Sep 30

CA: State fish and game commissioners consider listing grey wolves as endangered

Damon Arthur

Officials will consider this week adding California’s only wolf to the list of state’s threatened and endangered species, nine months after it moved to the state from Oregon.

But the wolf wouldn’t be added to the list this year. The California Fish and Game Commission will consider Wednesday to further study whether the gray wolf should be listed as a threatened or endangered species.

That means another year of studying the one wolf in California and gray wolves in general, said Dan Yparraguirre, the California Department of Fish and Game’s deputy director of wildlife and fisheries.

Considering the controversy that has surrounded the wolf, known as OR-7, Wednesday’s meeting likely will be well-attended, he said.

“There’s going to be two very polar positions on this thing,” Yparraguirre said.

Siskiyou County Supervisor Grace Bennett said the county is sending a representative to the meeting to testify against the proposal.

“We don’t think it’s a good idea,” Bennett said. “The wolf they are bringing back is a totally different species” than what lived in the state in the early part of the 20th century.

She said the livestock raised in Siskiyou County could become prey for wolves, and the deer herds that already are suffering could be further harmed, she said.

Born into a pack in northeast Oregon in 2010, OR-7 migrated into the southern part of the state last fall. When he finally crossed the border into California in December he became the first wild wolf in California since 1924, according to the DFG.

Since then he has trotted through several Northern California counties, including Shasta, Tehama and Siskiyou counties. He even returned to southern Oregon for a time.

Wildlife officials have been monitoring his movements through a GPS tracking device on his collar and posting his locations on the DFG’s website.

In March, the Center for Biological Diversity, Big Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center submitted a request to list the wolf.

During the past summer, OR-7 has been traveling between northern Plumas and eastern Tehama counties. The most recent satellite reading is from Friday, when he was in western Plumas County, according to the DFG.

OR-7 already is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, according to the DFG.

Adding gray wolves to the state list of threatened or endangered species would provide protection for the animals if the federal government delists them, said Amaroq Weiss, Northern California representative for the California Wolf Center.

Weiss said she will speak at the commission meeting on behalf of her organization and two other groups.

The wolf needs protection because it is a population of only one, and if it doesn’t reproduce there, gray wolves will again be extinct in California. She said the wolf should not be allowed to go extinct.

“It’s bringing back a piece of our natural history,” Weiss said.

Yparraguirre said the state is not advocating reintroducing more wolves into the state to ensure the survival of the species.

But the environmental groups support reintroduction, according to the state. A report to the commission says the environmental groups that proposed the wolf’s listing recommended taking five steps to ensure wolf populations could recover to the point they’re no longer considered endangered:

List the wolf as an endangered species.

Develop a recovery plan showing suitable habitat for the wolf and conservation goals.

Address human-wolf conflicts and wolf impacts on livestock and other property.

Identify and resolve barriers that keep wolves from dispersing.

Support establishing breeding pairs in the state if it doesn’t occur by 2017.

Bob Williams, chairman of the Tehama County Board of Supervisors, said the county is not sending a representative to the meeting. But the board sent a letter to the commission opposing listing the wolf.

The letter includes a report that says the rangeland in Tehama County potentially could support up to 173 wolves, which annually could consume from 132 to 1,184 head of cattle, or 166 to 1,496 bison, or 1,263 to 11,366 deer.

“We believe wolves would be a threat that is incompatible with humans (hikers, campers, residents) and ranchers (specifically livestock) in Tehama County, and the potential impacts would weigh as a heavy burden on the county, its citizens and agricultural industry,” the letter says.


Sep 30

WA: Expanding wolf packs creep onto cattle grazing territory


ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Over the two decades Ellensburg cattle rancher Sam Kayser has been running cows and calves in the rolling hills of the Teanaway, the animals’ grazing patterns have become so predictable his range riders know where to find the cattle at any given time.

That’s no longer the case, now that wolves are hunting prey within those same forested ridges and draws.

In June, a bunch of Kayser’s cattle did something they hadn’t done in those 20 years: They stampeded through a holding pen in a 100-acre meadow and scattered, some of them finally being rounded up five miles away. A month later, Kayser got a call that some of his cattle were at the crest of Blewett Pass, more than 10 miles from where they should have been.

The reason behind the cattle’s newly erratic behavior is no mystery.

On Wednesday, Kayser’s son, Kass, was riding an area near the North Fork of the Teanaway, where he should have found a lot of Kayser cattle. There were none. What the younger Kayser found instead was a lot of wolf tracks — some of the prints as large as horses’ hooves.

Sam Kayser doesn’t know yet if he’s lost any cattle to the newest predator in Washington’s food chain.

“We’re starting to bring them in now. We’ll be able to tell if we lost any,” Kayser said on Thursday. “We took all cows with calves up there, and we’ll have a calf or two a year that get sick and don’t come back.

“But we’re only a fifth of the way through gathering, so I don’t know if there’s going to be eight cows this year that don’t have calves or just the steady one or two.”

Ranchers in the northeast corner of the state haven’t been as fortunate as Kayser hopes to be. One cattle operation in Stevens County, Diamond M Ranch, reports at least 17 calves and cows killed or injured by wolves in the Wedge Pack, one of the state’s eight confirmed wolf packs.

Months of using non-lethal and lethal means to change the wolves’ behavior — including the state-ordered shooting of a non-breeding Wedge Pack member in early August — didn’t work. Livestock producers clamored for the wolves’ removal, and even some of those on the other side of the issue knew something had to be done.

“If the wolves start testing the cattle and the calves run, they’ll hit them. After a while they get a taste for beef. They’re habituated,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, who said he “regrettably” — and at the risk of antagonizing others championing wolves’ repopulation of Washington — supported lethal removal of the Wedge Pack.

Last week, marksmen hired by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife killed six Wedge wolves, including the pack’s alpha male and alpha female.

Interestingly, the state’s seven other confirmed packs (and another four suspected packs) — even those in close proximity to grazers — have apparently not yet developed the Wedge’s appetite for livestock.

“Diamond is near livestock, the Smackout Pack is right on top of livestock and Salmo is near livestock, and nothing,” said Wildlife Department spokeswoman Madonna Luers, referring to three northeast Washington packs.

“People jump to the conclusion that all this activity with the Wedge, ‘Oh my God, that’s what all wolves do.’ No, that’s what these wolves do.”

Steve Pozzanghera, the department’s wolf policy lead, says wolf research in other states indicates a sort of all-or-nothing pack-wide behavior when it comes to viewing livestock as a prey base.

Wyoming has 21 confirmed packs with an active breeding pair, Pozzanghera said, and only three have taken to targeting livestock.

“Eighteen of those 21 packs,” he said, “have not had livestock predation patterns.”

Last spring, state wildlife officials and Conservation Northwest planned a joint workshop — bringing in experts from states further along in the Northern Rockies wolf recovery process — to teach livestock producers ways they might best adapt their management practices to deal with the influx of wolves.

Cattlemen in the northeast corner of the state, though, chaffed so loudly and angrily at the idea of being trained by outsiders — particularly wolf-loving environmentalists — that the wildlife department pulled out of the workshop.

Livestock producers “share a different perspective on wolf management than Conservation Northwest,” said Jack Field of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association. “In my opinion, the department needed to do that (training workshop) separate, without any NGO” (non-governmental organization).

An uneasy truce seems to be slowly emerging, though, between state wildlife officials and livestock producers. The state’s willingness to remove the Wedge Pack, Field said, should go a long way “to rebuild the trust and credibility of the department with ranchers.”

Now the state is hoping to sign livestock owners to agreements calling for those grazers to work with wildlife officials in applying some of the state’s suggested non-lethal practices to dissuade wolf predation, such as altering grazing cycles to the use of rubber bullet.

What would those livestock owners get in response? A quicker route through the red tape of compensation — some of it funded by none other than Conservation Northwest — for the cost of range riders, other wolf-deterrent strategies and, when those strategies fail, for livestock losses.

The cattlemen’s association is actively recommending livestock owners sign the agreements. So far, though, only a handful have, none of them in Stevens County.

The first cattleman to sign? Sam Kayser.

“I’d like not to be a bitcher and not be a part of the situation,” he said. “Anybody can bitch and whine.

“I’m not a real fan of Fish and Wildlife, but I think they’ve made a concerted effort on their part to work with cattlemen,” he added, referencing both the Wedge Pack action and the agreements.

“Actions speak louder than words. (State wildlife officials) have done both. They’ve given us the words and they’re backing it up with actions.”


Sep 29

SE: Wolves were threatening the keeper

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

NORRKÖPING / TT When a zookeeper last summer died in a wolf attack on Kolmården zoo the management said that the incident occurred without warning. An incident report from 2011 shows that wolves previously had threatened a lone attendant, writes Aftonbladet.

A keeper says in the report that wolves were circulating around and became more and more menacing.

“I screamed and made a lunge. But it felt like it just triggered them even more.” The keeper got scared and hit a wolf with a shovel – without effect.

Eventually the attendant got out of the enclosure.

Mats Höggren, zoological manager, said that “careful assessments and analyses” were made afterwards.

“The action was that we would be more aware and notice abnormal behavior of these particular individuals,” he told the newspaper.

Kolmården reported that incident for transparency but it did not lead to any major changes in routines. “All the incidents have been documented and investigated in accordance with the regulations that exist,” says the zoo said in a statement.

On Monday, Kolmården is to hand over its response to the Authority’s inspection of the fatal accident in June. The report, which the circumstances of the accident is being investigated, are also being presented to show which measures the zoo has done to prevent future accidents.

An autopsy report from the fatal attack in June was compiled by the National Board of Forensics but the police investigation is not finished.


Sep 29

MT: FWP adds more wolf trapping classes to meet high demand

Gazette Staff

Interest in Montana’s first wolf-trapping season this winter has been so great that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced Friday that additional classes were being scheduled in Anaconda, Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula.

The classes, along with a Montana trapping license, are needed to trap the animals. The season will begin Dec. 15 and run until Feb. 28. The season was added this year as another way to help reduce wolf numbers in addition to hunting.

FWP has already certified about 830 Montanans in classes that began earlier this month. Another 1,050 more people are registered for upcoming classes and now 420 more trappers will be accommodated with the additional classes.

FWP initially offered 28 certification classes statewide with up to 50 slots each, but because of public interest, officials supplemented those sessions with six more. FWP also quickly expanded most classes to include up to 60 people, and now some venues will allow for up to 100 students.

“We’ve redoubled our efforts to accommodate everyone who expressed an interest,” said Ken McDonald, chief of FWP’s wildlife bureau in Helena. “With the added classes and expanded class sizes, we’ve worked to meet that need. If you’re interested in trapping wolves this winter, register online now because these are the final certification classes that will be offered this year.”

Prospective trappers can register and find remaining certification locations, dates and times on FWP’s website at Click “Wolf Trapping Certification.”

To participate in wolf trapping this winter, certified wolf trappers only need a Montana trapping license, currently on sale for $20 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. For those wishing to participate in the rifle and archery seasons, wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. The wolf archery season, which is now under way, will close Oct. 14. The general rifle season will run Oct. 20-Feb. 28.

Montana wolf trappers can also be certified by taking a wolf-trapping class offered by Idaho Fish and Game. For information on Idaho’s wolf trapper class, visit


Sep 29

WY: Wolf hunting to begin

By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Hunters will be able to settle their scopes on Canus(sic) lupus legally Monday when Wyoming’s first-ever regulated wolf hunt begins.

The date also marks when wolves will be targeted as predators in about 85 percent of the state, including south of Highway 22 in Teton County. In that area, wolves can be killed by almost any method, including poisoning, hunting by aircraft and trapping, until Oct. 15, when licensed hunting rules are imposed in the zone.

In the trophy hunt area of northwest Wyoming, the state set a quota of 52 wolves. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Wind River Indian Reservation will continue to be hunt-free refuges for the apex predator.

For big-game outfitter Carlton Loewer and many other residents, Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s hunt is overdue. He guides for C4 Outfitters and Camp Creek Outfitters near Hoback Junction and Bondurant.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Loewer said Friday. “It’s definitely time for us to start management.”

In the nine years he’s commercially sought elk, deer, antelope and bear, Loewer said he’s observed a sizable decline in quarry. He blames wolves.

Through Friday afternoon, Wyoming had sold 2,236 wolf licenses, Game and Fish spokesman Eric Keszler said.

Park County led sales with 562. Hunters in Fremont County bought 327, while Teton County followed with 324, Sublette with 228 and Natrona with 117.

Teton County south of Highway 22 is a “flex zone,” where wolves will be regulated as trophy game from Oct. 15 to March 1. Wolves can be killed as predators in that area the rest of the year.

The Dog Creek and Daniel packs inhabit the area south of the flex zone border. Loewer’s hunting turf is in the flex zone.

“There’s roughly 20 in the areas that I hunt,” he said.

He’s looking forward to bagging one.

“I’m definitely hunting them, and I’ll be at it all winter long, too,” Loewer said. “I’ll probably make a rug out of it or mount it.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy by any means — they’re very elusive animals,” he said.

Because he also hunts in the predator zone, Loewer said he will make no special effort to go after wolves in the flex zone during the initial two-week period. The zone was created to protect genetic diversity by limiting the take during periods of high dispersal into Idaho, Keszler said.

Reporting requirements differ in the two types of management areas.

“In the predator area, you are required to report taking of a wolf to us within 10 days,” Kezsler said. “In the trophy area, you have to report it to Game and Fish within 24 hours,” he said. “Within five days, you have to present a skull and pelt.”

Inside predator areas, where Game and Fish estimates there are 20 to 30 animals, wolves can be taken by any measure that’s legal under state and federal laws, Keszler said.

Gov. Matt Mead released a statement about the wolf hunt Friday, calling it “scientifically sound.”

“It was recommended by the Secretary of the Interior, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, it has been peer-reviewed twice,” Mead said. “It is a sound plan that allows for state control of wolves, which I think is very important.”


Sep 29

MN: ‘I wouldn’t mind having one wolf pelt on the wall’

Wolf hunt lottery results are in and online

By Brian S. Peterson
Contributing Writer

It’s safe to say that there was more disappointment than celebration on the Minnesota wolf hunt front on Wednesday.

That’s when lottery results were announced for the first-ever hunt. And with more than 23,000 applicants for 6,000 licenses, nearly three out of four missed out on the chance to participate in this historic hunt.

Among those who will be watching from the sidelines — and they will be watching, moreso than most — are two area wildlife managers on the opposite ends of the main wolf zone, the sprawling northwest zone includes both the Brainerd area in central Minnesota and the Baudette in far northern Minnesota.

On Thursday, Gary Drotts and Scott Laudenslager said they had yet to hear from anyone who had been drawn in this much-anticipated lottery. They didn’t know names; they just knew they weren’t among the lucky winners.

“I didn’t get one,” Laudenslager, DNR area wildlife manager in Baudette, said matter-of-factly, disappointment in his voice.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked if he would have been excited to be drawn for the hunt and, ultimately, harvest a wolf. “That’s the whole idea behind it — to put a trophy on the wall and experience something new. But I had no such luck.”

Unlike most every other applicant, Drotts, DNR area wildlife manager in Brainerd, was much more low-keyed. He would have like to have been drawn, but mostly to be a part of history.

“No, not really,” he said when asked if he was disappointed at not being drawn. “I’d probably put it (the license) in a frame for historical purposes. I wouldn’t have gone out of my way for the hunt.

“If I shot one wolf that might be the end of it,” he said of his wolf hunting future; he said he plans to apply again for future wolf hunts but, “I just want one pelt. Do I want to shoot a wolf every year for the next 10 years? No.”

But who knows how long this hunt will ultimately last. The hope is it will be a long-term management tool for the state’s burgeoning wolf population. But Drotts and other DNR types understand they will be under a microscope in this inaugural hunt — they admit that any issues could jeopardize the future of the hunt. And even at this stage of the game, this hunt still isn’t a done deal — a petition for review was filed recently with the Minnesota Court of Appeals in an attempt to stop the wolf hunting and trapping season and, as of Friday, still loomed.

But last week was about a different kind of anxiety: Hunters and trappers who applied for licenses could go to to see if they were successful in the drawing and to view a copy of the 2012 wolf season regulations handbook. And now lottery winners, who also will receive notification and hunting regs via postal mail, may purchase their licenses or 888-665-4236.

Participants in the early season hunt, which coincides with firearms deer season, must purchase their wolf licenses by Oct. 24. Participants in the late hunting and trapping season, which runs from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31, 2013, must buy their licenses by Nov. 15.

If not, there’s still hope for those who missed out in the lottery the first time around: Any licenses not sold by the aforementioned dates will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to unsuccessful lottery applicants beginning at noon Oct. 29 for the early season and at noon Nov. 19 for the late hunting and trapping season. Any remaining licenses not purchased by unsuccessful applicants will be available for purchase by any eligible hunter beginning at noon Nov. 1 for the early season and noon Nov. 21 for the late hunting and trapping season.

“Sure, I would love (to participate in the first wolf hunt),” Drotts said. “I wouldn’t mind having one wolf pelt on the wall. From that perspective you have something on the wall to brag about. It serves as a reminder of that event.”

Minnesota assumed state management of the gray wolf after the species was removed Jan. 27 from federal protection in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Minnesota’s population is estimated to be about 3,000 wolves. The target harvest of 400 wolves for this inaugural wolf season is a conservative approach that does not pose a threat to the conservation of the population, the DNR has said.

“What a neat success story,” Laudenslager said. “They were an endangered species and now the hunt … It’s a tremendous conservation story.”

Additional information about wolf management in Minnesota is available online

BRIAN S. PETERSON is a freelance writer based in northern Minnesota.


Sep 29

Ore. wolf back on grid after eluding satellite

JEFF BARNARD, AP Environmental Writer

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s famous wandering wolf was back on the grid Friday after escaping satellite surveillance for five straight days, allaying fears something might have happened to him.

But OR-7 eluded biologists trying to get a look at him up close and personal on Thursday in the wilds of Northern California, where he has been searching for a mate since last winter.

Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Game said she and other biologists found a wolf track in the dirt when they went looking for OR-7 in steep, timbered country on the Plumas National Forest, but they did not pick him up on a radio tracking device or see any other sign of him. The area had abundant deer for him to prey on, she said.

“Whether or not he was in an area that satellites couldn’t get a fix on him, or his collar is starting to malfunction, we don’t know,” she said. “But he is back online this morning in western Plumas County.”

They left an automated trail camera to see if they can get a picture of him, like the one taken by a hunter in Oregon last year. Though reports of wolf sightings come in regularly, there has been no hard evidence of any other wolves in California, Kovacs said.

Meanwhile, a public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Sacramento, Calif., on whether to put gray wolves on the California state endangered species list. Conservation groups petitioned the California Fish and Wildlife Commission for the protection, but at least one rural county — Tehama — has formally opposed the idea.

The biggest opposition to the restoration of wolf populations has come from ranchers fearful they will prey on livestock, but so far there have been no reports OR-7 has attacked any.

The gray wolf is a federally protected species in California.

OR-7 was born in northeastern Oregon as a member of the Imnaha Pack, and was captured and fitted with a tracking collar a year and a half ago. The GPS system sends daily signals to a satellite that plots his position, allowing biologists to follow his trek across Oregon into Northern California. The collars typically last about two years.

The young wolf left his pack a year ago to find a mate and a new territory. He is the first wolf known to roam into California since the last trapping of a wild wolf in 1924. Not long after he left, state wildlife authorities put a kill order out on his father and another member of the pack for killing cattle. The Oregon Court of Appeals is considering whether the order violates the state Endangered Species Act.


Sep 28

MT: Quota filled, wolf season closes outside Glacier

BILLINGS — Wolf hunting outside Glacier National Park has been shut down by Montana wildlife officials after a single wolf was killed this week to fulfill a local quota on the predators.

The animal was taken by an archery hunter west of Glacier, one of two areas where there’s a specified harvest limit this hunting season. The other is north of Yellowstone National Park.

There are no quotas for the rest of Montana as officials seek to drive down the predator’s population.

It’s the state’s second consecutive wolf season and third in modern times following their recovery from widespread extermination last century. Montana had at least 653 wolves at the end of last year.

Government workers and ranchers in Montana have killed at least 74 wolves this year following livestock attacks.


Sep 28

MN: DNR faces court case over wolf hunt

By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle

The wolf hunt has gone to court.

Last week, two environmental groups that say the public did not get enough of a chance to weigh in on a state-approved wolf hunt in an area that includes Lake County, filed suit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources . In their complaint, a national conservation organization called the Center for Biological Diversity, and Howling for Wolves, an organization with the goal of educating the public about Minnesota’s wolf population, filed suit against the DNR. The two groups have asked the Minnesota Court of Appeals to grant a preliminary injunction to halt the wolf hunt scheduled to begin Nov. 3.

The DNR’s Minnesota Wolf Management Plan, issued almost a dozen years ago, provides for a 5-year moratorium on wolf hunting after the animal has been removed from the endangered and threatened species lists. Last year, however, the Minnesota Legislature did away with that provision and authorized the DNR to implement a wolf hunt if it provided an opportunity for public comment. The wolf was delisted from the endangered and threatened species lists effective in January of this year.

In lieu of a formal period of public comment, however, the DNR issued an online survey, which the plaintiffs contend was inadequate.

“The state rushed to issue wolf hunting and trapping rules without giving people a real chance to voice their opinions, especially considering the tremendous controversy around hunting and trapping of Minnesota’s wolves,” Colette Adkins Giese, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement on the group’s website. “State officials should have followed the law carefully to make sure they fully understood how the public felt about their decision.”

The survey had attracted several thousand responses, however, answering the question “Do you support hunting and trapping for wolves in Minnesota?” Of the 7,351 who answered, 5,809—or 79 percent—said they did not support wolf hunting and trapping, according to the DNR’s webpage outlining survey results.

The webpage goes on to say that the results of the survey would not be used to determine whether or not to establish a wolf hunt. “The survey was not a referendum on whether to hold the season but to elicit comments on how the season would be implemented,” it stated.

The DNR defends its approach to the management of the wolf population through establishment of a hunt. “The DNR recognizes there is a wide range of opinions toward wolf hunting and trapping, but all Minnesotans should know the DNR’s primary wolf management goal is to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf. The DNR’s conservative approach to this first season is based on sound conservation science and principles,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said after the lawsuit was filed.

Al Edberg of Northshore Wildlife Control, a company specializing in trapping animals that run afoul of homeowners, sees it this way, “I would not want to see wolves gone, but I just don’t find anything wrong with the hunt,” he said. “If we don’t control the population, nature’s going to control it. Nature’s way is crueler than we ever thought of being, “ he added, referring to diseases such as mange that have been showing up in wolves in the region.

The DNR limited the number of licenses for the hunt at 6,000. Six hundred of these will be for trapping. The harvest target for wolves in the northeast zone is 117, with a statewide harvest target of 400. The cost for a license is $30 for Minnesota residents and $350 for non-residents.

Closer to home, local activists have also taken up the cause. Reyna Crow, a spokeswoman for the Duluth-based Northwoods Wolf Alliance, has been holding Saturday protests in downtown Duluth.

“We have a broad group of people who want to protect the wolf,” she said. “Kids, grannies, vegans, hunters, conservatives and liberals—it’s refreshing to see so many people involved.

“I’m involved in this issue because it’s my obligation to honor these animals as part of the public trust—for children and future generations,” she continued. “Wildlife is part of the natural environment. If anyone can own an animal, they belong to us all. We have a responsibility to them.”

Crow and the Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be hosting Wolf Walk 2012 at the Civic Center Plaza in Duluth October 20 to gather like-minded community members and try to raise awareness of their cause. “We have had sufficient feedback to indicate that there is overwhelming support for what we’re doing,” said Crow, “no matter what happens on Nov. 3, we’re in this fight. We’re not just focused on this season.”

About the protests and the law suit, Edberg is philosophical. “ No matter what, there are going to be people who oppose it. That’s just the nature of who they are.”


Sep 28

CA BC: Wolf cull a question of survival: Rancher

Packs costing B.C. cattlemen millions

By John Colebourn, The Province

The American rancher at the centre of the wolf-cull plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department in Washing-ton state says the controversy over-shadows ranchers’ fight for survival.

“Us cattlemen, whether you are in B.C. or the States, we always have had to fight to protect our herd,” said Len McIrvin, owner of the Diamond M Ranch in Laurier, Wash.

McIrvin said his ranch runs about nine kilometres along the Canada-U.S. border near Grand Forks and the grey wolves dubbed the Wedge Pack have found his 450 cattle easy pickings.

But he notes because of tight U.S. wildlife laws, he can’t defend his herd if the wolves show up.

“Our livelihood is threatened if the predators [wolves] are allowed to continue like this,” he said.

McIrvin has tried to get permission to shoot the wolves who come onto his property but was told no.

“If I try to protect our herd the bureaucrats tell me I’ll be imprisoned,” he said of the tough state rules.

McIrvin said he was given permission to shoot one wolf, which would do little to stop the problem. “They did give us recently a permit to shoot one wolf but only if it was killing a calf,” he said.

But because the wolves attack at night when humans aren’t around, McIrvin said the permit “was meaningless.”

The wolves attacking McIrvin’s cattle often move back and forth across the border between B.C. and Washing-ton, attacking cattle on the U.S. side, then moving over into the southeastern part of B.C.

American wildlife officials issued a shoot-to-kill edict on the wolf pack earlier this week. The pack of wolves are believed to number at least eight.

The wolves are known as the Wedge Pack because they operate mostly in a wedge of territory between the Kettle and Columbia rivers.

American officials with the fish and wildlife department believe the Wedge Pack has become too accustomed to beef and no longer chase after deer and other wild animals.

B.C. allows hunting and trapping of wolves, but those methods are banned in Washington.

In B.C., the wolf population is estimated at about 8,500, and an average of 1,300 wolves are killed each year in the province.

Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, said wolves are causing huge problems for B.C. ranchers.

“They come for the deer and stay for the cattle,” he said.

“They realize it is easier to pull down a calf than go after a deer.”

He estimates B.C.’s ranchers lose up to $15 million worth of cattle each year to marauding wolves. And if the wolves don’t kill the cattle, Boon notes how they can maim or injure them. The wolves also chase the cattle, causing them to lose weight over time.

And the wolves are branching out into new areas because of their healthy population.

“We’ve seen these packs move into areas we have never seen them in before,” he said. “We don’t want to get rid of the wolves, but we need to keep the population properly managed.”