Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wolf of the Day

Walking black timberwolf 
Walking black timberwolf by Tambako The Jaguar

$15,000 reward for Kittitas County wolf killer

The Center for Biological Diversity says the killing of the female wolf jeopardizes the recovery of gray wolves in Washington.

The federal Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating and would like to prosecute the person responsible.

The Daily Record reports the wolf was a member of the Teanaway pack wearing a radio collar. After signals showed the wolf was not moving, the carcass was found Oct. 28 north of Lake Cle Elum.

Brent Lawrence with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland says wolves are protected by federal and state law west of Highway 97


Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up by #Defenders of Wildlife

wolves, © Robbie George/National Geographic Stock

Turning up the Heat Against Idaho’s Predator Derby: Last week we shared with you that we’re taking BLM to task for its approval of a wolf killing contest now slated to occur in January on wide expanses of public lands outside of Salmon, Idaho. Even after Defenders members submitted over 100,000 comments in opposition to the proposal, BLM approved the derby, failing to address the many potential adverse impacts from such an event, including impacts on local and regional wolf populations. If there’s any silver lining here, it is that this BLM’s approval is already getting significant news coverage. Having this news in the national spotlight will hopefully put more pressure on Department of the Interior to stop this before it occurs. And, you can be sure that we won’t stop working to put an end to this killing contest – in the courts, in the media, and on the ground with our members. Stay tuned!

Secretary Jewell has the power to reverse the BLM’s decision. Tell her to use it!

Red wolf, © Steve Hillebrand/USFWS
Red Wolf Recovery Program Reviewed: This week, the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), an independent nonprofit conservation organization, provided an evaluation of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery program for red wolves. At Defenders, we feel the review signals that a more robust and throughout evaluation is needed. In response to the plan, Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark said: “This Wildlife Management Institute report shows that red wolves still have a long road ahead of them, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn’t finished the job. The report makes several points that echo Defenders of Wildlife’s stance on what red wolves needs to recover, including more room, better public support and an improved recovery plan based in sound science.”

Wolf Champion in Congress Takes On New Leadership Role: This week, Congressman Grijalva from Arizona was elected as Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which is charged with preserving America’s public lands, nation’s parks, fisheries, wildlife, as well as oversight over Native American affairs and mineral land laws. Rep. Grijalva continues to be a champion for wolves and we’re thrilled to see him move into this important position in Congress. Earlier this year, Grijalva co-authored a letter — signed by 85 other bi-partisan Representatives — in which he urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to maintain Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for gray wolves in the US. Our congratulations go out to Rep. Grijalva for this well-deserved honor!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Yukon aboriginal arrested for illegal hunting claims aboriginal rights

The Canadian Press A wolf is shown in a 2007 handout photo.
WHITEHORSE – A First Nations’ man who claims to have an aboriginal right to shoot wolves has pleaded not guilty to three charges under the Yukon Wildlife Act.

Clayton Thomas told a Yukon territorial court that he acted in accordance with his aboriginal rights when he shot two wolves in a Whitehorse subdivision last year.

Thomas, a 33-year-old member of British Columbia’s Tahltan First Nation, is charged with 10 infractions of the act.
Prosecutor Lee Kirkpatrick said the Crown will proceed on three charges: illegal hunting, the careless use of a firearm and trafficking in wildlife.

Thomas doesn’t dispute that he shot the two wolves last year.

He argued he was justified in doing so, that the wolves were a safety concern in the neighbourhood, and as an aboriginal, his actions were legal.

Representing himself, Thomas said he plans to call six witnesses — including Tahltan elders from Watson Lake and Dease Lake, B.C. — to testify when his hearing resumes in December.

When the trial started Monday, Kirkpatrick read a statement of agreed facts by Thomas and the Crown.

On April 17, 2013, Yukon conservation officers received a complaint from a resident in the Mount Sima subdivision that wolves killed his dog at the end of his driveway.

A statement said a week later that an unnamed source told the conservation officers that Thomas, also a neighbourhood resident, had killed a black wolf the night the dog was killed, and texted a photo of the wolf to friends.

Conservation officers received a second tip that Thomas had sent around a photo of him holding up a grey wolf carcass. The source reported hearing gun shots at about 11 p.m. April 17, and more gunshots at about midnight on April 22.

Conservation officers served a search warrant at Thomas’ home on May 3.

Officers seized 47 items, including five wolf hides, sheep horns, firearms, ammunition and computers. The five wolves, Thomas said, were harvested in B.C. under his subsistence rights.
The statement said Thomas admitted to shooting two wolves in the neighbourhood.

Thomas did not have residents’ permission to be hunting within one kilometre of houses, Kirkpatrick said, as wildlife laws dictate.

Three days have been set aside for Thomas’ witnesses to testify about Tahltan culture and hunting and trapping practices, starting Dec. 8.


Wolves of the Day

Wolf by hairyduck 
Wolf by hairyduck 

News Release: Canid North of Grand Canyon Confirmed to be a Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southwest Region   (Arizona ● New Mexico ● Oklahoma ●Texas)

For immediate release: Nov. 21, 2014 

Contacts:  Jeff Humphrey (602) 242-0210 x.222,
Steve Segin (303) 236-4578,

Canid North of Grand Canyon Confirmed to be a Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf

PHOENIX – Genetic tests of scat (feces) collected from a free-roaming canid north of Grand
Canyon National Park on the North Kaibab National Forest have confirmed that the animal, first
detected in early October, is a female Rocky Mountain gray wolf.  The confirmation clarifies that
this gray wolf is fully protected under the Endangered Species Act. 
Since early October, a collared, wolf-like canid was repeatedly observed and photographed on the
Kaibab Plateau just north of Grand Canyon National Park.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona
Game and Fish Department, and National Park Service wildlife officials were unsuccessful in
detecting a radio signal from an apparently inoperable radio telemetry collar.  

On November 2, Fish and Wildlife Service biologists collected scat to obtain genetic information.
Service biologists’ attempted to capture the animal to collect blood and replace the radio collar.
Those efforts were unsuccessful and have been suspended due to cold weather, as our primary
concern is the welfare of this animal.  Any future capture efforts will be for collar and transmitter
replacement, and the wolf will be released on site.

The DNA analysis was conducted by University of Idaho’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary
and Conservation Genetics.  The DNA analysis confirmed that the animal is a gray wolf from the
northern Rocky Mountain population.  The lab may be able to determine the wolf’s individual
identification by comparing its DNA profile with that of previously captured and sampled northern
Rocky Mountain gray wolf females.  This analysis will take several weeks to several months.  We
will provide any additional information when it becomes available. 

 “The DNA results indicate this wolf traveled at least 450 miles from an area in the northern Rocky
Mountains to northern Arizona,” said Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director.  “Wolves,
particularly young wolves, can be quite nomadic dispersing great distances across the landscape.
Such behavior is not unusual for juveniles as they travel to find food or another mate.” 

Gray wolves have not been observed in the area for over 70 years when the last of the animals were
removed through a decades-long predator eradication campaign.  This female gray wolf is not associated with the Mexican wolf population, a subspecies of gray wolves that occurs in Arizona
and New Mexico south of Interstate 40.  

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and
enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to
public service. 
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit 
Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and
download photos from our Flickr page at
Public Affairs Office
PO Box 1306
Albuquerque, NM 87103
505/248-6915 (Fax) 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Press Release: Red Wolf Program Evaluation from WMI

Press Release

Expects a decision regarding the future of the Program in early 2015

November 20, 2014

Tom MacKenzie, USFWS

Bartel_USFWS_pdza_rw2A red wolf Credit: Becky Bartel / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation of its Red Wolf Recovery Program’s non-essential, experimental population in five Eastern North Carolina counties.

Brief statements from Steve Williams, president of The Wildlife Management Institute; Leopoldo Miranda, assistant regional director for ecological services in the Service’s Southeast Region; and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, are included below.

The evaluation is one action among several that are part of a broad agreement between the Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission put in place in late 2013.  Both agencies recognized that some steps were needed to improve management of the non-essential, experimental population in Eastern North Carolina, which was established under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act and is a component of the overall recovery effort for the red wolf.

As the Service indicated in August when it announced a review would be conducted this fall, the evaluation will be used with other information to help the agency address deficiencies and determine the program’s future in Eastern North Carolina.

A broader announcement on that overall decision is expected in early 2015.

The evaluation, the agreement with North Carolina, and the Service documents used for the evaluation are currently available at  A recording of today’s press conference also will be posted there.

Steve Williams
Wildlife Management Institute
“Agencies interested in improving their conservation programs often reach out to independent reviewers to evaluate the success of their programs,” said Williams, the report’s chief author.  “In this case, the Fish and Wildlife Service asked the Institute to conduct just such a review.  The findings and conclusions contained in our report cover a wide range of issues grouped under the categories of science, program management, and human dimensions.  The Fish and Wildlife Service has a clear understanding of the science involved in the restoration of the most endangered canid in North America.  Its introduction of captive red wolves into the wild has proven successful.
“Our review looked at 28 years of the recovery program.  As with all programs, hindsight is 20/20.  WMI concluded that the recovery program management could have been improved if a more interdisciplinary approach was used to better respond to public concerns and information needs.  We also concluded that the rules established for the recovery program were not always followed.  However, we believe that Fish and Wildlife staff acted in the best interest of the red wolves and the public with whom they were working.
“Finally,” Williams concluded, “the Fish and Wildlife Service must do a better job of understanding the human dimensions of this program at the local level.  The recovery of red wolves is a complicated and difficult process.  We hope our conclusions will assist the Fish and Wildlife Service in its deliberations about the future of the program in North Carolina.”

Leopoldo Miranda
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Region
“I want to thank WMI and the independent peer reviewers for their work to complete this program evaluation within our time-frame,” Miranda said.
“The evaluation is critical of the Service’s management of the recovery program non-essential, experimental population in North Carolina,” Miranda added.  “We’ve begun a detailed review of the evaluation and take its critical analysis seriously.  The Institute covered many topics to meet our request and we will take some time to carefully review it.  Even as we move forward with that review, I also want to say that earlier this year we recognized an immediate need for corrective action in an area related to the introduction of red wolves on private lands as part of this population, which the report affirmed. At this time, we are stopping the practice of relocating red wolves to private lands.  If, in the future the Service wants to relocate red wolves on private property, it will only do so if it has written agreements in place.
“We have a lot of work in front of us and I also want to note here that we appreciate all of the public engagement this process has generated,” Miranda said.

Gordon Myers
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
“We appreciate the focused and deliberative action the Service is directing to evaluate its Red Wolf Program,” Myers said.  “This report, which stems from collaboration between the Service and the Commission, is a high priority action item that will inform future decisions about that program.”


Endangered Wolf Center - Their Mission (video)

The Endangered Wolf Center of St. Louis, Missouri has assisted in the conservation of endangered Mexican Wolves and Red Wolves, along with Maned Wolves, African Painted Dogs, and Swift Foxes. The EWC provides educational tours and community outreach programs.

For more information visit

Wolves, livestock have coexisted elsewhere

November 16, 2014
To the editor:

Thank you for your coverage of the wolf issues in our state. I am a longtime wolf supporter who began my interest and education regarding wolves as a school teacher sharing with my students the importance of balanced ecosystems. I have learned that the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona provides the possibility of better ecosystems throughout our region and, with that, strengthening many species also clinging to survival.

The US Fish and Wildlife's recovery plan should reflect research and a well-developed and long-term solution for the Mexican gray wolf. At present, they have not integrated research done by recovery team scientists and the recovery team has not met since 2011. Under the Endangered Species Act, the best available science is required for species such as the Mexican gray wolf. Surveys have shown throughout Arizona citizens place importance on the reintroduction of the wolf and support the efforts so far.

We can coexist with wolves. Responsible livestock owners are successfully using resources and tools in reintroduction areas. Public responses to recent sightings in northern Arizona of possible wolves affirm the interest and excitement that these animals create. Please support a complete and updated recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf -- your grandchildren will thank you!