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wolf noel

Photo courtesy of Steve Bloom

The OlympianSeptember 16, 2014

“The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has mismanaged another conflict between an Eastern Washington rancher and an important wolf pack. This time the department accidently killed the breeding alpha female of the Huckleberry pack, one of the state’s most stable and prolific packs. Gray wolves are an endangered species in Washington.

This is a catastrophic mistake that will likely lead to more conflict between the pack and livestock. The loss of a breeding adult in a pack is well-known to wildlife experts to cause chaos within the pack and unpredictable future behavior.

But the department’s mishandling didn’t end there. The agency knew the rancher had refused conflict avoidance resources from the DFW and Washington State University and proceeded to put 1,800 sheep in the wolf pack’s territory in difficult terrain without state-advised deterrents in place and protected by only a single herder and four dogs.

State wildlife officials surely knew this was a recipe for disaster.

When dead sheep started appearing on Department of Natural Resources-owned land, DFW should have been prepared to take quick and effective nonlethal deterrent action. It was not, and instead issued a secret kill order without notifying members of the Washington Wolf Advisory group in advance.

The DFW sharpshooter, working from a helicopter, was authorized to kill four of this year’s pups. But he mistakenly killed the pack’s alpha female.

Diane Gallegos, executive director of Wolfhaven International, located in Thurston County, said the conservation community is unanimous that the DFW and the rancher didn’t follow the state wolf plan and that the DFW shouldn’t have issued a kill order.

“This is an endangered species, and it is unconscionable that they accidently killed the breeding female of an endangered species,” Gallegos said. We agree.

In 2012, the DFW killed the entire Wedge Pack, even though it had failed to effectively implement the non-lethal measures required by the state’s wolf conservation management plan.

When ranchers engage in cooperative agreements with DFW, the state saves money, ranchers protect their livestock and wolves survive on other food sources.

Ranchers can also call on nonprofits, such as Conservation Northwest, to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. Conservation Northwest is using private funds and staff to train and provide range riders to oversee livestock sharing range with wolves. They are currently engaged in five separate projects, and in three seasons have not lost any livestock to wolves.

After the Huckleberry blunder, some of the most passionate gray wolf advocates are questioning whether DFW has a tendency to favor the interests of livestock operators. Clearly, the agency should be doing more to protect an endangered species.

Hundreds of thousands of gray wolves once roamed the West. When their natural food sources dwindled after human settlements, they sometimes turned to livestock earning the ire of pioneers. By the middle of the last century, most wolves had been killed off.

Today, thanks to protected status, wolves are making a comeback. They are a natural resource that belongs to the people of this state.

Gov. Jay Inslee should order a review of the department’s wolf plan management, and state lawmakers must legislate a requirement that ranchers engage in good-faith cooperative agreements with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.”

 

**Special thanks to The Olympian for providing this information! (http://www.theolympian.com/2014/09/16/3319768_another-mistake-in-managing-wolf.html?sp=%2F99%2F109%2F&rh=1)


wolf in trees

Photo courtesy of “Howling for Justice.”

“Eastern Oregon Wolves Could Be Removed From State’s Endangered Species Act

OPB | Sept. 16, 2014 2:21 p.m. | Portland

Gray wolf populations are on the rise in Oregon, but that may not necessarily be good news for the animals.

The Statesman Journal reports  that the state may have enough potential wolf couples in 2015 for the minimum requirements to delist the animal.

“We were told in the beginning that when wolves first came to the county, we were waiting for that day,” said Todd Nash, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattleman Association, in an interview with the newspaper.

According to Oregon’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife must verify four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years.

In 2012, there were six pairs and last year the organization located four pairs. It’s predicted that 2014’s count won’t be complete until early next year, but early reports show more than four couples.

By removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list, ranchers would be permitted to use lethal force to defend their animals in more situations.

According to ODFW , shooting a wolf is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $6,250 fine and a year in jail.

http://www.opb.org/news/blog/newsblog/eastern-oregon-wolves-could-be-removed-from-states-endangered-species-act/

===

Anyone who’s read the Oregon wolf “management plan” could see this coming a mile away. There was major push-back against “the plan”  in 2010. The number of breeding pairs needed, to reach delisting, was ridiculously low.  Here’s part of what Oregon’s wolf plan states:

Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan

Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding
pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon.1

Four breeding pairs are considered the minimum conservation population objective, also described as Phase 1. The Plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs. This means, for example, that a landowner would be required to obtain a permit to address depredation problems using injurious harassment.

While the wolf remains listed as a state endangered species the following will be allowed: Wolves may be harassed (e.g. shouting, firing a shot in the air) to distract a wolf from a livestock operation or area of human activity.

Harassment that causes injury to a wolf (e.g., rubber bullets or bean bag projectiles) may be employed to prevent depredation, but only with a permit.

Wolves may be relocated to resolve an immediate localized problem from an area of human activity (e.g., wolf inadvertently caught in a trap) to suitable habitat. Relocation will be done by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel but will not occur with wolves known or suspected to have depredated livestock or pets.

Livestock producers who witness a wolf ‘in the act’ of attacking livestock on public or private land must have a permit before taking any action that would cause harm to the wolf.

Once federally delisted, wolves involved in chronic depredation may be killed by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel. However, non lethal methods will be emphasized and employed first in appropriate circumstances.

Once the wolf is delisted, more options are available to address wolf-livestock conflict. While
there are five to seven breeding pairs, livestock producers may kill a wolf involved in chronic
depredation with a permit. Five to seven breeding pairs is considered Phase 2.

Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.

The Plan provides wildlife managers with adaptive management strategies to address wolf predation problems on wild ungulates if confirmed wolf predation leads to declines in localized herds.

In the unlikely event that a person is attacked by a wolf, the Plan describes the circumstances under which Oregon’s criminal code and federal ESA would allow harassing, harming or killing of wolves where necessary to avoid imminent, grave injury. Such an incident must be reported to law enforcement officials.

A strong information and education program is proposed to ensure anyone with an interest in wolves is able to learn more about the species and stay informed about wildlife management activities.

Several research projects are identified as necessary for future success of long-term wolf conservation and management. Monitoring and radio-collaring wolves are listed as critical components of the Plan both for conservation and communication with Oregonians.

An economic analysis provides updated estimates of costs and benefits associated with wolves in Oregon and wolf conservation and management.

Finally, the Plan requires annual reporting to the Commission on program implementation.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/docs/Oregon_Wolf_Conservation_and_Management_Plan_2010.pdf

===

This was posted in June 2010 on Howling for Justice, written by wolf advocate Katie, a Oregon resident, explaining why the plan was insufficient and should be changed.

Help Change Oregon’s Wolf Management Plan, PLEASE COMMENT BY JUNE 30th

June 21, 201o

 “Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon…. The plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs.”

This means when there are four packs in eastern Oregon and four in western Oregon, wolves will be stripped of ESA protection statewide.

The average gray wolf pack size is about 8 wolves. If packs in Oregon follow the norm, then roughly 64 wolves will be present when they are delisted. A recent study suggests Oregon could support up to 2200 wolves and still maintain a healthy ecosystem. I don’t know about you, but 64 wolves doesn’t sound like recovered to me.

READ MORE: http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/help-change-oregons-wolf-management-plan-please-comment-by-june-30/

===

So it’s come to this. Oregon, one of the friendliest of wolf states, may soon subject Eastern Oregon wolves to delisting because of the state’s weak management plan. This is the defining statement in their “plan”. “Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.” 

Howling for Justice does not support managing wolves. Wolves are self-regulating and do not need to be “managed” Managing wolves is a catch phrase for the lead up to eventually hunting and killing them,  as you can see by the statement above, quoted from Oregon’s wolf management plan.  IMO, management includes continually harassing wolves through collaring, counting their numbers, treating them as though they are terrorists, needing to be watched every second. Wolf management plans are driven by agribusiness and unfortunately state fish and game agencies bow to that pressure. Ranchers lose thousands of livestock annually to non-predation, yet tiny wolf/livestock issues get headlines.

In 2010, Oregon ranchers lost 51, 200 calves and cows to non-predation. Yes, 51,200 and those numbers come from NASS ( National Agricultural Statistics Service). At the time, two members of the Imnaha pack, including the alpha male, father of OR7, were under a kill order for supposedly killing a few cattle. But ranchers lost thousands and thousands of cows that year to digestive problems, respiratory problems, metabolic problems, mastitis, lameness/injury, other diseases, weather related issues, calving problems, poisoning and theft. 51.200 to be exact. Can everyone see how ridiculous it is that ranchers complain wolves affect their bottom line when in fact it’s non-predation that takes a toll on their business. And remember ranchers are compensated for every confirmed wolf kill but aren’t reimbursed for non-predation deaths.  To put this all in perspective, concerning predation losses for all predators in the lower 48  in 2010, including coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, dogs, vultures, wolves, bears. other predators and unknown predators, “coyotes and
dogs caused the majority of cattle and calf predator losses….”. NASS

 Wolf predation is a red herring and an excuse to kill wolves, period.  How could 14 wolf predations in 2010, blamed on the Imnaha Pack, have any effect on Oregon ranching’s bottom line, compared to the 51,200 cows and calves lost to non-predation? It would laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious for wolves.

I know ranching is going to be pushing hard for delisting Eastern Washington wolves in the coming months, sadly because the Oregon Wolf Management Plan falls far short. It should be revisited and revised to allow Oregon wolves to continue to grow and prosper.”

**S

Eastern Oregon Wolves Could Be Removed From State’s Endangered Species Act

OPB | Sept. 16, 2014 2:21 p.m. | Portland

Gray wolf populations are on the rise in Oregon, but that may not necessarily be good news for the animals.

The Statesman Journal reports  that the state may have enough potential wolf couples in 2015 for the minimum requirements to delist the animal.

“We were told in the beginning that when wolves first came to the county, we were waiting for that day,” said Todd Nash, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattleman Association, in an interview with the newspaper.

According to Oregon’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife must verify four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years.

In 2012, there were six pairs and last year the organization located four pairs. It’s predicted that 2014’s count won’t be complete until early next year, but early reports show more than four couples.

By removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list, ranchers would be permitted to use lethal force to defend their animals in more situations.

According to ODFW , shooting a wolf is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $6,250 fine and a year in jail.

http://www.opb.org/news/blog/newsblog/eastern-oregon-wolves-could-be-removed-from-states-endangered-species-act/

===

Anyone who’s read the Oregon wolf “management plan” could see this coming a mile away. There was major push-back against “the plan”  in 2010. The number of breeding pairs needed, to reach delisting, was ridiculously low.  Here’s part of what Oregon’s wolf plan states:

Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan

Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding
pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon.1

Four breeding pairs are considered the minimum conservation population objective, also described as Phase 1. The Plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs. This means, for example, that a landowner would be required to obtain a permit to address depredation problems using injurious harassment.

While the wolf remains listed as a state endangered species the following will be allowed: Wolves may be harassed (e.g. shouting, firing a shot in the air) to distract a wolf from a livestock operation or area of human activity.

Harassment that causes injury to a wolf (e.g., rubber bullets or bean bag projectiles) may be employed to prevent depredation, but only with a permit.

Wolves may be relocated to resolve an immediate localized problem from an area of human activity (e.g., wolf inadvertently caught in a trap) to suitable habitat. Relocation will be done by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel but will not occur with wolves known or suspected to have depredated livestock or pets.

Livestock producers who witness a wolf ‘in the act’ of attacking livestock on public or private land must have a permit before taking any action that would cause harm to the wolf.

Once federally delisted, wolves involved in chronic depredation may be killed by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel. However, non lethal methods will be emphasized and employed first in appropriate circumstances.

Once the wolf is delisted, more options are available to address wolf-livestock conflict. While
there are five to seven breeding pairs, livestock producers may kill a wolf involved in chronic
depredation with a permit. Five to seven breeding pairs is considered Phase 2.

Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.

The Plan provides wildlife managers with adaptive management strategies to address wolf predation problems on wild ungulates if confirmed wolf predation leads to declines in localized herds.

In the unlikely event that a person is attacked by a wolf, the Plan describes the circumstances under which Oregon’s criminal code and federal ESA would allow harassing, harming or killing of wolves where necessary to avoid imminent, grave injury. Such an incident must be reported to law enforcement officials.

A strong information and education program is proposed to ensure anyone with an interest in wolves is able to learn more about the species and stay informed about wildlife management activities.

Several research projects are identified as necessary for future success of long-term wolf conservation and management. Monitoring and radio-collaring wolves are listed as critical components of the Plan both for conservation and communication with Oregonians.

An economic analysis provides updated estimates of costs and benefits associated with wolves in Oregon and wolf conservation and management.

Finally, the Plan requires annual reporting to the Commission on program implementation.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/docs/Oregon_Wolf_Conservation_and_Management_Plan_2010.pdf

===

This was posted in June 2010 on Howling for Justice, written by wolf advocate Katie, a Oregon resident, explaining why the plan was insufficient and should be changed.

Help Change Oregon’s Wolf Management Plan, PLEASE COMMENT BY JUNE 30th

June 21, 201o

 “Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon…. The plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs.”

This means when there are four packs in eastern Oregon and four in western Oregon, wolves will be stripped of ESA protection statewide.

The average gray wolf pack size is about 8 wolves. If packs in Oregon follow the norm, then roughly 64 wolves will be present when they are delisted. A recent study suggests Oregon could support up to 2200 wolves and still maintain a healthy ecosystem. I don’t know about you, but 64 wolves doesn’t sound like recovered to me.

READ MORE: http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/help-change-oregons-wolf-management-plan-please-comment-by-june-30/

===

So it’s come to this. Oregon, one of the friendliest of wolf states, may soon subject Eastern Oregon wolves to delisting because of the state’s weak management plan. This is the defining statement in their “plan”. “Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.” 

Howling for Justice does not support managing wolves. Wolves are self-regulating and do not need to be “managed” Managing wolves is a catch phrase for the lead up to eventually hunting and killing them,  as you can see by the statement above, quoted from Oregon’s wolf management plan.  IMO, management includes continually harassing wolves through collaring, counting their numbers, treating them as though they are terrorists, needing to be watched every second. Wolf management plans are driven by agribusiness and unfortunately state fish and game agencies bow to that pressure. Ranchers lose thousands of livestock annually to non-predation, yet tiny wolf/livestock issues get headlines.

In 2010, Oregon ranchers lost 51, 200 calves and cows to non-predation. Yes, 51,200 and those numbers come from NASS ( National Agricultural Statistics Service). At the time, two members of the Imnaha pack, including the alpha male, father of OR7, were under a kill order for supposedly killing a few cattle. But ranchers lost thousands and thousands of cows that year to digestive problems, respiratory problems, metabolic problems, mastitis, lameness/injury, other diseases, weather related issues, calving problems, poisoning and theft. 51.200 to be exact. Can everyone see how ridiculous it is that ranchers complain wolves affect their bottom line when in fact it’s non-predation that takes a toll on their business. And remember ranchers are compensated for every confirmed wolf kill but aren’t reimbursed for non-predation deaths.  To put this all in perspective, concerning predation losses for all predators in the lower 48  in 2010, including coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, dogs, vultures, wolves, bears. other predators and unknown predators, “coyotes and
dogs caused the majority of cattle and calf predator losses….”. NASS

 Wolf predation is a red herring and an excuse to kill wolves, period.  How could 14 wolf predations in 2010, blamed on the Imnaha Pack, have any effect on Oregon ranching’s bottom line, compared to the 51,200 cows and calves lost to non-predation? It would laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious for wolves.

I know ranching is going to be pushing hard for delisting Eastern Washington wolves in the coming months, sadly because the Oregon Wolf Management Plan falls far short. It should be revisited and revised to allow Oregon wolves to continue to grow and prosper.”

**Special thanks to Howling for Justice for providing this information! (http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/eastern-oregon-wolves-could-be-facing-delisting-in-2015/)

 


NEW wolf

Photo courtesy of DAWN VILLELLA, AP)

9:06 a.m. EDT August 27, 2014

“When the Legislature considers a proposal Wednesday that would maintain a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula, it will be the fourth time in two years that they have taken an issue away from being decided by a statewide vote of the people.

They have done it with issues ranging from insurance coverage for abortion to raising the minimum wage and appointing emergency financial managers for economically struggling cities.

They’ve also added appropriations to some bills, like the controversial right to work law, that make it immune from repeal by a referendum vote of the people.

The actions have raised the ire of groups that have had their ballot proposals thwarted by the Legislature and by ordinary citizens who have seen controversial issues pass without the checks and balances that a ballot proposal could provide.

“Even though my campaign went nowhere, I view it as a background resistance against the Legislature,” said Bill Lucas, a Ferndale resident, who started a constitutional amendment petition drive to allow referendums on all issues, including ones that contain appropriations.

Without the financial support from some organizations that he hoped would join his effort, Lucas was only able to gather a couple thousand signatures. But he intends to refile his proposal for the 2016 election.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to work, said Eric Doster, a elections law attorney based in Lansing.

“The legislators are the people’s representatives and they’ve been given that authority,” he said. “If you’re upset that the Legislature has done something, go through the constitutional process to change it.”

The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected group, which has submitted two petitions to repeal two different laws that allowed for a hunt of gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula, want the Legislature to let the voters decide the issue. The first petition was superseded by a slightly different law passed by the Legislature and the second petition could be thwarted by the vote the Legislature takes Wednesday on a petition that the pro-wolf hunt group — Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management — submitted to the Legislature.

That petition, which gathered nearly 300,000 valid signatures, already has passed the Senate and if it passes the House, it automatically becomes law.

The states across the nation have a mishmash of laws regarding citizen initiatives, referendums and constitutional amendments. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states have initiative process and nine of those states, including Michigan, have provisions that the Legislature can act on initiatives turned in by citizens. The other states have those petitions go directly to the ballot.

But other states have provisions that the Legislature can’t act to amend or repeal a voter-approved initiative for a given number of years after it passes: in Nevada, it’s three years and in Alaska and Wyoming, it’s two years.

There are no bills introduced in the Michigan House or Senate that would address the referendum or initiative process. Michigan does have a law that would allow for amending or repealing a voter-approved initiative, but only with a three-fourths vote of the Legislature, a difficult goal to reach.

The Legislature got around that in 2012 by passing a slightly different version of the emergency manager law that voters repealed just a month earlier.

“The situation is Michigan really seems disrespectful of the people’s right to act as lawmakers,” said John Matsusaka, executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California.

Kathleen Gray is a reporter for the Detroit Free Press.”

 

**Special thanks to Kathleen Gray, Lansing State Journal, for providing this information!


wolf basement

Photo courtesy of the Harmony Fund

“The stars hang expectantly above the summer meadow on Gledic Mountain in Serbia, a place which is about to become the cradle of recovery for 25 wolves aching for freedom. The wolves are living in small household nooks, a basement and backyard pens which have been salvaged by their rescuer Dejan Gacic, a man who would lay down his life for any animal in need.

Dejan began as a dog rescuer. Working alongside his mother Svetlana, he saved nearly 300 dogs who had been in dire need on the streets of Serbia. The dogs were housed at a home-based sanctuary and at a second sanctuary on the grounds of his deceased grandfather’s home.
Daily care of the dogs was a team effort, but when Svetlana (right) died quite unexpectedly during routine surgery, Dejan was suddenly alone in caring for the dogs. At the same time, local residents who had heard of his heroic efforts for the dogs began to ask if he might help with a wolf who had been in captivity for quite some time and the “owner” was about to release her to a canned hunt.

Dejan thought to himself, “What would my mother do?” and then he did the only thing he could. He leapt in with both feet. He purchased the wolf from the man for a single bottle of liquor.

“They usually call and tell me to come and take the wolf or it will be killed,” Dejan explains of the many times he has been granted permission to rescue a ‘defective’ wolf who simply won’t bring in a premium price when released from his cage and sent running into the woods to be chased by hunters. “I just have no strength to watch them suffer and I have no power to stop it. I never met a hunter who feels sorry for the wolves or for any other animals.”

Over the last three years, more than two dozen wolves have made their way into Dejan’s custody. And though he didn’t have a solid plan on what to do with them, Dejan couldn’t stand to see the wolves come to a terrible end. More times than he can count, he has simply hung his head and walked through a group of amused spectators who can’t fathom why on earth this man has arrived to save some “dumb” wolf.

“I’m going early in the morning at 4am to see injured wolves,” Dejan told us recently. “I am going with my uncle and a vet will come with us. God knows what we will find there. I’m very worried. The last information I have from 2 hours ago is that both injured wolves are still alive and have a chance to survive.”

How We’ve Been Helping …

“Without you all these animals would be lost,” Dejan told us at the Harmony Fund last year after receiving his first round of emergency funding to feed both the dogs and the wolves. “To live a hundred lives would not be long enough to thank you. I wish that my mother was alive to see all this. My animals just had their first proper meals after a long, long time.”

Over the past year, the Harmony Fund has provided monthly supplies of food and veterinary care for all of the animals at Dejan’s sanctuary. We’ve also relocated all the dogs to a single location. After a series of inquiries and applications at the goverment level, we are now poised to begin getting the wolves out of their cages and into the mountain air.

Please Help Us Build Them A Sanctuary!

Though it will not be possible to completely release the wolves, they will have a “soft” release in which they will be grouped in packs and set free on large, fenced enclosures. In the reality we’ve been handed, we will do absolutely everything in our power to return them to a natural habitat and keep them safe from those who wish them harm.

Harmony Fund has taken this on as their latest challenge in a planetary mission to “Love the Underdog”. Because we are simultaneously addressing crisis situations for shelters in the Ukraine, the closure of a decrepit zoo in Indonesia and a multitude of anti-cruelty operations, we are deeply concerned about how soon we can get the wolves out. If the Harmony Fund is able to raise sufficient funds to begin construction in mid-August, the first paws should touch ground here by October, just in time for the wolves to be welcomed by crisp autumn air.

Some people think that charities enjoy asking for money, but the truth is, it’s always uncomfortable for us. No matter how many ways we try to find free supplies, equipment and services, there is always a cost for the work we do – and for that- we have only you.”

**Special thanks to “Harmony Fund” for providing this information!  


“On June 1st, Washington ranchers began turning out their cows and calves onto summer grazing lands. Some of those lands overlap with territory home to Washington’s recovering wolves. And that’s where you’ll find livestock under the watchful eye of range riders co-sponsored by Conservation Northwest.

This year we’re collaborating with even more cattle operations on the ground in wolf country to protect livestock and wolves.   

Working with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) and four ranchers from the Methow and Teanaway valleys, the Wenatchee area and Stevens County in northeast Washington, we’ll have at least six riders patrolling grazing allotments this season. For the first time, they’ll be covering the territory of five confirmed wolf packs on horse and ATV working to minimize wolf-livestock conflict.

Range riders work long, hard days in tough conditions, covering thousands of miles a season to make sure the cattle are calm and healthy and keep them away from wolves, the location of whom is often provided confidentially by WDFW through GPS and radio collar data.

Because of the difficult and specialized work, each rider can cost up to $20,000 plus gas and expenses for the five-month grazing season. To sign up with WDFW to participate in the program, ranchers must typically put up half that cost to receive a state match.

That’s where Conservation Northwest comes in.

As an incentive to participate in the program and put non-lethal predator management tools to work, with the help of generous donors we contribute as much as $10,000 a season to eligible ranchers for each range rider, greatly limiting their out-of-pocket costs.

“We hope this program spurs ranchers to do a practice that they did for hundreds of years, but when wolves were gone from the landscape there was no need,” said Jay Kehne, Conservation Northwest’s Okanogan County outreach associate. “There are incentives for doing this, you’re going to keep more weight on the cows and you’re going to lose fewer cows. Having a range rider is worthwhile for the ranchers because it’s going to save them money in the end.”

And with the range riders work resulting in wolves causing less problems for cattlemen, there’s less call to resolve wolf-livestock conflict by lethal management.

This is our third year organizing the range rider program in Eastern Washington, and we’re proud of what the range riders, cattlemen, state biologists and conflict specialists, and Conservation Northwest staff have accomplished.

Even as wolf populations have rebounded, last summer ranchers reported an increase in the number of cows returning from the summer spent grazing in wolf habitat, as much as 100 percent in some cases. And the valuable weight those cows have maintained is up as result of limited interaction with wolves and more stress-free time spent resting and feeding. As last year’s range rider program came to a close, one of the ranchers we partner with, John Dawson, was quoted in a Spokesman-Review article saying “we’ve lost nothing to wolves.” 

The program’s success hasn’t just been seen by the ranchers participating, other livestock owners are beginning to take notice as well.

“The success the Dawsons have had has gone a long way to helping promote nonlethal means and proactive measures to reduce conflict,” said Jack Field, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association’s executive vice president. We hope that continues to be the case and these modern cowboys and cowgirls catch on.

Much has been said about Washington’s recovering wolves in policy debates, newspaper comments and public meetings in recent years. But it’s only through public acceptance in the communities living, working and recreating in wolf country that we’ll see their complete and sustained recovery in our state for the long term.

That’s why we’re out there working one-on-one with ranchers, building partnerships with WDFW, and proving that time-tested non-lethal management tools like range riders (and fladry too) can have real results protecting both cattle and these iconic native predators. 

Conservation Northwest is thrilled to see this program succeeding, and hopeful the benefits will be spread even wider this summer with more riders out on the range.””

**Special thanks to “Conservation Northwest” for providing this information!

http://www.conservationnw.org/news/updates/range-riders-update


Wolf Hunting

A gray wolf in a wooded area near Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (AP Photo/Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, File)

“MADISON, Wis. — A state appeals court ruled Thursday that hunters can train dogs to chase down wolves, rejecting arguments from a group of humane societies that wildlife officials are allowing deadly wolf-dog clashes and cementing one of the most contentious elements of Wisconsin wolf hunting.

The 4th District Court of Appeals’ ruling marks another chapter in the bruising political battle over the state’s wolf hunt. Republicans and farmers contend that the hunt is necessary to control a burgeoning wolf population that’s preying on livestock and deer; conservationists and animal lovers say the population is still fragile and that the animal is too majestic to kill.

A Republican-authored law establishing the wolf hunt permits hunters to use up to six dogs to track and trail wolves after the state’s 9-day gun deer hunt ends every November, making Wisconsin the only state that allows dogs to track wolves.

The Department of Natural Resources crafted emergency rules implementing those provisions. The rules contained just two restrictions: hunters can’t use dogs at night and the dogs must be tattooed or wear an identification collar.

The humane societies and the National Wolfwatcher Coalition sued. They alleged that the DNR failed to adopt any meaningful restrictions on hunting wolves with dogs, clearing the way for bloody dog-wolf fights in the woods and violating both the wolf hunt’s track-and-trail limitations and animal cruelty statues.

Dane County Judge Peter Anderson rejected those arguments last year. But he did declare DNR rules stating anyone can train dogs on wild animals without a license to be invalid as they apply to wolves. The humane societies, the DNR and dog trainers interpreted that ruling to mean people can use dogs in the hunt but can’t train them on wolves.

The appellate court concluded that the lack of restrictions in the DNR’s rules doesn’t conflict with the wolf hunt law or animal cruelty statutes. The court said it’s unclear how many restrictions the agency would have to impose to achieve compliance.

The DNR made a rational decision on the extent of restrictions, the court added. Hunters with experience with dogs tracking wolves during coyote hunts told the agency they had never seen any violent encounters and wolves typically try to outrun the dogs.

As for Anderson’s ruling invalidating training, the court said Wisconsin residents have a common law right to hunt. The freedom to use dogs extends from that right, not from DNR regulations. Therefore Anderson’s ruling invalidating dog training rules as they apply to wolves has no legal effect, the court found.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for the humane societies, said she was saddened by the ruling. The decision creates more urgency to change state law to prohibit using dogs on wolves outright “so Wisconsin can be like the rest of the country and the civilized world,” she said. She had no immediate comment on a possible appeal to the state Supreme Court.

A coalition of sportsmen’s groups, including United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Bear Hunters and the Safari Club International, had joined the DNR in defending the dog-hunting rules. Coalition attorneys said Thursday they were happy with the decision.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said the agency was pleased with the decision.

The agency examined 27 of the 35 wolves killed by hunters using dogs this past season. The DNR couldn’t find any evidence of fights or law violations but the evaluation was inconclusive; the carcasses had already been skinned when the agency examined them.

The DNR has been working on permanent rules governing dogs in wolf hunts. Agency officials have said those regulations would restrict training on wolves to daylight hours during the wolf season and the month of March and mirror the law’s six-dog restriction.

The rules were supposed to be ready by the 2014 season’s October start. But Cosh said agency officials couldn’t get them done in time and now hope to have them in place by the 2015 season.”

**Special thanks to Tom Richmond, Associated Press, for providing this information!  

http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_26125375/wisconsin-hunters-can-train-dogs-chase-wolves-court


 

Red Wolf

Captive specimen at “Parks at Chehaw”, Albany GA, USA (RED WOLF)

 

coyote

From Yosemite National Park (COYOTE)

What is the Difference Between Red Wolves and Coyotes?

“Red Wolves and Coyotes are very closely related and in fact share a recent common ancestor.  The two species do hybridize and produce fertile offspring.  It is usually impossible to distinguish between a Coyote – Red Wolf hybrid and a Red Wolf just by looking at it.  Wildlife Biologists that work with the only known wild population of Red Wolves at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina have to do DNA tests to be sure.

Red Wolves are a critically endangered species with only about 100 individuals existing in the wild in the world, all of them in the Alligator River NWR area of North Carolina.  Coyotes, although not found East of the Mississippi River prior to 1900, are now very common in the wild.

Red Wolves, as a species, are larger in both height and weight.  Coyotes usually weigh between 25 and 35 pounds while Red Wolves usually weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.  Red Wolves are more massive in the head, chest, legs and feet. There can be size overlap between the species.  Some Red Wolves are in fact smaller that some Coyotes.  Coyotes tend to have a longer, narrower, muzzle than Red Wolves do.

Red wolves are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs; there is sometimes a reddish color behind their ears, on their muzzle, and toward the backs of their legs.  However, many Red Wolves can have the same colors as coyotes which tend to be light gray with some black on the tips of their outer hairs.

Red Wolves howls are similar to Coyotes but tend to be of longer duration and lower in pitch.  Coyotes tend to have more yapping intermixed with the howls.  Again, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference in some individuals.

It used to be believed that Coyotes didn’t hunt in packs like wolves but pack hunting coyotes have now been observed in the wild.

The Eastern Coyote is different from the Western Coyote in size, genetics and behavior.  This is due to interbreeding with wolves.  Eastern Coyotes have wolf genes and therefore are taking on wolf characteristics.  This happened when the wolf population in the Eastern United States was hunted almost to extinction and had dwindled to a small enough size that they would breed with Coyotes instead of chasing them off or killing them.

Red Wolves howls are similar to Coyotes but tend to be of longer duration and lower in pitch.  Coyotes tend to have more yapping intermixed with the howls.  Again, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference in some individuals.

If you are anywhere in Eastern North America, outside of coastal North Carolina, and observe a large wolf-like animal, it is almost certainly an Eastern Coyote or possibly a Gray Wolf  that someone had as a pet and dumped in the wild.”

 

**Special thanks to Chattanooga Arboretum Nature Center for providing this information!  http://www.chattanooganaturecenter.org/www/docs/133.251/

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