Stiffer penalties needed for poaching wolves

http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/stiffer-penalties-needed-for-poaching-wolves/

Poaching may be limiting progress toward wolf recovery goals.

WOLVES are important native predators and vital pieces of our wildlife heritage. The news [“Four new wolf packs recorded in state,” Local News, March 14] that Washington is now home to at least 90 wolves, 18 packs and eight breeding pairs is exciting.

However, eight years after wolves were first confirmed back in the North Cascades, there are only three wolf packs in that designated recovery area. There remain no confirmed wolf packs in the Cascades south of Interstate 90 or in Western Washington. In order to meet wolf-recovery goals agreed upon under the Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (Wolf Plan), and for the long term viability of the species in our state, it’s important that wolves recolonize the high-quality habitat in the Olympic Peninsula and Washington’s South Cascades.

Wolves are protected by both state and federal endangered-species laws in Washington. Yet wolf poaching has occurred with tragic frequency in recent years. Several members of the Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack were poached in 2010. A wolf from the Smackout Pack was poached in late 2013. The 2014 poaching of a Kittitas County breeding female wolf is still unprosecuted. In September 2015, shamefully minimal fines were announced for a Whitman County wolf poacher. Also in 2015, investigators announced that a lone wolf killed by a vehicle on I-90 west of Snoqualmie Pass had previously been shot. Numerous other unconfirmed rumors of wolf poaching reach us each year, and some are most certainly true.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bull elk or a wolf, poaching is never acceptable.

Wolf population in Washington continues to grow

freewallpapersdotcom golden-wolf

http://www.maplevalleyreporter.com/news/372191731.html

Washington state’s wolf population continued to grow last year and added at least four new packs, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) annual survey. By the end of 2015, the state was home to at least 90 wolves, 18 packs, and eight breeding pairs.

The recently completed survey shows the minimum number of wolves grew by 32 percent last year, despite the deaths of at least seven wolves from various causes. Since 2008, when WDFW documented just one pack and five wolves, the population has increased by an average of 36 percent per year.

“Wolf populations in Washington are steadily increasing, just as we’ve seen in the upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain states,” said WDFW Director Jim Unsworth. “This increase – and the wolves’ concentration in northeast Washington – underscores the importance of collaboration between our department, livestock producers, and local residents to prevent conflict between wolves and domestic animals.”

Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead, said the new Beaver Creek, Loup Loup, Skookum, and Stranger packs were confirmed in Ferry, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, and Stevens counties, respectively.

However, researchers found no evidence of the previously documented Wenatchee Pack, and the Diamond Pack shifted its activity to Idaho and is no longer included in Washington state totals.

Martorello said the minimum number of breeding pairs in Washington increased from five to eight – the first increase since 2011.

WDFW conducted the research using aerial surveys, remote cameras, wolf tracks, and signals from 22 radio-collared wolves from 13 different packs. Twelve wolves were fitted with radio collars during the year, while one pup was marked and released without a collar due to its small size.

Despite their growing numbers, wolves were involved in fewer conflicts with livestock than in 2014. Martorello said the department determined wolves from four packs were responsible for killing a total of seven cattle and injuring one guard dog.

Three of the seven wolves that died in 2015 were killed legally by hunters on the reservation of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, which authorized the harvest up to six wolves per year by tribal members. The four other deaths included one wolf killed in a collision with a vehicle, one shot in self-defense by a property owner, and one that died during an attempt to capture it. One wolf’s cause of death is unknown.

Unsworth said WDFW took several steps in 2015 to expand public involvement in wolf conservation and management. He said the most important actions were doubling the size of the department’s Wolf Advisory Group to 18 members, and initiating a “conflict transformation” process to improve working relationships among the members and the groups they represent and the department.

Martorello said WDFW will continue to emphasize the importance of preventive actions to minimize wolf attacks on livestock and domestic animals. For example, WDFW wildlife conflict specialists are available to work with residents of communities where wolves are present.

WDFW has also adopted a “range rider” program to provide an increased human presence in grazing areas. WDFW continues to offer cost-sharing agreements for ranchers through a program designed to help them reduce their expenses for preventive measures.

Gray wolves, all but eliminated from western states in the last century, are protected under Washington law throughout the state and under federal law in the western two-thirds of the state.

Because of the difficulty of confirming the presence of every single wolf, survey results are expressed in terms of the minimum number of individuals, packs, and breeding pairs. The state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan defines a pack as two or more wolves traveling together in winter and a successful breeding pair as an adult male and female with at least two pups that survive to the end of the calendar year.

Under the state management plan, wolves can be removed from the state endangered species list once 15 successful breeding pairs are documented for three consecutive years among the three designated wolf-recovery regions.

WDFW’s complete wolf survey for 2015 will be available by the end of March on the department’s website: (http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/).

Cattle kills rare in wolf-occupied areas

copyrighted-wolf-argument-settled

http://methowvalleynews.com/2016/02/18/wsu-study-shows-wolves-favorite-prey-is-deer-but-moose-are-also-on-the-menu/

WSU study shows wolves’ favorite prey is deer — but moose are also on the menu

by on

By Ann McCreary

An ongoing, state-funded study of interactions between wolves and livestock shows that — no big surprise — wolves primarily eat deer, according to a researcher involved in field studies conducted over the past two summers.

The study is documenting, among other things, the types and numbers of animals killed and eaten by wolves, said Gabe Spence, a graduate student at Washington State University (WSU), which is leading the scientific investigation.

The goal of the $600,000 study, which was authorized and funded by the Washington Legislature, is to provide accurate data about wolf depredations on livestock and evaluate ways to prevent conflicts between livestock and wolves.

Spence discussed the research and preliminary findings during a presentation at the North Cascades Basecamp in Mazama last week.

The Methow Valley’s Lookout Pack is one of seven packs in north central and northeast Washington that have been studied during the past two years to develop a more accurate picture of the prey taken by wolves, Spence said. Researchers monitored four packs last year.

A team of WSU researchers conducted field studies during grazing seasons, from May through October, when cattle are turned out on public grazing allotments known to overlap with the territories of gray wolf packs.

Researchers placed radio and GPS devices on calves, cows and wolves to track their locations, determine where wolves and livestock occupy same area, and locate wolf kills to document what wolves are eating.

Over the past two years the researchers have documented 285 “probable wolf kills” by the packs they have studied. Four of the 285 animals killed by wolves were cattle, and involved three different packs.

No cattle were killed in 2014 by the packs being monitored, and none of the four cattle killed last year were in the Methow Valley, Spence said.

Spence said that about 940 cows and calves occupied the same territory as the wolf packs during the 2015 grazing season. That means that the four cattle killed equal .4 percent of the cattle in wolf-occupied areas.

“I don’t know if people realize how often wolves and cows are in the same place at the same time. All the time. Every day,” Spence said.

“Livestock deaths on the range are really small. Of the ones that die, only a tiny fraction are killed by predators, and of those a tiny fraction are killed by wolves,” Spence said.

The cattle kills account for 2.3 percent of the all the prey killed by wolves in 2015, Spence said.

Preliminary results show that over the past two summers deer accounted for almost half the prey killed by wolves. Researchers documented 137 deer that were among the probable wolf kills.

“Deer are by far the most common prey,” Spence said. The second-most common prey is moose, which account for about 22 to 28 percent of the animals killed by wolves.

By tracking wolf kills, researchers determined that the average kill rate for wolves in the Cascades area is about .3 kills per pack per day during the summer grazing season, Spence said.

That equals one kill every 3.3 days, or about 110 kills per year if the kill rate stays the same year round.

Even if kill rate is higher, for instance .5 kills per pack per day — to account for possible error or winter kill rates — it would add up to 183 kills per year, Spence said.

“To put this into perspective, roughly 350 deer are killed on the highway in the Methow Valley every year,” he said.

The study is expected to continue another two to three years and will likely include more packs, including the Methow Valley’s Loup Loup pack, if a collar can be placed on one of the wolves in that pack.

Researchers lost contact with a radio-collared female in the Lookout Pack last fall, and are not sure whether the collar failed or the wolf died or was killed. Spence said wildlife officials would try to capture and collar another Lookout pack wolf in spring or summer.

“Both packs overlap quite a bit with livestock,” Spence said.

One of the biggest challenges in conducting research into wolves and livestock “is how excited people get about this topic, on both sides. It makes it about the politics, not the biology,” Spence said.

“Having large predators on the landscape is really a social issue. The biology is pretty clear. It comes down to what we want for ourselves and our children,” Spence said.

Conservationists deal blow to Wildlife Services in landmark WA wolf case

http://yubanet.com/usa/Conservationists-deal-blow-to-Wildlife-Services-in-landmark-WA-wolf-case.php#.VoiWcTZdG1s

By: Cascadia Wildlands

OLYMPIA, Wash. December 21, 2015 – In response to a challenge brought by a coalition of conservation organizations, a federal court rejected plans to escalate cruel wolf killing in Washington state by the secretive federal program dubbed “Wildlife Services.” Federal District Judge Robert Bryan held that Wildlife Services should have prepared a more in-depth environmental analysis of the impacts of its proposed wolf killing activities, finding the program’s cursory environmental assessment faulty because the proposed actions would have significant cumulative impacts that are highly controversial and highly uncertain.

Wildlife Services is a controversial program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service responsible for killing millions of wild animals every year, including wolves, grizzly bears, otters, foxes, coyotes and birds, with almost no oversight or accountability.

Judge Bryan vacated the program’s analysis, stating “Wildlife Services shall not take any further wolf management actions in Washington under the proposed action alternative, but shall observe the status quo in place prior to the environmental assessment and [finding of no significant impact].”

“Wildlife Services has long asserted that it need not comply with our nations’ federal environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, but this decision rejects those arguments and requires Wildlife Services to comply with all federal laws, not just those it finds convenient to comply with,” said Western Environmental Law Center Attorney John Mellgren.

A 2013 internal audit revealed that Wildlife Services’ accounting practices lacked transparency and violated state and federal laws. The program employs incredibly cruel tools to kill wildlife including aerial gunning, leghold traps, snares and poisons.

“It is long past time that we base wildlife management decisions on the best available science, not on antiquated anti-wolf rhetoric and myth,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “Wildlife Services needs to come out of the shadows, update its analyses and adopt practices in keeping with modern science and values about the ethical treatment of animals.”

The environmental assessment prepared by Wildlife Services failed to provide data to support several of its core assertions. For example, Wildlife Services claimed that killing wolves reduced wolf-caused losses of livestock, yet recent peer-reviewed research from Washington State University directly contradicts this conclusion, finding that killing wolves actually leads to an increase in wolf-livestock conflicts. The environmental assessment also fails to address the ecological effects of killing wolves in Washington, including impacts on wolf populations in neighboring states and on non-target animals, including federally protected grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

“This decision is so incredibly encouraging,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “We have been working for over a decade to hold Wildlife Services accountable for its blind, reckless lethal control programs. This decision paves the way for meaningful analysis of the program’s impacts and hopefully a meaningful look at whether or not this wolf killing is worth it.”

Washington has experienced Wildlife Services’ wolf killing program firsthand. In August 2014, Wildlife Services snipers shot and killed the Huckleberry wolf pack’s alpha female during a helicopter gunning operation. The death of the Huckleberry pack’s breeding female threatens the future of the entire pack.

Wildlife Services also “advised” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in the contentious 2012 killing of Washington’s Wedge wolf pack. In that instance, WDFW killed seven wolves after predation of livestock on public lands, despite the rancher’s failure to take sufficient action to protect his cattle.

“The Court made a wise and prudent decision that safeguards the legal right of citizens to know what their government is doing in their name,” said Timothy Coleman, executive director of Kettle Range Conservation Group. “The so-called Wildlife Services cannot just grant itself authority to execute an endangered species absent the public interest or best available science.”

Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. The species began to return to Washington from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia in the early 2000s and the wolf population in the state has grown to 13 confirmed packs. Despite this growth, wolves in the state are far from recovered and face ongoing threats. According to WDFW, Washington currently has at least 68 wolves in 16 packs.

The organizations, Cascadia Wildlands, WildEarth Guardians, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Predator Defense and the Lands Council were represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.

copyrighted wolf in water

Ruling bars federal Wildlife Services Program from killing wolves

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by on • 5:53 pm

Plaintiffs applaud judge’s conclusions

By Ann McCreary

A federal judge has barred the federal Wildlife Services program from participating in lethal removal of gray wolves in Washington, and rejected an Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the agency.

In response to a challenge brought by a coalition of conservation organizations, U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan said last week that Wildlife Services should have prepared a more in-depth environmental analysis of the effects of its proposed wolf management activities.

The lawsuit filed by five conservation organization earlier this year claimed that Wildlife Services, a federal program involved in wildlife management and conflict resolution, violated federal law by not preparing an adequately detailed environmental analysis of the effects of killing wolves that attack livestock in Washington.

An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services has worked under contract with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on lethal and non-lethal approaches to wolf-livestock conflict.

In 2014, Wildlife Services killed one wolf in the Huckleberry pack after state wildlife officials linked the pack to sheep kills. In 2012, Wildlife Services provided technical information to WDFW when the department killed seven wolves from the Wedge Pack following attacks on cattle.

In his ruling, Bryan said that “although Wildlife Services may have taken a hard look at the effects of lethal removal on non-target species, Wildlife Services did not take a hard look at the ecological effects of lethal removal or its effect on gray wolf populations” in its environmental analysis.

Bryan said the agreements on wolf management activities between WDFW and Wildlife Services left “the potential for substantial mismanagement of the Washington gray wolf population in the hands of Wildlife Services without the benefit of an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).”

He said Wildlife Services failed to meet federal environmental policy requirements by not preparing an EIS and not taking a hard look at significant issues.

“Wildlife Services repeatedly but erroneously falls back on the position that it need not do so because it only intends to act at WDFW’s direction,” Bryan wrote.

Arbitrary action

The EA describes Wildlife Services’ intent to be bound to the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which “is subject to changes or additions by WDFW, giving the public scant recourse,” Bryan wrote.

“Wildlife Services acted arbitrarily and capriciously and contrary to law by not preparing an EIS,” Bryan said. “Although aspects of Wildlife Services’ consideration under the Environmental Assessment and FONSI (finding of no significant impact) were sufficiently thorough, Wildlife Services misjudged the scope of its responsibility by deferring to WDFW, rather than diligently considering issues that may arise under the potentially broad scope of involvement in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.”

The judge ordered Wildlife Services to “not take any further wolf management actions in Washington” beyond the status quo that was in place prior to the Environmental Assessment and its finding of no significant impact.

The judge’s ruling was applauded by conservation groups that brought the case.

“The court made a wise and prudent decision that safeguards the legal right of citizens to know what their government is doing in their name,” said Timothy Coleman, executive director of the Kettle Range Conservation Group. “Wildlife Services cannot just grant itself authority to execute an endangered species absent the public interest or best available science.”

“We have been working for over a decade to hold Wildlife Services accountable for its blind, reckless lethal control programs,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “This decision paves the way for meaningful analysis of the program’s impacts and hopefully a meaningful look at whether or not this wolf killing is worth it.”

“Wildlife Services has long asserted that it need not comply with our nation’s federal environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, but this decision rejects those arguments and requires Wildlife Services to comply with all federal laws, not just those it finds convenient to comply with,” said John Mellgren, an attorney with Western Environmental Law Center, which represented the environmental organizations in court.

WDFW’s involvement

Donny Martorello of WDFW said that although Wildlife Services is now barred by the ruling from participating in lethal removal of gray wolves in Washington, the agency may continue to work on non-lethal management as requested by WDFW.

“Those activities have included trapping and collaring wolves, investigating reports of wolf-livestock depredations, and implementing non-lethal measures,” Martorello said in an email to members of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group.

WDFW filed a brief in support of Wildlife Services and Martorello said the two agencies are now considering their legal options for responding to the ruling.

In his order, Bryan said, “The decision on how to proceed — whether to prepare and EIS, renegotiate a narrower cope of involvement with WDFW, or abandon assistance efforts entirely — rests with Wildlife Services.”

Because the case is ongoing, WDFW would not discuss further details, Martorello said.

Organizations that brought the case are Cascadia Wildlands, WildEarth Guardians, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Predator Defense, and the Lands Council.

Gray wolves are protected as an endangered species throughout Washington under state law, and in the western two-thirds of the state — which includes the Methow Valley — under federal law.

There were at least 68 wolves in 16 packs in Washington according to a 2014 wolf census by WDFW. Two wolf packs have been confirmed in the Methow Valley.

Federal judge rejects some wolf kills in Wash. state

528624c939a88_preview-620

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Federal-judge-rejects-some-wolf-kills-in-Wash-state-363161961.html

Gray wolf (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – A federal judge has rejected plans by a federal agency to assist in the killing of problem wolves in Washington state.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan of Tacoma, Washington, issued a summary judgment last Thursday against the low-profile agency, known as Wildlife Services.

Bryan said the agency should have prepared a more in-depth environmental analysis of its agreement with the state of Washington to help kill problem wolves.

Bryan ruled in favor of conservation groups that sued the agency, concluding that an environmental assessment prepared by the agency was flawed.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington at the turn of the last century. But they started migrating from neighboring areas in the early 2000s and there are an estimated 16 wolf packs containing 68 wolves in the state, all in eastern Washington.

Wildlife Services failed to create a full environmental impact statement about the proposal to reduce wolf conflicts in the state, Bryan ruled.

Wildlife Services is a program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is responsible for controlling the number of wolves, grizzly bears, coyotes and other wild animals. Officials at the agency didn’t have a response on the ruling.

Environmental groups cheered the ruling.

“It is long past time that we base wildlife management decisions on the best available science, not on antiquated, anti-wolf rhetoric and myth,” said Bethany Cotton of WildEarth Guardians.

Environmental groups contend the environmental assessment failed to address the full ecological impacts of killing wolves in Washington, including impacts on wolves in neighboring states and on other animals, such as grizzly bears and Canada lynx.

Wildlife Services has been involved in the killing of wolves in Washington in the past.

In August 2014, Wildlife Services snipers shot from a helicopter and killed the Huckleberry wolf pack’s alpha female. The death of that pack’s breeding female threatened the future of the entire pack, environmental groups contended.

Wildlife Services also advised the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in the 2012 destruction of the Wedge wolf pack in Eastern Washington. In that case, the state agency killed seven wolves after they preyed on livestock.

At the federal level, the state is split into two separate wolf populations. In the eastern third of the state, wolves are considered part of the large Northern Rocky Mountain population, which was removed from the endangered list in 2011. But in the western two-thirds of the state, wolves are considered part of the Pacific Northwest population, which is much smaller and still listed as endangered.

Another gray wolf pack identified in Methow Valley

http://methowvalleynews.com/2015/12/03/another-gray-wolf-pack-identified-in-methow-valley/

 

by on • 6:25 pm No Comments

Loup Loup Pack confirmed by wildlife officials

Photo courtesy of DavidMoskowitz A wildlife camera captured this photo of a Loup Loup Pack member.

Photo courtesy of DavidMoskowitz

A wildlife camera captured this photo of a Loup Loup Pack member.

By Ann McCreary

The Methow Valley is now home to two gray wolf packs, with a new pack confirmed to be living in territory that includes Loup Loup Pass.

State and federal wildlife officials last week confirmed the presence of the gray wolf pack and said it will be designated the Loup Loup Pack, reflecting the prominent landmark within the wolves’ range.

Wildlife officials also said last week that they are no longer receiving signals from a GPS radio collar on the breeding female of the Lookout Pack, the valley’s other wolf pack. Officials said they don’t know if the collar malfunctioned, or if the wolf died or was killed.

The female was captured and fitted with a collar last June, but the collar stopped transmitting data Oct. 20, said Scott Fitkin, a biologist with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in the Methow Valley.

“Collars fail. That’s one possibility,” said Fitkin.

The new Loup Loup Pack is believed to include several members, said Scott Becker, wolf specialist for WDFW.

“Right now it looks like at least six individuals,” Becker said Monday (Nov. 30).

For a few years people have reported wolf sightings and evidence of wolves in the area now confirmed to be Loup Loup Pack territory, Becker said.

“We did get some good sighting reports a couple of months ago … and were able to document signs of multiple individuals up there. We put out a few cameras but it wasn’t until the snow started flying that we were able to follow tracks out,” Becker said.

WDFW and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to monitor the new group over the winter and will attempt to capture and fit one of the wolves with a radio collar next summer to monitor the pack, the agencies announced last week.

Annual survey

WDFW conducts an annual wolf pack survey each winter, which confirmed 16 wolf packs in Washington at the end of 2014. Only three packs were confirmed in the North Cascades and the rest in eastern Washington. The Loup Loup Pack brings the number of wolf packs in the North Cascades area to four.

Gray wolves are protected throughout Washington under state law as an endangered species, and will remain protected until the population reaches goals outlined in a state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

They are also protected as endangered under federal law in the western two-thirds of the state, which includes the Methow Valley.

Gray wolf packs typically range across a territory of about 300 square miles, Becker said. And they often travel very long distances to find mates and begin new packs.

“With the capability of wolves to disperse and find each other, the wolves that started that [Loup Loup] pack could have come from Montana or British Columbia,” Becker said.

The new pack “is probably ranging from the Methow to Okanogan” valleys, Fitkin said. “It’s not surprising to see a pack establish near the Lookout Pack.”

There is no evidence that the collar on the Lookout Pack female stopped transmitting because the wolf was poached or otherwise harmed, Becker said.

“We have no way of knowing because we don’t have a dead wolf in front of us,” he said.

“We have a 20 percent failure [collar] failure rate,” Becker said. The collars are expected to last about 18 months before their batteries wear out, he said. The collar had been placed on the Lookout Pack female about four months before it stopped transmitting.

The collars are designed to emit a “mortality signal” if the collared animal stops moving, so that wildlife officials can try to locate the animal. The collar on the Lookout female never gave off a mortality signal, Becker said.

“There’s a high probability that that animal is still alive and doing well,” he said.

Uncertain about Lookout Pack

It is unclear how many wolves are now in the Lookout Pack, according to wildlife officials. Fitkin said he conducted a howling survey in the Lookout territory in late summer, and received howling responses from what sounded like “a minimum of three or four pups.”

Becker said wildlife officials might try to collar another Lookout Pack member next summer.

Last winter, the Lookout Pack was believed to have four members — two adults, one pup and one juvenile wolf between one and two years old.

Under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, wolves can be removed from the state’s endangered species list after 15 successful breeding pairs are documented for three consecutive years among three designated wolf recovery regions in the state.

A successful breeding pair of wolves is defined as an adult male and an adult female with at least two pups surviving to Dec. 31 in a given year.

Because the Lookout Pack had only one surviving pup last year, the Lookout wolves were not considered a successful breeding pair. The remains of one pup were found in an area burned over during the Carlton Complex Fire in July 2014. It was unknown what happened to other pups, if there were any.

Biologists aren’t sure how many wolves are in the Lookout Pack at this time, but estimate two to four adults and an unknown number of pups. If the pack does not have both a breeding male and female this year, it would not qualify as a successful breeding pair, even if there were multiple pups.

The Lookout Pack had up to 10 members in 2008, the year it was confirmed as the first gray wolf pack in Washington in more than 30 years. Over the next year the pack was decimated by poaching, until only the breeding pair and one yearling survived in 2009.

The breeding pair, which had been collared in 2008, had both disappeared by 2011. The Lookout Pack, named for Lookout Mountain, travels through a territory estimated by biologists at about 350 square miles extending roughly from Black Canyon in the south to Little Bridge Creek in the north.

Washington Ranchers want compensation for reduced weight gain, low pregnancy rates caused by wolves.

http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20151016/wdfw-seeks-panel-to-review-wolf-caused-losses

by Don Jenkins

Capital Press

Published:October 16, 2015 9:11AM

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife file photo shows a member of the Teanaway wolf pack. Washington wildlife officials are recruiting livestock experts and conservationists to advise the state

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will form a board to review claims for indirect losses caused by wolves.

Washington wildlife officials are recruiting livestock experts and conservationists to advise the state on compensating ranchers for lost production caused by wolves.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to appoint up to five volunteers to serve on the new committee.

The panel will review WDFW’s approval or denial of claims for reduced weight gain, low pregnancy rates and higher-than-normal losses.

The department will make the final call on payments, but the panel will bring additional expertise and transparency to the process, WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said.

He said WDFW wants a variety of viewpoints represented. “Diversity is important. If it were all like-minded people, we’d need only one person,” he said.

WDFW pays ranchers the market value for livestock killed by wolves. The state’s wolf recovery plan also calls for WDFW to develop a system to compensate ranchers for livestock losses where there is no direct evidence wolves caused the damage.

Martorello said WDFW has not made any payments for indirect losses, but two ranchers have filed claims.

Volunteers will serve staggered one- or two-year terms. The committee may start meeting as early as mid-November and will likely meet about four times a year, according to WDFW.

Committee members will be reimbursed for travel expenses.

Applications and nominations must be submitted in writing and include a description of “experience in collaborating with people who have different values.”

Applications also must include the candidate’s name, telephone number, email address and organization affiliations.

Candidates should explain why they would be an effective board member and report their experience with livestock, natural resource management or wildlife conservation.

People or groups nominating members must include their names and contact information.

Applications and nominations must be postmarked by Oct. 31 and mailed to WDFW Game Division Manager Mick Cope, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091 or by email to Mick.Cope@dfw.wa.gov.

Bill Proposed to Remove Wolf Protection in UT, OR, and WA

http://newsradio1310.com/bill-proposed-to-remove-wolf-protection-in-ut-or-and-wa/

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse has introduced a bill to remove the gray wolf from Endangered Species Act protections in Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The freshman lawmaker says removing wolves from the list is “long overdue” and would allow state wildlife officials to manage wolves more effectively.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports his bill would also prevent states fromcopyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles providing protections to wolves that are stronger than those found in the federal Endangered Species Act.

A spokesman for Conservation Northwest, which works on wolf recovery issues, calls the bill disappointing. Chase Gunnell says there are only a few wolves receiving federal protection in Washington and Oregon

Read More: Bill Proposed to Remove Wolf Protection in UT, OR, and WA | http://newsradio1310.com/bill-proposed-to-remove-wolf-protection-in-ut-or-and-wa/?trackback=tsmclip

 

Fortunately for Cougars and Wolves, there’s Only One Washington

From the Capital Press article:

One Washington, two sides

by Don Jenkins    March 26, 2015

OLYMPIA — Residents of Eastern Washington are frustrated with the more populous Westside of the state. And nowhere was that frustration more prominent than one day last month in the Capitol. On the docket were cougars and wolves, two hot-buttoncopyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles issues that split the state right down the center of the Cascade Range.

In one hearing, Eastside ranchers were asking senators to loosen the state’s law against using hounds to chase cougars and keep the predators away from livestock.

In another hearing, an Eastside county commissioner told legislators that his constituents were fed up with wolves.                                                                              …

In the weeks since, lawmakers have agreed to take a close look at the wolf problem. The hounds, however, will remain on the leash. …

More: http://www.capitalpress.com/Washington/20150326/one-washington-two-sides#.VRRp-qw3hjc.facebook

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