Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Posted: 12 Oct 2012

Panel of experts at Yellowstone wolf symposium.
Reintroduction reconnection – Defenders’ Northern Rockies wolf expert Suzanne Stone traveled to Yellowstone National Park this week for a class reunion of sorts. It’s been 17 years since she and others helped reintroduce wolves to the region, and those involved with the effort were invited to a symposium to gather an oral history of the momentous undertaking.

Suzanne participated in a panel discussion about wolf reintroduction alongside leading biologists and fellow veteran wildlife managers—all of them playing a key role in making reintroduction happen. Many attendees were amazed by the re-growth of area willow, aspen and willow in places that just years ago were almost stripped of young trees and bushes, a favorite of over burgeoning elk herds.  Today’s Yellowstone is a remarkably different place than it was less than two decades ago thanks to the wolves returning to their historic role in maintaining ecological balance between predator and prey.
“It’s been great to reconnect with a lot of old friends again. Today, the wolves in Yellowstone are the fifth generation from those we released into the Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996. It’s hard to believe that 17 years has gone by this fast.” – Suzanne Stone
Rocky Mountain Director Mike Leahy testifying in opposition to Gallatin County’s large predator policy. Photo courtesy of NBC Montana.
Boos from Bozeman for county predator policy – Residents of Bozeman, Montana turned out in force Tuesday morning to oppose Gallatin County’s ill-conceived predator policy. Not a single person testified in support of the policy, which endorses reducing predator populations to the bare minimum required under the law. Defenders and colleagues are proposing less acrimonious alternatives such as a citizens working group on wolves, yet the county commission suggested it is likely to approve the resolution nonetheless. Watch this clip from NBC Montana, including footage of Rocky Mountain Director Mike Leahy sharing his concerns with the commission.

WDFW evaluates Wedge Pack decision – Thanks to all the wolf supporters that showed up for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s meeting in Olympia last Friday. According to coverage from the Seattle Times, some 40 people offered public comment on the state’s handling of the Wedge Pack situation, which resulted in the removal of six wolves in response to continued cattle losses. Defenders board member Ruth Musgrave testified on our behalf, expressing our serious concerns with the state’s failure to exhaust nonlethal options before deciding to remove the entire pack. We hope the state will use this painful lesson to avoid losses of both cattle and wolves in the future.

Get ready to be WAW’d  – Don’t forget Sunday starts Wolf Awareness Week. You can help us spread the word by telling your friends on Facebook and Twitter and encouraging them to follow Defenders. Stay tuned…we’ve got a few surprises in store…