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Wolf News Around the World, January 2011 - by Chris Kirby

Wolf picture


A female wolf in a pack thought to be involved in several troubling encounters with humans in the Eagle River-Chugiak area was shot last week by an Alaska Department of Fish and Game employee on JBER.  It appears to have been the first killed in what Fish and Game says will be an effort to shoot or trap the entire pack of up to a dozen.  Mixed signals

Lack of snow and lack of daylight has combined to limit the killing of wolves in Interior game units as part of the state's aerial predator control program.  The state has issued permits to pilot-gunner teams to shoot wolves from the air or land and shoot them in specific game management units for seven years.    Annual Wolf Numbers Reported killed

Alaska's wolves are being lined up for death again by aerial hunting and gassed dens.  The target in this latest round of wolf massacres is the wolves of Unimak Island.  FWS originally objected to aerial hunting in wildlife refuges.  It appears they have changed their minds.  Alaska biologists "admit there is no guarantee that killing wolves that prey on Unimak caribou will help the herd grow."  We have the voices needed to prevent it from taking place.  Save the Unimak Wolves Petition


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reveals that the death of the 2-year-old female wolf from Montana's Mill Creek Pack that wandered into Colorado from the Yellowstone area in 2009 was the result of illegal poison.  Tests showed the wolf died after ingesting the banned poison, Compound 1080.  A highly toxic substance that causes agonizing, prolonged deaths that plagues its victim with convulsions, dizziness and unbearable pain before killing.  The endangered gray wolf, also known as 314F, wandered 3,000 miles in search of a mate -- only for her journey to end in a gruesome murder.  Now the state and federal investigators are asking the public to help ID who poisoned the endangered wolf in Colorado.  More about the life of 314F and a Petition to ban Compound 1080


The future of the Wood River Project is up for debate, as study wraps up its third year and the partners must decide whether to continue.  The project is composed of a series of non-lethal methods designed to minimize wolf depredations on sheep.  Out of 30,000 sheep the project had grazing on public lands during the 3 years of the project, it lost only 14.  "Wolves and livestock can coexist, even on public lands and it's more important than ever to show that's possible," Stone said.  Successful but costly


Conservation officers are seeking information on the possible poaching of a wolf pup that occurred in Cheboygan County sometime between January 14 - 19.  The pup was one of two pups that were radio-collared by the DNRE and USDA's Wildlife Services in October, 2010.  Until then, it has been a century since wild pups have been observed in the Lower Peninsula.  The pup's movements had been tracked with the last live signal January 14.  Wildlife biologists received a mortality signal on January 19 and located the collar from the wolf pup.  The animal, less than one-year-old, was not recovered.  Public assistance requested in possible poaching investigation of a wolf pup


The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife posted a new video of the Imnaha Pack taken December 30.  Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan says the alpha female and two pups came within 10 yards of the biologist filming the footage.  The Imnaha Pack is hanging out with wintering elk and there were no reports in December of attacks on livestock.  Watch here

Learn about Oregon's top predators, Gray Wolves and Cougars.  A FREE one-hour presentation will be conducted by biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday, February 16 in Portland.  Tim Hiller, ODFW carnivore coordinator, and Russ Morgan, ODFW Wolf Coordinator, will discuss both species' fascinating life, history, status and challenges of monitoring and managing the state's apex wild predators.  Registration required

South Dakota

NA testing determined that an animal shot north of Woonsocket was a wolf from the Great Lakes Region.  The Department of Game, Fish and Parks said a hunter mistook it for a coyote and killed the 90-pound male on December 18.  This is significant information as there are currently no documented wolves in South Dakota.  The shooting came nearly a year after a female wolf was shot in northeastern South Dakota by a coyote hunter.  Wolves are listed as "endangered" under the Federal Endangered Species Act.  It is illegal to kill or possess such a species.  Hunters reminded that it is illegal to kill a wolf


While some Wyoming legislators, hunters, and ranchers claim that wolves are decimating the state's elk herds.  In contrast, analysis of the facts tells a different story.  Many wildlife biologists predicted that after wolves recovered, elk distribution and behavior might fluctuate in some herds, but that elk numbers would be largely unaffected.  Wolf and elk monitoring studies indicate that the wildlife biologists' predictions were more accurate than the darker forecasts.    Graphs, charts and studies, oh my

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the death of a radio-collared wolf recently found about 45 miles southwest of Casper, a special agent said.  He can't confirm the cause of death or point to the probable cause.  Comments are not made regarding investigations until after they are concluded or prosecuted.  Intentionally killing a wolf without cause is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000.00 fine.  FYI:  According to a preliminary report by the FWS:   about 348 wolves (247 outside Yellowstone) were in Wyoming in a total of about 45 packs, with 34 of those packs outside the park.  In 2010, the FWS documented 58 wolf deaths, with 40 of those killed because of livestock depredation, two from natural causes, nine that were illegal or are under investigation, three unknown causes and four others.  Total documented predation in 2010 of sheep, cattle and other animals by wolves amounted to 65, the lowest number since 2003.    "We have one dead wolf"

Northern Rocky Mountains Region

The federal wolf update (USFWS) is the only official wolf report out there for the NRM.  As well as for Wyoming, there is Yellowstone Park, Oregon and other wolf updates.  There is a link to Montana FWP which has an October 2010 update.  The wolf population in Montana for 2010 is estimated to be only 400 wolves, compared to the final 2009 count of 524 wolves.  The number of 400 may go up a little before the final report is issued, but preliminary data fails to show any explosion in wolf population even though the 2010 wolf hunt was canceled.  Figure 3 shows the number of packs involved in livestock depredation has essentially plateaued, no matter the increase in the number of wolves.   Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report - Jan. 7


A group of 40 to 50 women belonging to a local chapter of a national organization for wilderness, hosted a wolf parade through downtown Silver City to raise awareness about the plight of the endangered Mexican Gray Wolf.  The parade featured Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma, and, of course, the Wolf, along with others marching along wearing homemade wolf masks.  An educational presentation on Mexican Gray Wolves and their place in the Southwest followed including a question-and-answer session.  The local chapter's first event coincides with the annual wolf survey conducted along the Arizona-New Mexico border, which began January 19 according to a news release, issued by the USFWS.  Benjamin Tuggle, southwest regional director of the USFWS has hailed 2011 as a "watershed year" for the lobo, and promised that a new recovery plan was being written and would be available sometime in 2011 for the endangered animal.  He said he shared the protester's frustration on the lack of releases, but the key to a successful wolf re-introduction plan is insuring the wolves' survival, and that can only happen when the people on the ground - meaning the ranching community and the public as a whole - have a degree of understanding, if not comfort, with the plan and that management actions are in place to deal with issues that arise.  Great Old Broads


Local forest rangers confirmed the presence of wolves in Guadarrama.  Cattle farmers and regional government are now attempting to put guidelines in place for payouts in compensation for depredation from the wolves, which are a protected species unique to Spain.  As already happens in the neighboring region of Castilla y Leon, breeders and farmers could find themselves having to insure animals to demonstrate that they, too, were prepared to shoulder some of the responsibility.  Wolves make it to the Madrid Mountains


The Egyptian jackal is actually not a jackal at all but a member of the wolf family.  New genetic research finds that the Egyptian jackal is Africa's only member of the gray wolf family.  The new wolf, dubbed by researchers as the African wolf, is most closely related to the Himalayan wolf.  According to the study, Indian, Himalayan, and the new African wolf, broke off from the gray wolf before it moved north, colonizing Europe, northern Asia, and the Americas, further subdividing into different subspecies.  Ethiopian wolves, which are a unique species of canids, are older still.  However the new African wolf is classified, researchers argue the discovery must change how the animal is viewed in conservation.  The animal is not protected in Egypt and is often persecuted as it is considered a threat to livestock.  In good news, the researchers discovered that the African wolf, previously Egyptian jackal, is actually present in Ethiopia highlands, expanding its known range considerably.  Photo at article.  Old puzzles can be solved


Japanese farmers are hoping to defend their crop fields from inroads of wild boars and deer by using wolves that they plan to bring from Russia.  The Japan Wolf Association, which plans to set up research and information centers about wolves across the country, is set to launch a research committee sometime soon in a bid to promote the program.  All eyes are understandably on the matter


The European Commission formally reported Sweden's wolf hunt for violating European Union environmental laws.  Practically speaking, the move means the EU now sends a formal notification, which Sweden must answer within two months.  If the answers aren't satisfactory, the matter proceeds further and could eventually end up in court.  Sweden's environment minister remains confident that Sweden will prevail in the dispute.  Sweden resumed wolf hunting last year.  It was the first wolf hunt since 1964.  Should the case reach the European Court of Justice, Sweden could be slapped with hefty fines for violating EU rules.  Full story

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