An all-star team experienced in ranching with wolves came to Quincy on Friday, Nov. 18, to give a workshop put on by the California Wolf Center.
The three primary take home messages passed on at the meeting were:
– Get ready, gray wolves are definitely migrating back into Lassen and Plumas counties and they won’t be going away once they get here.
– Wolves do not kill people.
– Ranchers can continue to profitably raise livestock around wolves if they learn how wolves operate, study their movements throughout their range and adapt their herding skills to those movements.
Extinction of wolves
Gray wolves used to live throughout North America from the Arctic Circle down to Mexico and from the Pacific Ocean east to the Atlantic Ocean.
By the 1940s, however, gray wolves had been exterminated from throughout the lower 48 states, with the exception of northern Minnesota.
The last native wolf killed in California was killed in 1925 in Susanville.
Gray wolves, however, are smart, adaptive, have large litters and are highly mobile.
Wolves begin to migrate out of their home territories when they are 2- to 3-years-old, and when wolf populations begin to exceed the carrying capacity of their prey.
One radio-collared wolf was recorded to have traveled 700 miles in just three months.
The travel route from September 2011 to March 2012 of a single male gray wolf (OR-7) radio-collared in Oregon. OR-7 ended up back in Oregon in March 2013 where he started a pack. The male of the gray wolf pair that is living in Lassen County was sired by OR-7. Photo from Wikipedia article: OR-7
In the mid-1980s, gray wolves began migrating south into Montana on their own from Canada, where they had continued to live in high numbers.
At the time, gray wolves were listed as an endangered species in the lower 48 States. This led to the idea of bringing in additional gray wolves from Canada in order to augment the numbers already in the northern Rockies.
In 1995-1996, 31 gray wolves were introduced into both Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho.
Enough of the wolves survived that they started breeding. Within just a few years wolves were dispersing out of Yellowstone and central Idaho into surrounding areas.
By 2011, wolf populations had stabilized in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. By 2015, there were 316 packs (but only 114 breeding pairs) in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
Earlier this month, a male and female wolf were confirmed to be living in Lassen County. It is only a matter of time before wolves start to populate Lassen and Plumas counties. Carter Niemeyer, a famous wolf expert who spoke at the workshop, estimated that northern California has two to three years to prepare for the arrival of wolves.
How afraid should we be of wolves?
Niemeyer noted once they are sure a human is present, ‘wolves usually put their tails between their legs and slink away.”
Niemeyer said that gray wolves recognize their traditional prey (deer, elk, moose and buffalo) and that is what they hone in on, unless they happen to come across a safe opportunity involving livestock.
There have been only two people killed by wild wolves since World War II: one in Alaska and the other in Saskatchewan, Canada. Niemeyer believes that the death in Alaska was probably caused by a bear rather than by wolves.
To put things into perspective, Niemeyer noted that the migration scenario for wolves in recent years is not that different to what has happened with coyotes over the past 30 years.
Once found all over North America and then removed from throughout much of their range, coyotes have come back. They have adapted to both old and new environments, including suburbs and the edges of cities,
Now, coyotes are once again found throughout the lower 48 states and we have gotten used to that.
Niemeyer criticized the state of Wyoming, which fought wolf reintroduction. This resulted in numerous lawsuits, he said, which are still playing themselves out, and the wolves became established anyway.
How can ranchers coexist with wolves?
This article is one of two in a series. Next week we will outline some of the actions that ranchers and others can take to greatly reduce or eliminate losses from wolves.
Timothy Kaminski, who has worked closely with ranchers in Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Idaho, said at the workshop that “Seven of 10 ranchers don’t believe that just killing wolves is the solution.”
“Ranchers need help. They want information,” said Kaminski.
“Believe it or not” Kaminski added, “there is a solution. And it doesn’t take a lot of bells and whistles to be successful.”
Little Red Riding Hood aside, wolves are mostly afraid of people. They don’t want to get hurt either.
The news was shocking – a coyote in Los Angeles, gunned down by a sniper on a residential street. As reported on July 1st in the Los Angeles Times, the gunman shot the coyote in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood, in what the Times called an act of “coyotecide.”
As Los Angeles’s Animal Cruelty Task Force looks into the shooting, and the Department of Animal Services investigates, Project Coyote is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible.
Our reward offer is helping to generate news coverage about this act of barbarity, while exposing the stark reality that coyotes are the target of so much hatred and violence and have no protections as afforded their domestic cousins.
Had the killer shot a domestic dog, it would be considered a felony under state anti-cruelty laws.
Ironically, just last week Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative, Randi Feilich testified before the Los Angeles City Animal Welfare Committee in support of a proposed non-lethal coyote management plan being considered by the Committee. The plan emphasizes public education and coexistence. At the meeting, Feilich offered the support of our Coyote Friendly Communities program, which provides tools and expertise to peacefully live with coyotes and other wildlife.
Since the shooting, media coverage has increased public awarness of the cruelty suffered by coyotes and other wildlife, as well as the threat this poses to human safety.
Please help us prevent such senseless acts and help us change laws so that coyotes are no longer treated as vermin that can be killed in unlimited numbers.
With your support we can continue to equip communities across the country with the information, support and tools they need to live peacefully with wild animals who also call this planet home.
California has finally cleared the way for women to get and easy access to birth control pills, without needing a prescription from a doctor. California has become the second state in the United States to allow pharmacists to offer birth control pills to women.
Oregon as the only state which gives right to its pharmacists to prescribe birth control to women will be joined by California. A 2013 law that allows California pharmacists to directly provide prescription contraceptives went into effect. However, there are some critics who oppose the newly introduced practice.
Senate Bill 493, introduced by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, allows pharmacists the authority to furnish oral (the pill), transdermal (the patch), vaginal (the ring), and Depo-Provera injection prescription birth control methods for women. This means that there is no more need to fix appointment with gynecologist to seek the best prescription for birth control. This could also give wrong message to the teens according to opponents of the law.
There are certain things pharmacies have to be prepared for. Some pharmacies have even started training their employees for the new challenge. It is mandatory for pharmacists to ask a patient to complete a health questionnaire and to consult with the patient about the most appropriate form of birth control. In some cases, taking a patient’s blood pressure is required by pharmacists.
Among the opponents is California Right to Life. They say that availability of birth control from another source could not benefit young people and would build gap between a mother and a child communication over the matter.
A report published in LA Times said, “Many public health advocates and doctors say that birth control is extremely safe and point to studies that show that women can generally choose one that works well for them. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest group representing OB/GYNs, supports legislation that would make birth control truly over-the-counter.”
Women requesting birth control will have to complete a health questionnaire. A pharmacist will also consult with the patient about the most suitable form of birth control. In some cases, they will have to take the woman’s blood pressure before issuing a prescription.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration can decide if a medicine can be available over-the-counter. The most state legislators can do to increase access to birth control is to allow medical providers other than doctors, such as pharmacists, to furnish the medication.
By Peter Fimrite |
January 15, 2016 | Updated: January 15, 2016 4:34pm
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Ryan McCoy checks the shotguns of hunters during daily patrols on the California Delta near Brentwood, Calif. on Sat. January 9, 2016, Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Ryan McCoy checks the shotguns of hunters during daily patrols on the California Delta near Brentwood, Calif. on Sat. January 9, 2016,
The sudden resignation of the most adamant defender of hunting and fishing on the California Fish and Game Commission could put the finishing touches on a sweeping philosophical shift in the way the state views wildlife, sets rules for fishing and controls predators like mountain lions and wolves.
Chaos at Fish & Game
Photo taken Sept. 30, 2015 shows one of the offspring of ex-California wolf OR-7. The photo was taken in the Southern Oregon Cascade Mountains.
Wolf conservation plan drawn up for California
In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, crab pots fill a large section of a parking lot at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Calif. California has delayed the Nov. 15 start of its commercial crab season after finding dangerous levels of a toxin in crabs. Officials in Oregon and Washington are testing crab samples and will decide soon whether to open its coastal season by Dec. 1 as planned. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Sour talk as lawmakers, crabbers meet over Dungeness shutdown
A bobcat with a severe case of ringworm is being rehabilitated at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Monday August 10, 2015 in Petaluma, Calif. California wildlife advocates like the staff at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue are celebrating the ban on bobcat trapping and are now setting their sights on protecting other species like foxes and coyotes.
Wildlife advocates expand target after bobcat ban
Commissioner Jim Kellogg retired in late December in frustration over what he termed a lack of consideration for the sportsmen and women he represents. The resignation — combined with the unrelated recent departures of commission President Jack Baylis and Sonke Mastrup, the commission’s executive director — sets the stage for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint conservationists to the increasingly pivotal state board.
Such a move may, observers say, complete the transformation of the commission from an organization that advocates for fishing and hunting to one that safeguards endangered species, preserves habitat and protects California’s top predators from slaughter.
But it won’t happen without a fight. While environmentalists say they are finally getting a fair shake in the high-stakes political game of wildlife management, advocates for outdoor sports fear they have lost their voice and that the role they have played in the protection of species is being forgotten.
The five-member commission, whose job is to recommend policies to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been wading through divisive issues that could profoundly impact the future of the state, including what to do about diminishing salmon populations, sick sea lions and disappearing sea otters.
[It seems some folks aren’t getting the message about climate change…]
by Nattan Bomey and Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
Automakers posted a solid 9% sales gain in December, an exclamation point that sealed 2015 as the biggest sales year ever for the industry, they reported Tuesday.
All told, automakers sold 17.47 million new vehicles for the year, Autodata reported, besting the previous record set in 2000 by 68,138 vehicles. Low gas prices, cheap credit, low unemployment, soaring consumer confidence and warm weather fueled a rush into showrooms in December.
“The U.S. economy continues to expand, and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, in a statement.
Porter Ranch Methane Leak Spreads Across LA’s San Fernando Valley
It now looks like the catastrophic Porter Ranch gas leak, which has spewed more than 83,000 metric tons of noxious methane for nearly three months, has spread across Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander called on the Southern California Gas Co. to extend residential relocation assistance to residents in Granada Hills, Chatsworth and Northridge who live near the Aliso Canyon gas leak above Porter Ranch. These residents reported symptoms related to the exposure of natural gas such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and respiratory problems.
Encounters between rats and mountain lions generally have predictable outcomes. The prey dies so that the predator can live.
But as civilization continues to push into landscapes once populated mainly by non-human species, the balance has shifted. People use highly toxic poisons to kill rats, then the low-on-the-food chain rodents take the apex-predator big cats down with them.
On Tuesday, this upending of the natural order gave Southern California activists another poster animal for their movement, as the National Park Service confirmed that the once-photogenic mountain lion known as P-34 died of exposure to rat poisons.
A necropsy of the puma, whose carcass had been found by a trail runner in Point Mugu State Park on Sept. 30, validated the initial suspicions of biologists who found blood running freely inside the dead female.
In addition to proving deadly for their intended targets, these poisons can wreak havoc as they work their way up the food chain. A mountain lion might devour a ground squirrel that consumed the bait or an animal such as a coyote that had eaten another animal that had the bait in its system.
“This is the latest indication that local wildlife continues to be exposed to these rodent poisons,” said Seth Riley, a wildlife ecologist who has led a long-term study of mountain lions in the park service’s Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Scientists said Tuesday that evidence was mounting that California’s July 2014 ban on retail sales of certain highly toxic rat poisons – called second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides – has not produced the far-reaching benefits that researchers had hoped.
“I thought there would be more improvement than I’m actually seeing,” said Stella McMillin, senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We’re still seeing non-target exposure at pretty high levels.”
Although consumers may no longer buy these “super toxins” off the shelf, farmers and licensed pest-control companies regularly use them. Bait boxes have become ubiquitous accessories outside restaurants, hotels and grocery stores.
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Moreover, other rat poisons that consumers are still allowed to use are increasingly showing up in wildlife, said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director with the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit advocacy group in Oakland.
Wildlife deaths continue to demonstrate the “need to ban these products from the market,” he said. He and other activists have met with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to point out loopholes in the ban.
“We continue to call on state regulators to ban these poisons to protect California’s most iconic and imperiled wildlife,” Evans said. Consumers and businesses, he added, must consider using other rodent-control methods that “do not involve killing predators that are part of the solution.”
P-34, who was not quite 2 years old, showed evidence of exposure to five compounds, “an impressive number,” Riley said.
Last December, P-34 made news when she was discovered lounging under a trailer in a Newbury Park mobile home community. A resident photographed the lion ambling along the top of a wall in her backyard.
P-34’s was the first puma death conclusively linked to rat poisons since 2004, when scientists confirmed that two siblings died because of exposure to the toxic chemicals. Those lions, P-3 and P-4, spent most of their time in the Simi Hills, north of the 101 Freeway.
In 2012, a hiker in Point Mugu State Park found the carcass of a female lion known as P-25. The cause of death was never determined, but toxicity from rat poisons was strongly suspected, given that she showed no sign of disease or having fought with another lion.
P-34’s sibling, the male P-32, was struck and killed by a motorist in August while attempting to cross Interstate 5 near Castaic.
P-32, who was about 21 months old, was the only male mountain lion known to have dispersed out of the Santa Monica Mountains and wander north into other habitat areas. He had managed to cross the 101 Freeway, State Route 23, Highway 118 and Highway 126.
Park service researchers have documented the presence of rodenticide compounds in 12 of 13 mountain lions they have tested, including a 3-month-old kitten.
Scores of bobcats, coyotes and other animals are known to have died from internal bleeding likely caused by the toxins.
In 2014, P-22, the Griffith Park mountain lion, famously developed a case of mange that biologists said was probably caused by exposure to rat poisons. A park service biologist applied a topical treatment and injected Vitamin K to offset the effects. Recent images of P-22 indicate that he remains mange-free.
| September 27, 2015
Earlier this month an obscure Los Angeles area regional public lands agency—the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority—announced the first stages of a five-year plan to build one of the largest wildlife corridors in the world. The goal is to create a natural looking bridge that will allow a small cougar population in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area the chance to escape north into much larger public lands, while at the same time allowing northern mountain lions the chance to move south and help out the badly inbred and lethally infighting Santa Monica cougars.
The proposed bridge will leap over Highway 101, an eight-lane, east-west freeway in LA’s northern suburbs that sees 175,000 car trips a day. The bridge will be built at Liberty Canyon in the suburb of Agoura and when completed will be 200 feet-long and 165 feet-wide. It will be landscaped to blend in with the brushy hills and sound walls along the edge of the bridge will “mitigate traffic noise and block light in order to make the crossing more conducive to wildlife,” says the project study report. The bridge will extend beyond the 101, reaching over an access road south of the highway, necessitating the construction of a tunnel. Estimated cost of the entire project: about $57 million.
Despite the report’s dull bureaucratic language—mountain lion sex is blandly described as “the exchange of genetic material”—at its heart the proposed Liberty Canyon wildlife corridor represents an astonishing effort to reverse decades of suburban sprawl and fragmentation of the region’s surviving open spaces.
The campaign’s iconic poster boy is the famous “Hollywood lion,” also known by its wildlife ID number, “P22.” In 2012, P22 crossed two major freeways and migrated roughly 40 miles from the Santa Monica Mountains along the coast to Los Angeles’s 4300-acre Griffith Park on the city’s eastside. There he took up residence, feeding on the park’s mule deer and soon became a national celebrity of sorts.
by Oliver Starr
Like all of you, I was overjoyed to hear the extraordinary news that a new wolf family has made California their home. For the first time in nearly 100 years the howls of WILD WOLF PUPPIES are gracing the slopes of Mt Shasta! How fitting that such a picturesque location would host such an important guest.
But my joy quickly turned to dismay when I saw that once again, as a community, we are making a mistake in our collective use of language and this mistake is harming wolves.
People that know wolves are well aware that groups of wolves are families — not “gangs of associated animals”. The term “pack” as defined by Webster’s provides many meanings for the word; most of them negative, none of them having anything in common with the reality of wolves: http://www.dict.org/bin/Dict…*
When we use the term “pack” to refer to wolf families, we “de-humanize” the species and we diminish what they are. The use of the term “pack” when applied to wolves is not only biologically inaccurate, it plays into the hands of those that hate them. It’s one thing for “Wildlife Services” to say, they’re eliminating the Wedge Pack, then if they told the truth and said they were going in to kill the Wedge Family of Wolves.
Even as I write this, I am watching tweets appear announcing the “Shasta Pack” in Northern California, I’ve received at least half a dozen emails from NGO’s and seen more news items than I can count announcing the same thing.
But imagine the even more positive nature of this news if the headlines read like this instead:
“California Welcomes Shasta Wolf Family as Species Gains Ground in West”
“CDFW Reports New Wolf Family Confirmed Via Camera Trap: Meet The “Shasta’s”
“Shasta Family: newest wolves to grace the Siskiyou…”
It’s a small change in language but one that gives a vastly different impression. It’s also a distinction that’s factually true. We can help the wolf by taking control of this language and consistently bringing this point home.
I know there are many others among you that share this conviction, one I owe to the late Gordon Haber. So for Gordon and for the wolves, let’s take back the dialog and welcome all wolf families, but most especially the Shasta Wolf Family, home.
California has its first wolf pack since the state’s gray wolf population went extinct in 1924.
State and federal authorities announced Thursday that a remote camera captured photos earlier this month of two adults and five pups in southeastern Siskiyou County.
They were named the Shasta pack for nearby Mount Shasta.
The pack was discovered four years after the famous Oregon wandering wolf OR-7 first reached Northern California.
Karen Kovacs of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said it was an amazing accomplishment for gray wolves to establish themselves in Northern California just 21 years after wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies.
Those wolves eventually migrated into Oregon and Washington before reaching California, where they are protected by federal and state endangered species acts.
Just where these wolves, all black in color, came from will have to wait for DNA testing on scat at an Idaho lab, but it is likely they are a continuation of the increasing numbers of wolves migrating from Oregon’s northeastern corner to the southern Cascade Range, Kovacs said.
Though the wolves have been spotted by local ranchers tending their herds, there have been no reports of wolf attacks on livestock, Kovacs said.
Kirk Wilbur, government affairs director for the California Stockmens Association, said ranchers remain worried about the potential for losing animals to wolves as their numbers increase.
Amaroq Weiss, of the conservation group with Center for Biological Diversity, said she was more worried the wolves could fall victim to hunters as hunting season gets underway.
Anticipating that wolves would migrate into the state, California declared them an endangered species last year, but the state Fish and Wildlife Department does not expect to have a management plan in force until the end of this year, Kovacs said.
The department has no goals for how many wolves might eventually live in California and no idea how many once lived in the state, she added. California’s last known native wolf was killed in 1924 in neighboring Lassen County.
There are at least 5,500 gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.