18 wolves shot near Interior AK village to boost moose population


Dermot Cole

Oregon wolves a conservation success story/Delisting would be a mistake

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

Oregon wolves a conservation success story, biologist says

 Eric Mortenson

Capital Press   March 6, 2015 

With nine packs and six pairs that may grow to form more, Oregon’s gray wolf population is increasing at a healthy pace.
SALEM — With nine known packs and six “start-up pairs” identified, Oregon’s gray wolves are continuing to increase and are spreading from the northeast corner of the state, the state’s wolf program coordinator reported to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday.

Wildlife biologist Russ Morgan said Oregon’s wolves are increasing at a pace identical to their recovery in the northern Rocky Mountains.

“From a conservation perspective this is very much a measure of success,” Morgan said.

The 2014 shows Oregon has a minimum of 77 wolves, including 26 known pups, in nine packs. More importantly, eight of those packs contained breeding pairs, meaning they had at least two pups that survived to the end of the year.

The numbers mean ODFW now moves into what’s known as Phase 2 of the Oregon Wolf Plan, the hard-fought compromise that governs wolf conservation and management in the state. It also means the agency can propose removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list. That’s likely to be a lengthy public process. More immediately, Phase 2 gives ranchers the right to shoot wolves caught in the act of biting, killing or chasing livestock.

State delisting would eliminate endangered species status for wolves in the eastern third of the state. Wolves in the rest of Oregon — all areas west of state Highways 395, 78 and 95 — remain covered under the federal Endangered Species Act, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal jurisdiction includes the Southwest Oregon Cascades now inhabited by the well-traveled OR-7 and his mate and pups.

Oregon’s true wolf population is unknown but is certainly higher than 77, Morgan said. The state tracks wolves from signals emitted by radio collars, but only 33 wolves have been collared in a decade of work. Many of those collars have failed, or the wolves have died or been killed, leaving researchers with only 13 collared wolves at year’s end. Three radio-collared wolves dispersed out of state in 2014, Morgan said. One was killed in Idaho, one was killed in Montana, and the third is living in Washington, Morgan said.

In his remarks to the wildlife commission and in an interview, Morgan said five of the six pairs living outside designated packs are known to be male-female pairs, which could produce pups and expand to pack status.

“These pairs are very important, they really represent an increasing population,” Morgan said.

In comments to the commission, representatives of three hunting organizations said the state should continue following the wolf plan guidelines.

“Certainly the population growth has caused some issues, but we strongly support staying the course with your plan,” said Dave Wiley, representing the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Stephanie Taylor of Portland, who said she has an environmental science degree and hopes to become a wolf biologist, said it is “premature” to allow ranchers to take lethal measures against wolves.

Jerome Rosa, executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said the population increase means it is time to “think about the maximum number of wolves that will be acceptable.”

Rosa said the OCA is working on a idea to help fund endangered species programs with a self-imposed fee assessed to ranchers. “It would be unprecedented for our organization,” he said.

The OCA has previously said it expects more attacks on livestock this year if wolves remain on the endangered species list.

Conservation groups oppose delisting Oregon wolves too soon. Oregon Wild, a key player in formulating the wolf plan, said the wolf count represents “great progress” but does not represent biological recovery. Conservation director Doug Heiken has said the state needs to see better geographical distribution of wolves as well. He said that will happen over time if wolves are not prematurely delisted and “persecuted.”

How Many Wolves Died for Your Hamburger?

by               06/27/2014

Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological


When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate?

There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry.

Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals. While wolf-rancher conflicts are well known, the death toll provided by the agency also included 75,326 coyotes, 3,700 foxes and 419 black bears. Even prairie dogs aren’t safe: They’re considered pests, blamed for competing with livestock for feed and creating burrow systems that present hazards for grazing cattle. The agency killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.

The methods used to kill these animals are equally shocking: death by exploding poison caps, suffering in inhumane traps and gunned down by men in airplanes and helicopters.

How many of the 2 million native animals were killed to feed America’s meat habit? No one really knows. This is where the secrecy comes in: While we know that they frequently respond to requests from the agricultural community to deal with “nuisance animals,” Wildlife Services operates with few rules and little public oversight. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, has called on the Obama administration to reform this rogue agency to make it more transparent and more accountable. Despite the growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, the federal agency shows no signs of slowing its killing streak.

There are two important ways that you can help rein in Wildlife Services. First, sign our online petition demanding that the Department of Agriculture create rules and public access to all of the agency’s activities. Second, start taking extinction off your plate. Our growing population will mean a growing demand for meat and for the agency’s deadly services, unless we take steps to reduce meat consumption across the country. By eating less or no meat, you can reduce your environmental footprint and help save wildlife.

Also see: https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/save-the-wolves-go-vegan/

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

Number of wolves in Oregon grows to 77



The number of gray wolves in Oregon has increased for the sixth year in a row, as the species slowly expands into the western half of the state, according to the annual report issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The number of wolves increased to 77 confirmed wolves in nine packs, up from 64 wolves in eight packs the previous year. Twenty-six of the wolves listed were pups less than a year old.

Seven wolves have now reached the Cascade Range, including the famous wandering wolf OR-7, which became head of the newly formed Rogue Pack, which has five members including three pups. The pups marked the first known wolf reproduction in the Oregon Cascades since the mid-1940s.

The Keno Pair, also in the Southern Cascades, has two members.

Even with the increase, ODFW said that the number of wolf conflicts with livestock (depredation) decreased to 11 incidents, down from 13 the previous year.

Wolves in Oregon are listed statewide as endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. Wolves occurring west of Oregon Highways 395/78/95 are federally protected as endangered under the federal ESA.

Wolves in eastern Oregon are now under “Phase II” management, which triggers a status review and could result in changes to how wolves are managed.

Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for seven years. He is the author of the book “Hiking Southern Oregon”

Feds restore protected status for Great Lakes wolves!


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

Lessons From the Brief, Lonesome Life of Echo the Wolf

by Shelby Kinney-Lang

February 18, 2015 at 8:40
Photo from the Arrizona Game and Fish Department shows the wolf spotted on the Kaibab Plateau

Even true stories about wolves sound like fables.

Last October, an animal appearing to be a gray wolf showed up on the Kaibab Plateau in Arizona, just north of the Grand Canyon National Park. At first, no one was sure what, exactly, the “wolflike animal” was, but if, as suspected, it was a gray wolf that had migrated from the northern Rockies, it would have been the first time since the 1940s one had set foot in the Grand Canyon. Although there were once an estimated 2 million gray wolves across the continent, humans hunted and poisoned them to the point of oblivion. But thanks to federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), since the 1970s, gray wolf populations have slightly rebounded. After reintroducing 60 Canadian wolves in Yellowstone in 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimate their population is now up to about 1,500 animals across Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

People reported sightings of the Grand Canyon creature through November and December and heard her howls across the forest. Scientists analyzed her poop and confirmed it: she was a gray wolf from the northern Rockies, 450 miles north, first collared near Cody, WY in January 2014. The itinerant, lonesome wolf seized the imagination of the nation and then the world. In a contest for school children, she was given the nickname “Echo.”

In late December, a hunter shot and killed a wolf near Beaver, Utah, thinking it was a coyote. (The state of Utah permits bounty hunting for coyotes, $50 a head.) Federal agencies refused to say whether the dead wolf was the same one from the Grand Canyon.

That is, until last week. Genetic testing by the FWS confirms Echo was shot dead.

More: http://magazine.good.is/articles/death-of-echo-the-grand-canyon-wolf

Sportsmen, Environmentalists Clash Over Predator Hunting


By  Stina Sieg

February 05, 2015

This week, a convention of predator hunters is gathering in Tucson. The group, called Predator Masters, hunts such animals as coyotes and raccoon and has drawn national criticism for what critics say amount to killing contests. The group disputes that term and says it isn’t planning an organized hunt during the convention. Still, controversy surrounding the sport remains.

It’s hard to tell the difference between an actual coyote’s howl and the plaintive yell longtime hunter Rich Higgins can make with one of his many breath-powered calling devices.

“I truly believe that humans are hard-wired, genetically, as hunter gatherers,” he said, after showing off a few of the cries. “So we’re just being true to our nature.”

Higgins is the president of Arizona Predator Callers, one of the many organizations in the state that legally hunts predators like coyotes on public land. He said it isn’t so much about killing, as it about everything else involved with the sport he loves.

“Everything from building your own calls and your own howlers, learning the behavior of that animal, so you can exploit its vulnerabilities,” he said. “All of this is fascinating to us.”

And that’s the real point, he added, of what some people call “killing contests.” That’s when a group like his tries to kill as many coyotes as they can in a certain period of time. The reality is that most hunters don’t even bag a coyote, Higgins said. It’s more about hanging out with people who also enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

“It’s an incredible experience,” he said. “And becomes addicting.”

That doesn’t exactly comfort predator hunting opponents, who say it’s a waste to kill animals without using them for food or fur. Sandy Bahr is the president of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. Her organization is not against all hunting, she said, but with some predator hunters, “there is this attitude, which is pretty disrespectful of the animals, that ‘we’ll just go out and kill as many as possible.’”

Even if you take away the emotional side of this, Bahr said there could be real consequences from this kind of hunting. If the coyote population dips, there could be a large spike, followed by a crash, of prey species that coyotes usually keep in check. On the other hand, coyotes could actually increase in number.

The more they feel threatened, “the more they’ll have larger litters,” she said. “They’ll breed earlier, they actually respond by doing more to build the population.”

But the Arizona Game and Fish Department sees it differently, including Jim Paxon, special assistant to the director.

“Under no circumstances and in geographic area, have hunters made a dent in the coyote population,” he said.

He said there are an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 coyotes in the state. Game and Fish attempted to regulate hunting contests about 15 years ago, without success. But Paxon said the department doesn’t take an official stance now. Instead, it enforces current rules. Those allow people with valid hunting licenses to kill as many coyotes as they want.

“So, it’s recognized that coyote hunting is a legitimate activity for hunters and sportsmen,” Paxon said.

But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy, even for a seasoned predator hunter like Rich Higgins.

“I always have a tinge of regret. Always, always, always,” Higgins said. “And sometimes, when it becomes a little bit strong, I will pick up my camera only.”

In his heart, Higgins said, he is a hunter. And that’s regardless of whether he’s hunting coyotes with a lens — or a rifle.


OR-7 pack gets company: Another adult wolf has been spotted in Southern Oregon



By Kelly House | The Oregonian/OregonLive The Oregonian
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on January 13, 2015 at 1:32 PM, updated January 13, 2015 at 3:20 PM


Another adult wolf has joined OR-7 and his mate in southern Oregon.

State fish and wildlife officials are preparing to create a new “area of known wolf activity” on public and private land south of Klamath Falls after catching an adult gray wolf on camera early this month near Keno.

They know the wolf isn’t OR-7, his mate, or one of the pair’s pups, but little else is known about the new wolf, said John Stephenson, a wolf coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Oregon.

“It just demonstrates that there’s a fair number of dispersing wolves out there that we assume are coming from Idaho or Northeastern Oregon,” Stephenson said. “We’re seeing these wolves pop up so far away from their known distribution area, and we are getting sightings in-between.”

wolf sightingView full sizeA remote camera image taken Jan. 5 shows a gray wolf in the Keno Unit, which is located in the southwest Cascades near the California border.

Wildlife officials confirmed the wolf’s presence by installing a wildlife camera early this month after finding tracks in the snow in December. Stephenson said because the wolf isn’t collared, wildlife biologists can only guess where he or she came from – likely Northeastern Oregon, where the bulk of Oregon’s wolves live.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf coordinator Russ Morgan said state and federal scientists hope to gather additional information about the new wolf through surveys by searching for scat, listening for howls and monitoring trail cameras. If the wolf sticks around, he said, they could attempt to collar it.

The confirmed wolf sighting is promising news for wildlife advocates who cheered OR-7’s pioneering trip through Oregon and into California, where wolves had not existed for 90 years.

OR-7 later returned to Oregon and paired with a black female wolf who had strayed from Northeastern Oregon or Idaho. She gave birth to at least three pups last spring. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department announced last week that it was granting the wolf family pack status – a term that helps solidify their territory in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and indicates at least two of the pups have survived through the new year.

The new wolf sighting brings gray wolves one step closer to recovery in this part of the state. If the wolf sticks around, he or she could offer genetic diversity as OR-7’s pups eventually wander off to find their own mates.

“It’s another great step forward for the story of the wolf in Oregon,” said Rob Klavins, wolf advocate for the conservation group Oregon Wild. “The story of OR-7 and his family have been great, but the reality is it takes more than a single pack for there to be a meaningful recovery.”

Oregon once harbored a large wolf population, but human encroachment and hunting eradicated the animals from the state in the 1940s. Their reestablishment began in the mid-2000s, when a group crossed into Northeastern Oregon from Idaho. At last count, there were 64 known wolves in the state, but the number is expected to grow when the latest annual numbers are released in the coming weeks or months.

Oregon’s wolves are protected under the state Endangered Species Act, and federal safeguards also shelter wolves west of west of highways 78, 95 and 395. However, state wildlife officials could soon reconsider their protections for the Northeastern wolves.

Oregon’s decade-old wolf plan notes that wolves may “be considered” for delisting when at least four breeding pairs are documented in Northeastern Oregon for three straight years. State officials expect to reach that milestone when the 2014 numbers come out.

If the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission opts to remove protections, the newly established Southern Oregon wolves will be unaffected. The state treats Eastern and Western Oregon as two distinct wolf management areas, and wolves west of highways 97, 20, and 39 must meet separate population milestones before they could lose state protections. Plus, the federal Endangered Species Act provides an additional layer of protection.

–Kelly House




Field identification of wolves vs coyotes often difficult; Utah’s coyote bounty criticized



By Bill Monroe, Special to The Oregonian The Oregonian
on January 06, 2015

The recent killing of a wolf by a coyote bounty hunter in Utah again raises the question of field identification.

Oregon, with several established wolf packs but without a statewide bounty on coyotes, nevertheless faces the same identification issues.

The Utah case hasn’t been settled, but Brett Prettyman, outdoor writer for the Salt Lake Tribune filed this story Monday and shared it through the region’s Outdoor News Group.

By Brett Prettyman

Most of the time, wolf researcher Dan MacNulty can tell the difference between the apex predators and coyotes.

In his work at Yellowstone National Park, MacNulty routinely has to correct bystanders confused by the wild canines.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people point and tell me to look at the wolf,” said MacNulty, an assistant professor of wildlife ecology at Utah State University. “I hate to rain on their parade and tell them it is a coyote.”

Telling the two animals apart — one protected by federal law, the other considered a varmint ripe for culling — can be difficult to the untrained eye, MacNulty says.

A coyote hunter who killed a 3-year-old female gray wolf Dec. 28 outside Beaver has said he couldn’t tell the difference.

More: http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/bill_monroe/index.ssf/2015/01/post_146.html

“Why Don’t I See My Comment on this Blog?”

This post is for all you predator hunt supporters out there wondering, “why hasn’t my comment been approved?” Seeing as how the number of web hits 1451324_650954518277931_1616731734_nto this blog site in the last twelve hours exploded to 98,250 and STILL CLIMBING by the minute, there’s no way I’m going to go through thousands of comments from wolf/coyote haters. (Considering that daily hits to this site average in the hundreds, the stats graph looks like a chart depicting human population growth over the past couple centuries.) Some of them are simply posting the same comment over and over, dozens of times, in hopes of overwhelming the comment section of the post, ID Gun Nuts Start Year With Three-Day Mass Slaughter Of Wolves And Coyotes. The only way I can keep up is to delete them in bulk, unread.

Too bad, but they all sound the same anyway. Actually, there’s about three different types of comments that most of them fall into.

1)  The first category, I’ll call the ‘kill ‘em all’ crowd:

” Kill all of them coyotes and wolves start more contests to control those over populated predators that ate killing all the other animals”

“…kill them all! Wolves are one of the biggest problems we have in Idaho, wyoming and Montana!”

2)  The next group are the ‘poor me for living where there’s wildlife’ bunch:

“… maybe we should restore wolf populations to ALL its native habitat. Let’s say Central Park, Chicago, etc”

“If you are all so upset about this, petition the government to have them relocated to your house. That way you can take care of the nucience they cause”

These folks don’t seem to understand that we pretty much all (even those “tree lovers” who live in cities), have coyotes living among us, and are we’re thrilled about it.

3)  By far the largest category are the smart-mouthed-smarty-pantses that just want to point out that the photo included with the article (Right) was not from this particular ongoing contest hunt in Salmon, ID. Yes, that’s true, but so what? It definitely illustrates what they’re out there trying to do: shoot mass quantities of coyotes and pile up their dead bodies like some scene out

 I deleted the photo from the article in question and added the one at the bottom of this post instead.

I deleted the photo from the article in question and added the one at the bottom of this post instead.

of Auschwitz. (Just last week, nearly 40 dead coyotes were discovered, dumped in such a pile outside of Las Cruces, NM, after a coyote contest hunt was held there. The picture could have been taken anywhere; that’s not really the point).

“I’m not sure where it came from since first, the area where this event is located is covered in snow…”

And there’s a sub-category of commenters: the ones that pretend to be polite and intelligent and just wants to educate people on what they think about the merits of predator control. But intelligent-sounding comments from these folks are few and far between, and after looking through dozens, this was as close to an example as I could come up with,

“There is nothing wrong with the killing of these animals it’s a all in an order to control population. Coyotes and wolves kill livestock and game animals by keeping they’re population down it insures their long term survival and balance in the food chain. Don’t just take my word or the word of this article in stone, research for yourself what is actually going on.”

I’m sure a lot of hunters wish they hadn’t wasted their time trying to post their anti-animal comments here, but all this could have been avoided if they’d only read this blog’s “About” page first:


This blog site  is a haven for wildlife and animal advocates, a wildlife refuge of sorts, that’s posted “No Hunting,” as any true sanctuary should be. Just as a refuge is patrolled to keep hunters and poachers from harassing the wildlife, this blog site is monitored to keep hunters from disturbing other people’s quiet enjoyment of the natural world.

It is not a message board or a chat room for those wanting to argue the supposed merits of animal exploitation or to defend the act of hunting or trapping in any way, shape or form. There are plenty of other sites available for that sort of thing.

Hunters and trappers: For your sake, I urge you not to bother wasting your time posting your opinions in the comments section. This blog is moderated, and pro-hunting statements will not be tolerated or approved. Consider this fair warning—if you’re a hunter, sorry but your comments are going straight to the trash can. This is not a public forum for animal exploiters to discuss the pros and cons of hunting.

We’ve heard all the rationalizations for killing wildlife so many times before; there’s no point in wasting everyone’s time with more of that old, tired hunter PR drivel. Any attempt to justify the murder of our fellow animals will hereby be jettisoned into cyberspace…