Horse Killed For Wolf Bait in Denali

Old news, but still “legal”:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201205/horse-killed-and-legally-used-bait-and-kill-wolves

Following up on the good news about the release of two dolphins into the wild, I learned this morning about a most heinous and perverse situation in Alaska. Healy, Alaska trapper Coke Wallace “apparently walked a horse out to an area off the Stampede Trail near the boundary of Denali National Park – an area made famous by the 1996 book Into the Wild – shot the horse, and set snares all around the area hoping to catch wolves attracted to the carcass. Wolves from Denali National Park were drawn to the dead horse, resulting in the killing of a primary reproductive female wolf from the Grant Creek (also called Toklat West) pack from the park, along with at least one other wolf. It is unknown how long the two wolves were alive in the snares before being killed and collected by the trapper. The Grant Creek wolf pack has been one of the three packs most often viewed in Denali National Park.”

All of this happened in a former buffer area where wolves were protected from 2002-2010 when the Alaska Board of Game eliminated the protected area. The loss of these wolves puts the fate of this long-lived and long-studied pack in jeopardy. Observations began on this pack back in the 1930s. Of course, the loss of any wolves due to killing another animal to use as bait is reprehensible, legal or not.

This kind of hearltess slaughter must not be tolerated and it’s important to call attention to it and to protest it loudly and clearly. While “the incident does not violate state law, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) is looking at potential violations of state water quality regulations, which prohibit discarding carcasses in surface waters of the state.”

 

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled

Hunters protesting protections for Denali wolves

http://www.bendbulletin.com/outdoors/4583092-151/hunters-protesting-protections-for-denali-wolves

By Sam Friedman / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner /

Published Aug 17, 2016 at 12:02AM

Tired of having their concerns not addressed by Alaska’s Board of Game, opponents of wolf hunting near Denali National Park sought the attention of Gov. Bill Walker recently with a protest in downtown Fairbanks.

About two dozen people assembled at noon outside the 7th Avenue state offices building. They held signs and periodically howled likes wolves, drawing puzzled looks from people headed into the building.

Their signs addressed Walker directly with words like “Gov. step up” and “Bill, it’s time to act.” One used Walker’s Tlingit name of Gooch Waak, which means “wolf eyes.”

The protesters want Walker to order an emergency closure for the wolf hunting season near Denali National Park. The season opened last week.

A Walker spokeswoman said that she hadn’t had a chance to ask the governor for a response to the protest, but that Walker planned to meet with one of the protesters during his visit to Fairbanks and the Tanana Valley State Fair.

Gray wolves roam abundantly through much of Alaska but in recent years have become much less common inside Denali National Park — one of the main places visitors come to Alaska to see them.

The protesters argue that to protect Denali’s natural ecosystem and reputation as a place to spot wolves, wolf hunting should be stopped along the Stampede Trail corridor, a peninsula of state-managed land that juts into the park northwest of Healy.

The state instituted a buffer zone in 2000 to prevent wolf hunting close to the park boundary, but the Alaska Board of Game repealed it in 2010.

Fairbanks-based organization Alaskans For Wildlife organized last week’s demonstration. The group has about 40 members around Alaska, according to its president, Jim Kowalsky, who has a long history in environmental advocacy as a founder of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center.

The group held the protest because the seven-member Board of Game has repeatedly voted down their requests for an emergency reintroduction of the wolf buffer zone. Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten has also rejected their demands for emergency wolf-hunting closures, with the exception of the spring 2015 season, which Cotten closed two weeks early.

Despite limited movement so far from the Walker administration, Kowalsky was somewhat optimistic that the demonstration would change policy.

The killing of wolves in a particularly famous wolf pack has given the buffer zone campaign fresh attention.

The East Fork Pack, also known as the Toklat Pack, has been the subject of National Park Service studies since the 1930s. The pack dropped from 14 wolves in March 2015 to perhaps zero in July 2016, according to the Park Service’s official narrative of the pack history. The agency attributes the loss of wolves to factors such as trapping, hunting, an animal attack — possibly from a golden eagle — and wolf dispersal to other areas. The Park Service study observed that the loss of the long-researched pack is “unfortunate” but that it doesn’t mean the loss of the pack’s lineage, which lives on in the descendants of East Fork pack that formed or joined other packs.

copyrighted wolf in water

Park Service ended a study of Alaska wolves, since so many have been killed

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

https://www.hcn.org/articles/national-park-service-ends-study-on-alaska-wolves-because-adfg-killed-too-many

The state culled wolves that had been collared, and it’s no longer feasible to continue research.

For more than two decades, the National Park Service monitored the wolf packs in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Now, so many of the predators have been killed by the state’s Department of Fish and Game that the feds have had to drop the program. It’s no longer feasible to conduct research, according to information recently published by the watchdog nonprofit, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The state has been shooting the wolves when they wander outside the boundaries of the federal preserve, to try to increase populations of moose and caribou for human hunters. According to Greg Dudgeon, superintendent of the preserve, since 2005, 90 wolves with ranges in Yukon-Charley have been killed, including 13 radio-collared animals that were essential to the park’s study. Each of the preserve’s nine wolf packs has lost members, and three packs have been entirely eliminated, while another five have been reduced to a single wolf each. The last population count by the National Park Service in 2011 came up with 77 wolves. Since that count, the Park Service wound down its study, officially ending it in 2014.

Jeff Rasic, chief of resources for Yukon-Charley Rivers and Gates of the Arctic National Park, says that federal budget constrictions played a factor in ending the study, but so did the number of collared wolves killed by ADFG and the fact that the state stopped giving the Park Service permits for collaring wolves on state land. “The state was pretty successful in killing wolves,” Rasic adds.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility published a letter on August 8, 2016 about the impacts the state’s predator killings had on the feds’ wolf study, bringing these issues back into the public eye.

“The expense of collaring and monitoring wolves for research is not sustainable when ADFG culls the same animals when located outside of the Preserve,” Dudgeon wrote in the letter to Richard Steiner of PEER, who had asked him what impacts ADFG has on wolf packs.

In additional correspondence that has been made public by PEER, Bruce Dale of ADFG confirmed that from 2011 to 2015, the department killed 179 wolves through its wolf control program. Dale also confirmed that his department uses 28 radio-collared “Judas” wolves to help them locate and kill other wolves.

Last fall, the National Park Service banned several sports hunting practices within federal preserves in an attempt to protect Alaskan predators like wolves and bears. But recent news of how many wolf packs have been eliminated or severely reduced by Alaska Department of Fish and Game across the state call into question if the federal ban went far enough to protect predators.

The 1916 Organic Act requires the National Park Service to manage wildlife for healthy populations of all animals, not just the ones that humans hunt for food. In October 2015, the Park Service made a breakthrough with something they had been asking Alaska Board of Game to do for years — exclude harmful practices within preserves like hunting wolves and coyotes with pups, baiting black and brown bears and using artificial lights to rouse hibernating bears out of their dens. The ban took effect this January.

Alaska’s Board of Game says that it’s required to curb predators by a 1994 food security law that required managing for abundant ungulate populations. By reducing wolves and bears, the board said, those populations would do better, benefiting Alaskans that rely on the herds for sustenance. The ban was eventually approved within the preserves, but the practices are still allowed outside their borders. This includes directly outside Denali National Park, where in 2010 the Board of Game eliminated a 122-square-mile buffer that protected wolves from hunting and trapping.

The park’s famed East Fork wolf pack, which had 17 members in 2014, disappeared in July 2016, according to state biologists. A number of wolves were known to have been hunted and killed, but it’s not clear what happened to the rest. Three days before Dudgeon wrote about the loss of wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, biologists visited the den. Vegetation had begun to creep back over the entrance, and there were signs that porcupines had taken up residence. No wolves had been there for some time.

Anna V. Smith is an editorial intern at High Country News. She tweets

Storied Alaska wolf pack beloved for decades has vanished, thanks to hunting

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/storied-alaska-wolf-pack-beloved-for-decades-has-vanished-thanks-to-hunting/ar-BBvqgBq?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

A wolf photographed near the park road in Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo: Tim Rains of the National Park Service.© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post A wolf photographed near the park road in Denali National Park, Alaska. Photo: Tim Rains of the National Park Service.

For decades, the wolves of the storied East Fork pack were beloved by researchers and tourists alike at Alaska’s Denali National Park. They frequented the park’s entrance and roads and became the stars of hundreds of thousands of family vacation photos.

Since the 1930s, scientists have documented every detail of the pack’s lives: their hunting ranges, mating rituals, even the content of their droppings. They traced family lineage through dozens of generations, giving individual wolves names like “The Dandy,” “Grandpa” and “Robber Mask.”

Now the researchers must record one final detail in the wolves’ long history: They may all be dead.

The last radio-collared male was found shot dead near a hunting camp in May. Now, park officials can’t find the last three pack members: a uncollared female and her two pups. It’s impossible to know for sure what happened to them, officials said, but it’s unlikely that the mother and her pups will survive without the support and protection of a pack. The family’s den is empty and overgrown with weeds. Porcupines have taken it over since June 28, when the group was last seen.

The wolf pack is the most recent fatality of a controversial Alaska policy that allows hunters to kill wolves and other large predators in the state’s national wildlife refuges, wildlife advocates say. Park officials estimated 49 wolves lived in Denali National Park this spring, only three more than the park’s all-time low of 46 in 1986 and a significant decline from the early 2000s when it was common to count more than 100. In 2015, only 5 percent of Denali visitors reported seeing a wolf — down from 45 percent in 2010.

The East Fork pack’s decline was fast and drastic. In 2013, the nine-member East Fork pack was one of the largest of the nine monitored groups. By the fall of 2014 the pack’s numbers had grown to 17, according to park service data. Then, the numbers steadily drop.

The causes of their deaths vary. Many are shot and killed (legally and illegally) by hunters. One died of blood loss after becoming trapped in a snare. Some become untraceable and others die of natural causes. But one pattern emerges: About 75 percent of deaths in the East Fork pack in the past year were caused by human trapping and hunting, park biologist Bridget Borg told Alaska Public Media.

By May, only the mother wolf and her two cubs remained. Now, they are gone as well.

In a July report that details pack numbers, park officials wrote “it is unfortunate to lose track of this long-tenured and well-followed pack,” though they do note that the pack’s lineage would continue in the members of other packs who have bred with the East Fork wolves. Two other park packs, the Savage Pack and the Headquarters Pack, were previously destroyed by hunting and trapping, according to Wolf Song of Alaska, a non profit dedicated to preserving wolves.

The more than 70 years of continuous study make the East Fork pack one of the longest-observed large mammal families, perhaps only rivaled only by Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees.

Observation of the pack began in 1939 when National Park Service biologist Adolph Murie began tracking the wolves, following them on foot for more than two years — through buggy summers and hair-freezing winters — as they traversed the park’s 3,000 square miles. In 1944, he published a book, “The Wolves of Mount McKinley,” detailing his observations.

Things were better for the wolves then, it seems. Murie wrote “but as yet man’s activities have probably not altered conditions sufficiently to seriously change the (wolves’) natural relationships.”

Original drawings by biologist Adolph Murie of some of the first East Fork wolves from his 1944 book.© Images courtesy of the National Park Service. Original drawings by biologist Adolph Murie of some of the first East Fork wolves from his 1944 book.

But there might be hope for the remaining Denali wolves.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the hunting of predators in Alaska’s 16 wildlife refuges unless needed “in response to a conservation concern.” The change was a challenge to a continuous push by the Alaska Board of Game to loosen the regulation of predator hunting, which the board calls “intensive predator management.”

Over the past few years, the board has approved a variety of controversial hunting methods, including targeting bears and wolves from planes and shooting wolves and their pups in their dens. In 2010, it eliminated a “buffer zone” that banned wolf hunting just outside of Denali’s borders, near the East Fork’s historic range. The zone was an effort to protect park wolves who wander outside of its boundaries. The last East Fork male was found dead in an area that would have been protected by the buffer.

“There comes a time when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must stand up for the authorities and principles that underpin our work and say ‘no,’” the wildlife service’s director, Dan Ashe, said about the new restrictions in a blog post published by The Huffington Post.

The state government “strongly opposes” the new rules, arguing that it is federal overreach into one of the state’s most lucrative industries and shrinks the moose and caribou populations that Native American groups rely on for food, The Guardian reports. Guided hunting generated a total of $78 million in economic activity and more than 2,210 jobs in 2012, according to a study commissioned by the Alaska Professional Hunters Association.

“These lands are your lands,” he wrote. “They are not game farms managed for a slice of their diversity for the benefit of a few people who would call themselves hunters.”

A Win for Alaska Wildlife

03 August 2016

New rule from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps protect carnivores from aggressive hunting on national wildlife refuges in Alaska

Wolves, bears and other carnivores are too frequently threatened by government policies aimed at artificially increasing populations of moose, deer and other game species for hunting. In Alaska, even living on a national wildlife refuge could not prevent predators from being shot from a plane or killed in their dens in the name of boosting prey populations. Until today.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stood strong for iconic wildlife today with a new rule to conserve native carnivores on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The rule forbids certain aggressive hunting practices like aerial gunning, trapping bears, killing mother bears and cubs, and killing denning wolves with pups. These tactics have no place on the 16 federally protected wildlife refuges in Alaska, which exist first and foremost to conserve species in their natural diversity. This is a huge win that will help protect the ecological integrity of these public lands, and ensure that our national wildlife refuges are managed for all wildlife.

Stand Strong with FWS

Special interests in Congress are already advancing measures to block this important new rule. Show your support by telling FWS you stand with their decision to protect iconic predators by preventing these inhumane killings.

Show your support »

Carnivores are critically important to wild lands, and help keep ecosystems in balance. Alaska’s national wildlife refuges span more than 76 million acres and encompass some of the largest and most remote wildlife habitats remaining in the United States. These vast areas are ideal for wide-ranging and large animals like wolves and bears.

Anti-wildlife representatives in Congress and Alaska’s state government have been fighting this rule since it was first proposed in January, and will surely continue to do so. We commend the Fish and Wildlife Service for finalizing this important rule, which upholds bedrock environmental laws like the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act and the Wilderness Act. This action sends a clear message that science, not politics, governs our public lands.

Together, we can protect Alaska’s wildlife

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An amendment to a federal bill could put grizzly bears, wolves, lynx and other wildlife on over 96 million acres of taxpayer-funded land at risk.

Amendment #11 to the House Interior Appropriations bill would block professional scientists from finalizing rules aimed at protecting animals from the most inhumane and unsporting hunting methods on National Wildlife Refuges and National Park Service lands in Alaska. The amendment would clear the way for spotting and chasing grizzly bears from planes and then shooting them and also allowing people to go into wolf dens and shoot pups on national wildlife refuges and national parks — activities inconceivable anywhere, but especially on the most important federally protected lands.

Please make a quick call to the office of Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler at (202) 225-3536 right away and urge opposition to this dangerous amendment. You can simply say, “As a constituent, I am urging my representative to please protect Alaska’s wildlife by opposing Representative Don Young’s amendment #11 to the House Interior Appropriations bill.”

Jim, Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful wild places and species in America — we need to stand together to protect it. After you call, please send a quick follow-up message.

Ice melt forces polar bears into paths of Alaska schoolchildren

 

Trevor Hughes5 hrs ago
 
File - In this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, snow-covered mountains are seen behind the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. The massive Alaska ice field that feeds Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier, a tourist attraction viewed by hundreds of thousands each year, could be gone by 2200 if climate warming trends continue, according to a new University of Alaska Fairbanks study.© (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File) File – In this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, snow-covered mountains are seen behind the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. The massive Alaska ice field that feeds Juneau’s…WALES, Alaska — Melting ice off the coast of far-west Alaska is forcing polar bears onto the land, dangerously close to villages where children often walk unaccompanied across the snow-swept tundra.In these isolated communities, fears of a fatal encounter between stressed predators and the towns’ most vulnerable members have forced residents into action: they now train for polar-bear patrols.”Our main concern is the kids,” says Clyde Oxereok, 57, who leads the patrol in Wales, the most western town in the mainland U.S.

The problem is a lack of ice. Each winter, the narrow strait between Russia and the United States melts faster.The ice that does form seems weaker, more susceptible to breaking up. While that’s opened up new areas for oil exploration and opportunities for shipping through the Northwest Passage, it’s also destroying the habitat of the polar bears who hunt seal from that ice.

 

“The weather has changed a lot, and it has made the animals change their behavior,” said Oxereok, a ninth-generation resident of Wales.

Bears on land are easily distracted by towns — and the easy food.

“When you’re out on the ice, everything is white, so anything that’s not, you’re going to check out,” says Elisabeth Kruger, Arctic program manager for the World Wildlife Fund.  “And anything that could be food, you’ll try it,” she says.

Walking back to the snowmobile that carried her out to the frozen edge of the Bering Strait, Kruger stops to point out fresh polar bear tracks. Sometime in the past few days, a large bear walked down the ice in a path that paralleled both the ice’s edge and the front of the town a mile away.

Village elders say while there are fewer polar bears living in the area, they’re near town more often.

That’s a terrifying thought. Polar bears can be 10-foot-tall, weighing in at more than 1,000 pounds and willing to tangle with whales and walruses.

Now, with Kruger’s help, residents in Wales have created the Kingikmiut Nanuuq Patrol to monitor polar bears near their homes. They’ve learned how to “haze” the bears away from town with shotgun-fired noisemakers and pepper spray.

There’s pretty much no one else to call on in Wales. The town lacks any routine law enforcement presence. An Alaska State Trooper flies in for a few hours every so often to check up on the residents.

Other tribal communities might simply kill and eat any polar bears that come into their village. Polar bears are protected by federal law, but Inupiat hunters like those in Wales are allowed to kill some polar bears to maintain their traditional

WALES, Alaska — Melting ice off the coast of far-west Alaska is forcing polar bears onto the land, dangerously close to villages where children often walk unaccompanied across the snow-swept tundra.
In these isolated communities, fears of a fatal encounter between stressed predators and the towns’ most vulnerable members have forced residents into action: they now train for polar-bear patrols.

“Our main concern is the kids,” says Clyde Oxereok, 57, who leads the patrol in Wales, the most western town in the mainland U.S.

The problem is a lack of ice. Each winter, the narrow strait between Russia and the United States melts faster.The ice that does form seems weaker, more susceptible to breaking up. While that’s opened up new areas for oil exploration and opportunities for shipping through the Northwest Passage, it’s also destroying the habitat of the polar bears who hunt seal from that ice.    
   

“The weather has changed a lot, and it has made the animals change their behavior,” said Oxereok, a ninth-generation resident of Wales.

Bears on land are easily distracted by towns — and the easy food.

“When you’re out on the ice, everything is white, so anything that’s not, you’re going to check out,” says Elisabeth Kruger, Arctic program manager for the World Wildlife Fund. “And anything that could be food, you’ll try it,” she says.

Walking back to the snowmobile that carried her out to the frozen edge of the Bering Strait, Kruger stops to point out fresh polar bear tracks. Sometime in the past few days, a large bear walked down the ice in a path that paralleled both the ice’s edge and the front of the town a mile away.

Village elders say while there are fewer polar bears living in the area, they’re near town more often.

That’s a terrifying thought. Polar bears can be 10-foot-tall, weighing in at more than 1,000 pounds and willing to tangle with whales and walruses.

Now, with Kruger’s help, residents in Wales have created the Kingikmiut Nanuuq Patrol to monitor polar bears near their homes. They’ve learned how to “haze” the bears away from town with shotgun-fired noisemakers and pepper spray.

There’s pretty much no one else to call on in Wales. The town lacks any routine law enforcement presence. An Alaska State Trooper flies in for a few hours every so often to check up on the residents.

Other tribal communities might simply kill and eat any polar bears that come into their village. Polar bears are protected by federal law, but Inupiat hunters like those in Wales are allowed to kill some polar bears to maintain their traditional way of life.

Sarah Palin does the Climate Hustle…

In case she hasn’t noticed, Alaska is seeing its share of climate changes

http://www.climatehustlemovie.com/

Scorching temperatures. Melting ice caps. Killer hurricanes and tornadoes. Disappearing polar bears. The end of civilization as we know it! Are emissions from our cars, factories, and farms causing catastrophic climate change? Is there a genuine scientific consensus? Or is man-made “global warming” an overheated environmental con job being used to push for increased government regulations and a new “Green” energy agenda?

CLIMATE HUSTLE will answer these questions, and many, many more. Produced in the one-of-a-kind entertaining and informative style that has made CFACT and Marc Morano’s award-winning ClimateDepot.com one of the world’s most sought after sources for reliable, hard-to-find facts about climate issues, this groundbreaking film will tear the cover off of global warming hype, and expose the myths and exaggerations of this multi-billion dollar issue.

CLIMATE HUSTLE will reveal the history of climate scares including global cooling; debunk outrageous claims about temperatures, extreme weather, and the so-called “consensus;” expose the increasingly shrill calls to “act immediately before it’s too late,” and in perhaps the film’s most important section, profile key scientists who used to believe in climate alarm but have since converted to skepticism.

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Alaska Voters Oppose Cruel Methods of Killing Wildlife on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2016/03/alaska-nwr-cruel-practices-030116.html?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

March 1, 2016

A new statewide poll by Remington Research Group shows that Alaska voters strongly support an end to cruel and unsporting practices used to kill bears, wolves and coyotes on the state’s National Wildlife Refuges.

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed changes to regulations governing non-subsistence hunting on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. These changes are designed to uphold the purposes of the refuge system to conserve species and habitats in their natural diversity, and to ensure that the biological integrity, diversity and environmental health of the National Wildlife Refuge system benefits Americans now and into the future. Based upon this new poll, the majority of Alaska voters support such changes as it would end cruel methods of killing wildlife on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.

The poll also shows that many oppose using bait, such as rotting meat and pet food, to lure bears to a hunting blind for a point blank kill and that, by a two to one margin, Alaska voters oppose the same-day aerial hunting of bears, or the shooting of bears from aircraft. Same-day hunting, in which aircraft are used to scout for animals, is already prohibited for wolves.

An overwhelming majority of Alaskans also oppose trapping of bears—a practice that involves steel-jawed, leg-hold traps or wire snares. The poll found voters, again by a margin of two to one, are firmly against killing black bears, wolves and coyotes, and oppose killing their cubs and pups, while in or near their dens.

“Alaska is home to some of our nation’s most iconic wildlife, and these animals deserve to be treasured and conserved for future generations, instead of subjected to cruel and unsporting trophy hunting and trapping methods,” said Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States.

The telephone poll of 1,399 statewide Alaskan voters was conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of The HSUS from Feb. 24 through Feb. 25, 2016. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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