Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wolves of the Day

Portrait of a Wolf - Canadian Arctic Wolf 
Portrait of a Wolf - Canadian Arctic Wolf by Jim Cumming 
Dysfunctional Family  - Canadian Timber Wolf 
Dysfunctional Family - Canadian Timber Wolf by Jim Cumming

#Wolf management debate reignited amid Washington state campaign to thin population

gray wolves
A billboard campaign in Washington state says that gray wolves kill livestock, endanger elk populations and pose a threat to the public. But ecologists contend that the canines are actually scared of humans and are crucial to the habitat. (The Associated Press)

The Associated PressBy The Associated Press
on November 29, 2014
MOSCOW, Idaho — A billboard campaign in Washington state aims to reignite a debate that splits the Northwest: Do wolves belong?

The four billboards near the Idaho border by Washington Residents Against Wolves calls for the state to decrease the wolf population, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports. The billboards read: "Endangered? No. Dangerous? Yes. Good for Washington? Absolutely Not!" Pictured is a snarling wolf.

Wolves kill livestock, endanger elk populations and pose a threat to the public, group spokeswoman Jamie Henneman said. "We feel there is not a broad enough awareness about the impact of wolves in Washington state," Henneman said. "There has been some (awareness) with the impact on livestock, but the impact is much, much greater."

Ecologists dispute that claim, saying wolves are scared of humans and are crucial to the habitat. "They want people to think that these wolves are dangerous," population ecologist Oz Garton said.
Among the most disputed aspects of the campaign is the claim that wolves are not native to the area and compete with other predators for scant resources. "We have this non-native species coming in and disturbing this," she said. "We appreciate the predators as a really important role in the ecosystem ... (but) we already have this handled in Washington."

Wildlife officials have repeatedly said the species of gray wolf introduced, canis lupus, is the exact species that once thrived in the Northwest.

The debate over wolves illustrates a divide in the Northwest between rural areas further east and populous urban areas near the Pacific Ocean. Rural ranchers and residents say their more liberal counterparts in cities don't understand the realities of living among wolves, including the danger to the public and livestock.

Advocates of wolves reply that the area is their native habitat, and wolves have a positive impact on areas where elk would otherwise destroy grassland. Garton said habitat is the primary driver for changes in elk population and location, followed by the impact of wolves. "Hunters pick on the wolves as the problem, which is really not true," Garton said.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Time for Change in Managing Vermont's Wildlife

By Walter Medwid

NOV. 21 2014

This commentary is by Walter Medwid, a biologist who lives in Derby.

True to Vermont’s values, a board made up of citizens from around the state decides how to manage the state’s fish and wildlife. But, contrary to those values, the people serving on the Fish and Wildlife Board are chosen by the governor from a limited pool of citizens who take part in trapping hunting and fishing. This may seem to make sense, but wildlife is a public resource and not just important to people who are “consumers” of it.

This imbalance in representation came about for two reasons. First, hunting, fishing and trapping have traditionally been considered a mainstream of our Vermont culture. Second, hunting and fishing license fees and federal funds from taxes on certain sporting goods are an important source of income for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and to the governors who have to juggle budgets and appoint citizens to the board. It’s clear why governors would want to cater to that special interest group.

One clear sign that it may be time to do things differently is the steady decline in sales of hunting and fishing licenses. Since at least 1987, resident hunting and fishing license sales have dropped by double digits, but as Vermont’s culture and traditions have changed, the way wildlife management decisions are made has not. In the 21st century, having a Fish and Wildlife Board with a wide range of stakeholders who represent more contemporary and diverse public values is simply a sign of good government. We look at wildlife far differently than we did 25-50 years ago. Ironically, the consumer-value focus of the board becomes disproportionately stronger and even less representative of public interests as there are fewer hunters and fishers in the state.

One example of our changing views of wildlife is how we now think of predators. We once saw predators such as coyotes as vermin – the only good predator was a dead one. Today, through greater understanding of wildlife, ecology and the environment as a whole, most wildlife enthusiasts see the great value these animals bring to healthy wildlife communities. While many deer hunters see coyotes as a threat to “their” deer, biologists in New York have recently concluded that coyotes prey far less on deer and fawns than hunters believe. Only 10 percent of adult deer deaths are actually caused by coyotes. Biologists there have also found that coyotes hunt and eat beaver far more often than fawns. Regrettably, the board with its narrow focus and representation has, in the case of the coyote, kept the myth of coyote as “vermin” alive and well – they may be killed any day of the year for any reason or no reason. They seemingly dismiss and certainly discount more scientifically-grounded data.

The board’s stance on coyotes is even in conflict with the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s own professional wildlife biologists, who recognize the species’ importance in the natural Vermont community. They stress, “Coyotes fill the role of a natural predator, a role that is important for maintaining the dynamics and health of our ecosystems.”

It’s time for the Legislature and the governor to revisit Vermont’s wildlife laws and the mandate of the Fish and Wildlife Board so they reflect today’s Vermont, where hunting and fishing remains a key part of the equation, but is not the only “voice” represented at the decision-making table.

The board’s decision this year on moose management shows a similar disconnect. Vermont’s moose population is in decline – only half of what it was 10 years ago – and below the number state biologists estimate as what the landscape can handle. Yet instead of suspending the hunting season to allow the population to become stable again, the only consideration by the board was approving how many animals would be killed this year. This default to hunting values over ecological or wildlife-watching and eco-tourism interests reflects a serious lack of serving the entire public’s interests.

It’s time for the Legislature and the governor to revisit Vermont’s wildlife laws and the mandate of the Fish and Wildlife Board so they reflect today’s Vermont, where hunting and fishing remains a key part of the equation, but is not the only “voice” represented at the decision-making table. There should be a wider lens that the board looks through to ensure an ecologically diverse Vermont with healthy wildlife populations; the lens should not only look at game as the paramount product.

The gulf between who the board represents and the people it should be representing is growing and will only expand if the public at large is frozen out of the decision-making process. The response to no representation of the other sectors of Vermonters will surely be the “… rising tide of posted and inaccessible land,” as referenced by a recent fish and wildlife commissioner.

Hunters, trappers and fishers have done some of the heavy lifting when it comes to supplying fish and wildlife programs with money, although as license fee income has declined, support from general revenues has already increased. Logically that trend towards more public funding needs to grow since wildlife belongs to all Vermonters.

Stakeholders who represent the non-consumptive interests – the wildlife watchers (Vermont has one of the highest percentages of residents in the country who engage in some form of wildlife watching) and photographers, those who benefit from eco-tourism, and many more, need to step up to the plate and actively participate in hearings to give their input when decisions are made. They need to do this under a newly designed board. We need to anticipate vigorous debates as this new board reflects wider interests. However, that’s not a bad thing.

These changes would be a return to those Vermont values held so dear for so long – equal representation – equal voice that is true to the population’s needs and growth. Vermont could lead the pack by managing its wildlife this way. Should we expect anything less in a state where citizen involvement stands at the heart of its identity?

Whitman Co. farmer to be charged for killing gray wolf

Washington fish and wildlife officials are recommending a Whitman County farmer face misdemeanor charges for shooting a gray wolf last month.

The charge could result in a year in jail and a two-year suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.

Steve Crown, chief of enforcement for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the shooter was a farmer who also notified authorities. Crown said it is unclear why the farmer shot the wolf, as it did not appear to pose an imminent danger to pets, livestock or the farmer.

Crown said this is the third wolf shooting this year in Washington. "If it's just in the area, it's not open season for wolves," Crown said.

Tissue samples were sent to a laboratory at UCLA where DNA testing confirmed the animal was a gray wolf.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy will review the case to determine if charges will be filed. In his 12 years as a county prosecutor, Tracy said he has never had a wolf shooting case.

Crown said it is believed the wolf migrated from an Idaho wolf pack. Washington has 13 documented wolf packs. Idaho has more than 100, according to officials in both states.


DNR: Hunters 4 wolves shy of Wisconsin limit

- Associated Press - Friday, November 28, 2014 
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Hunters are four wolves shy of reaching Wisconsin’s statewide kill limit, raising doubts about whether anyone will be allowed to use dogs to hunt wolves once the gun season ends.

The 2012 Republican-authored law that created Wisconsin’s wolf hunt allows hunters to use dogs to trail and corner wolves on the day after the end of the nine-day gun deer season. That season wraps up Sunday, which means hunters could start deploying their dogs beginning Monday.

But Department of Natural Resources tallies show hunters had killed 146 wolves as of Friday, just four animals short of the 150-wolf statewide limit.

The season will end as soon as they hit that limit or on the last day of February, whichever comes first. If hunters get the last four wolves before Monday, no one will be able to hunt them with dogs and one of the most divisive components of Wisconsin’s wolf hunt would fade away until next year.
Hunters aren’t allowed to let their dogs kill wolves - they can use dogs only to trail and corral them and must use a gun, crossbow or bow and arrow to actually make the kill - but animal rights
advocates contend letting dogs chase wolves can lead to bloody confrontations because wolves will turn and fight rather than flee.

A coalition of humane societies tried to sue the DNR in 2012 to force the agency to impose tighter regulations on dog use but the effort failed. The DNR did examine 27 of the 35 wolves killed by hunters using dogs last year and didn’t find any evidence of fights or other illegal practices, but the evaluation was inconclusive since the wolf carcasses had already been skinned when the agency examined them.

Melissa Smith, organizer of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, a wolf advocacy group, likened using dogs on wolves to state-sanctioned dog fighting. She said the season ending before hunters could let their hounds out would be a good thing for dogs but doesn’t really help wolves since the DNR allowed hunters and trappers to kill 150 of them.

“One-hundred-and-fifty wolves is too many for this year’s quota. Period,” she said.

The DNR estimates the state’s wolf population at somewhere between 660 to 689 animals, down from 809 to 824 animals in 2012-2013, when the agency set the kill limit at 251. The agency wants to eventually reduce the population to 350 animals.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for the humane societies coalition, didn’t immediately return email and voicemail messages Friday. Al Lobner, president of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, a key advocate for hunting wolves with dogs, didn’t immediately return a telephone message.


Friday, November 28, 2014

An Important Message from Howling for Wolves


Dear Wolf Advocate,

Howling For Wolves is exceptionally thankful for your continued support, activism and donations. We hope that your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one, spent however you best experience the spirit of gratitude.

Today, however, we mourn the real Black Friday - the day before the start of the dreaded
wolf trapping season in Minnesota. Trapping and snaring wolves is completely unnecessary suffering. Before the first wolf hunting season, MN lawmakers suggested that hunters would not be able to shoot wolves.  They were wrong; wolves are easily killed in the firearms season in Minnesota. The “quota” is always met early.

With trapping and snaring wolves, they and other animals suffer for hours if not days before facing death. It is these practices we are working to end, above all else related to the wolf hunt in Minnesota.

We are making plans now for the next Minnesota state legislative session. In the meantime, we will call on the Minnesota DNR and the Governor to end this reckless wolf hunt.

Our recent radio ad asks Minnesotans to respect our true wildlife manager, the wolf. We need our wolf packs stable, so that they can exist in the wild. We need them for our wilderness and for our spirits. This radio ad is on the air now in the Twin cities and in the Duluth and Bemidji areas.
Click to listen here:

Please visit
so we can work together to protect wolves, and celebrate their existence. Your charitable donations go directly toward buying more air time for this radio ad and your donations to our legislative "Action Fund" help us change laws for wolves. Thank you for all that you do for wolves.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, MD
Founder, Howling For Wolves


Idaho predator derby ruling a win, win, win? No, No, NO!

Idaho predator derby ruling a win, win, win

The gray wolf is an apex predator roaming the Inland Northwest, along with the grizzly bear and mountain lion. Elusive wolves sometimes reveal their presence with a howl. (Associated Press)
The gray wolf is an apex predator roaming the Inland Northwest, along with the grizzly bear and mountain lion. Elusive wolves sometimes reveal their presence with a howl. (Associated Press)
WILDLIFE — Looks like everyone's a winner in this deal.
  • The Idaho predator derby organizers wanted to make a point that they don't like wolves.  And they're point was made on a huge stage of publicity.
  • No wolves were killed in a previous derby even though licensed wolf hunting is legal in Idaho.
  • Pro-wolf groups wanted to make their case and line their coffers with donations. Opportunity seized; mission accomplished.

A week after Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District Manager Joe Kraayenbrink issued a permit to Idaho for Wildlife to expand its predator derby onto BLM lands, Kraayenbrink rescinded that permit, citing modifications made in the derby's regulations. Idaho for Wildlife Executive Director Steve Alder said he believes the two lawsuits filed after the permit was issued and “D.C. bureaucrats” led to the permit being pulled. Alder said the derby would go on as scheduled on U.S. Forest Service and private lands.

—Idaho Mountain Express 

Wolves of the Day

My curious wolf friend by woxys

Piercing through you by woxys

French farmers take sheep flocks to Eiffel Tower to protest 'govt-protected' wolves

November 27, 2014
Sheep are gathered in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris during a demonstration of shepherds against the protection of wolves in France November 27, 2014.(Reuters / Jacky Naegelen)
Sheep are gathered in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris during a demonstration of shepherds against the protection of wolves in France November 27, 2014.(Reuters / Jacky Naegelen)

French farmers herded their sheep to the Eiffel Tower on Thursday to protest against the growing number of attacks on their flocks by wolves, which they argue are protected by the government.
The farmers brought around 250 sheep to central Paris to demand action from government ministers to stop the attacks on their flocks, which have increased dramatically in recent years.

One of the protesters was dressed as a wolf while carrying around a lamb. Another held a banner reading: “Today famers, tomorrow unemployed.” The farmers and their sheep are due to meet with French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll later on Thursday.

Wolves were hunted to extinction in France, like in many other European countries, but crossed over the Alps into France from Italy in the 1990s. They now number about 300 and are a protected species. One of the predators was caught on camera within 250 km of Paris in April, The Local reported.

There have been 4,800 attacks on sheep by wolves so far this year – 1,000 more than in 2013, according to official figures from the French Sheep Organization (FNO), AFP reported. “There is nothing natural about being eaten by wolves. We are against wolves from the moment they attack our farms,” said Claude Font, head of a sheep farmers association in the Auvergne region in central France. Although the wolves originally were confined to the southeast near the Italian border, they have now migrated to central and southwestern France.

The continued threat of wolf attacks on sheep is “an enormous daily stress, it is omnipresent and oppressive, farmers around me feel helpless. Those who wanted to overprotect them are going to kick themselves. The wolf reproduces and moves around very fast,” said Claire, a sheep farmer in the Alpine region of Drone, located in the country’s southeast.

The farmers also say that France’s so-called “wolf plan,” which pays farmers compensation for sheep killed by wolves, is a waste of money. It cost €15 million euros in 2012. “We don’t want the money, we want to be able to do our job in good conditions,” said Michele Boudoin, secretary general of the FNO.

Sheep are gathered in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris during a demonstration of shepherds against the protection of wolves in France November 27, 2014. (Reuters / Jacky Naegelen)
Sheep are gathered in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris during a demonstration of shepherds against the protection of wolves in France November 27, 2014. (Reuters / Jacky Naegelen)
The farmers are asking for wolves to be removed from sheep breeding regions, and the right to shoot wolves immediately if their flock is attacked. They are also calling for the quota in the number of wolves they are allowed to kill to be scrapped, or at least increased from the current 24 wolves allowed annually.

The farmers are gaining some support from the French government. In June, Environment Minister Segolene Royal stepped into the debate. “The damage to herders has become too great. The distress of the farmers and their families should be better taken into account,” she said in a statement.

But the wolves do have some friends in France. Patrick Boffy is head of Ferus in the Southern Alps, the first French region to see the wolf return in the 1990s. Ferus is an organization that was set up to help protect wolves, bears, and lynxes.

He says that in some places – such as steep, rocky terrain – farmers should simply leave. In other areas, they must learn to cohabit with the wolf. "It's a bit like asking what is the point of an eagle, or a piece of music, or a painting. The wolf is part of life. It returned naturally to France – the only southern European country where it had disappeared,” he told the BBC.


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

Wolves of the Day

Red wolf

Red wolf by Brandon Trentler

Red Wolf - Tallahassee Museum, FL - 2010 
Red Wolf - Tallahassee Museum, FL - 2010 by Stephen Nakatani

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.  

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and
enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to
public service. 
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit 
Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and
download photos from our Flickr page at
Public Affairs Office
PO Box 1306
Albuquerque, NM 87103
505/248-6915 (Fax) 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Press Release: Red Wolf Program Evaluation from WMI

Press Release

Expects a decision regarding the future of the Program in early 2015

November 20, 2014

Tom MacKenzie, USFWS

Bartel_USFWS_pdza_rw2A red wolf Credit: Becky Bartel / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation of its Red Wolf Recovery Program’s non-essential, experimental population in five Eastern North Carolina counties.

Brief statements from Steve Williams, president of The Wildlife Management Institute; Leopoldo Miranda, assistant regional director for ecological services in the Service’s Southeast Region; and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, are included below.

The evaluation is one action among several that are part of a broad agreement between the Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission put in place in late 2013.  Both agencies recognized that some steps were needed to improve management of the non-essential, experimental population in Eastern North Carolina, which was established under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act and is a component of the overall recovery effort for the red wolf.

As the Service indicated in August when it announced a review would be conducted this fall, the evaluation will be used with other information to help the agency address deficiencies and determine the program’s future in Eastern North Carolina.

A broader announcement on that overall decision is expected in early 2015.

The evaluation, the agreement with North Carolina, and the Service documents used for the evaluation are currently available at  A recording of today’s press conference also will be posted there.

Steve Williams
Wildlife Management Institute
“Agencies interested in improving their conservation programs often reach out to independent reviewers to evaluate the success of their programs,” said Williams, the report’s chief author.  “In this case, the Fish and Wildlife Service asked the Institute to conduct just such a review.  The findings and conclusions contained in our report cover a wide range of issues grouped under the categories of science, program management, and human dimensions.  The Fish and Wildlife Service has a clear understanding of the science involved in the restoration of the most endangered canid in North America.  Its introduction of captive red wolves into the wild has proven successful.
“Our review looked at 28 years of the recovery program.  As with all programs, hindsight is 20/20.  WMI concluded that the recovery program management could have been improved if a more interdisciplinary approach was used to better respond to public concerns and information needs.  We also concluded that the rules established for the recovery program were not always followed.  However, we believe that Fish and Wildlife staff acted in the best interest of the red wolves and the public with whom they were working.
“Finally,” Williams concluded, “the Fish and Wildlife Service must do a better job of understanding the human dimensions of this program at the local level.  The recovery of red wolves is a complicated and difficult process.  We hope our conclusions will assist the Fish and Wildlife Service in its deliberations about the future of the program in North Carolina.”

Leopoldo Miranda
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Southeast Region
“I want to thank WMI and the independent peer reviewers for their work to complete this program evaluation within our time-frame,” Miranda said.
“The evaluation is critical of the Service’s management of the recovery program non-essential, experimental population in North Carolina,” Miranda added.  “We’ve begun a detailed review of the evaluation and take its critical analysis seriously.  The Institute covered many topics to meet our request and we will take some time to carefully review it.  Even as we move forward with that review, I also want to say that earlier this year we recognized an immediate need for corrective action in an area related to the introduction of red wolves on private lands as part of this population, which the report affirmed. At this time, we are stopping the practice of relocating red wolves to private lands.  If, in the future the Service wants to relocate red wolves on private property, it will only do so if it has written agreements in place.
“We have a lot of work in front of us and I also want to note here that we appreciate all of the public engagement this process has generated,” Miranda said.

Gordon Myers
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
“We appreciate the focused and deliberative action the Service is directing to evaluate its Red Wolf Program,” Myers said.  “This report, which stems from collaboration between the Service and the Commission, is a high priority action item that will inform future decisions about that program.”


Endangered Wolf Center - Their Mission (video)

The Endangered Wolf Center of St. Louis, Missouri has assisted in the conservation of endangered Mexican Wolves and Red Wolves, along with Maned Wolves, African Painted Dogs, and Swift Foxes. The EWC provides educational tours and community outreach programs.

For more information visit

Wolves, livestock have coexisted elsewhere

November 16, 2014
To the editor:

Thank you for your coverage of the wolf issues in our state. I am a longtime wolf supporter who began my interest and education regarding wolves as a school teacher sharing with my students the importance of balanced ecosystems. I have learned that the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf in Arizona provides the possibility of better ecosystems throughout our region and, with that, strengthening many species also clinging to survival.

The US Fish and Wildlife's recovery plan should reflect research and a well-developed and long-term solution for the Mexican gray wolf. At present, they have not integrated research done by recovery team scientists and the recovery team has not met since 2011. Under the Endangered Species Act, the best available science is required for species such as the Mexican gray wolf. Surveys have shown throughout Arizona citizens place importance on the reintroduction of the wolf and support the efforts so far.

We can coexist with wolves. Responsible livestock owners are successfully using resources and tools in reintroduction areas. Public responses to recent sightings in northern Arizona of possible wolves affirm the interest and excitement that these animals create. Please support a complete and updated recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf -- your grandchildren will thank you!



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wolf of the Day

.:Ghost WhiteSpiritWolf

Study finds elevated reproductive hormones in hunted wolves

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 
A new study indicates that wolves in heavily hunted areas have elevated levels of stress and reproductive hormones. Researchers believe this can lead to large-scale evolutionary changes and an increase in conflicts with humans and livestock.
The study, which was published on Wednesday in the scientific journal Functional Ecology, analyzed hair samples from more than 140 wolves in heavily hunted regions in Northern Canada. Researchers discovered the wolves had higher levels of testosterone, progesterone and cortisol than wolves in regions with less hunting pressure.
Though the study does not give exact details of what evolutionary changes could occur over time because of these hormone changes, researchers did say it can cause major disruptions to the complex social structure and behavior of wolf packs.

One such disruption could be the higher birthrates per pack. “When social structure is disrupted, multiple litters per social group become more common, in part because dominant individuals can no longer prevent subordinates from breeding,” the study says.
Ralph Maughan, professor emeritus of political science at ISU, has studied public policy regarding wolves since the species was reintroduced in Idaho during the winters of 1995 and 1996. He says studies of the effects of heavily hunted cougar populations in Washington could reflect changes in Idaho’s wolf packs. “What happens is hunters will kill the biggest and oldest tom cats in the pack,” he says. “The younger tom cats who are not very experienced about things take over the pack and raise hell. It’s possible something similar could happen in heavily hunted wolf populations.”
Maughan says the federally protected wolf packs in Yellowstone National Park tend to be larger and more multi-generational than the heavily hunted packs in the park’s neighboring states.

The smaller pack sizes can lead to more issues with livestock. Smaller wolf packs are less likely to be able to take down large wild game like deer and elk, so livestock becomes easy prey as they are easier to find and kill.

This trend was reflected in Idaho Fish and Game’s 2012 annual report of the state’s wolves.

The report showed that the number of livestock killed had increased, despite an 11 percent decrease from the total estimated 2011 wolf population numbers.

Landowners and ranchers have already seen the impact wolves have made on the state’s livestock industry. According to the Department of Agriculture, wolves are believed or confirmed to have killed 78 cattle and 565 sheep in 2013. “Smaller wolf packs need to kill more often because their kills are often taken by scavengers, like coyotes, magpies and ravens,” he said. “A larger wolf pack will most likely consume their food on the spot, so proportionally, they don’t have to kill as often.”
The study was published a day before the announcement that four environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to prevent a wolf and coyote hunting derby from extending onto public BLM lands in central Idaho.

The purpose of the derby is to thin out the state’s wolf population. But if heavily hunted wolves have elevated reproductive hormones, as the new study suggests, what effect will large-skill killing of wolves have on livestock and the overall wolf population in the long term. “Hunting could increase the fertility rate,” Maughan says. “But if the social structure is disrupted, it could also mean the pups won’t even survive.”