8.30.04 WHITEHORSE, AL (CBC North) -- The Alaska government is taking aim at wolves again this fall. Last year a government-approved program saw 144 wolves killed by state-licenced hunters. This year the state has approved an expanded program that will see 500 wolves targeted. The state Board of Fish and Game approved the program in a bid to improve dwindling moose populations. Licenced hunters will be allowed to shoot wolves from the air. Conservation groups opposed the program last year and attempted to impose a tourism boycott of Alaska. So far the groups haven't announced any plans in reaction to the expanded wolf hunt.
8.30.04 JACKSON, WY (Casper Star Tribune) -- Bright lights and firecracker-like blasts are deterring wolves from attacking cattle in Grand Teton National Park, officials said. Ranchers have not reported any depredations since wolves from the Teton Pack killed a 400-pound calf Aug. 10 in the park, said Mike Jimenez, the federal wolf recovery project leader for Wyoming. The attack was the first recorded in the park since the wolf pack took up residence at Grand Teton in 1999. After learning of the incident, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assigned a crew to spend three nights with the cattle. Each time wolves approached the herd, "we would shine a light and fire cracker shells to scare them away or make them uncomfortable," Jimenez said. Although the crew had to chase the wolves away several times, no depredations occurred. The methods sometimes work in the short term but do not have as much success with chronic problems, he said. But for now, the techniques are paying off. "(The wolves) have gone back to their regular pattern, so hopefully they don't go back to bothering the cattle," Jimenez said. This summer, the Teton Pack has hunted elk primarily along the Snake River. But to reach the elk from the pack's rendezvous site on the eastern edge of the park, the wolves must cross pastures where cattle graze. Franz Camenzind, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, said the grazing allotment is an unnecessary temptation for wolves that ought to be phased out. "It's like having a field trip every day with your third-graders, right through the middle of the candy store, and expecting them not to get addicted to candy," he said. The grazing permit, issued to the Porter, Lockhart and Gill families, originally expired in 1995. Congress passed a law in 1997 to extend the permit and that of another ranching family while authorizing a study of whether grazing helps preserve open space in Jackson Hole by helping ranchers stay financially afloat, which can discourage them from subdividing their property. The study was completed in 2001, and the National Park Service and Department of the Interior are working to draft a recommendation to Congress on whether grazing in Grand Teton should continue. Until Congress acts, the Park Service is legally obligated to allow grazing, park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo said. Grand Teton officials have asked the ranch families to assign a rider to stay with the cattle overnight to discourage depredations.
8.30.04 BULL ISLAND, SC (The State.com) -- A female wolf has died after scientists inoculated her in preparation for her release into the wild. Her death leaves two 4-month-old pups without a mother. The female, male, and two pups were to have been returned Monday to Bull Island, which for 17 years has been a cornerstone of federal efforts to save the endangered red wolves from extinction. Two breeding wolves live in the wild on the island and teach survival skills to their offspring. Eventually, the young wolves are shipped to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, the government's main site for restoring red wolves to the woodlands of the United States. Until recently, red wolves were not known to have reproduced at Bull Island since 2001. One mother wolf became too old to breed. Another female swam off the island and died when a car hit her on U.S. Highway 17. But last spring, the newest female mated with a male and produced puppies. The adult wolves had been caged since January to bond and mate. Federal officials spent Wednesday morning giving the four wolves shots and checking their vital signs to prepare them for release. The female died a few hours later. Now, scientists must try to determine what caused the death and whether to release the young wolves with their father. Biologists speculate the stress of being captured and inoculated caused the female wolf to overheat and die. Another theory is the wolf had an unknown medical condition that killed it. The 45-pound wolf's carcass will be sent to Clemson University for study this week. Federal wildlife officials also will assess handling procedures to see if mistakes were made with the wolves.
8.25.04 WISCONSIN (BusinessNorth.com) -- Wolves in Ashland County have killed seven bear-hunting dogs this month, and hunters and dog trainers are being warned to stay away. The seven dogs were killed in four separate attacks. The attacks took place east of Cable and west of Glidden in the Chequamegon National Forest. Adrian Wydeven is a wolf expert for the Department of Natural Resources in Park Falls. He says this is the first time this pack of wolves has killed hunting dogs. “We know that they had pups last year and pups this year and it’s when they have pups present that they become especially aggressive toward dogs. It may have been just a case where the first time around the dogs just got too close to where the pups were and the adults got aggressive toward dogs near their pups, and since then they’ve just become more intensely aggressive toward the dogs.” Wydeven says typical bear-hunting dog training takes the dog away from the hunter. He says attacks most often occur when there aren’t people nearby, because people tend to scare off wolves. Wydeven says in this case family dogs aren’t in danger. “It’s a fairly wild country, there aren’t really any people living right in the area where the depredations are occurring.” Wydeven says this week a bear-hunting dog was killed north of Ladysmith in southern Sawyer County by a wolf pack that had killed four dogs last year. He says this type of aggressive behavior can carry over. “Certain packs develop an attitude toward dog depredation and if they do kill dogs one year there’s a good chance they’ll do it again the following year.” Wydeven says about 70 to 80 wolf packs are found in northern Wisconsin areas used for bear-hound training, so these incidents only represent two packs.
8.19.04 ISLE ROYALE, MI (Newswise) -- New research on the wolves of Isle Royale may shed light on a mystery that has long puzzled biologists: Why do some predators band together to hunt? "Most species of predators live solitary lives," says John Vucetich, a research assistant professor of wildlife ecology at Michigan Technological University. "Biologists have always wanted to know why the few exceptions live in groups." In his observations of wolves and ravens, Vucetich may have found the answer: Predators that hunt in groups lose far less meat to scavangers. Earlier, scientists had guessed that wolves hunting in a large pack would bring down more food per wolf, so each individual would get more to eat. However, studies showed that wasn't the case. "According to their calculations, wolves in big packs got less food," Vucetich said. "It didn't make sense." So Vucetich examined the methodology and discovered a problem. Scientists had calculated the amount of food available based on the weight of the prey killed, not on the amount that the wolves actually ate. "Then I thought, 'OK, what you kill isn't relevant; it's what you consume,'" he said. "What happens after the kill? Suddenly, scavengers are really important." For wolves, ravens are the really important scavengers. "You never see wolves without ravens nearby," Vucetich said. On Isle Royale National Park, located in Lake Superior, five to 15 ravens are found on the carcasses of moose killed by wolves. And on the mainland, the numbers can be far higher: About 100 ravens were once counted around the carcasses of a few wolf-killed deer. "So we asked the questions: How much can a raven take per day? It can eat and stash about two pounds. How much can a wolf eat? Up to 18 pounds in a few hours," Vucetich said. "We found that in bigger packs, both the pack and the individuals actually get more food, not less." Ravens are intelligent, fast and agile. It's useless for wolves to waste energy chasing them away from a carcass because the ravens come right back, so they don't. Instead, wolves simply out-eat the ravens, and thus the advantage of a large pack becomes clear. Solitary hunters can find themselves at a loss when confronted with unexpected scavengers. Vucetich’s work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Isle Royale National Park and Earthwatch. His article, “Raven Scavenging Favours Group Foraging in Wolves,” has been published in the June 2004 edition of the journal Animal Behaviour and is posted online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav. 2003.06.018 The co-authors are Rolf Peterson, of Michigan Technological University, and Thomas Waite, of Ohio State University.
8.19.04 SILVER CITY, NM (Associated Press) -- A new pack of endangered Mexican gray wolves is being released this week into the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico.The wolves -- a pair and five pups-- are part of a government program launched in March 1998 to re-establish wild populations of the rare wolf in New Mexico and Arizona. Officials say the female and her pups were captured in Arizona after straying outside the boundaries of the reintroduction program's designated recovery area. The female's original mate and the father of the pups was killed in Arizona earlier this year by government sharpshooters after it repeatedly attacked and killed livestock. She was paired with a new male while in captivity.
8.18.04 NORWAY (Aftenposten) -- It sounds odd at first, but researchers are using mobile phone technology to track a young wolf's 1,000 kilometer (621 mile) trek from Hedmark to Nordland. The wolf will 'keep in touch' by sending regular SMS (Short Message Service) bulletins, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports. The sender on the wolf is configured to automatically send text messages about its location every time it comes near a mobile transmitter mast. The researchers have received nearly daily messages from the wolf and know that in two months it has traveled from Åmot in Hedmark County to Grane in Nordland County, via Sweden.This is the first time the technology has been used in Norway and scientists are enthusiastic about the novel method of wolf tracking."We have never before been able to afford to track wolves on such long journeys. We have largely had to concentrate on marked wolves that move in a smaller area. The new method means that we can more easily follow wolves that migrate over long distances, like this one has," said researcher Petter Wabakken.The wolf is now living dangerously. A permit to destroy the animal has been sought in Nordland after the wolf has killed sheep in the region.
8.17.04 CODY, WY (Billings Gazette) -- Just because the hot-button legal dispute was dismissed in federal court, Park County officials are not about to let sleeping wolves lie. Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric on Monday appealed dismissal of two cases alleging trespass by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee and his assistant. Wyoming wolf recovery coordinator Mike Jimenez and Wes Livingston, an employee of Hawkins and Powers Aviation Inc., were accused of trespassing on the Larsen Ranch in Meeteetse during a wolf radio-collaring operation. The men were found on the ranch property with four tranquilized wolves on Feb. 14. Charges of criminal trespass and littering brought by Skoric were dropped last month in the U.S. District Court in Cheyenne. He intends to take the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver with the blessing of the Park County commissioners. "The judge said that the men could be on private property if they were working for the federal government-we don't think that's right," Commissioner Tim French said. According to court documents, on Feb. 14, stock owner Randall Kruger saw Jimenez and Livingston processing the wolves on ranch property. Jimenez explained that they were collaring the animals and that the helicopter pilot dropped them off while he went to refuel. "During the entire capture operation, I believed we were on public land," Jimenez stated in his declaration. Kruger, a shareholder in the Larsen Ranch, disagreed. "I think the truth is the four wolves were transported here from Dubois and released," said Kruger in his complaint. He was concerned that the men were releasing wolves near the Meeteetse ranch's calving grounds without permission.
8.14.04 (Associated Press) -- Could wolves in Idaho and Montana be removed from the endangered species list without an acceptable wolf management plan in Wyoming? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is willing to discuss delisting the gray wolf on a state-by-state basis in the Northern Rockies, but is skeptical such a move is possible under federal law, said Ed Bangs, Rocky Mountain wolf coordinator for the agency. Bangs said the service is concerned about the precedent that could be set for other endangered species recovery efforts around the country. Bangs' comments came in response to Montana's threat to sue the agency unless it agrees to discuss possible ways to delist the wolf in Montana without waiting for Wyoming to develop an acceptable wolf management plan. That message was included in a recent letter from Jeff Hagener, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks director, to Steve Williams, director of the federal wildlife agency. The agency should consider state boundaries in its delisting decisions, Hagener said. "We are prepared to argue that wolves can, and should, be delisted in Montana, regardless of their classification under the (endangered species) act in other states," he wrote. The federal government began reintroducing wolves in this region in 1995, and the populations are sufficient in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to allow the animal to be removed from the endangered species list. Federal officials said they will do that once each state has submitted an acceptable management plan. Montana and Idaho have done so, but the Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the Wyoming proposal, which would remove protections once the animals leave national parks and adjacent wilderness areas. It also did not meet the federal requirements to ensure at least 15 packs will remain in the state and include an acceptable definition of a pack. Wyoming has sued the federal government over rejection of its plan. Bangs said resolution of that lawsuit could take five years. Hagener called the impasse unacceptable and said further delay in delisting the wolf in Montana could erode political support for the state to assume management of the animal. Jim Caswell, administrator of Idaho's Office of Species Conservation, said his state wants the wolf delisted as soon as possible and would join any talks between Montana and the federal wildlife agency. But he questioned whether Montana's proposal is possible. "We don't think there is a legal basis to do it," Caswell said. Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank shared that view. "These species cross state boundaries, and the Fish and Wildlife Service probably needs to look at the species as a whole," he said. The policy governing delisting in the Northern Rockies lumps the three states together, requiring at least 30 breeding pairs of wolves, equally distributed in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, he explained.
8.11.04 MARSEILLES, FRANCE (AFP) -- France's first wolf cull since the 1930s was halted on Wednesday after a court ruled that a government order authorizing the action, which sheep farmers say is necessary to protect their flocks, was invalid. The Marseille court ruled on a technicality, saying the cull orders for the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments in southern France were illegal because the initial ministerial order had not yet been published in the government gazette. The decision was a victory for the Association for the Protection of Wild Species (ASPAS), whose lawyers had argued the cull would endanger a species that is protected under European law. A court in Nice suspended the cull order in the Alpes-Maritimes department last week. Wednesday's decision in the two other south-eastern departments effectively put a halt to the operation. Environment Minister Serge Lepeltier had authorized the move in the southern Alps last month, saying that up to four wolves could be shot by year's end if attacks on sheep continued. Exterminated in France before World War II, the wolf was reintroduced in 1992 in the Mercantour national park on France's border with Italy, and its population has since increased by 20 percent a year. Sheep farmers who bring their flocks to graze on the Alpine slopes during the summer months complain of the devastation caused by the predator, with more than 2,150 sheep killed in 2003, according to official figures. The wolf is a protected species under European law and a cull can only be organized under strict conditions that do not endanger the survival of the colony. Lepeltier said the four authorized kills would represent 10 percent of the officially established population, which is of 39 animals, rather than of the widely accepted figure of 55. The government had initially planned to authorize the killing of five to seven animals but was forced to reduce the number under pressure from environmentalists who want to see the wolf move beyond its enclave in southeast France.
8.11.04 ALASKA (Fairbanks News-Miner) -- When the Murie Science and Learning Center officially opens at Denali National Park and Preserve on Monday, a project by students at Cantwell School will be front and center. A real wolf skeleton, assembled by students, is the centerpiece display. A Healy trapper donated the wolf. Community members helped students butcher it. Then, students boiled the bones, soaked them in chemicals to loosen gristle and cartilage, and cleaned the bones by hand. They bleached the bones and removed bone marrow. Under the guidance of expert Lee Post of Homer, they put the bones back together as a skeleton. The display at the new center features the wolf skeleton, an interpretive panel about pioneer scientist Adolph Murie and photos of the students with their project. Kirk Martakis, a Cantwell father who helped put the wolf together, hopes the project will bring together the park service and subsistence users in his community. "A lot of people think every person in Cantwell wants to kill every wolf on Earth. That's not how it goes. My whole life is wrapped around wilderness. We love wolves, but like anything else out here, there are things that need to be harvested. If carrots do really good, that's what we eat. It's that way with wolves, caribou and moose--whatever the country has to offer at the time." This project is the result of a partnership between the Denali Borough School District, the Denali Institute and the National Park Service. Open house at the learning center takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday. Visitors are invited to tour the building. In addition to the wolf skeleton, employees will demonstrate how wolves are tracked using radio collars and will share information on long-term wolf monitoring.
8.9.04 GLIDDEN, WIS. (Ironwood Daily Globe) -- Three bear hounds were killed Wednesday in the Glidden area by a pack of wolves. Investigators from the U.S. Wildlife Services investigated the incident. It's the first incident of wolf depredation on bear dogs in 2004, but similar attacks have occurred in the past, noted Adrian Wydeven of Park Falls, a mammalian ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Wydeven said wolves and their pups are in rendezvous sites at this time of year. It's not known if the wolves were protecting one of their sites when the dogs were killed, he said. The Town of Shanagolden pack has existed for several years, according to Wydeven, who said it is the first depredation incident in that area. The dogs were owned by Stratford and Unita hunters. Owners of dogs and other animals that are killed by wolves are provided compensation by the WDNR. Previously, the DNR has paid up to $2,500 for each dog killed by wolves. The WDNR estimates up to 410 wolves in 108 packs in the state. The Shanagolden pack is a big one, with from nine to 11 animals.
8.7.04 COLORADO (Ft. Collins Coloradoan) -- Rocky Mountain National Park is considering the reintroduction of wolves, ranger-led hunting and other measures to control an elk population that has more than tripled since 1969. An estimated 3,000 elk now roam in the park during the summer months, and roughly 2,000 migrate down into the Estes Valley during winter. Their increased numbers have degraded willow and aspen stands needed by other wildlife and have led to property damage and safety concerns in Estes Park. Few dispute the need to reduce the elk herd, said RMNP spokesman Larry Frederick, but there has been a wide range of opinions on how to do it. The National Park Service has presented six alternatives as part of its development of an elk management plan. Public feedback will be sought at four public forums later this month. But the idea of reintroducing a pack of 14 to 20 gray wolves to the park is sparking vigorous debate. Livestock groups say ranching and wolves don't mix. "We're absolutely opposed to the reintroduction of gray wolves. Unequivocally," said Bonnie Kline, executive director of the Colorado Wool Growers Association. "We're not raising livestock to feed wolves." "Wolves do indeed eat cows and sheep occasionally," said Rob Edward, director of the carnivore restoration program for Sinapu, a Boulder-based environmental group. But if given the choice, he said, wolves prefer their natural prey. It is expected that wolves reintroduced to RMNP would likely migrate beyond its borders, but Edward doesn't anticipate significant livestock losses. That's because a ready wolf food source -- the elk herd -- would be close at hand. Any wolf reintroduction would likely come with a fund to reimburse livestock owners for any losses. Kline said such a fund hasn't been effective in other states where, for every confirmed wolf kill, there are five to eight that are unconfirmed. The fund, administered by Defenders of Wildlife, will likely be improved, Edward said. While he acknowledged the fund is imperfect, it makes ranchers a rare group that's eligible for private reimbursement for losses suffered because of Mother Nature. For Edward, the issue boils down to this: Wolves are a natural part of the ecosystem and are needed to control the size and behavior of the elk herd. "Because of the way wolves hunt, they keep elk on the move so they don't spend so much time in one river bottom browsing everything down to the nub," Edward said. Frederick agreed that the loss of wolves, absent from the park since 1900, has played a role in the increase of the elk population. "The only ecologically justifiable proposal is to reintroduce wolves to the landscape," he said. "Wolves are an important part of the southern Rocky Mountains web of life and should be restored to as many places as possible."
8.6.04 BOZEMAN, MT (Billings Gazette) -- A federal judge agreed Thursday to let five environmental groups help defend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service against a lawsuit filed by the state of Wyoming over rejection of its wolf management plan. "Wyoming has chosen a sort of maverick approach," said attorney Tom France, who represents the National Wildlife Federation. "This litigation is really taking us further away from wolf delisting and state management." Federal officials have said they will remove wolves from the endangered species list once Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have submitted acceptable management plans. Plans from Montana and Idaho have been accepted, but the fish and wildlife service rejected Wyoming's, which would remove protections once the animals leave national parks and adjacent wilderness areas. Wyoming's plan did not ensure that at least 15 packs will remain in the state and lacked a scientific method to define a pack, said Jon Schwedler, a spokesman for the Predator Conservation Alliance. Other groups joining the defense are the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance and Wyoming Outdoor Council.
8.5.04 WASHINGTON, DC (PNN Online) -- Defenders of Wildlife filed an administrative petition asking Interior Secretary Gale Norton to implement and enforce the Federal Airborne Hunting Act (FAHA) in Alaska to stop the state's practice of using airplanes to chase down and kill wolves. The request comes after the Secretary refused, in March, to issue clarifying regulations and insisted that the wolf killing program was permitted by the FAHA. "It's patently obvious that Alaska is killing wolves to artificially boost game populations for sport hunting, and that's a clear violation of federal law. Alaska's bull-headed insistence on wildlife mismanagement is not only illegal, but ignores not one but two statewide referenda banning airborne hunting. We know it's a novel idea for this administration, but we want Secretary Norton to do a simple thing -- enforce the law," stated Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. Currently, Alaska's airborne wolf killing program allows hunters to slaughter wolves and wolf pups from the air by either shooting from above, or by chasing them into deep snow until they are trapped and too exhausted to move. This clearly appears to be intended to increase big game targets for sport hunting, a practice strictly forbidden under the Act. Since Governor Murkowski and the state legislature overturned a statewide ban on airborne killing, passed twice by Alaska voters, nearly 150 wolves have been killed. "The numbers of wolves slaughtered from aircraft will only increase unless this gross mismanagement of the state's wildlife resources is kept in check by the Federal Airborne Hunting Act," stated Karen Deatherage, Alaska Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife. "Already the Alaska Board of Game has tripled the area covered by the aerial killing program in 2005 to a total of 30,000 square miles of land. If not reversed, this decision is a death sentence for nearly 2,500 wolves over the next five years. Slaughter of this magnitude has just one purpose, to radically and illegally alter the ecological balance of large parts of Alaska." A copy of the petition and a video showing aerial wolf hunts can be found online.
8.4.04 PORTLAND, OR. (KATU-2) -- Those interested in the development of a wolf management plan for Oregon may now read all the materials produced for a committee that has met monthly since last year. The wolf Advisory Committee expects to complete its work in August and present a draft Oregon Wolf Management Plan to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on September 9. While there are no confirmed gray wolves in Oregon at the time, numerous unconfirmed sightings have been documented. ODFW biologists expect the gray wolves to enter Oregon from the expanding population in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, and eventually establish a permanent population in this state. In 2003, there were 345 gray wolves in Idaho, which are listed as endangered in Oregon. Anyone who thinks they have seen a wolf in Oregon should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service in Bend at (541) 312-6429. [To look at what’s been produced so far, go to www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/main.html. ed.]
8.4.04 ASHLAND, WIS. (The Daily Press) -- Timber wolf numbers in the state are high enough now that officials are considering steps to control population levels, according to a report released by the Department of Natural Resources last week. The DNR's July 27 report states 361 to 398 wolves were counted outside Indian reservations, the first time wolf numbers have exceeded the state's management goal of 350 wolves. This is a threshold before people and wolves begin to encroach on each other beyond an acceptable level, according to the DNR. The state's capacity is 500 wolves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision on July 16 to work to remove the wolf from the threatened species list would allow for provisions for people to kill wolves in the event of attack on livestock or domestic animals, according to DNR Mammalian Ecologist Adrian Wydeven. A public hearing on the federal government's proposal to remove the wolf from its list is planned for Sept. 29 at the Great Lakes Visitors Center on Highway G. "Ultimately, we want to give as much authority to landowners and the public as possible," Wydeven said. The provisions could also allow for wolf harvesting in areas where wolves are coming into areas unsuitable to their habitat, he said. While wolf populations continue to increase, their rate of growth has slowed, according to the DNR's report. It states that the population increased by 11 percent from last year when 335 wolves were reported. The growth rate had been averaging about 20 percent. In 2003, 17 wolves were trapped and euthanized, and 15 wolves have been trapped and 12 euthanized so far in 2004, according to the DNR. On Tuesday, the DNR posted to its website a survey to receive input for updating its first wolf management plan released in 1999. The link is www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/er/forms/WolfSurvey.asp. Answers to the survey will be used in formulating any new policy, Wydeven said. A Weekend for Wolves Workshop is scheduled for Aug. 6 through Aug. 8 at the Pigeon Lake Field Station near Drummond. The workshop, sponsored by Northland College's Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, will teach participants about the history of wolves, wolf biology, wolf behavior and research and monitoring techniques, according to a press release.
8.4.04 ONTARIO (Argus Observer) -- Tuesday's meeting of the Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance in Ontario was dominated by natural resource issues, including...the migration of wolves into Oregon. Sharon Beck, a Union County rancher and member of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association Task Force, asked the alliance to support efforts to amend the Endangered Species Act and support repeal of the state Endangered Species Act since it is a duplication of the federal law. She also asked for assistance from livestock producers to keep wolves out of the state. Beck said an attempt was made to have wolves "delisted" as an endangered species in Oregon since there have not been native wolves in the state for at least 50 years. Environmentalists in return filed a petitioned for a plan to bring them back. The Oregon Fish and Game Commission denied both petitions, but appointed a committee to draw up a plan on how to deal with wolves since they will probably be coming into the state some time in the future. "Three wolves have come to our state, none remain," Beck said. Work on that plan is heading into the final stages, she noted, but said she is not sure how much consensus there will be since there are wide differences among the 14 members. One issue they did agree on was that payments should be made to producers for livestock killed by wolves, she said.
8.3.04 WASHINGTON, DC (PR Newswire) -- Defenders of Wildlife filed an administrative petition asking Interior Secretary Gale Norton to implement and enforce the Federal Airborne Hunting Act (FAHA) in Alaska to stop the state's practice of using airplanes to chase down and kill wolves. The request comes after the Secretary refused, in March, to issue clarifying regulations and insisted that the wolf killing program was permitted by the FAHA. "It's patently obvious that Alaska is killing wolves to artificially boost game populations for sport hunting, and that's a clear violation of federal law. Alaska's bull-headed insistence on wildlife mismanagement is not only illegal, but ignores not one but two statewide referenda banning airborne hunting. We know it's a novel idea for this administration, but we want Secretary Norton to do a simple thing -- enforce the law," stated Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. Currently, Alaska's airborne wolf killing program allows hunters to slaughter wolves and wolf pups from the air by either shooting from above, or by chasing them into deep snow until they are trapped and too exhausted to move. This clearly appears to be intended to increase big game targets for sport hunting, a practice strictly forbidden under the Act. Since Governor Murkowski and the state legislature overturned a statewide ban on airborne killing, passed twice by Alaska voters, nearly 150 wolves have been killed. "The numbers of wolves slaughtered from aircraft will only increase unless this gross mismanagement of the state's wildlife resources is kept in check by the Federal Airborne Hunting Act," stated Karen Deatherage, Alaska Program Associate for Defenders of Wildlife. "Already the Alaska Board of Game has tripled the area covered by the aerial killing program in 2005 to a total of 30,000 square miles of land. If not reversed, this decision is a death sentence for nearly 2,500 wolves over the next five years. Slaughter of this magnitude has just one purpose, to radically and illegally alter the ecological balance of large parts of Alaska." A copy of the petition and a video showing aerial wolf hunts can be found on-line at http://www.defenders.org/wildlife/wolf/alaska.html .
8.3.04 CHEYENNE, WY (AP) -- The state Game and Fish Department will start spending $203,000 in federal money this year to help Wyoming prepare to assume management of gray wolves even as the state fights the federal government over the issue in court. Some of the money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be used to increase monitoring of big game species such as elk, deer, moose and antelope that are food sources for wolves. "We'll beef up our ungulate monitoring right away ... and use some of the dollars to prepare our people to take over management of the wolf," said John Emmerich, assistant chief of the Game and Fish's wildlife division. Emmerich said the federal money is a one-time appropriation that must be spent by September 2007. The federal money will also be used to purchase equipment and for employee training. Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages wolf populations in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana under the Endangered Species Act. The three states must submit acceptable plans for taking over management of wolves before the federal agency will propose removing them from the endangered species list. The agency has accepted the Idaho and Montana plans but has rejected Wyoming's plan. Wyoming is suing the federal government over that rejection. A coalition of 27 Wyoming agricultural, sportsmen and predator control groups announced in early July their intent to sue over the federal wolf recovery program as well. Federal officials began reintroducing wolves in 1995 and their populations have since become well established in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
8.2.04 FRANCE (Telegraph.co.uk) --Wolves are being legally hunted in France for the first time in decades after returning from extinction with a vengeance, to the dismay of Alpine sheep farmers.The government has authorised a cull in an area stretching from Briancon to the hills behind the Riviera to counter wolf attacks, blamed for 2,000 sheep deaths a year.Wolves became extinct in France in the 1920s, although occasional sightings continued until the Second World War. But since 1992, when wolves were reported to have started crossing the Italian border, the number of sheep they kill has grown steadily in three affected departements, the Hautes-Alpes, the Alpes-Maritimes and Haute-Provence. Last month, as farmers took to the streets of Gap to demand stronger measures, 400 sheep jumped into a ravine after being attacked by wolves in the Mercantour national park. Teeth marks were found on the throats of six carcasses. The wolf is listed as an endangered and protected species under the 1979 Berne Convention, so the cull has been limited to four animals, but no more than three of them bitches, between now and the end of the year. The affected area holds fewer than 60 wolves in total. Bernard Bruno, president of the sheep farmers' union in the Alpes-Maritimes, said the initiative was inadequate.In evidence to a parliamentary commission, Mr Bruno described his area as one of the few that had previously resisted economic decline, but blamed wolf attacks for precipitating one.However, even the limited cull faces a legal challenge. The organisation France Nature Environment says the sheep farmers have exaggerated their predicament. It says that more sheep die naturally in the first three months of life, or are savaged by dogs, than are killed each year by wolves.
8.2.04 IDAHO (USFWS) -- A Lewiston, Idaho, man pleaded guilty in Federal Court on July 29, 2004, to the killing of a gray wolf. Robin Shafer, after pleading guilty, was sentenced and ordered to serve one year of probation with nationwide revocation of hunting privileges, and to pay $21,252 in civil restitution to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Shafer admitted in court that he had shot and killed the wolf during a 2003 elk hunt near Elk River, Idaho, and that he had taken the tail of the wolf to his Lewiston residence. The wolf, an adult female, was not radio-collared. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game began investigating the case in late 2003 after the Department received a tip from a concerned citizen. State and federal investigators conducted an extensive search and found the carcass of what appeared to be a wolf under about four feet of snow near the campsite Shafer had used during the 2003 elk season. The investigators observed that the tail appeared to have been removed from the carcass. Investigators conducted numerous interviews and found what appeared to be a wolf tail in Shafer's| residence while conducting an interview there. The investigation indicated that the wolf had not been attacking or threatening Shafer when he shot it, and that he had transported the wolf carcass to his camp to show it to others. Shafer was charged in Federal Court with violating the Endangered Species Act, including the killing, possession, and transport of a gray wolf, a threatened species. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mikel Williams sentenced Shafer in Moscow. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently arranging payment of a monetary reward to the concerned citizen whose call initiated the investigation. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Law Enforcement Field Supervisor, Craig Tabor, noted, "We hope that this penalty will serve as a deterrent to others who would take the law into their own hands, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to provide funds that will support Idaho's increasing role in wolf management."