Rally to Save California Wolves, Wildlife Set for Wednesday in Ventura

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-04-14-2014.html

Event Precedes State Fish and Game Commission Meeting

VENTURA, Calif.— Dozens of local residents and activists from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies will rally Wednesday morning in Ventura to voice their support for protecting gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and for banning all wildlife-killing contests in California. Both issues are on the agenda for the California Fish and Game Commission meeting that will take place in Ventura later that morning.

And on Tuesday night, the Center’s Amaroq Weiss, one of the nation’s leading wolf conservation advocates, who has been at the forefront of wolf recovery efforts in the United States for the past 17 years, will give a public presentation on wolf conservation in California and beyond.

Wednesday, April 16 Rally:

WHAT: Citizens, including members of the Center for Biological Diversity, will rally on the sidewalk in front of the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel to send a loud message to the California Fish and Game Commission that Californians support full protections for wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and support banning all wildlife-killing contests in the state.

WHEN: 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., Wednesday, April 16 (Note: The public hearing starts 15 minutes after the rally ends, at 8:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel.)

WHERE: The sidewalk in front of the main entrance to the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, at 450 E. Harbor Boulevard in Ventura.

VISUALS and INTERVIEWS: Attendees will hoist posters and banners with messages in support of full state protections for wolves and banning wildlife-killing contests. Speakers (also available for interviews) will include Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity; Keli Hendricks, a California rancher who supports coexisting with native predators; Camilla Fox and Grant McComb, executive director and youth outreach coordinator for Project Coyote; Damon Nagami, senior attorney with the National Resources Defense Council; and Jim Hines, conservation chair for the Sierra Club – Los Padres Chapter.

Wolf Presentation, April 15:

WHAT: Biologist and former attorney Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, will give a presentation about wolves and wolf conservation challenges.

WHEN: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15

WHERE: City Corps Building, 77 N. California St., Ventura

The public and media are welcome to attend.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Rare Alaskan Wolves Considered for Endangered Species List

Greenpeace March 28, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves may need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of unsustainable logging in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska. The agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of this rare subspecies of gray wolf, which lives only in the region’s old-growth forests.
wolfAlexander Archipelago wolf populations cannot survive in areas with high road density, which the logging industry relies on. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Today’s decision responds to a scientific petition filed in Aug. 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace. Following the status review and a public comment period, the agency will decide whether or not to list the species as threatened or endangered.
“The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska’s most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it’s to have any chance at survival,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center of Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law in the world for protecting wildlife, and it can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting.”
Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska.
“This gray wolf subspecies exists only in southeast Alaska, and its principle population has declined sharply in the last few years,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner and long-time resident of the region. “Endangered Species Act protection is necessary to protect the wolves, not least because of the Forest Service’s own admission that its so-called transition out of old-growth logging in the Tongass will take decades. The negative impacts on these wolves are very long-term and have accumulated over the past 60 years of industrial logging.”
The-4-timber-projects-(map)
Logging on the Tongass brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping. As many as half the wolves killed on the Tongass are killed illegally, and hunting and trapping are occurring at unsustainable levels in many areas. Despite scientific evidence showing that Alexander Archipelago wolf populations will not survive in areas with high road density, the Forest Service continues to build new logging roads in the Tongass. Road density is particularly an urgent concern on heavily fragmented Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands, home to an important population of the wolves.
In 2013 the Alaska Board of Game authorized killing 80 percent to 100 percent of the wolves in two areas of the Tongass because habitat loss has reduced deer numbers so that human hunters and wolves are competing for deer—putting yet more pressure on the wolf population.
The Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing the wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1990s but then chose not to do so, citing new protective standards set out in the Forest Service’s 1997 Tongass Forest Plan. Unfortunately, as outlined in the conservation groups’ 2011 petition, the Forest Service has not adequately implemented those standards.
Today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-day finding on the Alexander Archipelago wolf determined that protecting this wolf as threatened or endangered “may be warranted” under three of the five “factors” specified in the Endangered Species Act:
1. present or threatened destruction of habitat
2. overutilization (e.g. from hunting and trapping)
3. the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

No wolves to be added to dwindling Isle Royale wolf pack

 

The National Park Service has decided not to transplant any wolves to Isle Royale National Park to address the island’s declining wolf population, MPR News reports.The wolf pack living on the Lake Superior island has been dwindling over the past several years because of inbreeding, disease and a temporary decline in the moose population. There are just nine wolves compared to an average of 23 over the past couple of decades. Some researchers are concerned the wolves might die out if new animals aren’t added to the pack.

But Phyllis Green, the superintendent of Isle Royale National Park, said Wednesday the Park Service doesn’t think that step is necessary yet.

Instead, she says park officials will develop a management plan to assess the wolves’ survival longer term, as well as their interactions with the moose that live on Isle Royale, the Associated Press reports. She said it’ll take about three years to put the plan together.

Map showing the location of Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

“This is an island,” Green told MPR. “Island biogeography is a developing science, and our understanding of how islands react to change is still really being studied in a lot of ways.”

“As long as there’s a breeding population, we’re going to let these animals have a chance to live their lives without us intervening,” Green added, according to the AP.

A long-running research project has been studying the relationship between the wolves and the moose on Isle Royale for more than 50 years.  The scientists who lead that study, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University, are among the most vocal advocates for bringing more wolves to the island.

Vucetich declined comment about Green’s decision Wednesday but said he and Peterson would issue a statement next week, according to the Associated Press.

In a 2013 interview, Vucetich said it’s important to keep the island’s ecosystem healthy, with or without human involvement, the AP reports.

“As long as there are moose on Isle Royale there should be wolves on Isle Royale,” Vucetich said.

Wolf populations in Northern Rockies states Down 6%

April 5, 2014 by 

Associated Press

Gray wolf numbers in the Northern Rockies have declined about 6 percent from 2011, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Congress removed the wolves from the federal endangered species list in 2011. A state-by-state breakdown of year-end 2013 minimum wolf count and percentage change over two years:

–Idaho: 659 wolves; down 14 percent

–Montana: 627 wolves, down 4 percent

–Oregon: 61 wolves; up 110 percent(asterisk)

–Utah: 0 wolves; no change

–Washington: 38 wolves; up 46 percent(asterisk)

–Wyoming: 306 wolves, down 7 percent

–NORTHERN ROCKIES TOTAL: 1,691 wolves; down 6 percent

(asterisk)includes wolves only in eastern portion of state

Source

copyrighted wolf in river

Wolves and Ravens

The relationship between ravens and wolves has been a topic of comments on a post about a Petition to Stop the Slaughter of Ravens in Idaho. Whenever I’ve seen wolves on a carcass in Yellowstone, ravens are right there with them to cash in and help clean up. The ravens lead in turn wolves to potential meals, letting them do the dirty work they aren’t equipped for.

Here’s a photo of the two together in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley…

Wildlife Photography Copyright Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography Copyright Jim Robertson

Rockies Gray Wolf Numbers Steady Despite Hunting

BILLINGS, Mont. April 4, 2014 (AP)

State and federal agencies said Friday there were a minimum of 1,691 wolves at the end of 2013.

That’s virtually unchanged from the prior year even as state wildlife agencies adopted aggressive tactics to drive down wolf numbers.

Under pressure from livestock and hunting groups, Idaho officials have used helicopters to shoot packs. Montana has eased hunting and trapping rules.

Federal wolf recovery coordinator Mike Jimenez says he expects the population to gradually decline over time in the face of the states’ efforts, but to remain healthy.

A pending proposal would lift protections for wolves across much of the remaining Lower 48 states.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/rockies-gray-wolf-numbers-steady-hunting-23193709

copyrighted wolf in river

Anti-Wolf Sentiment Thrives in Siberia

siberian anti-wolfersMore drastic and controversial methods are to be imposed to counter the wolf plague in the next 12 months. Picture: Victor Everstov

………………………………..

If you’re interested in seeing more graphic images and reading an article bemoaning the potential threat to domestic reindeer herds numbering in the tens of thousands, be my guest. Personally, I can’t stomach any more wolf death or happy stories about any human’s way if life. Humans are the only plague on the planet:

http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/casestudy/features/wolves-preying-on-reindeer-herds-threaten-seasonal-joy-in-remote-siberian-villages/

Do wolves, cougars help curb diseases?

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

April 2, 2014 4:30 am

The New West / By Todd Wilkinson

“Predators are bad for wildlife.” How often have Americans heard this refrain in public forums?

Pervasive as a belief in rural Western culture, it drives political discourse. It also is part of a nonstop feedback loop of social reinforcement, rife in barber shops, ammo stores, saloons, coffee klatches and outfitter camps.

But does it withstand scientific scrutiny? Do predators such as wolves and cougars “devastate” wildlife or do they help keep public game herds healthier?

Predator experts and others specializing in wildlife conservation medicine say it’s an important consideration when thinking about protocols for managing zoonotic diseases in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

I contacted biologist L. David Mech, one of the world’s foremost wolf authorities. He has written or contributed to hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers on wolves and prey.

“In the main, the preponderance of scientific evidence supports the view that wolves generally kill the old, the young, the sick and the weak,” Mech began. “There’s so much documented field data behind it.”

All the things humans treasure about every wild prey species — their physiology, agility and resilience — are reflections of the predators that made them adapt and evolve over eons.

Keeping domestic livestock healthy and fat often involves huge doses of antibiotics and, in some cases, growth hormones. Not so for free-ranging wildlife, especially wildlife not subjected to unnatural animal husbandry practices, such as artificially nourishing wild elk at crowded feedgrounds.

Wildlife professionals know such conditions elevate animal susceptibility to deadly pathogens like brucellosis, tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease, threatening ecological well-being.

Mech made a fascinating point: Wolves appear to target sick animals that, to the human eye, exhibit no overt symptoms of disease.

“There’s a lot more going on than we can detect,” Mech said. “They are killing animals that most people would say, ‘That animal looks pretty healthy to me,’ but in fact it isn’t.”

In 2003, Denver Post reporter Theo Stein interviewed scientists about CWD spreading though deer and elk in Colorado. Dr. Valerius Geist, who paradoxically has become a darling of anti-wolfers, made this assertion about the significance of wolves in containing CWD spread via proteins called prions.

“Wolves will certainly bring the disease to a halt,” he said. “They will remove infected individuals and clean up carcasses that could transmit the disease.”

Stein added that “Geist and Princeton University biologist Andrew Dobson theorize that killing off the wolf allowed CWD to take hold in the first place.”

Wolves aren’t alone. In a 2009 study titled “Mountain lions prey selectively on prion-infected mule deer,” researchers in Colorado discovered that “adult mule deer killed by mountain lions were more likely to be prion-infected than were deer killed more randomly … suggesting that mountain lions were selecting for infected individuals when they targeted adult deer.”

Researchers said, “Other studies indicate that predators like wolves and coyotes select prey disproportionately if they appear impaired by malnutrition, age or disease.”

In another study researcher N. Thompson Hobbs examined the potential impact of wolves on CWD-infected elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, where lobos are now absent.

Wolves, he found, could reduce average life spans of infected elk and therefore limit the amount of time infectious animals could spread disease to others.

“We suggest that as CWD distribution and wolf range overlap in the future, wolf predation may suppress disease emergence or limit prevalence,” Hobbs said.
Wyoming doesn’t accept this scientific reality. In Jackson Hole, where unnatural feeding of wapiti on the National Elk Refuge is contributing to persistent brucellosis infection and putting migrating elk at high CWD risk, wolves are killed under the ironic guise of “keeping elk herds healthy.”

In Wyoming’s “predator zone” which encompasses many of the state’s 22 elk feedgrounds, wolves can be killed at any time of day year round.

Are Wyoming, Idaho and Montana spending millions in tax dollars to eliminate the natural allies that help keep wildlife diseases such as brucellosis and CWD in check? Mech stays out of the political fray, though he says the value of predators is clear.

“Based upon everything I’ve seen over the course of my career, I generally stand behind the assertion that wolves make prey populations healthier,” he said. “The evidence to support it is overwhelming.”

Todd Wilkinson’s column appears every week in the News&Guide. He is author of “Last Stand: Ted Turner’s Quest to Save a Troubled Planet.”

Back Off the Wolf Killing Crusade Idaho

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

Year after year, Idaho demonstrates its intolerance for wolves. Idaho Department of Fish and Game, while tasked with preserving all of Idaho’s wildlife, continues to ratchet up hunting, trapping and snaring pressure on Idaho’s diminishing wolf population.

Around 600 wolves live in Idaho, which is also home to 83 times more coyotes, 33 times more bears, and four-to-five times more mountain lions than wolves. All of these species eat other animals to survive and all sometimes attack livestock. But Idaho reserves its special treatment for wolves alone.

Idaho’s wolf population has fallen consistently since 2009. Every year wolves have been under state management, Idaho has expanded, extended and loosened wolf hunting and trapping regulations. It’s an indefensible notion that “adequate regulatory mechanisms” are in place, as mandated by the Endangered Species Act for the oversight period under state management.

Idaho claimed it would manage wolves like any other species. No Idaho wildlife management authority can honestly defend this position.

Actions by Gov. Butch Otter and the state Legislature indicate they believe IDFG isn’t effective enough in killing wolves. The Wolf Control Board bill, “the wolf-kill bill,” was a priority the governor chose for his January State of the State address. Now, 400,000 taxpayer dollars for killing wolves is likely to be a recurring expense. Legislative sponsors and supporters repeatedly stated their intent to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs, the federal minimum.

As the state of Idaho and IDFG reach to further extremes to kill more and more wolves, these actions aren’t going unnoticed.

Far beyond the scope of wildlife management, these practices are quickly giving a black eye to Idaho’s reputation across the country. Idaho is not an island. It does not exist in a vacuum. If the state walks far enough out on a limb, the limb will break, bringing Idaho back to earth under an increasingly focused spotlight.

As fewer people take up hunting, those who enjoy Idaho’s nature in a nonconsumptive way steadily increase. IDFG’s one-dimensional revenue stream from hunting and fishing licenses and tag sales cannot keep pace with fiscal challenges. It’s time to realign economic realities with income-generating constituencies.

Recognizing the increasing difficulty of remaining solvent with growing bills, Director Virgil Moore commendably organized the 2012 IDFG Wildlife Summit to modernize the agency. Unfortunately, necessary innovations are still not forthcoming. Instead, the agency continues pursuing scientifically unsupportable programs, such as excessive and expensive lethal wolf removal and expanding trapping.

Recently, IDFG conducted its sixth costly wolf eradication action in the Lolo, killing 23 wolves from a helicopter, to artificially bolster a declining elk herd, even though IDFG has acknowledged the decline was precipitated by dramatic changes to habitat and vegetation that support elk.

This spring, IDFG hired a professional hunter/trapper to kill wolf packs in the same designated wilderness where wolves were originally reintroduced. IDFG has also declared another goal – reducing wolf populations by 60 percent in the same wilderness.

Remarkably, as this continues, Idaho’s statewide elk population of 107,000 has been growing since 2010. The presence of wolves equating to poor hunting opportunity is a fallacy. Wyoming, with the third largest wolf population in the West, reported their three largest elk harvests on record in the past four years, with 45 percent success in 2013. Hunters can coexist with wolves while maintaining a robust hunting tradition.

Efforts to kill wolves on Idaho’s wild landscapes, especially in designated wilderness – where wolves belong – will never yield the long-term results the agency desires. IDFG continues burning precious dollars on failing programs, while gaining increasingly widespread negative publicity as the black sheep of the nation. For the sake of our beautiful state and all of its wildlife, let’s hope that Idaho soon corrects course.

Garrick Dutcher is the program director for the Idaho-based national nonprofit organization Living With Wolves.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/04/01/3111241/back-off-wolf-crusade-and-dispel.html#storylink=cpy