WA lawmakers OK new way to deter wolves

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20170420/wa-lawmakers-ok-new-way-to-deter-wolves

Washington lawmakers thrust Department of Agriculture into new campaign to prevent wolves from killing cattle in Ferry, Stevens, Okanogan and Pend Oreille counties.
Don JenkinsCapital Press

Published on April 20, 2017 9:11AM

Washington lawmakers thrust Department of Agriculture into new campaign to prevent wolves from killing cattle in Ferry, Stevens, Okanogan and Pend Oreille counties.

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Washington lawmakers thrust Department of Agriculture into new campaign to prevent wolves from killing cattle in Ferry, Stevens, Okanogan and Pend Oreille counties.

OLYMPIA — A bill creating a new program to prevent wolves from attacking livestock in northeast Washington has been sent by lawmakers to Gov. Jay Inslee.

House Bill 2126 directs the state Department of Agriculture and conservation district board members in Ferry, Okanogan, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to oversee the awarding of money to nonprofit groups to protect herds, including by hiring range riders. The groups would be required to consult with resource agencies such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service.

HB 2126 proponents hope locally organized efforts to prevent depredations will be efficient and gain acceptance among producers.

“It needs to be a community-based approach where ranchers up here are largely steering the boat,” said Jay Shepherd of Conservation Northwest, an environmental group active in wolf recovery.

The program would be in addition to WDFW’s depredation-prevention program. Some ranchers have been reluctant to enter into formal agreements with WDFW.

The bill would assign to the state agriculture department for the first time a role in reducing livestock losses to wolves. WSDA stayed neutral on the bill because it wasn’t in the governor’s budget proposal, but will carry out the legislation if signed by Inslee, a department spokesman said.

The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously. It’s unknown how much money would be available to deploy new deterrence measures. The Legislature has not set aside money to fund the program. The bill creates an account in which grants, donations and state appropriations can be deposited.

“This is an important bill that will help us resolve the issue in wolf country,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Aberdeen Democrat Brian Blake, chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “It creates a pot to put contributions into to help fund the efforts to keep wolves and people and livestock separate.”

Cattle Producers of Washington President Scott Nielsen, who’s also vice president of the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association, said he liked the bill’s intent to involve local residents in making decisions.

But he said that he feared a new program could be used to justify delaying lethal removal of wolves in some cases. Ranchers who have lost livestock to wolves were using non-lethal deterrence measures, he said.

“We already know it has real limited effects,” Nielsen said. “I don’t know that there needs to be more money thrown at it.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages wolves, supported the bill.

“We think this is a good approach because it is community based and will increase the uptake of these tools and help reduce the loss of livestock and ultimately the loss of wolves,” WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said.

Two wolves survive in world’s longest running predator-prey study

For 2 years in a row, a pair of wolves has managed to survive on Isle Royale, Michigan, the last of their kind on the wilderness island. Researchers continue to track the wolves and their moose prey, in the last installments of the world’s longest running predator-prey study.  They report today that although the wolves hunt successfully, they are too few to affect the moose population. Aquatic as well as terrestrial vegetation is taking a hit as moose numbers climb, according to the study’s 59th annual report.

After Canadian wolves colonized the island in 1949, the wolf population peaked at 50 in 1980, and as recently as a decade ago, 30 wolves prowled the island, a U.S. National Park. The island’s now-famous predator-prey study has tracked how wolf and moose numbers have risen and fallen in tandem over the decades, and left their mark on the island’s ecology.

In contrast to last year’s winter study, when wolf tracks were the only evidence of the predators, wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson spotted both wolves sitting on lake ice on the January afternoon he arrived on the island.  Weeks later, Peterson and co-investigator John Vucetich, both of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, found the wolves feeding on a freshly-killed moose calf. “We were very lucky,” Peterson says. “There was no mystery left in terms of the wolf population,” or what they were eating.

The researchers also observed that, in what normally would have been the wolves’ breeding period, the 7-year-old female bared her teeth in response to the close interest of the 9-year-old male; he is both her father and half sibling.  Researchers don’t expect the highly inbred pair to reproduce.

The two wolves otherwise appeared healthy and still have all their canines, a key sign of well-being in the carnivores. The pair has already surpassed the average Isle Royale wolf lifespan of 4 years, dodging the main causes of death for their ancestors on the island: other wolves and starvation. “They are swimming in moose,” Vucetich says.

The four wolf-killed carcasses the researchers spotted made little dent in the overall moose population, estimated at 1600 in aerial surveys conducted this past winter.  The 20% increase from last winter is consistent with the population’s growth rate over the past 6 years, as the inbred wolf population dwindled and collapsed.  Both beaver and moose abundance have tripled since 2011, “undoubtedly because of lack of predation,” Vucetich says.

With moose density on the Guam-sized island already five to ten times higher than on the mainland–and with the numbers on track to double in three to four years—browsing on the island’s vegetation is intense. One aquatic plant, floating watershield (Brassenia  schreberi), which was abundant six years ago when moose were at historic lows, now thrives in ponds only where moose are excluded. “It’s the aquatic equivalent of deforestation,” says plant ecologist Eric Hellquist of SUNY Oswego, noting that moose’s effect on aquatic vegetation is not as well studied as that on terrestrial plants. Isle Royale’s ponds are demonstrating “how apex predators can have cascading effects on food webs.”

As the effects of the missing predators ripple through the island, the Park Service is assessing about 5000 public comments on its proposal to introduce 20 to 30 wolves to the island to establish a new population. The next steps on that plan are expected by the end of this year.

Wildlife advocates see wolves as ‘best natural defense’ against chronic wasting disease

http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/wildlife-advocates-see-wolves-as-best-natural-defense-against-chronic/article_9ab09c2c-03f9-57cb-bda7-4453a1ab7a39.html

  • BRETT FRENCH For the Star-Tribune
  • Apr 17, 2017

BILLINGS, Montana – Wolves are the perfect animal to help reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease among elk, deer and moose, wolf advocates told the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission last week during the board’s meeting in Helena.

“And it doesn’t cost us anything,” said Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies.

Cooke’s comment Friday was later endorsed by former Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gary Wolfe, who was once the program leader for the CWD Alliance, which tracks and provides information on the fatal disease.

“I would have to agree that wolves can be an effective control,” Wolfe said. “They are the best natural defense Montana has.”

Legislature

The comments come as the Montana Legislature is considering Senate Joint Resolution 9, introduced by Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, that would request a study of the potential impacts of and methods to prevent chronic wasting disease in Montana. The measure already passed the Senate and is now moving through the House.

Phillips also introduced SJ8, which would have asked Wyoming to discontinue artificial feeding of elk, a place where diseases like CWD could quickly spread. That resolution was tabled in the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee after clearing the full Senate with a 50-0 vote.

Spreading

Meanwhile, the disease continues to spread in Montana’s neighbor to the south. In late March the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reported officials had detected CWD in a female mule deer found dead near the Pinedale airport in February, the first case of CWD found in Sublette County, which is home to 13 elk feedgrounds.

CWD map

“This deer was found in Deer Hunt Area 139, where CWD has not been previously discovered, and is not adjacent to any other positive CWD deer, elk or moose hunt areas,” according to a WDGF news release.

The discovery prompted the Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter and to issue a public plea this week to “begin phasing out winter feeding of elk to prevent the rapid spread of disease among elk densely concentrated on feed lines for months each winter,” the groups wrote in a press release.

“It is incumbent upon state officials, as well as managers of the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, to implement a realistic plan to phase out artificial winter feeding now,” said Roger Hayden, WWA executive director. “Once CWD reaches feedgrounds we likely will have a more serious problem on our hands. We need to act now.”

Elk fears

CWD was first discovered in Wyoming in 1985 when a mule deer in the southeastern corner of the state tested positive. Since then the disease, which affects the animals’ brains and is always fatal, has slowly spread north and west.

“Over the past 20 years surveillance data has shown an increase in prevalence and distribution of CWD in Wyoming, particularly in deer,” according to the WGFD. “CWD is now found across the majority of the state, with new detections suggesting continued westward spread of the disease.”

CWD has never been detected in wildlife in Montana, except in a captive elk herd that was destroyed. However, the disease has been discovered in the Dakotas and Canada, as well as Wyoming, which all border Montana.

Could wolves become an unexpected ally in protecting Montana’s most popular big game animals? That would be a hard reality to swallow for some hunters and hunting groups who have long opposed the large canines’ reintroduction to Yellowstone and spread into Montana.

Bow Valley wolf pack down to 2 after male killed by hunters in B.C.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/bow-valley-wolf-pack-male-killed-1.4071142

Wildlife specialist says he expects pack’s population near Banff will stabilize despite low numbers

CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2017 10:40 AM MT Last Updated: Apr 14, 2017 10:40 AM MT

The Bow Valley wolf pack near the Banff townsite is down to two members after a two-year-old male was shot and killed by hunters in B.C. after leaving the park.

The Bow Valley wolf pack near the Banff townsite is down to two members after a two-year-old male was shot and killed by hunters in B.C. after leaving the park. (Parks Canada)

A wildlife specialist in Banff National Park has hopes the Bow Valley wolf pack will recover after one of its three members was shot and killed by a hunter in B.C. last month.

The two-year-old wolf, known as 1502, was equipped with a tracking collar when it left the park and headed west.

“It’s typical for a wolf around that age to go on a dispersal like that as they find a new territory for themselves and join another pack or form another pack on their own,” said Steve Michel, a Parks Canada human-wildlife conflict specialist.

Wolf 1502 travelled more than 500 linear kilometres until he reached the West Kootenay area where he was killed near Trout Lake, B.C., at the end of March.

There are now two wolves remaining in the Bow Valley pack — an alpha male and a two-year-old female, which would be the sibling to wolf 1502.

Last year, Parks Canada staff estimated the pack had at least nine wolves in the spring. A few months later, staff at the park were forced to put down an alpha female after it exhibited concerning behaviour.

Shortly after, four wolf pups were killed by trains in two separate incidents. Later in the summer, park staff shot a second wolf that had been acting boldly around people at campgrounds.

Wolf populations fluctuate

Michel said despite last year’s devastation of the pack, population numbers are constantly fluctuating and he expects the pack’s population will stabilize in some way in the future.

“Wolf populations are very dynamic,” he said. “The size of the pack is constantly changing, just as we talk about this wolf dispersing, there’s other wolves from other packs in other areas that are dispersing that might come and join in to the Bow Valley pack as well.”

Overall, Michel said, the wolf population in Banff National Park is healthy, but being so close to a busy developed area like the Banff townsite, the Bow Valley wolf pack is constantly under pressure.

“We’ve seen before, in this portion of the park and the Bow Valley, we’ve seen packs completely die out and then a short time later, new packs form and take over similar territorial boundaries. We’ve seen packs merge together, packs overtake other ones.”

“Wolf populations are very dynamic and they’re always in a state of flux.”

Rare white wolf in Yellowstone park euthanized over injuries

http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/rare+white+wolf+yellowstone+park+euthanized+over+injuries/13302173/story.html

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  04.14.2017

Rare white wolf in Yellowstone park euthanized over injuries
In this April 6, 2016 photo provided by the Yellowstone National Park Service a white wolf walks in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyo. One of only three white wolves roaming Yellowstone National Park has been put down by park staff after it was found with severe injuries. P.J. White of the National Park Service says the female wolf was found Tuesday, April 11, by hikers on the north side of the park. White says the wolf was in shock and dying, prompting the decision to euthanize it and investigate what caused the wolf’s injuries. The nature of the initial injuries could not immediately be determined. (Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park via AP)

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — One of only three white wolves roaming Yellowstone National Park has been put down by park staff after it was found with severe injuries.

P.J. White of the National Park Service says hikers found the female wolf Tuesday on the north side of the park.

White says the wolf was in shock and dying, leading to the decision to euthanize it and investigate what caused the injuries. The nature of the animal’s injuries could not immediately be determined.

The predator was one of three known white wolves in the park.

It had lived to 12 years old, twice the age of an average wolf in the park, and was one of the most recognizable and sought after to view and photograph by park visitors.

Oregon Wolf Population Growth Stalled First Year After Taken Off Endangered Species List

http://www.wweek.com/news/2017/04/14/oregon-gray-wolf-population-growth-stalled-first-year-after-taken-off-endangered-species-list/

The Oregon Wolf population increased by 1.8 percent this year. The year before they were delisted, the population increased by 33 percent.
Two adult wolves from the Walla Walla Pack were caught on remote trail camera Jan. 16 2016 in northern Umatilla County. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

A new wolf report from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has environmentalists concerned.

The report, the first since Oregon gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species Act list in 2015, shows the population of wolves in Oregon has stalled, and the number of both breeding pairs and packs in the state declined in 2016. The current population is 112 wolves across 11 packs, a 1.8 percent increase from 2015, when there were 110 wolves.

Though the wolf population has technically increased, environmental groups are worried: Before losing protection in November 2015, the wolf population had a 33 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.

In 2016, there were 11 packs, including eight packs of breeding pairs—which is 27 percent fewer than 2015, when there were 11 breeding pairs.

Though the November 2015 decision to remove wolves from the list won in a 4-2 vote, it has remained controversial. The following month, three environmental groups filed a legal challenge to the removal. 

The lawsuit, filed by Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands and the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission “violated the law by failing to follow best available science and prematurely removing protections before wolves are truly recovered.”

The Oregon Department of Justice ruled that the lawsuit was a moot point under House Bill 4040, which stated that the ability for wolves to repopulate was not being threatened. But in July 2016, the environmental groups were granted an appeal from the Oregon Court of Appeals to continue the legal challenge. That case is pending.

This year’s report also shows a sharp increase in livestock depredation by wolves in 2016. In 2015, there were just nine incidents, compared to 24 in 2016, a 116 percent increase.

Seven wolf deaths were documented in both 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, none of these deaths came from the department, but in 2016, four wolves were killed by the department in a depredation situation where non-lethal methods proved ineffective. One wolf was killed by a farmer while the wolf was killing a sheep.

“In the years immediately before losing protections, Oregon’s wolf population expanded while livestock conflict went down,” said Rob Klavins, a Field Representative for Oregon Wild based in Wallowa County said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as ODFW and special interests rushed to remove protections from wolves, not only did wolf recovery stall, but wolf killing and livestock conflict increased.”

While environmental groups are worried about the stall in population, an item on the ODFW’s newly revised Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan also raises concerns.

In a draft of the plan, which is revised every five years, one section discusses wolves as “special status game animals,” a classification which came from Oregon legislators in 2009, under ORS 496.004 (9).

The classification “allows the use of controlled take through hunting and trapping (under two circumstances) in response to management concerns.” It specifies that “general season hunts are not permitted.”

The Center for Biological Diversity refers to the plan as a proposal “to create a sport trapping and hunting program for these iconic animals.”

Last month, 19 Oregon legislators sent a letter to ODFW to urge the department to reconsider the classification, calling it a “slippery slope to an open hunting and trapping season.”

Release ‘Guardian the Wolf’ Back Into the Wild

https://animalpetitions.org/235639/release-guardian-the-wolf-back-into-the-wild/

Tuggle, Regional Director U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region

Goal: Return Guardian the wolf to his pack to help maintain his struggling species.

In the summer of 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service captured Guardian, one of a tiny number of Mexican gray wolves still living in the wild. And Guardian isn’t just one wolf — as his name suggests, he’s the alpha male of a pack that includes young pups who rely on him and his mate for food. Capturing Guardian and placing him in captivity puts their survival, and the survival of the entire species, in jeopardy. The Fish and Wildlife Service must recognize the damage they’re doing and release Guardian immediately.

Mexican gray wolves were almost driven to extinction during the 20th century and, by the millennium, they were believed to have been wiped out in many regions of North America. Efforts to reintroduce the animal at the turn of the century have slowly begun to show progress, but the species remains critically endangered, with experts suggesting that fewer than 100 currently exist in the wild. Until recently, one of those was wolf M1396, named Guardian by Albuquerque schoolchildren as part of a competition to name the 17 pups born in 2014. Guardian lived in Gila National Forest, New Mexico, as part of the Luna pack, a group of wolves that included his mate and their pups.

Life is not easy for Mexican wolves, so when local ranchers started abandoning dead cattle on land near his hunting grounds rather than disposing of them responsibly, Guardian soon learned to scavenge from their carcasses. From this, he also learned to hunt cattle: a reliable source of meat to feed his hungry pups. Under pressure from ranchers keen to maintain their profits, the Fish and Wildlife Service moved to stop this predation by capturing Guardian and keeping him in captivity, just as they had with his brother, Century, in the past. This not only deprives his pups of his protection and care, but may drive his mate to begin hunting cattle too, in a desperate bid to feed her young. With no indication of Guardian’s condition or current whereabouts, it’s vital we maintain pressure on the Fish and Wildlife Service to reverse their decision and release Guardian back in to the wild. Please sign below to demand that Guardian is immediately released to his pack.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr Tuggle,

In 2016, you captured wolf M1396 in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico, and took him into captivity in response to him preying on cattle. In so doing, you removed him from the Luna pack, depriving his pups of a key source of food and placing intense pressure on his mate to support her growing young. This pressure could mean she is forced to hunt cattle herself in order to sustain them, or may even result in the pups receiving insufficient nutrition and dying of starvation.

I appreciate that you are under pressure from local ranchers to control the wolf population in a manner that does not interfere with their ongoing profits. However, removing Guardian from his family places the whole pack in serious jeopardy, and with fewer than 100 Mexican gray wolves remaining in the wild, the loss of a single pack could be catastrophic for the entire species. Accordingly, I call upon you to reverse your decision and release Guardian back into the wild to help maintain the survival of his species.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://animalpetitions.org/235639/release-guardian-the-wolf-back-into-the-wild/

Ethiopia park tries to relocate settlers to protect wolves

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/ethiopia-park-tries-to-relocate-settlers-to-protect-wolves/2017/04/09/5641f5aa-1d30-11e7-bb59-a74ccaf1d02f_story.html?utm_term=.9e5dbb9f9cfc
April 9
SIMIEN MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, Ethiopia — Thousands of Ethiopian wolves once roamed much of this country’s mountainous north but their number has fallen dramatically as farmers encroach on their habitat and introduce domestic dogs that carry rabies.

Only 120 wolves are estimated to remain in this national park and they are elusive, usually seen shortly after sunrise or just before sunset.

“They are almost at the brink of extinction. So my vision is to increase their number significantly,” said Getachew Assefam, coordinator of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program.

The movement of people move in search of fertile land in the highlands has put pressure on the park. Across the country less than 500 Ethiopian wolves remain in a few mountain enclaves, the Britain-based Born Free Foundation says.

Efforts are underway to move most of the settlers out of this national park in the hope of saving the remaining wolves. The local community currently uses more than two-thirds of the park’s area for grazing, agriculture and settlement, according to the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority.

The wildlife authority said 38 villages with a total of 3,000 people are living within the park’s boundaries.

Gichi village in the heart of the park had more than 418 households before the resettlement program began three years ago. Now there are none. Now the government is focusing on settlers in other areas.

The relocated settlers “are all now living in a better condition,” said the park’s chief warden, Maru Biadgelegn.

But some farmers said the compensation they received for the move is not enough.

Requests by The Associated Press to gain access to the resettlement area were denied. In a recent meeting, residents rejected the government’s compensation offer to resettle the remaining farmers.

“I believe we can come to an agreement on this in the future,” said one park resident, Zezo Adugna.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press

Elk Hunting Group Wants to Expand Wolf-Killing Derby into Montana: $1,000 Bounty per Wolf

http://www.environews.tv/040717-elk-hunting-group-wants-expand-wolf-killing-derby-montana-1000-bounty-per-wolf/

enviroNews Montana) — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), which has funded wolf-killing derbies in Idaho to the tune of $150,000 since 2013, is now seeking to expand its $1,000-per-kill bounty program to the neighboring state of Montana.

RMEF provides funds to the Foundation for Wildlife Management (F4WM), which says its mission “is to promote ungulate population recovery in areas negatively impacted by wolves.” While F4WM is based in Idaho, RMEF is stationed in Montana. F4WM held a meeting on April 5 in Sandpoint, Idaho, in an attempt to drum up support for the expanded bounty program. On April 6, Justin Webb, Mission Advancement Director for F4WM, wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “We had several folks from Montana expressing interest in F4WM expanding into Montana, and all were willing to help create Montana funding!”

Webb cautioned however, that it might take some time to determine if F4WM will go ahead with the effort. “[We] should be able to announce yay or nay on an F4WM expansion into Montana within a couple weeks. We have some business operational hurdles to work through, and fine tuning the legistics [sic] of the expansion.”

“These wolf lottery efforts are dismantling a century-long conservation heritage that is shared not just with environmental groups but with a lot of sportsmen groups as well,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director for the Western Watersheds Project, in an exclusive interview with EnviroNews.

F4WM’s sole sponsor is RMEF. The group published an open letter to President Donald Trump on its website, calling the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and Idaho “illegal” and telling the President that this “was one extreme criminal act of fraud and theft committed under the administration of William Jefferson Clinton that truly needs to be revisited.”

In 2012, Montana elk hunter Dave Stalling wrote in an op-ed for High Country News about what he described as the RMEF’s “all-out war against wolves.” Stalling worked previously for RMEF and saw changes that he linked to the hiring of David Allen as its director. Today, Allen is President and Chief Executive Officer at RMEF. Allen has supported the delisting of wolves as an endangered species in both Wyoming and Oregon.

“This is an organization that has always been at the fringes of the conservation movement,” said Molvar. “Basically, they are really anti-conservationists in disguise.”

In Idaho, the Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), which regulates hunting in the state, is beset with a funding scandal. An op-ed authored by local hunter Dave Cappell in the January 14, 2017 Idaho State Journal, alleges that two IDFG commissioners were told their terms would not be renewed so that new commissioners, who would approve a system of auction tags for game hunters, could be appointed.

IDFG relies on hunting fees for one-third of its budget. Faced with license fees that have not increased since 2005, the Department has looked at alternative strategies including salary savings.

The 2015 population of wolves in Idaho was documented as 786 animals. During the same year, humans were responsible for the death of 352 wolves, including legal hunting and trapping that took 256 animals. IDFG allows each hunter or trapper to take up to five wolves per year. Wolves may not be baited but electronic calls can be used.

In Montana, where hunting, fishing and other recreational activity fees account for more than two-thirds of the budget for the state’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 246 wolves were harvested in 2016. License fees have been increased recently, but are still not sufficient to cover expenses.

Wolf culls are seen as a way to increase the elk population, providing more game for hunters and more license fees for states. But Molvar holds a different view, telling EnviroNews, “There is no place in responsible wildlife management for this kind of killing for fun and money.”
But slaughtering wolves is not just limited to Idaho and Montana. This week, federal legislation signed into law by President Trump will allow the killing of wolves with pups in their dens on wildlife refuges in the state of Alaska, while in California, a lawsuit has been filed by the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau challenging the listing of gray wolves as endangered in the Golden State. Only a handful of specimens have been seen in California since OR-7, a lone wolf from Oregon, arrived in 2011. Prior to that, no wolves were known to be in the state since 1924.

RMEF is steadfast in its opposition to wolves. According to a position statement on its website:

“RMEF will continue to advocate for predator management and control efforts on the ground and in the courts. RMEF will fund continuing research projects, work with Congress and state agencies, track legislative matters, educate hunters and the public, and rally members on predator-related issues so all wildlife populations can be sustained forever. RMEF supports major legislation in Congress that would reinstate the previous U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service wolf delisting rule in the Great Lakes states and Wyoming.”

Molvar disagrees with that statement and says, “The wolf belongs in Western ecosystems. The RMEF is trying to set back conservation 150 years.”

 

Wolf management idea makes sense

[Consider the source]:

http://www.capitalpress.com/Opinion/Editorials/20170323/wolf-management-idea-makes-sense

March 23, 2017 9:51AM

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife managers are offering an idea they believe would help them manage wolves more effectively.

WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife managers are offering an idea they believe would help them manage wolves more effectively.

If one follows the wolf issue long enough, occasionally a nugget of common sense appears.

Such is the case with a recent suggestion the folks at the Washington State Department of Fish and wildlife offered. Speaking during a conference call with the state Wolf Advisory Group, WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello offered this idea: that dead livestock be considered “qualifying” victims of wolves if the time, circumstance and location of their deaths parallel other confirmed depredations.

In other words, if a carcass is found near those of other wolf victims but scavengers have destroyed the evidence directly linking the attack to wolves, state wildlife managers could label it a “qualifying” attack.

Previously, such cases were considered “probable” attacks and were not counted against a wolfpack. Under the Washington wolf plan, managers can kill only wolves that are responsible for four confirmed depredations within a year.

While this may seem to be a bureaucratic splitting of hairs, it’s critically important for managing wolves. Under the new idea, if wolves are found to be responsible for four depredations, including any that are “qualifying,” managers could take steps to get rid of the wolves.

A study found wolfpacks that are thinned soon after attacking cattle or sheep get the message that attacking livestock is unacceptable. By including qualifying attacks, managers could act quicker to thin the ranks of wolves instead of waiting weeks or months for another confirmed depredation.

If managers thin a wolfpack after a long period of time, the wolves have no idea whether it is linked to a depredation, according to the study.

The idea is to manage wolves in a way that is both effective and assures ranchers and others that each step is effective.

That in itself is good reason for the department to adopt such a common sense rule.

It’s also something wolf managers in other states would do well to consider.

The state Wolf Advisory Group will discuss the idea during a March 29-30 meeting in Olympia. We urge the group to take a close look at it, as common sense can be a rare commodity when dealing with wolves.