Feds restore protected status for Great Lakes wolves!

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/02/20/gray-wolves-endangered/23726317/?fb_ref=Default

Associated Press 6:58 a.m. EST February 20, 2015

Traverse City — Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are protected by federal law once more.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a rule Friday designating wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin as “endangered” and those in Minnesota as “threatened.”

The rule complies with a federal judge’s order in December that overruled the agency’s earlier decision to revoke wolves’ protected status and hand management authority to the states.

It means sport hunting and trapping of Great Lakes wolves is no longer permissible.

A spokesman says the agency hasn’t decided whether to appeal the court ruling. Legislation to overturn it has been introduced in Congress.

More than 50 scientists this week signed a letter to Congress saying wolves occupy a small fraction of their former range and still need legal protection.

copyrighted wolf in water

Bills to end Endangered Species Act protections for wolves introduced in Congress

 

Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. House this week to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in several states. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., introduced HF 843 that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing wolves under the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota,… Duluth, 55802Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

2015-02-12 15:56:22

Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. House this week to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in several states.

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., introduced HF 843 that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing wolves under the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Meanwhile, Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., introduced HF 884, broader legislation that would restore wolves to their earlier unprotected status under a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule from 2012 in not just the Great Lakes states but also Wyoming.

Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Sean Duffy, R-Wis., are among several co-sponsors on both bills.

Kline, who manages a fifth-generation family farm in southeastern Minnesota, where few if any wolves exist, said individual states should be able to manage the big predators without federal interference.

A summary of Kline’s bill says that “the overpopulation of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region contributes to the decline of livestock, pets and other animals in the wild.”

“Wolf attacks are a concern for farmers and livestock producers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where the overpopulation of gray wolves is directly linked to the decline of livestock and other animals,’’ Kline said in a statement Thursday. “This bipartisan legislation will remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list and return management to the states, providing greater flexibility and giving states exclusive jurisdiction over the wolves within their own borders.”

The proposed legislation is in response to a federal judge’s ruling in December that wolves in the Great Lakes states be immediately placed back under full protection of the Endangered Species Act, under the government’s original 1978 ruling to protect the animals which had been hunted, trapped and harassed to near-extinction at the time.

The judge ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 rule delisting wolves in the Great Lakes region, handing wolf management back to states and tribes, was improper. The federal agency has not yet decided whether to appeal the judge’s order. But thecopyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles legislation introduced this week, if passed and signed into law by the president, would take precedent over the judge’s ruling.

The legislation is supported by groups such as the Minnesota Farm Bureau and Minnesota Farmers Union.

Wolf supporters, however, say wolves are in integral part of thriving ecosystems and that the legislation is an overreaction by politicians and wolf opponents who continue to wrongly cast the animals as storybook demons.

“This legislation is an end-around a series of federal court rulings that have determined that state and federal agencies have acted improperly” in managing wolves in recent years, said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement Thursday. “This bill is just the latest act of political bomb-throwing and gamesmanship, and lawmakers who want balance on the wolf issue should reject it.”

In January the Humane Society and 21 animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list grey wolves as officially “threatened’’ across most of the U.S. That would continue federal oversight but enable some wolves to be trapped and killed by federally-approved trappers if the animals cause problems near pets or livestock.

Animal Welfare Groups Push for Lesser ‘Threatened’ Status for Gray Wolf

http://wxpr.org/post/animal-welfare-groups-push-lesser-threatened-status-gray-wolf

A coalition of animal rights groups is pushing to downgrade federal protections for the gray wolf, hoping to compromise with opponents who want to remove protections altogether.

Gray wolves are back on the endangered species list in most U.S. states.

Gray wolves are back on the endangered species list in most U.S. states.
Credit ifaw.org

The groups are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the gray wolf as threatened rather than endangered.

Wolves are currently endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan, thanks to a court ruling in late December that put the wolf back under federal protection.

But some members of Congress are pushing to change that status through legislation.

Now the Humane Society of the United States and twenty other wildlife protection groups are advocating for what they call a compromise plan to give the wolf the less-restrictive designation of ‘threatened.’

Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle says it could give managers and property owners more flexibility, even allowing lethal control in some cases.

“We feel that this petition provides a way forward that gives something meaningful to both sides.  More active management of problem wolves, but maintaining federal protections.”

Wolves are on the endangered species list in most of the lower 48, except for parts of the Northern Rockies.

A federal court ruling in December re-listed wolves as endangered in Wisconsin and Michigan, and threatened in Minnesota.

The ruling put a stop to wolf hunts in all three states.

Delist or downlist? Michigan wolf debate rages on following federal ruling that blocked hunting

http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2015/01/delist_or_downlist_michigan_wo.html

Wolf Hunt
 

LANSING, MI — The debate over Michigan wolves — and whether the state should be able to proceed with future hunts or lethal removal — rages on in the wake of a recent federal decision that returned the Great Lakes population to endangered status.

U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, a Republican whose district includes the entire Upper Peninsula, is working with colleagues from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Wyoming on bipartisan legislation that would reportedly remove federal protections that now block local wolf management in Michigan and other states.

“The language we are looking at would be narrow and would address the recent court decision,” Benishek said in a statement provided to MLive. “It would not seek to change the Endangered Species Act, but would be designed to meet the need in our region for responsible stewardship of the wolf population. We are finalizing the details now and are hoping sometime in the next few weeks.”

State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, on Tuesday introduced a resolution that, if adopted, would offer support for the pending federal legislation and encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to appeal the federal court ruling.

Jill Fritz, state director of the Humane Society of the United States and the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition, said it would be difficult to comment on the pending federal legislation because she has not seen the language, but she noted her group “would oppose any action to strip federal protections from Great Lakes Wolves.”

HSUS and other animal protection groups this week submitted a petition asking the USFWS to “downlist” all gray wolves in the contiguous United States by reclassifying them as a threatened species — rather than an endangered one.

The proposal, if adopted, would allow USFWS to work with state and local wildlife authorities to kill or remove nuisance wolves attacking livestock, which has been an issue for farmers in Michigan and other states.

“If wolves are downlisted to threatened status across the board, then if there are concerns about depredation on livestock and they want to use lethal controls, they can do so,” said Fritz.

“What it would not allow is that wolves return to management under the states, which did not work. The states, particularly Minnesota and Wisconsin, started off with these aggressive killing and population reduction programs that really threatened to stop recovery of wolves in its tracks.”

Wolves in Michigan and other Great Lakes states were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2012, but U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last month that the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated federal law.

Federal endangered status trumps Michigan laws that had allowed the for lethal removal of problem wolves and a pending law reauthorizing the Natural Resource Commission to name new game species and establish hunting seasons.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to slightly more than 600 wolves, up from just six in the 1970s. Hunting advocates argue the population warrants stronger management to reduce conflicts with livestock and comfort levels around humans.

As MLive reported earlier this month, there were 35 wolf attacks on livestock or dogs in Michigan last year, up from 20 in 2013 but lower than the 41 in 2012.

Twenty-two wolves were killed in late 2013 during Michigan’s first-ever wolf hunt. There was no hunt last year, when voters rejected two separate wolf hunting laws, but a newer version is set to take effect in April.

Groups Petition to Reclassify Gray Wolves to Threatened Status under Endangered Species Act

I haven’t had a chance to look into this yet, but this line, from an article entitled, “Finding Balance in the Wolf Wars” in the Huffington Post caught my eye: “Our plan respects the purpose and intent of the Endangered Species Act but gives a nod to the folks who want more active control options for wolves, especially ranchers,”

The wolf is in no way “recovered” in the lower 48; they should never have been downgraded from endangered. In 1885 5,500 wolves were killed in Montana alone. Now there’s less than 5,000 in the entire country…

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

Does anyone have any insights on this they want to share?

 

http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2015/01/esa-threatened-gray-wolves-012715.html

 

January 27, 2015

 

Proposal presents a reasonable alternative to congressional delisting and a path to national recovery

Animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act as threatened throughout the contiguous United States, with the exception of the Mexican gray wolf which remains listed as endangered. If adopted, the proposal would continue federal oversight and funding of wolf recovery efforts and encourage development of a national recovery plan for the species, but would also give the Fish and Wildlife Service regulatory flexibility to permit state and local wildlife managers to address specific wolf conflicts.

Gray wolves are currently protected as endangered throughout their range in the lower 48 states, except in Minnesota where they are listed as threatened and in Montana, Idaho and eastern Oregon and Washington where they have no Endangered Species Act protections. Some members of Congress are advocating for legislation to remove all protections for wolves under federal law by delisting the animal under the Endangered Species Act. The petition proposes an alternative path to finalizing wolf recovery based on the best available science, rather than politics and fear, and would help to find a balanced middle ground on a controversial issue that has been battled out in the courts and in states with diverse views among stakeholders on wolf conservation.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said: “Several states have badly failed in their management of wolves, and their brand of reckless trapping, trophy hunting, and even hound hunting just has not been supported by the courts or by the American people. We do, however, understand the fears that some ranchers have about wolves, and we believe that maintaining federal protections while allowing more active management of human-wolf conflicts achieves the right balance for all key stakeholders and is consistent with the law.”

Wolf populations are still recovering from decades of persecution—government sponsored bounty programs resulted in mass extermination of wolves at the beginning of the last century, and the species was nearly eliminated from the landscape of the lower 48 states. Wolf number have increased substantially where the Endangered Species Act has been implemented, but recovery is still not complete, as the species only occupies as little as 5 percent of its historic range, and human-caused mortality continues to constitute the majority of documented wolf deaths.

Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said: “A Congressional end run around science and the Endangered Species Act will create more controversy and put wolves and the law itself in jeopardy. The better path is to downlist wolves to threatened, replace the failed piecemeal efforts of the past with a new science-based national recovery strategy,and bring communities together to determine how wolves will be returned to and managed in places where they once lived, like the Adirondacks, southern Rocky Mountains, Cascades and Sierra Nevada.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s piecemeal efforts to delist gray wolves in the northern Rockies and western Great Lakes have been roundly criticized by scientists and repeatedly rejected by multiple federal courts. In addition to denouncing the Service’s fragmented approach to wolf recovery, courts have recognized that several states have recklessly attempted to quickly and dramatically reduce wolf numbers through unnecessary and cruel hunting and trapping programs. The public does not support recreational and commercial killing of wolves, as evidenced by the recent decision by Michigan voters in the November 2014 election to reject sport hunting of wolves. Wolves are inedible, and only killed for their heads or fur.

Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, said: “Complex conservation problems require sophisticated solutions. The history of wolf protection in America is riddled with vitriolic conflict and shortsightedness and it is time for a coordinated, forward-thinking approach that removes the most barbaric treatment of this iconic species and focuses on the long-term viability of wolf populations throughout the country.”

The threatened listing proposed by the petition would promote continued recovery of the species at a national level so that it is not left perpetually at the doorstep of extinction. A threatened listing would also permit the Fish and Wildlife Service some regulatory flexibility to work with state and local wildlife managers to appropriately address wolf conflicts, including depredation of livestock.

Groups filing the petition include national organizations and those based in wolf range states:

Born Free USA

Center for Biological Diversity

Detroit Audubon

Detroit Zoological Society

The Fund for Animals

Friends of Animals and Their Environment

Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf

Help Our Wolves Live

Howling for Wolves

The Humane Society of the United States

Justice for Wolves

Midwest Environmental Advocates

Minnesota Humane Society

Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection

National Wolfwatcher Coalition

Northwoods Alliance

Predator Defense

Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Wildlife Public Trust and Coexistence

Wildwoods (Minnesota)

Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

 

Also on: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-pacelle/finding-balance-in-the-wo_b_6558340.html

Rare wolves to get more area to roam in Southwest

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nation-and-world/rare-wolves-get-more-area-roam-southwest

Rare wolves in the American Southwest will be allowed more room to roam but some could be marked for death if they prey too heavily on elk and deer prized by hunters, under a rule issued by federal officials on Monday.

The rule revising management of the fewer than 100 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico stems from legal challenges by the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity, which argued U.S. wildlife managers failed to properly protect the so-called Mexican wolf.

The federal government’s new management plan for the endangered Mexican wolf, which is one of the most imperiled mammals in North America, enlarges the acreage it can occupy without relocation and expands the area where captive wolves can be released into the wild, according to a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. wildlife officials also declared the Mexican wolf was a separate subspecies to the gray wolf found elsewhere in the United States. That ensures Mexican wolves would not be included in a proposal by President Barack Obama’s administration to remove gray wolves in states outside Alaska from the federal endangered and threatened species list.

The Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that 300 to 325 Mexican wolves would be needed in the U.S. Southwest for the animals to be considered recovered and stripped of protections under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Conservationists argued the revisions were still insufficient to guarantee the Mexican wolf would make a strong comeback and said a minimum of 750 were needed for the animal’s long-term survival.

They also took aim at a rule unveiled on Monday that gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service more leeway to allow state wildlife agencies and others to kill Mexican wolves.

The rule change would allow such killing of the predators to protect livestock and other domestic animals or to prevent what the service called “unacceptable impacts” on elk and deer herds valued by hunters.

“This is very worrisome,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These wolves were subjected to a ruthless extermination campaign to the point where they nearly went extinct.”

Featured Image -- 7624

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming!

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/victory-for-wolves-in-wyoming

Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background: There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

Leaked Document: Scientists Ordered to Scrap Plan to Protect Wolverines

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolverine-07-07-2014.html

Despite Extinction Threat From Global Warming, Obama Administration Caves to
Pressure From States, Overrules Federal Scientists

WASHINGTON— According to a leaked memo obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been ordered to reverse their own conclusions and withdraw last year’s proposal to protect American wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolverine
Photo by Steve Kroschel, USFWS. Photos are available for media use.

Fewer than 300 wolverines remain in the lower 48 states, and global warming over the next 75 years is predicted to wipe out 63 percent of the snowy habitat they need to survive, government scientists have said. In fact changes due to climate warming are “threatening the species with extinction,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in last year’s announcement of its protection proposal.

Now the memo — signed by Noreen Walsh, director of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service — tells federal scientists to set aside those conclusions, even though there has been no new science casting doubt on those findings.

“The Obama administration’s own scientists have said for years that global warming is pushing wolverines toward extinction, and now those conclusions are being cast aside for political convenience,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “This is a bizarre and disturbing turn, especially for an administration that’s vowed to let science rule the day when it comes to decisions about the survival of our most endangered wildlife.”

Fish and Wildlife Service scientists proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the wolverine in February 2013. Subsequently state officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming raised questions about the degree to which wolverines are dependent on persistent snow and about the degree to which warming will impact their habitat. In response Fish and Wildlife convened a panel of scientists to review the science behind the proposal, resulting in a report in which “nine out of nine panelists expressed pessimism for the long-term (roughly end-of-century) future of wolverines in the contiguous U.S. because of the effects of climate change on habitat.”

Based on the conclusions of the panel, scientists from the Montana field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that protection be finalized, but, as shown in the leaked memo, were overruled by agency bureaucrats.

“The decision to overrule agency scientists and deny protection to the wolverine is deeply disappointing and shows that political interference in what should be a scientific decision continues to be a problem under the Obama administration, just as it was under George W. Bush,” said Greenwald. “Wolverines and the winter habitats they depend on are severely threatened by our warming world. Only serious action to reduce fossil fuels can save the wolverine, tens of thousands of other species, and our very way of life.”

Background
On Feb. 4, 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that wolverines warrant protection as a threatened species, concluding based on the “best scientific and commercial information available” that “the contiguous United States wolverine DPS presently meets the definition of a threatened species due to the likelihood of habitat loss caused by climate change resulting in population decline leading to breakdown of metapopulation dynamics.” This conclusion was based on the fact that “(w)olverines require habitats with near-arctic conditions wherever they occur,” that they “exist as small and semi-isolated subpopulations in a larger metapopulation that requires regular dispersal of wolverines between habitat patches to maintain itself” and that “(c)limate changes are predicted to reduce wolverine habitat and range by 31 percent over the next 30 years and 63 percent over the next 75 years, rendering remaining wolverine habitat significantly smaller and more fragmented.”

In response to the proposed rule, the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming all submitted comments opposing protection of wolverines, questioning the science behind the conclusion that they were threatened by climate change. To address these concerns, the Fish and Wildlife Service delayed final protection for six months and convened an expert scientific panel to evaluate the science. The panel issued a report in April 2014 concluding that “there are three primary climate related factors that are correlated with wolverines: persistent deep snow, contiguous snow, and temperature,” a finding that led to the panel’s unanimous statement of concern for the long-term survival  of wolverines in the contiguous United States. These conclusions support the conclusion of the proposed rule that the wolverine is threatened with extinction.

On May 17, 2014, the assistant regional director of ecological services at the Fish and Wildlife Service sent a memo to the regional director in Denver transmitting the recommendation of the Montana field office that “the wolverine listing be finalized as threatened.” The memo further concludes that, “In our review we have been unable to obtain or evaluate any other peer reviewed literature or other bodies of evidence that would lead us to a different conclusion.”

In contrast, the recently leaked memo overrules and ignores the substantial evidence and conclusions of the proposed rule, the independent science panel report, and the strong conclusions of the Montana field office, which is staffed with the agency scientists who have the greatest knowledge of wolverines.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Wolf OR7 may have found a mate

May 12, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore.— OR7, a wolf originally from northeast Oregon, may have found a mate in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.

In early May, remote cameras on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest captured several images of what appears to be a black female wolf in the same area where OR7 is currently located. The images were found by wildlife biologists when they checked cameras on May 7.

The remote cameras were set up by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) as part of ongoing cooperative wolf monitoring efforts.  New images of OR7 were also captured on the same cameras and can be accessed and viewed at ODFW’s wolf photo gallery (see first three images).

“This information is not definitive, but it is likely that this new wolf and OR7 have paired up.  More localized GPS collar data from OR7 is an indicator that they may have denned,” said John Stephenson, Service wolf biologist. “If that is correct, they would be rearing pups at this time of year.”

The Service and ODFW probably won’t be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later, the earliest pup surveys are conducted, so as not to disturb them at such a young age.  Wolf pups are generally born in mid-April, so any pups would be less than a month old at this time.

If confirmed, the pups would mark the first known wolf breeding in the Oregon Cascades since the early 20th century.

Wolf OR7 is already well-known due to his long trek and his search for a mate—normal behavior for a wolf, which will leave a pack to look for new territory and for a chance to mate.  “This latest development is another twist in OR7’s interesting story,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.

The Service and ODFW will continue to monitor the area to gather additional information on the pair and possible pups. That monitoring will include the use of remote cameras, DNA sample collection from scats found, and pup surveys when appropriate.

Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act.  Wolves west of Oregon Highways 395-78-95, including OR7 and the female wolf, are also protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, with the Service as the lead management agency.

At the end of last year, there were 64 known wolves in Oregon.  Except for OR7, most known wolves are in the northeast corner of the state.

About OR7

OR7 was born into northeast Oregon’s Imnaha wolf pack in April 2009 and collared by ODFW on Feb. 25, 2011.  He left the pack in September 2011, travelled across Oregon and into California on Dec. 28, 2011, becoming the first known wolf in that state since 1924.

Other wolves have travelled further, and other uncollared wolves may have made it to California.  But OR7’s GPS collar, which transmits his location data several times a day, enabled wildlife managers to track him closely.

Since March 2013, OR7 has spent the majority of his time in the southwest Cascades in an area mapped on ODFW’s website.

###

Contact:

Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish & Wildlife Office
2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, Oregon  97266
Contact: Elizabeth Materna, Phone: 503-231-6179 Fax: 503-231-6195
http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Michelle Dennehy
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us
Tel. (503) 947-6022

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2014/may/051214.asp

copyrighted wolf in river

Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf

What an Ashehole…

wolfWe are proposing to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico. Photo by Gary Kramer/USFWS

As many of you probably know, my dad had a great, 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he describes the outfit as a collection of people who get things done — doers.  Nowhere is that trait more proudly displayed than in our four decade effort to restore the gray wolf to the American landscape, bringing the species back from extirpation and exile from the contiguous United States.

I’m the 16th Director of the Service. It was the 10th, John Turner, a Wyoming rancher and outfitter, appointed by a Republican President, who signed the record of decision that set in motion this miraculous reintroduction and recovery. It’s never been easy. We’ve had critics, fair and unfair. We’ve had great partners. Sometimes they have been one in the same. But this organization and its people have been constant. Steadfast. Committed. Professional. Determined. Now add successful!

More information on the wolf recovery

This great predator again roams the range, ridges and remote spaces of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes in one of the spectacular successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These recovered populations are not just being tolerated, but are expanding under professional management by our state partners.

Today, for one reason, and one reason only, we are proposing to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico — they are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

 

wolf

National Elk Refuge Biologist Eric Cole affixes a collar on a male black wolf pup. We have been working on gray wolf recovery for decades. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Due to our steadfast commitment, gray wolves in the Lower 48 now represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers more than 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska. Canadian and U.S. wolves interact and move freely between the two nations.

Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains. It’s not everywhere it can be, but our work has created the potential that it may be one day.

One thing, though, is certain: It is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction.  The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible. Indeed, it is likely. As we propose to remove ESA protections, states like Washington and Oregon are managing expanding populations under protective state laws.

And as in almost every aspect of our work, there is vigorous debate.  Can a species be considered “recovered” if it exists in only a portion of its former range, or if significant habitat is yet unoccupied?  Our answer is “yes” and we don’t need to look far for other examples.

bison

Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana. Photo by USFWS

Consider the plains bison, another magnificent, iconic animal that once roamed and ruled North American plains, coast to coast. We aren’t certain how many, but possibly 75 million. Today, there are about half a million, and they inhabit a fraction of their historical range.

But are they threatened or endangered?  No.  And in 2011, we denied a petition to give the bison Endangered Species Act protection. Wild populations are secure and growing. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about bison; it means they do not need the protections of the ESA.

Like the bison, the gray wolf no longer needs those protections.

Some say we’re abandoning wolf recovery before it is complete. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re proposing to hand over the management of these keystone predators to the professionals at the state and tribal wildlife agencies. We’ve been working hand-in-glove with these folks to recover the gray wolf. Their skill helped bring gray wolves back, and now they’ll work to keep wolves as a part of the landscape for future generations.

I’ve always liked the analogy of the ESA as biodiversity’s emergency room.  We are given patient species that need intensive care.  We stabilize them; we get them through recovery.  Then we hand them to other providers who will ensure they get the long-term care that they need and deserve.

We have brought back this great icon of the American wilderness.  And as we face today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s critical voices, today’s political minefields, let this success be a reminder of what we can accomplish.  We can work conservation miracles, because we have.  The gray wolf is proof.

Mexican wolf

our 2012 count showed a record number of Mexican wolves in the wild. Photo by Jim Clark/USFWS

Now it’s time for us to focus our limited resources on Mexican wolf recovery and on other species that are immediately threatened with extinction.

That is why we also proposed today to continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf, by designating it as an endangered subspecies under the ESA and proposing modifications to the regulations governing the existing nonessential experimental population.

We have received good news on the Mexican wolf recently – the 2012 population count showed a record high number of Mexican wolves in the wild.  We have a long way to go, but we are seeing success, and we will apply the same steadfast commitment, the same dedication and the same professionalism that has been the hallmark of our gray wolf success.

By employing the full protections of the ESA for the Mexican wolf, I am confident that one day we’ll be celebrating their full recovery just like we are, today, with the gray wolf.