via a toll-free phone number.

Carcasses must be surrendered for collection of biological data.

Source

May 25

CA: Wolf in Newfoundland probably made it to island on ice, experts say

The Canadian Press

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Genetic tests confirm that a large canine shot on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula in March was a wolf that probably made it to the island on ice, provincial officials said Friday.

The province’s Environment Department said DNA testing carried out by Memorial University and the University of Idaho has verified that the 37-kilogram animal was a Labrador wolf.

Wolves became extinct on the island around 1930. They have been known to occasionally arrive from Labrador, though there is no evidence of a breeding population.

“We can only speculate on how this wolf arrived on the island of Newfoundland, but most likely it travelled from Labrador on sea ice to the island,” Environment Minister Terry French said in a statement.

“Wolves are known to travel long distances and with the number of polar bears coming ashore in Newfoundland this spring, sea ice was plentiful enough to provide a travel route for a Labrador wolf.”

Earlier this month, genetic testing confirmed that an animal shot in April in northern New Brunswick was a wolf, marking the first confirmed wolf sighting in that province in 150 years.

Officials said that animal could have arrived on an ice floe or was someone’s illegal pet.

Source

May 24

WA: Carlton rancher to get first wolf-kill compensation

By K.C. Mehaffey
World staff writer

CARLTON — State and federal officials say a dead calf found near Carlton was likely killed by a wolf, and its owners will be the first in the state compensated for it.

Bernard and Dianne Thurlow discovered the partially-eaten calf on his 3,000-acre ranch near Carlton on Saturday, May 19.

The Thurlows took photographs of the calf and notified the state Department of Fish and Wildlife two days later, said Wildlife’s Eastern Washington regional director Steve Pozzanghera.

He said the ranchers will be paid market value for the calf, which will likely be less than the $1,500 limit per cow that is not a confirmed wolf-kill, but a probable kill, under the state’s compensation plan.

Dianne Thurlow said this was the first time they’ve seen evidence of wolves near their cattle. She said they had driven by the cattle about 20 minutes earlier, and after checking a salt lick, came back to discover 20 of their cattle all gathered together, with a calf lying on the grass.

“It had been grabbed around the neck and throat and hind legs, and we lifted up one hind leg and looked and it had been eaten from the navel,” she said. “Everything had been eaten up, clear to the backbone, and it was still alive,” she said. Her husband shot the calf after realizing how much she was suffering, she said.

Thurlow said the compensation likely won’t reflect the work to raise the calf, born Feb. 7. “She was a nice older calf that could have been a replacement cow. There’s an awful lot of work that goes into that.”

She said she’s suspicious about the wolves showing up on their land, especially since the state has been trying to buy their property.

“I think it’s like an organized crime, with bullying and a gang mentality,” she said.

State officials, however, say the ranch is in an area traditionally used by the Lookout Pack, and that motion-triggered cameras photographed two wolves on nearby U.S. Forest Service land in recent weeks.

Pozzanghera said that although the calf was not definitely killed by a wolf, the Thurlows qualify for compensation under the state’s new wolf plan, which allows for compensation of probable kills.

He urged ranchers to call 1-877-933-9847 immediately if they suspect a wolf killed their livestock, because fresher evidence is more likely to provide confirmation.

They are also encouraged to protect the site from disturbances, and keep scavengers away by covering the carcass with a tarp.

The agency has $80,000 from state, federal and nonprofit funds to compensate livestock owners, and help them prevent conflicts with wolves.

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