Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hatred is the New Wolf Management Plan in Idaho

Jamie Rappaport Clark, © Defenders of Wildlife

What’s wrong with Idaho? The state demanded from the federal government the opportunity to manage wolves within their borders and they are now completely blowing it. Instead of continued recovery, what we’re seeing is no less than a war on wolves.

Make no mistake: its Idaho’s elected officials who are leading the charge against wolves. By implementing ever escalating wolf killing programs and ramping up the anti-wolf rhetoric to new heights, they are being successful in creating a destructive culture of wolf hatred and fear in the state based on myth and hype.

Killer Bee plane, © Lynne Stone

Wildlife Services agents fly the “killer bee” airplane over Flat Top ranch looking for coyotes and wolves to kill in response to sheep losses.

A prime example is Governor Otter’s recently established “wolf control board” to implement widespread wolf killing throughout the state. Apparently the zeal with which the Idaho Department of Fish and Game was killing wolves was not near good enough for the Governor, so he and the state legislature created an independent entity whose sole focus is the killing of wolves.  This sounds like a predator “management” strategy from the 1800’s, not the 21st century.

The five-member control board is charged with killing hundreds of Idaho’s wolves, driving Idaho’s current estimated wolf population of 659 down to as low as 150 animals. If any other wildlife population dropped as low as Idaho is planning to drop its wolf population, it would be a prime candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. With this latest move, Governor Otter is showing that he will stop at nothing to bring the wolf population down as low as possible in his state.

But Governor Otter’s wolf control board is just one arrow in the state’s quiver of wolf killing programs. Since December, Idaho state officials have authorized concealed aerial gunning programs, paid contractors to attempt to kill entire wolf packs in designated wilderness areas, allowed competitive wolf killing derbies to take place and liberalized  hunting and trapping regulations to kill as many wolves as possible as fast as they can. According to Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s annual population count released last week, a total of 473 wolves were killed by people in 2013, resulting in a 9 percent decline in the population. Since wolves were delisted in 2009 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho has seen a 23 percent decline in its wolf population, and the reported number of successful breeding pairs in Idaho has declined by 59 percent.

Gibbon wolf pack, © NPS

Gibbon pack in Yellowstone.

Idaho is just getting started. The full effect of their new wolf-killing policies — like Governor Otter’s wolf control board or Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s new predation management plan – which calls for killing up to 60 percent of the wolves living in the heart of the federally designated Frank Church Wilderness area – have yet to be felt. With these aggressive tactics in place, Idaho state officials are openly  predicting a dramatic decline in Idaho’s wolf population.

This is one of the reasons why Defenders has now requested that Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell initiate an immediate status review of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies as a first step to determine whether the species should be relisted under the Endangered Species Act in that region.

Idaho’s continued acceleration of wolf killing as a management strategy is institutionalizing a culture of wolf hatred and irresponsible wildlife management.  And it clearly raises serious concerns about the state’s ability to sustainably manage the species amidst such a climate of hostility. Acts that normally would fall well outside the bounds of fair chase and responsible  hunting ethics are now being touted  as justified and routine.  First, it was county employees who began taking matters into their own hands. A sheriff and his staff created the “shoot, shovel and shut up” raffle publicly condoning vigilante killing of wolves at a time when they were still protected under federal law.

Next, a Forest Service employee posted pictures of himself posed in front of a leg hold trapped and injured wolf in a circle of snow soaked in blood before he killed it. After these acts were met with resounding silence from state and federal wildlife managers, the floodgates opened. It is truly unfortunate to now see the  number of social media sites promoting brutal wolf killing, for example:

 Idaho against the Gray Wolves ; Kill the Wolves ; Kill all the wolves (every last worthless vermin wolf!); Wolves Are Profane Vermin Not Scared Animals ; The Only Good Wolf is A Dead Wolf.

And this vigilante attitude is spreading across wolf country. In Wyoming, wolf extremists are posting pictures of themselves in white hoods with dead wolves, earning them shockingly favorable comparisons to the KKK. Another strapped a dead wolf carcass to the top of his car and parked it in a local town square, then called the press, to attract more attention.

We must combat the notion that what Idaho is resorting to is traditional or responsible “wildlife management” before other states follow their lead. Washington, Oregon and hopefully, California have an important opportunity to manage wolves in a more principled, ethical and sustainable manner. These states should continue to focus on wolf management solutions that promote proven methods for people and predators to coexist, instead of archaic strategies that focus exclusively on killing as many wolves as possible.

Wood River team, © Defenders of Wildlife

Last year’s Wood River field crew.

Thankfully, there are programs in place that do just this, even in Idaho. For example, working with ranchers and local officials in Idaho’s Blaine County, Defenders has pioneered practical solutions to reduce livestock losses to wolves and other predators. Using non-lethal deterrents like fladry, range riders and electric fencing, we have developed programs that dramatically reduce or eliminate livestock losses and build social acceptance for wolves. We have proven that non-lethal wolf management strategies work better over the long term in reducing wolf/livestock conflicts than simply killing wolves.

Idaho is demonstrating to us all  that in the end, they are not capable of or interested in managing wolves responsibly. It would be an enormous tragedy if we saw this type of behavior move beyond Idaho to other states if this war on wolves is allowed to persist. It doesn’t speak well of us at all if this is how we want to be seen as stewards of our natural resources legacy.

After being persecuted for centuries, wolves deserve a better future in this country, and in Idaho in particular.

By Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife

This blog post was originally published in the Huffington Post.


Isle Royale Wolfe - Moose Report now available

Download your copy by clicking this link:  2013-2014 Annual Report

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#Wolf Art (must be seen to be appreciated!)

Thanks to @Adelheid on Twitter, for the info as to who the artist is. This stunning portrait was painted by Carl Brenders, titled Lookout Tower.

Please, click on the image to get the wallpaper size. Isn't it just gorgeous???

WI's wolf population declines 19% and this state's F&G thinks that's fine.

In this undated photo provided by Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a gray wolf is seen in a wooded area near Wisconsin Dells.

Jayne Belsky via WDNR and AP

In this undated photo provided by Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a gray wolf is seen in a wooded area near Wisconsin Dells.

Increased wolf hunting and trapping in 2013 resulted in a 19% reduction in the Wisconsin wolf population, according to a preliminary report issued Tuesday by the Department of Natural Resources.

The state’s wolf population was estimated at between 658 and 687 animals in late winter, down from 809 to 834 in late winter 2012-’13. The wolf update was announced Tuesday in Wausau at a meeting of the state’s Wolf Advisory Committee. “The goal for the season was to apply downward pressure (on the wolf population),” said Dave MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist. “The increased mortality associated with harvest was the difference.”

After state wildlife managers more than doubled the number of wolf harvest permits, hunters and trappers killed 257 wolves in Wisconsin last fall, up from 117 in 2012. The 2013-’14 winter population represents the first substantial decrease in the Wisconsin wolf population since state biologists began to chart the species’ recovery. There were an estimated 25 wolves in Wisconsin in 1979-’80.

From 1993 to 2012, wolves in Wisconsin showed annual increases in both number of individuals and packs. But in January 2012 the federal government removed the wolf from protections of the Endangered Species Act and states in the Great Lakes region resumed management of the species.
The Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 169 in April 2012, authorizing the first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season in state history.

With state management restored, the DNR announced its desire to reduce the wolf population to a "biologically and socially acceptable level." The 1999 Wisconsin wolf management plan established a wolf population goal of 350 animals. Even with 117 wolves killed by hunters and trappers in 2012, the first regulated wolf season in state history, the population was stable.

However, the DNR raised the kill goal to 251 wolves in 2013, more than double the quota in 2012.
A model developed by University of Wisconsin researchers estimated a kill of 251 wolves would result in a population reduction as large as 23%. The 19% population reduction reported by DNR officials is “in line” with the objective for the season, MacFarland said.

In additon to the 257 wolves killed by hunters and trappers last year, 65 wolves were killed for depredation control, 21 died from vehicle collisions, 11 were illegally killed, six died of unknown causes and two from natural mortality.

The committee on Tuesday began formulating recommendations for the 2014-’15 wolf harvest quota.
The DNR is also updating the state’s wolf management plan. A draft should be available for public review this fall, according to the agency.


Should We Save the Wolves of Isle Royale?

A photo of a wolf on Isle Royale.
The number of wolves on Isle Royale National Park (pictured, an animal in 2008) have dwindled to just nine animals. PHOTOGRAPH BY ROLF O. PETERSON 

Christine Dell'Amore
National Geographic
Published April 27, 2014

The call of the wild in northern Michigan's Isle Royale National Park may be losing one of its voices: that of the gray wolf. In 2009, scientists documented about 24 wolves living on this remote, forested island in Lake Superior (map). But as of February 2014, that population has dwindled to nine—the second lowest total ever recorded, according to the Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale Project, which calls itself the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system in the world.

Map of wolves.
The reason for the decline is likely inbreeding. Because there's so little genetic diversity among the remaining wolves, all the animals have skeletal deformities, and their weakened state could be interfering with reproduction: Only three pups were born in 2013.

Scientists say inbreeding has become more of an issue because the ice bridge that often connected mainland Ontario, Canada, and Isle Royale in the winter no longer predictably forms, due to steadily rising temperatures in the region. So wolves from Canada are rarely able to cross the bridge and bring new genes to the existing pack. (Last year's unusually cold winter did produce an ice bridge, and one wolf that left the island was shot by a hunter on the mainland.)

The changed landscape presents scientists with a dilemma. Should they intervene to save Isle Royale's wolves, or let nature take its course?

Wolves are relatively recent arrivals to the island, which has hosted a changing constellation of wildlife over the centuries. The populations of beaver, moose, fox, and other animals there are constantly shifting. And although wolves are considered endangered in other parts of the country, they aren't in Michigan. (Read "Wolf Wars" in National Geographic magazine.)

On April 9, the U.S. National Park Service made its stance clear: The agency will not take any immediate action to bring wolves to the island. "We think there's enough issues and questions that are unanswered that we need to take a much closer look at it," Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green told National Geographic. 

The park came to its conclusion after reviewing the best available science and the benefits to the public, Green said. "In reality what we come back to is finding the right juxtaposition between law, science, and the long-term stewardship of the island." (See: National Geographic's profile on Isle Royale.)

The Park Service decision doesn't sit well with some scientists, including Rolf Peterson, a wildlife ecologist at Michigan Technological University in Houghton who began leading the Isle Royale wolf-and-moose study in the 1970s.

The common notion that we should "let nature take care of herself and not be meddling presumes that Mother Nature is intact," Peterson said. "But we started cutting off her fingers some time ago." 

A photo of wolves on Isle Royale.
A pack of wolves travel Isle Royale National Park, which is located in Lake Superior, in 2005.
Photograph by Rolf Peterson
Genetic Rescue

Instead of taking a hands-off approach, Peterson believes that a few wolves from the mainland should be released on Isle Royale—a strategy called genetic rescue.

Wolves first showed up on Isle Royale in the 1940s, when a handful crossed the ice bridge from Ontario just a few decades after moose had made the same trek. The research study examining the relationship between predator and prey began in 1959. (Watch video: "Wolf Hunting Tactics.")
The research found that when new wolves crossed the ice bridge and joined the existing population, their fresh DNA invigorated the packs, leading to a healthier ecosystem, Peterson said.

When a new wolf appeared in 1997, for instance, the rejuvenated population hunted more moose in the following decade than ever before. Now the wolves are hunting very few moose, and with fewer predators, the moose population has doubled in the past three years, to more than 970.

The antlered herbivores are poised to quickly eat through the 206-square-mile (534-square-kilometer) island's balsam fir and other vegetation, presenting yet another problem for scientists. "There's a mythical belief that Isle Royale has been working well because we kept our hands off it," Peterson said. "In my opinion, it worked well because there were wolves there."

A photo of a wolf inspecting a dead moose on Isle Royale.
A wolf inspects the carcass of a moose—one of its main sources of prey—on Isle Royale National Park in 2009. Photograph by Rolf Peterson 
Inbreeding Overblown?

Yet L. David Mech, a senior research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey who conducted the first three years of the Isle Royale study, argues that the population may not be as badly affected by inbreeding as Peterson asserts. He said there's no proof that inbreeding has affected the ability of the wolves to survive, pointing out that they did produce pups in 2013 and are still killing moose, albeit fewer. "I had argued it's always been inbred," said Mech, because the original population "was founded by one female and one or two males."

What's more, the global trend of climate change brings with it unpredictable extremes, such as more severe storms, that could create longer lasting ice bridges. (Related: "New Climate Change Report Warns of Dire Consequences.") "That makes me more inclined to continue to say, Let's just watch the situation and see what happens," Mech said. He also believes the scientific knowledge gained by observing the events on Isle Royale is extremely valuable and that intervention "corrupts the value of the whole study."

For instance, he said, if scientists had intervened and introduced wolves in 2013, "we wouldn't know if the animals that are left could reproduce." The new pups that year proved that they could.
Richard Thiel, a retired wolf expert at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said he's on the fence about whether to introduce wolves to Isle Royale. But he does see value in what he calls Mech's "argument for letting the system go." If wolves did become extinct, he said, "it would be interesting to see in X amount of years what happens to that system." 

Thiel noted that though the Park Service has historically adopted a wait-and-see management approach, the agency has made bold decisions to reintroduce animals before, including wolves to Yellowstone National Park, starting in 1995, and black-footed ferrets to Badlands National Park, also in the 1990s. (See: pictures of wolves in and around Yellowstone.)

Whether that was a success depends on whom you ask. The Yellowstone environment is undoubtedly more robust, but wolves that leave the park are often killed by hunters or ranchers, Thiel said. That's "part of beauty of NPS properties and part of the bane: How do we manage these ecosystems, and what should be in them?"

Isle Royale's Phyllis Green said the agency is "trying to look out for the system for the American public for the long term." For instance, the park attracts nature and animal lovers, offering 155 campsites in the summer. (See National Geographic's suggestions for best hikes on Isle Royale.)
"it's important to hear [from] the full range of folks—there can be a lot of passion when you hear about wolves," Green said.

A photo of a wolf on Isle Royale.
A wolf crosses a snowy plain on Isle Royale in 2010. Photograph by Rolf Peterson 
Inevitable Extinction?

The experts differ as to whether the wolves will survive if left alone. Mech believes they might. Thiel said he's "losing faith that there's long-term resilience in there." He said, "Small populations such as this simply can't beat the odds," 

Mike Phillips, who was a field biologist on Isle Royale in the 1980s and is now executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, went further, saying that the wolves' "extinction is inevitable—it's only a question of when."

Not only are the animals inbred and marooned without regular ice bridges, he said, but fragmented populations of animals are also generally more prone to go extinct. Phillips described what might be a sort of win-win situation for the park: Let the current group of wolves die out, for the benefit of science, and then immediately restock the island with wolves from the mainland, so that the ecosystem can bounce back. "The [National Park Service] could stop the drama by issuing one statement: 'We will promote studies through extinction and shortly thereafter reintroduce wolves,'" he said.

The agency did say in its April 9 statement that "if the island population of wolves declines to all males or all females, and if the moose population grows to overbrowse island vegetation, bringing wolves to the island remains an option."

Phillips is convinced that "a lot of good science" could come from boosting the population with more wolves and "monitoring to see how new genes can be used to bring vigor to the population." Such observations could also have global import: Many species are becoming smaller and more isolated due to climate change and human disturbance. The fate of the Isle Royale wolves could "give us an idea of what populations around the world are headed for," Phillips said. 

Wisconsin's Thiel agreed: "We can watch them blink out, and reconstruct that whole thing, and use [it] as a predictive tool for other places where species are having trouble." Complicating the debate, he said, is the fact that nature itself is never static, so it's difficult to say that wolves should be on the island. "We know in our heart of hearts that natural ecosystems are always changing," he said. "The ideal state is in itself elusive."

Unique Place

One thread seems to unites all of the people who've worked on Isle Royale: Their love of a unique, uninhabited park, one that's hard to access but that gives visitors an unsullied wilderness experience. "One of the draws of Isle Royale has been that there are wolves there," said Thiel. "It's so fascinating to walk through an area that's not touched by humans. You can't find any place like that in North America, even in Yellowstone."

He added, "If you're lucky, you roll over in your sleeping bag in the middle of the night and hear the wolves howling." (See "Wolves Identified by Unique Howls, May Help Rare Species.")
How long that will remain possible is unclear.

Wolf of the Day

Loups arctiques (Artic wolves) Parc Animalier Sainte-Croix

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wolf of the Day

" Can you hear me now? "

Are you as deaf as IDAHO?

Wolf and Elk Relationship by a Biology Prof.

April 24, 2014 

I am a former professor of biology and have conducted research on elk/wolf biology for 10 years. The Idaho Fish and Game issued a plan for Idaho's wilderness area for the elimination of
60 percent of wolves. This action was based on declines in elk numbers, which the report concludes is due to "low reproductive success" (page 1) of female elk caused by wolves.

This conclusion that wolves are the primary cause is not supported by the body of scientific evidence. Rather, evidence shows that hunters and nutrition are important contributors. For example, the Journal of Wildlife Management recently published a study that compared the impact of hunters versus wolves on the reproductive potential of female elk. The percentage of reproductive female elk killed by hunters was 58 percent, by wolves it was 7 percent. More than 50 percent of female elk killed by hunters were pregnant and almost none killed by wolves. The overall effect is that hunters have a 32 percent higher impact than wolves on the reproductive success of female elk.

We may not always make the best decisions, but we can be confident that the better decisions are those based on the careful review of all the information that is available.

Mark Lung, Boise


An important message from #HowlingforWolves




Call now, ask for wolf protection this session!


Howling For Wolves recently learned that Suspend the Wolf Hunt emails sent on behalf of Minnesota wolf supporters were intentionally BLOCKED by the Minnesota’s House of Representatives’ email system. We have worked around the block and re-sent those messages to your state representatives.
This means that the Minnesotans who signed our petition, whose messages were then emailed to their state representatives, only recently had their messages sent to their state representative. Yes, your representatives are getting many messages for the very first time!
You may have received a response from your state representative. The state representative’s response is delayed because your message to them was delayed due to the state system block on your communications.
But we have their attention now. And we will use this situation and timing to our advantage. In the final weeks of session, we are increasing pressure on our state lawmakers to protect the wolf.
Our bills did not make it through the committee process but these bills are available for amendments and we are ready to introduce them. This is where you can help us put on the pressure for the wolf.
Come to our wolf watch sessions. We want to hold MN senate and house “wolf watch sessions” outside each chamber at the beginning of session each day.
We will have our supporters come to the capitol for the beginning of each day’s legislative session to greet lawmakers and hold small signs (no sticks please) to remind our lawmakers of the wolf.
Please join us when you can even if for only a short stay for the wolf. We are going to be there starting with the state of the state address Wednesday evening.
You can email us at Here are the links for the legislative session schedules:
Keep howling,
   Howling for Wolves
PS: If you can’t make a session, then make a phone call to your MN lawmakers.  Find contact information to your state representative and senator.
Tell them to stop the barbaric and indiscriminate methods of killing wolves and to protect the wolf. Call governor office: Governor Mark Dayton contact info and Web comment form.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wolves facing possible death sentence

Wolf D. Fuhrig
13 hours ago |

The Idaho legislature recently passed a bill to create a “Wolf Depredation Control Board.” It is to administer a fund for killing some 500 wolves at a cost of some $400,000 in state funds. That would leave no more than 150 wolves, or 10 packs, in all of the large territory of Idaho.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group with more than 675,000 members, bemoaned the plan: “Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable. The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude.”

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protected the gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains, but three years ago Congress lifted that part of the law. Since then, reports spoke of 1,592 wolves killed in Idaho and Montana. Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, for example, sent a hunter-trapper into the “Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness” to get rid of two wolf packs. “Yet again, Idaho has put a black eye on decades of tireless work to return wolves to the American landscape,” said Weiss. “Reducing these wolf populations to below even the absolute bare minimum sets a dangerous precedent and ensures that true wolf recovery will be little more than a pipe dream in Idaho.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required to review the wolf population and if the Idaho law threatens its existence. The agency must then decide whether to reinstate the protections of the Endangered Species Act. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed ranchers and their employees to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves.

Idaho Conservation Officer George Fischer observed that “Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently released its “2013 Idaho Wolf Monitoring Progress Report.” It found 124 wolf packs in Idaho at the end of 2013, fewer than the 117 documented at the end of 2012. Mean pack size was 5.4 at the end of 2013, approximately 33 percent smaller than the average of 8.1 wolves per pack during the three years before hunting seasons were established in 2009.

Wolves are the largest members of the dog family. In their relations with humans, they have long been adversaries although they rarely attack humans. Known to attack domestic animals, wolves have therefore been shot, trapped, and poisoned to near extinction in the lower 48 states. While a few packs of gray wolves survived, others have been reintroduced, particularly in the northwestern United States.

According to the National Geographic magazine, there are between 7,000 and 11,200 wolves in Alaska and more than 5,000 in the lower 48 states. Around the world, the total number of the species is estimated to be roughly 200,000 in 57 countries, compared to some 2 million in earlier times.

Wolves live and hunt in packs of six to 10 animals. They tend to roam large distances hunting for their preferred prey, such as deer, elk, moose, and caribou. A single wolf can consume as much as 20 pounds of meat after a successful hunt. Wolf packs organize in a strict hierarchy, with a dominant male leading and his mate following closely behind him.

This couple tend to be the pack’s only breeding adults while the other adults help care for the young. Wildlife observers in Idaho counted 39 cattle, 404 sheep, four dogs, and one horse killed by wolves in a single year.


B.C. Public and NGO’s oppose Government Wolf Management Plan

Photo Credit: © Peter A. Dettling /
 ”Stop Killing. Start Conserving.”:  B.C. Public and NGO’s oppose Government Wolf Management Plan
News Release by
Sadie Parr – Spokesperson
Wolf Awareness Inc.
Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf”.
-Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain.
Wolf2 copy
Photo Credit: © Peter A. Dettling /
BC government uses pretty words like sustainable to justify wolf killings.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – British Columbia, April 20, 2014:  Wolves.  Few species on the planet elicit such intense emotions and efforts to “control”.  Only in recent decades have we begun to understand the profound and dynamic ecological influences and economic benefits large carnivores such as wolves contribute to the planetIs government management of these iconic species keeping up?

The Province of British Columbia has spent significant time (the past 16 months) and resources to develop, seek input on, and further refine a wolf management plan for the province of BC.  While going through these motions, an overwhelming response against the proposed plan was put forward by the public as well as NGO’s.  During the short 3-week comment period just prior to Christmas in 2012, 1,614 comments were received AGAINST the proposed plan, urging the government to include more conservation and humane treatment of wolves.  There were 2,575 comments received in total during the allotted time period according to a FLNR ministry spokesperson, meaning that approximately 66% of comments were requesting major changes be implemented. Environmentalists, conservation groups and animal welfare advocates would like to ask, “What of the majority of comments requesting more conservation and humane treatment of wolves?”

In BC, Gray wolves, Canis lupus, are treated like vermin.  Ignored is the evidence that exploited wolf populations lead to smaller and more unstable packs, smaller territories, and more prey killed per capita, and/or alternative prey killed, by these inexperienced wolf packs[i],[ii].  All of this can increase conflicts with humans, who see wolves as competitors for livestock as well as wild game.
More than just pretty pictures, these iconic animals contribute to critical natural processes such as carbon storage, disease control, stream morphology, vegetation growth, mesopredator control, and more[iii],v, vi, vii .

Understanding the dynamic role large carnivores have ecologically should help foster coexistence, but the opposite is underway  according to a wolf management plan released by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNR) April 17. The government has continued to further relax hunting and trapping policies, as well as hired trappers and funded Conservation Officers in recent years to kill wolves.  The government has been engaging in sterilization experiments and government control (“kill”) for more than a decade and want to continue to, although the plan admits these programs have not resulted in any measurable benefits for caribou, despite nearly all of the wolves being killed in these caribou recovery areas.  In more than half of the province, hunters can now kill an unlimited number of wolves 365 days of the year. In other words, FLNR has completely ignored the wishes of 66% of the public respondents to the original draft plan who asked for MORE humane implementations and conservation goals. The allowable use of bait, neck snares, and motorized vehicles to kill wolves is completely out of sync with any concept of “Fair Chase.”

Wolf3 copy
Photo Credit: © Peter A. Dettling /

What’s missing from the plan?  The incredible social nature and family bonds shared among this intelligent species.  Many wolf biologists argue that allowing wolves to express their natural social behaviour benefits the wider ecosystem as well as wolves.  The BC government wants to kill wolves for sport, to appease ranchers, and to help save endangered species with a record high number of wolves being killed across the province through hunting and trapping since recording began in 1976.  The plan continues to condone widespread killing the guestimated population of 5,300 – 11,600, while neglecting to recognize ANY threats to wolves because cumulative impacts are ignored.  Concerns from several interest groups arise over this plan’s condoning of killing for amusement purposes and the lack of recognition of the intrinsic value of this sentient animal, which has evolved over millennia.

A preliminary wolf management plan for BC put forward in 1979 included several  goals and objectives pertaining to preserving wolf social stability,  providing educational outreach, respecting intrinsic value,  and establishing areas of protection that have been left out of the current plan.  Is British Columbia going backwards?

Decision-makers have refused to perform a proper peer-review of the plan outside of government. There is no accountability factored into the grossly exaggerated view of wolf impacts on the livestock industry presented, however this usually amounts to less than 3% of all livestock deaths[iv], as a review of government and cattleman statistics will reveal.

Environmental groups remain concerned that the wolf plan and current management methods lack a  truly ecological foundation.  Many argue that conservation, ecology, wolf social dynamics and ethical  considerations were left out of this plan and an apparent pre-determined agenda to legitimize and even encourage killing wolves has been exposed.

Sadie Parr, a spokesperson for the group Wolf Awarenss Inc. is not only concerned about what is IN the plan, but what else is MISSING from it as well: “Many scientists agree that all management plans for large carnivores should be based on conservation.  At the very least, this plan needs to include protected refuges for wolves and other  large carnivores in  areas large enough to ensure unique genetic identity is preserved and a vibrant future possible.” Parr adds, “Wolves are social animals.  More than just numbers.  Sustainable numbers do not necessarily mean that  a wolf population is functioning naturally.  Wolf social systems may be just as important as their numbers.  It is the wolf pack that is the top predator, not the individual wolf.  Their social bonds and kin-based families define what it means to be a wolf.  Management plans need to take this into account.”
As wild habitat decreases large carnivores are brought into closer proximity to humans, and the issue shifts from the biological needs of wolves to the tolerance of humans.  How willing are we to share the landscape with large carnivores?  And who is in charge of these decisions?  In a global biodiversity crisis and with predator-prey systems becoming more rare around the planet, we are ALL shareholders in the future of wolves in British Columbia.

Not only do wolves demonstrate a very high value to society and the planet, but they are also highly intelligent and sensitive.  Their intrinsic value and ecological role are worthy of preservation.
The Province must take some essential steps to reverse its track record of inadequate resource protection, under-regulated resource use, and under-achieving public process.  To do this, the British Columbia Wolf Conservation and Management Plan must make some major changes.

Wolf Awareness Inc is partnering with many groups across North America to urge a greater respect for this top predator, and asking for the plan to be IMMEDIATELY amended to include recommendations put forward by qualified non-government biologists, the IUCN as well as the 1979 preliminary plan.
Contact:  Sadie Parr, Spokesperson- Wolf Awareness Inc.
Tel: 250-272-HOWL (4695)
[i] Barbara Zimmerman. 2014. PhD thesis: Predatory behaviour of wolves in Scandinavia.  Faculty of Applied Ecology and Agricultural Sciences. Hedmark University College.
[ii] Dr. Gordon Haber and Marybeth Holleman.  2013.  Among wolves: Gordon Haber’s insights into Alaska’s most misunderstood animal.  University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, AK, USA.
[iii] Ripple, W.J., Beschta, R.L. 2012.  Trophic cascades in Yellowstone: The first 15 years after wolf reintroduction. Biological Conservation. 145: 205-213
[iv] Muhly, T., & Musiani, M. (2009). Livestock depredation by wolves and the ranching economy in the Northwestern US.Ecological Economics  68 ( 8–9): 2439–2450.


Idaho Steps Up Its Irrational War on Wolves

Posted by Richard Conniff on April 26, 2014

The sheriff claimed the shovel was for safety.
The sheriff claimed the shovel was for safety.

Something is loose in Idaho. Possibly a screw. The state’s ranchers and politicians, including the governor and the commissioner of Idaho Fish and Game, have somehow convinced themselves that they are at the mercy of roaming bands of savage sheep- and baby-snatching monsters, also known as wolves.

This notion has made Idaho anti-wolf activists so fearful and belligerent that they sound at times like New Jersey suburbanites in a gated community fretting about urban youth. Only more deadly.
Last month, Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter signed a law creating a wolf control board with the explicit purpose of killing all but 150 of the state’s remaining 650 wolves. State officials would have preferred total extermination: “If every wolf in Idaho disappeared I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” the new fish and game commissioner declared at his confirmation hearing in January. But when the federal government, which reintroduced wolves to Idaho in 1995, agreed to turn over management of the wolf population to the state, it stipulated 150 as the rock-bottom number of wolves the state needed to maintain. Idaho has apparently chosen to honor the letter rather than the spirit of that agreement. One anti-wolf group spokesman has even proposed radio-collaring 150 wolves to ensure that the state does not fall below that minimum and “trigger the feds coming back in.”

The newly authorized slaughter follows the killing of more than 1,000 wolves in Idaho since 2009, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first removed wolves from the endangered species list. This February alone, Idaho Fish and Game, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, used helicopters to gun down 23 wolves. In December, it sent a hired gun to kill nine wolves in the federally protected Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness Area. (The U.S. Forest Service, never a profile in political courage, pretended not to notice what was going on in an area Congress directed it to keep “untrammeled by man.”) Also that month, in the nearby town of Salmon, an Idaho hunting and gun rights group sponsored a wolf-killing derby.

“I’ve been doing wildlife work for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Jamie Rappoport Clark, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and now president of Defenders of Wildlife. “There is a vendetta against wolves that is not only unseemly, it’s reckless,” and “bordering on a vigilante movement.” Instead of seeking to moderate it, political officials have been egging it on. “This is politics gone rogue, and in the gun sights are wolves, who don’t deserve it,” she said.

In one remarkable example of institutionalized lawlessness, Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings in 2011 sponsored what he called the “308 SSS Idaho County Sheriff’s Wolf Raffle.” He claimed that the abbreviation SSS stood for “Safety, Security, and Survival.” But in rancher parlance, “SSS” means “Shoot, Shovel, and Shut up”—that is, kill the wolves, bury the evidence, and never mind what the law says. To drive home the point, Giddings himself posed with  a Winchester .308, a shovel, and a smile.

Since then, much of Idaho seems to have turned to shooting, shoveling, and shouting about it. The decision to abet this process with $400,000 a year in taxpayer funds comes in response to confirmed killings by Idaho wolves of 46 cattle and 413 sheep in 2013. Even taking top market rates of $900 for cattle and $150 for sheep, that adds up to just $103,350 in losses, for which the federal government now provides compensation funding. In the 25 years from 1987 to 2011, compensation paid to ranchers in Idaho for wolf losses totaled $1.4 million—less than the state now plans to spend in the first four years of its new killing program. So much for fiscal responsibility for Idaho Republicans like Gov. Otter.

The vendetta against wolves is particularly odd because wolves are vastly outnumbered in Idaho by other predators, including 30 grizzly bears, 3,000 mountain lions, 2,000 black bears, and 50,000 coyotes. The coyotes alone kill up to 10,000 sheep annually, said Suzanne Stone, a Boise resident and the wolf specialist at Defenders of Wildlife. That’s up to two dozen times as many as wolves kill. While ranchers with their .308s certainly fight back, their animosity toward these other predators doesn’t come anywhere close to the irrational hatred and spite they feel toward wolves.

Instead of exterminating wolves or paying compensation, Stone argued that it would be far cheaper to prevent killings in the first place. At the Wood River Valley Project, on 1,000 square miles of federal land in the Sawtooth Mountains, sheep grazers, government agencies, and Defenders of Wildlife collaborate to keep wolves away from livestock with non-lethal methods, including guarding dogs, sound devices, lighting, and flagging. One participant, Lava Lake Land and Livestock, boasts of “grazing a band of 1,000 sheep for a month in the immediate daily presence of a wolf pack with no losses of sheep or wolves.” Over six years, according to Stone, the program has lost just 30 sheep—about 1 percent of herds grazing there—without killing a single wolf.

Why not invest in that success? Or why not make wolves the basis for new jobs in the tourism economy, as has happened at Yellowstone National Park? Idaho’s political leadership, caught up in fairy-tale notions about wolves and a fanatic determination to oppose anything, even a native species, with the taint of the federal government on it, seems determined instead to drive this magnificent state down in a self-destructive cycle of hatred and killing.

For Idaho’s many wildlife-friendly residents, this may bring ruefully to mind a recent remark by comedian Stephen Colbert: “Idaho has just raised its speed limit to 80 miles an hour. Now you can get out of there even faster.” Instead, state residents should sign a Defenders of Wildlife petition demanding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service begin an immediate status review of Idaho’s wolves. (So far, the nation’s premier wildlife management agency has been timidly looking in almost any other direction.) Then state residents should get to work electing a government that actually believes in their future.


Wolf of the Day

Portrait of a wolf

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"Wolf population decreases, but no significant change from 2013" Say WHAT?

Wolf population decreases, but no significant change from 2013

The results of Michigan’s 2014 wolf population show no significant change in the number of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. According to the Department of Natural Resources, wildlife biologists estimate there is a minimum of 636 wolves in the state. In 2013, the population was estimated at 658 wolves. “Based on the 2014 minimum population estimate, it is clear that wolf numbers in Michigan are stable and have experienced no significant change,” DNR furbearer and bear specialist Adam Bump said in a press release.  “We also did not see a significant difference in the number and average size of wolf packs as compared to 2013.”

The DNR says in the past few years the minimum population stands between 600 and 700 wolves.
The DNR primarily used a track survey to count the number of wolves, but also used radio-collared wolves and aerial observations. About 63% of the U.P. was surveyed.

This winter, a wolf management hunt resulted in 22 wolves taken from three hunt units.  The target harvest was 43 wolves. “The fact that the 2014 estimate is 22 animals lower than the 2013 estimate is purely a coincidence,” Bump said. “We are using an estimate rather than counting all individual wolves on the landscape. In addition, wolf numbers vary greatly within a single year due to the birth of pups in the spring, and deaths from many causes of mortality other than hunting. What the estimate tells us is that the population has remained stable.”

For more on wolf management in the state, visit


Wolf of the Day


From the series, North America: Wolves hunting Caribou

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Noble Wolf, © Larry Gambon

Success for Arizona’s Mexican Gray Wolves: Arizona Governor Vetoes Bad Bills  
Last week, we updated you on the status of bad bills making their way through Arizona’s state legislature. But this week, we have some great news to report! Arizona’s Governor Brewer vetoed two anti-wolf bills.

Mexican gray wolf, © AZGFD

Mexican wolf, F511, in a holding pen before release into the wild.

The first would have given ranchers permission to kill endangered Mexican wolves on public land. If passed, this legislation would have put the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves at greater risk. The second bill called wolves “varmints” and aimed to end state participation in Mexican wolf recovery efforts unless the federal government coughed up funding for a vague laundry list of problems. We are thrilled that Governor Brewer has vetoed these senseless bills, which were more about making a statement about states’ rights than solving any important issues related to Mexican gray wolves. A third bill, which sought to establish a war chest of taxpayer money to fight federal efforts to recover the lobos, hasn’t made it out of the legislature.

Elk, © Michael Bazant

Record elk harvest in Wyoming proves there are still plenty to go around.

Poachers Kill More Elk in Idaho Than Do Wolves 
According to an article this week, poachers in Idaho killed more elk, moose and deer than wolves did in 2013. Officials reported 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer were killed by poachers in northern Idaho in 2013. They said that based on their estimates of undetected illegal killing,  poachers are actually killing as many as 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail deer annually in the region and thousands more statewide. Too often Idaho places the blame for declining elk hunting opportunities on wolves. This bit of news coverage sheds some light on a more significant threat to elk—illegal killing—instead of using wolves as a scapegoat.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Brewer vetoes bill letting ranchers kill endangered wolves on federal lands

April 23, 2014  • 

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer will not give ranchers and their employees permission to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal lands.

The measure vetoed Tuesday was crafted by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford. She has been a vocal foe of the program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the wolves into sections of Arizona and New Mexico, saying they endanger not only cattle but also pets and children.

SB 1211 would have spelled out that ranchers could “take” — legalese for kill — a wolf that was killing, wounding or biting livestock. It also would have legalized the killing of a wolf by a guard dog that is protecting livestock.

The measure would also have permitted killing a wolf in self-defense or defense of others. In that case, though, the act would have to be reported within 24 hours to the U.S. Agriculture Department.
Brewer, in her veto message, said she is a strong supporter of states’ rights. But she said SB 1211 was both unnecessary and conflicts with federal law.

She said the Arizona Game and Fish Department already is working with federal agencies to deal with how wolf reintroduction will affect the state. By contrast, Brewer said SB 1211 would have given that duty to the state Agriculture Department, the agency responsible for dealing with ranchers and grazing.

Beyond that, Brewer said the legislation sought to put the Mexican wolf in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears. But she said that is in conflict with federal law, which does allow killing those two species in certain circumstances, but not the wolves. “A state simply does not have the power to allow a ‘take’ on federal lands,” the governor wrote.

Brewer took no action Tuesday on HB 2699, a related measure on her desk. It would allow a livestock operator or agent to kill a wolf on public lands in self-defense or the defense of others, with the only requirement that it be reported to the USDA.

But that measure also contains language that Brewer could find in conflict with federal law.
It directs the Attorney General’s Office to seek funds from the federal government to pay ranchers for their losses. But it also says that if the federal government doesn’t come up with the cash, the Legislature will consider a measure to require that Mexican wolves be restricted to federally controlled lands and removed from state and private lands.


AZ Fish and Game expand Mexican Wolf Territory


The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to allow up to triple the target number of Mexican wolves in the Southwest from the 1982 recovery plan’s goal of not less than 100 wolves to achieve a self-sustaining population. There will be a major expansion of the area where wolves can be released to include the Secondary Recovery Zone.

The area where Mexican wolves can disperse and establish territories will be expanded and a connectivity corridor for wolves to disperse to the species’ core historical range in Mexico will be established.

The plan devised will recognized “the importance of Mexico as a primary element to successful Mexican wolf recovery.”

Residents in rural Arizona have not been very concerned for the welfare of their livestock and small children due to reports of wolf attacks in other parts of the country.

Officials with Game and Fish recognize that. J.W. Harris, chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission said “The biggest impediment to the Mexican wolf reintroduction effort in the Southwest isn’t biologically-based. It’s social tolerance for an apex predator on today’s modern landscape that must support such a wide variety of conservation, recreation and economic uses. This alternative represents the first time such a broad-based group has come together for Mexican wolf conservation, and it goes a long ways to enhancing social tolerance and, in turn, successful conservation of the species.”

The Commission claims that the “alternative provides concepts that stakeholders want the Service to evaluate as it prepares the draft EIS that will eventually be opened to broad public review and comment.”

In December 2013, hundreds of Arizonans including ranchers, environmentalists, local citizens and local government organizations attended the Pinetop, Arizona meeting in opposition to the expansion.
In Arizona, the wolf’s primary recovery zone is in northern Arizona’s Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva has fought for expansion of territory. He has argued that the federal government will need “new areas and wide dispersal over time in order to recover.”

In his article entitled, Release of “Mexican Grey Wolf” example of US Govt forest, game mismanagement, Mark Finchem notes that “organizations like the Defenders of Wildlife, Wild Earth Guardians and other pro-wolf activists have organized and boast that they will essentially make the wild lands of the United States off limits to the very people who live, play and work on them. This is a radical and deadly movement supported for the most part by city dwellers who know nothing of the violent and vicious manner in which wolves take down their prey.”


Mexican Wolves need our help now more than ever!

Arizona Game and Fish Endorses Plan to Ramp Up Killing of Endangered Wolves

Center for Biological Diversity • Endangered Wolf Center • Grand Canyon Wildlands Council • Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter • Sierra Club – Rio Grande Chapter • White Mountain Conservation League • Wolf Conservation Center

Arizona Game and Fish Endorses Plan to Ramp Up Killing of Endangered Wolves

April 25, 2014 - PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Commission unanimously endorsed a plan this week that will make it vastly easier to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico and arbitrarily caps the number of wolves in both states at 300, and allowing for a number as low as 125. Significantly, the commission also recommends that management of wolves be taken away from the federal government, where it has been since passage of the federal Endangered Species Act, and given to the state, which has long been hostile to wolves.

The proposal, called the “cooperating agencies alternative,” is a collection of previously discarded policies that failed to promote wolf recovery. “If this alternative is enacted, it will likely mean a second extinction in the wild for Mexican wolves,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “The document limits the number of animals arbitrarily, restricts the recovery area, eliminates opportunities for connected multiple populations, and promotes more frequent removal or killing of wolves. This is not a proposal to recover a highly endangered species. It is a proposal to exterminate them.”

“This chilling proposal would bring the Mexican wolf even closer to the brink of extinction while advancing the states-rights goal of wresting control of endangered wildlife and bringing both the feds and wild animals to heel,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Arizona Game and Fish has long advocated the killing of Mexican wolves, and now seeks to increase and institutionalize the slaughter, and make the policy of killing wolves immune to any last-ditch efforts to save them in the event of a declining population.”

The proposal, now sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is intended to guide management of this endangered wolf population, which now stands at about 83 in the two states.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission called a last-minute telephonic meeting to endorse this alternative, despite having earlier indicated publicly that this issue would not be addressed until its June meeting. In developing the proposal, Arizona Game and Fish included nearly all of the groups that have historically objected to wolf recovery – livestock interests, trappers, and some counties and hunting groups – but no groups that have supported wolf recovery. The document was not made available for review until right before Tuesday’s telephone meeting and members of the public who wished to comment were required to be present at the Game and Fish office in north Phoenix, rather than being able to participate from satellite offices throughout the state as is often the case.

“Why is Arizona Game and Fish leaving out large segments of the public and rushing through policies to hinder the recovery of a highly endangered species?” said Bahr. “The agency and commission should be embarrassed by both its conduct and the fact that it has endorsed an alternative that is contrary to federal law, contrary to the best science, and clearly intended to limit wolf recovery.”

The proposed “extinction” alternative is indefensible in many ways.
  1. The document includes uncited research from the northern Rockies that states Arizona and New Mexico can only accommodate 200-300 wolves (page 4). This is contrary to the best available science from members of the recovery team.
  2. It proposes to cap the population of wolves at 300 across both Arizona and New Mexico (page 8), but states that 125 animals will be its fallback number and that it will be willing to try to manage for 200 to 300 wolves only if every wolf beyond the 300 threshold is trapped or killed expeditiously. These numbers are far lower than the 750 minimum threshold scientists on the recovery team have proposed based on the best available science.
  3. The alternative includes a broad provision to allow the states to remove or kill wolves to maintain this arbitrary cap, or because they impact game species, or any other reason, including “to avoid conflict with human activities.” (page 25).
  4. It allows landowners and livestock permittees to kill wolves for a long list of reasons, including if a wolf “harassed” a pet (page 22).
  5. It revives SOP 13.0, a discarded policy that led to the deaths and removals of entire packs of wolves, regardless of the wolves’ genetic value or necessity to dependent pups, until the wild population declined to only 42 wolves in 2009  (page 9).
  6. It seeks to limit federal actions to recover Mexican wolves to law enforcement only in areas “claimed” by state authority. The federal government can check on the states’ progress every three years (page 16).
The game department alternative would also grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Wildlife Services” agency, which kills predators for ranchers, sweeping authority to decide which wolves to kill. The alternative even purports to constrain future U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision-making on what standards to use in removing the Mexican wolf from the endangered species list.

“This alternative would relegate the Fish and Wildlife Service, which by law must recover endangered species, to two roles: reporting once every three years on the status of the wolf population, and disposing of the carcasses of wolves on an ongoing basis,” said Robinson.

The Sierra Club is one of the oldest grassroots environmental organizations in the country with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide.  The Sierra Club’s mission is “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; and to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environments.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Wolf of the Day

Portrait of a wolf

A Mexican Gray Wolf Conducts a Symphony (Video)

AZGFD Endangered Species Update

Endangered Species Updates
April 24, 2014
Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update
March 1-31, 2014
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF).  Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA).  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at
or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit  On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to:  (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653.  To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System:  Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history.  Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older.  Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups.  The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions:  A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory.  In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status.  The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it.  The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs.  If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.


At the end of March 2014, the collared population consisted of 48 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 14 packs and two single wolves.  Wolves M1296 and f1327 have been traveling together for three months and will now be officially named the Mangas Pack.


Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1275, mp1330, mp1331, fp1332, fp1333, fp1339, fp1340 and M1341)
During March, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF.  The Bluestem Pack was monitored this month as part of a predation study.  On March 8, members of the IFT found a yearling elk the Bluestem pack had killed and eaten.  On March 17, the IFT investigated a report of a single wolf south of Big Lake.  IFT members investigated the area the following day and found all collared members of the Bluestem Pack in the area.  IFT members also found the carcass of a cow elk that the pack had killed and eaten.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
During March, the IFT located this pack traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona.  The collar on AM1287 has stopped working, but the IFT has verified that the wolf is alive and still traveling with F1294.         

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038 and f1280)
In March, the IFT documented these wolves using the Hawks Nest traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF.  

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and f1305)
Throughout March, the IFT located AM1107 and f1305 using the south-central portion of the ASNF.  


Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, f1291, f1335, m1342 and mp1336)
In March, the Maverick Pack traveled on the FAIR and the central portion of ASNF.  The Maverick Pack continues to travel together in their traditional territory.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared AM1253 M1343 and f1283)
On March 31, the IFT located AM1253 dead.  The cause of death is under investigation.  Wolf f1283 is traveling with M1343 and is now called the Tsay o Ah Pack.


Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
During March, the IFT located these wolves traveling together in the central portion of the GNF.  On March 11, the IFT found two to three sets of tracks left by the Canyon Creek Pack indicating a third uncollared wolf is still traveling with M1252 and F1246.     

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)
Throughout March, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.  M1293 has been periodically located separately from the Dark Canyon Pack during the month.  On March 6, IFT members located two sets of tracks left by AM992 and AF923 indicating no other wolves were traveling with the pack.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276 and m1345)
During March, the IFT documented these wolves traveling in the northwest portion of the GNF.  M1276 has not been located during the month of March.  On March 28, the IFT captured and re-collared AM1158.  On March 29, the IFT captured an uncollared juvenile wolf.  The wolf was collared, designated m1345 and released on site in the GNF.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, m1284, m1285, m1286 and m1337)
In March, the IFT located the alpha pair in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.  All the juvenile wolves in this pack except m1337 have been located separate from the adult wolves throughout March, but have periodically traveled back into the Luna Pack territory.  At the end of March both m1284 and m1285 were located with single wolf f1278.      

Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout March, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Mangas Pack (M1296 and f1327)
In March M1296 and f1327, originally from the San Mateo Pack, had been traveling together for three months.  The pair is utilizing the area in the Northeastern Portion of the GNF.  The new pair has periodically been located outside the BRWRA, but has returned on their own within the BRWRA boundary.  

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157,  AF903 and m1282)
In March, the IFT located AM1157 and AF903 in the pack’s traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF.   The collared San Mateo juveniles have dispersed from the main pack and have been traveling with other single wolves.  On March 28, the IFT captured f1295 with m1282 near the Malpais National Monument.  The wolves were removed to captivity and will be re-released into the BRWRA later this year. For the past three months, f1327 has been located with wolf M1296 in the northern portion of the GNF; they are now officially called the Mangas Pack.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, mp1329 and mp1338)
During March, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has not been able to locate mp1329 during the month of March.  On March 22, a private licensed trapper caught AM1185.  The IFT responded to the trap site, processed AM1185 and released the wolf within its home-range.    

M1240 (collared)
The IFT documented this wolf traveling through the central portion of the GNF.  M1240 was located with f1278 for most of March.  M1240 was located separate from f1278 at the end of March possibly due to the Luna juveniles m1284 and m1285 being in the area with f1278.  

f1278 (collared)
The IFT documented f1278 traveling in the central portion of the GNF.  The IFT has located f1278 was with single male M1240 for most of March.  At the end of March, f1278 was located with Luna Pack dispersing wolves m1284 and m1285.

f1295 (collared)
In March, f1295 was located traveling with m1282 from the San Mateo Pack outside of the BRWRA.  The IFT captured both of these wolves on March 28 with a helicopter.  The pair will be held in captivity and re-released into the BRWRA later this year.  


On March 31, AM1253 was found dead.  The cause of death is under investigation.


During March, there were seven livestock depredation reports and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.

On March 7, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico.  The cow was determined to be a probable wolf kill.

On March 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Govina Canyon, New Mexico.  The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf. The incident was assigned to AM1185 and AF1279 of the Willow Springs Pack.

On March 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf on BLM land north of the BRWRA in New Mexico.  The cause of death was probable wolf. 

On March 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in the north central portion of the GNF in New Mexico.  The cause of death was determined to be a confirmed wolf.  The incident was assigned to an uncollared member(s) loosely associated but not traveling with the Willow Springs Pack

On March 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow on WMAT.  The cow was determined not to have been killed by wolves, but died of other causes.

On March 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow west of Strayhorse in Arizona.  The cause of death was confirmed as a wolf and assigned to an uncollared wolf.

On March 31, Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow in the north central portion of the GNF in New Mexico.  The injuries were confirmed to have been wolf caused and the cow was euthanized due to the extent of the injuries.  The incident was assigned to AM1185, AF1279 and m1338 of the Willow Springs Pack.


On March 13, Project personnel captured M1133 at the Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility and transferred him to Wolf Conservation Center in New York.


On March 19, the IFT hosted an independent film crew in Arizona

On March 20, IFT personnel gave an update of the project at the annual A/S National Forest – Arizona Game as Fish Department planning meeting held at Sipe Wildlife Area.

On March 31, the IFT gave an update of the project to USFS biologists at the Region 3 Biologist meeting in Albuquerque. 

In March, Beth Wojcik resigned from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Thanks for your hard work.

In March, Matt Ellis was hired as the new specialist for USDA Wildlife Service’s in New Mexico.  Welcome to the project, Matt.


The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves.  A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263.  Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.