Tuesday, May 31, 2016

1 probable, 1 confirmed wolf kill in Northeast Oregon

Eric Mortenson
Capital Press
Published on May 31, 2016
Courtesy of ODFW
The Imnaha wolf pack’s alpha male after being refitted with a working GPS collar on May 19, 2011. It’s one of four wolves from the pack targeted to be killed by wildlife officials because of livestock depredation.
Courtesy of ODFW The Imnaha wolf pack’s alpha male after being refitted with a working GPS collar on May 19, 2011. It’s one of four wolves from the pack targeted to be killed by wildlife officials because of livestock depredation. 

Wolves killed a lamb and probably killed a calf in separate attacks in late May, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife reported.

On the evening of May 20, a herder working on private land along the South Fork of the Walla Walla River near the Umatilla-Wallowa county line noticed a disturbance in the flock and saw four wolves, one with a dead lamb in its mouth. ODFW personnel investigated the next day and confirmed the kill was done by wolves. Investigators found a “drag trail” of bone, blood and wool, but the rest of the lamb apparently had been consumed overnight. Tracking collar data showed that OR-40, of the Walla Walla Pack, was near the sheep bedding ground at 3 a.m. on May 21.

On May 23, a landowner checking cattle on private land in the Mud Creek area of Wallowa County found the remains of a dead calf. There was no clear evidence the 150-pound calf had been attacked by wolves, but marks on the rib, back and leg bones found scattered about the site indicated a predator with large teeth was responsible, according to an ODFW report.

In addition, the calf was consumed in one night, also hallmark of a wolf attack. Nonetheless, ODFW designated the incident a “probable” wolf attack rather than “confirmed.”

Tracking collar GPS coordinates showed two members of the Shamrock Pack, OR-23 and OR-41, were in the area at different times on May 22 and May 23.


Watch as wolf cub at Camperdown Wildlife Centre makes first appearance

A camera trap has captured the moment a young wolf cub born at Camperdown Wildlife Centre appeared to the public for the first time.
The zoo in Dundee unexpectedly witnessed the arrival of two rare European grey wolf cubs after their parents successfully mated just two months after arriving at the zoo.
The footage shows the young cub popping out of the den at the bottom left of the clip while it’s mother walks past. A child witnesses the scene unfolding and shouts “Aww, there’s little babies round here.”
The adult wolves were known to have already settled in well in their new surroundings although even staff have been surprised that they have successfully begun breeding so quickly.
It was hoped they would contribute to the European breeding programme although the earliest this was expected to be was next year. The new additions are expected to be very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Bradly Yule, Network Manager at Camperdown Wildlife Centre said: “We are very excited to see our European wolves with cubs, this is an important event in the role of our zoo and these pups will enhance the population.
“They will also serve as ambassadors to help reduce the pressure on wild environments where these wolves come from. The first time parents have taken to parenthood extremely well and have adopted comfortable roles in upbringing their cubs.
“Our male, Loki, has been feeding and sharing food with female, Aurora, who has been carefully rearing her young.”


Red Wolves Need Emergency Protection, Conservationists Say

The red wolf is the only wolf species found only within the United States. Credit Mark Newman/Getty Images
Conservation groups submitted an emergency petition last week requesting that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service increase protection for the only wild population of red wolves left in the world.

Red wolves, which are bigger than coyotes, but smaller than gray wolves, are the only wolf species found completely within the United States. Trapping, shooting, poisoning and destruction of habitat in the 1960s, however, eliminated all but 17 of them from their native range, which was primarily in the Southeast. In By 1980, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild, and the last animals were gathered and bred, then reintroduced in North Carolina in 1987. They were the first federally-listed species to be returned to their native habitat, and have served as models for other programs.

Recently the population has declined by more than 50 percent in just two years. There are only 45 to 60 red wolves now living in the wild, and they are threatened, mostly by hunters mistaking them for coyotes and shooting them, said Tara Zuardo, a wildlife lawyer at the Animal Welfare Institute. The wildlife service recently announced a review of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. It was prompted in part by pressure from North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission, a state-run conservation agency funded in part by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, which has called the program a failure and claimed that wolves have damaged private land. Some changes to the program were taken against the advice of some of the biologists of the federal red wolf program.
Red wolf pups taking a nap in May 2008. Credit Ryan Nordsven/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The petition calls for the Fish and Wildlife Service, which has decreased its North Carolina staff and stopped reintroducing pups into the wild, to establish two additional populations of red wolves in swampy areas in Alabama, Kentucky and other southern states. It also seeks an upgrading of the status of red wolves, which are endangered, from “nonessential” to “essential.” The change in status would grant reserved habitat to the species and require consultations with biologists over how changes to land use would affect the wolves. The petition aims to close loopholes in the Endangered Species Act: The conservation groups also say provisions for “nonessential” species make it easy to shoot red wolves without punishment.

Mating pairs of red wolves establish territory that prevents coyotes from making it their own, and unlike gray wolves in the west, the timid red ones do not threaten livestock. Red wolves eat mostly small prey like rabbits and nutria, invasive beaver-like rodents that have been destroying crops in North Carolina. But some private landowners are concerned that establishing a critical habitat for red wolves will allow the federal government to control use of their land, which they lease for hunting deer and wild turkey, Ms. Zuardo said.

Even if the Fish and Wildlife Service were to end its project in North Carolina, it plans to continue working to establish self-sustaining wild populations elsewhere in their native range.


Police hunt macabre 'wolf decapitator' of Asturias

Police hunt macabre 'wolf decapitator' of Asturias
The head of a wolf was left dangling at a roadside in Asturias. Photo: Guardia Civil

Published: 31 May 2016

The Iberian wolf, Canis lupus signatus, was hunted to the point of near extinction by the 1960s but thanks to conservation efforts has made a comeback over recent decades.

More than 2,000 animals form at least 250 distinct packs now roam the Spanish countryside and have even reached as far south as the Sierra Norte, a mountain range within 100km of Madrid.

But farmers are not always happy about the conservation efforts, which have led to a huge rise in attacks on livestock. Between 2011 and 2015, farmers made a total of 14,500 separate applications for compensation for livestock killed by wolves in Asturias alone.

Although they are a protected species in certain parts of northern Spain they can be hunted with the correct licence. For 2016, local authorities in Asturias have given permission to cull 45 wolves in the region.

However, Spain’s Civil Guard are concerned at a spate of recent killings of wolves, whose heads have been decapitated and left on display around Asturias. They have appealed to the public for information that could lead to the wildlife killers.

The Association of forest rangers of Asturias (Avispa) believes that the wolf decapitations are "revenge attacks" designed to challenge the authorities stance on wolf management, a spokesman told the La Voz de Asturias.


Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Born at Conservation Center (video)

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Photographing the Wild Wolves of Yellowstone (video)

Monday, May 30, 2016

#Wolf of the Day

Arctic wolf 
Arctic wolf by Soren Wolf

Aging in the wild: lessons from animals about the value of growing old (video)

Grey wolf pups are born at Summerfield Zoo

Posted: May 29, 2016 
 Some furry new arrivals have made their way into Belvidere.
Grey wolves there gave birth to a litter of wolf pups. The baby wolves, just 2 weeks old, can be viewed during their animal encounter presentations.
Summerfield offers up-close experiences with many other animals like goats, lemurs, porcupines and hyenas.
"Next weekend we start doing pictures with the babies," said Rick Anderson, owner of Summerfield Zoo. "So a person can hold a wolf and get their picture taken... and we educate them all about wolves and their role in the wild."
Summerfield Zoo is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Entry for adults is $9, $7 for seniors and children are just $5.


Hunting American Wolves: Conservation or Extinction?

By  | 
Wolves are one of North America’s most fascinating indigenous species but they also pose a major threat to cattle populations. While poaching wolves is illegal, culling of wolves by government officials and trophy hunting have historically been used to keep wolf populations in check. However, Guillaume Chapron of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Adrian Treves of the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently conducted a study on wolf populations in Wisconsin and Michigan and found that state laws that opened up legal culling actually slowed population growth–a notable problem for America’s wolf population.

The logic for legal culling is simple: it was assumed that these outlets for hunting would limit illegal poaching and would encourage Americans to coexist with the wolf population. The wolf population would continue to grow without hovering to the point of extinction, as locals will not feel the need to illegally hunt the animals. Including legal culling is a cornerstone of “carnivore management,” which deals with carnivorous populations in the wild that can pose a threat to human life but can also coexist with humans when handled correctly.

Wolves are not the only predators that conservationists have difficulty handling–African lions, grizzly bears and other large carnivores present a massive challenge. Consider that a set of brown bears released into the wild in Italy last year had to be hunted down after they attacked several humans. Whereas conservationists can hope to release animals like pandas and elephants back into the wild, large carnivores that are held for some time may never be able to return to the wild because they are so dependent on a stable ecosystem that consistently supplies them with their daily meat intake.

 Wolves historically could have eaten bison but now the bison is a protected animal, a population which the United States has a vested interest in preserving. When one species in the food chain becomes off limit, it is difficult to deal with its predators. Farmers across the nation are eager to receive the “right to kill” wolves who threaten their cattle but a survey conducted by Washington State University found that killing wolves who attack livestock can actually backfire. Researchers hypothesized that:
Killing an adult wolf can disrupt the entire (complicated) social system of the grey wolf pack…killing adult wolves may end up locking their offspring to the place where they were killed: without parents to keep them sexually distinct and roaming, the way they normally would, pups may settle down prematurely, having their own pups earlier than normal, and sticking to the place where they became independent — the place where their parents were killed.
These pups then go on to eat local livestock, just as their parents did, rather than roaming to different areas where they might be able to feast on rabbits and other small mammals that have no financial value for ranchers. Wolves are imperfect creatures, that simultaneously threaten human livelihood (ranching) while also desperately dependent on humans for their survival (conservation), but they are part of the American landscape and we are responsible for their future. Containing a large carnivorous species is not an easy task, but with new evidence suggesting that legal culling and “right to kill” laws are not having the desired effect, conservationists and government officials may need to rethink how best to preserve the wolf population.

Jillian Sequeira
Jillian Sequeira is a member of the College of William and Mary Class of 2016, with a double major in Government and Italian. When she’s not blogging, she’s photographing graffiti around the world and worshiping at the altar of Elon Musk and all things Tesla. Contact Jillian at Staff@LawStreetMedia.com

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Where land meets sea, Alaska's wolves sometimes eat otters

By Sarah Keartes 
May 29 2016 
Katmai National Park is one of the most pristine wildlife preserves in North America. Located along Alaska's Pacific coast, it's home to over 1,000 different species – and amidst all that biodiversity, you'll sometimes find unusual relationships between predator and prey.

Image: National Park Service/used with permission
For ranger Kaitlyn Kunce, one such discovery came during a recent marine debris survey in the park, when she and her co-workers stumbled across a grey wolf carrying its catch – and the meal choice was one they'd never encountered before. Clutched between the wolf's jaws was a young sea otter pup.

"The wolf travelled along the beach carrying the otter far from the water line. It passed by us, took one glance back, then continued on," recalls Kunce. "A predator of the land with a predator of the sea. Little is known about the relationship between wolves and otters, but we saw a small glimpse of it."

We've long recognised that the wolf population of the Pacific Northwest region has a unique relationship with the ocean. Each summer, Katmai’s waters fill with salmon returning from the ocean to spawn, and for the local canids, it's a seafood snack that's just a dive away. Herring eggs are also a common rotation at mealtime.

But for Kunce, seeing an otter-eating wolf was something new.

Image: National Park Service/used with permission
Over the past several years, anecdotal reports and scat evidence of wolf-otter predations have left scientists with more questions than answers. Were they actively hunting, or simply scavenging the occasional washed-up carcass? In the case of Kunce's sighting, the wolf's underfur was wet to the shoulders, indicating that the animal had at least ventured into the shallows to retrieve its unusual meal.

Sea otters typically inhabit coastal waters where their favourite foods – invertebrates like abalone and urchins – are most plentiful, but they do occasionally come ashore to rest. Pups stay with their mothers for nearly a full year, and female otters will often aggressively defend their young in the face of danger.

It's possible that this young pup was sick or injured, or perhaps it had become separated from its mother before the wolf found it.

When it comes to salmon, however, we know that the wolves are not simply scavenging fish carcasses. Alaska Fish and Game biologist Dave Person has been monitoring packs catching, killing and eating salmon in the area over the past five years. "They’re not as skilful as bears at fishing,” he says. "Most of the fishing takes place when the tide is low, on the flats where streams are crossing through the intertidal zone."

The otter-eating encounter might be unusual, but it's also an encouraging sign. Until ten years ago, spotting an Alaskan wolf in the wild was an extraordinarily difficult feat, so the presence of active wolves here is a great testament to the overall health of the Katmai ecosystem.

Early in the last century, Alaska's wolves were hunted with virtually no controls, and bounties were commonplace. Well into the 1970s, misguided control policies aimed at increasing game populations took a heavy toll. Trapping, poisoning and aerial gunning hobbled the region's largest packs, and it took some thirty years for these predators to bounce back.

Today, wolf and other top-predator control measures continue to be a heavily debated topic in the state, but thanks to a strong focus on reducing conflicts with farmers and hunters, Alaska is now one of the largest wolf strongholds in the US. Estimates put the population at 7,000 to 12,000, and park officials are determined to keep it that way.

The National Park Service has set up a system of remote cameras throughout Katmai in the hope of learning more about predator-prey interactions like this one. "This isn’t the only relationship between terrestrial and marine wildlife we don’t know enough about," explains Kunce, adding that evidence suggests local bears could also be preying on marine mammals.

"Maybe we will see a bear catch an otter or seal," she says. "Maybe we will see more, maybe a wolf catching an otter, or maybe another first."

You can follow along with the project and its discoveries on the NPS Changing Tides website.


Dedicated to wolf pups and their moms (video)


Saturday, May 28, 2016

#Wolf of the Day

Black Timber Wolf by Conrad Tan on 500px.com
via Conrad Tan

Balancing the issue of predator and the prey

Wolf attack an elk on an overpass in Banff National Park.
Wolf attack an elk on an overpass in Banff National Park.
Christopher James Martin/For The Globe and Mail 

Predator-culling programs, aimed to slow the decline of big game animals, are drawing international condemnation , writes Mark Hume
From his ranch near Ta Ta Creek in southeast British Columbia, Bob Jamieson looks out at a wild and dramatic landscape that is gradually emptying of big game animals. 

The caribou are nearly extinct, and the great herds of elk that once ranged across the Rocky Mountains, from B.C.’s Kootenay River valley to the Alberta foothills, are dwindling. Moose are in decline too, as they are across most of western North America. 

Mr. Jamieson, a systems ecologist and environmental consultant, says the loss of those species is “a very complex and difficult problem” that involves habitat loss, landscape fragmentation by development – and the role of “a suite of predators.” 

It is that last factor, he says, that presents wildlife managers with one of their greatest challenges, because controlling predators usually means killing animals such as wolves. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, wolf control is done through liberal hunting limits or by paying bounties to trappers; those are low-profile programs that draw little public criticism, but they also have limited success. In British Columbia and Alberta, however, controversial culls are under way in which government hunters track radio-collared wolves and shoot whole packs from aircraft. 

British Columbia and Alberta launched their current programs to save herds of endangered caribou, but the culls have generated international condemnation, with pop star Miley Cyrus and global wildlife crusader Paul Watson among those joining in the attacks. 

Mr. Jamieson said the systematic killing of wolves will always be controversial, but there is no getting away from the fact that they – and other predators – play a key role in the decline of species such as caribou, elk and moose. 

“I’m here in a dry valley south of Banff. I’m looking out at the west slope of the Rockies … we have a lot of elk here, but we have lost two entire elk herds … and they are gone from valleys where there is no human habitation,” he said. “There’s nowhere for these animals to go to get away from the wolves.”
Killing wolves will not aid caribou recovery nor prevent their continued decline.
Dr. Paul Paquet, Raincoast Conservation Foundation
If you drive through the Kootenay River valley along the west slope of the Rockies, and go up through Banff National Park, you will see elk browsing along the roadsides and standing like regal tourism monuments. 

But Mr. Jamieson, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years, says the elk are along the roads for a reason – hoping to escape predators – and their high visibility gives a false impression that there are lots of game animals around. 

In fact, he says, game species have largely vanished from the back country where they used to be in great numbers. “It’s primarily elk [that have gone], but there are relatively few moose and very few mule deer left in those valleys,” Mr. Jamieson said. 

Valleys he used to hike during the fall rut to listen to male elk bugling are now largely silent – except for the howl of wolves. And where elk are found, they are in decline. One herd he’s monitoring has gone from 1,000 animals down to 200 in a few years. 

British Columbia’s South Selkirk caribou population has suffered worse and is down to just 14 caribou, a number so alarmingly low it triggered British Columbia’s wolf cull last year.
Critics of the cull, such as Dr. Paul Paquet of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, say the real problem facing caribou is habitat loss, not predation. 

“Wolves prey on caribou today as they always have, but the role of wolves in the ongoing decline of mountain and boreal caribou is a symptom of eroded and lost caribou habitat, not an underlying cause,” he has written. “Killing wolves will not aid caribou recovery nor prevent their continued decline. Other predators (for example cougars and grizzlies), roaded and fragmented habitat, food limitations and human intrusion into key habitat will perpetuate caribou decline.” 

The cull is seen by some as misguided wildlife management at best, or evil at worst. Ian McAllister, whose organization, Pacific Wild, has been leading a campaign to stop the cull characterizes it as “the persecution of wolves,” not wildlife management. 

Mr. McAllister says wolves are being used as a “scapegoat” for other problems. But Mr. Jamieson says the real problem with the wolf cull is that it might not be going far enough. “The issue is not wolves, it’s the combination of wolves, grizzly bears, black bears and cougars … the prey species can’t handle the combined impact of those four animals,” he said. “A lot of people [blame] habitat problems because they don’t want wrap their head around the predator issue.”
Wolf attack an elk on an overpass in Banff National Park.
Wolf attack an elk on an overpass in Banff National Park.
Christopher James Martin/For The Globe and Mail 

Mr. Jamieson said a wildlife conference on predator-prey systems, which drew leading experts to Revelstoke, B.C., in April, made it clear that grizzly and black bears, wolves and cougars are all preying heavily on elk calves, and it is reasonable to assume young caribou, moose and deer are also being impacted. “There are three different studies on elk now that show between the four predators, that 60 to 70 per cent of the elk calves are dying before they even get through their first winter,” said Mr. Jamieson. 

Studies in Yellowstone National Park have found that after wolves were reintroduced in 1995, the elk population fell from over 19,000 to about 6,000 by 2007.

Research by wildlife biologist Shannon Barber-Meyer of the U.S. Geological Survey found grizzly bears, black bears and wolves, in that order, were the main predators.

Mr. Jamieson said while wolf predation has long been recognized as a problem, recent research by David Vales of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Wildlife Program has shown cougars can also drive down game populations. 

In an interview, Mr. Vales explained how the Muckleshoot, in Washington State, restored elk populations by culling cougars. “We began radio-marking adult cow elk and calves in 1998,” he said. “By going in on the mortalities, we [identified] the cause.” His study found that 70 per cent of the elk were killed by cougars. “I’ve always done a lot of modelling of elk-wolf systems in Yellowstone and around Glacier [National Park] in Montana, so I had some idea of the impact individual predators might have. But I was really surprised how much cougars can impact an elk herd,” he said. “It’s amazing, when we are out marking calves, how many cats have come to check us out while we’ve got a calf in hand and it’s screaming. We look behind us and there’s a cougar there.”

The study found cougars were killing about 50 ungulates (primarily elk, but also some deer) a year. One cat killed 73.

With that data in hand, the Muckleshoot began hunting cougars. It took five years to normalize the ratio of cougars to elk, because as cougars were shot, new cougars kept migrating into the valleys to prey on the elk. (Research shows that a similar thing happens when wolves are culled; new packs move in.) 

But Mr. Vales said once the number of cougars dropped, the elk population rebounded dramatically.
“I don’t think [predator control] is a panacea in all cases, but in some cases it works really well,” Mr. Vales said. 

Critics of predator control argue that if nature is allowed to follow its course, a state of balance will be found, with predators increasing or decreasing in sync with their prey. “That’s not really what happens,” Mr. Vales said. “With the natural balance, cougars are going to wipe out the elk … That’s sort of like what’s happening with the wolves [in B.C. and Alberta].” 

Feds, state debate need for permit to release wolves

By Scott Sandlin / Journal Staff Writer
http://main.abqjournal.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/26/c01_jd_27may_wolf.jpgA Mexican gray wolf in a pen on the Ladder Ranch in New Mexico in 2002. A federal judge says he will rule within two weeks on the planned release of captive wolves in New Mexico. (Richard Pipes/Albuquerque Journal)

A federal judge said Thursday that he’ll issue a written ruling within two weeks on whether to grant state Game and Fish officials’ request to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s planned release of up to 10 endangered Mexican wolves in New Mexico.

State officials also want the removal of two captive pups placed last month into a wild-wolf den.
One issue before U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson at a hearing Thursday was whether federal consultation with the state, required under the Endangered Species Act, means a state permit is required.

The feds didn’t have one when they “cross-fostered” two newborn pups bred in captivity into a wild pack with pups of similar age on federal lands in April, a move they deem essential to boosting the wolf population’s genetic diversity and ultimately to its recovery. That’s because state Game and Fish Director Alexandra Sandoval – later backed by the full commission – denied permits requested by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Lawsuits filed by a California law firm on behalf of New Mexico in state and federal courts contend such a permit is required.

The state, which is requesting a preliminary injunction, says management of wildlife and fish is a function of the state, and that New Mexico law bans importation of a nondomestic animal without an appropriate permit. The department claims immediate and irreparable harm without a court-ordered halt to more wolf releases, because as top-of-the-food-chain predators, wolves must be managed along with their prey – elk, deer and antelope.

Federal wildlife officials, meanwhile, say the planned releases are too minimal to cause any harm to state interests, while there is a very real threat to the Mexican wolf population, already at risk because of the lack of genetic diversity.

As a Justice Department attorney for U.S. Fish and Wildlife argued Thursday, a state permit – which the service was granted for previous wolf releases – is not required if that would prevent it from carrying out its statutory duties, in this case Mexican wolf recovery.

Since the end of 2014, the wolf population in New Mexico decreased from 110 to 97, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Paul Weiland, representing Game and Fish, told the court that the primary reason for the denial of the state permit was the lack of a comprehensive management scheme because the federal plan adopted in 1982 is no longer in place.

DOJ attorney Clifford Stevens responded, “There is a larger story to what’s happening. … The (wolf) population is just not viable with the current genetic makeup. There’s too much inbreeding. So the (Fish and Wildlife) service has to go to the captive population.”

“Mexican wolves will dwindle and go extinct without releases of captive-bred wolves to diversify the genetics,” Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement to the Journal. “The recently released pups should be allowed to stay, and family packs should be released as well to establish a more robust population.”

Another environmental group, Defenders of Wildlife, will seek to intervene in the federal lawsuit in the next week, the organization’s state outreach coordinator, Michael Dax, said after Thursday’s hearing.


Aww! Look at the wolf pups that just got to MN’s International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center in Ely is welcoming two Arctic wolf pups.
The 4-week-old males flew in from Canada on Wednesday night, the center announced in a Facebook post.

The pups are kept separate from the rest of the pack until they are a bit older – they’ll sniff and get to know the other wolves through a fence, before being introduced into the pack sometime in August, Communications Manager Abbe Pedersen told BringMeTheNews.

(Photo: International Wolf Center, Facebook)
Wolf biologists and trained staff will hand-raise the pups, bottle feeding them around the clock and positively conditioning them to handling techniques, as well as the sights and sounds of the center to ensure the safety of staff members.

But on the other hand, they’re not pets, Pedersen said. The center wants the wolves to remain wild animals, and they do not let visitors pet the wolves or have hands-on interactions.

The center has been preparing for the arrival of the pups for months, by building an expansion to its Wolf Lab. The Wolf Care Center was completed a couple weeks ago, Pedersen said, and the pups are resting in their new facility.

Although she noted the little guys did keep some staff members up last night – something anyone who has ever had a new puppy could probably relate to.
Here are more pictures of the wolves’ arrival.

The International Wolf Center’s mission

The mission of the center: “To advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future,” the website says.

They do not breed wolves – but they do maintain a live wolf exhibit, featuring four adult “ambassador” wolves that help teach the public.

The live exhibit aims to enhance educational experiences for both visitors and for people watching through its online wolf cams and webinars.

They also have one older wolf who is in “retirement,” Pedersen said, which means he is separated from the other wolves because he is older and can’t compete.

The International Wolf Center will be hosting an educational one-hour webinar on May 31 to share the physical and behavior development of the new pups.


Wolves, cattle collide south of Grand Teton Nat'l Park

\Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016
A Lucas family rancher suspects that a wolf with a history of killing his cattle has fallen back on old habits near the southern border of Grand Teton National Park. A half-eaten calf turned up Monday, and Russ Lucas said that “two or three” other calves have gone missing from his herd of 150 that grazes the flats between the Gros Ventre River and East Gros Ventre Butte. When the carcass of the week-old animal was discovered, Lucas phoned Wyoming Game and Fish Department carnivore biologist Mike Boyce, who examined the dead calf. “I went out and investigated it,” Boyce said, “and based on the tracks at the kill site and the bite-mark evidence on the calf we verified it as a wolf kill.”

Boyce turned the case over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because wolves are a managed as “threatened” in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act. Fish and Wildlife personnel who are standing in for recently retired Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Coordinator Mike Jimenez didn’t have specific information about the incident. “We’ve had probably a half a dozen different depredation incidents in the past week, and they’re all around the range,” said Mike Thabault,
USFWS assistant regional director for ecological services. “We’ve had some around Cody, we’ve had some around the park, we’ve had some a little further south.”

Lucas’ suspicion is that the marauding wolves are the remnants of the Lower Gros Ventre Pack, which claimed three of his cattle back in 2013. That year wildlife managers killed 11 wolves out of the pack, but two survivors were left behind, annual reports show. Lucas recalled just one surviving lobo. “There was one wolf that they couldn’t take out,” Lucas said. “She went up in the park. “And we feel like this could be the same wolf from that pack,” he said.

More recently, annual reports show the Lower Gros Ventre Pack has grown back to five animals. The quintet of canines was credited for killing two cattle in 2015, though Lucas said he hasn’t had any problems with wolves for a few years. It’s unclear what, if any, retribution will fall upon the veal-eating wolf pack.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is the agency that would typically kill depredating wolves at the request of Fish and Wildlife. Mike Foster, Wildlife Service’s Wyoming director, did not return phone calls Friday. Lucas said he tried and failed to get a permit to lethally remove the wolves himself. He has held the permits in the past, but has never successfully caught a wolf in the act of a depredation. “Usually when you lose one calf you get a kill permit,” he said, “and they wouldn’t give me a kill permit.”

Taxpayers, Lucas said, foot a substantial bill when federal wildlife managers fly planes or helicopters to aerially gun down depredating wolves, and their operations might be targeting the wrong animals, he said. “It’s a hell of a lot cheaper if I did it,” Lucas said. “And you get the wolf that’s killing them.”


Wolf depredation investigated in two counties

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a finding of a confirmed kill by wolves versus livestock in Umatilla County, and a finding of a “probable kill” involving a calf in Wallowa County.

The Walla Walla Pack is believed to be behind the sheep attack on private land near the south fork of the Walla Walla River. On the evening of May 20, a herder noticed a disturbance in a band of sheep. He investigated and found one dead lamb and four wolves. One of the wolves had a sheep in its mouth. The next day, he reported the incident to the livestock owner who called ODFW to investigate.

Investigators reported a drag trail with small bits of bone, blood and wool in it. The top of the drag trail had a scuffle area consistent with wolf predation. The sheep’s remains were at the end of the trail. In addition to the eyewitness report. ODFW reports that OR-40, a radio-collared wolf with the Walla Walla Pack was within 50 yards of the area early in the morning, following the attack.

The “probable” wolf attack occurred on private land in the Mud Creek drainage in Wallowa County on Monday. ODFW reports that a landowner found the remains of a mostly-consumed dead calf that had been alive the previous evening. Investigators examined the carcass of the six-month old calf the day it was reported, and estimated it had been killed the night of May 22 to the early morning hours of May 23.

The investigators found blood stains in the grass indicating an attack scene, but report there was no definitive evidence that the predator that killed the 150-pound calf was a wolf. The report does point out that the feeding patterns on the calf indicated a predator with large teeth and the remains appear similar to other calves that have been consumed by wolves.

In addition, wolves of the Shamrock Pack were in the area. OR-23 was just 0.6 miles north of the carcass site at 7 a.m. Monday, and OR-41 was three miles north of the carcass on the night of the predation.

“The crushing of carcass bones, along with the large amount of carcass material consumed in a short period of time is similar to that observed on other confirmed livestock depredations by wolves,” the report states. “This combined with the known presence of collard wolf OR-23 0.6 miles north of the carcass the same morning the carcass was found, are adequate to indicate the probable cause of death as wolf depredation.

25770616481_19b85d2b60_mWalla Walla Pack wolves

Additional information from the ODF&W can be found at the link below.



Wolf Pups Under the Microscope In Bottle-Feeding Study

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The sound of wolves howling is a common one at the Wildlife Science Center in Columbus.

But that haunting sound has been eclipsed lately by the sounds of whimpering puppies. The adorable and energetic 5-week-old pups are helping answer questions in captivity that cannot be answered in the wild.

(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
The center is in partnership with Duke University to study cognition and social interaction by bottle feeding the pups. “They’re so different than dogs. They’re capable of movement and interaction so much earlier than dogs,” said Peggy Callahan, the center’s founder and executive director.

And they are involved in more than one study. The North American grey wolf puppies are actually being used in a study to help learn about the breeding struggles of the Mexican wolf. “We are always looking at things before it gets tested on a very endangered species, so we are using contraceptives on these guys that prevents breeding. But then the question is, ‘Is it going to be reversible?'” Callahan said. “Because if you interfere with breeding success with even one or two Mexican wolves, that has profound implications for the database, the DNA of those wolves.”

The six puppies in the study are part of four litters, but not all the females were able to reproduce after being taken off the contraception. “There are implications that there is some long-term impact on fertility, and that’s unfortunate,” Callahan said. “No big deal for us, but it’s a big deal for the Mexican wolf.”

Sean, the surrogate wolf pup dad. (credit: CBS)
Sean, the surrogate wolf pup dad. (credit: CBS)
Callahan also has a K-9 helper named Sean, a German Shepard who acts as a surrogate parent. “No matter how much time I spend with them, I can’t mimic that dog behavior down to the letter like he can,” she said. “So it gives them comfort. He corrects them, he makes them go to the bathroom, he’s just amazing.”

The puppies already weigh 10 pounds at 5 weeks old. As adults, that subspecies of gray wolf, called the tundra wolf, tops out at about 130 pounds. You can see the adorable pups in person for the first time Saturday, June 11 at their annual spring festival — The Canine Carnival.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Red wolf population crashing, emergency petition filed by CBD

BREAKING: After the US Fish and Wildlife Service abandoned its mandate to restore the critically low wild red wolf population, numbers plummeted from around 120 two years ago to 45 or less, making the red wolf one of the most critically imperiled species on the planet.

On May 24, The Center for Biological Diversity, along with other conservation groups, filed an emergency petition to require USFWS, the federal government, entrusted with protecting and recovering rare, threatened and endangered species, to fulfill their responsibilities and save the red wolf from extinction in the wild. Red wolves, once the darling of American endangered-species recovery innovations, have been thrown under the bus by an agency cowed by pressure from strident (although numerically small) anti-wolf and and anti-government forces.
“Red wolves face the very real possibility of vanishing from the wild if they don’t get the help they need,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Sadly the Fish and Wildlife Service seems more concerned about appeasing a small minority of anti-wildlife extremists in North Carolina than preventing the extinction of these wolves.”
What makes this federal betrayal of red wolves worse is that it flies in the face of recommendations by its own scientists to actually strengthen recovery efforts. The press release states, "Records recently obtained via the Freedom of Information Act demonstrate that the Service’s red wolf biologists recommended strengthening protections by eliminating loopholes in regulations that have facilitated excessive illegal shootings of red wolves. As recently as 2013, the Service had considered following these recommendations and had even drafted new regulations. But the biologists’ recommendations were ignored, the regulations were never finalized, and the red wolf continues to suffer unsustainable levels of mortality." So the USFWS has dropped the ball in violation of its own expert's advice and against the wishes of a large majority of the public who strongly feel the survival of this shy and elusive small canid is imperative.

The emergency petition requests that the US Fish and Wildlife Service revise the current red wolf regulations in order to reduce red wolf shooting deaths, establish additional wild populations of red wolves (which will also boost sorely-needed genetic diversity), and, importantly, reclassify all reintroduced populations of red wolves as “essential” experimental populations. Currently, wild red wolves are classified as “non-essential,” which severely limits the protections they receive under the Endangered Species Act. This one change should ensure that shot, trapped, poisoned or other intentionally-killed wolves will be treated as crime victims and the perpetrators held accountable to the full extent of the law.

“It is completely arbitrary that this lone wild population of red wolves, which was reintroduced almost 30 years ago, is still classified by the Service as a ‘non-essential’ species,” said Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “The Service has turned its back on this species, and is undermining rather than bolstering red wolf recovery.”

Red wolves are shy, inoffensive, even skittish, mainly hunting small nuisance species like invasive nutria, rodents and plentiful rabbits. These beautiful singers are family-oriented, elusive and deeply beneficial to ecosystems they call home.

As revealed in a follow-up press release, the groups note they "may pursue relief in federal court" if Fish and Wildlife does not respond within 45 days. "Red wolves face the very real possibility of vanishing from the wild if they don't get the help they need," said Brett Hartl, the Center for Biological Diversity's endangered species policy director.

Organizations that filed today’s petition include the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Species Coalition, the South Florida Wildlands Association, WildEarth Guardians, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center. Learn more about red wolf conservation and the Center for Biological Diversity, here. To help the Center in its fight to save this uniquely American Southeastern wolf, donate to their Wolf Defense Fund here.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One-month-old wolf puppies now on view at Brookfield Zoo

Zana, a 4-year-old Mexican gray wolf, tends to her 1-month-old puppies at Brookfield Zoo’s Regenstein Wolf Woods habitat.  | Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
Zana, a 4-year-old Mexican gray wolf, tends to her 1-month-old puppies at Brookfield Zoo’s Regenstein Wolf Woods habitat. | Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society. Jordan Owen
Three Mexican gray wolf puppies that were born one month ago at Brookfield Zoo have begun emerging from their den, and might be visible to springtime visitors to the zoo.

The puppies were part of a pack of five that were born to parents Zana and Flint on April 25, but two were placed with a wild wolf pack in Arizona as part of a recovery program for the species, according to a release from the west suburban zoo.

In addition to the three newest arrivals, a female and two males, the pack includes four yearlings who were born last year. The puppies have not yet been named.

“The current pack at the zoo mimics those in the wild. Wolves have a very complex social structure, and we are excited that guests will be able to get a firsthand look at the interactions among all the animals,” associate curator of mammals Joan Daniels said in the release.

Zoo visitors might see the yearlings helping their parents caring for the pups by regurgitating their food for them and also hear their howls, yips, squeals or growls.

Mexican gray wolves used to be an endangered species, but are now a naturally functioning population with regular births occurring, according to the release.