Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior

September 2003
9.30.03 YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (Grist Magazine) -- Wolves have proven to be a big draw for tourists since they were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, but camera-toting vacationers aren't the only species they've attracted. The park's population of about 250 wolves seems to be spurring a general improvement in biodiversity, helping to bring Yellowstone's ecosystems back into balance. Consider, for example, a cluster of willows growing along Black Tail Creek in the park. Before wolves returned to the area, the willows were routinely chomped by elk. Now that elk have to worry about being attacked by wolves, they avoid staying too long in open streambed areas, so the willows have been able to regenerate, attracting both birds and beavers, some biologists say. The beavers, in turn, appear to aid diversity themselves by building dams and creating pools of slow-moving water that attract otters, muskrats, moose, birds, and insects. "Wolves are to Yellowstone what water is to the Everglades," said Doug Smith, head of the park's wolf restoration program.

9.28.03 (TORONTO Star) -- Dogs have a fascinating genetic history. They are all, regardless of breed, descended from wolves, although when and how Canis lupus turned into Canis familiaris isn't clear. Most experts agree that it was likely at least 10,000 years ago, but the "how" is trickier. The wolf packs that habitually hung around campfires probably overcame their fear of humans and gradually became integrated into the group, but domestication has involved much more than a simple elimination of an innate fear. Some researchers have pointed out that the domestication brought immaturity with it. Dogs whine, bark and exhibit submissive behaviours that wolves don't, as if adult dogs are more like wolf pups. But that evolutionary process, called neoteny, while seen in other species, even our own, doesn't explain the appearance of the human-oriented social skills that dogs come equipped with. They not only find their place in our social hierarchies, but are exquisitely attuned to human gestures and signals. There is also evidence that the genetic changes wrought by turning wolves into our pets are multi-faceted.
9.28.03 (OTTAWA Citizen) -- Ontario's next Natural Resources minister must protect the endangered wolves of Algonquin Park better in light of a wolf found killed in a zone where wolves are already supposed to be protected, environmentalists say. A female wolf was found dead on the ice of Vesper Lake in the park last February. It had been snared and, though it escaped from the snare site, later bled to death from cuts the snare made. Hunting and trapping wolves has been illegal in a zone 10 kilometres wide around the park since 1991, because the wolves protected in the park were being killed when they ranged outside its boundaries for food. It's just possible the Vesper Lake wolf left the buffer zone, was snared, and returned to a protected area 20 kilometres away to die, says Jean Langlois of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. But he believes it's more likely the wolf died because the moratorium on killing wolves does not ban hunting and trapping coyotes, and a trap set for a coyote can catch a wolf too. As well, Mr. Langlois says wolves can "easily" be mistaken for coyotes and shot in error. Now even the uncertain protection of a ban that doesn't cover coyotes is due to end. The moratorium expires next June. And Mr. Langlois says that if it doesn't become a long-term measure with stronger protection, the wolf numbers in the park will continue to decline. Believed to be a species distinct from the grey (or timber) wolf, the eastern wolf ranges across Ontario and Quebec. The last estimate by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) was 2,000 wolves. Algonquin Provincial Park is the largest protected habitat for the eastern wolf. Its population is estimated at 150 to 175. It joined Canada's Endangered Species List as a "species of special concern" (one that is particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events) in 2001. Parks are the only places where eastern wolves are protected from hunting.
9.27.03 WASHINGTON, DC (AP) -- The National Wildlife Federation and three other environmental groups are going to sue the federal government for ending a program to restore wolves to the Northeast. The groups argue that by changing the classification of wolves from endangered to threatened and ending restoration efforts, the Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act. “Today, the wolf can be found on just 3 percent of its historic range in the lower 48 states, and millions of acres of former habitat remain potentially available for wolf restoration,” the groups said in a letter sent to Interior Secretary Gale Norton giving her 60 days’ notice that a lawsuit would be filed. The groups want the federal government to change its rules again, reviewing the proper classification under the Endangered Species Act for wolves in the Northeast and reviving restoration efforts. Paul Nickerson, an endangered species specialist at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office in Hadley, Mass., said the goals of the Endangered Species Act had been met: the creation of a self-sustaining wolf population in the wild. “I personally would love to see wolves reinhabit the (Northeast) region,” said Nickerson, who had not seen the National Wildlife Federation’s document but was familiar with the arguments. “It’s not a requirement of the Endangered Species Act that every inch of habitat be reinhabited.” The Wildlife Federation, The Maine Wolf Coalition, the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Environmental Advocates of New York on Thursday sent the 60-day notice to Norton. There are tens of thousands of acres of suitable wolf habitat in parts of northern New England and in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, experts say....DANIEL,Wyo. (AP) — Federal biologists are monitoring a new wolf pack discovered in the Wyoming Range west of Daniel. As many as 16 wolves, primarily pups, were discovered Sept. 12. ‘‘We had heard reports last fall and all through the winter that there were three wolves there,'' said Mike Jimenez, project leader for wolf recovery in Wyoming. The larger number was a surprise to biologists. In August, federal trappers confirmed two sheep kills in the area due to wolves and suspected as many as a dozen more. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set traps to try to capture the offenders. Two wolves were caught and both died from heat. Jiminez said he took the risk of trapping during the hottest part of the summer because the wolves had been troubling livestock. Trappers saw a third wolf near the two trapped ones and concluded that they were the trio that had been seen last winter.
9.26.03 SILVER CITY, NM (AP) -- Three Mexican gray wolves that were part of a federal reintroduction program in the Southern Rockies have been found dead in New Mexico and Arizona. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would not say how the wolves died, but the bodies carcasses are being tested, said acting program coordinator Colleen Buchanan. An alpha female from the Saddle Pack was found dead in Arizona on Sept. 15. The pack was the most genetically valuable in the wild because of its lineage, Buchanan said.
The female had four pups when she died. Their survival is uncertain, Buchanan said. An uncollared male wolf was found dead Sept. 19 on the northern edge of the Gila Wilderness. The wolf was born in the wild and had never been in captivity. The third wolf, an alpha male from the Francisco Pack, was found dead off U.S. 180 near Silver City on Wednesday, she said. Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity in Pinos Altos said there is a good chance the wolves were shot. "It appears all three will eventually be confirmed as illegal mortality," he said. The number of collared wolves in the wild is in the 20s and the total wild population is estimated to be in the 50s or 60s, Buchanan said....BOULDER, CO (The Daily Camera) There are too many elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, officials say. And they're slowly eating all of the park's ecologically valuable vegetation. So managers are asking the public to help them figure out the best way to reduce the herd by about two-thirds from its current population of 3,000. About 25 people showed up to debate options — including the reintroduction of wolves — at a public meeting Thursday night in the Millennium Harvest House hotel in Boulder. Superintendent Vaughn Baker said the elk are eating too much, and destroying the willows in the park along with stands of aspen trees. Jeff Carton, a park volunteer, said willows in the park have been "devastated." Superintendent Baker outlined the options Park Service officials are considering. Rangers could kill a certain number of elk. Rangers could implant some of the elk with birth control to keep them from reproducing. Or rangers could re-introduce wolves, which would eat the elk. Rob Edward, a local representative of Sinapu, a group that favors wolf reintroduction, enthusiastically promoted that alternative. He acknowledged that bringing wolves back into the state would be contentious. Park biologist Therese Johnson said theoretical models predict that two packs of about 12 wolves each could keep the elk population in check. Most people at Thursday night's meeting didn't have a problem with the concept. But Johnson said the idea hasn't been well-received at other meetings in Grand Lake and Loveland, where ranchers worry the wolves could kill too much of their livestock.
9.24.03 CODY, Wyo. (Billings Gazette) -- Park County officials continue to seethe in frustration over the prospect of having wolves in their midst, especially in places where local business and agricultural operations are affected. The three-member board of commissioners vowed Tuesday to approve their third resolution with concerns about the future of wolf management in the region. Tim Morrison, the commission's chairman, called for the resolution, saying he was spurred by a recent television special about predators in the northern Rocky Mountains. The voice of local communities, including Park County, isn't getting much attention, but the effects of wolves are real, he said. Farmers and agricultural producers have lost livestock or suffered other losses because of wolves, Morrison said. Commissioner Tim French said he'd like to see the plan reflect the intent of the state Legislature, which earlier this year set out stricter guidelines on where trophy game wolves could roam. The commissioners said they were particularly concerned that the proposed plan could allow wolves to come closer to Cody and Meeteetse. Morrison worried that relying on hunting wolves classified as trophy game won't be enough to control the population. "We cannot have wolves threatening people (who are) going into wilderness areas," he said.
9.23.03 WYOMING (Billings Gazette) - The growth in numbers of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains is as slow as it has been since the animals were reintroduced to the region in 1995 and 1996. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the population grew by about 12 percent this year, which is 4 percentage points slower than last year and 11 percentage points slower than two years ago. The primary reason for the tapering growth rate is that the best wolf habitat -- primarily in Yellowstone National Park and designated wilderness areas -- is already full of wolf packs, so any expansion has to happen closer to where people live, which is where conflicts arise and wolves are often killed or relocated. Biologists estimate that the 2003 population in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho is 747 wolves and 46 breeding pairs. In 2002, there were 663 wolves and 43 breeding pairs. Nearly all of the population growth in the past year occurred in Idaho, which increased from 284 wolves in 2002 to 346 wolves this year. There are an estimated 240 wolves in Wyoming, including in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and 161 wolves in Montana. It's no surprise that the growth rate for the population, which was 23 percent two years ago and even higher in the years just after the reintroduction, is slacking off, Bangs said. "This is what typically happens," he said. "It grows really fast and then, as the habitat fills up ... they try to set up shop in some rancher's field or somewhere like that and we end up removing them." That's why Bangs thinks the wolf population in the three states will never exceed 1,000. Federal officials say the wolves have hit key population thresholds over the past three years to warrant removing them from the endangered species list. Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have all drawn up plans to manage the wolves once the federal government bows out. Earlier this month, a dozen wolf scientists received copies of all three state plans. They will decide whether the proposals pass scientific muster. If not, the government won't remove federal protections. Bangs said he's confident in the scientific team. "It's the cream of the crop for North American wolf experts," Bangs said.
9.19.03 UTAH (Stegner Center, Univ. of Utah) -- Jim and Jamie Dutcher, Emmy Award winning filmmakers who spent six years living with and filming a gray wolf pack in Idaho's Sawtooth mountains, provided insights into understanding wolf behavior and pack dynamics at the Wolves and People Symposium on the 17th. Future symposium topics: 9/24: “Living with Wolves: The Law and Policy of Wolf Reintroduction and Dispersal”-- Holly Doremus, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis, will discuss the legal issues surrounding wolf dispersal into Utah or other areas outside the designated recovery zones, the recent downlisting of wolves from endangered to threatened in most of the west, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s announced intention to delist the gray wolf, and whether human communities can coexist with wild wolf populations. 10/1: "Restoring Wolves to the Northwestern United States"--Ed Bangs has been the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the Northwestern U.S. since 1988. Ed will review the interagency program for the recovery and management of wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, exploring its successes and challenges. 10/8: “The Social Behavior, Ecology and Conservation of Wolves”--Biologist Paul Paquet is the founder and co-director of the Central Rockies Wolf Project, AND has worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service, World Wildlife Fund, the Conservation Biology Institute, and other conservation organizations. His presentation will focus on the role of wolves in the ecosystem, including predator-prey relationships. 10/15:  "Wolves and Sheep: It's Not that Simple"--Margaret Soulen Hinson is a third-generation livestock producer whose family runs a large sheep and cattle operation in central Idaho. Margaret is past chair of the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission and serves on the executive board for the American Sheep Industry. She will discuss the experiences of the livestock community living with wolves and dealing with predation problems. 10/22: “Wolves in Utah”--This panel discussion will address how Utah might manage wolves based upon information developed in the earlier wolf series lectures. We will be joined by local speakers who represent various points of view, including a wolf advocate, a biologist, a livestock industry representative, and a spokesperson from the Division of Wildlife Resources.
9.18.03 IDAHO (Challis Messenger) -- There had been reports of wolves in the area for about a year, but it wasn’t until late August that authorities finally spotted them and collared one. Carter Niemeyer, Fish and Wildlife Services, told the Messenger that they’d heard reports that wolves were in Morgan and Darling creeks last year, but this spring he and Wildlife Services Wolf Specialist Rick Williamson couldn’t find them. Niemeyer said a range rider reported seeing tracks last summer and then during hunting season several people saw up to 10 animals, five black and five gray. They were in the area in early spring, but disappeared in April, about the time they whelp. The critters turned up again in August when they depredated on livestock on public range. Williamson was able to trap and collar one, but another escaped with the trap and an eight-foot chain on its foot after the drag link separated.Nez Perce Tribe staff and Wildlife Services launched a search that included a helicopter. They and some local ranch riders and a trusty cattle dog finally found and recaptured it. They put on a radio collar, treated it with antibiotics and released it, but the animal died a couple of days later. Niemeyer said it looked as if all the handling and chasing the animal with the trap had stopped further depredation. This particular pack is somewhat of a mystery at this point. Niemeyer said they don’t know where these wolves came from or to whom they might be related. As of two weeks ago, FWS estimated there were 28 packs in Idaho with at least 23 litters. The East Fork has another pack (called Castle Peak) led by one of the original reintroduced males, B-2. He has mated with a female and they have four pups. The Sawtooth Valley has been recolonized by the Galena pack, which is frequenting the Champion Creek environs with two adults and five pups. Niemeyer said depredations around the state have been fairly low with only recurring problems north of McCall.
9.18.03 (CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal says a conversation he had with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife director left him concerned whether Wyoming's wolf management plan will be accepted. Freudenthal said he talked to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams in Big Sky, Mont. Concerns have been raised about Wyoming's plan because it has a dual classification of wolves -- as trophy game subject to regulated hunting in some parts of the state and as predators that could be shot with few limitations in others. Williams inquired whether Wyoming would consider making its plan a little tougher to protect wolves to ensure that their numbers stay up, Freudenthal said. The governor said he told Williams that strengthening the plan is unlikely, and there is actually pressure to weaken it. Freudenthal said people on both sides of the wolf debate want the federal government to reject Wyoming's plan. Some want the plan rejected because they think it protects wolves too much, while some hope the plan is rejected so the wolves will stay on the endangered species list with full protections. Freudenthal said he is aligned with those who don't want wolves in Wyoming. But they are here to stay, like it or not, he said, so the best thing Wyoming can do is develop a plan acceptable to start moving the wolves off the endangered species list. Otherwise, the wolf population will continue to grow, and their range will expand, Freudenthal said.....TALLINN, Estonia--When Estonians go to vote on whether to join the EU, some of them will have good reason to remember one of the biggest final obstacles that the European Commission put in the country’s path to the EU. The referendum comes on the eve of the moose-hunting season. If the EU had had its way, there would be no moose shot starting next year. Nor would there be any hunting of bears, wolves, lynx, and beavers. In the very final phases of negotiations, Estonia won concessions. Under license, all four species can still be killed each year. According to Peep Mannil, an official at the Environment Ministry, Estonia has 450-550 brown bears, 600-800 lynx, and 100-150 wolves. It also has the second-largest ratio of wolves to hunters in the Baltic, behind Latvia. The Baltics and the Carpathians are the only regions in Europe where the wolf is not a complete rarity. Under EU regulations, 25 to 30 wolves can be shot annually, Mannil says. But obscured by these tussles is a broader change in hunting--by northern European standards, Estonia may be a relatively small hunting nation, but hunting is a way of life for a small, 1 percent minority. There is good reason: 51 percent of the country is forested and the forests teem with wildlife. But the number of hunters has dropped by a quarter over the past two years, to 15,000. In the mid-1990s, the decline was good for the wolf population, which soared to over 700 in 1994. A massive cull followed, with about 350 being gunned down in 1995.
9.17.03 ARIZONA (Eastern Arizona Courier) -- County leaders from Arizona and New Mexico met with U.S. wildlife officials to give local officials a voice regarding the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray wolf. Graham County Supervisor Mark Herrington said he met with Terry Johnson, the non-game chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, to ensure Graham County's seat on the Adaptive Management Work Group. He also met with Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner Joe Carter, AZGF Director Duane Shroufe and representatives from Greenlee and Navajo counties.Herrington said the wolves could impact Graham County by eating elk and other game hunted for sport.Shroufe said he met with county leaders from Arizona and New Mexico to consult with them about becoming members of the work group. "We've finally coordinated with the Fish and Wildlife Service and they've agreed that the states of Arizona and New Mexico would be responsible for wolf reintroduction to their states," Shroufe said. Shroufe supports the involvement of local government with the program and wants each county to have the power to vote on issues regarding the wolves. Some of the groups who are included in the work group are the USFWS, AZGF, New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Daisy Mae Cannon said she wants the Defenders of Wildlife to work on quicker response times for analyzing cattle that may or may not have been killed by wolves. Cannon is a prominent rancher from Greenlee County. Defenders of Wildlife pays ranchers for cattle killed by wolves, but the group must first analyze the carcass within a short time of the death before it pays for the cow. She said most ranchers have large ranches that include valleys and canyons, making it hard to find a cow once the rancher realizes it is missing. Once the cow is found, it is usually too late for the group to analyze the cow. "If you aren't in every place all the time, how are you going to be able to prove all of this stuff," she said. She mentioned that a fellow ranching family, the Elys, have lost over 70 head of cattle in the last year and have no proof about the cattle being killed by the wolves.
9.17.03 INDIANA (Indianapolis Star) -- The first confirmed sighting [of a wolf in Indiana] since 1908 has wildlife experts talking about the return of the predators to Hoosier forests, where they once roamed widely. Not that anyone thinks it's going to happen any time soon. "I think it's going to be a remote possibility, but I wouldn't say it was absolutely impossible," said Adrian Wydeven, a Wisconsin state biologist who monitors the population of wolves there. "Based on the movements of this animal, we need to consider a couple of individuals could make it to the Hoosier (National Forest) or the Wayne (in Ohio) or the Shawnee (in Illinois) and establish in those areas." It was the third wolf from the upper Midwest to head south in the past two years. Two wolves were shot in Illinois and Missouri after they were mistaken for coyotes. "Once they get out of the heavily forested areas . . . they become disoriented and travel great distances in a straight line," Wydeven said. "I think they are continuing to travel until they find the same type of habitat they left. If they don't find it, they keep moving." The wolf found in Indiana apparently traveled through the farmland of southern Wisconsin, skirted around Chicago through northern Illinois and crossed Indiana nearly to Ohio before dying. Such lengthy dispersal journeys are not unheard of, said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A gray wolf out West traveled 550 miles; another went from Canada to Idaho and back, a roundtrip of about 600 miles. "It's a regular part of wolf behavior," Bangs said. "The fact that they head south that far (to Indiana), and through open country, is pretty unusual." But he doesn't expect a wolf pack to get started in the fragmented forests of southern Indiana, calling the chances "about zero." "These 'dispersers' have [a] very high mortality rate, compared to regular wolves," Bangs said. "The chances of living very long are pretty slim.".....After the shooting death of a wild wolf in eastern Indiana, several Hoosiers are reporting they have seen wolves or wolflike predators throughout the state. Chester Vogel, a Ripley County farmer, said he has seen at least four wolves around his property in the past few years, including one that a coyote trapper caught in a leg snare and shot.
9.16.03 INDIANA (Indianapolis Star) -- A wild wolf found in Indiana recently had been shot to death, officials said [yesterday]. The gray wolf, which had roamed more than 400 miles from central Wisconsin, was found dead in an eastern Indiana soybean field in late June. It was identified by ear tags. Authorities investigated the case but said there were no leads on who shot the animal. Gray wolves were downlisted from the Endangered Species List earlier this year but are still protected under "threatened" status. Someone who shot a wolf could face prosecution. But authorities say wolves shot in other states after having been mistaken for coyotes did not result in prosecutions.  There also have been confirmed sightings of wolves in a dozen other states, including both Dakotas, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas. Federal officials said they intend to close their investigation in the Indiana case unless new evidence arises.
9.14.03 COLORADO (Dailycamera.com) -- Last week, officials issued their field officers with detailed instructions on how to deal with wolves that are expected to wander across the Wyoming border. Todd Malmsbury, a [Dept. of Wildlife] spokesman, said the instructions his office issued were only the first step. Over the next several months, the department will meet with environmentalists and ranchers to create a "management plan" to answer basic questions of how to handle wolves in Colorado. The plan will answer contentious questions, such as when, or if, ranchers have the right to kill wolves that attack livestock. Environmentalists are already getting to work to create a fund to compensate ranchers for each animal they lose, as long as they don't try to destroy the wolves. Last week's news left Sinapu, a Boulder-based organization dedicated to re-introducing predators, including wolves, to Colorado's forests, with mixed feelings. While DOW wants to craft a management plan, Sinapu wants a recovery plan, which is far more ambitious. It would mandate capturing wolves from other parts of the country and introducing them into the wild here. Simply managing the few wolves that might wander into the state across a fairly barren northern expanse won't establish the species, Edward said. "We believe that the most efficient and definitely the most economical means to achieve recovery in the long run is to re-introduce wolves here," he said. "That will get the job done sooner, and for a lot less money" than waiting for wolves to establish themselves from other states. But Malmsbury said that option isn't on the table, at least right now. "At this point, I'm not aware of any federal or state agency that's talking about doing that," he said.
9.11.03 COLORADO (Denver Post) -- The Colorado Division of Wildlife on Wednesday decided to tackle the thorny issue of how to manage any federally protected gray wolves that migrate into the state. The agency had resisted spending money to create a permanent wolf management plan because officials assumed Yellowstone packs would not disperse quickly from northwestern Wyoming. But the sighting of a wolf near Baggs, Wyo., just north of the Colorado state line, and the establishment of a pack near Pinedale prompted biologists to change their minds. In the meantime, the agency issued temporary guidelines Wednesday for wildlife managers. Wild wolves that are not causing a problem should be left alone, the guidelines say. Federal officials should be notified of problem wolves that kill livestock or pets. Illegal wolf kills will be prosecuted. Wolves found north of Interstate 70 would be considered a threatened species and could be harassed or killed for preying on livestock. Wolves found south of I-70 would be protected by the Endangered Species Act, which means stiff penalties and fines if a wolf is killed. A 2001 poll showed two of every three Coloradans favor having wolves in the state. And recent studies show the state's 25 million acres of public land could support 1,000 wolves. But agricultural interests, the state wildlife commission and the legislature all say there's no room for the toothy predators in Colorado. State law prohibits the agency from considering wolf reintroduction.
9.9.03 COLORADO (Rocky Mountain News) -- The number of Coloradans buying wolves and wolf-dog cross- breeds is skyrocketing and space to take care of the animals once they become unwanted is becoming scarce. Sanctuary owners, state wildlife officials and ranchers are concerned that if there aren't enough facilities for those animals, owners may simply turn them loose in the wild to fend for themselves. Frank Wendland, who cares for 37 unwanted animals at W.O.L.F. Rescue & Education near LaPorte, says there could be as many as 25,000 already in Colorado, and half could be pure wolves, which are illegal to own without a special permit. But owners can get around the law easily, he said. "It's impossible to tell one canine from another, so they sell them as wolves, then the owner says it's 90 percent wolf, 10 percent dog to bring it across state lines, and say it's 100 percent dog when the city they live in won't allow wolf-dogs," Wendland said. Wolf cubs act much like puppies for their first two years, said Kent Weber, who founded Mission:Wolf, a sanctuary 40 miles west of Pueblo. "Then, when they turn 2, their mentality suddenly shifts from being a teenager to a mature adult. They challenge their owners for leadership, must become a constant member of the human's 'pack,' and use the furniture as chew toys." At that point owners realize their mistake and come to the sanctuaries hoping to dump the animal. Virtually every week, Mission:Wolf, W.O.L.F. and the third major wolf facility in the state, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, turn away requests to take unwanted pets.
9.8.03 MANDAREE (ND) -- Wildlife officials say further studies could determine if the state has resident populations of mountain lions or gray wolves. Barb Johnson has no doubt that the animals live near her home northwest of Mandaree. "They're not passing through," Johnson said. Johnson and her husband, Jarrette, recently discovered four horses they suspect were injured by a mountain lion or a wolf. Paul Goodiron, of Mandaree, said he also thinks wolves and mountain lions inhabit the area full-time. About a year ago, Goodiron said he spotted a large wolf in field southwest of Mandaree. "It wasn't running, it looked like a lope -- like a long thoroughbred. It was like it floated right over that ground, but it just went so fast," he said. The Johnsons say they have seen wolves several times in recent years near their homes. "My husband rides a lot and he's seen a black wolf I don't know how many times over the last couple years," Barb Johnson said. Wildlife officials said it's not unusual for animals living in other areas to move into North Dakota. "It's not uncommon to have unusual animals like bears, mountain lions, fishers and martins traveling through the state," said Karen Kreil with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "There's been wolves sighted that were collared up in Michigan and made it all the way down to Missouri. If it's a young male, they can really disperse," she said.
9.4.03 JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) -- A mother wolf in the Teton Pack died of complications related to giving birth earlier this spring, federal lab results show. Federal wolf biologist Mike Jimenez recovered the body of wolf No. 200 in Grand Teton National Park on April 30 after her radio collar emitted a mortality signal. Her carcass had multiple bite marks, indicating a possible struggle within the wolf pack and leaving biologists unsure how she had died.Results from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab concluded that the 6-year-old died from complications related to birthing pups and not from a fight with other wolves.
9.3.03 MONTANA (AP) -- Select scientists and wildlife managers could get their first official look, possibly this month, at state plans for managing gray wolves in the region once the animals are removed from federal protection, a federal wildlife official said Tuesday. That “peer review” of proposals from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is likely to take a month or two. Officials said a delisting proposal could then come as early as year’s end – if all three state plans pass review and promise the survival of the region’s wolf population. “If the three states plans pass peer review – and that’s not a given – we will look at wrapping a delisting proposal by the end of this year,” said Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s wolf recovery coordinator in Helena. “If two are as good as sliced bread and one stinks, we can’t go forward.” A delisting proposal would be delayed if changes were needed to one or more of the state plans, Bangs said.Montana released its plan in late August, and was the last state to do so. The director of the state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department still must sign a record of decision, which serves as official notice the plan is adopted. It can’t be signed sooner than 15 days after the plan’s release, or before Sept. 6, spokesman Tom Palmer said, noting a state environmental law. Concerns have been raised about Wyoming’s plan. It calls for a dual-classification of wolves, as trophy game subject to regulated hunting in some parts of the state and as predators that could be shot with few limitations in other parts.
9.2.03 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Environmentalists say the Mexican gray wolf's reintroduction to the wild is hobbled by restrictive regulations, while ranchers say the program is unfair to cattlemen. As the five-year point approaches for the wolf release program, the gulf between ranchers and environmentalists persists, while federal biologists say the program is working. But environmentalists argue the wild wolf population is declining, not moving toward recovery. And not only do they deny ranchers' claims the program is stacked against livestock, they say the opposite is true. In March 1998, despite protests from ranchers, the government released the first 11 wolves in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on the Arizona side of the state border with New Mexico. The goal was to have a total of 11 packs and 55 wolves in the wild by the end of this year. There are roughly 30 radio-collared wolves in the wild right now, although biologists say there are probably more because an unknown number of pups and juveniles don't have collars. Ranchers and county government leaders are suing Fish & Wildlife, claiming the agency didn't sufficiently consider potential livestock depredation and wolves hybridizing with other canines.  They have asked a federal judge to ban new wolf releases and order all wolves removed from the wild until the service meets its obligations.