Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Pushing Wolf-killing Legislation


ADVISORY: Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Pushing Wolf-killing Legislation

Measure Would Declare “Emergency” Conditions due to 29 Wolves in Oregon, Fast-track Killing of “Journey’s” Pack

ADVISORY: Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Pushing Wolf-killing Legislation
The Oregon Cattlemen's Association introduced legislation to make it easier to kill wolves including the Imnaha Pack shown here.
For more information, contact
Portland, ORE Jan 28, 2012 At the behest of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, several state legislators introduced legislation last week that would allow the state to kill the surviving members of the Imnaha pack of endangered gray wolves. This pack was the first to return to Oregon in more than 60 years and is the family of the young male wolf called Journey whose 1,000-mile odyssey to become the first wolf in California since 1924 has attracted international attention. Due to a legal challenge by Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Oregon Wild the killing of two wolves in the Imnaha pack is currently enjoined by a court ruling while a judge determines whether or not the state of Oregon has the legal authority to shoot endangered species.

The new legislation is aimed at circumventing the Oregon Endangered Species Act and could open the floodgates for similar measures to eliminate safeguards for wildlife that is unpopular with livestock, logging, and development interests.

Compared to the 29 wolves now roaming Oregon, more than 1.3 million cattle exist in the state. In 2010, more than 55,000 cows were lost to causes from weather, disease and thieves. In the rare instances in which livestock are lost to wolves (fewer than 25 in 2011), ranchers are reimbursed at fair market value by Oregon taxpayers. Some have questioned whether the state’s compensation and killing programs provide a perverse incentive for anti-wolf livestock operators not to take effective measures to protect their livestock.

“The overwhelming majority of Oregonians are thrilled to have wolves back in the state and don’t want to see the pack that produced Journey killed,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Oregon Cattlemen’s legislation is clearly out of step with public opinion and should be rejected.”

There are currently four packs of wolves in Oregon, their members amounting to just 29 wolves. Wolves are protected as an endangered species under the state’s Endangered Species Act. In 2005, the state adopted a wolf-management plan that allowed for wolves to be killed in response to livestock depredations, but only after nonlethal measures to solve problems with depredations had been employed.

In September 2011, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife ordered the killing of the alpha male and a yearling from the pack. This order followed the killing of two wolves from the pack earlier in the year and would have left only the alpha female and a pup to survive the winter. In October, the groups challenged the kill order, resulting in the court issuing a stay on the killing, which remains in place and has spared the lives of the two wolves. The groups have repeatedly requested documents from the Department of Fish and Wildlife demonstrating that nonlethal measures sufficient to solve depredation problems had been employed, but to date have not received anything of substance. 

“Under the wolf plan, shooting endangered wolves was supposed to be the last resort — not the first option,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. “We worked hard to develop a wolf plan that balanced wildlife conservation with the legitimate interests of ranchers, but the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and other anti-wildlife groups are refusing to honor their end of the bargain.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, which has opposed and sought to undermine the state’s compromise wolf management plan since its inception, intervened in the case and is defending the state’s ability to kill endangered wolves. The group is now pushing the legislature to intervene in the legal proceedings.

“This isn’t the first time the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has tried to legislatively undermine wolf protections in Oregon,” said Josh Laughlin, campaign director with Cascadia Wildlands. “We hope the Oregon legislature will stand up for Oregon’s recovering native wildlife and oppose this extreme wolf-killing legislation.”

Click here to learn more about wolves & wolf recovery in Oregon

Also contact:
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity 503.484.7495
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463


Image of the Day

WOLFfacesidePGPGpg by jkenned100
WOLFfacesidePGPGpg, a photo by jkenned100 on Flickr.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Image of the Day

Michigan's Wolf Management Plan Now in Effect

Posted Jan 29, 2012
Sault Ste. Marie Evening News

Management authority over wolves in Michigan has been officially returned to the Department of Natural Resources, putting the state’s Wolf Management Plan into effect, the DNR announced Friday.
The DNR will continue to recommend nonlethal methods of control as the first option for residents.
However, in cases where nonlethal methods are not working or are not feasible, state officials will now have greater flexibility to use lethal means to remove problem wolves when appropriate.
In addition, Michigan residents will be able to legally protect their livestock and dogs if an animal is being attacked by a wolf.

The Michigan Legislature passed laws in 2008 to allow livestock or dog owners, or their designated agents, to remove, capture, or, if deemed necessary, use lethal means to destroy a wolf that is “in the act of preying upon” (attempting to kill or injure) the owner’s livestock or dog(s). These state laws took effect Jan. 27, 2012.
Livestock or dog owners who use lethal means to destroy a wolf must observe the following guidelines:
1. Report the lethal take of a wolf by calling the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800 no later than 12 hours after the lethal take.

2. Retain possession of the wolf until a DNR official is available to take possession. A DNR official will respond to the scene within 12 hours of notification.
3. Do not move or disturb the dead wolf. The only exception to this rule is if a wolf has been killed in the act of preying upon livestock and leaving the wolf in place would impede normal farming practices. In that case the wolf may be moved to a secure location once photographs are taken of the wolf and the area where lethal means were used.

“Although lethal control methods are now legal in certain circumstances, wolves remain a protected species in Michigan and no hunting or trapping season is in place,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “The DNR will investigate and continue prosecution of any wolf poaching cases.”
Illegally killing a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, and the cost of prosecution. Suspected poaching violations may be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the DNR’s RAP hotline at 800-292-7800.

There are an estimated 687 wolves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For more information on Michigan’s wolf population, greater detail about the two laws governing wolf depredation, and to see the state’s Wolf Management Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/wolves.


Wolf apparently gives up search for mate in Nev.

By MARTIN GRIFFITH Associated Press

RENO, Nev.—A young gray wolf's search for a mate apparently won't take him to the northern Nevada desert where the annual Burning Man festival is staged. 
The wolf known as OR-7 came within 15 miles of the Nevada line near Susanville, Calif., early last week before he decided to head back west away from the nation's most arid state, said Mark Stopher, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game. It had been headed toward the Black Rock Desert where the eclectic art and music festival is held each summer, wildlife officials said.

The 2-year-old wolf has wandered hundreds of miles across Oregon and northern California.
"My interpretation is that he turned back from there (closest point to Nevada) and returned to a spot he had spent time at because he knew there was food at that location, and he wasn't finding it where he was," Stopher told The Associated Press. The last report placed the wolf in forested western Lassen County, Calif., about 60 miles west of the Nevada border, Stopher added.

He said the wolf "was in drier terrain that wasn't suitable wolf habitat and returned to a location he had been at before. He had no way of knowing what he would find to the east (in Nevada)."

The animal, which was fitted with a GPS tracking collar last spring, was at the southernmost point of his journey to date when he was closest to Nevada. That point was along U.S. 395 about 115 miles north of Reno.

The wolf was born in northeastern Oregon but left his pack to seek out a mate and a new territory in September. He crossed into California at the end of December, becoming the first wolf in that state in more than 80 years.

Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said it's good that the wolf didn't enter Nevada. While ranchers and hunters have reported seeing wolves in Nevada in recent decades, the last confirmed sighting occurred in 1931 in Elko County in the northeastern part of the state, he said.
"He wouldn't have found love in Nevada because there are no female wolves here," he told AP. "He's definitely made a turn for the good, as far as we're concerned."

Not only does western Nevada lack elk and moose that wolves thrive on elsewhere in the West, but it has scarce water sources, Healy added. "He better bring a canteen and a backpack if he comes into Nevada," he told the Bend Bulletin of Oregon. "There is not a lot of wolf habitat."

Healy said it would have been exciting had the wolf ended up on the Black Rock Desert playa where tens of thousands of people gather for Burning Man, the weeklong celebration of art and radical self-expression leading up to Labor Day.

At the time he reversed course, the wolf was heading on an eastward line toward the sprawling desert, which is not far from the Nevada-California border.

"That would have been so much karma and harmonic convergence had he made it there," he said. "But he's got to make a living, and the farther east you go, the more inhospitable the country is for wolves."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Image of the Day

The Truth Behind the Lies in "The Grey"

'The Grey' slammed for 'bloodthirsty' portrayal of wolves

January 28, 2012 


"The Grey," the survival thriller starring Liam Neeson as a man who must battle bloodthirsty wolves to survive, is poised to reign at the box office this weekend.
But not if animal rights activists have anything to say about it.

The film stars Neeson as an oil refinery sharpshooter who finds himself fighting the elements and bloodthirsty wolves after a plane crash. As might be expected, harsh outcomes abound for man and beast.

But animal rights activists say the film is folly, and will only add to the persistent misrepresentation in TV, film and literature of the wolf as an aggressive, man-hunting creature. In fact, experts say, wolves fear humans and avoid interaction at all costs.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is among those urging a boycott of the film: "The writers paint a pack of wolves living in the Alaskan wilderness as bloodthirsty monsters, intent on killing every survivor of a plane crash by tearing each person limb from limb."

The Wolf Conservation Center is taking a different approach, using the film as a platform to raise awareness about the perils facing wolves in the wild and how their real-life nature diverges from the Hollywood portrayal.

"In reality, wild wolves are shy and elusive," the center's website says. "A person in wolf country has a greater chance of being hit by lightning ... than being injured by a wolf."
WolfWatcher.org, meanwhile, is taking Neeson and writer-director Joe Carnahan to task for engaging in on-set bonding by actually eating wolf meat.

Carnahan has downplayed criticism by saying that there are in fact reports of wolves turning on man, but says that ultimately the film is about a man's inner journey to find his survival instincts.
Carnahan himself told our sister blog, Greenspace, that he wants the wolves to be seen in the right light: “I never intended [the wolves] to be the aggressor; I look at them as the defenders. I think these guys are in a very territorially sensitive place. [The humans] were trespassing and intruders.”
Wolfwatcher.org is nonetheless urging wildlife activists to print out fliers describing the true nature of wolves -- such as their desire to avoid humans at all costs -- and hand them out at local movie theaters showing "The Grey."

"This film comes out at the worst of times, when wolves are literally fighting for their lives," the organization says on its site.
The movie, which opened Friday in 2,700 theaters nationwide, is expected to make about $14 million, according to Box Office Guru. Animal rights activists will surely howl, but our review calls this thriller "a solid January surprise."


Wolf sanctuary damaged by storm, but wolves make it through unscathed


A wolf sanctuary in Tenino that is home to nearly 50 wolves was hit hard by last week’s storm.
When ice covered the trees near the Wolf Haven International sanctuary, limbs came crashing down and the nearly four-dozen wolves in Tenino had nowhere to hide.

“It was like running through a gauntlet,” animal curator Wendy Spencer said.
The 82-acre property suffered major damage to nearly every enclosure. Fences were flattened, the water system shut down and the park's video surveillance was knocked out.

Amazingly, the animals — a mix of gray and Mexican wolves — made it through the storm unscathed. A couple escaped from their enclosures, but not from the sanctuary's perimeter fence.
"Animals are so much more resilient than we are, they live in the moment and move on,” Spencer said.
For the sanctuary, moving on will be difficult. The non-profit that started in 1982 was forced to close. Damage is estimated at more than $50,000.

It will take two months to pick up the pieces and the staff is worried because the wolves’ breeding season is in February.
"Whenever you have something different, to produce pups — that's a real concern."
"Our whole goal is to provide a peaceful safe haven for these animals, so we'll do whatever we need to do to make that happen," said Diane Gallegos, the sanctuary's executive director.

The plan right now is to move the wolves into different enclosures on the property while they clean up the trees and downed limbs. The sanctuary hopes to reopen to the public in March.
The sanctuary attracts more than 12,000 visitors each year, including thousands of school kids.


Teaching wolves not to eat cattle?

January 29, 2012 by John McCoy

A Mexican gray wolf at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (AP Photo)

Researchers in New Mexico are trying to teach captive Mexican gray wolves to dislike beef. The idea is to prevent the wolves from killing cattle once they’re reintroduced into the wild.
It’s an interesting premise, and it might just work on the wolves awaiting relocation. One wonders, though, if the offspring of those wolves would retain their parents’ distaste for beef. The researchers seem to think they would; frankly I have doubts.
Interesting reading, though, from the Associated Press’  Susan Montoya Bryan:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Wildlife managers are running out of options when it comes to helping Mexican gray wolves overcome hurdles that have thwarted reintroduction into their historic range in the Southwest.
Harassment and rubber bullets haven’t worked, so they’re trying something new — a food therapy that has the potential to make the wolves queasy enough to never want anything to do with cattle again.
As in people, the memories associated with eating a bad meal are rooted in the brain stem, triggered any time associated sights and smells pulse their way through the nervous system.
Wildlife managers are trying to tap into that physiological response in the wolves, hoping that feeding them beef laced with an odorless and tasteless medication will make them ill enough to kill their appetite for livestock.
Cattle depredations throughout southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona have served as an Achilles’ heel for the federal government’s efforts to return the wolves.
Conditioned taste aversion — the technical term for what amounts to a simple reaction — is not a silver bullet for boosting the recovery of the Mexican wolf, but some biologists see it as one of few options remaining for getting the program back on track after nearly 14 years of stumbling.
“Just the very fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying something new ought to send the message that they really are seriously concerned about the ranchers’ concerns,” said Dan Moriarty, a professor and chair of the psychological sciences department at the University of San Diego.
“We have to find a way to sort of peacefully co-exist,” said Moriarty, who has worked with captive wolves in California. “That’s my hope, that the taste aversion will be one more tool.”
Gray wolves have rebounded from widespread extermination throughout the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes region. Since being declared endangered in 1974, the wolf population has grown fivefold — to about 6,200 animals wandering parts of 10 states outside Alaska.
After four decades and tens of millions of dollars, the federal government was recently able to remove the animals from the endangered species list in several states.
The case is much different in the Southwest, where the population of the Mexican wolf — a subspecies of the gray wolf — continues to be about 50 despite more than a decade of work. Biologists had hoped to have more than 100 wolves in the wild by 2006.
About 90 wolves and some dependent pups have been removed — in some cases lethally — from the wild since the program began due to livestock problems. For about four years, the Fish and Wildlife Service operated under a policy that called for trapping or shooting wolves if they had been involved in at least three cattle depredations.
The agency has since scrapped the policy, and ranchers have all but given up on keeping track of their dead cows and calves.
In the last year, monthly reports from the wolf program show wildlife managers investigated four dozen depredations in Arizona and New Mexico. They determined that wolves were involved in half of the cases.
Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, said ranchers are frustrated.
“You really have no idea how bad it is when a dad calls you and says ‘There’s a wolf in my yard and my kids and my wife are stuck in the house. What can you do to help me?’
That’s the issue, Cowan said. “These animals are habituated to humans and until we can figure that out, I don’t know what you do.”
Cowan acknowledged, however, that getting wolves to stop preying on livestock would be a huge first step.
Biologists working at a captive breeding center at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in south-central New Mexico treated six wolves last April and another two in October. The animals were fed baits made up of beef, cow hide and an odorless, tasteless deworming medication that makes the wolves queasy.
Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Susan Dicks said the initial tests appear to be successful, with the wolves not wanting anything to do with the beef baits after their first serving.
The idea is that when wolves smell cattle in the wild, their nervous system and brain stem will kick into gear and override any desire they have to get near the cattle.
“We’re learning as we go, but so far we have seen some good aversions produced,” Dicks said. “Again, it’s impossible to say yet whether this translates to a livestock animal running around on the hoof.”
Wolf releases have been put off for the past year, and it’s unclear whether the agency will have the opportunity to release the treated wolves this year so the taste aversion treatments can be fully tested.
The work done with the Mexican wolves is based on decades of research conducted by Lowell Nicolaus, a retired biology professor from Northern Illinois University. He has seen it work with captive wolves and free-ranging raccoons and crows.
“It just takes one good illness,” said Nicolaus of Butte Falls, Ore. “Their avoidance is going to be expressed wherever they see the food or smell it. It doesn’t depend on when and where they first ate it or when and where they got sick.”
Nicolaus said taste aversion works because it’s an unconscious response, not a threat that wolves can overcome such as being hazed or shot at with rubber bullets.
The other benefit is biologists say wolves that have an aversion to cattle are likely to pass that on to their pups by teaching them hunting habitats that avoid cattle and focus on deer, elk and other native prey. They call that a feeding tradition.
Bill Given, a wildlife biologist who helped the Fish and Wildlife Service with the first batch of wolf treatments at Sevilleta, describes taste aversion as a natural solution that taps into an evolutionary defense mechanism that is common among all animals.
“You can build a great fence or you can have a dog as a shepherd, but none of those things can change the desire to consume the livestock,” he said. “They just make it challenging and then the predator has to work around that barrier.”
To ranchers, the wolves are “killing machines,” Cowan said.
The biologists don’t necessarily disagree.
“There’s no stopping the feeding and the sex drive. All life is about those two things,” Given said, noting that wildlife managers have an opportunity to gain some control through taste aversion.
The next challenge will be proving its value on the range by monitoring wolves that have been treated.
“I think it does have a lot of promise,” Dicks said. “And part of it is we’re willing to try anything to get these animals successfully on the ground without impacting livestock growers.”

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Part 2 of a Great New Series--Wolf Winter Study

January 27, 2012

Wolves, Snow and the Red Dragon

Flying low over Isle Royale National Park, looking for a radio-collared wolf the researchers have named Romeo.John VucetichFlying low over Isle Royale National Park, looking for a radio-collared wolf the researchers have named Romeo.
John Vucetich, a wildlife ecologist from Michigan Technological University, leads the wolf-moose Winter Study at Isle Royale National Park.

Monday, Jan. 23

Shortly before midnight, our pilot Don Glazer shakes my sleeping bag. The sky has dumped something halfway between snow and rain, and it is freezing to the wings of the Flagship.
We all head to the harbor, wrestling with a northeast wind as we try to stretch nylon covers over the wings. Slush has also begun to bubble up through a nearby crack in the ice. We fear the Flagship’s skis will freeze into the slush, so we prop them up on 4x4s. Then it’s back to bed.
It snows all day. So we occupy ourselves with chores around the cabin: hauling water and setting up a sauna. We also prepare the Red Dragon — a 25-pound propane tank, 12-volt battery, spark-ignited torch and blower, and a hose, all strapped to a toboggan. As soon as the wet snow stops falling, we’ll need that.

John Vucetich
Tuesday, Jan. 24

By early morning, the snow has stopped. The temperature drops, and the northeast wind comes up again. After a bowl of oatmeal by the light of our headlamps, we slog to the harbor. Removing the wing covers, we can see that we put them on too late. Every flying surface of the Flagship is coated with ice. Planes fly because their wings are shaped like a foil. Ice distorts that shape and compromises lift. All the ice will have to be removed.

Luckily, that’s what the Red Dragon does best. We haul the contraption onto the icy harbor next to the plane. Firing up the Red Dragon, we heat the flying surfaces, then brush the ice off as it melts. Ice removal is a delicate affair. The Flagship’s wings are wood covered with fabric. Brush at the ice too hard, and the fabric will tear. Heat it too much, and it will catch fire. For three hours, we gently melt, rub and flake off ice.

Using the Red Dragon to remove ice from the Flagship. 
John VucetichUsing the Red Dragon to remove ice from the Flagship.
Our work, observing wolves and moose, depends on the weather. Waiting for snow or wind to stop is routine. Fixing cold-stricken equipment is standard. Wishing it had been just a few degrees colder, so that wet snow hadn’t frozen to the wings: we make lots of “if only” weather wishes. But the weather is part of what makes a place, any place, special. And as the weather changes, the wolves and moose have much more at stake than we do. Fighting the weather is futile. Appreciating it, even when it’s not pleasant, is as good as it gets.

By noon, the plane is ready for flight, and by 3 p.m., the wind has lightened up. Rolf Peterson, a co-researcher, and Don depart to look for wolves. They find Chippewa Harbor Pack near the site where we’d seen them a couple days ago. It is clear what kept them there: the carcass of a moose they’d killed. The few remaining bones suggest they’d killed it about five days ago, perhaps the day we arrived. Rolf and Don also find fresh tracks of a lone wolf near Halloran Lake, leaving and then returning to a cedar swamp filled with tracks of the snowshoe hares that probably became the wolf’s dinner.

Wolves eating a moose. 
John VucetichWolves eating a moose.
Rolf and Don spend most of the flight searching for Romeo, a radio-collared male from Chippewa Harbor Pack. Flying at 4,000 feet over the island they should pick up any signal. Static is all they hear.

Wednesday, Jan. 25

I get up at 4 a.m. to fire up the portable generator we use to heat the plane’s engine. I might as well have stayed in my sleeping bag. By 6:30 a.m., the clouds had lowered until they touched the island. Freezing drizzle was threatening, so we put the wing covers on again. Why does the weather keep frustrating our desire to collect information?

The researchers have to chop holes in the ice of the harbor to get their drinking water. 
John VucetichThe researchers have to chop holes in the ice of the harbor to get their drinking water.
In the five days that we’ve been here, we’ve made just two research flights. Actually, that’s a pretty typical rate of being grounded. And on each flight, we’ve gained only fragments of insight. But multiply each observation by the 30 to 40 flights we make each winter, then multiply that by more than five decades. It adds up to a significant bank of data.

I spend each day searching for something significant. During each flight, we record the locations of wolves or their tracks. I have condensed several decades of wolf travel routes onto a single map. We are working to quantify what we’ve long intuited: that the predation risk for moose is greatest near the island’s shoreline. It is easier for wolves to walk along shorelines, where the snow is windswept, and moose are attracted to shoreline habitats because they tend to find better forage there.

Knowing that predation risk decreases with distance from the shoreline is also just a tiny insight. Add this to several other long-term observations and some sophisticated analysis from Robert Montgomery, a habitat expert from Michigan State University, put it all together, and, well, our insight is not in perfect focus yet, but it’s looking as though younger, healthier moose spend more time in these risky shoreline habitats during severe winters than do the aging moose who would be more vulnerable to predation.

It feels good to pour through old maps, recalling individual wolves, many of which are now dead, their travels and lives, and the adventures we had making those observations.


Lone Wolf Commands a Following


SAN FRANCISCO — On the Chinese calendar, this week ushers in the year of the dragon. But here, it feels a lot more like the year of the wolf.
 John Stephenson, a biologist, measured the stride of the gray wolf known as OR7 in Crater Lake National Forest, Ore., in December.
Richard Cockle/The Oregonian, via Associated Press
Track of Wolf OR7
A GPS collar reveals the wolf's long trek in search of a mate.

Allen Daniels/The Medford Mail Tribune

Officials say this image from a trail camera in south Oregon is probably of OR7. 

On Dec. 28, a 2 1/2 -year-old gray wolf crossed the state line from Oregon, becoming the first of his species to run wild here in 88 years.

His arrival has prompted news articles, attracted feverish fans and sent wildlife officials scrambling to prepare for a new and unfamiliar predator. 
“California has more people with more opinions than other states,” said Mark Stopher, senior policy adviser for the California Department of Fish and Game. “We have people calling, saying we should find him a girlfriend as soon as possible and let them settle down. Some people say we should clear humans out of parts of the state and make a wolf sanctuary.” 
The wolf, known to biologists as OR7, owes his fame to the GPS collar around his neck, which has allowed scientists and fans alike to use maps to follow his 1,000-mile, lovelorn trek south from his birthplace in northeastern Oregon. 
Along the way, OR7 has accrued an almost cultlike status. 
“People are going to get wolf tattoos, wolf sweaters, wolf key chains, wolf hats,” said Patrick Valentino, a board member with the California Wolf Center, a nonprofit advocacy and education organization. 
In Oregon, students participated in art contests to draw OR7’s likeness and a competition to rename him (the winner: “Journey”). This month, people across the country attended full-moon, candlelight wolf vigils organized by groups with names like Howl Across America and Wolf Warriors. 
As with seemingly all wayward and famous animals these days, the wolf has a lively virtual existence on social networking sites like Twitter, where at least two Twitter accounts have been posting from the wolf’s perspective. 
“Left family to find wife & new home. eHarmony just wasn’t working for me,” read one Twitter profile. Another account, which describes the wolf’s hobbies as “wandering, ungulates,” recently had in a post: “Why is everyone so worried about my love life?” 
The wolf’s presence has also set off more practical responses from state wildlife officials, who are hustling to prepare for what they now see as the inevitability of wild gray wolves here. 

In mid-January, the California Department of Fish and Game put up a gray wolf Web site that includes a map of OR7’s trek and a 36-page explainer on the species. The department has already begun a series of public meetings with local governments in the state’s northern counties, where wolves are most likely to take up residence first. 
Biologists say that OR7 is unlikely to survive long hunting alone without a pack and that it could be as many as 10 years before wild wolf packs roam northern California. Still, state and federal wildlife officials met Friday to discuss a strategy for wolves. 
Next month, state biologists will get training by the Agriculture Department to identify livestock killed by wolves. 
Once widespread across much of the country, gray wolves were nearly extinct in the contiguous United States by the early 20th century, killed by government trappers, ranchers and hunters. In 1974, the gray wolf was listed as endangered under the newly established Endangered Species Act. Then in 1995 and 1996 wildlife officials released 66 Canadian wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, an area that is now home to nearly 1,700 wolves. 
Wolves have been remarkably successful in reinhabiting their old terrain. In recent years regulators removed wolves from the endangered list for much of the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes regions. In Idaho and Montana, they can be legally hunted. 
In California, gray wolves remain protected under federal law, and the recent appearance of one has flared up large predator agita among ranchers. 
“I’m afraid somebody will step up and take this wolf’s life in their own hands,” said Darrell Wood, a cattle rancher. “There are huge state and federal penalties for killing a wolf.” 
Mr. Wood’s family has been raising cattle in Lassen County — where OR7 is now and where the state’s last wolf was shot in 1924 — for six generations. “I just hope it wasn’t a relative of mine who shot him,” said Mr. Wood, 56. 
Other area residents seemed more interested in the wolf’s place in the mythological pantheon. “What’s next, sparkly vampires?” asked a commenter on a Lassen County Times article about the wolf, an apparent reference to “Twilight,” the vampire and werewolf series. 
Ardent wolf fandom and ire do not surprise Ed Bangs, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service’s recently retired wolf recovery coordinator. “When wolves come back, one side says it’s the end of civilization, our children will be dragged down at the bus stop,” he said. “The other side thinks nature is finally back in balance and can we all have a group hug now.” 
California will see the same divisions, said Mr. Bangs, who in his 30 years in gray wolf management attended hundreds of contentious meetings with residents, ranchers and environmentalists.
“I like to say wolves are boring,” he said, “but people are fascinating.” 


Click here for slideshow 

Image of the Day

gray wolf by gypsymarestudios
gray wolf, a photo by gypsymarestudios on Flickr.

Friday, January 27, 2012

At the Capitol: 'Pent-up demand' cited for wolf hunt plan

By Dave Orrick


A "pent-up demand" to hunt wolves is driving plans for a fall hunt for the animal, several officials who support the plan said Thursday.

As of today, gray wolves are no longer federally endangered - or federally protected - in western Great Lakes states, and Minnesota is wasting no time moving ahead with a hunting season.

"There's been a pent-up enthusiasm, a pent-up demand to hunt wolves," Ed Boggess, director of fish and wildlife for the Department of Natural Resources, told a panel of state lawmakers Thursday.

The phrase was echoed by lawmakers representing both the northwoods, where wolf populations are the highest in the state, and those hailing from rural northwestern agricultural areas, where farmers have previously had to call in the government to deal with instances of a wolf killing livestock.

The same words also were used by hunters and trappers who testified before lawmakers in the House and Senate.

"If we get a permit, we'll get a wolf," said a confident Wayne Thom, referring to himself and fellow veteran trapper Russ Sikkila. The two men can recall trapping wolves for government bounty before 1974, when wolves were added to the Endangered Species Act list and hunting and trapping were banned. "And yes, I'll be applying for a permit," Thom said.

The DNR has proposed issuing 6,000 permits via a lottery, with no more than 400 wolves being killed. The total statewide population is estimated to be around 3,000.

In the House committee on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance, no lawmaker spoke out against the plan. State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, supports a move pushed by deer hunters to allow the season to start while the popular deer firearms season is under way. The DNR proposes to start the wolf season after the firearms season is closed.

Howard Goldman, Minnesota Senior State Director of the Humane Society of the United States, said his organization is still examining the plan and considering whether to sue to have federal protections reinstated.


Farmers eager for right to kill attacking wolves

FILE- This July 16, 2004 file photo shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. An Obama administration decision last month to drop gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list is scheduled to take effect Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. That means in some parts, it could be open season for wolf hunting. FILE- This July 16, 2004 file photo shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. An Obama administration decision last month to drop gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list is scheduled to take effect Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. That means in some parts, it could be open season for wolf hunting. (AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File)
By John Flesher and Steve Karnowski Associated Press / January 26, 2012
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.—John Koski is itching to pick up his rifle after losing dozens of cows to hungry wolves on his farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- and it appears he'll soon get his chance.
A legal shield that has protected gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region for nearly four decades will disappear Friday when the animal leaves the federal endangered species list. With that milestone, a primal struggle that was waged in this rugged backcountry for more than a century will resume, although in a more restrained fashion.
"It's about time," said Koski, 67, one of many ranchers eager to begin shooting wolves that prey on livestock. Likewise, hunters are pushing for the chance to stalk a foe legendary for its cunning that has long been off-limits.
"There has to be a hunt. We're just saturated with wolves here," said Al Clemens, who already pursues coyotes in the Upper Peninsula backwoods. But opponents of killing wolves for sport promise a stiff fight before state agencies.
The removal of federal protections in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, which follows the same action last year in the Northern Rockies, opens a new chapter in a long, violent battle between stockmen and wolves -- a colorful part of the heartland's history.
Unlike native Indians who revered wolves as spiritual beings, white settlers despised them as bloodthirsty vermin and shot, poisoned and trapped them to near extinction by the 1930s. In 1974, the species was declared endangered and killing wolves became a crime.
Now, as the federal government bows out, states face the challenge of protecting enough of the approximately 4,400 wolves that have been painstakingly brought back here while accommodating enthusiastic hunters and the ranchers who are tired of collecting bloody carcasses left by marauding wolf packs.
"We want to show that we're capable of managing a healthy wolf population," said biologist Brian Roell of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Striking the balance won't be easy. But the wolves could make the ranchers' best efforts difficult anyway.
Miles Kuschel seldom sees the wolves that prey on cattle at his family's 3,000-acre Rocking K Ranch near Sebeka in northern Minnesota. But he knows they're out there, lurking in nearby forests by day and prowling his pastures by night.
On a recent tour, a thin layer of snow had preserved two sets of wolf tracks running not quite single-file across a field. Kuschel hears the howling at night. He believes he lost six calves to wolves in 2011, but doubts he'll get many chances to take a shot.
"They've survived for centuries because they're an elusive and intelligent animal," he said.
Dale Lueck, who lives about 65 miles east near Aitkin, Minn., said most ranchers are too busy to spend nights on wolf patrol. "Who can afford night vision equipment?" he added with a laugh.
After federal protections are lifted, Michigan and Wisconsin will allow people to kill wolves preying on livestock or pets. Farmers with a history of attacks can obtain permits to shoot wolves anywhere on their property. Minnesota will have similar policies, depending on where the ranchers live.
Cheri Klussendorf, who raises cattle in north-central Wisconsin, said electric fencing around her 246 acres was no match for the wolf pack that devoured a 1,400-pound cow in November and a number of calves last spring. She says she doesn't want to erase wolves from the landscape.
"If I could just keep them away from my cows, they're no problem," Klussendorf said.
In Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula, Don Clark said he'll apply for shoot-on-sight permits but has no illusions he'll be able to keep his 2,700 acres wolf-free. He's begun surrounding his land with 6-foot-high, woven-wire fencing, which will take up to five years. In the meantime, he hopes the state will authorize hunting and trapping that would reduce the U.P. wolf population, estimated at 687. None of the Great Lakes states have taken that step, although Minnesota -- which has nearly 3,000 wolves, more than any state except Alaska -- is considering a hunt this fall in which 400 wolves could be killed.
Hunters have shot or trapped nearly as many in Idaho and Montana since Northern Rockies wolves were dropped from the endangered list last year.
Clemens, of Ironwood in the western U.P., has obtained 1,200 signatures on a pro-hunting petition. The veteran coyote hunter has a white camouflage outfit perfect for stalking wolves through the snow. He's upgraded from bullets suitable for coyotes to heavier types that would bring down 80- to 90-pound wolves. "I'm ready to go," he said.
Wolf advocates who accept the idea of farmers protecting livestock recoil at talk of hunting and trapping, which they fear will slash wolf numbers drastically.
"It's very sad for me to know that so many wolves will be killed under state management," said Collette Adkins Giese, a Minnesota-based attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Nancy Warren, an activist who lives in the western U.P., said Great Lakes wolves remain vulnerable to disease and starvation. Mortality rates are high, especially for pups. -
"If wolves are living in the forests, raising their pups and not causing any problems, I see no reason why they can't be left alone," Warren said.
Karnowski reported from Sebeka, Minn.


Gray wolves still protected in Illinois

MacNeil Lyons / National Park Service

By Travis Morse
The Journal-Standard
Posted Jan 26, 2012
Despite recent changes implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, gray wolves remain protected as a state endangered species throughout Illinois, said Joe Kath, endangered species manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Today, new guidelines go into effect that remove federal Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves in portions of the Midwest, including north of I-80 in Illinois. Even so, gray wolves are still covered by the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act throughout the state, so the partial removal of federal protection in Illinois will essentially have no effect on the animal’s status here, Kath said.
“Within the entire state, the animal is protected under the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act,” Kath said. “In addition, the animal is covered under federal protection in Illinois, south of I-80. ... So nothing has changed from the state’s perspective.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed federal protection for the gray wolf in portions of the western Great Lakes because wolves in certain states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have exceeded recovery goals and no longer need that protection to survive, states an IDNR news release. In areas where wolves were de-listed, including parts of adjoining states like northern Illinois, states and tribes are now responsible for wolf management, the release states.

While it is rare for hunters and trappers in Illinois to come across gray wolves, it has occurred, Kath said. Occasionally, young male wolves from Wisconsin will disperse from their packs and try to establish new packs elsewhere, sometimes in northern Illinois, Kath said.
“In Wisconsin, there are established packs as far south as Beloit,” Kath said.

According to the news release, a gray wolf was struck by a car in McHenry County, Ill., near the Chain O’Lakes State Park, in 2005. The potential for range expansion will continue as long as habitat and food sources are available, the release states.

Under state law, the gray wolf remains a threatened animal, which means it is unlawful for hunters or others to take or possess wolves anywhere in Illinois, the release states.
“People hunting and trapping should be aware of the possible presence of these animals,” Kath said. “The animal is fully protected throughout the State of Illinois.”

Illinois citizens who encounter a wolf in the wild should contact the IDNR at (217) 782-6302. Wolves resemble coyotes, but are taller, heavier, and have other characteristics that set them apart, the release states.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf, or http://dnr.state.il.us/espb.


Image of the Day

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More on The Grey

The Grey

I promised myself that I would give this movie as little free publicity as possible and not promote it or do an article about this movie on DogActors.com but recent events, findings, and several emails on the subject have forced me to write this article. This section will be in the preview on the homepage and post lists but the entire post will not be viewable unless you click “more below.
I also want to make this 100% clear – DogActors.com does not condone the use of wildlife and we condemn any actions that could be considered cruel or inhumane to any animals in the name of entertainment (as well as any other case).

Warning: Some of the information in this is graphic and touches into how inhumane some animals are still treated today in the name of entertainment. Do not proceed if you do not want to read about this.

A pro-wolf organization Wolfwatcher has been in constant contact with the producers and other staff members over the movie “The Grey” and how wolves are perceived in this movie. They thought they were making headway and they were being listened to until they received a promotional copy of the film – in a recent statement released on their website they do think that none of the suggestions or concerns were not only not listened to but flat out ignored. Feel free to read their statement for the full story but I will provide a rundown.

First, they did confirm that 4 wolf wolves were trapped by a “professional” trapper to be used in the film. I can confirm that the wolves in the previews are real wolves but no animal trainer, handler, or wrangler was used. This supports the theory that wild wolves were used in the film. I also cannot confirm the presence of a humane society member on the staff (which is required when animals are used in movies).

Second, they did confirm that two of the trapped wolves (and since there are more than 2 wolves in some of the previews – this includes some that were filmed) were eaten by the cast and staff. Lliam Neeson referred to it as “wolf jerky” and tasty. At least one of the wolves used (but more likely two) were killed during the filming. He also said “just throw some potatoes and onions in it and he could eat it all day long”.

When asked about a scene where a wolf is killed on film and its body is thrown into a field the staff did not confirm nor deny if it was a real wolf that was killed or a fake one.

To show how out of touch the staff is, one of their publicists asked Wolfwatcher if they could use OR-7 at the premier in Los Angeles (OR-7 a.k.a. Journey is that lone wolf (formerly of the Imnaha pack) that traveled across Oregon and into California).

The movie is also very biased against wolves, most “facts” stated in the movie are not true and many are even calling it a propaganda film and does not old any story nor any entertainment value with the exception of watching wolves get killed.

DogActors.com officially condemns this movie and asks that our readers do not see the film nor support it in any way. We feel that “entertainment” like this, where animals (wild or domestic) are tortured (and yes, we feel that trapping animals IS torture) and killed, should have no place in today’s society. If you want to watch a suspense film with wolves in it, go see Underworld. If you want action there is “Mission: Impossible”, “Red Tails” and “Contraband”.

If you’d like to learn more about wolves and their struggle we can suggest the following sites:

The Wolf Army USA
The Wolf Army International

Excellent Statements from WolfWatcher.org!

 Montana Meets on Extending the Wolf Hunt, and Wolfwatcher is there!



Director Maurier, Chairman Rehm and fellow commissioners

My name is Kim Bean and I am here as a resident of Montana and as an advisor for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.

As I continue to follow these meetings throughout Montana and sit in on the meetings here in Helena one thing continues to catch my attention. It appears to me that OPINION is more important than FACTS and SCIENCE when making decisions for the management of our wildlife here in Montana.

It is a constant rant as I hear the echoed opinion that the wolves are decimating the elk herds, and they are responsible for large numbers in livestock predation. YET, we all know, even those suggesting these things, that the facts and the scientific data do not support these opinions.


FACT – WOLVES, LIONS, BEARS and ALL predators account for less than

¼ percent of livestock deaths.

FACT – Loss of habitat is a major contributor to elk loss – in particular,

in the Bitterroot.

FACT – In 2004, the Westfork of the Bitterroot was mandated by Helena

legislators to reduce ungulate population numbers, the outcome

was over-hunting and a significant decrease in ungulate

populations. THIS is HUGE contributor to a decline in elk numbers.

FACT – Wolves are known to make ungulates move around, not

allowing them to graze in an area to long, this is not decimating

elk herds, but does contribute by making elk stronger, warding off

disease and just as important this allows the ecosystems to come

into balance and regenerate.

FACT – Wolves, lions, bears and other predators eat elk and other

ungulates – BUT they are proficient hunters of the sick, old, weak

and yes the young, leaving the strong and healthy to reproduce.

This is not a talent human management can accomplish.

FACT – Humans kill for sport, hunters call themselves “sportsman”, Hunting is not a necessity for sustainability of human populations

But it is a luxury and one that should be treated as such and not

as an entitlement over those that do need to hunt for the survival of their species, such as the wolf, Mtn Lion and Bear.

FACT – USFWS agrees with these findings and acknowledges that

ungulate populations have a natural fluctuation, whether caused

by disease (we are seeing it with the deer populations right now)

or weather, like the winter we encountered last year, and as I

have said before human encroachment and habitat loss.

FACT – Tourism brought in 2.5 Billion dollars spent by nonresident

visitors, supported 28,000 jobs and resulted in more than 785

million dollars of personal income. The top seven activities, scenic

driving, wildlife watching, nature photography, day hiking,

camping, recreational shopping and visiting historic sites. Wolves

account for a huge chunk of that income.

FACT – Wolves follow prey, and from my understanding there is no prey

in the Bitterroot, therefore there are no wolves

I want to know what FACTS, what DATA, and what SCIENCE, you have based the quota numbers on for each area – because it appears that the number of wolves lurking behind every tree was based more on opinion than on FACT.

I want to know what SCIENCE you are using when making your decisions to extend this hunting season of a Trophy Animal well into their mating season, knowing full well that this will negatively alter wolf numbers and the viability of wolf packs in Montana, all with the knowledge that they are not THE issue for a decline in elk populations, but contribute a very small part in this issue. What are you willing to do about your part in over-hunting these areas? Are you willing to stop hunting in this area to help regain what your choices helped diminish? Are you willing to stop humans from occupying these area’s therefore increasing the elk habitat once again? I don’t think so and so you also must STOP using the wolves as a scapegoat for the multiple man-made issues that are causing the decline in elk numbers.

You have had wolf management in your hands for a short time and you are already discussing the options to barbarically trap, poison, and even bomb dens (killing pups) to rid these areas of wolves, all for the sake of a few special interest groups such as The Safari Club ,The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and of course the Cattlemen’s Association.

It It is your responsibility to take care of our wildlife and wild lands, not to bow to the wants of a few special interest groups. You are not in a public seat to be biased, you are in a public seat to do what is best for our wildlife and the state of Montana, and I find as do many other Montanans and American citizens that you are falling short of your duties in this area.

As technology continues to allow the world access to our backyards, and as the voices of millions continue to rise in protest over the killing of wolves and other predators, let it be known gentlemen that the eyes of America and that of the World are on Montana and more specifically Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and they/we are expecting that you will do to the right thing, and that is to stop this obvious witch hunt on wolves, NOW.

EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions, but they are NOT entitled to their own facts!

AND the facts show that a move forward with this extension would be based SOLELY on the biases of this commission and not a professional understanding of wildlife and the management there of.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

Kim Bean, NWC Montana Regional Director


Kim also came armed with a very special letter from Junior Adviser and advocate Alyssa Grayson.  What Alyssa had to say sends a very powerful message and we wanted to share it with you:

Mr. Joe Maurier
Director, MTFWP

Dear Mr. Maurier,

My name is Alyssa and I am 11 years old.  I would like to ask you to please not extend the hunt on wolves and to please do not allow the trapping of wolves.  It would mean a lot to me, since I really love wolves and want to do everything possible to save them.  Your decision should be based on science and not personal opinion.  Wolves are very important to the environment and more important then you think.

If you extend the hunt until breeding season, pregnant females will be killed for no reason.  It is just plain mean.  If you did this to a dog, which is a descendent of a wolf, you would be arrested.  Also, when you set a trap for an animal, such as a wolf, you might not catch a wolf.  You could catch a bear, a lynx, a coyote and there were even some recent cases of dogs being caught in traps.  And when caught, an animal has no way what so ever to get out.  It can only try to gnaw it’s own limb off to escape.  What if it was your best animal friend, YOUR dog that you love so much who was caught in the trap?  You could only watch him suffer in pain.  Thirsty and hungry.  Trying to free himself, gnawing at his paw.  Animals have feelings.

Now what if it was a wolf?  Without wolves, you wouldn’t have your dog.  If the wolf was in the same situation, you probably wouldn’t feel so bad.  Humans think that they are so smart, but not smart enough to realize how horrible and vicious they can be to other creatures. 

There has never been a documented case of a healthy, wild wolf killing or even attacking a person.  They have a natural fear of people and want nothing to do with them.  So who’s really the bad guy?  Who is really mean and vicious?  Who should we really be afraid of?  We have to stop this madness before these beautiful, intelligent animals are wiped off the face of this Earth.



(special thanks to wolf friend, Deb, for the heads up!)