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 The first petition was superseded by a slightly different law passed by the Legislature and the second petition could be thwarted by the vote the Legislature takes Wednesday on a petition that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!


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!  



Red Wolf

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



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/

Bend Bulletin: June 23, 2014

 — Three years into a state program to help counties contending with wolves, the focus has been on preventing attacks on livestock.

“I think the program was set up with the intention that prevention is the preferred model,” said Jason Barber, who oversees the grant program for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “. Kind of a no-brainer, you’d want to prevent the depredation if you can.”

Depredation is when wolves attack livestock, such as cattle or sheep. Money from the wolf grant program helps pay for efforts such as removing cattle bones that could attract wolves, installing flagging along fence lines to spook wolves, and patrolling rangeland by horseback or on ATVs.

State-sponsored hunts helped lead to the elimination of wolves in Oregon, with the last bounty paid out in the late 1940s. But since the late 2000s, wolves have been making a comeback, having moved in from Idaho where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves nearly 20 years ago.

The latest Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf count, which the agency released at the end of last year, has at least 64 wolves in the state. Most are in the northeast corner, but they are expanding their territories. Through 2013, there had been 75 animals, either livestock or domestic animals, killed by wolves since the wolves started returning to Oregon.

The prevention money in the state grant program comes with a use-by date, Jan. 31 of the year after the state issues the grant. If the county doesn’t use the money by then, it has to give it back. Such was the case last year when Crook County gave $3,000 back after a cattle bone removal project didn’t come together in time. This year’s grants include a new $3,000 grant for Crook County to try the project again.

The grants also include compensation money, which goes to ranchers whose livestock has been killed or injured by wolves or has gone missing and was likely taken by a wolf. According to state records, $296,620 total has been given out for prevention, compensation and some smaller administrative costs in the three years of the wolf grant program. Of that, $71,653 was for livestock that had either been attacked or injured or had gone missing probably because of a wolf. That’s 24 percent of the grants. Another $178,150, or 60 percent, went to wolf attack prevention projects.

Although he is glad the state helps ranchers cover the cost of livestock lost to wolves, Todd Nash, an Enterprise rancher and wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said it’s not a lasting solution.

“Compensation is a Band-Aid fix,” he said. “It will never be acceptable to livestock producers to have wolves kill their livestock, but it does help.”

Sally Mackler, state carnivore representative for Predator Defense, said she would rather see that state wolf money all go to projects aimed at preventing attacks on livestock, rather than for compensation.

“I think that would be a better use of that money,” she said. The Eugene-based group advocates for predators, such as wolves.

Mark Lane, 42, a rancher from Morrow, said he thinks the state should compensate livestock producers like him for animals lost to wolves. He’s in the process of figuring out how to collect some of the money himself, having had wolves from the Umatilla River pack attack one of his cows earlier this month.

He said he is hopeful he’ll be able to save the 3-year-old pregnant cow that had been grazing on private land near Pendleton when attacked.

“I’m just a small producer,” Lane said. “I don’t have many animals, (so) every one I lose … hurts me big time.”

Separate from the state wolf grant program, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife runs its own wolf program. For the two-year funding cycle spanning 2013 to 2015, the program’s budget is $641,004, according to the agency. The budget covers wolf-monitoring programs, response to livestock attacks, equipment needs and the pay for two full-time wolf-management workers.

“That’s collaring, that’s everything,” said Meg Kenagy, an agency spokeswoman in Salem.

Scientists with ODFW have been affixing GPS collars to wolves since the animals started returning to the state from Idaho. Tracking them allows scientists to understand their behavior and habits. The ODFW also offers a warning system, in which it will call or text ranchers when wolves are detected near livestock.

A GPS collar led to fame for one wolf as the device enabled scientists to record his remarkable journey in recent years. Known as OR-7, the seventh wolf collared in Oregon, the gray wolf traveled thousands of miles from Northeast Oregon into California.

Scientists said OR-7 probably was looking for a mate and this spring found one. He now has pups with her, the beginnings of a new pack, in the southern Cascades between Klamath Falls and Medford.”


**Special thanks to Dylan Darling, Idaho Statesman, for providing this information!  http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/06/23/3249894/oregon-wolf-money-focused-on-preventing.html?sp=/99/103/


Wolf Donations

Photo courtesy of “Speak for Wolves.”

“Hi everyone,

Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014 is a mere 2 weeks away and we wanted to send you another important update!

The event kicks off Friday evening June 27 at 7pm, with film-producer Bob Landis screening his newest film about the infamous ’06 Alpha Female that was the fearless leader of the Lamar Canyon Pack in Yellowstone National Park until she was shot and killed in Wyoming. The footage from the documentary has only appeared on the National Geographic Channel. We are incredibly excited to have Mr. Landis kick-things-off, to say the least. The film is free and will be screened at the Gardiner Community Center.

Things will pick back-up at 10am on Saturday June 28 at Arch Park, with inspirational speakers, live music, children’s activities, education booths and food. The speaker list includes: Tom McNamee, Nathan Varley, Louisa Willcox, Ken Cole, George Nickas and Mike Hudak, with Anja Heister delivering an anti-trapping/snaring demonstration to close out the afternoon. Neil Haverstick will be providing music.

Grilled meats and veggies will be for sale and water will be provided for free. The afternoon’s festivities conclude at approximately 4pm.

After a short break, the event swings back over to the Gardiner Community Center for another film series starting at 7pm. There will be two film screenings on Saturday night: EXPOSED: USDA’s Secret War on Wildlife and Coexisting with Wildlife: The Marin Livestock & Wildlife Protection Program. Camilla Fox, Louisa Willcox and Dr. Robert Crabtree will lead a panel discussion following the films. The screenings are free.

Day-2 of the event will begin at Arch Park on Sunday June 29 at 9am with Jimmy St. Goddard providing a morning blessing and story of the buffalo. The list of speakers to follow include, Mike Mease, Doug Peacock, Dr. Catherine Feher-Elston and Bill Chamberlain. Goodshield Aguilar will be providing music, grilled meats and veggies will be for sale and water will be provided for free. The event wraps-up at approximately 2pm.

Please support the event:

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today towards Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2014. All donations help pay for the event.www.speakforwolves.org/donate.html. We appreciate your support!

Keep spreading the word America! Wolves and our native wildlife need our voices right now. Hope to see you at Arch Park in lovely Gardiner, Montana in 2 weeks!


Brett Haverstick

**Special thanks to Brett Haverstick of “Speak for Wolves” for providing this information!  You can visit the link below to help donate!  This is “AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO UNITE AND DEMAND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT REFORM AND TAKE STEPS TO RESTORE OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE.”



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