Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Boo-yah!!! With Lawsuit Pending, Feds Cancel Idaho Predator-killing Derby

BOISE, Idaho —In response to a lawsuit from conservation groups, the Bureau of Land Management has decided to cancel a permit allowing an anti-wolf organization to conduct a “predator derby” on more than 3 million acres of public lands near Salmon, Idaho.

As lawyers for the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote and Defenders of Wildlife were preparing to file a request to stop this year’s derby on BLM lands, the agency decided to withdraw its decision to allow “Idaho for Wildlife” to conduct a contest to kill the most wolves, coyotes, and other species over three days every year for five years, beginning Jan. 2, 2015.

“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who represents the Center, Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century. We intend to pursue every available remedy to stop these horrible contests.”

News of BLM’s decision came from an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is representing the BLM in the groups’ litigation, who conveyed the news just as attorneys for the groups were preparing to file a major brief to stop this year’s hunt.

“BLM’s first-ever approval of a wolf hunting derby on public lands undercuts wolf recovery efforts, so it’s good they cancelled this permit,” said Laird Lucas, director of litigation at Advocates for the West, which represents Defenders of Wildlife.

The hunt would have allowed up to 500 participants compete to kill the largest number of wolves, coyotes and other animals for cash and prizes. Contest organizers are hoping to expand their contest statewide.

“It’s hard to imagine a more objectionable event than an award-laden killing festival,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Let’s all hope that this is the beginning of the end of such activities.”

Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2011 following many years of recovery efforts in central and eastern Idaho, where public lands are supposed to provide core refugia in the face of aggressive hunting and trapping in Idaho.

“Killing wildlife for fun and prizes on public lands that belong to all Americans is not only reprehensible, it is also a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine and contravenes Idaho Fish and Game’s policy condemning killing contests as unethical and ecologically unsound,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “It is high time the BLM acknowledges that wildlife killing contests are not an acceptable ‘use’ of public lands.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 800,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Western Watersheds Project works to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in the West through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy.
Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Join our community on Facebook and Twitter.

source: The Wildlife News 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

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.  

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