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


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Alaska

The National Park Service has closed sport hunting and trapping for wolves in the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve east of Fairbanks.  The closure comes nearly a month after state wildlife biologists in a helicopter shot and killed four wolves including two wearing NPS radio collars near the boundary of the preserve as part of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's predator management program.

Denali National Park and the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve have seen a drastic decline in their wolf populations.  In a little over two years the wolf population dropped from 147 animals to 59; a 60% decline.  Biologists say the situation is more serious at the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve.  The population there dropped 43% in one year.  Some biologists say the shocking numbers are a biological emergency; others call it the natural cycle of life.  What would you call it?

Michigan

The number of gray wolf packs at Isle Royale National Park fell by half within the past year, which could mean the predators are entering a tough period but aren't necessarily in danger of dying out, scientists said.  Observation flights led to the discovery that the Paduka Pack and the East Pack have disappeared since last winter.  The East Pack's extinction is described as the end of a dynasty.  Something went wrong last April when the middle-aged female, whose mate hadn't been seen for months, died as did her eight pups during whelping.  The litter would have been enough to not only bolster the size of the East Pack that had long ruled the eastern side of Isle Royale but make it the largest pack on the Lake Superior island.  Her death and that of her pups completed the collapse of the East Pack, which was the latest in a long lineage of packs that had claimed that side of Isle Royale since 1972.  Researchers have been following the island's wolves since 1959.   2009-2010 annual report

Montana

State Fish, Wildlife and Parks has ok'd a more aggressive policy to head off livestock kills, including giving USDA's Wildlife Service the authority to proceed with "lethal control" within three days of a confirmed incident of wolf depredation.  In 2009, gray wolves are confirmed to have killed 202 sheep in Montana.  That's out of 18,800 predator-killed sheep reported by the industry - 1%.  By contrast, ranchers reported that coyotes killed more than 14,000 sheep, and eagles killed 600.  Wolf management now entering a transitional state.  See link to article.

North Dakota

"Medium Toast" arrived at the Dakota Zoo and will be quarantined for about a month.  The female wolf was victim to vandals who pried her cage open at the Wildlife Science Center in Minnesota setting her loose for 4 days.  She was captured and returned to the center but two sisters in the pack picked up on her weakness and turned on her.  She will be making a new home and will be joined by a male friend named Tostito.  Video and slideshow update

Northern Rocky Mountains

A federal court judge in Montana will hear oral arguments on June 15 in the latest round of a lawsuit to reverse the removal of Idaho's and Montana's wolf populations from the federal endangered species list.  If U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy sides with conservation and wildlife groups that want wolves back on the protected list, it could end plans for a second hunt in Idaho and Montana.

Western Great Lakes

Wisconsin has formally requested federal authorities to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.  Wisconsin's decision follows a petition filed by Minnesota in March asking the Interior Department to remove gray wolves from the list of endangered or threatened species.  Michigan authorities also have sided with the actions but haven't filed a formal petition as of yet.

The decision could take months or more prompting a separate action from both the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources requesting interim authority to use lethal controls on wolves.  The USFWS has published a public notice of Michigan's and Wisconsin's Federal Fish and Wildlife permit in application and will accept public comments on it through May 20.  Details and instructions

Wisconsin

Wisconsin was home to about 725 gray wolves in about 185 packs during the 2009-2010 winter, according to state biologists.  (Official population range was listed at:  from 702 to 746 wolves.)  The estimate derived from tracking surveys and aerial counts represents an increase of 75 to 100 wolves over 2008-'09 survey.  A draft of the state's revised wolf management plan will be presented to the Natural Resources Board at its August meeting and likely be out for public comment this fall.  The proposed management plan would require a minimum of 375 wolves and include an option for a public wolf harvest.  More information

Wyoming

A multiyear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study of wolves in the winter in the Gros Ventre drainage shows they rarely kill more then they need to eat and do not prey on moose in excess, researchers say.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wyoming Wolf Management Project Leader called the low incidence "surprising."  Highlights of the study

India

The Indian wolf is a highly endangered animal.  Only 2,000 are estimated to be alive and the number is dwindling.  Studies conducted have proved that the wolf of the world originated from the Indian wolf.  Conservationists believe this is reason enough to save the species.  article

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