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Wolf News Around the World, January 2010 - by Chris Kirby


thepack101409-1nl.jpgNorthern Rocky Mountains see record wolf deaths

Debilitating news from the Northern Rocky Mountains.  Over FIVE HUNDRED gray wolves have been killed.  Nearly a third of the total NRM gray wolf population are gone forever.  Over 200 wolves have been killed in the hunts so far and another 300 were killed by escalated lethal control measures, poachers, and natural causes.  This figure includes deaths in Wyoming where wolves are currently protected and hunting is banned.  Montana's wolf hunt was shut down in mid-November but we watch helplessly as Idaho's extended wolf hunt continues through early Spring into critical wolf denning season.  Female gray wolves in the NRM begin their pregnancies now and their pups are due to be born in early Spring.  A lawsuit to return the wolf to the endangered species list is pending; however, a date has not been set for the hearing.  more details

Wolf advocates rallied in outrage after the November 23rd and 24th slaughter of seven members of the famous Basin Butte Pack of the Sawtooth Mountains home near Stanley, Idaho.  For many years, the Basin Butte Pack offered wolf watchers the kind of opportunity to see wolves in the wild unlike anywhere but Yellowstone.  The pack's mother, B171 nicknamed "Alpha Fe," her 3 seven-month old pups and 3 other wolves were shot down from the air by Wildlife Services armed with semiautomatic 12-gauge shotguns as locals watched in horror.  Wolf advocates condemned the heavy handed tactics and maintain that the pack was wrongly blamed for livestock conflict.  aka Thanksgiving Wolf Massacre

The Wolf Recovery Foundation and Western Watersheds Project filed a lawsuit this month against the US Forest Service and USDA in an effort to stop the wolf hunts in Idaho.  The agencies contend that federal and state laws were violated when helicopters were flown into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to collar and trap wolves; the government's decision to allow grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area increases conflicts between wolves and wildlife; and federal laws were violated when government agents killed several wolves in central Idaho.

Some of the facts contained in a summary on this year's wolf hunt released by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks include:  The largest harvested wolf weighed 117 pounds.  The oldest hunter to shoot a wolf was 70 years old.  The youngest was 13.  Click here for more information and the summary.

Members of the Wyoming Wolf Coalition will hold a support rally on the Capital steps before the hearing January 29 at 9:00 a.m.  The group is in favor of the state's lawsuit against USFWS who reversed course and decided to leave gray wolves in Wyoming on the endangered species list while delisting them in Idaho and Montana.

Alaska

Romeo has not been seen since September 18.  Since 2003, Romeo, routinely returned every winter to the Dredge Lakes area in the Mendenhall Valley.  Neither hide nor hair of Juneau's celebrity wolf has been seen this winter.  Mystery surrounds the beautiful black wolf's whereabouts.  Speculation that Romeo died from being a wolf is comforted with hope by Nakoowolf's reminder that wolves look for mates at this time.  Wherefore art thou, Romeo?

Greenpeace filed a lawsuit to save the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni), a gray wolf subspecies unique to Alaska's panhandle.  The rare islands wolf population and its critical habitat mostly occupied by the Tongass National Forest is threatened again by a logging and road building project.  more details

Oregon

During a periodic monitoring exercise, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed a pack of 10 wolves in Wallowa County.  The live video of the Imnaha Pack in the wild snow-covered forest is breathtaking.  The alpha female is former Idaho wolf B300F.  Apparently, the Imnaha River was a natural corridor leading her from Idaho to Oregon.  Watch

Utah

Senator Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, is sponsoring a bill requiring the killing or capturing of any wolf that dares come to Utah.  The Senator declared he is willing to fight the wolf battle all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Video quote, "I'm at the top of the food chain and I intend to stay there."

Southwest

The alpha male of the Bacho Pack was found dead in late November on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in southeastern Arizona.  It is the tenth wild wolf to turn up dead in a 12 month period.  Federal law enforcement agents are investigating and investigations continue into the other wolf deaths.  The dead wolves, two in Arizona and seven in New Mexico including 3 pups that belonged to the San Mateo Pack, represent nearly 20% of the known wild population.

WildEarth Guardians has filed a lawsuit January 19 in an effort to force the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a finding on their petition.  The lawsuit is part of a campaign started in December to persuade the Obama Administration to make endangered species a priority.

Western Great Lakes

Federal agents are investigating a recent rash of illegal wolf killings across northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  On January 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked for the public's help in finding suspects in 16 deaths across the three States in November and December.  A $1,000 reward is being offered by the USFWS for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who kill wolves.  Wolf advocacy groups have added to the rewards and an anonymous donor has increased the reward to $7,000 regarding a poached wolf in Ontonagon County, Michigan.

Yellowstone

Doug Smith, coordinator of the reintroduction efforts and leader of the Yellowstone Wolf Project, expects his annual census of the park's wolf population to be the lowest in 10 years.  While parvovirus and mange continue to reduce the population, part of this year's decline can be traced to the fact that wolves lost protection in the Northern Rockies.  Wolves are protected inside the park, but those that roam beyond the borders fall into States' management practices, which permitted hunting this fall.   Data is still being gathered, however, Smith says the number of gray wolves will be 116; a 33% drop from 2003 when the population was at an all-time high of 174.

Austria

DNA evidence taken from the hair of two individual wolves found this year in Carinthia proves wolves have returned since being extirpated in the country.  Results conclude that their origin is from Italy.

Canada

A Canmore cross-country skier was joined by three very unusual ski companions shortly into the New Year while skiing.  Two of the "frosty wolves" believed to be involved were photographed.  see and read

Germany

The five wolves in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania received 150,000 euro dollars [about 212,024 USA dollars] from the state budget in the form of depredation compensation.  The wolf management plan also includes funding for livestock owners who want to use special fences, huts and dogs to protect their herds.

North Pole

U.S. Geological Survey researchers and scientists have been monitoring an Arctic wolf named "Brutus" as he travels with his pack.  An imposing 90 pound wolf, who is not afraid to keep his pack of at least 12 adults and 6-12 pups in line, sports a lionish ruff and that new satellite collar around his neck.  GPS collars send coordinates telling them where arctic wolves are coming and going.  This is the first time GPS tracking is being used to track animals in the arctic.  Like all arctic wolves, Brutus is mostly white or light in color and has long coltish legs superbly suited for his long-distance jaunts and major hunting forays.  find out how you can download to follow Brutus.

Spain

Winner of the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009 award has been stripped of his title for allegedly hiring a trained wolf named "Ossian" to stage the number one prize.  It is the first time in the competition's 45-year history that an entry has been disqualified.  The contestant strongly denies the allegations.  A new winner from the 43,000 entries will not be selected.

Sweden

Sweden's first wolf hunt in over 45 years ended almost as quickly as it started when the quota of 27 wolf kills was reached in just four days.  12,000 hunters had been granted permits to take part in the hunt.  Sweden shares its genetically fragile wolf population of about 200 wolves with Norway.  Hunters named in the media claim they have been confronted and received death threats.  A member nation of the European Union, Sweden has been criticized for violating wolf conservation agreements that were ratified under the Bern Convention.  Where do you stand?

An entire pack of wolves were shot to death after escaping from a Swedish Wildlife Park.  The incident occurred just days after a controversial nationwide hunt to cull wolves.  A park spokesman said the situation was extremely dangerous although he added that the public was not at risk.  story and photos

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