Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wolf of the Day

Cleopatra attentive but a bit afraid! 
Her name is Cleopatra :-)

SUMMER DAYS: Wolf sanctuary lets visitors see animals in natural setting

Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014

Instead, a howling, animal-like sound emerges from him, something he says took him about 2½ years to master. Repeated howls from the guide are, within a minute or two, matched. Howls are coming from every direction now. “To be able to be that close to wolves when they’re howling ... to me that’s remarkable,” Rineer says.

And it’s just a small part of what visitors to the Wolf Sanctuary of PA, at 465 Speedwell Forge Road, Lititz, will experience.

The sanctuary is home to a species that has lived in North America for 7,000 years. It allows rescued wolves a safe home in a natural habitat, where multiple acres of enclosures divide the the 45 resident wolves.

Volunteers lead tours allowing people to see the animals in a setting available almost nowhere else.
As Rineer explained to his 20-person tour on a sunny Thursday morning, the wolves in movies are usually not actually wolves. Instead, they're usually dogs made up to look like wolves.

And so the sanctuary allows people to see wolves in a natural setting to understand better what the animals are like, he says.

Rineer, having worked with the wolves in the sanctuary for about seven years now, gets the animals out by rattling a bucket, a sign most of them now recognize as a chance for treats.“They don’t want to be around you,” he quips, indicating the wolves' desire for the bucket full of raw meats. “They don’t care about you.” Some of the wolves come up to the first of two fences for a snack.

Tour guides walk between the two fences, spending the 60-to-90-minute tours discussing the different areas of wolves, and what their dynamics are like. “Everyone … in the pack has a position,” Rineer says.

In feeding the animals, he explains, the pack’s alpha male will eat first. Others know not to challenge him, he says, though if someone tries, the alpha will put them in their place. Tioga, a gray wolf, has a habit of pushing buttons with his father and the pack’s alpha male, Merlin, Rineer says. But Merlin won’t hesitate to remind him of his position, as wolves live in a hierarchy, he says. The tour wanders around the facility, ending with a climb up a large hill — where good walking shoes are recommended — to visit the last few wolves.

The animals currently sport a lighter, summer coat, but Rineer says the two layers of fur are much greater in the winter. Tours are given throughout the snowy months. They allow people to see the wolves in a more visible habitat with less foliage, and overall the animals are far less lethargic in cold months, he says. Rineer also recommends getting different tour guides each time, because each guide tells of his or her own experiences along with the educational sections.

Mary Kaye McDonald, of Frederick, Maryland, says she’s been to the sanctuary twice now and wants to conquer the winter tour next. McDonald says she loves seeing the interaction between the wolves and the guides. There’s a lot of respect and love there, she says. “You don’t get to see that all the time,” McDonald says. “I love animals. I love seeing the passion of the people who work here.”
And passion is what these volunteers have, what gets them up each day.

Rineer says he has really taken to one of the wolves, Lucas, and his goal is to be able to earn his trust to touch him. “The wolves — you kind of build a relationship (with them),” he adds.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wolf myth: We will not allow wolves in Nevada

4 hours ago  • 

The myth goes like this: wolves will never live in Nevada, specifically Elko County. We simply will not allow it. We will kill any wolves that dare enter Nevada.

Russell Woolstenhulme is a Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist with the state office. He told me the gray wolf is still listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in all lower 48 states other than Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and the Great Lakes states where wolves are already delisted. However, the FWS has posted a letter of intent in the Federal Register to delist the gray wolf in all lower-48 states other than those having the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf species.

Nevada has listed the gray wolf as a big game species, but with a closed season. It is illegal to kill a wolf in Nevada. When asked if someone would be prosecuted for shooting a wolf mistaken for a coyote, Russell said someone might get away with it once but such a kill would bring on an investigation by a FWS Special Agent. It is illegal to kill a wolf attacking ones livestock, (unless the FWS delists wolves in the future).  In the meantime, someone losing livestock to a wolf could contact Wildlife Services to investigate.  They are the Federal Agency with authority to remove such wolves.

Russell said “we probably get wolves wandering in and out of Nevada.” Most likely any wolves are wandering through northeastern Elko County. NDOW has received several reports of wolf sightings but still none with verifiable photos or carcasses. Neither has there been recovered wolf scat or wolf hair clinging to a fence.

He feels it is possible, but not probable, that a wolf pack or two could establish in Elko County. We do not (yet) have the prey base to support a wolf pack. Our large elk herds are still far smaller than those supporting wolf packs in Idaho. If the gray wolf should be delisted in Nevada, he does not feel there would ever be enough wolves to hold wolf hunts.

Ken Gray is the regional game supervisor for the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Elko office. He said “I have no doubt there are wolves that have crossed into Nevada,” but there still remains no positive proof. NDOW conducts a lot of flights counting elk and has never spotted a wolf. Ken also says they have seen no evidence of wolves being killed and left.

Russell and Ken feel wolves in Nevada will likely remain young wolves wandering through. Idaho has found it difficult to control a wolf population of about 700 with hunts. They have found trapping is more reliable to reduce wolf numbers. Finding and shooting a few wandering wolves would probably be impossible. It appears to me we may always have a few wolves, regardless of the myth.


Wolf hunt over Labor Day weekend suspended by Washington wildlife managers

This undated image shows a gray wolf resting in tall grass. On Friday, Washington state suspended a planned hunt for wolves in Stevens County to protect sheep the pack has been preying on. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish & Wildlife/File)

The Associated Press By The Associated Press

On August 29, 2014, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will suspend its hunt for three more members of the Huckleberry wolf pack over the Labor Day weekend, and whether it will resume is unclear in a state where the animals are struggling to re-establish themselves.
Hunters contracted by the state for the past week have been trying to kill a total of four members of the pack in order to protect a herd of 1,800 sheep that the wolves have been preying upon. One wolf was shot and killed by a hunter in a helicopter on Aug. 22.

At least 24 sheep have been killed in eight confirmed wolf attacks on the herd in southern Stevens County since Aug. 14, the agency said.

Officials for Fish and Wildlife said they have ceased efforts to hunt or trap the wolves in order to avoid conflicts with Labor Day recreationists and grouse hunters.

It is unclear if the hunt will resume, officials said Friday. "We're going to make that assessment after the holiday weekend," said Craig Bartlett, spokesman for the agency.

The owner of the sheep herd is making arrangements to move the animals out of the area, and that would allow Fish and Wildlife to end efforts to kill the wolves, Bartlett said.

During the Labor Day weekend, the sheep will be guarded by DFW staff, the rancher, a range rider, and four guard dogs, the agency said.

Environmental groups have opposed the hunt, saying that nonlethal means of protecting the sheep have not been exhausted. Washington has an estimated 52 wolves in 13 packs, environmental groups say.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in Washington early in the last century. They started moving back into the state from Idaho and Canada in the early 2000s.

In 2012, the state contracted hunters to wipe out all seven members of the Wedge pack of wolves after they began preying on cattle.


Feds seek input on maintaining red wolf recovery

Associated Press 
August 29, 2014  

— Federal wildlife officials asked the public Friday to weigh in as the government reviews whether to continue maintaining the world's only wild population of the red wolf in eastern North Carolina.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it had awarded a contract to the Virginia-based nonprofit Wildlife Management Institute to evaluate its 27-year experiment to restore the endangered species to the wild.

About 100 red wolves currently roam the wild in eastern North Carolina, and about 200 are in captive breeding programs in several locations in the U.S. They were first released into the wilderness under the program in 1987. The red wolf had been considered extinct in the wild as of 1980, though captive breeding programs existed.

A red wolf lies in a 50 foot-by-50-foot fenced enclosure in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on June 17, 2010. JOHN D. SIMMONS 
The public is asked to offer comments online and at two public meetings before the comment period ends on Sept. 12. The 60-day evaluation will end on October 10.  "Once we receive the final evaluation, we will review it and make a decision to continue, modify, or terminate the red wolf recovery program," said Leopoldo Miranda, an assistant regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service

Asked about what terminating the program would entail, Miranda said during a conference call that no decisions have been made. When a program to restore the wolves to the Smoky Mountains in the western part of the state ended in 1998, the agency tried to capture all of the animals and bring them back to captivity, he said.

A female red wolf trots through a fenced enclosure she shares with three other females of about the same age in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. JOHN D. SIMMONS 

Sierra Weaver, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said the public should be given longer than two weeks to comment, especially considering the announcement came at the start of a holiday weekend. She also said that the federal agency failed to put a notice of the review in the Federal Register as required. "The agency has failed to comply with the process outlined in the Endangered Species Act for this type of review and we are concerned it is not taking seriously its responsibilities to save the red wolf from extinction," she said. A spokesman for the federal agency didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Weaver's criticism Friday afternoon.

In May, the Southern Environmental Law Center helped convince a federal judge to block the hunting of coyotes near the red wolf habitat. They argued that the animals look similar and are easily confused, leading to the wolves being shot. The judge issued a ban on hunting until a trial takes place on a lawsuit by the environmental group seeking to permanently end coyote hunting in several eastern North Carolina counties. The lawsuit is pending.

Betty, a female red wolf, roams in a fenced area at the Red Wolf Coalition on Feb. 10 in Creswell. The wolf is part of a captive breeding program at the coalition. JILL KNIGHT

In all, eight of the wolves have died in 2014, including two killed by gunshot. Several of them died from car accidents or health issues. Miranda said Friday that none of the wolves have been shot to death since the ban was enacted.

The Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 public meetings will be in Columbia and Swan Quarter, respectively. The meetings are open to the public and will involve moderators interacting in discussions with the participants.


Wolves of the Day

Arctic Wolf

Arctic Wolf 

Arctic Wolf @SouthLakes

Friday, August 29, 2014

Colorful pack of wolves hitting the streets and businesses in Abingdon

This is an older post, but given all the dire wolf news of late, I want to remind everyone just how beautiful life with wolves really is. Enjoy!


Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 

ABINGDON, Va. — A colorful pack moved into town over the weekend, and is now prowling in and around shops downtown. A total of 21 wolf statues have been painted, named and installed at businesses around Abingdon as part of the third installment of the “Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Wolves?” project. The project is sponsored by Abingdon Main Street, formerly Advance Abingdon. One of them, A.P. Carter, is a wee wolf pup, standing sentry at Mallory Fine Art. He was taken to his new home Friday morning.

The pup was painted by artist Kristi Taylor, who shows at the gallery, said gallery owner Polly Mallory. He’s named for a member of the famous Carter Family, and his design was inspired by a Carter Family song. “It’s ‘My Home Among the Hills,’” Mallory said of the inspiration for the colorful pup who features a tree landscape in bright colors. “[Taylor] said any time she does a wolf cub, she literally listens to the song.”

Each wolf is different and painted by a local artist, said Susan Howard, executive director of Abingdon Main Street. Some businesses chose their own design, while others teamed up with local artists who had already submitted ideas for the statues. Many of the wolves, which took a trip through Rolling Hills Auto to get an automotive clear coat, will be installed outside, but some will be inside local businesses.

The designs range from Appalachian Trail maps to the wicked witch from “Wizard of Oz” to Doc Holliday, a dapper young wolf who will be installed in the William King Museum.
Six resident artists at the Arts Depot collaborated to design Material Girl, a large wolf who has been painted in a crazy quilt pattern. “Quilting is such a strong facet of crafts in this area,” said Helen Morgan, who along with Joyce Samuel, Jackie Dolpp, Nancy Johnson, Nancy Garretson and Sara Reese painted the wolf. “Each of us took four or five sections ... and we created the crazy quilt.”

The name of the wolf was under debate when a visitor to the Arts Depot saw what the women were working on and suggested they call her Material Girl. “It looks beautiful,” Dolpp said when she saw the finished product.

In addition to the 21 new wolves, one wolf pup from the last pack, installed in 2012, was returned to Abingdon Main Street recently, Howard said. The “Day of the Dead” cub will be displayed somewhere safe, she said.

At the end of the summer, the wolves who were sponsored will be auctioned. Some have been purchased by local businesses. “I love this project,” said Lori Willey, past board president of Abingdon Main Street, who helped Howard take the wolves to their new homes. “It’s an art project and a community project.”


Wolf Survey Reveals Favorable Attitudes Towards Wolves

Most Wisconsinites support a wolf hunt in the state, but only a minority of people want to see the wolf population decrease from its current level.  That's according to some of the draft findings of a recent DNR survey of how people feel about wolves.
Credit Derek Bakken
The DNR mailed out surveys to almost 9,000 residents, about half of which were returned and analyzed.
DNR Carnivore Specialist Dave MacFarland says the goal was to answer critical questions about citizens’ attitudes towards wolves. 
“One, we wanted to determine what their tolerance was of wolves – were they favorable or unfavorable?  And then also, critically, we asked questions about what they would like us to, with one of the primary questions being adjustments in the population size.”
Results tended to vary according to where people lived in relation to wolves.  Within the area of the state considered to be wolf-range, 62 percent of respondents supported a state regulated hunting and trapping season.  Outside of the wolf-range area, only 51 percent of residents did.
But favoring some kind of state-managed wolf hunt didn’t necessarily go along with support of the DNR’s current wolf plan, which calls for gradually reducing the wolf population from recent winter estimates of 660…down to 350.
Outside of wolf-range, more than half of respondents said they want to see more wolves or maintain current population levels.  Within wolf range that percentage was about 45 percent, and many said they didn’t know. 
MacFarland says the DNR is working on a new wolf management plan, and the survey results do make a difference.  
“We manage the wildlife of the state for the citizens of the state, and information like this is critical.  That said it’s not the only piece of information that’ll be used.  It’ll be incorporated with all the biological information that we have.”
MacFarland says there will be more chances for public input later this year, when a draft of the new plan is put forward.


And now for a completely unbiased (NOT) report...

Pro-wolf groups pressure Gov. Inslee to curb wolf control

A total of 13 wolf packs were confirmed in the state on March 8, 2013, by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)
A total of 13 wolf packs were confirmed in the state on March 8, 2013, by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Environmental groups who've been unable to persuade Washington wildlife officials into letting wolves eat as many sheep as they like in southern Stevens County are pressuring Gov. Jay Inslee to clamp down on wolf management when it comes to lethal control efforts.   Here's the story just moved by the Associated Press:
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Environmental groups on Thursday asked Gov. Jay Inslee to push for the creation of strict rules limiting when wolves can be killed in response to livestock depredations.
Their petition sought to limit when the state Department of Fish and Wildlife can kill wolves. It would also require ranchers to use nonlethal measures to protect their livestock.
Rules similar to those requested by the petition are in place in Oregon.
The groups made the request as the state was in the process this week of trying to kill four wolves in the Huckleberry Pack in an effort to protect a herd of sheep. One wolf has been killed so far.
Wolves were hunted to extinction a century ago in Washington. Since the early 2000s, the animals have started to make a comeback by entering Washington from Idaho and British Columbia. The state is estimated to have 52 wolves in 13 packs.
“All we’re asking for are some very reasonable standards on what ranchers need to do to protect their livestock and when the state can step in and kill an endangered species,” said Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity.
The governor’s office has 45 days to respond to the request. The office has received the petition and will review the request, Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith said.
In 2012, the state killed seven wolves in the Wedge Pack despite the fact that the rancher had taken little action to protect his stock, the environmental groups said.
They contend the situation is similar with the Huckleberry Pack.
However, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has said the owner of the sheep herd has taken numerous nonlethal steps to protect his 1,800 animals. But wolves keep killing the sheep.
Conservation groups filed a similar petition in 2013, but they withdrew it based on promises from the Fish and Wildlife to negotiate new rules governing lethal methods of wolf management. No negotiations have taken place, the environmental groups said.
The groups appealing to Inslee also include Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club.

The words in italics are written by Rich Landers. Think he's anti-wolf? If you do, then you'd be correct.

Lin -- one of those damned environmentalists

Cook County sheriff warns of wolves attacking dogs...

... approaching people in Grand Marais

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: August 29, 2014 -
GRAND MARAIS, Minn. — Northeastern Minnesota authorities are warning residents about wolves attacking dogs and approaching people in Cook County.
Sheriff Leif Lunde said Thursday there have been several recent incidents involving wolves on the north side of Grand Marais. He's asking county residents not to let their pets run loose. He didn't provide details about the attacks or say whether injuries have been reported.
Lunde asks people who encounter an animal they believe to be dangerous to contact the Cook County Sheriff's Office.


Save the MI wolves; a reader's view

Thursday, August 28, 2014, 12:15 pm
To the editor:

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is a coalition of Michigan citizens such as Native Americans, wildlife scientists, veterinarians, hunters, farmers and everyday Michigan citizens trying to protect our very fragile wolf population — about 623 on last count.

After successfully stopping the wolf hunt and putting the vote on the 2014 ballot, Michigan politicians passed another measure, PA21, taking the power to vote away from the people.

We are currently circulating a petition in an attempt to place a referendum for PA21 on the ballot. Just today, I heard we have enough signatures. So please vote to save the wolves.

My next concern is about the wild rumors about the wolf attacks on dogs and livestock. When I lived up in the Traverse Bay area, people were having trouble with coyotes coming on their property and taking pets and livestock. A lot of those people swore that they were wolves. Well, there are no wolves in Lower Michigan. So people in the Upper Peninsula are probably making the same mistake. Wolves do all they can to avoid human contact. Coyotes are much bolder and very brave, so it’s more likely to be coyotes than wolves.

To better understand wolves and how they live, try to get this book at the library or bookstore: Its name is “Never Cry Wolf.” I don’t remember the author but it is a true story. Good reading, also.



Wolf hunting OK'd by MI state House

The Michigan House cleared the way Wednesday for an appointed panel to decide whether to allow continued hunting of the resurgent gray wolf, instead of leaving the matter up to the state's voters.
AP Wire
Aug 29, 2014
On a 65-43 vote in Lansing, the House affirmed a citizen-initiated measure that puts the Natural Resources Commission in charge of designating game species and setting hunting and fishing policy. The Senate gave its approval earlier this month. Because the governor's signature is not required, the measure will become law.

Lawmakers didn't have it take effect immediately. That means the effective date will be 90 days after the legislative session ends this fall, which rules out a wolf hunt until next year at the earliest. "This is an important step to protecting the rights to hunt, fish and trap in Michigan from radical animal rights organizations," said Dan Eichinger, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
But opponents weren't surrendering. A group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected labeled the measure "patently unconstitutional" and vowed to challenge it in court while continuing to campaign for voter rejection of two measures on the November general election ballot that involve wolf hunting.

The legislative action was the latest in a battle that began in 2012, when the combined gray wolf population of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin was dropped from the federal endangered species list. The wolves had bounced back strongly after disappearing from most of the Great Lakes region in the last century. With federal protections removed, each state was put in charge of managing its wolves. Minnesota and Wisconsin have moved forward with hunts.

Michigan legislators enacted a 2012 bill making the wolf a game species — the first step toward allowing it to be hunted. The next year, they followed up with a law giving the Natural Resources Commission, a seven-member panel appointed by the governor, authority to make such designations.
Opponents gathered enough petition signatures to put both the measures to statewide referendums on the ballot this fall. But they weren't able to prevent the commission from permitting a hunt last year, during which 22 wolves were killed. The Department of Natural Resources in April estimated the population at 636.

Even if voters repeal both of the earlier laws, the newly approved measure will remain in effect. Supporters sought to make it referendum-proof by attaching a $1 million appropriation to battle invasive Asian carp, since spending bills are not subject to statewide votes. It also provides free hunting and fishing licenses for active military members.

Opponents contend that wrapping the three provisions into one measure violates the state Constitution. "We're going to sue and knock it out," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. Her group contends the state's wolves remain on tenuous footing and there are other means of dealing with animals that cause problems. Farmers can legally shoot wolves attacking their livestock.

During floor debate, lawmakers opposing the initiative said they weren't against hunting but believed the matter should be settled at the ballot box. "This vote is about validating citizens' rights to participate in government," said Rep. Pam Faris, a Democrat from Clio.

Supporters countered that people favoring wolf hunts also exercised their rights by gathering some 300,000 signatures — enough to put the initiative before the Legislature. "We're not saying get rid of all the wolves," said Rep. Ed McBroom, a Republican from Vulcan who favored the measure. "We can live with them in the U.P., but we need a management approach that includes all the options, like we have for all other types of wildlife we manage in this state."

The state Department of Natural Resources, which advises the commission, endorsed the measure and has argued in favor of tightly regulated wolf hunts.