Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Watch: A Man Give Water To A Very Thirsty Desert Wolf (video)

Wolf says thanks and goes his way...


Name the Brookfield Zoo’s Mexican gray wolf puppies

Three of the five Mexican gray wolf puppies born at Brookfield Zoo on April 25 are still in need of names. The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages the zoo, has narrowed the list and is now asking the public for its help by voting for the final choices. | Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
Three of the five Mexican gray wolf puppies born at Brookfield Zoo on April 25 are still in need of names. The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages the zoo, has narrowed the list and is now asking the public for its help by voting for the final choices. | Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

The Brookfield Zoo is asking for the public to take a break from Fourth of July festivities and help decide the names of its three Mexican gray wolf puppies.


The Chicago Zoological Society has chosen three potential names for each puppy, and the public can vote for its favorite for each dog, according to a release from the Brookfield Zoo. The names have a connection with either the wolves’ natural habitat in the southwestern United States, the Spanish or Apache languages or a zoo staff member.



Seven endangered wolf pups born near Julian

Mexican Gray Wolves now total about 400 thanks to breeding programs, including California Wolf Center in San Diego County

A Mexican Gray Wolf pup roams in the captive breeding program at the California Wolf Center outside of Julian. It's one of seven in a litter born on May 8, 2016.
By the 1970s, the Mexican Gray Wolf had nearly disappeared from the face of the planet — aggressively hunted by trappers, shot down by government officials and ranchers. However, decades of breeding and release programs have given the wolves a second chance.
In the latest sign this endangered subspecies of the gray wolf could be mounting a comeback, the California Wolf Center south of Julian announced yesterday that seven pups were recently born and survived the first weeks of life. The litter of three females and four males passed their first health checkup this week.
“For seven pups to be born at our center is a huge jump in the population,” said Erin Hunt, director of operations at California Wolf Center.
“We nearly lost this subspecies so we’re trying to help them to recover, which we’ve only been able to do because of the captive breeding program,” she added.
Adult Mexican Gray wolves at the California Wolf Center. / photo courtesy of California Wolf Center
Considered one of the planet’s rarest land mammals, there are about 400 Mexican Gray Wolves alive today. Most of the animals live in breeding programs in the United States and Mexico, with only 97 roaming in the wild, primarily in Arizona and New Mexico.

The wolves are an integral part of natural ecosystems. They prevent overgrazing by keeping animals like deer on the move, as well as benefit birds and other scavengers that eat the leftover remains from prey the wolves consume.

Wolves have a leisurely trot but can sprint at up to 35 miles an hour. While hunting for food, wolves travel dozens of miles a day. They have powerful jaws that can crush large bones with a few bites.

Founded in 1977, the center has raised more than a dozen litters of Mexican Gray Wolfs and released one pack of the endangered animal into the wild. The center is located on 45 acres east of Highway 79 south of Julian and is surrounded by double-perimeter fencing to prevent the leaping wolves from escaping.

The nonprofit anticipates releasing its second wolf pack by next spring to the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona and New Mexico. That integration plan is contingent on approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The newly born pups and their parents could also be candidates for integration into the wild within a few years.


World's Laziest Wolf Howls (lol-video)


Monday, June 27, 2016

#Wolves Unleashed China - Trailer


#Wolf of the Day

Profile of a wolf II 
Profile of a wolf by Tambako The Jaguar

Frequent Changes In Management Policy Escalate Wolf Debate

Rapid Changes In Wolf Policy Only Heat Up The Conflict

Scott Gordon
For Erik Olson, an assistant professor of natural resources at Northland College in Ashland, the biggest weakness in Wisconsin's policy toward wolves hasn’t been any one particular policy decision. Rather, he asserted in an August 18, 2015, talk at the Madeline Island Museum, state and federal officials have mostly erred in changing their policies numerous times in only a few years.

In his talk, "The Tug Of War Over Wolves," recorded for Wisconsin Public Television's University Place program, Olson detailed the many times wolves' conservation status in Wisconsin has changed since 2005, as well as the policies surrounding the state's controversial wolf hunt conducted over three seasons from 2012 to 2014. The hunt ended when a federal judge ordered the gray wolf to be placed back on the Endangered Species List in Great Lakes states. Additionally, state wildlife officials sometimes have had the authority to kill depredating wolves — those that kill livestock or pets — and sometimes have not.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported on June 16 that the state's wolf population had reached a record high of between 866 and 897 animals, making for a 16 percent increase over 2015. On June 20, Gov. Scott Walker called for the wolf hunt to be resumed.

These frequent policy shifts, Olson said, escalate the frustrations of farmers who see wolves threatening their livestock and hunters who view them as competing for game. Drawing on his research and others' work, Olson discussed how the state's wolf-management policies have affected the wolf population and people’s opinions about it.

In his talk, Olson didn't advance any one particular policy solution — in fact, he said the "prescriptive" nature of Wisconsin's wolf hunt is part of the issue. But he did advocate for slowing down the frequent policy changes and looking for ways to cool the conflict and give everyone with a stake in the problem a chance to feel heard and empowered.

Key facts
  • Before 2003, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified gray wolves in Wisconsin as endangered. That year, the federal government reclassified them as threatened.

  • In early 2005, federal authorities put wolves in Wisconsin back on endangered species list, but the state was still able to get permits to kill depredating wolves. Those permits were soon revoked, then in 2006, the state got the permits back again, only to lose them a couple months later.

  • Wolves came off the endangered-species list in Wisconsin again in early 2007.

  • Wolves were re-listed in 2008, de-listed in 2009, then re-listed again later that year.

  • In early 2012, wolves were once again de-listed, and in April became a game species.

  • In 2014, following a federal court order, wolves in Wisconsin were re-listed as endangered.

  • Wisconsin's wolf population has largely been centered on public lands, but between 2003 and 2011, packs expanded moved into broader areas where there was more potential for conflicts with humans. During this time, these conflicts did increase, but then dropped following depopulation resulting from the hunting seasons. But the increase in human-wolf conflict was actually greater than the rate of wolf population growth and the growth rate of the animals' geographic range.

  • Researchers have found that increased human-wolf conflict not only results in negative attitudes about wolves, but makes people more willing to kill them illegally. Illegal killings increased when the state was not killing wolves or sanctioning a hunt.

  • Researchers in Sweden and Finland have found similar results on human-wolf conflicts: When hunters felt marginalized by European Union conservation policies, it lead to what Olson calls a radicalization of the hunting subculture.
Key quotes
  • On the rapid succession of changes to wolves' conservation status in Wisconsin: "Uff-da! So I think you can see this back and forth here. There’s an awful lot over what I would consider a relatively short period of time."

  • Describing a photo he took while on a DNR wolf-monitoring flight in Wisconsin's North Central Forest region: "This is wolf range. We've got a landscape that's a mosaic of agriculture, rural residential areas, forested areas, and so there is potential in there, and as those core forest areas, those core public lands, begin to fill up with wolves, and wolves began to expand into the less, if you will, prime habitat, there's greater potential for that conflict."

  • On the political impacts of rapidly changing wolf policies: "I would also argue that this kind of inconsistency in management authority also set the stage for the legislatively mandated wolf-harvest bill to be introduced and then passed through the state Legislature and signed into law… It was fairly a prescriptive harvest design, which I think probably led to some court challenges at both the state and federal level."

  • Summing up other research on conservation conflicts: "When two stakeholder groups view a conflict as a win-or-lose situation, it will eventually result in what in game theory is a zero-sum game, where one stakeholder wins and the other loses…. [T]o move from these win-lose games into the win-win or compromise, the two groups, in order to cooperate, need to actually realize that it's a shared problem."

  • On the need to engage people from outside the hunting and farming communities: "What's not talked about enough is also empowering non-consumptive users [those who do not harvest fish or wildlife]. Non-consumptive users obviously want a voice at the table in wildlife management, and I think it's important to find avenues for non-consumptive users to continue to provide a voice in wildlife management, as well as fund wildlife management, because currently a lot of wildlife management is funded through fees for licensing and permits from hunters and anglers."


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

#Wolf of the Day

Bored wolf in the grass 
wolf in the grass by Tambako The Jaguar

Thanks to 'Game of Thrones,' Wolf Dogs are Popular Pets (but they really shouldn't be!)

Many owners end up surrendering animals, overwhelming local sanctuary 

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor , Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - Millions of fans have made the popular HBO series "Game of Thrones" a must-see show. Some of the show's biggest stars aren't people, they're wolves. As a result, real-life wolf-dog breeders are trying to keep up with a newfound demand to own them as pets. But fantasy can be a lot easier to handle than reality.

Wolf dogs are being surrendered when people realize they're much harder to take care of than they thought. A private sanctuary in Clay County is taking them in and trying to keep them alive, but the owners are getting overrun.

John Knight and his wife, Debbie, started rescuing wolves and wolf-dog hybrids a few years ago.
"Our original two turned into 60 over three or four years," John Knight said.

As a result, they created Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary. It's closed to the public and has become a place where many of the surrendered animals are there because of shows like "Game of Thrones."
"When they get these animals and expect that, they're in deep trouble. That's where we come in and we are overrun with them right now," he said.

Gabriel is one of the wolf dogs at the sanctuary. Nikki Kimbleton was able to get inside the enclosure with him, and he was very friendly. In fact, it seems to fit the fairytale and what you see on screen. But, Gabriel is very rare.

"He's one in a thousand," Knight said. "What people want is a wolf that acts like a dog, and he's a rarity."
Most of the animals portraying wolves in Hollywood are just large dogs and not wolves at all. Real wolves and even hybrids have very different needs and behaviors.
That's why at Big Oak, they have acres of enclosures, custom ramps and lookouts, safety catches and lockouts, fencing that's more than 10 feet high and 2 feet deep. Some wolves can climb, and they love digging deep dens.

"They're designed to casually trot 60 to 80 miles a day, and people have them living in their houses," Knight told News4Jax.

That's why listings online where wolves are selling for thousands of dollars leave Knight crying wolf. He knows someone will pay the price now, and he could be footing the bill later if the animal is surrendered.
Knight personally pays to care for all of the rescued and surrendered animals, and he refuses to make money by putting them on display to the public.
"When you have 20 enclosures and close to 3 miles of linear fence and no revenue from exhibition like the other places have, it all falls on you," Knight said.
While it is legal to own a wolf-dog hybrid, owning a pure wolf is illegal or requires a special permit in Florida. When it comes to the difference between a wolf and a wolf dog, Knight gave News4Jax an analogy.

"When you look at an NFL team, the second string is still an NFL player. It's the same thing here. A wolf dog is still a wolf," he said.

Big Oak Wolf Sanctuary is in dire need of financial help to continue operating. A crowdfunding page has been started to accept donations and offer more details on the animals the facility cares for and what they require. You can find that page here.

Reward for information on wolf pups killing increases to $15K

June 23, 2016
BOISE, Idaho — The reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who illegally killed wolf pups after removing them from a northern Idaho den is up to $15,000.
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust on Thursday added $5,000 to the award.
The Center for Biological Diversity announced on Monday a $10,000 reward following the killing of the pups that Idaho officials say happened in the middle of May.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking anyone with information to call the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline. Callers can remain anonymous.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

'Red Wolf Revival' film screening looks at ways to protect endangered species

June 23rd, 2016
by Staff 
The current status of red wolves and efforts to protect the endangered species are at the center of "Red Wolf Revival." The documentary focuses on the historic recovery effort in eastern North Carolina. Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: “Red Wolf Revival” screening and reception.
› When: 6:30 p.m. (reception) and 7:15 p.m. (screening) today, June 23.
› Where: St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 630 Mississippi Ave., Signal Mountain.
› Admission: Free.
› Phone: 423-821-1160, ext. 111.

An event aimed at supporting red wolves is scheduled tonight, June 23, at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church on Signal Mountain. Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center and Wild South will join forces for a film screening and reception to celebrate the last red wolves left in the world and discuss ways to increase the fast-dwindling population.

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; the two films will be screened at 7:15 p.m. "Red Wolf Revival," a documentary by Roshan Patel, focuses on the current endangered status of red wolves. The short film "How Wolves Change Rivers" looks at how wolves help keep ecosystems in balance.

The event comes just weeks after conservation groups submitted an emergency petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding increased preservation efforts for the highly endangered species.

Red wolves, which once roamed much of the southeastern United States, faced near complete extinction by the 1960s, says Avery Patten, director of marketing and development at Reflection Riding. Conservation groups preserved 14 red wolves in captivity and in 1987 released four breeding pairs into northeastern North Carolina.

Although the population expanded significantly over the following decades to about 120 in 2010, it has since declined, primarily because hunters mistake the animals for coyotes, Patten says. In 2016, there are approximately 50 red wolves left in the wild, and this population faces immediate threat of extinction, she says.

Reflection Riding, which is home to a breeding pair of red wolves and their three pups, is one of several places that has managed to successfully breed red wolves in captivity. The petition to the USFWS calls for, among other things, the establishment of a larger wild red wolf population across Southern states by releasing additional wolves into the wild. Until recently, red wolves have served as a model for the restoration of a near-extinct species to its former habitat, Patten says.

Following the film, Defenders of Wildlife spokesman Ben Prater will lead a talk on immediate action that can be taken to preserve the most endangered mammal in North America, and Tish Gailmard will discuss Reflection Riding's efforts to breed and protect red wolves.


Name these adorable wolf pups, and win a chance to meet them in person

Wolf Pup 1’s favorite activities after getting to Ely’s International Wolf Center were dragging his stuffed moose around his enclosure, and taking balsam fir branches from the walls.
His brother – Wolf Pup 2 – has taken to howling in his sleep and digging to discover new things. Wolf Pup 1 has also started exhibiting some stalking and predatory behavior, according to the center. Wolf Pup 2 hasn’t quite done so yet.
And you can help name these adorable, numbered pups.
The International Wolf Center is asking the public to submit their suggestions in a wolf pup naming contest, and hoping people will keep these personality quirks in mind while submitting ideas.

Wolf Pup 1 (Photo: International Wolf Center)

The International Wolf Center wants participants to observe the wolf pups’ behavior before submitting name ideas. They bring them out four times a day for live public programs. If you can’t make it up to Ely, you can watch them any time on the live pup streaming cam here.
“By watching them play and explore, people can get an idea of their personalities to come up with creative and memorable names,” said executive director Rob Schultz in a news release.
Name submissions will be accepted here until midnight on Friday, June 24. Then the names will be narrowed down to the top three for each pup, and final voting will take place from June 28-July 1.

Wolf Pup 2. (Photo: International Wolf Center)

A prize package worth over $300 will be awarded to those who submitted the winning names. The package includes a one-year membership to the International Wolf Center, two tickets to see the pups in person, and a variety of “fun wolf-themed merchandise.”

More about the International Wolf Center

“The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future,” says its mission and values page.
The Center does not breed wolves but adopts pups every four years for its exhibit.
“These ambassador wolves are important learning opportunities for visitors to observe the biology and behavior of this misunderstood predator,” according to a news release.
Over 33,000 people visited the Center in 2015, said the release.


State Evidence Suggests New Wolf May Be in California's Lassen County

Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 22, 2016
Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613,

State Evidence Suggests New Wolf May Be in California's Lassen County

SAN FRANCISCO— New evidence released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggests there may be a wolf in Lassen County. The information — not yet conclusive — includes photos from four trail cameras between August and May and a hair sample from one of the sites. While DNA test results were inconclusive as to whether the animal is a wolf, dog or wolf-dog hybrid, the fact the animal persisted through the winter in this remote location leads agency officials to believe the animal is likely a wolf. The animal is not wearing a radio-collar, so its movements will be detectable only by trail camera, tracks, scat and sightings.

Possible wolf sighted in Lassen County
Photo courtesy California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We’re crossing our fingers that another wolf has arrived in California as part of the ongoing recovery of wolves across the West,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves continue to prove what scientists have said all along – that California has great habitat for wolves.”

The first wolf in nearly a century to enter California was OR-7, a radio-collared wolf from Oregon that dispersed from the Imnaha pack in northeastern Oregon and entered California in late 2011. OR-7 ranged across seven northeastern counties in California before returning to southwestern Oregon, where he found a mate and has now had litters of pups for three consecutive years. Then, in August 2015, California’s first known wolf family was confirmed from trail camera images captured in Siskiyou County. Named the Shasta pack, the all-black wolf family was comprised of two adults and five pups. And in December 2015, wolf OR-25, also originally from the Imnaha pack, crossed the border into California for three weeks before returning to Oregon, and has made several more forays into the Golden State since that time.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also reported this month that scat samples from the two adults and four pups of the Shasta pack collected last October have been DNA-tested, and the results indicate that both the breeding male and female adults are related to wolves from Oregon’s Imnaha pack.  Of the four pups whose scat was tested, one is female and the other three are males

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) are native to California but were driven to extinction in the state by the mid-1920s. After OR-7 dispersed from Oregon into California, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned the state to fully protect wolves under California’s state endangered species act. In June 2014 the California Fish and Game Commission voted in favor of the petition, making it illegal to intentionally kill any wolves that enter the state. In 2012 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife convened a citizen stakeholder group to help the agency develop a state wolf plan for California, and then circulated a draft version of the plan for public comment in early 2016. The agency anticipates releasing the final version of the plan sometime this year.

“With the potential confirmation of another wolf in California, we’re glad that that these magnificent animals are fully protected under state and federal law because each new wolf we gain is critical for the species to be able to recover here,” said Weiss. “We drove this species to extinction here and we are extremely fortunate to get a second chance to see these ecologically essential and beautiful animals return.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


3.2 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife-destruction Program in 2015

Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 20, 2016
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017,

3.2 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife-destruction Program in 2015
Ignoring Calls for Reform, Wildlife Services Kills Half-million More
Coyotes, Bears, Wolves, Foxes, Other Animals Than Previous Year
WASHINGTON— The highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 3.2 million animals during fiscal year 2015, according to new data released by the agency. The total number of wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, beavers, foxes, eagles and other animals killed largely at the behest of the livestock industry and other agribusinesses represents a half-million-animal increase over the 2.7 million animals the agency killed in 2014.

Despite increasing calls for reform a century after the federal wildlife-killing program began in 1915, the latest kill report indicates that the program’s reckless slaughter continues, including 385 gray wolves, 68,905 coyotes (plus an unknown number of pups in 492 destroyed dens), 480 black bears, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats, 492 river otters (all but 83 killed “unintentionally”), 3,437 foxes, two bald eagles and 21,559 beavers. The program also killed 20,777 prairie dogs outright, plus an unknown number killed in more than 59,000 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated.

“Despite mounting public outcry and calls from Congress to reform these barbaric, outdated tactics, Wildlife Services continues its slaughter of America’s wildlife with no public oversight,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s simply no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle millions of animals every year — a cruel practice that not only fails to effectively manage targeted wildlife but poses an ongoing threat to other animals, including pets.”

Agency insiders have revealed that the agency kills many more animals than it reports. 

The data show that the Department of Agriculture boosted its killing program despite a growing public outcry and calls for reform by scientists, elected officials and nongovernmental organizations.

“The Department of Agriculture should get out of the wildlife-slaughter business,” said Robinson. “Wolves, bears and other carnivores help keep the natural balance of their ecosystems. Our government kills off the predators, such as coyotes, and then kills off their prey — like prairie dogs — in an absurd, pointless cycle of violence.”

USDA’s Wildlife Services program began in 1915 when Congress appropriated $125,000 to the Bureau of Biological Survey for “destroying wolves, coyotes, and other animals injurious to agriculture and animal husbandry” on national forests and other public lands.

By the 1920s scientists and fur trappers were robustly criticizing the Biological Survey’s massive poisoning of wildlife, and in response in 1928 the agency officially renounced “extermination” as its goal. Nevertheless it proceeded to exterminate wolves, grizzly bears, black-footed ferrets and other animals from most of their remaining ranges in the years to follow. The agency was blocked from completely exterminating these species through the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act.

In 1997, after several name changes, the deceptive name “Wildlife Services” was inaugurated in place of “Biological Survey.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Groups want court to end capture, killing of red wolves

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, a male red wolf enjoys a feeding in it's habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C.  A lawsuit filed Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015,  argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it gave landowners permission on two occasions to kill wolves without meeting strict legal requirements. It asks a judge to force the service to stop such incomplete kill approvals and to perform a past-due review of the wolves' endangered status. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, a male red wolf enjoys a feeding in it's habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. A lawsuit filed Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it gave landowners permission on two occasions to kill wolves without meeting strict legal requirements. It asks a judge to force the service to stop such incomplete kill approvals and to perform a past-due review of the wolves' endangered status. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Three conservation groups have asked a federal court to halt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service practice of capturing and killing red wolves in eastern North Carolina, and to end the authorization of landowners to do the same thing.

The request was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of the groups, which were represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Federal officials have been studying the recovery program with an eye toward making changes or possibly ending it. SELC senior attorney Sierra Weaver said the groups worry that there won’t be a population left if the captures and killings continue.

It’s estimated that the population of red wolves roaming eastern North Carolina has dwindled to between about 50 and 75. It was near 100 for more than a decade.


End of an Era for Iconic Denali Wolf Pack?

Cristina Eisenberg Ecologist, Author 
In 2012, to learn about carnivore ecology in Alaska and celebrate completing my doctorate, my family and I visited Tom Meier, who led Denali National Park’s biological program from 2003 until his unexpected death in 2012. I first met this key mentor in the early 2000s, when I tracked wolves for him in Montana, to document a dispersing wolf population. Back then he worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Northern Rockies wolf reintroduction and strongly encouraged me to attend graduate school.
Tom Meier

In Alaska I joined him in his office, where a large Denali map hung on the wall. On it he pointed out a 7 by 20-mile notch in the northeast park boundary. Congress didn’t include this chunk of private land, a popular hunting and trapping area called the Stampede Corridor and Wolf Townships, when they expanded the park in 1980. Tom used a recent incident to illustrate conservation challenges where wolves are subject to legal killing beyond park boundaries.
Denali National Park Map, with Proposed Buffer

In May 2012, a trapper hauled a dead horse to a riverbank in the Wolf Townships near the park boundary. He set snares all around it, hoping to catch wolves attracted by the carcass. The snares lay in an area formerly managed as a buffer zone, where for one decade the state had prohibited wolf trapping to protect wolves that spend a good portion of their lives inside park boundaries. The state had lifted this buffer in 2010, with no plans to reinstate it. The trapper caught two wolves. One was a breeding female of a pack often seen by park visitors—the Grant Creek pack. To make matters worse, in June the other breeding female in this pack had died of natural causes. Thus it appeared there’d be no pups in this pack. While the trapper had done nothing illegal, this wolf’s death raised public ire and an emergency petition to reinstate the buffer, which the state denied.
At the heart of such transboundary issues lies the fact that the US National Park Service has a mission to preserve and protect natural resources, which means no consumptive or destructive use. Meanwhile, states have a mandate to conserve natural resources, which means wise use and can include hunting. In places like Denali and surrounding lands, these two different mandates collide, with animals such as wolves suffering the consequences.
The next day, we joined Tom and park wildlife biologist Bridget Borg to survey the East Fork wolf den. Discovered by Adolph Murie in1940, this den site had been used periodically by wolves throughout the decades. We crossed a stream and then bushwhacked through the willows along the East Fork River, stopping periodically to listen for signals from radio-collared wolves.
Bridget Borg and Tom Meier Radio-Tracking Wolves Photo by Cristina Eisenberg

Murie’s East Fork den lay atop a high knoll. Ribbons of aspens grew on the knoll’s south-facing flank. Leaving the riverbed, we side-hilled and scrambled up a steep, partially washed-out talus slope, rested briefly on a grassy sward, and then thrashed through hellaceous shrub thickets toward the den.
The den’s dark, oval mouth lay in a slope of red-ochre sandy soil, topped by a thick thatch of grass and azure forget-me-nots. From this vantage point, we could see for miles along the East Fork River to Polychrome Mountain and beyond. In 2011, the Grant Creek pack had used a nearby den. Tom and Bridget had observed the pack using that other den during spring and early summer of 2012. They surmised that since the demise of the pack’s two breeding females, a third female may have bred.
We sat outside the Murie den and ate lunch. As we ate, we talked about wolf studies. There are places where scientists have had insights that have profoundly changed how we see the natural world. This was one of them.
East Fork Toklat River, Photo by Cristina Eisenberg

Murie spent weeks watching this den and the resident wolves through binoculars. Piecing together wolf social ecology and hunting habits, he found that these animals preyed mainly on sheep, primarily killing young and weak animals. He concluded that wolf predation had a beneficial effect on the Dall’s sheep population, countering the ideas of those who favored culling park wolves to increase sheep numbers. The park opted to use Murie’s science to manage its wolves, which meant continuing to protect them so they could serve their ecological role.
Denali Wolf

Many wildlife biologists followed in Murie’s footsteps in Denali, such as L. David Mech, Gordon Haber, and Vic Van Vallenberghe. Most recently, Bridget Borg looked at how wolf trapping outside the park affects wolf viewability inside the park.
We gazed out at the Toklat Valley and talked about geology and conservation. This big landscape bred big mountains and bigger thoughts. Its ineffable wildness had inspired science rooted in both empiricism and a deep love of nature. Tom was part of this legacy. We talked about hope. And as we discussed the vicissitudes of wolf management, he reminded us that as with all else, we couldn’t survive on sorrow and anger.
We got up and bushwhacked upslope, where we found still more dens. At the top of the knoll we found a meadow spangled with yellow cinquefoil and what Tom had been searching for: the carcass of the Grant Creek pack’s second alpha female. She died that spring of natural causes, perhaps while giving birth. In her lifetime she had many pups, who filled this landscape with their howls and wildness. She rested on a soft carpet of grass, her carcass intact and beautiful. Tom considered collecting her skull as a park specimen. He knelt, gently touched her thick, pure-white fur, and decided to let her be.
Grant Creek Pack Alpha Female Photo by Cristina Eisenberg

The wolf decline has continued in the four years since I visited the Murie den with Tom. In Denali, wolf numbers have dropped from 147 in 2007 to 49 in 2015. Visitor wolf viewing success has gone from 45% in 2010, before the buffer was lifted, to 5% in 2015.
Wolf on Park Road, Denali

Since 2012, the East Fork pack has dwindled from 14 individuals to 2—a gray collared male and a black uncollared female wolf, seen together last winter. Since then, the male was shot outside the park, his collar destroyed. The female was seen in mid-May at a den site, just outside the park boundary. She’s believed to have produced pups. No other wolves have been observed in the vicinity.
The East Fork female and pups’ future is uncertain without other wolves to help feed them. The conservation community has been urging the park and state to intervene and rescue the pups. If these wolves die out, this will mean the end of an iconic, ecologically valuable wolf family that has been studied since the 1930s.
* * *
Learn more about carnivore conservation by reading The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America’s Predators, and The Wolf’s Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades, and Biodiversity by Dr. Cristina Eisenberg. Learn more about large carnivore ecology by joining Cristina afield on her Earthwatch research expedition, Tracking Fire and Wolves through the Canadian Rockies.


Wolf OR-33 visits Ashland, attacks livestock, skips town

Zach Urness, Statesman Journal 

When the wolf OR-7 took a historic trek into Western Oregon in 2011, he stayed on his best behavior.
The first known wolf to reach the Cascade Range since canis lupus were exterminated in the 1940s, OR-7 roamed thousands of miles, crossed the California border and eventually settled in Southern Oregon with a mate, raised pups and became head of the Rogue Pack.

In all that time, OR-7 stayed far from humans and hasn’t attacked livestock, becoming the perfect ambassador for wolves as they reclaim historic territory in Oregon’s populous west side.

Five years later, OR-33, another young and roaming wolf, hasn’t been quite so delicate.
The 2-year-old wolf roamed almost within Ashland city limits — a city of more than 20,000 — during recent weeks. He’s been seen by multiple residents, and his photo was captured by a hunter’s trail camera near Emigrant Reservoir, about 6 miles southeast of Ashland.

From June 10-12, OR-33 killed two goats and one lamb at a small livestock operation 1 to 2 miles northeast of Ashland, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This is probably the closest to a city that we’ve had a livestock depredation, and it is unusual,” UFWS wolf coordinator John Stephenson said. “I’m not sure exactly where city limits (for Ashland) are, but he was darn close.”

Stephenson said OR-33, who is wearing a radio-collar, headed east and is now more than 20 miles away from Ashland. But his appearance and actions have been more than enough to catch the attention of the environmentally conscious and tourist-friendly town.

“With OR-7, almost nobody has seen him, and he’s stayed a long way from humans,” said Greg Roberts, a media personality in Southern Oregon and owner of “This wolf is acting more like David Lee Roth. I’ve had eight people in Ashland say that they’ve seen him around their property.

“And it’s not like we’re talking about a rural mountain town like Prospect or Butte Falls. Ashland is a large town.”
OR-33 dispersed from northeast Oregon's Imnaha Pack, the same pack as OR-7, and followed a path through the Columbia River Gorge, past Bend and La Pine, through the Ochoco Mountains and past Fort Rock State Park before stopping in Klamath County in February.

Stephenson said he expected OR-33 to move on from the Ashland area as well. On June 21, Stephenson was busy installing flashing lights, electric wire and fladry fencing around the livestock operation that was recently attacked, in an effort to discourage future incidents.

“We feel pretty confident he won’t stay here,” Stephenson said. “He’s traveled a long way — he came pretty close to Bend and La Pine and has moved on. Wolves typically avoid humans and cities.”

Wolves are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. Nonlethal deterrence measures, like the fencing, are required following depredation. If OR-33 did become a consistent problem, there are steps Fish and Wildlife could take, Stephenson said, but he didn’t elaborate on what that could mean.
Killing a wolf in Western Oregon is illegal and punishable by a fine up to $100,000, one year in jail or both.

Joseph Vaile, executive director of the Ashland-based Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, said people in Southern Oregon shouldn’t be fearful of wolves. “It is surprising to see how close to Ashland he got, but he has since moved along, which is a good sign,” Vaile said. “Luckily, wolves are not a real threat to people.

“It's unfortunate when anyone loses livestock to wildlife, and there is more work to be done to safeguard livestock as wolves move back to rural areas in the West Coast.”
"OR-33 is not out there roaming the streets of Ashland,"  Stephenson said, "and he's very unlikely to. There's no threat out there."

Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for eight years. He is the author of the book “Hiking Southern Oregon” and can be reached at or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Zach Urness or @ZachsORoutdoors on Twitter.