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


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Alaska

The man convicted of big game violations who was believed to have shot the black wolf, Romeo, beloved for his friendliness could have his probation revoked.  A petition to revoke probation was signed by the Deputy Attorney General.  The convicted guide in this wolf case may go to prison.  Justice for Romeo

Illinois

Five female wolf sisters can be seen on exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo.  Once breeding season is over in April, their brothers currently in an adjacent off-exhibit space, will join them in the main habitat.  The eight wolf siblings arrived at the zoo late last fall to participate in the Mexican Gray Wolf Species Survival Plan.  The two male wolves most recently exhibited at the zoo will be transferred to a center to be part of its cryopreservation program.  Gray Wolves Lead the Pack

Michigan

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) is asking for the public's assistance to detect the presence of wolves in Northern Lower Peninsula by reporting any recent sightings of wolves or tracks they believe were made by wolves.  An official survey will be conducted by the DNRE Feb. 15 through Mar. 14 in that region of the state.  Wolf Observations Wanted

The DNRE and the USFWS are also seeking the public's help in two wolf poaching cases.  In Luce County:  the body of a wolf, dead from a gunshot wound, was found south of Newberry on February 11 off County Road 405.  And in Chippewa County:  a dead wolf was found in the Roxbury Creek area of Curley Lewis Road in Whitefish Township on February 18.  Forensic examination determined that the wolf died of a gunshot wound.  Evidence shows that the wolf was killed at another location, and then transported to the location where it was discovered.  Reward Offered

Three of the six known wolf killings this year happened together.  A Bay City man has pleaded guilty to charges of illegally killing 3 wolves in Mackinac County in January and to malicious destruction of property for destroying two tracking collars that the DNRE had placed on the wolves.  Charges Made

Mississippi

Wolf Howl Animal Preserve is now accepting early spring tours.  Come meet their beautiful Wolves, Wa-ta-chee, Chito, Niko Akni, Waya, Ohoyo, Nita and Woha.  For more information see their Visitor Information on the EverthingWolf.com website.

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Montana

Defying federal authority over gray wolves, Montana Governor Schweitzer encouraged ranchers to kill wolves that prey on their livestock - even in areas where that is not currently allowed - and said the state will start shooting packs that hurt elk herds.  The show of defiance was welcomed by some but rejected by the Interior Department as taking the wrong approach and generated alarm among wildlife advocates.  Breaking News Release

Dozens of cow elk and two wolves have been equipped with GPS collars as part of a study that could provide important information on the big game animal and its interaction with predators.  Biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the University of Montana attached the collars to 44 elk captured with net guns and tranquilizer darts fired from a helicopter this month.  Biologists said the study, expected to last through 2013, could help explain why the elk population in the West Fork of the Bitterroot has dropped.  Some say wolves are to blame, and the study could determine whether that's accurate.  more info and video

New York

Sadly, Wolf Conservation Center announces the death of one of their ambassador wolves.  Kaila, who pioneered the education program as the Wolf Center's first wolf, passed away February 21 at the age of 15.  Forever dodging the spotlight, she was a vibrant star and the keystone of her family, despite occupying the lowest ranking in the pack hierarchy.  Goodbye "Quiet Queen"

Atka, the WCC's youngest ambassador wolf, will continue Kaila's education program by visiting the Seneca Falls Community Center.  You can meet Atka; the 8-year old Arctic Gray Wolf during a live presentation scheduled to be held March 25 at 5:30 p.m.  Details

North Dakota

Remember the endangered Mexican Gray Wolf with the sense of adventure that left her home a year ago Valentine's Day?  After away for 96 hours, she was rejected by her sisters upon returning and lost her alpha female title.  A new home became necessary and was found at the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck.  We are glad to report an update with good news.  "A happy wolf, adapting well."  Renamed Sonrisa, Spanish for smile, she was introduced to her new pen-pal, Tostito, a male Mexican Gray Wolf.  Sonrisa and Tostito, who had seen each other pen-to-pen for several weeks, briefly touched noses, and then Sonrisa promptly bit the older and larger wolf on the hind end.  Fur flew, but they've been getting along well ever since.  Still one tough little Wolf

Northern Rockies

Federal wildlife officials have signaled their preliminary approval to cull Idaho gray wolves to raise elk populations.  A petition by Idaho Fish & Game was submitted last August to kill up to 60 endangered wolves in the Lolo Elk Management Zone in north central Idaho under the 10(j) rule.  The proposal is requesting to reduce gray wolves in the Lolo down to 20 or 30 wolves from the 60 or 80 wolves currently estimated to occupy the area.  The agency has begun taking public comments on the issue until March 14, 2011.  A petition from Montana to remove 12 wolves in the Bitterroot Range is pending similar authorization from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a few weeks.  Feds OK Wolf Hunting; another pending

U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy told attorneys for environmental groups and wildlife management agencies to gather their data and help resolve whether gray wolves should still be an "experimental species" in the Northern Rockies.  Molloy issued an order for both sides to present arguments answering whether today's wolves are still experimental populations, or whether they have cross-bred in the three recovery areas in Wyoming, Idaho and in Northwestern Montana with wolves from Canada.  Legal briefs were filed February 22 and now oral arguments are due March 24.  Should gray wolves be governed by maps or mates?

Oregon

Biologists are pretty sure there are at least three additional wolves in the state, but they don't know what kind of "social formation" they're living in.  Prior to this report, Oregon had 21 confirmed wolves living in two packs.  Mark Kirsch, the Umatilla wildlife biologist with the ODF&W, said, "tracks in the snow revealed the wolves are here.  He explained wolves will travel behind one another, stepping into each other's paw prints.  It took a while following the tracks before seeing divergent paths."  Possible third wolf pack

Local citizens and conservation groups today announced a new effort to bring the poacher who illegally shot an endangered wolf in Oregon to justice.  Starting February 15, drivers travelling on Hwy. 82 from La Grande will see a billboard with the image of the young wolf killed in September and the phone number to call with information about his death.  The advertisement highlights a $10,000.00 reward being offered for information about the poaching and the statement, "whatever you think of wolves...poaching is wrong!"  Billboard keeps the heat on wolf poacher

Southwest Region

Federal wildlife officials have counted 50 endangered Mexican Gray Wolves in the Arizona-New Mexico border, up from 42 wolves a year earlier.  The figure from last month's annual survey includes 29 wolves in Arizona and 21 in New Mexico.  Researchers determined there are two pairs of breeding wolves.  Of the 50 wolves, federal biologists said 14 were wild-born pups that survived through the end of 2010 - double the number of pups from the 2009 count.  Recovery sees progress

Washington

Wildlife agents are now seeking the public's help to solve the previously unreported poaching of an endangered gray wolf.  Officers found the skinned carcass of a male dumped near Rainy Pass in Washington's North Cascades.  Evidence at the scene suggests that the wolf was shot somewhere else, however.  The State Department of Fish & Wildlife's deputy says this all happened a year and half ago.  State and federal authorities are still investigating two other wolf poaching cases.  The few wolves known to live in Washington are protected under state and federal endangered species laws.  Tips Sought on Wolf Poaching

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released, "Wisconsin Endangered Resources Report #140, Year End Summary, Wolf Population Monitoring In Wisconsin In 2010."  Wolves depredated 63 cattle, most of which were calves, worth a total of $113,586, according to the report.  Between 25 and 27 packs of wolves are believed to be responsible along with a handful of lone wolves.  But people may be more dangerous to wolves than wolves are to cattle and dogs.  Of wolves tracked by the DNR using radio collars last year, 62% of those that died were killed by human-related causes such as illegal hunting, getting run over or getting euthanized by wildlife officials.  Rise of the Wisconsin Wolf

A call for Wolf Awareness Week poster image entries has been made.  Wildlife artists have until April 20 to submit entries for the 2011 Wolf Awareness Week poster, published by the Timber Wolf Alliance.  The theme for the 2011 posters is "Why Wolves? Wolves' Role in a Healthy Ecosystem."  Entries must have wolves as the subject (Gray, Mexican Gray, Red), and, if included, should include accurate habitat depictions in their native environment.  The chosen artist will receive prominent credit, 200 copies of the poster, and a $500.00 stipend.  "If the artwork submitted to the contest is a depiction drawn from a photograph taken by someone other than the artist, the artist MUST notify TWA of the photographer's name and address."  Hint, hint, Wolf Animal Preserve's Nakoowolf has many beautiful specimens.  Be sure to ask Nakoowolf first.

Official entry form and rules

Armenia

News of a bounty on wolves announced last week has raised concern among environmentalists that the 100,000 drams (about $275) monetary award defined for a wolf hunt may cause the extermination of the wolf population in Armenia.  The government has allocated 10 million drams (about $27,000) from its reserve fund to the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia for the wolf extermination campaign, aiming to reduce the population by 100.  Armenian environmentalists are protesting by preparing a letter to express their discontent on wolf hunting, addressed to the prime minister and nature protection minister.  Howling Controversy

Austria

Why did the wolf walk around the rock?  To see what was on the other side, of course.  Wolves are able to recognize a difference in vantage point and follow the gaze of both people and dogs by moving around wooden boards or large rocks.  Walking around the barrier to see what's on the other side - having an understanding that the perspective is different for the demonstrator than for the subject - is more cognitively advanced, said Friederike Range, who conducted the study with Zsofi Viranyi at the University of Vienna Department of Cognitive Biology.  Their findings, "Development of Gaze Following Abilities in Wolves (Canis Lupus)," were published February 23rd.  The wolves used in Vienna study were born in captivity and raised by people so they would pay attention to, and not be afraid of, their proctors.  The ability to follow the gaze of humans around an obstacle has only previously been observed in primates and birds, Range said.  While wolves can certainly learn to bond and interact with humans, that's a far cry - or howl - from having one of the distant relatives of man's best friend as a pet.  Taking a Cue

Canada

Bob Hayes has some advice for Yukoners who want to revisit the wolf cull:  don't bother.  "It's completely not worth it," he said.  Hayes worked as Yukon's wolf biologist for 18 years until 2000.  During that time he helped design and deliver Yukon's wolf control program.  His conclusions?  It's costly.  If often doesn't work, and when it does, its effects are always temporary.  And, ultimately, it cheapens the Yukon by transforming wilderness into a glorified meat farm.  Hayes, has quite literally, written the book on the subject:  Wolves of the Yukon.  It's a decade in the making, and, by luck, its release later this month coincides with a review of the territory's wolf management plan.  Hayes preferred solution?  Leave them alone.  Just leave them alone.  Things will work themselves out.  (FYI:  Yukon's wolf population is one of the most studied in the world.)  Lose wolves, lose the wilderness

France

Through a forest of larch and spruce, meet wolves, their tales and legends.  Predators often disparaged by men, Park Alpha Wolves was created to inform the public about wolves and demystify some mythical legends.  The facilitators allow visitors to learn more about wolf behavior and origins as well as issues and problems related to the natural return of wolves in Mercantour.  This wildlife park where wolves are in semi-freedom is divided into three packs of wolves.  They are 19 in total.  more here including 10 photos

Italy

The technicians of the Majella National Park saved a beautiful Apennine wolf.  The wolf had been caught in a trap of poachers and would certainly have died if it had not been found in time.  These are extraordinary images of the assistance, taken by the same operators in the Park.  Rescue Photos

Spain

Sierra de la Culebra is the natural habitat of more than a dozen packs of the Iberian Wolf.  The Conservation and Management Plan of the Giant Castilla y Leon presents one of its priorities to be the use of tourism and enhancement of the species as an element of the natural and cultural heritage as well as modify the general perception of Wolf as part of society.  A project will be developed in the province of Zamora to increase a zone for a greater density of wolves in and around the world.  The most important pillar of the project is the creation of a theme, "International Reference" that will serve to strengthen the knowledge of wolves.  Land of Wolves

United States

Environmental groups are getting ready for their first big fight of the year.  In the first effort to change the Endangered Species Act in the new Congress, four new bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to remove the gray wolf from the list of protected animals.  S.249 and HR509 would delist all wolves nationwide and prevent them from ever receiving protection under the Endangered Species Act, while S.321 and HR510 would delist wolves only in Montana and Idaho.  Should you choose to raise your voice and help stop the Congressional act against endangered Wolves, please note there are instructions for everyone with or without an U.S. mailing address.  TAKE ACTION!

From our archives:  Save Wolves EverydayAll you have to do is click

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