Jan 31

CA: Plans in works for grey wolves in California

By RICH GREENE-DN Staff Writer

There’s been no evidence California’s first gray wolf since 1924 OR-7 has killed any livestock, attacked a human or otherwise overstepped his welcome since he began visiting the state in December 2011, but that hasn’t stopped the California Department of Fish and Wildlife from creating a plan in case he does.

Northern Region Wildlife Program Manager Karen Kovacs gave an informational update Tuesday on OR- 7, now known as Journey, to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors focusing on the department’s efforts to coordinate the wants of conservation, agriculture and sportsmen groups.

In July the board formally opposed a petition that would list the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act and publicly stated it doesn’t want the animal reintroduced in Tehama County.

Gray wolves are listed under the federal act, but the state designation would add an extra level of protection.

The State Department is in the process of considering the petition, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering delisting the animal in some areas as it moves forward with reintroduction projects across the country.

Kovacs said no matter what results from those decisions it is important for the agencies to coordinate their information and get a head start by developing a management plan to deal with wolves in California.

Supervisor Burt Bundy praised the department for getting in front of the issue, including the Farm Bureau during its discussions, and said the wolf issue was already being handled better than mountain lions were.

The wolf can be a big impact here to us in Tehama County and I am concerned about that, Bundy said.

Journey first entered California in December 2011.

At first he spent most of his time in Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen and Shasta counties.

But in recent months he has moved further south to Plumas, Butte and Tehama counties.

Journey has been exclusively in Tehama since Jan. 9.

Kovacs said Journey has the capability of moving 25 air miles in a single day.

The wolf is outfitted with a GPS radio collar from when he was part of a reintroduction study in Oregon.

Trail cameras have been set up in several locations, but so far none have gotten a glimpse of the wolf.

Wildlife experts have been able to visit where Journey has been and have determined since entering California he has lived on a diet of deer, gray squirrel and deceased wild horses.

Kovacs said he has traveled across every type of habitat Northern California has to offer and across a multitude of land ownerships.

There have been no signs of any other wolf in California, although Kovacs said the department has received several reports from landowners.

She said in every case either a coyote or domestic dog was mistaken as a wolf. Wolf-hybrids, which are easy to obtain in California, may have led to some confusion.

Wildlife officials told the board it is unknown how large a wolf population California could even support.

Wolves in other states have a diet that mainly consists of elk, a species that is 10 times more abundant elsewhere.

California’s population is much greater than other states where gray wolves have been successfully reintroduced.

In May the U.S. and California wildlife services issued a Federal- State Coordination Plan to deal with gray wolf activity within the state.

The plan details how the agencies will share information in the wake of a variety of events from a wolf being captured or killed to notifying landowners of their presence.

A gray wolf stakeholders meeting presented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled for Feb. 5 at UC Davis.

Kovacs said she did not expect a decision regarding the petition to list the gray wolf on the state level until the end of the year.

Source

Jan 31

SE: Wolf hunting appealed

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

STOCKHOLM / TT

Three environmental organizations, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the Predators’ Association, will appeal the wolf hunt decision to which the Environmental Protection Agency gave the go-ahead on Wednesday.

“We believe that hunting is contrary to both EU law and the Swedish hunting regulation,” says Oscar Alaric, lawyer for the SNF.

The appeal will be sent to the administrative court which stopped wolf hunting in the Junsele region of Ångermanland in another case recently.

Source

Jan 31

Wolves body count at 990 and rising

BY: AMY LOU JENKINS

Defenders of Wildlife reported today that nearly 1,000 wolves have been killed by hunting and trapping since Congress delisted them in the Northern Rockies in 2011. Wolves had only recently been restored to the Northern Rockies and despite their positive effect on the environment, they are being slayed in numbers that suggest the species is under attack. The wolf season remains open.

Wolves preserve an ecologic balance. For example, when wolves were eradicated from the Yellowstone 80 years ago, elk numbers increased, and groves of aspen—browsed heavily by these ungulates—declined. After wolves were reintroduced, young aspen trees began to thrive, restoring a keystone to the landscape. Wolves also affect predators such as coyotes, whose populations were reduced by nearly 50 percent after the wolf reintroduction. The process has layers of effects in terms of biodiversity of flora and fauna.

Thanks mostly to federal predator control and a conflict with the livestock industry, the gray wolf was extirpated from the West by 1945. These same policies and inclinations are driving wolf numbers downward. The ecologic healths of the regions are diminished as hunters and trappers try to win a war against the natural systems embodied by the wolf.

Sources: Defenders of Wildlife

Center for Biological Diversity

 Source

Jan 31

MN: Citizens argue for protection of gray wolves

Comments made at DNR hearing on changes to list of plants and animals at risk

By Fritz Busch – Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM – Minnesota’s gray wolves should not be hunted, according to testimony of four people Wednesday at a Department of Natural Resources hearing in New Ulm.

The hearing, which was held before an administrative law judge, is one of five such events that gives the public the chance to comment on proposed updates to the state’s list of plants and animals that are at risk of disappearing from the Minnesota landscape.

The DNR is proposing to remove 15 plants and 14 animals from Minnesota’s list of endangered, threatened and special-concern species, while adding 67 animals and 114 plants to the list. The list was last updated officially in 1996.

The Minnesota DNR proposes to move gray wolves from special concern to no species status.

“I don’t understand how an animal can be protected for so long, then be hunted,” said Michelle Kainz of Hopkins.

Rich Baker, DNR Endangered Species Coordinator, said wolves were removed from the federal endangered species list in July 2011 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

He said the DNR’s decision to move gray wolves from special concern species to no status was made by himself with input from mammologists and biologists.

“We are required to consider (status) change regularly,” Baker added. “When our decision was published in August 2012, we determined wolves were a recovered species. We’ll reconsider the issue in the next three to five years.”

Melissa Siefke of Owatonna said she came to the hearing as a concerned scientist and citizen. She said the DNR estimated there were 3,000 wolves in Minnesota in 2007-2008, but there is no real time baseline population data for 2011-2012, when the decision was made to change their species status.

“Wolves are genetically required to fear humans,” Siefke said. “A healthy wolf population promotes a healthy wildlife population. Wolves support Minnesota tourism. There are 13,000 Minnesota jobs supported by wildlife. We can’t afford to lose wolves.”

She accused the Minnesota Legislature of rushing to a wolf hunt without a great deal of public input.

“Many wolves already die from starvation and disease. Wolf populations self regulate,” Siefke said. “The random killing of wolves will defeat the balance between humans, livestock and wildlife.”

She said 79 percent of recent wolf hunt survey respondents including hunters opposed shooting and trapping wolves.

“The howl of a wolf is magic,” Siefke said. “The public has been kept out of wolf species decisions since 1995. State law required a five-year period between species decisions were made until the law was stripped away by Minnesota political insiders at the Legislature.”

She said baseline wolf population data is important and that in 2012, one in four wolves were killed by hunting and trapping, disease and vehicle crashes.

“Keep wolves on the Special Concerns list for biological and economic reasons,” Siefke said. “Trapping concerns me. It’s archaic, barbaric and causes trapped pets to gnaw off their limbs.”

Marie Thuron of Glencoe said she’s part of a wildlife rescue pilot program with the DNR, law enforcement, and John Q. Public that helped revive the Minnesota’s osprey population.

She said many hunters don’t follow the wounded animals they shoot, so she tracks wounded wildlife.

“What if a child comes upon a wounded wolf and it attacks them?” Thuron said. “Humans are supposed to be the most advanced species, but we’re often not very responsible. As a long-time 911 dispatcher, I still haven’t learned to shut up. Sometimes it irritates people. Sometimes you see deer and other wildlife in town. We’re expanding upon their habitat.”

She said the climate is changing and what’s happening worldwide should be studied.

Retired Minneapolis Public School teacher Melanie Weberg of Bloomington said new Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) are opening in parts of Minnesota where wolves are common and that she supported their continued protection.

When asked how much of an effect hunting would have on the wolf population, Baker said he didn’t have any data on the issue but suggested contacting DNR Wolf Biologist Dan Stark in the Twin Cities.

Other DNR proposed amendments to Minnesota Rules of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species include moving moose from no status to special concern, trumpeter swans and peregrine falcons from threatened to special concern and bald eagles from special concern to no status, among many other changes.

Written comments can be submitted to the Office of Administrative Hearings, 600 N. Robert St., PO Box 64620, Saint Paul, Mn 55164-0620.

For more information, visit:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/ets/rulesrevision.html

 Source

Jan 30

OR: With wolves on the way, Oregon needed a plan

Written by Katy Nesbitt, The Observer

The last Oregon gray wolf was killed on the Umpqua National Forest for a bounty in 1946, until a female wolf from Idaho made her way to the Middle Fork of the John Day River in 1999.

In those intervening 53 years, American attitudes changed about natural resources, the environment and wildlife. In 1973 the federal Endangered Species Act was passed.

At the time, a few gray wolves were known to reside in northern states along the Canadian border.

In the early 1980s wolves dispersing from Canada were recolonizing in northwestern Montana. By 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with a team of stakeholders, completed a recovery plan.

That same year, the Oregon Endangered Species Act was passed, including protection of wolves, a species that had been officially absent for 40 years.

Four years later Congress approved the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and the wilderness of central Idaho. By 1995, six packs had established territory on their own in Montana. In the winters of 1995 and 1996, 31 wolves were released in Yellowstone and 35 in Idaho, the two largest roadless areas in the Lower 48.

But wolves don’t read maps, and their eventual migration west was anticipated.

Some Oregonians welcomed their arrival while others began a defense. As early as 1993, before the federal reintroduction in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Wallowa County commissioners passed a resolution that any species introduction must be done in concurrence with the county.

By 1999 Idaho wolves were making their way into Oregon. A radio-collared female, B-45, was found near John Day and taken back to Idaho by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The next year one wolf was hit and killed on Interstate 84 near Baker City, and another was found shot and killed outside of Ukiah in Umatilla County.

Interest, both for and against wolves, prompted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to initiate the public’s involvement in 2002. The Wildlife Commission directed the agency to organize four informational workshops in 2002. Twenty-nine speakers from various states, including Oregon, addressed the Commission regarding the political, social, economic and biological aspects of wolf management including, Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Carter Niemeyer, the USDA Wildlife Services agent involved with the capture and reintroduction of wolves, and Curt Mack, wolf biologist for the Nez Perce Tribe.

Following the workshops, 15 town hall meetings were held throughout the state in late 2002 and early 2003, including one in Enterprise and one in Baker City.

The following year the Commission began developing a wolf conservation and management plan to address the eventual arrival of wolves, provide livestock owners with tools to deal with depredations, and to fulfill the conservation mandate of the state’s endangered species act.

The Commission appointed 14 members to a Wolf Advisory Committee comprised of a vast cross section of citizens, including ranchers, educators, conservationists, a county commissioner and agency representatives. Their self-imposed mission was “to ensure the conservation of gray wolves as required by Oregon law while protecting the social and economic interests of all Oregonians.”

The Committee began working in November 2003 and completed an initial draft for review in October 2004. On Feb. 11, 2005, the Commission adopted the plan and associated rules.

Both committee members from Northeast Oregon, Cove rancher Sharon Beck and Wallowa County Commissioner Ben Boswell, opposed the final wolf plan and submitted minority reports.

The Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan was modeled after those written in Montana and Idaho; until a year ago Wyoming did not have a federally approved plan. The Oregon wolf plan applies to all lands in Oregon, except Indian reservations under sovereign tribal authority.

The 189-page document covers wolf-livestock conflicts, working dog and pet loss, wolf-ungulate predation, interaction with other carnivores and humans, and economic considerations.

The Commission left three issues to the discretion of the Oregon Legislature – classifying the wolf as a “special status” or non-game mammal, allowing livestock owners without a permit to shoot a wolf caught in the act of killing livestock on their land, and creating a compensation program to mitigate for the loss of domestic livestock due to wolf depredation.

In 2011 a compensation bill was passed by the legislature and signed that August by Gov. John Kitzhaber. The Oregon Department of Agriculture wrote the rules for the law by the end of the year and in spring 2012, the first payments, supported by both federal and state funds, were paid out to Wallowa County ranchers.

Compensation committees have been formed in other counties. Since last spring’s pay-outs, Baker and Umatilla ranchers have suffered confirmed livestock losses to wolves as well qualifying them for reimbursement of market value of their losses.

Money distributed through the state’s compensation program must also pay for nonlethal deterrents. Counties can put in for equipment to protect livestock from wolves. Radio-activated guard boxes emit loud sounds when a collared wolf comes within its range, and fladry, or electrified flagged fencing, a European method to scare away wolves from enclosed pastures, and range riders can be hired to monitor collared wolves.

Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in Eastern Oregon.

To date, five packs qualify, starting the clock to wolves being delisted.

The plan says wolves involved in chronic depredation may be killed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or USDA Wildlife Services personnel.

In the summer of 2010 both agencies were sued for exercising this authority.

The following spring, state biologists killed two wolves in Wallowa County when federal and state officials deemed that the Imnaha wolf pack’s kills were chronic depredation.

In September, the state again moved to lethal control, but was stopped by an injunction filed Oct. 10. The suit is on-going.

Once the wolf is delisted, which could happen in as few as three years, more options would be available to address wolf-livestock conflict.

Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in Eastern Oregon.

The plan calls for managing wolves in Western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the Western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs.

This means, for example, that a landowner would be required to obtain a permit to address depredation problems using injurious harassment.

While there are five to seven breeding pairs, landowners may kill a wolf involved in chronic depredation with a permit.

Five to seven breeding pairs is considered the management population objective, or Phase 2.

Under Phase 3 (seven breeding pairs), wolves caught in the act of killing livestock on public or private land may be killed without a permit.

In addition, a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.

Source

Jan 30

OR: The wolf as political animal: A story older than Oregon itself

Written by Katy Nesbitt, The Observer

Wolves have played a unique role in the human psyche throughout history, and the argument continues whether the two should share the landscape.

Hunkering yards away from human campfires, living, in part, off discarded scraps, the more docile members of ancient wolf packs became the ancestors of domestic dogs.

Their gregarious nature and pack structure that resembles a family, are familiar to people and even, to some, endearing.

On the flip-side, their brutal-seeming dinner table manners, eating prey sometimes while it is still alive, has stricken fear in the hearts of their human neighbors — vilifying them as agents of the devil. Their violent reputation inspired fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs.”

Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said, “When you find out what it is that frightens people so much about wolves, let me know.”

Stone has spent her career studying, working with and educating about wolves.

Love them or hate them, the reality remains that wolves are hunters and don’t discern between wild game and livestock — it all eats the same.

European settlers viewed wolves in a much different way than did the indigenous peoples of North America. As hunters, the natives may have been in competition with wolves for game, but they also revered them.

Si Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe said, “The wolf is my brother.”

But much of the world has fought against wolves to the point of their extirpation, or totally abolishment, in much of Europe and most of the lower 48 U.S. states.

According to Stanley P. Young and Edward A. Goldman’s “The Wolves of North America,” expensive control measures, including government bounties paid to people who kill wolves, date back at least to ancient Greece.

“Intolerable depredations by wolves finally led to the federal appropriations to control predatory animals in the United States,” said Young and Goldman.

It was true in Oregon. Predators became such a pressing issue that territory members came together in Champoeg, a former Willamette Valley town, for what have become known as “the wolf meetings.”

Young and Goldman wrote “…efforts to destroy the wolf in this country were instrumental in formation of the Oregon Territory. The ‘wolf meetings’ of Oregon, officially the formal sessions of the Oregon Wolf Organization, drew pioneer leaders of the Northwest together as did no other objective.”

With wolves and wolf eradication as the drawing card, meeting organizers were successful in assembling significant numbers of settlers to discuss formation of a civil government in the region.

These discussions culminated with the creation of Oregon as the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.

Wolf bounty records provide some indirect data on the distribution and abundance of wolves both before and after statehood.

The first wolf bounty in Oregon was established in 1843 during the Oregon Wolf Association meetings. The bounty for a large wolf was set at $3 and was paid from “subscriptions” to the association.

The Oregon State Game Commission began offering a $20 wolf bounty in 1913 in addition to the regular $5 paid by the state at the time. During the period of Oct. 1, 1913, through May 10, 1914, payments were made on 30 wolves in Oregon: Douglas County, 10; Crook County, 6; Clackamas County, 6; Linn County, 6; and Lane County, 1.

During the period 1913-1946, 393 wolves were presented for payment in Oregon (Olterman and Verts 1972). Many of these wolves were taken prior to the mid-1930s and no more than two wolves per year were bountied after 1937.

Vernon Bailey wrote the first major work on Oregon mammals in 1936, titled “The Mammals and Life Zones of Oregon.” He said wolves were present in most timbered areas of Oregon. He said wolves were most common in the western portion of Oregon, from the western foothills of the Cascade Range to the Coast.

This observation may have been influenced by the distribution of the human population rather than directly related to abundance of wolves. Information regarding wolves from other locations in Oregon where good habitat existed might not have been available.

The last record of a wolf submitted for bounty in Oregon was in 1946, for a wolf killed in the Umpqua National Forest in southwest Oregon.

For more than 50 years Oregonians lived without the presence of wolves despite many landmarks around the state bearing wolf in their names.

Wolf sightings in the intermittent years were primarily in northern states that share a border with Canada, where wolves continued to thrive. With the 1973 passage of the federal Endangered Species Act, wolves were granted protection.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wolves began to successfully recolonize northwestern Montana in the early 1980s. By 1995, six packs lived in northwestern Montana.

In 1995 and 1996, 66 wolves from southwestern Canada were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park (31 wolves) and central Idaho (35 wolves). By 1999 more than 141 wolves were living in Idaho.

That year a female wolf from Idaho, known as B-45, showed up in Baker County.

B-45, which was wearing a radio collar that allowed biologists to track the animal’s movements, was eventually captured by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March 1999 near the Middle Fork of the John Day River, in Grant County, and returned to Idaho.

Two other wolves that made their way into Oregon not long after were found dead. In May 2000 a radio-collared male wolf from Idaho was hit and killed by a vehicle on Interstate 84 near Baker City, and in October 2000 an un-collared male wolf was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. Genetic analysis determined the un-collared wolf was also from Idaho.

The arrival of wolves sparked intense interest throughout the state as Oregonians debated the possibility of wolves dispersing into Oregon from Idaho and establishing a permanent population.

Views ranged from concern about the effects of wolves on livestock and native ungulates such as deer and elk, to support for the return of a native species. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association in 2002 petitioned the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to have the wolf removed from state protection. The same year, conservation groups filed a petition with the Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt certain specific conservation measures for the wolf.

Both the petitions were rejected by the commission.

Wolves have been classified as endangered in Oregon under the Oregon Endangered Species Act since it was established by the Oregon Legislature in 1987, and continue to be listed as endangered.

When the Oregon Legislature enacted the Oregon ESA in 1987, it grandfathered onto the Oregon list all species native to Oregon that were then listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. State law generally does not allow “take” (i.e., killing or obtaining possession or control according to the state of Oregon definition of wolves).

Wallowa County convened a Wolf Summit in Enterprise in February 2000.

This meeting brought parties of interest together to share information about wolf presence in Oregon.

Source

Jan 30

OR: Ranchers’ fears become a reality

Written by Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald

Curt Jacobs remembers the spring of 2009, when his Baker County ranch was the scene of the first confirmed attacks by wolves on livestock

Curt Jacobs remembers those spring nights with the unusual clarity forged by the combination of concern and anger.

As the chilly April dawns broke on his ranch near Keating, about 20 miles northeast of Baker City, Jacobs wondered what he’d find in the sheep pen near his home.

A tranquil scene of ewes and lambs.

Or a slaughter.

Almost four years have passed since history was made on the ranch that Jacobs and his wife, Annie, own.

In April 2009, for the first time in more than 60 years, it was confirmed that wolves had killed livestock in Oregon.

Jacobs, in a recent interview, said he was surprised, though not shocked, by those wolf attacks.

“I knew they were here,” he said. “I had seen one the year before. But I didn’t think our sheep would be first.”

Over the next week or so, a pair of wolves killed 19 of the Jacobses’ sheep.

The first attack happened on April 9, 2009.

A few days later, a surveillance camera photographed the two wolves, one male and one female, on the Jacobs ranch.

The wolves also attacked livestock on Tik Moore’s ranch, also in the Keating area, that April.

Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that favors the return of wolves to Oregon, reimbursed Jacobs for the value of his sheep.

The group also helped pay to install electric fencing and flags designed to drive off wolves.

On May 3, officials from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife trapped the male wolf near Keating Valley and attached a radio-transmitting collar to the animal so biologists could track its movements.

There were no confirmed attacks for the rest of the spring and well into the summer of 2009, although Jacobs said he lost several sheep during the summer.

Then, in late August, the two wolves returned to the Jacobs ranch and killed four sheep and one goat.

ODFW, which took over responsibility for managing wolves in the area when they were removed from the federal endangered species list on May 4, 2009, gave the Jacobses a permit allowing them to kill the wolves if they were caught attacking livestock.

ODFW also authorized the federal Wildlife Services agency to hunt and kill the two wolves.

About a week later two employees from that agency shot and killed the two wolves from an aircraft.

Jacobs said he was generally satisfied with how the state and federal agencies handled the situation.

“I’m kind of glad they went as quickly as they did,” he said.

But Jacobs doubts any wolves would be killed were a similar series of attacks to happen now.

He points out that pro-wolf groups filed lawsuits in 2011 when ODFW proposed killing wolves that had attacked livestock in Wallowa County.

“It’s a political deal,” Jacobs said.

State officials did kill two wolves in Wallowa County earlier in 2011 after multiple attacks on livestock.

Although he received a check from Defenders of Wildlife in 2009, Jacobs said neither that group’s compensation program, nor the state-funded one that replaced it, will recoup ranchers’ for other costs related to wolves.

“Nobody compensates you for the amount of time you spend defending your animals,” said Jacobs, who is a member of the Baker County committee that decides whether to compensate livestock owners whose animals are killed by wolves.

“If you have an animal that’s torn up but not killed, you have to doctor that animal,” Jacobs said.

The wolf depredations in Baker County in 2009 turned out not to signal the start of a trend in that county.

Since then, with one recent exception, most of the wolf news in Oregon, including confirmed attacks on livestock, have happened in Wallowa County.

That one exception was in late August of 2012, when wolves from the Imnaha pack killed an adult cow belonging to the Pine Valley Ranch of Halfway.

The 5-year-old cow was killed while grazing on a Forest Service allotment near Fish Lake. That’s about 27 air miles northeast of the Jacobs ranch.

The cow’s calf, born earlier in the year, was missing and never found.

Despite the relative tranquility that has prevailed since the two wolves that killed his lambs were shot in September 2009, Jacobs is not sanguine.

Oregon’s wolf population has more than doubled since then, although there are no packs in Baker County.

But Jacobs said he has talked with ranchers from Montana, which has a wolf population of several hundred, and they told him that wolves tend to return to sites of previous depredations.

Jacobs said that in 2009 there were flocks of sheep on nearby ranches that were closer to the Wallowa Mountains — where the two wolves probably came from — yet the wolves apparently bypassed those sheep and attacked at his place instead.

He suspects the topography might be a factor, that the wolves recognized there were better escape routes from his ranch.

Regardless, Jacobs said he expects wolf depredation in Baker County is inevitable.

“It could happen tonight — you just don’t know,” he said. “You’re not going to be ready for it when it happens, you just have to go from there.”

Jacobs said if wolves return to his ranch, he’ll try the same non-lethal methods — guard dogs, flagging and the like — that were temporarily successful in 2009.

But he figures that ultimately the matter will end up where it did almost four years ago — a political tussle over wolves and livestock.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Jacobs said.

Source

Jan 30

MI: DNR officials urge both sides in debate to back off

Wolf hunt

By JOHN PEPIN – Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE – Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials said Tuesday a ballot referendum opposing a wolf hunt is “premature and ill-advised,” urging proponents and opponents to allow the state’s wolf management plan to work.

“There are those on one side that say we need to have recreational hunting and we need it everywhere and we need it right now,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “Then on the other side, we have people who say, ‘Oh we can’t possibly hunt wolves.’”

In January 2012, gray wolves were taken off the federal endangered species list, allowing Michigan to manage wolves via its wolf management plan. That document was created over several months, with input from a wide array of representatives, including animal welfare groups, hunters and trappers and Native American tribes.

The recommendations in the plan were all by consensus, Mason said.

“One of those things in the plan is to consider to have available as a tool a wolf hunt to resolve conflict. Everybody agreed that that was a reasonable tool,” Mason said. “My argument would be, we have crafted this plan with input from both sides, let’s stay that course and not let either side challenge us. Remember, the species was delisted because we had this wonderful plan and already both sides – both sides – are trying to pull away from what we agreed to when the animal was delisted.”

Last month, the state Legislature passed a law which reclassifies wolves as game species, authorizes establishment of the first open season for wolf and allows the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to issue orders establishing wolf hunting seasons throughout the state. The NRC would also dictate methods of take, bag limits and other provisions of wolf hunting or trapping seasons. In 1996, Proposal G – which passed with 69 percent voter approval – gives exclusive authority to the NRC to regulate the taking of game.

The new wolf hunt law establishes a Wolf Advisory Council, which will include representatives from the DNR, tribal government, agricultural interests and conservation, animal advocacy and hunting organizations. The council will report annually to the NRC and the legislature, making non-binding recommendations on proper management of wolves.

Meanwhile, a coalition of animal welfare, conservation groups and Native American tribes called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is hoping to reverse the provisions of the law and has launched a referendum campaign. The group needs to gather 225,000 signatures to put the issue on the November 2014 ballot.

The coalition said it has so far received endorsements from about 20 downstate non-profit organizations ranging from the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and the Michigan Animal Rescue Network to the Humane Society of the United States – which intends to file a lawsuit to try to stop a Michigan wolf hunt.

“So I would actually say that those who want this big recreational hunt or those on the other side that say (wolves) couldn’t possibly be hunted are guilty of the same sin as we move forward and that they frankly should just get back in line and let’s see where this process goes,” Mason said. “We haven’t said we’re having a wolf hunt. We’re saying that we’re talking about the possibility, which is a whole lot more tenuous than saying we’re doing anything.”

DNR Director Keith Creagh said, “I’d say it’s premature and ill-advised at this point in time to look at a ballot referendum.”

Creagh outlined several steps the DNR will take over the next six months:

“The Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission certainly is steeped in scientific game management,” Creagh said. “We fundamentally disagree with using ballot referenda to manage any species in the state.”

Creagh said the NRC would likely only allow a limited hunt of wolves in certain areas of the Upper Peninsula where wolf populations are causing problems.

“What we’re attempting to (do) in this case is resolve human, livestock, wolf conflict in a targeted and deliberative manner. In other words, using hunters as a resource to reduce that conflict,” Creagh said. “It’s no secret to anyone we’re using U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services right now to shoot wolves and so there are wolves being shot as we speak. And so the question is: Is there a mechanism to pay respect to the species, reduce utilizing USDA Wildlife Services, and then in a thoughtful and deliberative manner, use hunters as part of that tool in the tool kit?”

Mason said, “The data are pretty clear that there’s a reasonably strong relationship between the overall density of wolves and the likelihood of depredation events occurring. So it’s reasonable to consider the possibility anyway that if you reduce that density you would reduce the need for targeted removals of animals.”

And it would also, in all likelihood, make non-lethal measures more effective than it would have been otherwise, Mason said.

Mason said Gogebic County arguably has the highest density of wolves of anywhere in the lower 48 states.

“There’s no question about population viability, there’s no question about population growth,” Mason said. “This is about the potential of considering a resolution of conflicts that we see occurring in the western U.P. We have consistently said that we would consider the possibility of a hunt to resolve conflict…not recreational hunting any old place.”

Creagh said, “We worked very hard to have the wolf delisted off the Endangered Species List, by supporting methods and methodologies that increased the population. If we did anything at this point in time to put them back in the Endangered Species List, that means that we failed at what we initially attempted to accomplish.”

Mason said, “We have every intention of having wolves be one of those things that makes the U.P. special. It is. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s very cool. At the same time, there’s no reason that wolves can’t be managed like any other species in North America.”

Source

Jan 30

SE: 16 wolves can be shot this winter

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer

STOCKHOLM / TT

A total of 16 wolves in eight territories may be shot this winter, according to Environmental Protection Agency’s decision. Males in inbred territories are to be killed and puppies put out instead.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency the hunt is to shoot targeted wolves in the most inbred territories. The idea is to get a long-term viable wolf population.

“A selective and targeted hunting should not be confused with regular hunting license,” writes the Agency’s Maria Ågren.

The hunt is the only measure in the short term which may reduce the degree of inbreeding in the Scandinavian wolf population according to Maria Ågren. It will be combined with other measures to genetically enhance the wolves, like putting zoo puppies in wild wolves territory.

If one of the alpha males in a territory with a large number of inbred wolves can be killed, a lower degree of inbreeding can take over, writes the Agency.

The decision was taken despite criticism from environmental organizations and the European Commission. They believe, contrary to fact, that the decision is a threat to the wolf population.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has made ??its judgments and trade-offs based on the EU’s Species and Habitat Directive and found that the decision is consistent with the Directive. I and the government have no reason to make any other assessment,” says Rural Affairs’ Eskil Erlandsson, responsible for hunting legislation in the government.

The EU environment directorate is to examine the hunting decision to see if it is in line with the EU’s Species and Habitat Directive.

“We need to look at what has been decided. We are all agreed that the Swedish wolf population has an unfavorable conservation status, and we need to see if this hunt can help make it more favorable,” says Joe Hennon, a spokesperson for EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik in Brussels. “If it turns that we are in disagreement, we will pursue the case in court.”

Joe Hennon points out that the EU has no opportunity to stop the hunt, but can only act retrospectively if it is found that Sweden breaks the rules.

He also comments that the EPA decided to call the hunt a “selective and targeted hunting,” instead of licensed hunting.

“Everything depends on whether it is possible to be as selective as expected. Is it possible to distinguish the wolves when the hunt is under way? If we find that this hunt is practically the same as a regular licensed hunt, it is no doubt that we go to court,” said Hennon.

LRF welcomes the decision of selective hunting of wolves in the coming weeks.

“This is a step in the right direction., It’s good that EPA is pursuing its plan of selective hunting. Swedish wolf management is to be controlled from Sweden, not from the Commissioner’s cabinet in Brussels,” said union President Helena Jonsson said in a statement.

No more than two wolves shall be killed in any territory. The search will focus on groups of wolves so that no more than one of the alpha animals is killed.

The hunt, in Dalarna, Värmland, Örebro and Västmanland, should last between 31 January and 20 February, but only tracking is allowed on the first day. Those who may participate in the hunt are those who have hunting rights on the land where the selected territories are located.

The territory where hunting may take place is Brattfors and Acksjön in Värmland, Fulufjället in Dalarna, Ulriksberg and Villingsberg in Örebro County, Kloten in Dalarna and Örebro, Hedbyn in Örebro and Västmanland and Kolsta in Västmanland.

The list may be revised in accordance with the work, if there is new information about the territory, like any alpha animals missing.

There will be no hunting of the wolf pairs residing in Eastern Norrbotten. According to the County Board and the Environmental Protection Agency at least one of the wolves has Eastern origin and are thus genetically important for the Swedish wolf population, reports P4 Norrbotten.

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Jan 30

NC: Reward offered for information regarding death of endangered red wolf

TYRRELL COUNTY, N.C. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering a $2,500 reward for information about the shooting of an endangered red wolf.

The radio-collared wolf was found dead Jan. 18 north of Fairfield in Tyrrell County.

The red wolf was declared an endangered species in 1967 and is protected under the federal law. The maximum criminal penalties for the unlawful taking or killing of the animal are a one-year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine per individual.

About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five northeastern North Carolina counties. Red wolves are known for the reddish color behind their ears and along their neck and legs, but they are mostly brown.

Officials say that 10 red wolves were shot to death in 2012.

Anyone with information regarding the death of this red wolf or any others should call 919-856-4786, 252-216-7504 or 252-216-8225.

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