Tuesday, December 31, 2013

21 coyotes, no wolves shot in disputed Idaho derby

21 coyotes, no wolves shot in disputed Idaho derby
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Organizers of a disputed weekend predator derby in central Idaho's mountains say 21 coyotes but no wolves were shot by more than 230 hunters who participated.

The derby near Salmon became embroiled in a fight between its organizers and environmentalists in U.S. District Court, where a judge allowed the event to proceed as planned.

Organizers of the derby argued they were seeking to publicize wolves' impact on local elk herds as well as possible disease risks with the competition, while foes including WildEarth Guardians said the event was a "wolf slaughter" that glorified the killing of an animal that just two years ago had lost protections of the Endangered Species Act through an act of Congress.

Steve Alder of Idaho for Wildlife, the derby's promoter, said the low tally helps prove sport hunting isn't a very effective tool in managing Idaho's wolves.

"This is why the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has implemented trapping and other control methods to better manage wolves," Alder said in a statement. "I can assure you that in the last two days while this derby was taking place, more wolves and wolf pups died in Idaho's back country due to starvation and or cannibalism from other wolves."

Idaho has a hunting season for wolves, as do Montana and Wyoming.

Alder's group offered two separate, $1,000 prizes — one for the hunter who killed the biggest wolf, the other for the hunter who bagged the most coyotes.

WildEarth Guardians wanted the Idaho derby scotched on grounds the U.S. Forest Service hadn't issued a special permit, but U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale last Friday decided no permit was needed.

After losing in court, WildEarth Guardians executive director John Hornung in Santa Fe, N.M., told The Associated Press his group plans to petition the Forest Service for changes he hopes will prevent such events.

"We're going to petition the U.S. Forest Service to update their regulations on these hunts to reflect contemporary science and public attitudes," Hornung said.

While competitive wolf shooting inflamed advocates' passions, derbies targeting other, more-common predators including foxes and coyotes across the West and much of the rest of the country generally proceed without as much public outcry.

For instance, a coyote derby planned for Jan. 11 in Dillon, Mont., will allow hunters to bag the carnivores on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management territory, though nobody has challenged whether its organizers have followed the agencies rules.

Shelby Westphall, the organizer of the 2nd annual event in southwestern Montana, said 13 coyotes were shot at last year's event.

"These people have to go out and hunt them," Westphall told the AP. "They have to call them, they have to find them, they have to hunt them. This is true hunting."

However, wolves, which unlike coyotes are regulated by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, aren't on the target list at the Dillon event. In Montana, prize money for the biggest game, including wolves, must be less than $50, said Mike Korn, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks assistant chief of law enforcement.

Wolf Haters

Editorial | Notebook
The federal government removed the gray wolf from the endangered list in the Northern Rocky Mountains in 2011, essentially leaving wolves’ fates in the hands of state fish-and-game departments, hunters and ranchers. The predictable happened: hunting resumed, and the wolf population fell. In states like Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, an age-old antipathy to wolves flourishes, unchecked. 
Tom Vezo/Minden Pictures, via Corbis 

A wolf in Idaho, one of the states where wolf hunts have resumed.

In Idaho, two recent developments have alarmed those who want to protect wolves and see them not as vermin, but as predators necessary for a healthy ecosystem. 

First was the hiring, by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, of a hunter to travel into federal wilderness to eliminate two wolf packs. The reason: wolves kill elk, and humans want to hunt elk. Normally the agency would just rely on hunters to kill the wolves, but because the area where these packs roam — in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness — is remote, the agency decided it would be more efficient to bring in a hired gun. A photo last week in The Idaho Statesman showed the hunter, Gus Thoreson, astride a horse, with three pack mules, looking like a modern-day Jeremiah Johnson. 

Advocates for wolves are angry at the United States Forest Service for giving a state agency free rein to practice predator eradication on protected federal land — meaning, of course, our land — without public comment or review and in apparent violation of well-established wilderness-management regulations and policies. They point out, too, that it’s not clear how many wolves are there for Mr. Thoreson to wipe out, and little evidence that wolves in that area have done any damage to elk herds or livestock. 

The other example of wolf-animus will be on display this weekend outside Salmon, Idaho, at a Coyote and Wolf Derby sponsored by a group called Idaho for Wildlife. A not-too-subtle poster for the event shows a wolf with its head in the cross hairs of a rifle scope and announces $2,000 in prizes to defend “our hunting heritage” against “radical animal-rights groups.” Organizers say they want to raise awareness of the potential risk to humans from a tapeworm that wolves — as well as elks and dogs — can carry. State officials say there are no known cases of people contracting tapeworm from wolves. 

Environmentalists sought a court order to block the event, saying the Forest Service violated federal law and failed to follow its own procedures in allowing the killing contest. But a judge on Friday said it could proceed. The derby’s ugly depiction of wolves as diseased predators is a throwback to the bad old days when wolves, like coyotes, were vilified and bounty-hunted nearly to extinction. 

It’s a sad coincidence that this weekend is also the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 28, 1973. That act sought to enshrine sound science and wise ecosystem management over heedless slaughter and vengeful predation. Idaho is showing what a mistake it was to lift the shield from wolves too soon.


Image of the Day

IMG_2888 by Peter Kryzun
IMG_2888, a photo by Peter Kryzun on Flickr.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Images of the Day

The wolf is back in germany by Falk°
The wolf is back in germany, a photo by Falk° on Flickr.
The wolf is back in germany by Falk°
The wolf is back in germany, a photo by Falk° on Flickr.

Idaho’s Wolf Management Receives Scrutiny

Today, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the nation is taking notice of how Idaho is managing wolves just two years after they were stripped of the protection of the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Congress. This weekend anti-wolf forces are having a highly controversial 2-day wolf and coyote killing contest where two person teams will receive prizes for the biggest wolf and most coyotes they kill. At the same time, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has hired a private trapper to kill the entire Monumental Creek and Golden Creek packs of wolves deep inside one of the nation’s largest wilderness areas – the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area – far away from any livestock simply because an outfitter whined to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game commissioner.

The nation is taking notice. This morning the New York Times published a scathing editorial titled “Wolf Haters“, the Idaho Statesman published a Guest Opinion by Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League, and even the BBC reported on the derby.

Idaho’s management of wolves is highly questionable. Since wolves were stripped of Endangered Species Act protection the population has declined by over 20%, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has hand captured and surgically implanted radio transmitters into pups that were just 9 lbs, they allow hunting year-round in some areas of the state, they have inflated the number of breeding pairs by changing the definition of what a breeding pair is, they have shot dozens of wolves in the Selway/Lochsa from helicopters, and now they are allowing wolf killing contests and hiring a trapper to kill wolves in the middle of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area with the permission of the US Forest Service who is letting the trapper stay at their Cabin Creek facility.

The US Forest Service, by the way, should withdraw this permission since this kind of activity runs contrary to the Wilderness Act and requires a special use permit. The US Forest Service should conduct an open and public process before this activity proceeds any further.

This type of management has fueled the most virulent conflict among both sides of the debate. The Wildlife News receives virulent comments that never see the light of day on a regular basis. Things are heating up and the Idaho political system feeds the virulence or remains silent. People are even going so far as to poison pups at their den using an artificial sweetener touted by anti-wolf goons. 4 of them were found dead this spring.

Clearly Idaho’s predator management violates the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation. It violates it in many ways that I think have been spelled out well in this essay published on the For Nature’s Sake blog in October.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game needs to listen to the message that it received loud and clear at the Wildlife Summit that it organized last year. But, even before it finished, Director Virgil Moore dashed any hope that the Department would elevate the thoughts of the non-hunting and fishing community to the level impact that hunters and fishermen have.

All Idahoans, and even non-Idahoans, have a stake in how Idaho’s wolves and wildlife are managed. Our wildlife deserves better than this politicized and virulent atmosphere that is brewing today. You need to start listening to all sides not just those who pitch a fit the loudest. Killing for fun is not sportsmen like. Killing wolves in the wilderness so that some rich hunter can shoot an elk on a guided trip violates the meaning of wilderness.


First Michigan wolf hunt falls short of quota as controversy still swirls

December 29, 2013 
At least four wolves appear in this trail camera picture shot by Baraga resident Bill Delene on his property in September. (Bill Delene)
Lansing— Roughly half the intended number of wolves will be taken during Michigan’s first wolf hunt in 53 years, but Department of Natural Resources officials still deem it a success. Twenty-one wolves were slain as of Friday in the three designated Upper Peninsula hunting areas. The most recent was a young male wolf shot Christmas Day. The quota of 43 won’t be reached in the 48-day special season that began Nov. 15 and ends Tuesday. “We were able to pull this off using a system unique at least for Michigan,” said wildlife biologist Brian Roell of the DNR’s Marquette office. “We’re the first state that went to a very small quota in specific zones.”

The DNR issued 1,200 licenses to hunters wanting to try their luck in three UP zones where wolves preying on pets and domestic animals had been reported and investigated by game biologists. Each area had a specific quota and hunters had to report their kills by phone the same day so the DNR could shut down an area if its quota had been reached.

Jill Fritz, head of a Michigan group hoping to end wolf hunting after one season in Michigan, took small comfort in the fact that far fewer than 43 of the state’s 658 wolves would be killed. Her group aims to have two anti-wolf-hunt proposals on Michigan’s 2014 general election ballot. “It’s always good news they’re killing fewer wolves than they intended to kill, but the hunt never should have been held in the first place,” said Fritz, state director of the Humane Society of the U.S. and director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

Fritz said hunters are learning that, contrary to claims they’d attack kids at day care centers or playing outside at home, “wolves are shy, elusive creatures that will avoid human contact as much as possible.” Fritz and the Humane Society maintain wolf hunts are being held purely for sport and aren’t necessary to control the animals’ populations or prevent them from killing domestic animals.

Proponents of the wolf hunt say DNR experts such as biologist Roell should be entrusted to make science-based decisions about what animals to hunt and how many should be killed. Roell said coming up short of the quota doesn’t signal the agency will raise the quota next year — should there be another hunt — or that it will permit trapping of wolves, as neighboring Minnesota and Wisconsin do. “We’ll look at the effects,” he said. “Did we change the behavior of these animals? Did we have lower depredation?”

Cold a factor

Soon after Jan. 1, DNR officers and biologists will conduct their annual wolf count. Those findings, coupled with the observations they make in the field, will help influence decisions about future wolf hunting in Michigan, Roell said. He speculated extreme cold in the U.P. during the first two weeks of December contributed to the limited number of wolves taken. “To me, it would be prohibitive,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to sit out there when it’s 10-below.”

Fritz fears that if there’s another wolf hunt, Michigan’s DNR will expand hunters’ options to include methods that proponents might have seen as too controversial in the first year. This year, Michigan hunters could use only wolf calls and stalking techniques. Besides trapping, Wisconsin and Minnesota permit wolf baiting. Wisconsin also allows hunters to use dog packs to hunt down wolves.

In Wisconsin, where the season just ended, hunters took 257 wolves, six over the goal. Minnesota’s goal of 132 wolf kills already has been exceeded by eight and the season isn’t over. It will be the second straight year in which Minnesota hunters exceeded the wolf kill quota.

Appeal to voters

Fritz said her group is on target to collect the required number of signatures by March 12 for a 2014 ballot initiative banning wolf hunting in Michigan. On the ballot also will be the groups’ earlier referendum, seeking to undo a 2012 law the Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed, allowing wolf hunting.

After Keep Michigan Wolves Protected turned in the requisite number of petition signatures for that first referendum, lawmakers and Snyder maneuvered around it by passing a second new law. It gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission — not the Legislature — the right to determine which critters can be hunted in Michigan. The governor-appointed commission then authorized this year’s wolf hunt.

Conservation groups and sportsmen now are circulating petitions for a rival initiative to counteract the two Keep Michigan Wolves Protected proposals. It also may be on the 2014 ballot, aimed at keeping wolf hunting alive. Their effort, if successful, would first call on lawmakers to pass a law allowing wolf hunting. As with the recently passed petition initiative banning basic insurance coverage of abortions, lawmakers would have 40 days to act or allow the proposal to automatically go to the ballot.

State Elections Director Chris Thomas recently told the media that, based on a past court ruling, the ballot proposal garnering the most votes would prevail among the three.

Wisconsin hunters, trappers kill 257 wolves

Hunters and trappers killed 257 wolves in Wisconsin's second regulated wolf harvest, according to a report from the Department of Natural Resources.

The season opened Oct. 15 and ended Monday as the harvest quota was exceeded. Before the season the department set a statewide harvest quota of 251 wolves for non-tribal hunters and trappers. "This has been a successful second season, and the harvest was well-distributed across the state," said Kurt Thiede, DNR land division administrator.

The DNR more than doubled the wolf kill this year as it works to reduce the population toward the 350-wolf goal expressed in the 1999 Wisconsin management plan. Wisconsin had an estimated 809 to 834 wolves in 214 packs in late winter 2013. The wolf population typically doubles each spring after pups are born and then begins to decline from various sources of mortality.

The state sold 1,862 resident and 11 non-resident wolf hunting and trapping licenses. The DNR authorized the sale of 2,510 licenses through a preseason lottery. Sixty-seven percent of the wolves were taken by trappers.

Most of the wolves killed in the last two weeks of the season were taken by hunters using dogs. The practice was allowed beginning Dec. 2. Since then, hunters using dogs killed 35 wolves. Wisconsin is the only state to authorize the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The method had been blocked last year by a lawsuit.

A Dane County judge vacated the injunction in January, clearing the use of dogs this year. An appeal of that decision has yet to be ruled on. The DNR has established six wolf management zones, each with a harvest quota. The quotas and wolf kills were:

Zone 1: wolf quota 76, wolf kill 77;
Zone 2: 28, 29;
Zone 3: 71, 75;
Zone 4: 12, 12;
Zone 5: 34, 33;
Zone 6: 30, 31.

The state's wolf management plan is being revised; an updated version is expected to be presented for public review in 2014.


Where have the wolves gone? Wenatchee Pack hasn’t been seen since spring

— The state’s newest wolf pack has disappeared as quickly as it came.
The two gray wolves that terrorized a ranch south of Wenatchee last spring haven’t been seen in months. Wildlife officials believe they followed deer and elk to higher ground during the early summer. It’s unknown where they went from there.

The two wolves were first spotted in March on the Hurd Ranch, where a pregnant cow and an elk were both found dead. Wildlife officers determined that the wolves did not kill either animal.

The wolves were officially named the Wenatchee Pack. Their presence prompted the Hurds to fence in their cattle for the first time ever. The wolves were spotted on and off for about two months, mainly at the Hurd’s ranch. But they haven’t been seen or heard since May.

State wildlife biologist Dave Volson said only time will tell whether the wolves remained a pack or split up, and whether they will return to the Wenatchee area. Biologists were never able to trap either of the animals to put a tracking collar on them. “For now, they are still considered a pack,” he said. 

He said the most likely time they would return to the area is during the winter when the elk and deer concentrate closer to populated areas. “Wolves are still colonizing new areas in Washington,” he said. “It could be that Wenatchee met their needs for a short while and they’ve moved on for good.” 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Gary Wolf, Photo John Eastcott / Yva Momatiuk / NatGeo Stock

Happy holidays to all — we have just one update for you this week. Thanks for your support and readership this year. Remember that you can always view an archive of wolf weekly posts here!

                                                               ©Eilish Palmer

©Eilish Palmer
Wolf Killing Competition in Idaho Set for Tomorrow
One of the most egregious organized killings of America’s gray wolves is slated to take place this weekend in Salmon, Idaho. An anti-predator organization has scheduled a wolf-killing competition where prizes are awarded for such objectives as killing the largest wolf and the most female coyotes.

In addition to the fact that this competition violates the principles of ethical hunting, Defenders is concerned about the precedent this contest sets. The competition also sadly demonstrates that it has taken less than 3 years to return to the type of eradication practices that led to wolves’ near extinction in the lower 48, and the reason the wolf was listed as an endangered species in the first place!!

Defenders is working hard to prevent this competition and also to prevent competitive wolf killing in the future. With your support, we are mobilizing our presence to let Governor Otter and Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore know that this competition is unacceptable and we are also requesting an emergency wolf hunting closure in the Salmon Zone. Members of the environmental community are taking a similar stance against this scheduled killing event by asking a federal judge to stop the contest, contending that the Forest Service is ignoring federal laws by allowing this event to proceed. Together, we hope our efforts will be effective in preventing this contest from happening.


Image of the Day

hudsonbay wolf artis IMG_0045 by j.a.kok
hudsonbay wolf artis IMG_0045, a photo by j.a.kok on Flickr.

Friday, December 27, 2013

#Idaho - Day 3

Let me live

The Wolves And Bison Of Wood Buffalo National Park

Alternate Text
A wolf pack on the hunt in Wood Buffalo National Park. Chadden Hunter photo.

The list of national parks on my "bucket list" is somewhat long, and not restricted to those in the United States. I've long been intrigued by Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, and a recent PBS documentary on the wolves and bison there only heightened my desire to check that one off my list.
Nature on its own terms is reflected in many national parks, whether it be in the form of newborn eaglets, elk calves taking their first wobbly steps, or predators in search of prey. The episodes can be both fascinating, and visceral, but they just the same are part of the natural world.

The PBS show on Nature, Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo, brought a variety of aspects of nature to light. In the program we are given the opportunity to peek in on a wolf pack and a herd of bison.
Filmed by wildlife videographer Jeff Turner over a number of months in Wood Buffalo National Park in far north Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, the program takes us through the seasons as the wolves and bison interact.
For thousands of years, wolves have hunted buffalo across the vast North American plains. Although westward settlement of the continent saw the virtual extinction of these vast herds and their eternal predators, this ancient relationship was not lost altogether. On the northern edge of the continent’s central plains, in a place named Wood Buffalo National Park, buffalo and wolves still engage in epic life and death dramas. By following one pack of wolves, wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner captures how these two animal species live together in what seems like a forgotten corner of the world.

Alternate Text
The national park, Canada's largest, was designated in 1922 to protect the free-roaming bison that lived here. Jeff Turner photo.
The documentary is notable both for the raw, instinctive interactions between the wolves and the bison that have been playing out for untold numbers of years that Mr. Turner captured, as well as for the beauty of the landscape and that of the cycles of life we are presented with.

It also showcases Canada's largest national park, one that covers more than 17,000 square miles.
Wood Buffalo National Park was created in 1922 to protect the last remaining herds of wood bison in northern Canada. Plains bison were shipped to the park from Wainwright, Alberta, between 1925 and 1928. The imported bison promptly moved south of the Peace River into the Peace-Athabasca Delta area. In 1926 the park boundaries were expanded to include this new bison range. Today Wood Buffalo National Park protects one of the largest free-roaming, self-regulating bison herds in the world.
Archeological evidence shows that Aboriginal people have inhabited the Wood Buffalo region for more than 8000 years, long before fur traders arrived in the early 1700s. The Europeans called the people they met in this region Beaver, Slavey and Chipewyan. The Beaver and Slavey left the area as the fur trade moved west. Today, the communities around the park are mostly made up of Cree, Chipewyan, Metis and non-aboriginal people.
Subsistence hunting, fishing and trapping still occur in Wood Buffalo National Park, as they have for centuries, and commercial trapping continues as a legacy of the fur trade. Traditional use of certain park resources by local Aboriginal groups is an important part of the park's cultural history.
You can wait to see when Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo is repeated on your local PBS affiliate, or watch it below.

Disgusting Hunters Not Close To Wolf Quota Before Hunt’s End

Associated Press

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) – With less than a week left until the end of Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades, hunters had killed fewer than half the maximum 43 allowed.

Frigid weather in parts of Upper Peninsula likely has kept the hunt in check. Another factor might be that trapping isn’t allowed as it is in some other states with regulated wolf hunts. As of Thursday morning, 21 wolves had been killed in the U.P., according to the state Department of Natural Resources. The hunt that began Nov. 15 will end Wednesday.

Travis Smith, a 33-year-old teacher from Marquette, said he saw a wolf on the opening morning of the hunt. He didn’t feel comfortable taking a shot with a hazy view, though, and has since seen no wolves despite going out about seven more times in Unit B – one of three designated hunting zones.

He’s reached out to experts in Montana and Canada for tips and has done some baiting and calling of wolves. “We have a topline predator that has very keen senses,” Smith said. “It’s not an animal you’re going to be very successful trying to outwit. Due to their nature, they pose quite a challenge.” He hopes state officials will consider allowing trapping in addition to hunting next year.

When the Michigan Natural Resources Commission first approved the hunt in May, it allowed foothold traps. But when the panel OK’d the hunt again in July to circumvent a referendum on the law that made wolves a game species, it no longer included trapping.

The DNR has said the primary reason for deciding against trapping was to start conservatively and use the hunt as a wolf management tool, while an opponent of the hunt has said the move was to make it more palatable to the public. Activists also are circulating petitions for a vote on a second wolf-hunting law, and pro-hunting groups plan to collect signatures for a measure protecting the ability to have future wolf hunts.
DNR spokesman Ed Golder said Thursday there’s no discussion right now of recommending wolf trapping.
He described the wolf hunt to date as “fairly modest and measured” and said officials will evaluate the success rate, hunters’ efforts and the timing of the season after analyzing data from the hunt.

In Wisconsin, which allows trapping, wolf hunters and trappers harvested 257 wolves this year, six more than the 251-wolf limit. Its hunt ended Monday and would have gone through the end of February if hunters hadn’t reached their statewide limit.

The take in Michigan’s wolf hunt remained at 20 for roughly 2{ weeks, until Wednesday. “It was cold and snowy. There may have come a point where hunters were not out,” Golder said. “We’ll see if the timing of the hunt is right given weather patterns.”

Five of the maximum 16 wolves were killed in the far western U.P., 13 of 19 in four central counties and three of eight in the eastern U.P. Before the season, the DNR estimated that Michigan had 658 wolves.
Michigan is the sixth state to authorize wolf hunting following the removal of federal protections in recent years. All 1,200 licenses for the hunt were sold.

Despite not getting a wolf, Smith said he enjoyed the hunt and saw portions of the U.P. he had never visited before. “I met some people in Unit B I would not have met otherwise,” he said.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Michigan Wolf Hunt Update

December 26, 2013

Officials: At least 21 wolves killed in Michigan hunt

Marquette — Michigan authorities say at least 21 wolves have been killed in the Upper Peninsula during the state’s first wolf hunt in decades.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that’s the total as of 6 a.m. Thursday. The department has expressed doubt that the hunt will reach its quota of 43 by year’s end.
The take in the wolf hunt remained at 20 for around three weeks as frigid weather kept the killing down.
The season opened in three sections of the U.P. on Nov. 15.
Before the season, the DNR estimated that Michigan had 658 wolves.


Weather, altered behavior could be reasons few wolves killed in state hunt

                                                            Credit USFWS
The federal government wants to turn management of gray wolves in the western Great Lakes over to the states.
The state Department of Natural Resources says hunters are unlikely to bag the limit of 43 wolves before the season ends on December 31. In fact, it’s been two and a half weeks since the last wolf was taken on December 5.      
State wildlife officials say an extreme cold snap in the Upper Peninsula may be responsible. They say it’s also possible wolves have learned to avoid hunters.

“Talking to some of these wolf hunters, they say the wolves have definitely changed their behavior and have become very difficult to get once they were hunted,” said Brian Roell, wildlife biologist for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Roell says it’s too soon to tell whether that means wolves will stay clear of areas populated by humans and livestock.
“Even if we reach our goal of 43, it would still be way too early to say, if we saw lower depredation rates this coming summer, is that the reason why,” he said. “I just wouldn’t go there yet.”

State wildlife officials say the wolf season will help reduce attacks on pets and livestock. A total of 20 wolves have been killed in the season that began in late November.

Opponents of the wolf season say it’s not necessary so soon after the species was taken off the endangered list. They’ve launched a ballot drive to challenge the law that allows the wolf season.


Conservationists ask court to block competitive wolf hunt

SALMON, Idaho Mon Dec 23, 2013 
Dec 23 (Reuters) - Conservation groups asked a federal judge on Monday to block an Idaho hunting competition targeting wolves and coyotes that is supported by many ranchers and sportsmen but that wildlife advocates have opposed as a "killing contest."

The so-called coyote and wolf derby is slated to take place this coming weekend near the mountain town of Salmon, mostly on national forest lands surrounding the eastern Idaho community.

Organizers are offering cash prizes and trophies to two-person teams competing to kill the largest wolf and the most female coyotes, as well as in various other event categories. A youth division welcomes children as young as 10 to enter.

Supporters have billed the tournament as a recreational form of wildlife management aimed at reducing the number of nuisance predators that threaten livestock and populations of elk and other big-game animals prized by hunters.

News of the competitive wolf shoot, believed by government wildlife officials to be the first such statewide contest in decades in the continental United States, has galvanized conservationists.

Online petitions criticizing the event as cruel and unsportsmanlike have garnered tens of thousands of signatures. Opponents have inundated the Idaho Fish and Game Department with demands for the contest to be canceled, and several businesses sponsoring the event said they have been subjected to harassing phone calls and e-mails.

In their lawsuit filed in a federal district court in Idaho on Monday, WildEarth Guardians and other conservation groups branded the derby a "killing contest" and argued that the U.S. Forest Service had failed to follow proper permitting rules for an event with "potentially 300 or more contestants shooting coyotes and wolves over two days."

The plaintiffs asked for a court order blocking the contest and requiring the Forest Service to conduct a formal review process to assess the potential impact of such events.

Officials with the Salmon-Challis National Forest did not respond to a request for comment, and tournament organizers could not immediately be reached.

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and western Great Lakes were removed from the U.S. threatened and endangered species list in recent years, opening the way for renewed hunting and trapping of an animal that had neared extinction before gaining federal safeguards in 1974.

Plans for the competitive wolf and coyote hunt have renewed debate over plans by the Obama administration to strip most of the remaining wolves in the Lower 48 states of protections afforded under the Endangered Species Act.

Coyotes have long been treated as nuisance animals in much of the western United States, where they are subject to being killed on sight.

The upcoming derby is being sponsored by Idaho for Wildlife, a nonprofit group seeking "to fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations" to restrict hunting or firearms, according to the group's website.

Idaho ranch owner and anti-wolf activist Ron Gillett said he has sent messages of support to businesses that are helping to underwrite the competitive hunt.

"It's a good thing," he said of the event. "The only good wolf in Idaho is a dead wolf." (Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Dan Grebler)


Image of the Day

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#Idaho - Day 2

Mission Control... we HAVE a problem.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Stories from Siberia: Locals say wolves threaten their reindeer

By Anna Liesowska
25 December 2013
As Western children salute Santa's Rudolph, here in the Sakha Republic the antlered animals are in peril from ravenous predators.

More drastic and controversial methods are to be imposed to counter the wolf plague in the next 12 months. Picture: Victor Everstov
Anna Afanasyeva is familiar with the fairytale about Little Red Riding Hood, but for this 12 year old girl the Big Bad Wolf is a menacing daily threat to her own safety and the traditional way of life of her entire reindeer-herding community.

She lives in the heart of the Siberian kingdom of cold, the diamond-rich Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, and her village, like many in this enormous region only slightly smaller than India, is under siege from hungry wolves.

A cull during the year has slaughtered around 720 wolves, say officials, but this is well short of the 3,000 official target for the year and more drastic and controversial methods are to be imposed to counter the wolf plague in the next 12 months.

Here in the village of Uchugei - it's name means 'Good' - Anna says with a grimace: 'We hear the wolves howling at night. I hear them from different places around the village. Of course, it is scary.
'My father says there are from six to seven wolves within a kilometre of us right now, trying to attack our village. I have never seen one alive, thankfully, only those shot by my father who is a reindeer herder and a hunter. 'No child can now go out of the village - it's anyway a rule because it's so cold, and people should not walk alone. But it's like a double 'no' because of the wolves now. They are too close.  The only way is on the snow mobile, or in the car, or with a group of people.'

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 
'Wolves are getting more and more smart. Many of our men are away now, keeping the wolves away from the reindeer herds'. Pictures: Victor Everstov
Anna's ethnic Evenki village , just 84 km from Oymyakon, where the world's coldest temperature in a human settlement was recorded in 1933. Recently, it has been minus 35C here.
The schoolgirl - who wears a hood made from polar fox - believes the purge of the wolves is nothing short of an urgent necessity. Five hunters permanently guard the village from wolves 'but everyone has rifles in their houses', she said. 'I don't feel sorry for the wolves being killed. Why? It's scary when you hear them so close to the village. I think they need to be killed. I don't pity them. 'This is what everyone thinks here. With my father looking after the village I am not scared - my father would never let a single wolf in. But he says that it is getting more and more difficult to stop the wolves.'

Today wolves are more ready to stalk the livestock from these remote villages. If before there was a kind of tacit agreement between wolves and man not to encroach each other's territory, this is no longer true. Their traditional prey - white hares - are in desperately short supply, a fact blamed by some on climate change, not that it feels there is much warming here. 'They are not scared anymore to go where humans live', explained Anna, an intelligent girl who learns English at school. 'They are getting more and more smart. And we have seven herds of reindeers. The smallest is here, close to our village with only 30 reindeer in it. The rest - more than 12,000 - are from 100 to 200 miles away from us. Many of our men are away now, keeping the wolves away from these herds'.

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 
Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 
'I'm a reindeer herder for more than 30 years, and nowadays we are are really bothered by these wolves, they don't let us live and work properly. At some point there was a pack of more than 30 wolves terrorising one of our reindeer herds'. Pictures: Alexander Tyryshkin
Uchugei village lies on the notorious Road of Bones, where thousands of Stalin's victims met their deaths.
From the nearest city, Yakutsk, the coldest on the planet, Uchugei can only be reached after a treacherous 20-hour drive in a doubled-glazed UAZ 452 four by four military van along snowbound roads and  rivers frozen by ice several metres thick which in winter turn into makeshift motorways  across the inhospitable  tundra.

Earlier this year, the republican president Yegor Borisov warned that people 'are worried like never before', declaring: 'We must have a clear plan of how to fight the wolves'. This is echoed by Anna's father Gennady, 49, 'I'm a reindeer herder for more than 30 years and nowadays we are are really bothered by these wolves. They don't let us live and work properly. At some point there was a pack of more than 30 wolves terrorising one of our reindeer herds. We suffer them winter and summer. 'We wish we could use poisons. In Soviet times, the number of wolves was far smaller.  I remember in 1976 one reindeer herder killed nine wolves by poisoning a body of a single reindeer. You would never get so many by just using loops and traps.'

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 

Wolves preying on reindeer herds threaten seasonal joy in remote Siberian villages 
Top to bottom, horses digging for food under the snow, and the Road of Bones, leading to the village of Uchugei. Pictures: Alexander Tyryshkin
One account said that in the first ten months of 2013, wolves killed almost 9,000 reindeer and 225 herd horses. Next year the republican government has earmarked 34 million roubles - around $1 million - to eradicate wolves. 'Emphasis will be placed on improving the organisation of  ground hunting,' said a spokesman. 'Planned implementation in the use of light aircraft - type 'Aerochute' - in Yakutian conditions can make shooting of wolves from the air in spring ten times cheaper.'

Cash incentives to hunters to kill wolves - of around 20,000 roubles each, or $600 - will continue.
Reports also say that Russia has obtained international agreement to use traps in order to regulate their numbers. Across the country there are said to be 60,000 wolves, according to estimates, with ten times as many in Sakha compared with the 1980s. Other villages are also fearful.

In the settlement of Belaya Gora, in Abyisky district, wolves attack cattle and dogs. Nikolay Vinokurov, local resident, said that almost all stray dogs disappeared and in the nearby village Abyi wolves ripped apart two horses. They appear suddenly and hunters fail to hunt them down.

'Wolves have seen one kilometre from the village. At night, the animals entered the courtyard of my friend's grandfather and tore his dog. Only the skin remained. Several wolves stalk the village. Judging by the tracks, they're not small, about 8 years old. In the nearby village wolves tore apart two horses.
'Local residents do not feel safe at night, many hear howling. At nightfall the village streets are empty. In the morning, people go out to the suburbs and put traps but with no luck yet'.


Wisconsin wolf hunting season ends

December 23, 2013 By Bob Meyer 

Wisconsin’s wolf hunting and trapping season officially ended at 5 p.m. on Monday with the closing of the last Wolf Harvest Zone. Zone 3 covering parts of Washburn, Burnett, Rusk, Taylor, Price, Polk and Chippewa Counties had a quota of 71 wolves, the ideal tracking conditions are credited with a dozen wolves being taken on Friday and Saturday so DNR officials decided to close the zone when wolf 64 was taken on Saturday. As of Monday, 67 wolves had been reported from the Zone.

With the closing, all hunters and trappers are advised that any wolves harvested up to 5 p.m. on Monday need to be called in within 24 hours.

The goal was to harvest 251 wolves in the Badger State this year. The state had been divided into six Zones with a quota established for each. The first to reach quota was Zone 2 which was closed on October 23rd. Zones 1 and 5 were closed on October 30th. Zone 4 was closed November 5th and Zone 6 November 7th.


White wolves once lived in California and they could return

Wednesday, Dec 25 2013

White wolves once lived in the Tehachapi Mountains

A size comparison a showing a fresh wolf print next to a man's hand. Photo courtesy of Jon Hammond.

White wolves like these once lived in the Tehachapi Mountains. Photo courtesy of Jon Hammond.

White wolves like these once lived in the Tehachapi Mountains. Photo courtesy of Jon Hammond.
Many California residents are aware that giant bears roamed our state for many thousands of years, but were driven to extinction by the early 1920s. California is, after all, the Bear State, with the California Grizzly dominating the state flag and its name preserved in many localities within our borders, including at least three in Kern County: Bear Mountain, Bear Valley and Grizzly Gulch near Havilah. There was another apex predator that once lived throughout much of California and disappeared at about the same time, but it has left much less of a trace. This missing carnivore is the Grey Wolf (Canis lupus).



California officials say gray wolves could return in packs

REDDING, Calif. -- Based on recent forays into California by a gray wolf known to researchers as OR-7, state wildlife officials believe it is "reasonably forseeable" that wolf packs will one day return to the state.
But since there are no wolves in California, wildlife officials are unsure if there is adequate prey and habitat that would enable wolves to survive, according to a report issued by the state.

''However, the primary threats that will face the gray wolf in California will likely be managing cohabitation with humans where there is fear for personal safety, a threat to personal livelihood, or both; and the availability of suitable habitat and prey," according to "A Status Review of the Gray Wolf in California."
The preliminary report was written by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and had been distributed for scientific peer review only, said Adrianna Shea, the California Fish and Game Commission's deputy executive director.

But the Center for Biological Diversity recently published the documents and peer review comments after receiving copies of them through a California Public Records Act Request, said Amaroq Weiss, the center's wolf coordinator.

The center had asked the commission to declare gray wolves an endangered species last year, after gray wolf OR-7 migrated hundreds of miles from northeast Oregon into California at the end of 2011.
The wolf made history by becoming the first documented wild wolf in California since the 1920s. He spent time traveling throughout the northern part of the state, including Shasta, Tehama and Siskiyou counties, before heading back north into Southern Oregon.

The report does not make a recommendation about whether wolves should be listed as an endangered species in California. An updated version of the report, due out in late January or early February, will likely have a recommendation, Shea said.

The commission will receive the report in February, but won't vote on whether the wolf should be considered endangered until April, she said. Gray wolves are on the federal endangered species list. Weiss said she thought the report was skewed toward not listing the wolf. ''I felt that the report was not as robust as it could have been," Weiss said.

Several of those asked to review the report also pointed out numerous issues with the document.
Douglas Johnson, a professor emeritus at Oregon State University, disagreed with the report's claim that people's attitudes toward wolves "are largely based on a perceived threat to personal safety or livelihood."
''People that have experience living with wolves and have lost livestock, horses, dogs, etc. have a good understanding of wolves and what they can do," Johnson wrote in his review. ''These attitudes aren't derived from fairy tales. I would remove the word 'perceived,' " he said.

Carlos Carroll, a biologist with the Klamath Center for Conservation Research, said the agency's report had good suggestions for wolf management. ''However, other portions of the document need considerable more work if they are to provide an adequate information base for the commission," Carroll said.

While OR-7's movements have been monitored through a collar he wears, other Oregon wolves do not wear the devices and they may already be in California, Carroll said. OR-7 made a couple cross-border runs into northern Siskiyou County earlier this month, but last week he was back in Klamath County in Oregon, said Michelle Dennehy, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman.

Wherever he has gone, the wolf has created controversy. Some ranchers and farmers fear wolves will destroy livestock, while wildlife groups support protecting the wolf. The report predicts more wolves will eventually follow OR-7 into California and officials should be ready for them. ''Given the current expansion of wolves, and the growth of wolf packs in Oregon, it is reasonably foreseeable that wolves will disperse into California and eventually establish reproducing packs," the report says.

Because of the likelihood wolves will return to the state, officials are working on drawing up a plan on how to manage wolves. The document is expected to be complete in 2015. Curt Babcock, an environmental program manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said generally speaking that when animals are placed on the state's endangered species list they are protected from being hunted or killed.

Also, if a property owner is building a large project, such as a housing development, or planning to harvest timber, the owner would have to consider whether the project affects an animal's or plant's habitat.
If a project or timber harvest destroys habitat, state officials would have to work with the property owner to find ways to avoid affecting habitat or doing some mitigation, which could mean creating new habitat, Babcock said.

(Damon Arthur is a reporter for the Redding Record Searchlight in California)


One word

One word: IDAHO

Merry Christmas!

The Wolves’ Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the eve before Christmas
And to Santa’s dismay
Came such an icy storm
The reindeer couldn’t budge his sleigh.
As Santa paced and worried
And elves began to scowl
‘Rose a song through the wind:
A wolf pack’s mighty howl.
From the thick of the storm
O’er deep snow on big padded feet
Came eight silvery wolves
Ice and wind could not beat.
Santa’s mouth hung open for a blink
As the wolves lined up in front of his sleigh
Then he sputtered to the elves
“Well… let’s be on our way!”
Santa thanked each wolf
As the elves finished loading the last gift
Then he sprinkled them with fairy dust
Chuckling, “That’ll give you the lift.”
“They won’t believe this in Idaho..”
He laughed, a merry twinkle in his eyes
Then the elves harnessed the wolves
And they took to the skies.
On Lightfoot! On Blacktail! On Windswift! On Howler!
On GreenEyes! On MoonSong! On Hunter! On Prowler!
The wolves’ eyes glowed as they leapt through the storm
Santa wished his own coat could keep him as warm.
That night the wolves even taught Santa to howl
An ancient song filled with hope for Peace and Joy
That this season may bring for all Life on Earth
As they left special gifts for each girl and boy.
‘Twas that eve before Christmas
Santa will always fondly remember
When wolves rescued his mission
That stormy December.
© Suzanne Asha Stone, 2013
The post Holiday Cheer
appeared first on Defenders of Wildlife Blog.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Affirming Our All-American Conservation Values Through the Endangered Species Act

Jamie Rappaport Clark

Posted: 12/20/2013
Conservation of our precious natural resources used to be a defining American value. Across the political spectrum throughout the late 1960s and '70s, there was near-universal agreement that we must conserve our air, land, water and wildlife for future generations. Indeed, many of our nation's conservation laws were passed with the enthusiastic support of wide bipartisan majorities. This was especially true of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), signed into law 40 years ago this December 28 by Republican President Richard M. Nixon.

The ESA is the ultimate representation of America's commitment to responsible stewardship. It underscores a fundamental recognition of our duty to conserve native wildlife for posterity. And that's also why I've devoted most of my professional life to upholding, defending and strengthening it.

But my own reverence for wildlife and the special places throughout the country protected by the ESA isn't the result of any professional position or title I've held. I grew up in a military family; I am the daughter of a U.S. Army officer and I lived on or near numerous military bases throughout my childhood. With such constant change, it was hard to maintain lasting friendships, and it was frustrating to constantly be making a whole new set of friends that I knew would be lost with the next move. But the thing that stayed consistent were the animals that I encountered -- rabbits, foxes, and deer in the fields, backyard birds and frogs in the local creek and fire flies each summer. Very early in my life, I found comfort and a connection to wildlife. I feel fortunate that I have been able to evolve my passion into a life-long mission and a career where I believed I could make a difference for this country's imperiled wildlife.

The ESA is one of our most enduring and successful environmental measures. Examples of the ESA's success in protecting species and their habitats are extensive: Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, gray wolves, Florida manatees, American alligators, grizzly bears, and black-footed ferrets have all been rescued from the brink of extinction.

Obviously, this kind of success takes decades to achieve, but the results of continued protection are undeniable. Sadly, since I started working with the ESA in the late 1970s, I've seen a dramatic shift in the way our political leaders talk about conservation. It seems we have lost sight of the fundamental American values that united us across party lines 40 years ago. At that time, our leaders talked about the ESA and evoked the wonder, awe and reverence we shared as a nation for our amazing natural heritage. Today, way too many lawmakers seem quickly willing to undermine the ESA, which they falsely claim is burdensome and an intrusive federal overreach. In the last Congress, Defenders of Wildlife chronicled a record number of attacks on the ESA and we've seen devastating new ones emerge in this current session.

After 40 important years of protecting America's wildlife for future generations, we find ourselves at a familiar crossroads, similar to where our leaders stood when they originally passed the ESA.

We must ask ourselves again the same questions that were debated back then: What kind of nation do we want to be? Do we want to be a country that protects its wildlife and natural heritage? Will we sit back and passively watch as the worsening effects of climate change and increasing energy development across the landscape affect our wildlife in dramatic ways? Or, will we reaffirm our core American conservation ethic and once again rally behind the values that our leaders embraced 40 years ago? The choice is ours. The decision will be felt for generations to come. Let's hope our nation once again makes the right choice. The right choice is to uphold the conservation values and sense of responsibility to future generations that shaped the ESA 40 years ago. Future generations deserve nothing less.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest on Public Lands

For Immediate Release:

Groups Challenge Federal Agency’s Failure to Regulate Highly Controversial Contest

Pocatello, ID – Today a coalition of conservation organizations sued the U.S. Forest Service for failure to require permits and environmental impacts analysis for the advertised “Coyote and Wolf Derby” in Salmon, Idaho, December 28 and 29. The lawsuit seeks an order requiring the agency inform the killing contest sponsors and participants that shooting wolves and coyotes on public lands as part of the contest is illegal without the required environmental analyses and permits.

“Killing contests that perpetuate false stereotypes about key species like wolves and coyotes that play essential roles in healthy ecosystems have no place on public lands.” Said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “The Forest Service is abdicating its responsibilities as steward of our public lands. We are asking the agency to comply with the law: require a permit application and do the necessary environmental analysis, including providing a public comment process, to ensure our public lands and wildlife are protected.”

The killing contest is charging an entry fee, advertising prizes for the largest wolf and the most coyote carcasses, among other award categories, and specifically offering opportunities for children as young as 10 to kill for prizes. Commercial activities like the killing contest are prohibited on public lands without a special use permit. An application for a special use permit triggers application of the National Environmental Policy Act. Highly controversial activities are exempted from fast track permitting. In contrast to the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) informed the killing contest sponsors that a special use permit is required. To date, BLM has not received an application. Hunting on BLM administered public lands as part of the killing contest is therefore illegal.

“Predator killing contests have no place in the 21st Century,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “Killing coyotes and wolves for fun and prizes is ethically repugnant, morally bankrupt, and ecologically indefensible. Such contests demean the immense ecological and economic value of predators, perpetuating a culture of violence and sending a message to children that life has little value.”

Lynne Stone, director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, who has lived and worked in central Idaho for over three decades, said, “killing contests like this have no place in a civilized society and are an embarrassment to our state. Shame on the agencies for allowing these events on our public lands. It’s no wonder so many people view Idaho as like something out of Deliverance.”

Since 2011 when Congress stripped Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Idaho, the state has allowed nearly half of Idaho’s wolf population to be hunted and trapped each year. Since 2011, nearly 1,000 wolves have died at the hands of hunters and trappers. Science shows that wolves play a key role as apex carnivores, providing ecological benefits that cascade through an ecosystem. Wolves bring elk and deer populations into balance, allowing riparian vegetation to regrow, in turn creating habitat for songbirds and beavers and shade for fish.

“That the US Forest Service allows a commercial event that glorifies the killing of wildlife for killing’s sake without a special use permit on public lands is unconscionable.” Said Ken Cole, NEPA coordinator for the Western Watersheds Project.

Coyotes, like wolves, serve a valuable ecological function by helping to control rodent populations and to maintain ecological integrity and species diversity. Unlike wolves, coyotes quickly rebound when they are killed indiscriminately. Coyotes have no protection under Idaho state law.

“Such killing contests reveal a larger flaw in our nation’s wildlife management strategies where predators continue to be treated as vermin, including by those very state agencies responsible for their management,” explains DJ Schubert, wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute. “The scientific reality is that predators are immensely important members of any healthy ecosystem and their ecological role should be celebrated, not condemned.”

The organizations are represented by WildEarth Guardians Senior Attorney Sarah McMillan and the Law Office of Dana Johnson.

WildEarth Guardians envisions a world where wildlife and wild places are respected and valued and our world is sustainable for all beings. We work to protect and restore wildlife, wild places, and wild rivers in the American West. Visit www.wildearthguardians.org to learn more.

Project Coyote (ProjectCoyote.org) is a national non-profit organization promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. Join our community on Facebook and Twitter.

Boulder-White Clouds Council has worked for over two decades to protect and defend wild lands and wildlife in Idaho’s upper Salmon River Country. Our website has extensive information and rare photos of Idaho’s gray wolves: www.wildwhiteclouds.org.

Animal Welfare Institute is a national non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit www.awionline.org.

Western Watersheds Project is a regional non-profit conservation group that works to influence and improve public lands and wildlife management throughout the West with a primary focus on the negative impacts of livestock grazing on 250,000,000 acres of western public lands. http://www.westernwatersheds.org


Image of the Day

Resting polar wolf by Tambako the Jaguar
Resting polar wolf, a photo by Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

“Medicine of the Wolf” Wins Annual Filmmaking Grant

December 20, 2013
  • ACE program manager Colin McCormick says "A film like this could really not have come along at a more vital time for wolf conservation." iStockphoto
“Medicine of the Wolf,” a documentary examining the treatment of America's gray wolves, has won the eighth annual Animal Content in Entertainment documentary grant offered by The Humane Society of the United States.

This feature-length documentary from filmmaker Julia Huffman follows the work of renowned environmentalist and "National Geographic" photographer Jim Brandenburg, who has studied wolves in the field for 44 years.

The film explores the role wolves have played through American history, including their esteemed place in Minnesota’s Ojibway tribe, and how their recent de-listing in certain regions from the federal Endangered Species Act could push the animal’s population to the brink of collapse.

Huffman says; “I am extremely humbled and moved to win the ACE Grant from The Humane Society of the United States. I feel honored to join forces with past winners who have created important and thought-provoking films that take a strong stand for animal advocacy.”

Colin McCormack, manager of The HSUS’s ACE program said; “A film like this could really not have come along at a more vital time for wolf conservation. Anti-wolf sentiments nearly led to the extermination of America’s wolves, and just when populations are starting to bounce back, wolves are being hunted and trapped at an alarming rate in several states as we speak placing this iconic species in jeopardy once again. We hope that ‘Medicine of the Wolf’ brings greater public attention to this issue.”

There are only an estimated 5,000 gray wolves roaming the lower 48 states today. The HSUS has been working hard to protect wolves from recent threats dealt out by states in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies Region. We are currently part of a coalition in Michigan to stop a recently-approved trophy hunt inthat statewhere there are fewerthan 650 wolves. To learn more about The HSUS’s campaign efforts, visit humanesociety.org/animals/wolves.