Feb 01

SE: More protests against wolf hunting

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer


The wolf hunt that began on Friday is a threat to several ecotourism companies, claims the Swedish Ecotourism Association in a letter sent to the Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“The hunt will take place in two wolf territories, Kloten and Hedbyn, where companies work with wolf tourism for visitors. If the wolves are shot it destroys their chances,” says Ulf Loven, general secretary of the association requesting that the hunt be stopped immediately in the two territories.


Feb 01

ID: ‘Wolf’ killed found to be dog

Fish and Game: No ill intent on hunter’s part

Express Staff Writer

A DNA test conducted on a canine killed near Elk Creek in the Clearwater region of Northern Idaho in November determined that the animal was a dog, not a wolf as previously thought.

A big game mortality report completed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and given to the Idaho Mountain Express this week lists the animal’s species as a wolf, and further states that the animal was light in color and killed with a rifle.

John Rachael, game manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said Wednesday that the animal was tagged as a wolf and apparently shot accidentally.

“From what I understand from the officers [in that region], it definitely appeared to be a wolf,” he said. “It’s a very unfortunate circumstance, without question. But I don’t think there was any ill intent.”

The report states that the shooting was incidental, meaning that the hunter was likely hunting deer or elk when an animal he thought was a wolf crossed his path. Rachael said the hunter had a wolf tag, and took the carcass to the Clearwater Regional Fish and Game Office with the belief that it was a wolf.

“I don’t think anyone would shoot a domestic animal and then try to pass it off as a wolf,” Rachael said. “If it was running loose in the wild and someone mistook it for a wolf and shot it, I don’t think there’s any violation there.”

Rachael said he didn’t know the entire set of circumstances—and Clearwater Regional Supervisor Dave Cadwallader was not available for comment as of press time. At some point, an investigation was triggered that led to the DNA test revealing the animal was a dog or possibly a dog-wolf hybrid.

“There were some other circumstances that led them to believe that this might not be a wild wolf,” Rachael said.

Wolf advocate Lynne Stone, who received the report through a Freedom of Information Act request, said she has heard conflicting information about the circumstances surrounding the animal. Her main concern, she said, is that the animal managed to pass by Fish and Game officers and be tagged.

“I heard it looked somewhat wolfy from a distance,” she said. “I guess when you get a skinned-out carcass, it might be sometimes hard to tell. My biggest concern was that the professional person from Fish and Game didn’t catch it, or didn’t say that there was something kind of odd about this animal. Wolves have big paws for their size. They have small ears. They have broad faces.”

Rachael said he believes the hunter made a mistake—that many dogs look like wolves and could have been roaming loose in the area.

“It’s happened before,” he said. “It’s difficult to know how often. Someone shoots an animal, they think it’s a wolf and someone else tells them, you know, it’s not a wolf.”

Rachael said the circumstance was “fairly unusual” but that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game does not keep records on incidental domestic dog kills. The agency is charged with tracking game and wildlife deaths, he said.

However, Rachael urged dog owners with animals that look like wolves not to allow their dogs to roam free in wolf hunting zones. Wolf hunting season runs until March 31 in the Southern Mountains Zone, which includes Blaine County, and begins again on Aug. 30.


Feb 01

DE: German farmers demand the right to hunt wolves

Wolves were hunted nearly to extinction in Germany in the 20th century. But over the past decade, they have been making a slow return. Farmers say the wolves are pests and should be hunted down.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, on the outskirts of Berlin, is like one big animal museum. The walls are lined with skeletons and tissue samples of everything from monkeys to tigers.

It’s here that Oliver Krone and his team perform autopsies on wolves found dead in the forests around the capital. In his time here as a senior scientist, Krone has documented a number of vicious attacks on wolves. He presents photos of a wolf that was apparently pursued and then plowed down by a car this past autumn.

“This was a fenced, little road in the forest,” Krone explains. “We were able to measure the tracks of a running wolf trying to escape the car, but the car caught up with the animal, crashed into it and drove off.”

Conservationists happy, farmers angry

The return of wolves to the forests around Berlin has been met with excitement in the conservationist and scientific community. But, sheepherders and livestock farmers are increasingly agitated. Since 2007, wolves have killed about 360 farm animals in this region.

Krone says wolf packs from Russia and eastern Poland are making their way into Germany, settling mostly in the German state of Brandenburg. Wolves from Switzerland, France and Italy have also been discovered here. The animals are listed as endangered and hunting them is banned – but Krone says the ban is being ignored by hunters.

“We’re only getting those wolves brought in that have been badly shot, in the belly or abdomen,” Krone told DW. “The good shots, in which the wolves die immediately, are taken away by the hunters and buried somewhere.”

Animal rights groups and the Brandenburg state government have come up with a plan that they think will appease both conservationists and livestock owners. It involves compensation for farmers who can prove that one of their farm animals has been killed by a wolf.

“The farmers in Germany are having a tough time at the moment – and things are becoming even harder for them,” says Katharina Weinberg from the Brandenburg arm of the conservation group NABU. “But, the fact is, this plan is a success.”

Concern about wolf attacks

Lutz-Uwe Kahn of the Brandenburg Farmers group isn’t satisfied with the plan. He says farmers in his group have had to wait up to a year for reimbursement for dead livestock and money to train sheep dogs.

NABU’s Weinberg agrees that the plan has its limitations. She explains that there are too few people working in administration who can deal with wolf attack reports. “That’s why the reimbursement takes a little while,” she said. “But it doesn’t take half a year to get money back, it’s more like eight weeks.”

Kahn says that farmers should have the freedom to rid their properties of troublesome wolves.
“The solution for us is to allow the wolves to live where they live now, in nature parks and on land owned by the army,” he told DW. “But, if they leave these places, we need to be able to hunt them. If we don’t, they’ll attack our livestock.”

The ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ effect

Research indicates that there are now around 160 wolves roaming in Brandenburg’s forest in 17 different packs. One woman told DW she wasn’t as concerned as some of the others in the community.

“No, I am not afraid of wolves,” she said “Actually it is a real honor to see a wolf in the wild. They are very shy animals, so why should we be afraid of them?”

Olive Krone from the Leibniz Institute says the issue boils down to a fear we learn through films and fairytales.

“People are still suffering from the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ effect. Everyone is afraid just hearing the name wolf,” he said.

“Everyone thinks if wolves are around, I can’t go into the forest anymore. This is nonsense. The wolf is so afraid of humans that it’s extremely hard to see a wolf. You can try, but actually, you’ll never see one.”



Feb 01

SE: Wolf hunt quota angers environmentalists

Sweden is to resume its wolf hunt in what authorities have described as a bid to limit inbreeding, while environmentalists argued on Thursday that it violates EU law.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) has authorized the killing of 16 wolves in specific territories in a hunt that starts on Friday and ends on February 17th.

The most recent estimate a year ago put the overall number of wolves in Sweden at around 270, spread out in about 30 packs, though those numbers have most certainly risen since then.

The agency announced on Wednesday it had allowed a “selective and targeted hunt of inbred wolves as a step towards reducing inbreeding and having a sustainable, healthy wolf population”.

“A selective and targeted hunt is the only method that can reduce the level of inbreeding in the short term,” it said.

Wolves are considered a protected species in many parts of Europe, and Swedish environmentalists decried the hunt as illegal and said it could hurt the wolf population.

“We believe the hunt violates both EU law and Swedish hunting regulations,” Oscar Alarik, legal counsel at the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), said on Thursday.

“We don’t agree that the hunt would help sustain the wolf population. The population is not big enough for a hunt of this size,” he told Swedish news agency TT.

The Djurskyddsföreningen, WWF and Rovdjursföreningen (Swedish Predators Association) have together appealed the decision to Stockholm’s Administrative Court.

Sweden’s parliament voted to resume a licensed wolf hunt in 2010 after a 46-year hiatus, allowing 27 wolves to be killed.

Supporters said the cull was needed to strengthen the gene pool of Sweden’s largely inbred wolf population, and wolves were imported from Finland and Russia to replace the killed animals.

The hunt was again authorized in 2011, but not in 2012.

The agency stressed that the “selective and targeted” hunt for 2013 was not the same as the licensed hunts in 2010 and 2011.

“This is not a normal licensed hunt,” EPA director Maria Aagren told TT.

But EU officials told Swedish media they were watching the situation closely to determine whether to take Sweden to the European Court of Justice.

In January 2011, the Commission reprimanded the Scandinavian country for its wolf hunt.

The hunt is supported in rural Sweden, where sheep and reindeer have increasingly come under attack.

AFP/The Local/at


Feb 01

SE: Wolf pairs in Norrbotten moved southward

Roughly translated by TWIN Observer


The wolf pair that is in the Torne Valley in Norrbotten are both of Finnish-Russian origin. This has been found in a dna analysis.

Sami villages engaged in reindeer herding in the area want the wolves away and have called for hunting of the wolf pair. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Board of Agriculture want to keep the wolves because they are genetically valuable to the Swedish wolf population and are now considering moving the pair to the south, away from the areas where reindeer are herded.


Feb 01

MT: Certain breeds of dogs being used to ward off wolves from livestock

by Katy Harris KXLF News

WISDOM-One of the first programs to protect livestock against wolves by using man’s best friend is taking place on the Ruby Ranch near Wisdom.

These dogs not only buy time against the next wolf attack, they’re also a good investment for the health of your livestock.

5/R Stock Dogs Herdsman Marvin Dunster says, “The dishonest predators are going to come in and challenge that perimeter and that’s what we’re trying to buy time for. We know it’s going to happen. We’re just trying to put it off as long as we can.”

“They had 4 dead calves, and another one that the wolves had tore the utter off of and she died,” says Ruby Ranch owner Heidi Hirschy.
She lost 17 head of cattle to wolves from April 2009 to April 2010.
Her ranch lies in the Big Hole Valley, which is no stranger to wolves.

“The Big Hole Valley has historically had wolf presence, we have had conflict in the valley,” says Fish, Wildlife & Parks Wolf Management Specialist Nathan Lance.

Hirschy decided to make an investment to fight against wolf deprivation.
She got in contact with a Billings dog breeder.

“These dogs are not bred to be killers, they’re bred to be neutralizers,” says Dunster.
He and his wife breed 5 types of dogs to fit each producer’s needs.

The Ruby Ranch has 6 guard dogs.
The canines generally follow and bond with cattle to ward off outside predators.

Dunster says, “Any time we place a dog with any producer, no matter what the situation is, the dogs presence is 90 percent of the success of what happens there.”

Since Hirschy placed the guard dogs on her ranch, she has suffered only 1 deprivation(sic).
But her dogs can’t cover the 6 mile area alone.
Hirschy says, “My dogs need some help. They can’t cover the whole valley.”

“I think if we had another 2 or 3 ranchers get involved and everybody got 2 or 3 or 4 dogs it would relieve some of the pressure on the existing dogs,” adds Dunster.

Guard dogs like can also reduce the stress of your cattle herd.
“They’re not doctoring as many calves, they’re not losing calves to pneumonia,” says Hirschy.

Fish Wildlife and Parks and other organizations will continue to track the progress of the guard dog project.
Montana State University and Utah State University are researching it also.

Dunster says he breeds his dogs for intellect and not aggression against wolves.
For more information on the dogs call 406 248-7060.