Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Posted: 24 Feb 2012

A massive bull elk stands it ground in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.
Feds shoot down 14 wolves in the Lolo — Late Wednesday, the Idaho Fish and Game Department announced that 14 wolves in the Lolo zone of the Clearwater National Forest had been killed by federal agents. USDA Wildlife Services carried out the lethal removal in order to boost elk numbers in the region which have been declining since the mid-‘90s for a multitude of reasons.

Many Defenders’ members, supporters, and colleagues asked the Obama Administration to stay out of Idaho’s wolf reduction program, but instead Wildlife Services went in and killed these wolves without any public notice. It wasn’t until we saw Idaho Fish and Game’s press release that we learned of the action.

As our wolf expert Suzanne Stone pointed out in the Spokesman Review, the news was yet another indication that Idaho is acting too aggressively to reduce wolf numbers.
“That is our concern and it has been all along, that Idaho is focused entirely on killing wolves rather than preserving the species,” Stone said.
For more details, read our full press release
.Is OR7 heading home? — Journey’s journey in California may finally be coming to a close, at least for his first visit. Over the past week, OR7, the dispersing male wolf also known as “Journey,” has made his way north into Siskiyou County, near where he entered the state at the end of 2011. Yesterday, he came within five miles of the Oregon border. Will he stay in the Golden State or cross back into Oregon? Follow the latest updates from California Fish and Game to find out where he will go next.

Suzanne Stone was also in California this week serving as an adviser to state and federal wildlife managers on issues ranging from wolf dispersal and behavior to coexistence strategies and public outreach.  Soon, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to include northern California and the Pacific Northwest as a new wolf recovery zone.  We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

Nonlethal works – Wally Sykes of Joseph, Oregon speaks the truth. In his letter to the editors of the Wallowa County Chieftain, Sykes counters the paper’s bald assertions with some verifiable results from the field:
Since wolves arrived in Wallowa County, no stock losses have occurred within turbo (electrified) fladry…Last year 11 miles of fladry were deployed, mostly to protect calving areas.
Fladry is the best protection, aside from human presence, for stock in pastures of around 160 acres or less, ideal for calving and temporary holding areas. In Idaho and Montana, some shepherds set up fladry every night, and have nearly stopped wolf predation. For a couple of months at a time, this stuff works. So do RAG boxes, activated by nearby collared wolves and programmable with a slew of sound effects.

The Chieftain is wrong about compensation too. Ten minutes’ research shows that all confirmed and probable losses in Oregon have been compensated at market value (half market for probables), not just “occasionally” as the Chieftain has it. Through last August, Defenders of Wildlife paid compensation and also funded much of the nonlethal methods. Now the Oregon taxpayer foots the bill.