Dec 31

UK: Hunt on to find prey for British wolves

AT the time of year when our diet is dominated by turkey, university researchers have been busy finding out which meat tempts wild wolves.

Experts at Durham University say the question is an important one because wolves may be reintroduced into our countryside, with farmers fearing they may target livestock.

Wildlife conservationists also want to know what the wolves would eat to help in the management of prey and the predators themselves.

The research, carried out jointly with the University of Sassari in Italy, found the diet of wolves is dominated by wild boar and roe deer.

Dr Stephen Willis, of Durham University, said: “Wolves were hunted to extinction in the UK, probably by the end of the 17th century.

“We were able to study wolves in their natural habitat in woodland in Tuscany.

“Our findings from Italy suggest that if they were introduced into an area with a healthy hooved animal population, their impact on livestock could be minimal.”

The woodlands in Tuscany have populations of deer and boar, but are also grazed by sheep, goats and cattle.

Deer and boar made up 95 per cent of the diet of the wolves in the study area.

In a report published in 2007, the Royal Society said reintroducing wolves into the Scottish Highlands would benefit the ecosystem by reducing numbers of red deer.

The need for costly deer culls would be reduced, and fewer deer would allow the natural regeneration of the Caledonian pine forest.

Source

Dec 31

MI: Gov. Snyder signs wolf bill

Marquette Mining Journal

MARQUETTE – Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill late Friday reclassifying gray wolves as a game species and authorizing the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to establish a hunting season for the once endangered species in Michigan.

“Wolves have made a dramatic recovery in Michigan with a current population around 700 animals, with almost all of that population residing in the central and western Upper Peninsula,” said state Sen. Tom Casperson, who introduced the Senate bill Snyder signed. “Wolves need to be managed along with other species, and management strategies should include the option of a game season.”

The NRC, the seven-member appointed rulemaking body for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is now able to issue orders establishing wolf hunting seasons in the state. The NRC would also dictate methods of take, bag limits and other provisions of wolf hunting or trapping seasons.

“The Department of Natural Resources now agrees that a game season is needed as part of the approach to manage wolves,” Casperson said. “As season parameters are developed with the potential for a hunt in the fall of 2013, I will help ensure that U.P. residents who actually live where the wolves are at are included and heard.”

The Humane Society of the United States was disappointed with Snyder’s signing of the legislation.

“Wolves have been on the protected list in Michigan for nearly 50 years. With fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan, it’s not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for the HSUS.

Great Lakes region gray wolves were removed from the federal Endangered and Threatened Species list in January, with management returned to the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Hunting seasons have already been established in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Fritz said it is already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that threaten livestock or dogs, making a trophy hunting season unnecessary.

“People don’t eat wolves, and they would be killed just for fun and trophies,” Fritz said. “Sport hunting of these rare creatures is unnecessary, especially when the wolf population is just starting to recover.”

In 2008, the Michigan Legislature approved laws that took effect earlier this year with delisting. Those laws allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is “in the act of preying upon” (attempting to kill or injure) the owner’s livestock or dogs.

Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, along with reimbursing the state for the cost of prosecution.

“With wolf numbers far-exceeding population goals, I hear growing concerns of the impacts they are having on people’s lives and businesses,” Casperson said. “Residents across the Upper Peninsula have repeatedly asked for a game season to help control the wolf population, reduce livestock and pet depredation and enhance public safety.”

In addition to the hunting bill, Casperson also sponsored Senate Bill 996 (PA 487 of 2012), which builds upon those provisions in current law to ensure livestock owners receive fair and timely compensation for animals killed by wolves, coyotes or cougars.

Casperson said that in recent years, farmers have expressed frustration with the growing number of livestock they lose to wolves and the delay in compensation received from the state.

Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will reimburse claimants 100 percent of the fair market value of livestock, not to exceed $4,000 per animal or $100,000 per incident. If the department does not make payment to the livestock owner within 45 days of the claim, the recipient is entitled to twice the amount of the original claim.

The HSUS and The Fund for Animals have said they will file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protections for Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

Source

Dec 30

SE: Wolf killed by train in Skåne

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

HOOR / TT

A young wolf was on Friday hit and killed by a train in Tjörnarp north east of Höör in Skåne.

The accident occurred late at night. The animal has been sent to the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) for DNA analysis, reports the local news media.

The dead wolf is probably one of two wolves in recent days observed in Skåne, one in Söderslätt in the southwest and the other in Lönsboda in the northeast.

Bertil Nilsson, predators officer at the County Administrative Board of Skåne, believes that more wolves will show up in Skåne, in line with the Swedish wolf population growth. Right now there are between 300 and 400 wolves in the country.

Source

Dec 30

DNR analyzing impact of wolf hunt

RON SEELY | Wisconsin State Journal

With Wisconsin’s first modern-day wolf hunt now history, biologists with the state Department of Natural Resources are already looking at the numbers, analyzing the impact of not only the 117 wolves killed during the season but also the 123 animals that died so far in 2012 in other ways.

Adrian Wydeven, a DNR ecologist who has overseen wolf recovery and studies the animals, said biologists have begun winter howling and tracking surveys that will allow them to determine the impact on the overall population of wolves as well as on individual packs. He said the data will also allow the agency to set population numbers and calculate whether the hunting season met the agency’s goal of reducing the statewide spring population — which is expected to be well over 1,000 wolves in the wake of breeding season — by about 10 percent.

Wydeven said he believes that goal was reached and that, even with the hunting season, the state’s wolf population remains at a healthy, sustainable level — a long way from the statewide population goal in the management plan of 350 wolves.

“The zones all achieved their quotas,” Wydeven said. “What the actual impact will be on the population, we won’t know until we finish our surveys in March . . . We know we still have lots of healthy packs out there.”

The final numbers show hunters and trappers killed 117 wolves statewide, one more than the DNR’s quota of 116.

Wydeven said that besides the 117 wolves killed legally during the hunting season, 123 additional wolves were also killed — hit by vehicles, killed by government agents as part of depredation control, killed illegally by hunters and trappers, or found dead from unknown causes.

By far the largest number of these additional dead wolves were killed under the depredation control program, which became legal after the wolf was removed this year from the endangered species list. Numbers from the DNR show that, under the new depredation policy, 19 wolves have been killed by landowners and 57 by agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition, the DNR reports that 19 wolves were killed illegally this year, compared to 25 last year. And 21 wolves were killed by vehicles.

Wydeven said the model used by the DNR to set quotas and arrive at the 10 percent statewide reduction in population took into account the mortality outside the hunting season.

The real story of the hunt, however, will be told when the DNR scientists begin drilling down to see what impact the hunt had on populations in each of the six hunting zones and on the individual packs within those zones.

Hunt quota too high?

Peter David, a biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a group that represents the state’s Chippewa bands on hunting, fishing and conservation issues, said he fears that the DNR did not adequately consider the impact of all human-caused wolf mortality as it set quotas and managed the season in the individual zones. The commission and the state’s tribes opposed the wolf hunt on cultural grounds and refused to kill any of the 85 wolves allotted them under the quota system.

But David said that, while the agency may have considered the additional dead wolves statewide, it was less precise in taking the added mortality into account in individual zones.

For example, David said, the estimated spring population in Zone 3, one of the areas in North Central Wisconsin designated as “secondary” range or moderately suitable for wolf habitat, was 93 animals. The state, after taking into consideration the tribal quota, set a quota in the zone of 18 wolves. Before the season, David said, 29 animals had been removed through depredation control. Hunters and trappers ended up killing 19 wolves, one more than the quota.

That means, David said, that 48 wolves out of the estimated population of 93 were killed this year, more than half of the total. In a report to the Natural Resources Board prior to the hunt, Wydeven said research has shown that wolves can tolerate up to about 29 percent to 35 percent human-caused mortality rates before populations decline.

“The wolf population in this zone, which is considered to be suitable wolf habitat in the state is getting hit very hard,” David said. “But the state seems OK with that since the statewide population is still likely to be over 350.”

Zone system worked

Wydeven, however, said the zone system did what was intended and spread the number of wolves killed more broadly across the state, protecting populations in core habitat and reducing numbers in areas not suitable for wolves.

Certainly, especially in southern and most of the central Wisconsin — part of a large Zone 6 that is considered unsuitable for wolves because of the proximity to farms and urban areas — wolves will likely be seen less frequently. Total population in these areas was pegged at 35 to 40 wolves prior to the season. Hunters and trappers killed 19 wolves during the season and eight wolves were killed through depredation control. The agency had no breakdown on wolves killed illegally or by vehicles in the zone. Even so, it would appear that the population in the area has been nearly eliminated.

Coming months will see more study and debate, Wydeven said, not only about how to set future quotas but also whether the current population goal of 350 wolves needs adjusting. Because hunters will be required to show wardens where they killed a wolf, the agency will be able to determine the impact of the hunt on specific packs, Wydeven added, an important consideration when quotas are set next year.

“How we’re going to set quotas next year is still a whole open area,” Wydeven said.

Source

Dec 30

WY: First wolf hunting season nearly over in Wyoming

CHRISTINE PETERSON Casper Star-Tribune | 0 comments

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — He spends most of his fall outside in the mountains, so finding a wolf was not a matter of if, but when.

Like most hunters, Joe Hargrave bought a wolf tag to put in his pocket just in case; he wasn’t wolf hunting, specifically. Hargrave had been elk hunting in early October when he saw wolves lying in a meadow several miles away. It took three hours to sneak up on the pack of seven. Waiting in the trees, he chose one and shot.

On Oct. 5, just four days after the season opened, Hargrave, a Dubois taxidermist and outfitter, became one of Wyoming’s first hunters to legally kill a wolf since 1974.

“It was pretty neat to be able to hunt them because they’re a magnificent animal,” Hargrave said. “I like to see them in the wild just like elk, moose and everything else. It is nice to be able to have the opportunity to hunt them.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming on Sept. 30, kicking off the first hunting season since wolves were placed on the list in 1974. Since then, 41 wolves have been killed in 12 hunting areas, 23 killed in the predator zone and 39 killed by wildlife officials for livestock damage. Conservation groups have filed three lawsuits seeking to re-list the wolves; they are expected to be decided sometime in 2013.

— The season
Wyoming was the last Rocky Mountain state to see wolves delisted. The Bush administration removed Wyoming’s wolves in March 2008, but a judge placed them back on four months later, citing the state’s failure to ensure genetic interchange between Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The Obama administration removed wolves from the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho in 2011, but Wyoming’s wolves remained listed.

On Sept. 30, the Fish and Wildlife Service once again removed wolves from the list in Wyoming, saying the species was recovered in the Cowboy State and the state’s management plan was sufficient.

The plan divides Wyoming into three areas:

— A trophy game area in northwest Wyoming in which wolves will be regulated by a hunting season from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

— A small, seasonal-game area in northern Lincoln and Sublette counties in which hunters need licenses for part of the year and can shoot them on sight as predators the other part. Called the “flex zone,” it gives more protection to wolves for a portion of the year as they move between Wyoming and Idaho.

— In the rest of the state, wolves will be considered predators, meaning they can be shot on sight.

Wyoming is required to keep a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

A minimum of five breeding pairs and 50 wolves are required inside Yellowstone.

The plan allowed 52 wolves of the estimated 220 to 230 to be killed this fall in northwest Wyoming outside of Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Wind River Reservation.

By Wednesday, the last time reported, 41 wolves had been killed in the trophy area. The season closes Monday.

“I am extremely happy with how the harvest has been spread around the wolf trophy game and management area,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the wildlife division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Even if we come in under quota, it’s been a very successful season.”

Conservation groups raised concern this fall when five wolves collared for research purposes by wildlife officials in Yellowstone National Park were killed by hunters in Montana. Wolf hunting is not allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks. In response, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission closed areas north of Yellowstone to hunting this year.

Hunters have killed three wolves in Wyoming collared by either Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks this fall, Nesvik said.

Wyoming should consider following Montana’s lead and establish subunits around the parks to help protect those wolves that may wander outside of the parks during the hunting season, said Chris Colligan, Wyoming wildlife advocate for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Losing collared wolves from the park is a loss of data, and shooting wolves from national park packs can disrupt the stability of a pack, Colligan said.

“I think where you draw the line is when there are harms to park resources and if we get to the point where we can say there are these harms to park resources, then hunting wolves may need to be closed in those units,” Colligan said.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission would have to decide if Wyoming needs a buffer around the parks.

“Biologically, there is no difference to the population between taking a collared wolf versus a concollared wolf,” Nesvik said.

— The lawsuits

Days after the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wyoming’s wolf decision, Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue. About two months later the nonprofit environmental law firm filed a lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The groups say Wyoming’s wolf management plan is too aggressive, especially by allowing wolves to be shot on sight in 85 percent of the state, said Mike Leahy, Rockies and Plains director for Defenders of Wildlife.

Wyoming estimated about 32 wolves lived in the predator zone before hunting began. As of Wednesday, 23 wolves had been killed in the predator zone.

Nesvik said that was about the number wildlife officials anticipated would be killed.

It’s not about the number killed this year but about the overall plan, Leahy said.

“The state’s goal is clearly to eliminate all wolves from the predator zone and prevent them from ever recovering there,” he said. “The state is simply ignoring its obligation, or refusing its obligation, to manage wolves through the state that includes really important wolf habitat in national forest and on federal lands.”

Since Earthjustice filed its lawsuit, two other similar suits have been filed.

The second lawsuit was filed in the end of November by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians.

The final lawsuit was filed in mid-December in Washington, D.C., by the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.

The first time groups sued — and won — over Wyoming’s wolves, 12 groups joined the same lawsuit, including several of the groups suing separately this time.

On Dec. 21, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., merged two of the lawsuits filed by separate coalitions of groups. The lead group in one lawsuit is Defenders of Wildlife, while the lead in the other is the Humane Society of the United States.

The third lawsuit is still pending in federal court in Denver.

There is no advantage to suing separately, said Ralph Henry, the Humane Society’s deputy director of litigation.

— The future

Shooting his wolf this year was easier than Hargrave expected. He wonders if it’s because they haven’t been shot at in decades in Wyoming.

Even over the course of the season he noticed a change in their behavior. They’re already smarter and more skittish than they were in the beginning.

“They’re going to get harder to find and stay in the timber during the day,” Hargrave said. “The more we hunt them the more they will wise up to what’s going on.”

In the meantime, lawsuits will move through the court system. The Fish and Wildlife Service filed a motion to have the Earthjustice lawsuit moved from Washington, D.C., to Wyoming. A decision on the motion is still pending.

Henry hopes a decision comes before the beginning of the 2013 wolf hunting season.

Wyoming will continue to manage wolves in the state, learning the ropes from Fish and Wildlife Service biologists. Wyoming wildlife officials plan to collar about 25 to 30 wolves each year. The numbers will help officials keep track of wolf numbers and plan quotas for hunting seasons, Nesvik said. Officials will also monitor genetics to show if wolves are successfully moving between populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The state budgeted about $600,000 for wolf management for the first two years. During the 2012 hunting season it sold 4,469 licenses and made $112,518 from the sales that will contribute to management, Nesvik said.

The trophy season ends Monday. Whether it opens again Oct. 1 will be up to the courts to decide.

Source

Dec 30

MI: Wolf declared a game species

Hunting season may be established

John Pepin – Journal Staff Writer , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE – Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill late Friday reclassifying gray wolves as a game species and authorizing the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to establish a hunting season for the once endangered species in Michigan.

“Wolves have made a dramatic recovery in Michigan with a current population around 700 animals, with almost all of that population residing in the central and western Upper Peninsula,” said state Sen. Tom Casperson, who introduced the Senate bill Snyder signed. “Wolves need to be managed along with other species, and management strategies should include the option of a game season.”

The NRC, the seven-member appointed rulemaking body for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is now able to issue orders establishing wolf hunting seasons in the state. The NRC would also dictate methods of take, bag limits and other provisions of wolf hunting or trapping seasons.

“The Department of Natural Resources now agrees that a game season is needed as part of the approach to manage wolves,” Casperson said. “As season parameters are developed with the potential for a hunt in the fall of 2013, I will help ensure that U.P. residents who actually live where the wolves are at are included and heard.”

The Humane Society of the United States was disappointed with Snyder’s signing of the legislation.

“Wolves have been on the protected list in Michigan for nearly 50 years. With fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan, it’s not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for the HSUS.

Great Lakes region gray wolves were removed from the federal Endangered and Threatened Species list in January, with management returned to the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Hunting seasons have already been established in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Fritz said it is already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that threaten livestock or dogs, making a trophy hunting season unnecessary.

“People don’t eat wolves, and they would be killed just for fun and trophies,” Fritz said. “Sport hunting of these rare creatures is unnecessary, especially when the wolf population is just starting to recover.”

In 2008, the Michigan Legislature approved laws that took effect earlier this year with delisting. Those laws allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is “in the act of preying upon” (attempting to kill or injure) the owner’s livestock or dogs.

Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, along with reimbursing the state for the cost of prosecution.

“With wolf numbers far-exceeding population goals, I hear growing concerns of the impacts they are having on people’s lives and businesses,” Casperson said. “Residents across the Upper Peninsula have repeatedly asked for a game season to help control the wolf population, reduce livestock and pet depredation and enhance public safety.”

In addition to the hunting bill, Casperson also sponsored Senate Bill 996 (PA 487 of 2012), which builds upon those provisions in current law to ensure livestock owners receive fair and timely compensation for animals killed by wolves, coyotes or cougars.

Casperson said that in recent years, farmers have expressed frustration with the growing number of livestock they lose to wolves and the delay in compensation received from the state.

Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will reimburse claimants 100 percent of the fair market value of livestock, not to exceed $4,000 per animal or $100,000 per incident. If the department does not make payment to the livestock owner within 45 days of the claim, the recipient is entitled to twice the amount of the original claim.

The HSUS and The Fund for Animals have said they will file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protections for Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

Source

Dec 30

NY: Wolf center offers a howling good time

Written by
Randi Weiner

SOUTH SALEM — The nearly 30 adults and children stood balanced on ice, snow and dirt in the frigid air Saturday morning, howling toward the hilltop where the wolves waited.

At a signal from wolf educator Alex Spitzer, the crowd quieted, and from the air came the unmistakeable sound of real wolves howling in response. The 15 or so children broke into grins as the group headed up the steep hillside pathway to visit Zephyr and Alawa, the ambassador wolves of the Wolf Conservation Center.

“I liked when the wolves howled back,” said 7-year-old Greta Radcliff of Manhattan, who was at the site with her parents and two younger sisters on Saturday for one of the center’s Pack Chat children’s programs, adding, “I didn’t know all the kinds of wolves” there were.

The Wolf Conservation Center has housed several packs of gray, red and Mexican wolves on what now is 27 acres of undeveloped land since it was created as a nonprofit organization in 1999. Nearly 8,000 people visit the preserve during the year, participating in several on-site programs including the Pack Chats, Evening Howl programs, Wolf Day Camp and environment lecture series. Another 30,000 to 33,000 people get visits from arctic wolf Atka, the center’s off-site ambassador, or spend time with center staff learning about wolves.

Programs like Pack Chat help fund the center, which has a budget of about $500,000 a year. Feeding the wolves is not as difficult as it could be, since local police and hunters drop off deer carcasses either killed on the highway or already butchered for venison steaks. The wolves mostly eat hooved animals in the wild, although on Saturday they also had a bit of chicken and bananas.

“A lot of the stories that kids are told about wolves, like Little Red Riding Hood, aren’t necessarily true,” Spitzer said with a smile. “This is just to make it a little bit of a fun program and give kids a chance to see wolves. It’s the biggest thing we can do.”

Saturday’s Pack Chat drew a family of cousins of center volunteer Samantha Smith, including several from Frisco, Texas.

“I love it,” said Kristi Smith, 25, of Darien, Conn., who was keeping her mother, Karen Smith, also of Darien, company as other family members stood by the wire fence, staring at a male red wolf in the distance that had not been socialized to humans.

“You get more of an understanding and appreciation for wildlife,” said Letty Williams, Karen Smith’s sister-in-law and grandmother of 5-year-old Bobby and 3-year-old Brendan Williams of Frisco. The boys said they really liked to hear the wolves howl. After the program was over, they and the adults stood exchanging howls with Atka through the fence.

Winter is wolf time. The animals that were on view for visitors were in full coat and active, a difference from their summer behavior when they would rather sleep. Siblings Zephyr and Alawa, who at 18 months old weighed 80 and 70 pounds, respectively, had been raised to be comfortable with people. That didn’t stop Alawa from growling and nipping at her brother as the visitors walked up to their enclosure, a reminder that even wolves socialized to humans were still wild animals.

Andrew Radcliff, 41, Greta’s father, said he brought the family to South Salem on the recommendation of a friend who had visited the center in the summer.

“He said if you come in the winter, it’s a lot more fun. The wolves have their (winter) coats,’ Radcliff said. He and his family said the trip up from the city was definitely worth it.

Source

Dec 30

IR: Studying Lupine Wildlife In Iran

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Director of the Iranian Cheetah Society announced the launching of studies into the pack life of wolves in Iran and said that a smaller number of wolves live in a pack in Iran.

Morteza Eslami told Mehr News that a genus of wolf lives in Iran with wide distribution across the country. “This genus has been rarely studied in Iran. First studies were carried out on this genus in 2007 in Ghamishloo Protected Area, Isfahan, one of the genus’s main habitats in the country,” he added.

“This genus is studied more in Europe and North America and less in dry Asian areas,” said he, considering gregariousness and social nature as main factors in wolf ecology.

Based on joint research findings conducted in the area with Iranian Cheetah Society, Environmental Sciences Research Center, and Isfahan Provincial Directorate of Environment Protection, the population of the wolf packs across seasons is mainly of 2 sets, indicating no significant difference in cross-seasonal pack population in the center and peripheries of the area.

Director of the Iranian Cheetah Society asserted that wolf packs in Ghamishloo are the smallest in number recorded globally, which is apparently due to the small size of preys in this area compared to other habitats.

He pointed out that wolfs are social animals whose pack population depends on prey size and availability. Pack structure is also subject to human intervention as well.

Eslami believes that human factors such as direct hunting and road accidents are important factors in wolf casualties in Ghamishloo.

Source

Dec 29

WY: Wyoming’s first wolf hunting season nearly over

By CHRISTINE PETERSON Casper Star-Tribune

He spends most of his fall outside in the mountains, so finding a wolf was not a matter of if, but when.

Like most hunters, Joe Hargrave bought wolf tag to put in his pocket just in case; he wasn’t wolf hunting, specifically. Hargrave had been elk hunting in early October when he saw wolves lying in a meadow several miles away. It took three hours to sneak up on the pack of seven. Waiting in the trees, he chose one and shot.

On Oct. 5, just four days after the season opened, Hargrave, a Dubois taxidermist and outfitter, became one of Wyoming’s first hunters to legally kill a wolf since 1974.

“It was pretty neat to be able to hunt them because they’re a magnificent animal,” Hargrave said. “I like to see them in the wild just like elk, moose and everything else. It is nice to be able to have the opportunity to hunt them.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming on Sept. 30, kicking off the first hunting season since wolves were placed on the list in 1974. Since then, 41 wolves have been killed in 12 hunting areas, 23 killed in the predator zone and 39 killed by wildlife officials for livestock damage. Conservation groups have filed three lawsuits seeking to re-list the wolves; they are expected to be decided sometime in 2013.

The season

Wyoming was the last Rocky Mountain state to see wolves delisted. The Bush administration removed Wyoming’s wolves in March 2008, but a judge placed them back on four months later, citing the state’s failure to ensure genetic interchange between Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The Obama administration removed wolves from the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho in 2011, but Wyoming’s wolves remained listed.

On Sept. 30, the Fish and Wildlife Service once again removed wolves from the list in Wyoming, saying the species was recovered in the Cowboy State and the state’s management plan was sufficient.

The plan divides Wyoming into three areas:

A trophy game area in northwest Wyoming in which wolves will be regulated by a hunting season from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

A small, seasonal-game area in northern Lincoln and Sublette counties in which hunters need licenses for part of the year and can shoot them on sight as predators the other part. Called the “flex zone,” it gives more protection to wolves for a portion of the year as they move between Wyoming and Idaho.

In the rest of the state, wolves will be considered predators, meaning they can be shot on sight.

Wyoming is required to keep a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

A minimum of five breeding pairs and 50 wolves are required inside Yellowstone.

The plan allowed 52 wolves of the estimated 220 to 230 to be killed this fall in northwest Wyoming outside of Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Wind River Reservation.

By Wednesday, the last time reported, 41 wolves had been killed in the trophy area. The season closes Monday.

“I am extremely happy with how the harvest has been spread around the wolf trophy game and management area,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the wildlife division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Even if we come in under quota, it’s been a very successful season.”

Conservation groups raised concern this fall when five wolves collared for research purposes by wildlife officials in Yellowstone National Park were killed by hunters in Montana. Wolf hunting is not allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks. In response, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission closed areas north of Yellowstone to hunting this year.

Hunters have killed three wolves in Wyoming collared by either Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks this fall, Nesvik said.

Wyoming should consider following Montana’s lead and establish subunits around the parks to help protect those wolves that may wander outside of the parks during the hunting season, said Chris Colligan, Wyoming wildlife advocate for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Losing collared wolves from the park is a loss of data, and shooting wolves from national park packs can disrupt the stability of a pack, Colligan said.

“I think where you draw the line is when there are harms to park resources and if we get to the point where we can say there are these harms to park resources, then hunting wolves may need to be closed in those units,” Colligan said.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission would have to decide if Wyoming needs a buffer around the parks.

“Biologically, there is no difference to the population between taking a collared wolf versus a noncollared wolf,” Nesvik said.

The lawsuits

Days after the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wyoming’s wolf decision, Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue. About two months later the nonprofit environmental law firm filed a lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The groups say Wyoming’s wolf management plan is too aggressive, especially by allowing wolves to be shot on sight in 85 percent of the state, said Mike Leahy, Rockies and Plains director for Defenders of Wildlife.

Wyoming estimated about 32 wolves lived in the predator zone before hunting began. As of Wednesday, 23 wolves had been killed in the predator zone.

Nevik said that was about the number wildlife officials anticipated would be killed.

It’s not about the number killed this year but about the overall plan, Leahy said.

“The state’s goal is clearly to eliminate all wolves from the predator zone and prevent them from ever recovering there,” he said. “The state is simply ignoring its obligation, or refusing its obligation, to manage wolves through the state that includes really important wolf habitat in national forest and on federal lands.”

Since Earthjustice filed its lawsuit, two other similar suits have been filed.

The second lawsuit was filed in the end of November by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians.

The final lawsuit was filed in mid-December in Washington, D.C., by the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.

The first time groups sued — and won — over Wyoming’s wolves, 12 groups joined the same lawsuit, including several of the groups suing separately this time.

On Dec. 21, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., merged two of the lawsuits filed by separate coalitions of groups. The lead group in one lawsuit is Defenders of Wildlife, while the lead in the other is the Humane Society of the United States.

The third lawsuit is still pending in federal court in Denver.

There is no advantage to suing separately, said Ralph Henry, the Humane Society’s deputy director of litigation.

The future

Shooting his wolf this year was easier than Hargrave expected. He wonders if it’s because they haven’t been shot at in decades in Wyoming.

Even over the course of the season he noticed a change in their behavior. They’re already smarter and more skittish than they were in the beginning.

“They’re going to get harder to find and stay in the timber during the day,” Hargrave said. “The more we hunt them the more they will wise up to what’s going on.”

In the meantime, lawsuits will move through the court system. The Fish and Wildlife Service filed a motion to have the Earthjustice lawsuit moved from Washington, D.C., to Wyoming. A decision on the motion is still pending.

Henry hopes a decision comes before the beginning of the 2013 wolf hunting season.

Wyoming will continue to manage wolves in the state, learning the ropes from Fish and Wildlife Service biologists. Wyoming wildlife officials plan to collar about 25 to 30 wolves each year. The numbers will help officials keep track of wolf numbers and plan quotas for hunting seasons, Nesvik said. Officials will also monitor genetics to show if wolves are successfully moving between populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The state budgeted about $600,000 for wolf management for the first two years. During the 2012 hunting season it sold 4,469 licenses and made $112,518 from the sales that will contribute to management, Nesvik said.

The trophy season ends Monday. Whether it opens again Oct. 1 will be up to the courts to decide.

Source

Dec 28

WY: First Wyo. wolf hunt over, future uncertain

By Christine Peterson
Casper Star Tribune

CASPER, Wyo. — He spends most of his fall outside in the mountains, so finding a wolf was not a matter of if, but when.

Like most hunters, Joe Hargrave bought wolf tag to put in his pocket just in case; he wasn’t wolf hunting, specifically. Hargrave had been elk hunting in early October when he saw wolves lying in a meadow several miles away. It took three hours to sneak up on the pack of seven. Waiting in the trees, he chose one and shot.

On Oct. 5, just four days after the season opened, Hargrave, a Dubois taxidermist and outfitter, became one of Wyoming’s first hunters to legally kill a wolf since 1974.

“It was pretty neat to be able to hunt them because they’re a magnificent animal,” Hargrave said. “I like to see them in the wild just like elk, moose and everything else. It is nice to be able to have the opportunity to hunt them.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming on Sept. 30, kicking off the first hunting season since wolves were placed on the list in 1974. Since then, 41 wolves have been killed in 12 hunting areas, 23 killed in the predator zone and 39 killed by wildlife officials for livestock damage. Conservation groups have filed three lawsuits seeking to re-list the wolves; they are expected to be decided sometime in 2013.

Wyoming was the last Rocky Mountain state to see wolves delisted. The Bush administration removed Wyoming’s wolves in March 2008, but a judge placed them back on four months later, citing the state’s failure to ensure genetic interchange between Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The Obama administration removed wolves from the endangered species list in Montana and Idaho in 2011, but Wyoming’s wolves remained listed.

On Sept. 30, the Fish and Wildlife Service once again removed wolves from the list in Wyoming, saying the species was recovered in the Cowboy State and the state’s management plan was sufficient.

The plan divides Wyoming into three areas:

A trophy game area in northwest Wyoming in which wolves will be regulated by a hunting season from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. A small, seasonal-game area in northern Lincoln and Sublette counties in which hunters need licenses for part of the year and can shoot them on sight as predators the other part. Called the “flex zone,” it gives more protection to wolves for a portion of the year as they move between Wyoming and Idaho. In the rest of the state, wolves will be considered predators, meaning they can be shot on sight.

Wyoming is required to keep a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

A minimum of five breeding pairs and 50 wolves are required inside Yellowstone.

The plan allowed 52 wolves of the estimated 220 to 230 to be killed this fall in northwest Wyoming outside of Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Wind River Reservation.

By Wednesday, the last time reported, 41 wolves had been killed in the trophy area. The season closes Monday.

“I am extremely happy with how the harvest has been spread around the wolf trophy game and management area,” said Brian Nesvik, chief of the wildlife division for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Even if we come in under quota, it’s been a very successful season.”

Conservation groups raised concern this fall when five wolves collared for research purposes by wildlife officials in Yellowstone National Park were killed by hunters in Montana. Wolf hunting is not allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks. In response, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission closed areas north of Yellowstone to hunting this year.

Hunters have killed three wolves in Wyoming collared by either Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks this fall, Nesvik said.

Wyoming should consider following Montana’s lead and establish subunits around the parks to help protect those wolves that may wander outside of the parks during the hunting season, said Chris Colligan, Wyoming wildlife advocate for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Losing collared wolves from the park is a loss of data, and shooting wolves from national park packs can disrupt the stability of a pack, Colligan said.

“I think where you draw the line is when there are harms to park resources and if we get to the point where we can say there are these harms to park resources, then hunting wolves may need to be closed in those units,” Colligan said.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission would have to decide if Wyoming needs a buffer around the parks.

“Biologically, there is no difference to the population between taking a collared wolf versus a noncollared wolf,” Nesvik said.

Days after the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wyoming’s wolf decision, Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue. About two months later the nonprofit environmental law firm filed a lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The groups say Wyoming’s wolf management plan is too aggressive, especially by allowing wolves to be shot on sight in 85 percent of the state, said Mike Leahy, Rockies and Plains director for Defenders of Wildlife.

Wyoming estimated about 32 wolves lived in the predator zone before hunting began. As of Wednesday, 23 wolves had been killed in the predator zone.

Nevik said that was about the number wildlife officials anticipated would be killed.

It’s not about the number killed this year but about the overall plan, Leahy said.

“The state’s goal is clearly to eliminate all wolves from the predator zone and prevent them from ever recovering there,” he said. “The state is simply ignoring its obligation, or refusing its obligation, to manage wolves through the state that includes really important wolf habitat in national forest and on federal lands.”

Since Earthjustice filed its lawsuit, two other similar suits have been filed.

The second lawsuit was filed in the end of November by Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians.

The final lawsuit was filed in mid-December in Washington, D.C., by the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.

The first time groups sued — and won — over Wyoming’s wolves, 12 groups joined the same lawsuit, including several of the groups suing separately this time.

On Dec. 21, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., merged two of the lawsuits filed by separate coalitions of groups. The lead group in one lawsuit is Defenders of Wildlife, while the lead in the other is the Humane Society of the United States.

The third lawsuit is still pending in federal court in Denver.

There is no advantage to suing separately, said Ralph Henry, the Humane Society’s deputy director of litigation.

Shooting his wolf this year was easier than Hargrave expected. He wonders if it’s because they haven’t been shot at in decades in Wyoming.

Even over the course of the season he noticed a change in their behavior. They’re already smarter and more skittish than they were in the beginning.

“They’re going to get harder to find and stay in the timber during the day,” Hargrave said. “The more we hunt them the more they will wise up to what’s going on.”

In the meantime, lawsuits will move through the court system. The Fish and Wildlife Service filed a motion to have the Earthjustice lawsuit moved from Washington, D.C., to Wyoming. A decision on the motion is still pending.

Henry hopes a decision comes before the beginning of the 2013 wolf hunting season.

Wyoming will continue to manage wolves in the state, learning the ropes from Fish and Wildlife Service biologists. Wyoming wildlife officials plan to collar about 25 to 30 wolves each year. The numbers will help officials keep track of wolf numbers and plan quotas for hunting seasons, Nesvik said. Officials will also monitor genetics to show if wolves are successfully moving between populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The state budgeted about $600,000 for wolf management for the first two years. During the 2012 hunting season it sold 4,469 licenses and made $112,518 from the sales that will contribute to management, Nesvik said.

The trophy season ends Monday. Whether it opens again Oct. 1 will be up to the courts to decide.

Source