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CRY WOLF

“Wolves in British Columbia are running out of places to hide.  There are now plans to kill up to 184 wolves living in British Columbia before the snow melts.  Wolves will be chased by helicopters until they are exhausted, and then shot under the guise of helping to recover dwindling caribou herds in the South Selkirk and South Peace areas.

A sad reality is that caribou are on their way out because of what people have already done.  Caribou are in this situation because of us, not because of wolves.  We have allowed the province and industry to destroy the habitat that caribou require.  We have been watching this discussion take place for the past 50 years and allowing activities to continue in critical habitat.  This conservation dilemma we are in is certainly difficult and problematic, yet it is a consequence of our neglect.

With the announcements to kill more wolves in the name of caribou recovery , there are several critical flaws that fly in the face of reason and scream to be heard.   In recent decades we have learned more about the true nature of wolves as emotional and intelligent beings, and just how important they are in maintaining balance and biodiversity .  So why has BC has just announced a new death sentence for wolves?

 We the public deserve to become informed on how our tax dollars are being spent, to what end, and for how long.  We deserve to know how BC’s iconic apex predators are treated and how our wildlife and wild places are being cared for.  We deserve to have our input listened to and considered.

 The decision to kill more wolves is scientifically unsound.  Killing wolves to increase ungulate populations is an outdated management practice that has failed to increase ungulate populations long-term wherever it has been tried in the past.  Wolf populations rebound quickly and dispersing wolves fill in the vacant space created where resident wolves have been killed.  All evidence to date shows that killing wolves will not work to reduce predator numbers long term.  This is not the first time wolf helicopter killing and sterilization has occurred in BC.  All past efforts where wolves have been killed have failed to increase caribou numbers.  So why would this be attempted again?

This is also a question of animal welfare.  Are we as a society prepared to spend the next thirty years shooting wolves from helicopters (if not indefinitely)?   Causing harm to hundreds of intelligent and sensitive animals for any reason should  be questioned for its moral ground.  As new wolves migrate into the area and populations rebound,  killing hundreds of wolves would have to be continued in order to maintain the small herds of caribou.  Some areas that have been protected for caribou are not only small, but they are isolated, (eg.  South Selkirks),  so ongoing wolf killing would likely continue to keep the small herds in existence without newcomers migrating in.  Aerial shooting is not an approved method under Canada’s current guidelines on Approved Animal Care.   Shooting wolves from helicopters violates animal care standards and is unjustifiable.

 There are major ecological repercussions when wolves  are disturbed, either by “removing” (AKA killing)  or exploiting them.  The ripple effects are detrimental to the behaviour and diversity of many other species and natural processes.  Watch this video and learn more about the critical  ecological role of wolves as a keystone species.

 Tragically, the same scenario is playing itself out in Alberta and demands just as much attention and participation.

Over 7 years, more than 800 wolves were killed under the guise of protecting the Little Smokey Caribou herd, and there are plans to kill more.  Read this article by Marc Beckoff  about compassionate conservation and research, and what it means to kill this many wolves.   The original “experiment” that killed so many Albertan animals can be read HERE.

 Conservation, ecology, wolf social dynamics, animal welfare and ethical considerations were left out of this part of the caribou recovery plan and an apparent pre-determined agenda which encourages killing wolves has been exposed. 

Please become informed and involved.  This is a defining time for the values of Canadians. 

Ecosystem DOES NOT EQUAL Egosystem.”

People who may be interested in hearing your thoughts:

The Honourable Christy Clark

BC Premier

PO Box 9041,  Stn Prov Govt 

Victoria, BC  V8W 9E1

Premier@gov.bc.ca    

The Honourable Steve Thomson

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

PO Box 9049, Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, BC  V8W 9E2

FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca    

The Honourable Shirley Bond

Minister of Jobs, TOURISM, and Skills Training

PO Box 9071
STN PROV GOV
Victoria, BC
V8W 9E2

JTST.Minister@gov.bc.ca

cc:

NDP FLNR Critic and Harry Baines

harry.baines.mla@leg.bc.ca

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver

andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

 AND IN ALBERTA

The Honourable Jim Prentice, Premier              

Executive Branch
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB  T5K 2B6                                        

Phone: 780 427-2251
Fax: 780 427-1349
premier@gov.ab.ca 

The Honourable Kyle Fawcett, Minister

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Main Floor, Great West Life Building

9920 108 Street

Edmonton, AB  T5K 2M4

Phone:  877 944-0313

Fax:  780 427-4407

ESRD.Minister@gov.ab.ca

 Alberta Minister of Tourism and Culture

Honourable Maureen Kubinec

229 Legislature Building
10800 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 422-3559
Fax: (780) 427-7729

barrhead.morinville.westlock@assembly.ab.ca

**Special thanks to “Wolf Awareness,” http://www.wolfawarenessinc.org/, for providing this information!


Geographic Wolf

© MARC MORITSCH/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE/CORBIS

By

“Scientists who study canine origins seem to fight about everything: where dogs arose, when this happened, and even the best way to find these answers. But there’s one thing most of them agree on: how dogs became domesticated. Still, it’s taken almost a century to get here, and the details are still emerging.

In 1907, the English scientist Francis Galton suggested that dogs first entered our lives when our ancestors nabbed some wolf pups, brought them back to camp, and raised them as pets. If you’ve ever seen a baby wolf, with its big eyes and oversized ears, the idea doesn’t seem so far-fetched—and, indeed, Galton’s hypothesis reigned for decades. But scientists eventually realized that domestication is a long, messy process that can take hundreds or even thousands of years. These early humans may have started with a cute pup, but they would have ended up with a wild animal.

So what did happen? Most experts now think dogs domesticated themselves. Early humans left piles of discarded carcasses at the edges of their campsites—a veritable feast, the thinking goes, for wolves that dared get close to people. Those wolves survived longer and produced more pups—a process that, generation by generation, yielded ever-bolder animals, until finally a wolf was eating out of a person’s hand. Once our ancestors realized the utility of these animals, they initiated a second, more active phase of domestication, breeding early canines to be better hunters, herders, and guardians.

A massive collaboration that’s trying to figure out where and when dogs emerged (see “Feature: Solving the mystery of dog domestication“) has found some intriguing insights into the second phase of dog domestication. A comparison of thousands of ancient dog and wolf skeletons, for example, has revealed flattening of the dorsal tips of ancient dog vertebrae, suggesting that the animals hauled heavy packs on their backs. The team has also spotted missing pairs of molars near the rear of the jaw in ancient dogs, which may indicate that the animals wore some sort of bridle to pull carts. These services, in addition to dogs’ hunting prowess, may have proved critical for human survival, potentially allowing modern humans to out compete our Neanderthal rivals and even eventually settle down and become farmers.

Now, a study in this week’s issue of Science helps explains how man and dog took the next step to become best friends. Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan, and his colleagues have found that when dogs and humans gaze into each others eyes, both experience a rise in oxytocin—a hormone that has been linked to trust and maternal bonding. The same rise in oxytocin occurs when human mothers and infants stare at each other, suggesting that early dogs may have hijacked this response to better bond with their new human family.

The oxytocin study and the skeletal data from the new collaboration go beyond clarifying the origin of the family pet, says collaboration leader Greger Larson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. “The more that we know about the process of how dogs became associated with people, the more we learn about the origins of civilization.”

**Special thanks to David Grimm, Online News Editor of Science, for providing this information! (http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2015/04/how-wolf-became-dog)


10:11 a.m. PDT April 15, 2015

“An effort to remove gray wolves from the state endangered species list is moving forward on multiple fronts.

State biologists said Tuesday that wolf numbers are high enough to justify removing them the state list, while Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to prohibit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commission from listing wolves as threatened or endangered.

With four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years and 77 known wolves statewide, ODFW biologists said there is little probability of wolves declining or going extinct.

“Factors related to wolf health all indicate a healthy and growing population,” ODFW wrote in a report released Tuesday. “Significant information exists to justify initiating rulemaking to remove the gray wolf from the Oregon List of Endangered Species.”

The department will present its report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 24 in Bend. The commission will decide whether to start the process of delisting wolves.

“If the Commission does go forward (with rulemaking to delist wolves), then it would go to a full public process,” ODFW communications coordinator Michelle Dennehy said. “They wouldn’t be delisted, if it happened, until later this year.”

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are seeking a more direct route to getting wolves off the list. Legislation authored by Rep.Greg Barreto (R-Cove), Rep. Jodi Hack (R-Salem) and Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena) seeks to prohibit ODFW from ever including wolves on the list endangered species list.A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Thursday in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Groups including the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association have advocated for delisting wolves to make it easier for ranchers to use lethal action to protect livestock. Conversation groups have said that 77 wolves is too small a population to consider them recovered.

Wolves being removed from the state list wouldn’t mean a huge change, Dennehy said.

Wolves in western Oregon are still protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. And even with the delisting, wolves in Oregon would still be managed under the state’s Oregon Wolf Plan, which emphasizes non-lethal control to manage wolves and only allows lethal control in certain circumstances.

“Even with the delisting, we still have a comprehensive wolf plan and still would have protections in place,” Dennehy said.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for seven years. He is the author of the book “Hiking Southern Oregon” and can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Facebook at Zach’s Oregon Outdoors or @ZachsORoutdoors on Twitter.


Eric MortensonCapital Press

Published: April 10, 2015 2:09PM
“A renowned animal sciences professor says wolves and coyotes shouldn’t be killed without reason, and ranchers should rekindle a cattle herd’s natural predator defense instincts.
Indiscriminate shooting or trapping of wolves and coyotes is a bad idea, and producers should strive for balance in the rangeland ecosystem, says Temple Grandin, the Colorado State University livestock handling and animal welfare expert.

“You may take out the wolf that is leaving the cattle alone,” Grandin said.

“The sensible thing to do is probably in between the rancher who says get rid of all the wolves and the environmentalist who says never take any wolves out,” Grandin said. “You want to take out the animal that’s developed a taste for lamb or beef.”

Grandin, whose insights on animal behavior caused livestock slaughterhouses to adopt calmer and more humane handling methods, expanded on points she made in a February article for Beef Magazine,

Among other things, Grandin believes ranchers can help cattle re-learn predator defense instincts such as bunching up instead of running.

The technique worked for the great bison herds that once roamed the plains, Grandin said. She credited the idea to two presenters at the Society for Range Management’s annual meeting in Sacramento this winter.

“Rekindling the natural herding instinct is not forcing the cattle together,” Grandin wrote in the magazine article. “The principle is to move back and forth in a straight line on the edge of the collective pressure zone” while not entering the herd’s “flight zone.”

Dealing with predators calls for a site-specific approach, Grandin said. “Something that works in one part of the country won’t work somewhere else.”

Grandin said wolves and coyotes usually avoid areas where people are present, and that employing range riders — as many Northeastern Oregon cattle ranchers do — is an effective deterrent. Removing livestock carcasses from grazing areas, a practice called for in Oregon’s wolf management plan, is critical to avoid attracting predators and giving them a taste for livestock, she said.

Individual packs favor specific prey, and “momma wolves” pass that on to their pups, she said.

A wolf pack that eats elk and leaves cattle alone should be tolerated, because it will protect its territory from packs that have other tastes, Grandin said.

“With coyotes, the one eating ground squirrels, you can shoot him – but he’s not the one bothering your livestock,” she said.

A better approach is to remove individual problem animals or a male and female pair that are caught in the act, she said.

“In managing these things, you have to look at the whole system,” Grandin said. “I do go on the premise that cattle are part of the system.”

People have impacted and managed rangeland for eons, dating back to when Native Americans burned grasslands, Grandin said. Critics of grazing don’t understand how human use of the range can be beneficial, she said.

“Responsible family ranchers are part of that system,” she said.

Grandin, who is autistic and has become an activist on that issue in addition to livestock management practices, is one of the few experts cited by both producers and conservation groups.

Her summary of the range management meeting was carried on the Defenders of Wildlife website. The American Farm Bureau Federation presented her the bureau’s Distinguished Service Award at its national convention in January.”


For Immediate Release, April 6, 2015

Contact: Andrea Santarsiere, (303) 854-7748, asantarsiere@biologicaldiversity.org

“VICTOR, Idaho— Population numbers released by the state of Idaho late last week showed an increase in wolf numbers from 659 in 2013 to 770 in 2014, suggesting an increased population. Idaho’s estimate, however, is based in large part on extrapolation and belied by a drop in the number of breeding pairs, which has sharply declined since 2009, when wolf hunts were first allowed. Last year Idaho reported just 26 breeding pairs down from 49 in 2009. It’s unknown whether this drop is because Idaho is verifying fewer packs or because breeding pairs have been lost, but either way it suggests a problem in Idaho’s monitoring of what was so recently an endangered species.

“Since 2009 more than 1,300 wolves have been hunted or trapped in Idaho, and another nearly 500 have been lethally removed from Idaho’s landscape,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the face of these astounding numbers, it’s no wonder that Idaho may have experienced a nearly 50 percent drop in breeding pairs.”

Unlike Montana and Wyoming, Idaho does not base its population estimate solely on observation of wolf packs by the state’s biologists, but rather combines direct observations with extrapolated wolf numbers. Idaho’s biologists actually documented only 272 wolves in 43 packs, but the state claims 770 wolves in 104 packs based on hunter reports and an average pack size of 6.5 wolves. There are probably more than 43 packs, but because hunters likely report dispersing wolves or even coyotes and pack size varies considerably, the exact number is unknown. This is why both Montana and Wyoming present a minimum count of just the wolves that they themselves count.

“We don’t think wolves should be hunted at all,” said Santarsiere. “But with such aggressive killing of a species so recently considered endangered, there at least needs to be careful monitoring.”

Gray wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act after being extirpated from most of the lower 48 states. In 1995 and 1996, the Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park and other parts of the northern Rocky Mountains. In 2011 Congress took an unprecedented step to remove the protections of the Act from gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then Idaho has allowed aggressive hunting and trapping of wolves across the state.”

**Special thanks to The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places, for providing this information!


March 26th, 2015

“Two breeding pairs of captive red wolves could have pups in April at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center in Chattanooga. It’s too early to tell, though, because pregnant wolves don’t show a tell-tale bulging tummy.

“It would be a big neon sign saying, ‘I’m a slower, weaker animal,'” said Taylor Berry, lead naturalist at the nature center on the side of Lookout Mountain. “In the wild, the name of the game is not to be weak.”

If wolf pups are born in Chattanooga — and the timing works perfectly — they could be snuck into a wolf’s den in North Carolina to be raised among the world’s only wild, free-ranging population of red wolves, possibly North America’s most endangered mammal.

Or not. The red wolf, which roamed the Southeast in great numbers before being pushed to near-extinction through hunting and habitat loss, could disappear again from the wild.

North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission wants the federal government to declare the red wolf extinct and end the animal’s reintroduction in five low-lying counties in coastal eastern North Carolina.

Officials from the state commission, which regulates hunting and fishing, say the free-ranging red wolves reduce deer numbers, kill pets and livestock on private property and may not be genetically pure, since red wolves interbreed with coyotes.

“We have had numerous accounts of depredations on livestock and pets,” wildlife commission spokesman Geoff Cantrell said.

Environmentalists rally

Environmentalists have rallied to save the red wolf, saying the end of the reintroduction program could put the species’ very existence in peril.

“That’s what they would essentially be saying: This is a failure,” said Jeremy Hooper, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga biological and environmental sciences student who’s doing a master’s project on coyote-human interaction in the Atlanta area.

“It’s a big deal. The only place they will exist is in captivity if they’re removed from the wild,” said Hooper, who previously cared for Chattanooga’s wolves as a naturalist at the nature center.

He disputed the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission claim that the wolves compete for the same game as human hunters.

In fact, he said, hunting harvest figures show that hunters in North Carolina have taken more deer and turkey where the wild red wolves live, he said.

It may sound counterintuitive, but wolves can help deer populations by taking out the old, weak and sick, and by making them move around, preventing them from overgrazing in one spot. Ecologists call this movement the “ecology of fear,” he said.

“The ecology of fear states … they’ve always got to be on the move,” Hooper said. “There’s definitely benefits of having predators on the landscape.”

One reason North Carolina landowners got upset, Hooper said, was because of a federal judge’s recent ruling that banned shooting coyotes around the wolves. The two are so similar that wolves were being killed.

“That was what originally sparked a lot of [landowner] anger,” he said.

That ruling since has been modified to allow daytime hunting of coyotes on private land with a permit.

For years, Hooper said, there’s been debate about whether red wolves are a distinct species. The red wolves in the recovery program are all descended from 14 wolves found in the wild whose DNA showed the least hybridization with coyotes.

The best way to keep the wild red wolf population going in North Carolina, Hooper said, would be to continue the current practice of releasing sterilized coyotes there. That way, if a wolf breeds with a sterile coyote, no pups result. Meanwhile, the number of wild red wolves should grow.

“On top of that, they have to limit mortality via hunting,” Hooper said. “Which is a major problem: Red wolves keep getting killed.”

Chattanooga’s program

Chattanooga’s two pairs of breeding wolves live in fenced-in enclosures at the nature center. They’ve “tied,” or mated, this year, according to UTC students who took turns observing them. But naturalists can’t tell yet if the females got pregnant.

“We hope we have pups,” Berry said. “You really don’t know until the day before it happens.”

Chattanooga wolf pups could grow up in the wild — provided they’re born at the same time as wolf pups in North Carolina to a mother wolf who has a small litter. Under those conditions, wolf pups from Chattanooga could be put in the wild wolf’s den, so she could raise them.

“It’s called cross-fostering,” Berry said.

That hasn’t happened since the red wolves first came to Chattanooga in the late 1990s.

A litter of five wolves was born in 2007 here, followed by a litter of two in 2011, but they all wound up in captivity.

One male red wolf from Chattanooga was released in 2008, Hooper said, to St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, an island in the Florida panhandle near the Apalachicola River. The wolf lived there until 2014, Hooper said, when the animal was relocated to a facility in New York after he and his companion wolf never reproduced.”

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or http://www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

**Special thanks to Tim Omarzu (http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2015/mar/26/north-carolinwants-end-red-wolf-reintroductip/295305/) for providing this information!


wolf face

(photo: AP/National Park Service)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Obama supporters, it’s time to begin flooding his office and your representative with letters, phone calls, and sharing this information with everyone you know!

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under President Barack Obama believes it is okay for hunters and ranchers to begin killing gray wolves again, a species that nearly went extinct last century.

FWS filed court documents with a Washington, DC-based court of appeals saying it opposed a federal judge’s decision to restore legal protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region.

The Obama administration is joined by two states, Michigan and Wisconsin, which also objected to U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s ruling in December that said the states’ management plans for the wolves don’t do enough to protect the species. Howell’s ruling also applied to the management plan developed by Minnesota. The plans in all three states allow sports hunting; in Michigan and Wisconsin they also permit the trapping of wolves.

FWS spokeswoman Laury Parramore told the Associated Press: “The science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes region, and we believe the Great Lakes states have clearly demonstrated their ability to effectively manage their wolf populations.”

But Howell believes more needs to be done for the animals.

The judge wrote that the Endangered Species Act (pdf) “offers the broadest possible protections for endangered species by design. This law reflects the commitment by the United States to act as a responsible steward of the Earth’s wildlife, even when such stewardship is inconvenient or difficult for the localities where an endangered or threatened species resides.”

Russ Mason, wildlife division chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, told AP that some sort of controls are needed for farmers to protect their livestock from predator wolves. A coalition of environmental groups has proposed most of the wolves be reclassified from “endangered” to “threatened,” which would allow livestock managers to kill them when they repeatedly attack farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States supports that position as a reasonable “middle ground.”

However, a recent study by at Washington State University determined that the killing of wolves that attack livestock actually brings about an increase in such wolf attacks.

The combined wolf population in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin is about 3,700. The national population is believed to be less than 17,000. Nine states are considered by scientists to be Great Lakes wolves’ territory. Alaska has the largest gray wolf population.

Since 2003, the U.S. government has made four attempts to end protection of the wolves, and each time its effort was overturned in court.

Although FWS has already filed documents with the court, an agency spokesperson said that a final decision on whether to pursue the case has yet to be made by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman

**Special thanks to ALLGOV for providing this information! (http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/obama-administration-sides-with-hunters-over-protection-of-gray-wolves-150303?news=855838)

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