Friday, August 30, 2013

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Tough times for wolf conflicts – It’s been a rough couple of weeks for both people and wolves, putting serious strain on the already tenuous relationship between man and beast. But several recent incidents offer valuable lessons that will help us all learn to better coexist with wildlife.
  • We were surprised earlier this week to learn that a wolf had apparently attacked a young man in northern Minnesota while he was camping. Such attacks are exceedingly rare and the wolf in this case was reportedly habituated to humans and had some malformation of its jaw. Even among healthy wolves, only two known deaths have occurred from wild wolf attacks across all of North America in modern history.  For comparison, at least a couple dozen people die every year from domestic dog attacks. Fortunately, the teenager appears to be okay after suffering a deep gash to the top of his head, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
    Incidents like these are an important reminder that any wild animal can be a potential threat, especially one that is injured or has become habituated to people. The return of gray wolves to the Great Lakes and other parts of the country has been a tremendous wildlife conservation success story. But with it comes a responsibility to learn how to safely coexist with wildlife. For more information, visit
  • ©Chagares Photography

    ©Chagares Photography
    Another Yellowstone wolf was killed this week after it preyed upon chickens and a house cat near Jardine, Montana. The collared female wolf was a part of the Lamar Canyon pack that dispersed several months ago after the alpha female, 832F, was killed by a hunter.  It appears that some nonlethal hazing was attempted first, but the wolf had likely become habituated to humans while living within Yellowstone National Park. Evidence suggests that this animal was even being fed by people, which is a recipe for disaster. Remember, a fed wolf is a dead wolf.
  • Wildlife Services killed 13 wolves in Idaho last week after the Pine Creek pack was blamed for causing the death of 176 sheep. The herders claimed that two wolves frightened the sheep, causing them to stampede and stumble down a rocky slope. The sheep had been grazing on public land in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, not far from Grand Teton National Park, a sanctuary for wildlife including wild predators. American taxpayers are thus faced with a triple whammy: subsidizing public grazing, paying to kill the wolves, and compensating for the losses. You can help us put a stop to the senseless killing of wildlife on public lands by signing our petition to reform Wildlife Services.
  • Oregon has so far taken a measured approach with three recent depredations. Based on the state’s new management policy, a wolf must be involved in four “qualifying incidents” in six months for the state to consider removing the offending wolf. A qualifying incident requires that landowners implement at least one preventive measure and eliminate all unnatural attractants in the week before the incident. The new policy is designed to balance the interests of wildlife advocates and ranchers by forcing both parties to find new ways for livestock and wolves to coexist. Hopefully Oregon’s model will catch on soon in other states.
Wolves deserve fair hearing – The Register-Guard of Eugene, Oregon came out with an excellent editorial this week criticizing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s handling of its wolf delisting proposal. The paper says FWS was right to delay its flawed peer review process but should go a step farther and abandon its premature delisting plan altogether.
“Gray wolves need a fair hearing from the Fish & Wildlife Service — and they need a stronger, long-term federal management plan that provides for a sustainable number of wolves across their entire range so that they can survive and thrive for years to come.”
We’re still expecting that FWS will extend its public comment period, which is scheduled to close on Sept. 11. But just in case it doesn’t, be sure to submit your comments today so that your voice can be heard. Help us support continued wolf recovery and put a stop to the delisting disaster!

Attend International Wolf Symposium – Join Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark and our top wolf expert Suzanne Stone for the 2013 International Wolf Symposium. The event is hosted by the International Wolf Center and will be held Oct. 10-13 in Duluth, Minn. Suzanne will be giving a presentation about our Wood River Wolf Project, and Jamie will deliver the keynote address. Don’t miss your chance to mingle with wolf experts and to learn more about the future of wolf recovery.

Stop the Idaho Aerial Wolf Slaughter Plan

Hunting season opens today in Idaho.
Hunting season opens in Idaho – After a very brief respite, wolves in Idaho are back under fire. The 2013-2014 general hunting season opens today statewide and runs through the end of March. Trapping season begins on Nov. 15 across most of the state, and some private lands in the northern Panhandle Zone now remain open year-round for hunting. Read more in the Boise Weekly.


WY Fish and Game Determine if 8 Sheep Killed by Wolves

Sheep deaths reviewed

By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
August 30, 2013

Wolves are suspected of killing eight sheep on a public land grazing allotment south of Hoback Junction during the past 10 days.

The sheep are owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company, based in Terreton, Idaho — the same company that reported losing 176 sheep near Teton Valley two weeks ago after wolves caused the herd to stampede and crush each other.

“We had four more sheep killed by wolves on [Tuesday] near Dog Creek,” Billie Siddoway said in an email. “The sheep were in the herd from which we lost four sheep last week.”

Graphic photographs provided to the Jackson Hole Daily show that the sheep had their innards ripped out of their abdomens. One of the four sheep killed this week was partially consumed.

In her email, Siddoway said the Wyoming Game and Fish Department soon would confirm wolves as the culprit in the sheep depredations.

J.C. Siddoway, Billie’s brother, claimed that wolves and bears have killed 35 sheep this year in the Bridger-Teton National Forest grazing allotment he rents near Dog Creek. About 1,200 ewes and their lambs graze the swath of public land, Siddoway said.

“We’ve been having wolf problems there for probably five years now,” he said. “Some years, it’s extremely bad and others, not too bad. ... I think one year we had 126 killed in there.”

Game and Fish managers acknowledged that there had been reports of attacks near Dog Creek, but were not able to provide many details.

“I think [Game and Fish employee Mike Boyce] might have [gone] in there, or he was going to,” said Dan Thompson, Game and Fish’s large carnivore section supervisor. “I know there’s been some depredation.”

Through the end of July in Wyoming, wildlife managers had reported 33 “livestock and dogs” confirmed killed by wolves. In response, 14 wolves have been killed.

On Aug. 17, wolves from the Pine Creek Pack that roams around Teton Pass ventured into the Siddoways’ 2,400-head sheep herd that was bedding down in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Running downhill in a panic, the sheep trampled and smothered each other. The wolves killed about a dozen of the sheep. In the end, 176 sheep were dead.

The pack that was implicated in the deaths on the other side of the state border now is mostly gone. Some 13 wolves from the pack, including nine puppies, have been removed by federal hunters this year.

It’s not yet confirmed what wolf pack is to blame for the latest depredations near Dog Creek, but there is an eponymous pack that roams the area.

The Dog Creek Pack numbered at least 3 adult animals at the end of 2012, according to a Game and Fish annual report. One animal from the pack was reported harvested in last year’s hunt and another is believed to have moved on.


Idaho’s half year long wolf hunt opens again August 30

Season generally runs August 30 to March 31-

Idaho’s wolf-hostile, general hunting season opens again tomorrow.  The season is six months long except for parts of the state where it is ten months long.

While normal hunts for elk, deer, ducks, and the like, strive to maintain sustainable and nearly stable populations of the game animals, the stated intent of the Idaho wolf hunt is to reduce the number of wolves to the minimum possible without causing a federal relisting of the species.

There are few restrictions on hunting wolves in Idaho. Although the hunt begins in late summer, pelts from late summer and early autumn animals are useless for fur. A trapping season is added on top of the hunt in mid-November. This trapping season generally runs to March 31.  Winter pelts are useful fur. Wolf hunters and trappers are not required to make any use of wolf meat. Multiple wolf hunt and trapping tags can be purchased for $11.50 by Idaho residents.

Wolf trapping proved to be an effective way of killing wolves although the capture of unintended animals, especially deer, was high. Trappers got more non-target animals than they did wolves, although about half of the wrongly trapping animals survived in some fashion. Of the rare animals, wolf trappers were especially hard on fishers where 22 were trapped and 15 died.

There is no statewide quota on the number of wolves that can be killed in Idaho, although there are some high quotas in a few special areas of the state such as Island Park (quota 30 wolves) which is next to Yellowstone Park. The Park’s wolf population was greatly reduced last winter by wolf hunts and trapping along its boundaries.

The official count of Idaho wolves (683) showed an 11% decrease in the calendar year 2012.  The state is aiming for a population of 150 wolves. Wolf counting is not an exact science because of the inherent problems of double counting, of unknown packs and of lone wolves. This is now complicated by the instability of packs that are frequently subjected to hunting. Hunting often causes the packs to split, seek out new territories, or disappear altogether after or before being included in the annual wolf count.

The Idaho wolf population reached its highest point of 859 in 2009. Wolf supporters say that figure was close to the zone of natural population stability in the state. Official figures shows the rate of wolf population growth as well as the absolute numbers of more wolves had been declining. In the past, the statements by some anti-wolf activists and politicians seem to imply that without a wolf hunt, the wolf population will grow without limits.

Every year wolves kill a small number of Idaho cattle. Official records show less an a hundred. Most are calves. Sheep losses are higher, but less predictable from year to year because at unpredictable intervals a large number of sheep will die in incidents such as recent one the Palisades backcountry where a couple wolves chased sheep, leading to part of the sheep herd running down a slope, stumbling, and crushing or suffocating 176 of their number.

Ironically, losses of livestock to wolves have not diminished since the Idaho wolf population began to decline under hunting pressure. Here are recent figures.  2009- 76 cattle, 259 sheep;  2010- 75 cattle, 148 sheep;  2011- 71 cattle, 121 sheep;  2012- 90 cattle, 251 sheep.

For many details about wolf populations, wolf effects on other big game, wolves and livestock, search our archives (can be located at "source" below).


Young wolves form pack at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

Bay Beach wolf pack back together
Bay Beach wolf pack back together: Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary's pack of five wolves were reunited earlier this week and are out daily for public viewing. (Aug 29, 2013).
The wolf pack at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary has been united in the wooded wolf enclosure behind the Woodland Building August 29, 2013. Chewing a bone in the shade is one of the older females. / Jim Matthews/Press-Gazette Media

The wolf exhibit is open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, 1660 East Shore Drive, Green Bay.



Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary has its own wolf pack.
The group of five wolves, including three new additions, made their debut to a gaggle of viewers on Thursday as theylooked through a fence at the sanctuary’s wolf exhibit.

The group of wolves — ranging in age from 4 to 5-and-half months old — is still finding its collective feet as a pack, but it’s exciting for the staff to see all five living together.

“The way they are playing and running around, they’ve adjusted really well,” said Lori Bankson, curator of animals at the sanctuary. “I’ve seen the behind the scene and (now) you get to share this with the public. There’s a little bit of nervousness because as they grow older their personalities are going to change, but it’s a great time to be able to share and cherish.”

The wolves were born in captivity.

While the wolves exhibit playful characteristics, Bankson said eventually some of the playful side will fade as they get down to the business of establishing a pecking order within the pack.

“As they grow older they’re going to figure out who is the alpha male and who is the alpha female; who is going to tell everyone when it’s time to eat; when it’s time to sleep ... and with five wolves, one is going to be the low member of the pack,” Bankson said.

“Right now we see the sweet, fun puppies, but there are going to be days in the next few years they’re going to show their wild instincts and aggressiveness to try to become the alpha.”
Bringing the pack together is the culmination of months of work that started in April when the sanctuary’s remaining wolf died. The pack will play an important role in educating visitors about one of the key animals in Wisconsin’s wildlife spectrum, Bankson said.

“You don’t get to see wolves out in the wild like maybe you would songbirds or birds of prey,” she said. “Having them this young, and letting the public watch them ... and see them develop lets the public be part of their lives, too.”


Image of the Day

Mexican Gray Wolves
Winter is coming...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don’t train wolves to eat sheep--great letter!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don’t train wolves to eat sheep

    As we learn to live with predators, the first and most important rule is not to feed them. It’s the reason we don’t feed bears at National Parks—and now they leave us alone. 

    What does the Siddoway sheep farm do when 175 sheep are killed in a stampede? They blame the wolves and then leave those 175 carcasses in place so the predators will come and eat them. They claim that “wolves are devastating to sheep ranching” and will incur even more sheep loss to wolves, since, in effect, the wolves are being trained to eat his sheep. 

    Mr. Siddoway, you are an Idaho senator. Please show some responsibility and remove those carcasses. The wolf recovery was welcomed by the nation and funded with all of our tax dollars. Many Americans feel vested in this venture and want to see it succeed. 

Chris Albert, DVM


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Images of the Day

Lobo ibérico by Anendima
Lobo ibérico, a photo by Anendima on Flickr.
Iberian Wolf (Canis lupus signaetus)
Lobo ibérico

Wo0t! Mexican Gray Wolves Gain Protection in AZ, NM

SILVER CITY, New Mexico, August 26, 2013 (ENS) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose increased recovery territory for Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico and will drop plans to capture wolves entering these two states from Mexico, under two agreements reached today between the agency and the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity.

The agency has agreed to finalize a rule to allow direct release of captive Mexican gray wolves into New Mexico and to allow Mexican wolves to establish territories in an expanded area of the two states.

Mexican gray wolf (Photo courtesy USFWS)
Mexican gray wolf (Photo courtesy USFWS)

“These agreements should breathe new life into the struggling Mexican wolf recovery program and expand the wolf’s habitat here,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Mexican gray wolf is an icon of the Southwest and I’m thrilled it will have better protection.”

One settlement was reached in a lawsuit challenging a permit the Service granted itself in November 2011 authorizing the trapping and indefinite incarceration of any wolves entering Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.

The Mexican government has been releasing endangered Mexican gray wolves a several miles south of the border, and these wolves could establish territories in the United States at any time.

Under the agreement reached today, the Fish and Wildlife Service rescinded the permit and agreed that it lacks the authority to issue a permit to capture fully protected endangered gray wolves entering the United States from Mexico.

“Our agreement provides important protection to endangered Mexican gray wolves by stopping this little-known government plan to capture wolves that enter Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico,” said Robinson.

The second agreement concerns a revision to a 1998 rule for managing about 75 wolves that have been reintroduced into a small area in central Arizona and New Mexico called the “Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.”

After years of delay, the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to change the rule to allow direct release of wolves into the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, where there is extensive habitat, and to expand the area where wolves are allowed to establish territories to include all of Arizona and New Mexico between Interstate 10 and Interstate 40.

Under the agreement this rule will be finalized by January 12, 2015.

The current rule requires that wolves from the captive pool can only be released in Arizona, and they are captured if they establish territories outside the current recovery area.

Scientists and conservationists are objecting to the fact that the rule will still require capture of wolves that cross I-40 or I-10 from the recovery area.

“We’re glad the Fish and Wildlife Service is finally making much needed changes to the Mexican wolf recovery program but these changes clearly don’t go far enough,” said Robinson.

“The science is clear that if Mexican gray wolves are to have any shot at recovery, they must be allowed to expand and establish population centers beyond what Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed,” he said. “The Grand Canyon, southern Rockies and borderlands all provide habitat where wolves could be restored. We sure hope the Fish and Wildlife Service will allow wolves to move into these areas.”

wolf pups
Wolf pups in the Blue Range Recovery Area, June 2013 (Photo courtesy USFWS)

This summer, members of the Interagency Field Team documented denning behavior in nine Mexican wolf packs in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. As of early June, at least 19 pups in five packs were documented. As the pups get older, the IFT will attempt to capture pups, administer vaccines, and affix pup size radio collars to monitor survival.

The agency had hoped to have at least 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild by 2006, but illegal shooting, captures in response to livestock conflicts and restrictions on where wolves can be released from captivity have blocked that goal.

The permit, now rescinded, would have allowed for more captures to respond to wolf-livestock conflicts. Robinson says research shows such conflicts are better dealt with through changes in animal husbandry that reduce the likelihood that wolves and livestock will come into contact.
Gray wolves, a different subspecies, are also still at risk, conservationists argue. They warn that gray wolf recovery in the United States is not complete after hunters and trappers nearly wiped out the species.

By the middle of the 20th century, few wolves existed in the Lower 48 states. Only several hundred gray wolves in Minnesota and an isolated population on Michigan’s Isle Royale remained, with a few red wolves and an occasional Mexican gray wolf reported.

Both the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf were eventually completely eliminated in the wild, and prior to recent reintroduction efforts, existed only in captivity.

Gray wolves in the Lower 48 states now number about 5,000. Except for the Minnesota population of several thousand, all wolves in the Lower 48 states currently are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

But in June, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, changing the future of gray wolf recovery and conservation.

The Service said, “Four decades of work by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to protect and recover the gray wolf, Canis lupus, have successfully brought the species back from the brink of extinction in the western Great Lakes and Northern Rocky Mountains.”

The Service will continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf in the Southwest by proposing to designate the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act and to modify existing regulations governing this population.

Outside of that recovery area, management and protection of wolves would be returned to state wildlife management agency professionals, following approved wolf management plans in states where wolves occur or are likely to occur in the future, the Service said.

But conservationists say wolves still need federal protection and argue that the states are not managing them responsibly. “These wolves face rabid anti-wolf politics, aggressive lethal control, unsustainable hunting, intolerance and other threats across the entire country, and haven’t yet returned to suitable habitat in many parts of their historic range,” says the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife. “By delisting them now, USFWS would be turning their backs on one of the best wildlife conservation stories in U.S. history before it’s finished.”

The two proposed delisting rules were published in the Federal Register on June 13, 2013. The Service welcomes public comment, which will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on September 11, 2013. Guidance on how to provide comment is provided here. Please visit to view all Federal Register notices, and to submit an electronic comment.


16-year-old boy attacked by wolf at Lake Winnie, MN

Published August 26, 2013,

UPDATE: Noah Graham, of Solway, Minn., suffered puncture wounds on the left and right sides of his face.
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
A 16-year-old Solway, Minn., boy was injured in an apparent wolf attack early Saturday morning as he rested in his tent on Lake Winnibigoshish near Cass Lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Noah Graham suffered puncture wounds on the left and right sides of his face.
“I had to reach behind me and jerk my head out of its mouth,” he said after being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a Bemidji hospital.

The incident occurred at the U.S. Forest Service’s West Winnie Campground, near where the Mississippi River enters Lake Winnibigoshish. The campground was closed and evacuated Saturday and remains closed, according to the DNR.

“The canine approached him from the rear and before he realized it was there, it had bit him in the back of his head,” said Tom Provost, DNR regional enforcement supervisor in Grand Rapids. “His first indication was when he had its jaws clamped down on his head.”

“He’s got puncture wounds on his head and an 11-centimeter (4.3-inch) wound that had to be closed,” said Cheri Zeppelin, DNR Northeast Region information officer in Grand Rapids.
Wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare, Provost said. He called the incident “a freak deal.”
“It’s the first one I’m aware of (in Minnesota),” he said. “I’m not aware of another where there was physical damage to the victim.”

A wolf matching the description of the animal that attacked Graham was trapped and killed at the campground early today by the Wildlife Services division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Provost said. The wolf was transported to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in St. Paul for a necropsy.

DNA testing could confirm if the wolf that was trapped is the same one that attacked Graham, Provost said.
Graham said he received a shot to combat rabies after the attack. The wolf will be tested for rabies, and results of that testing should be available Tuesday or Wednesday, Provost said.

“I won’t be sleeping outside, again, any time soon,” said Graham, who was talking to his girlfriend just before the wolf attacked without warning. “There was no sound at all; didn’t hear it. It was just all of a sudden there.”
Graham’s girlfriend fled during the attack.

“She ran and got in her Jeep right away,” he said, and two members of the camping party slept through the screaming, kicking and fighting, he said.
The wolf that was trapped was a 75-pound male, an average-sized wolf, Provost said. He said the wolf that was trapped had a deformed jaw that might have made it difficult for the wolf to acquire food by taking down large prey. No other wolves were seen at the campground, Provost said.
After the wolf attacked Graham, sometime between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Saturday, he struggled with it briefly.

“After I got up, I was kicking at it and screaming at it, and it wouldn’t leave,” he said. “But then after a while I got it to run away.”
Statements from other campers indicated there were other incidents at the campground where an animal bit through tents, one resulting in the puncturing of an air mattress, according to the DNR. Another camper indicated that he saw a wolf near his campsite with coloration and markings matching the description of the animal believed to have attacked Graham, a DNR news release stated.
“I thought it was a big coyote, but I guess it’s a wolf,” Graham said.

There have been two wolf-attack fatalities in North America in the past decade, according to the DNR. One was in northern Canada and another was in Alaska.
According to Dr. L. David Mech, a wolf researcher with the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Geological Survey, writing on the International Wolf Center website: “Two interesting wolf-human encounters in Northeastern Minnesota add further to the mix of ways in which wolves have interacted with humans, without the humans coming out seriously injured.

“The first incident involved a logger who saw two wolves attacking a deer nearby. The logger picked up his dog, which had become extremely frightened by the deer attack. One of the wolves charged toward the man and dog, catching a lower fang on the logger’s black-and-red checkered wool shirt and slicing a 6-inch gash in the material. As the wolf tried to yank free from the logger’s clothes, its jaws opened wide and the logger looked right down the animal’s throat.

“ ‘It wasn’t me the wolf was attacking,’ the logger said. ‘He was trying to get the dog who just happened to be in my arms.’ ”
The second Minnesota incident, according to Mech, left a 19-year-old hunter with a long scratch from a wolf’s claws. The man had been hunting snowshoe hares deep in a thick swamp north of Duluth during a snowstorm, Mech wrote.

“He was wearing his deer-hunting jacket, which was well anointed with buck scent,” Mech wrote. “Suddenly a wolf hit him from behind and knocked him over onto his back. As the wolf stood over him, the startled hunter managed to fire his .22-caliber rifle. The wolf appeared to come to its senses and fled, leaving the hunter with a long scratch.”


Monday, August 26, 2013

Casperson (MI) pushes need for wolf controls after report of dog killings

August 24, 2013
By JOHN PEPIN - Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal
MARQUETTE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials are investigating a report of several beagles being killed by wolves in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

In a news release Thursday, state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, said the reported attack and killings near Rudyard "points to the dire need and urgency for improved management of the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula."

Casperson sponsored legislation that has led to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission reclassifying wolves as game species and authorizing the state's first wolf hunt this fall. The total wolf kill will be limited to 43 wolves from three wolf management zones in the U.P.

"While groups including the Humane Society of the U.S. continue their efforts to stop a much-needed, recently approved, and limited wolf hunting season in certain parts of the UP, I continue to hear of more about the very real danger that wolves present, including incidents of wolves killing pets, wildlife and livestock," Casperson said.

Citing an ongoing investigation by the DNR, Casperson said "the attack occurred while nine beagles were being trained by several individuals visiting the Upper Peninsula. Reportedly, at least five of the dogs were killed with others injured or still missing."

However, DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said Friday not all of the facts have been verified in the reported wolf-beagle incident.
"We're not quite sure what's going on," Mason said.

Mason said an out-of-state resident contacted the DNR, sending photographs showing dead dogs, consistent with a wolf kill. However, Mason said DNR staff was unable to find the site where the killings were said to have occurred.

Mason said the man reported all the dogs had been killed, but one was located malnourished and fitted with a radio collar at a local animal shelter. When contacted, the man said he didn't want the dog back, Mason said.

The investigation is ongoing and more information is expected to be released as it becomes available.
"I think we should know something here fairly soon," Mason said.


Mexican wolf dies during routine management activities in Arizona

Joint announcement from Arizona Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A yearling female Mexican wolf died over the weekend during routine handling in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Members of the Mexican wolf interagency field team from the Arizona Game and Fish Department were conducting an intentional capture effort using the approved protocol to fit radio-telemetry collars on members of the Bluestem Pack that remained uncollared, when f1289, a previously collared animal, was captured in a padded foot trap.

The trap sent a signal when it sprung and experienced team members were on site within 15 minutes. The animal moved the trap into rocky terrain on the edge of a slope, making it difficult for the team to process the wolf. Using a catch pole and Y-pole (like those used for capturing and restraining domestic dogs), the team removed f1289 from the trap and during processing found that the animal was no longer breathing. Emergency treatment including CPR was unsuccessful in reviving the wolf.

The team on site had years of wolf capture experience and had just completed a refresher capture training course the week prior. Only two other incidents of capture-related mortality in the wild have occurred during the 15-year history of the Mexican wolf reintroduction project, which has included hundreds of captures.

"The loss of this wolf is a very unfortunate and unusual outcome to a routine management activity that is necessary to the recovery of the Mexican wolf. Radio collars are the best method for tracking wolves and knowing where the wolves are is critical for effective management. As it has reiterated over the years, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission remains committed to Mexican wolf recovery and to the active, hands-on management that is essential to that effort's success," says Chairman John Harris of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

"The loss of this individual wolf is a result of a very unfortunate accident that can occur when you have such a highly managed species. While I am saddened by the loss of this juvenile wolf, I continue to support our field team and their track record of safely handling wolves. We will analyze the events associated with this incident, implement appropriate changes, and insure that measures are taken that will minimize the chances of any similar occurrence in the future," said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Southwest regional director.

The Service will be conducting a necropsy at a veterinary diagnostic lab in Albuquerque, N. M. to determine the cause of death.

All wolf captures are conducted using a capture protocol that is approved by experts and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The circumstances surrounding this accident will be thoroughly reviewed.


Image of the Day

Wolf(Jeremy Weber)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Image of the Day

BRD_8260 by Heather's Lost Lens Cap
BRD_8260, a photo by Heather's Lost Lens Cap on Flickr.

Grey wolves

Wolves kill hunting dog in Douglas County

August 23, 2013

Wolves killed four hunting dogs in Wisconsin over the weekend, including one in Douglas County, and one hunting dog Monday. The depredations came a week after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a reminder to hunters to exercise caution during this year’s bear training and hunting season.

Wolves killed four hunting dogs in Wisconsin over the weekend, including one in Douglas County, and one hunting dog Monday. The depredations came a week after the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a reminder to hunters to exercise caution during this year’s bear training and hunting season.

Wolves have killed 17 dogs this year in Wisconsin, according to the DNR website — all but one of them hunting dogs.

Caution areas have been set up with buffer zones around each of the depredation sites. The maps are available at, by typing keyword “wolf management.” The affected areas include portions of Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Rusk, Sawyer, Florence Forest and Lincoln counties.

In addition a number of livestock depredations have been confirmed in Bayfield, Price and Polk counties, according to the DNR website.


The campaign against feeding wolves in northern MN

For the past several weeks there have been increasing sightings of a group of eight wolf pups near the tiny northeast Minnesota town of Brimson. Several people have seen passersby feeding the wolves, which wildlife experts say habituates the wolves to humans and endangers their safety. News of the wolves has spread quickly via social media. People have also been seen feeding wolf pups this summer on the Echo Trail near Ely. (MPR Photo/Dan Kraker)

Gary Hepola looks at a wolf pup through the window of his pickup down the road from his home in Brimson, Minn., on Aug. 22, 2013. "I've chewed a few people out" for feeding the wolves, he said. Hepola worries that passersby feeding the wolves have made them too accustomed to humans. (MPR Photo/Dan Kraker)

A handmade sign near Hugo's Bar in Brimson, Minn., on Aug. 22, 2013, warns drivers not to feed wolves. "I feel bad because they're not learning to fend for themselves," said Hugo's owner Jody Hepola. (MPR Photo/Dan Kraker)

A wolf pup approaches a passing car on the county highway leading into the small town of Brimson, Minn., on Aug. 22, 2013. "That tells me that they're being fed," said DNR wildlife manager Nancy Hansen. "If they start to associate humans with food, that's just not going to go well for the pups." (MPR Photo/Dan Kraker)

Two of a group of eight wolf pups seen recently near the tiny northeast Minnesota town of Brimson. Several people have seen passersby feeding the wolves, which wildlife experts say habituates the wolves to humans and endangers their safety. (MPR Photo/Dan Kraker)

by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
BRIMSON, Minn. — "Don't feed the wildlife!" is a message frequently trumpeted at campgrounds around Minnesota. It's usually meant to warn people not to feed deer or bears.
But this summer wildlife managers are expanding that message to wolves.

In at least two locations in northeast Minnesota, people are feeding wolf pups -- easy meals that could have very negative consequences.
At Hugo's, the bar and general store that Gary Hepola runs with his wife in the tiny town of Brimson, about 40 miles north of Duluth, it doesn't take long to see a wolf pup.
"You'll notice they have no fear here," said Hepola as he pulled his pickup out of the parking lot. "They'll come right up to that window."

Sure enough, the young wolf, with pointy ears and splotches of gray, white and tan fur, ambles right up to Hepola's open window. "What are you doing? Get off the road!"
Hepola said the wolves have grown steadily bolder over the past six weeks or so. He has seen people place piles of food on the side of the road to lure the wolves in close to snap pictures.

"I've chewed a few people out [and] said, 'Don't be feeding the wolves,'" he said. "People don't realize they're going to become adults. They're cute now -- not so cute when they're big."
Hepola fears that some of the pups might not even make it to adulthood. One of eight was killed by a car last week.
That number could grow, said Nancy Hansen, assistant area wildlife manager in Two Harbors for the Department of Natural Resources.

"They are at a very busy intersection," Hansen said. "It's going to get busier, with hunting season coming up, so I'm concerned."
Hansen said the wolf pups are using a stretch of forest near the intersection of two county highways as a rendezvous site. The adults in the pack leave the pups to hunt and return with food.

Wildlife experts say people sometimes see wolf pups alone, perhaps think they look thin, and assume they have been abandoned and need food. Hansen said the DNR is trying to educate the public otherwise.
"Basically, we really need people to police themselves," she said. "As neat as it is to see these animals, this is not a normal situation, and anything they're doing to get their picture taken with a wolf pup or feed a wolf pup, it's not good for the pups."

Hansen said officials cannot relocate the pups, because they would either die away from the pack or just return to the rendezvous point.
"If we can't turn it around, we'll probably have to capture the pups, they'll either have to be moved to a facility, or destroyed," she said.

Hansen said she has never seen a situation like the "Hugo's wolves" as she refers to them. She said news of the wolves has spread like wildfire on Facebook, and more and more people are flocking to see them.
Jess Edberg, the information services director at the International Wolf Center in Ely, is dealing with a similar situation on the Echo Trail near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

"The wolf pups were walking across the road, sitting on the road, watching vehicles go by, and somebody did see there was fresh food put out there the other day," she said.
Edberg said every year or two she hears of emboldened wolves not fleeing from passing cars. In those situations, she said, it's not enough to simply not feed them. She said even a passive observer can encourage wolves to frequent an area.

"We want to make sure that wildlife have a healthy fear avoidance of humans, so honking your horn or yelling, not encouraging the animal to be there is going to be helpful for the survival of that animal," Edberg said.
At Hugo's Bar in Brimson, owner Jody Hepola said the wolves have become something of a tourist attraction.

"The store's been busy," she said. "Lots of people come in to comment and get a snack while they're out looking for the wolves, and lots of phone calls, asking, 'Are they're really wolves up there? What time of day, where can we see them?"
But Hepola said she would gladly give up the increased business. She wants the wolves to learn to fend for themselves.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Posted: 23 Aug 2013
©Chagares Photography
©Chagares Photography
We’re Still Waiting…

There are just over two weeks to go until the end of the public comment period for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to delist gray wolves across most of the U.S., and we’re still waiting impatiently to see when the Service will announce the dates and locations of the public hearings. This proposal will decide the future of wolf conservation in our country, and the American people are eager to know when and where we will be able to speak face-to-face with decision makers. As soon as we get word about where and when these hearings will take place, we’ll let you know! Until then, don’t forget to submit your comments on the national delisting and the Mexican gray wolf 10j rule proposals, and check out our campaign page to see other ways you can get involved.

Wildfires Near Wood River

Severe wildfires continue to burn in our Wood River Wolf Project area northwest of Hailey, Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest. The Beaver Creek fire raged through our project area in the last few weeks, but today is 67% contained. The Forest Service has limited access to authorized personnel only, and most of the sheep have been moved from the project area. We have had to suspend the project while the fires are still active for the safety of our field crew. We’ll provide more updates on the 2013 field season in the coming month.

We would like to thank the more than 1,700 firefighters who helped save the town of Hailey and continue to help protect area residents and their homes. Western forests need fire to help maintain healthy habitat including the regrowth of native trees, but fires are hard to manage during years of significant drought, which makes them larger and more severe. Wildfires are natural occurrences in this ecosystem and large land animals like wolves are more capable of avoiding the path of fire. Thankfully, it does not appear that the fires affected the areas where we documented the wolverine family last month either.

Young Mexican Gray Wolf Dies During Capture

This week was another rough one for the embattled Mexican gray wolf population. Defenders received word on Monday that a yearling female died over the weekend after being trapped by the members of the Service’s Interagency Field Team in order to place a radio collar on her. While the Service was engaged in what it describes as “routine management activity,” the loss of yet another young female Mexican wolf is nothing short of devastating when only about 75 wolves remain.

Mexican Wolf (Credit: USFWS/Jim Clark)
Mexican Wolf (Credit: USFWS/Jim Clark)
The loss of this wolf also points to yet another reason why the Service’s proposed rule changes are not enough to lead to recovery of the imperiled species. The proposal would involve the trapping and moving of any wolf that is found outside of an arbitrarily designated area, which not only inhibits the animals from reaching suitable habitat, but also creates the increased potential for more accidents like the one this past weekend.

Eva Sargent, Defenders’ Southwest Director reiterated concern about the proposal and the havoc it could wreak:
“Although deaths as a result of trapping are rare, the Service’s current proposal to trap and move any wolf that wanders south of I-10 or north of I-40 worries me,” said Sargent. “This means more trapping, and more trapping means more chances for unfortunate deaths like this. Mexican wolves are on the edge of extinction and can’t stand more risks. The Service needs to abandon its proposal to capture and return wolves that disperse north or south, and must release many more wolves from captivity.”


Image of the Day

Wild Beauty by Renald Bourque

Friday, August 23, 2013

Image of the Day

wolf, canis lupus by hakoar
wolf, canis lupus, a photo by hakoar on Flickr.

Wolves Feast on Watermelon for Summertime Treat (PHOTOS)

Michele Berger Published: Aug 20, 2013

A gray wolf named Renki bites into a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf named Renki eats a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)
A wolf named Fiona enjoys a melon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf named Wolfgang eats his watermelon in the shade at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A wolf named Fiona carries a melon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A wolf named Fiona enjoys a melon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf carries a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A wolf named Fiona grabs a melon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf carries a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf named Wolfgang enjoys a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A gray wolf feasts on a watermelon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

A wolf named Fiona enjoys a melon at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind. (Monty Sloan/Wolf Park)

Wolves live with a permanent fur coat, which is great for thriving in places where temperatures can drop far below freezing. But what about when it’s sizzling hot, like the temps the most recent heat wave produced in many parts of the country? These canids could sure use some help keeping cool.

Though wolves shed much of their fur for cooler summertime living, the not-for-profit Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Ind., — where temperatures in July hit the mid-90s — offers another respite:

watermelons. We’ve got the pictures (in the slideshow above) to prove it. According to Discovery News, the annual event started when staffers noticed wolves looking “longingly” at guests’ watermelon slices one Fourth of July.

Every July, the wolves, foxes and coyotes that live on the land get the refreshing treat, but with a twist; each is stuffed with pig ears, cheese or dog biscuits. Yum. The park calls it environmental enrichment, “something to roll on, stuff their noses in, paw, lick, chew, scent-mark and defend.”

The fruit feast veers from the typical wolf diet, which mainly comprises most types of meat. In the wild, these animals do supplement with fruits and vegetables, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the produce above couldn't provide enough nutrients for them to survive.

Apparently, Wolf Park’s not the only places where these creatures get watermelons. At Wolf Haven International, in Tenino, Wash., the animals get the pink-and-green fruit in the summer (and pumpkins in October) as part of the organization’s program to keep the wolves from getting bored. String cheese, popsicles and “canine-safe” baked goods are also in the mix.

Wolf Park’s Watermelon Party has been going on for 13 years, according to Discovery News. For your mental respite today, click through to see Renki, Fiona and the rest of the park’s 10 wolves chowing down.


Dog’s Hilarious Response to Howling Wolves (Video)


Learn about wolves, wolf-hybrids at Navajo State Park

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Learn about wolves, wolf-hybrids at Navajo State Park

If you've ever wanted to learn about wolves, you should plan on attending a special event on Labor Day weekend at Navajo State Park.

Wolfwood Refuge, a wildlife sanctuary in Ignacio, will be bringing Trinity, a full-blooded wolf, wolf-hybrids and other dogs to the park and present a program about these special animals. Staff members of Wolfwood will talk about wolves, explain the role of sanctuaries and about their work to preserve wolves. Those attending the program will be allowed to interact with the animals.

Wolfwood is a state-licensed non-profit facility that promotes the understanding of wolves and their relationships with humans. The organization travels throughout the state and makes educational presentations.

All wolves and wolf-hybrids in Colorado are captive. There are no wild wolves in Colorado.

The Wolfwood program is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, August 31st, at the visitors' center at Navajo State Park. The program is free. Entrance to the park costs $7 per car.

Navajo State Park is located about 30 miles southwest of Pagosa Springs. For more information about the park or the program, please call 970-883-2208.



Now, let's discover the truth about those 176 sheep in Palisades back country

Big pile of dead sheep in remote Idaho mountains-

While uncommon, this sort of thing has happened before in Eastern Idaho/Western Wyoming.  It’s not a pretty picture.  One hundred seventy-six sheep lie dead below a rocky slope near Fogg Hill, deep in what is called the Palisades Backcountry in Idaho near the Wyoming border. This is part of the Snake River Mountains, just south of the famous Teton Range.

The sheep apparently were stampeded by two remnant members of a local wolf pack most of which  had already been killed off by the federal government’s Wildlife Services. The stampede took place in the dark, explaining perhaps how the sheep could fall as they ran and end up suffocating each other in a big and  remarkably compact pile.

Reports are that the two remaining wolves from the initial 15-member wolf pack stampeded the sheep (119 lambs and 57 ewes). The sheep suffocated when they stumbled on top of each other while running down the slope. One sheep was partially eaten. Ten others reportedly showed wolf bites
According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, the damage was $20,000.  The sheep were owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of Terreton, Idaho.  Terreton is not in southeast Idaho as so many geographic challenged reporters of the incident have written. The incident was not in southeast Idaho either. Terreton is about ten miles south of Montana in northeast central Idaho. The incident was in Eastern Idaho, miles from Terreton.  It was 5 or 6 miles south of the town of Victor. The Siddoways have leased sheep grazing allotments for many years in this general Eastern Idaho area close to the Wyoming border.

The Siddoway Sheep company put out a news release stating “[they] had lost about 250 head of livestock to wolf, bear and coyote depredation since June.”

Travis Bruner, Public Lands Director, Western Watersheds Project, reported that the sheep company paid $866.70 to graze for three months this summer 2400 sheep in the Forest Service allotment located in the scenic proposed wilderness area. Bruner told the Jackson Hole News and Guide that the low grazing fees and the lack of protection of wolves now allows ranchers to graze predator-heavy areas of the national forests and order the wolves removed by Wildlife Services with only a phone call.

It is difficult to be callous about the loss of so many sheep and so many wolves. Sheep are tender animals, hardly suited to this rugged, wild country in my opinion.  This reporter knows the Palisades Backcountry well after backpacking and writing four editions of The Hikers Guide to Idaho and its successor Hiking Idaho.  Fogg Hill is one of the two times in my life when I got lost. I found my way out after about six hours. It is very confusing country.

The Palisades Backcountry has always been home to bears, including increasing numbers of grizzlies, coyotes, cougar, many elk, deer and moose, and a thriving herd of reestablished mountain goats. In the summer the high country here becomes covered with a dense growth of tall flowers that hide the rocks underneath.

Some reports on this event have been wildly inaccurate. Outdoor Life, for example, wrote, “If you have any doubts about the gray wolf’s hunting ability, or its impact on livestock, you should talk to the sheepherders in Idaho where two wolves recently zeroed in on a flock of 2,400 sheep near Idaho Falls.”

It is strange that anyone should think that finding a bedded herd of 2400 sheep showed profound hunting ability. In addition, sheep are easy to spook, as I found out at age ten when my cocker spaniel encountered his first band of sheep in the northern Utah mountains. He promptly stampeded the herd of several hundred over a hill in front of the sheep herder who fortunately did not shoot my little dog.
Another story called the wolf-killing agency “Idaho Wildlife Services” as though it was a state agency. While their actions might make some believe it is a state agency, they are actually a federal agency — part of APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The wolves did not kill 176 sheep. It it an open question if they directly killed any. The wolves did set the sheep running in  the dark. That is why we wrote a slightly different headline than other news media.

Wildlife Services found one more wolf and killed it. Whether they killed any additional wildlife is a matter for  an investigative reporter.

- – - – - – -
Update 8/23

The news reports say that 2400 sheep were bedded down when the incident with the two wolves began. Whenever there is a story about livestock on public lands, it is smart to inquire about what are called the AOIs (the annual operating instructions to the grazing permittee governing the grazing allotment in question).  Jon Marvel of WWP acquired the AOI for the  Siddoway 2013 Burbank  Sheep Allotment from the Palisades Ranger District.

Here is the critical finding. Only 1200 sheep were permitted, not the 2400 that were apparently present to welcome the wolves and that the story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide paper described !


Wood County, Wisconsin, wants fewer wolves

Wood County supervisors want the state to make Wisconsin’s wolf pack smaller. The County Board passed a resolution asking the Department of Natural Resources to limit the number of wolves to 350. “ We’re getting some of these animals into some fairly populated areas, causing some problems not only with livestock, but with domestic pets ” said County Board Chairman Lance Pliml.

The board took the action Tuesday. The 2013 Wisconsin wolf count indicates there are a minimum of 809 to 834 wolves in the state. The DNR has set the quota at 275 wolves for the season that begins October 15th.

The Wood County Board has also let the State of Wisconsin know they don’t agree with a recently passed law. Pliml said supervisors sent a resolution to the state Legislature opposing recent actions to control county governments, such as the new law limiting the Milwaukee County Board’s authority with contracts, land sales, and labor negotiations while expanding the County Executive’s power.

“We prefer local government self-rule,” he said. “If the people in Milwaukee don’t like what they have, they should change it, probably not the state.” The Legislature passed Assembly bill 85 and Senate Bill 95, concerning self-rule. Pliml said no county really wants the state telling them how to conduct its business.


Fed hunters nearly wipe out Pine Creek Pack after about 175 sheep die.

Wolves pay for death of Idaho sheep

At the scene of the sheep stampede, bodies were piled where the animals were crushed or suffocated after being chased by the wolves. COURTESY PHOTO

By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
August 21, 2013

A wolf pack that roams the south end of Teton Valley, Idaho, has been all but wiped out after a bizarre sheep stampede that’s been blamed on the wild canines.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have killed 13 wolves from the Pine Creek Pack, which occasionally ventures into western Wyoming in the area of Teton Pass, said Todd Grimm, Idaho director of the federal Wildlife Services program, which kills predators that cause damage.

“We had already removed 12 by the time this incident had taken place,” Grimm said. “And we’ve got another one since then.”

“I can’t believe how many wolves we’ve got in there,” he said.
Of the 13 trapped and euthanized wolves, four were adults or sub-adults, Grimm said. Nine of the wolves killed were pups, he said.

The pack’s demise was already underway when two wolves thought to be Pine Creek members ventured into a 2,400-head sheep herd early Saturday morning. The herd, owned by the Siddoway Sheep Company of St. Anthony, Idaho, was bedding down on Caribou-Targhee National Forest land between Pole Canyon and Fogg Hill, about 5 miles south of Victor.

Running downhill in a panic, about 165 sheep from the Siddoway herd were  killed, trampled and smothered in their terror. Two wolves, which were witnessed by a herder at the scene, killed about another dozen sheep. The final tally: 119 lambs and 57 ewes dead. Price tag: $20,000.

In the weeks leading to the sheep pileup, the Pine Creek Pack had been actively preying on the Siddoway sheep, Grimm said.

“We’ve confirmed 10 other kills in that area this year,” Grimm said.

“They’ve had a huge amount of problems over the years,” he said of the Siddoway Sheep Company. “It looks like about 15 to 20 depredations since 2006 that are confirmed.”

A press release sent out by company following last weekend’s fatal wolf encounter alleges much higher losses to predators.

“Siddoway Sheep Company has lost about 250 head of livestock to wolf, bear and coyote depredation since June,” the release said, adding that Great Pyrenees guard dogs and horses also have been killed.

At least one Idaho conservation group argues that the Siddoway Sheep Company should not be grazing in the Caribou-Targhee in such a predator-dense area.

“The problem is not the wolves, but subsidized domestic sheep grazing,” said Travis Bruner, public lands director for the Western Watersheds Project.

“It costs less than one penny per sheep per day to graze public land,” Bruner said.

The Caribou-Targhee’s Burbank allotment, where the sheep crush occurred, cost the Siddoway Sheep Company $866.70 for a three-month grazing permit, for example.

Ranchers are more willing to take risks with predators, Bruner said, because the government is “almost giving away public forage to wealthy ranchers.”

The loss of federal Endangered Species Act protections also indirectly helps ranchers graze livestock on predator-heavy public allotments, he said. Suspected livestock eaters now can be removed with a phone call.

“Given the de-listing of wolves, [public lands grazing] poses more of a threat to wolves today because there’s much less regulation over when wolves can be killed in response to depredation,” Bruner said.
According to the latest Idaho Wolf Monitoring Progress report, 73 wolves were killed in Idaho last year either by “agency removal” or from livestock producers who held legal take permits. Those wolves were suspected of killing 73 cattle, 312 sheep and two dogs.

Depredation and removal numbers are lower in Wyoming, where the wolf population is about half of Idaho’s.

Last year, 43 Equality State wolves were killed in response to killing 44 cattle, 112 sheep, three dogs and a horse. So far in 2013 another 14 wolves have been killed in response to the loss of 33 livestock.

The extreme loss of sheep last weekend was the largest livestock loss from one incident in Grimm’s 22 years on the job.

The “pileup” phenomenon is not a new one to sheep ranchers, said Stan Boyd, executive director of the Idaho Woolgrowers Association.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of wolves causing it,” Boyd said. “Every two, three, four years, it’ll happen from black bears.”

The answer to controlling livestock depredation on public lands grazing allotments, he said, is managing the predators.

“The wolves are here to stay,” Boyd said. “What we hope is that we can manage these populations.
“When you get severe depredation like that, the wolves need to be removed,” he said, “and by removed, I mean killed. You got to take them out.”

In the case of the Pine Creek pack, wildlife officials did just that.

The Pine Creek Pack numbered six adult animals at the end of 2012, according to Idaho’s wolf monitoring report.

With nine pups and four of the six Pine Creek adults eliminated, the pack’s future is in question. That leaves two adult wolves — potentially enough to form a new pack — still standing.


Wolves still need a home

Aug. 21, 2013   |  
Tien is a resident of Shy Wolf Sanctuary. / SPECIAL TO THE NEWS-PRESS

The Bonita Springs City Council voted 5-2 Wednesday to take the Bonita Nature Place off the table as a possible location for the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center but to ask city staff to work with the group to find a location in the city.

The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization made a presentation today proposing to relocate from 2 1/2 acres in Golden Gate Estates to the city’s 30-acre Bonita Nature Place, which has a gopher tortoise habitat, bee house, bat house, butterfly garden and hiking trails.

“We’ve kind of outgrown our place, and we’re looking to make a move,” said volunteer Mike Sullivan.

He said the Bonita Nature Place is attractive because of its central location between Fort Myers and Naples, accessibility to Interstate 75 and proximity to FGCU volunteers.

Councilwoman Janet Martin said she has heard from residents and the Friends of the Bonita Nature Place the Kent Road site is not appropriate.

“They don’t want the animals standing in water. We’re charged as a council with the water quality issues of the Imperial River. Those original flowways of the river go right through the property where there are proposed areas for pens. That becomes an absolute issue for us a council to do the right thing for the river,” she said.

“I would love to have you in Bonita Springs. I just don’t think the Nature Place is the right fit.”
Mayor Ben Nelson said he wants Shy Wolf in Bonita Springs and voted no just because he didn’t want to take any locations off the table.

Councilman Bill Lonkart voted no because of concerns he has about wild animals being near residences and businesses.

Sullivan said the wolves are socialized because they have been raised in captivity and wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild.

Councilwoman Martha Simons suggested Shy Wolf consider the Everglades Wonder Gardens on Old 41 in downtown as a site.

Wolf sanctuary board Vice President Deanna Deppen said it’s open to considering other locations in the city.

Resident Alex Grantt, who has served on the Friends of the Bonita Nature Place board, said he doesn’t think the Nature Place is compatible with wolves. “I have nothing against wolves. In fact, my dog Chrissy is semi-related,” he said.

“The wolf might invite the turtle to lunch, and the turtle will be lunch. We’re trying to protect the turtles. This is not heaven where the lamb lives together with the lion.”

Deppen said the sanctuary’s wolves are not gopher tortoise predators. “They’re very satisfied with the frozen chicken that we bring in,” she added.

Deppen said the sanctuary hasn’t been able to get approval to operate on 20 acres it owns in Collier County.

“They’re not really sure how to zone us,” she said. “It’d be a big challenge to make headway on that property. We’d be building from the ground up.” The group would have to enclose the 20 acres with an 8-foot-high perimeter fence estimated to cost $70,000.

Started in 1993, the sanctuary houses about 40 rescued wolf and wolf hybrids and has a $120,000 annual budget.

Bonita resident Donna Stone said she has volunteered as a trainer at the sanctuary and will never forget having a one-on-one connection with a wolf.

“Their educational impact in Bonita would be amazing,” she said. “The schools from surrounding areas would benefit tremendously from this facility. It would expand their knowledge toward other animals.”