Wolf, © Michael S. Quinton, National Geographic Stock

Our Very Own Suzanne Stone Awarded Grant for Coexistence Research: This week we are thrilled to tell you that our very own Suzanne Stone, senior representative for Defenders’ Rockies and Plains region and Idaho resident, has been awarded a $10,000 grant to continue her research on the effectiveness of “foxlights” as a deterrent for livestock-wolf conflict. Stone was introduced to foxlights after spending time in Australia where wildlife experts used them to keep dingo away from predators. Foxlights use LED lights and flash irregularly to feign a human presence thereby deterring predators. Foxlights could be a great addition to the array of nonlethal tools wildlife conflict prevention experts use regularly – things like fladry and guard dogs – and could be a much cheaper alternative.

We’ll keep you updated here as this research progresses. But for now, big congrats to Suzanne Stone for winning the prestigious Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. We are so lucky to have you on the Defenders team!

Isolated Wolf Comes Too Close For Comfort: After the death last spring of one of only two members of the Ruby Creek Wolf Pack, the one surviving pack member has become a frequent visitor to the rural town of Ione, Washington – coming in closer and closer contact with domestic dogs and people. The wolf has begun to play with one of the local dogs in the area, and wildlife biologists think the wolf mistakenly thinks this is her pack’s alpha male. While she has yet to cause any harm, wildlife biologists and conservationists agree that having a habituated wolf so close to humans and their property could pose problems for both people and wolves. Even if this wolf was captured and relocated to another area, it’s likely that she would again seek out people. In this scenario, the best possible outcome is to place the wolf in a wildlife sanctuary. 
And that’s exactly what is in the works. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have plans to trap the wolf and move it to Wolf Haven International’s wolf sanctuary. This sanctuary is the perfect home for captive-born wolves or displaced animals like this Ruby Creek wolf, and it also serves as a breeding facility for highly endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves.
 Ongoing Investigation Into Wolf Shooting In Whitman County, WA: Reports are surfacing that a wolf was shot by a local farmer southwest of the town of Pullman, Washington last week. It appears the farmer chased the wolf for several miles in his vehicle before killing it. While landowners in Washington have the legal right to kill wolves in defense of an immediate threat to life or property, so far no evidence shows that the wolf was doing anything other than walking the property line. The investigation is still ongoing, but the case will be sent to Whitman’s County Prosecutor once the facts are gathered. To us, this looks like another sad example of the overreaction and extreme hatred for wolves.

Northern Rockies Gray Wolves
Are Oregon Wolves Going to Be Delisted? Not so fast…. There’s been a flurry of news stories suggesting that wolves will be delisted by the state of Oregon in 2015. Why? One of the criteria under Oregon’s wolf management plan for “full recovery” is that the state must maintain four wolf breeding pairs for three consecutive years. For the past three years, Oregon has maintained four breeding pairs. And it’s likely that Oregon will meet this criteria again in 2015.

However, anti-wolf groups are operating under the misconception that if Oregon keeps four breeding pairs in the state through 2015, wolves will automatically be removed from the state endangered species list. There are already dozens of comments and blogs characterizing the removal of wolves from state protection as a good thing as it would make it easier to kill wolves in those areas of Oregon (about 1/3 of the state) where the animals are federally delisted. But these folks are forgetting a few things.

There are several criteria that need to be evaluated prior to determining if wolves can safely be removed from protection under the state Endangered Species Act in Oregon. The number of breeding pairs is just one of those criteria. And while Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is already under intense pressure from anti-wolf interests to push an actual delisting, we encourage OFDW to conduct a neutral and unbiased status review once any of the criteria have been met to assess the wolves’ overall population health in Oregon.