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Wolf News Around the World August 2008 by Maria Ferguson


Alpha Wolf pictureAlaska

Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and no friend to the environment, has been named as John McCains running mate.   This is truly a sign that the Republicans will continue to disregard the most urgent needs of our wildlife and the health of our planet.  Palin has been an aggressive lobbiest for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling and also is pushing for more drilling off coastal Alaska.  She is also suing the US Fish and Wildlife Services to get the Polar Bear removed from the Endangered Species list.  In short she put the oil business before environmental concerns including global warming.  I personally heard a news account from a reporter for People’s magazine that says her and her family were enjoying a meal of *Caribou and Moose sausage, one of their favorites.  Curiously enough in her state aerial hunting of predators is being deployed and Wolf pups have been shot to death in their den because of the declining Caribou herds.  Yet, Sarah Palin is still pleasing her pallet with this supposed endangered ungulate.  Please consider what voting this ticket would do for our wildlife and planet before casting your vote.

Ballot Measure 2 has been voted down by the people of Alaska.  The ballot initiative, which would have prohibited the shooting of wolves and bears either from the air or once a plane, has landed, unless the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game finds that a "biological emergency" exists and has adequate scientific proof.  One-sided propaganda promoting the aerial hunting of predators in a positive light was distributed a short time before voting was scheduled to begin.  Some Alaskan’s said the wording of the initiative was poorly worded.  Some critics of Alaska’s predator control program feel this was done deliberately.

Critics say that the state’s department of Fish & Game biologists set them up to break the law against killing Wolf pups when culling adults in June. A section of state code titled "Control of predation by wolves" States, "'Denning,' the killing of wolf young in the den, is prohibited." Doug Larsen, the wildlife division director, says a Board of Game order allows "all wolves" to be taken from a specific area includes pups. State biologists in early June shot 14 wolf pups, without initially telling the Board of Game or the public. *State biologists say the southern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd is in trouble, citing calf survival of less than 1 percent the last few years. That is why they went to the Board of Game asking to shoot wolves.

Arizona/New Mexico

At the end of July, 22 Mexican gray wolves with radio­telemetry collars were living in the wild in southwest New Mexico and eastern Arizona, according to a government report.

In a press release at the end of July, US Forest Service's southwest region has announced that Cathy Taylor has accepted the position as the Mexican Gray Wolf Liaison. Ms. Taylor credentials include being a Field Service Biologist for 27 years.  She is also described as having a deep understanding of the Mexican Wolf program.

Idaho

Nineteen sheep were killed in two or three separate incidents at the Humphries Ranch operation of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in late July, according to Agricultural Research Service spokeswoman Sandy Miller Hays. The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station and its various ranch locations are home to about 3,000 sheep. Located about six miles north of Dubois, the sheep station is the second-largest employer in Clark County. The station includes 27,930 acres: the headquarters, about 16,600 acres in the Centennial Mountains of Montana, 2,600 acres of land at the Humphrey Ranch and 1,200 acres at the Henninger Ranch near Kilgore.

After deliberating for about two hours late Friday, a six-member jury told Custer County Magistrate Judge Charles L. Roos they had reached an impasse as to whether Stanley anti-wolf activist Ron Gillett was guilty of assault and battery on Lynne Stone, a pro-wolf environmentalist. The prosecutor of the case indicated he is unsure whether he will seek to bring the case back to court or let it lapse.

Michigan

Wolves were thought to be eliminated from the Upper Peninsula and the entire state of Michigan by 1960.  In 1989 there was the first evidence that a pack had established a territory in the UP.  The UP is now home to approximately 500 Wolves according to last winter's survey. A new Wolf Management Plan was drafted in August of last year. The new wolf management plan outlines four principal goals:

• Maintain a viable Michigan wolf population above a level that would warrant its classification as threatened or endangered.

• Facilitate wolf-related benefits.

• Minimize wolf-related conflict.

• Conduct science-based wolf management that is socially acceptable.

The DNR does claim that if they could deal with livestock depredation problems non-lethally that they will. Pat Lederle, the supervisor for DNR Wildlife Division's research section says that there are those that would like to see Wolves designated as a big game species.  He explains that there is a legal process to follow before that would become reality.

Minnesota

A Boy River Man, Robert Tellstrom, age 62 and a Timber Wolf were both killed as a result of what appeared to be an accident.  The Wolf was found dead under Tellstrom’s motorcycle.  Tellstrom was thrown from his cycle after the apparent collision with the Wolf which took place at 9:00 a.m. Friday, August 15, 2008.  He was pronounced dead at a North Duluth Hospital after being transported by air there.

Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources study shows that their gray wolf population remains constant in size and range.  An estimated 2,922 gray wolves live in MN compared to an estimate of 2,450 in 1998 and 3,020 in 2004.  The range of MN's gray wolves encompasses about 34,100 square miles of northern MN.
"The population estimates from the past three surveys are statistically similar," said Dr. John Erb, a DNR wolf research biologist. "The lack of notable change in wolf numbers is not surprising given that northern deer populations have remained relatively stable since 1998, and most forested portions of northern Minnesota are already occupied by wolves."

Montana

Federal trappers killed the entire Willow Creek Wolf Pack.  The pack included an alpha male wolf, alpha female, a yearling and two pups. A male wolf from Idaho migrated southwest of Hall and established the Willow Creek Pack in the summer of 2005. In April, wolves were blamed for killing a calf and a lamb.  The pack had grown to 10 adult wolves and three pups at that time.  Livestock conflicts with Wolves increase in late summer, as cattle graze open land and Wolf pups are becoming more mobile. There is more pressure for the adults Wolves to feed their rapidly growing pups.

Federal trappers have killed two wolves from the Horn Mountain Pack, after wolves killed two calves on public land south of Ennis. The USDA Wildlife Services confirmed the depredations on July 29.The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks authorized the removal of two adult wolves and federal trappers killed the wolves on July 30 and 31.
You may read more about this lethal control and others in the Montana Weekly Wolf Reports.

Nevada

Despite the lack of evidence that the predators have returned to Nevada, the Legislature's Subcommittee on Regulations approved a regulation last week that makes the gray or timber wolf a "game" animal, just like deer.
Lansford said his department wanted the new classification in case a lot of wolves do journey into Jarbidge or the Ruby Mountains, the only areas in the state where he believes they could survive. The regulation will allow the Department of Wildlife to manage a wolf population in the state and control pet wolves, which are popular with some residents.

South Dakota

Even though Wolves were historically found throughout the great plains, before being exterminated, including the Black Hills of SD, federal officials have determined that the State has no habitat that could support a Wolf population.  A spokesperson for the State’s Fish and Wildlife was quoted as saying this, "I don’t think we as a department have any desire to manage another large predator in western South Dakota, be it wolves or be it black bears. We’ve kind of got our hands full with mountain Lions now,"

Wisconsin

Wisconsin officials are laying the groundwork for the first public hunting of wolves in more than 50 years. The hunt may never happen, but plans and study are under way that could serve as the framework for a season in two or three years, the state's top wolf biologist said Wednesday. A wolf season would require approval from the Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the DNR, and from the Legislature. But the measure would likely prompt a lawsuit from wolf advocates. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Upper Midwestern wolves from the endangered species list after concluding that the population had risen sufficiently in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The delisting is being challenged in federal court by the Humane Society of America. Neither Minnesota nor Michigan has a hunting season for wolves. Minnesota decided on a five-year moratorium after wolves were removed from the endangered list.

Wyoming

The state legislature appropriated $2.4 million to manage wolves during the 2009-2010 budget period. While that figure includes $540,000 for the compensation program, Keszler said it's unclear how much it will actually cost. The Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed the deaths of 71 cattle and 20 sheep in Wyoming to wolves last year.

Canada

Last year, rangers say they had to kill 3 of the Mont Tremblant Provincial  Park’s estimated 35 wolves after the animals had begun to show signs of losing their natural fears of humans - a phenomenon known as "prey identification."  Humans feeding Wolves is largely to blame for this type of behavior with Wolves in National Parks.  They solution to possibly prevent this situation from reoccurring has been for the park to install a separation barrier.  New fencing has been installed around 300 campsites on Monroe Lake, the southwestern section of the park. The fence is 2.5 kilometers long. It consists of a single string of low-lying nylon cord, sort of like a clothesline, with wide ribbons of red cloth, known as flandry, suspended from it at intervals of every metre or so.  So far this method has served to be a deterrent to the Wolves in the area.

Delinda, the Wolf whose wonderful image is used to adorn one of Banff’s new hybrid buses was struck by a car and killed on August 25th.  Delinda was the 5 year old Alpha Female of the Bow Valley Pack.  The photographer, John E. Marriott, who took her pictures for the bus and later was called in to identify her body, had some very kind words to say. “She was a brilliant wolf. She made the pack work; she was able to work with roads and people and still maintain being a very, very wild animal."  It is believed that Delinda has left behind 9 pack members, her Alpha Male known as Nanuk, two pups from this year and six yearling pups born the year before.  Here is a picture of the bus that has Delinda’s photo on it. 

In Canada, mountain caribou are dying and officials believe wolves are the culprits, said Callahan, a wildlife biologist and executive director of the center. As a result, Canadian officials are trying to protect the caribou by capturing wolf pups and euthanizing them, she said. The Wildlife Science Center, a nationally known research and education facility that specializes in wolves and other predators, has teamed up with the Ministry of Environment of British Columbia and a top reproductive physiologist at the St. Louis Zoo to develop a way to *sterilize the wolves from afar. If all goes according to plan, new pups will come to the center every year and the study's sample size will grow. "It's a win-win," Callahan said. "The puppies don't get euthanized and the research gets done."  Click here to see a picture of the pups.  *It is the position of Wolf Howl Animal Preserve that it is unnatural for any wild animal to be sterilized and that Man should not be the one to make a decision on which of a particular species is allowed to procreate.  This action will indeed have an adverse effect on a wild Wolf pack.

Finland

According to a recent genetic study, Finland is no longer receiving new Wolf bloodlines from its neighbor across the Russian border in Karelia.  The Russian Wolf population has been decreasing due to increased hunting and decrease in prey.  Researchers are concerned for the genetic viability of the Finland Wolves.   They feel at minimum they would need at least one migrating Wolf to come over the border every 3 or 4 years.  On a side note regarding this study, we have to considered L David Mech’s research on the Wolves of Isle Royale which have had no new bloodlines for over 50 years.

80 Wolves have been fit with GSP radio collars.  Five men have been engaged in tracking Wolf feces to find out what the Wolves are eating.  In one instance a male wolf was responsible for dining with his family on 13 reindeer calves, one adult reindeer, 12 European elk (Am. Moose, Alces alces), 10 elk calves, and a wild Finnish forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus).  The researchers note that Wolves are seldom allowed to finish eating their dinner before being interrupted by bears.

Sweden

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency gave the go-ahead for a controlled hunt on the wolf in the Bredfjället region.  Shortly after midnight of the very next day, the alpha male wolf was shot to death just north of Hjärtum.  He was accused of 80 sheep depredations during the summer months in the area.  The alpha female was left with pups to feed.

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