Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior

9.30.04 SILVER CITY, NM (KVOA.com) -- New Mexico is releasing a pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Gila Wilderness. The male was born in the wild to a pack released in Arizona and had been radio-collared as a pup in 2002. The female was also born in the wild [and] had never been captured before. She has also been fitted with a radio collar. They were captured last month in the San Mateo Mountains of southwestern New Mexico outside the official area for the species recovery. Wolves released in New Mexico usually are taken into the Gila Wilderness on mules and set free inside mesh enclosures. They chew their way free of the enclosures, then the enclosure is removed.
9.30.04 COLORADO (The Aspen Times) -- Most Coloradans like the idea of wolves roaming the state's forests, but the animals come at a price .... Wolves have been missing from Colorado since the mid-1930s, according to the state division of wildlife, but successful programs to reintroduce them in neighboring states point to their eventual return. Two polls in the past decade have shown that most residents would welcome them back. In Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, where the animals were successfully introduced in the last decade, state wildlife agencies requested $2.5 million this year to cover the costs of managing the 800 wolves .... At Wednesday's meeting ... [l]ivestock producers and hunters [worried] about the economic impact wolves will have on their business .... In 2003, wolves killed 150 commercially grown animals in the northern Rockies. To compensate for those losses, producers were paid $30,000. Conservationists are willing to pay double the value of the animal in Colorado to create goodwill among the wolf's fiercest opponents, said Rob Edward of Sinapu, which advocates wolf reintroduction and conservation .... In Colorado, the wildlife division now pays livestock producers for animals killed through its big game damage fund. With fees collected from state hunting licenses, it pays for everything from livestock preyed upon by lions and bears to hay eaten by elk .... In other states where wolves have been reintroduced, Defenders of Wildlife uses money raised through private donations to compensate ranchers for depredation. Colorado could use a combination of both sources to pay higher than market value for livestock lost to wolves....
9.30.04 BOISE, IDAHO (Associated Press) -- Most of the management of Idaho's thriving wolf population will be transferred from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the state within months, and even before the animal is pulled from the Endangered Species List, a federal wolf expert said Wednesday. "The state will do everything we do now. Essentially, Fish and Wildlife disappears," said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery team leader. "It's good news for wolves and for wolf recovery" .... The state of Montana will take the same approach. Idaho and Montana have approved plans to manage the packs. Wyoming's plan was rejected by federal officials and it is mired in lawsuits. Until that is resolved, the wolf remains on the federal list in the Northern Rockies. Fifteen wolves were released in Idaho in 1995. That has grown to more than 400 animals in more than 40 packs, said Steve Nadeau, Idaho Fish and Game large-carnivore coordinator .... The new rule would let ranchers shoot wolves they see chasing livestock on private land. People with grazing permits on federal land would also get more leeway .... The Nez Perce Tribe will continue the role it has had since 1995 in monitoring the wolf numbers. Recreational hunting and trapping of wolves would not be allowed until they are delisted .... Once the wolves are delisted, the state is required to maintain a minimum of 15 packs in perpetuity. They may ultimately be managed through controlled hunts or open hunts like bears and cougars.
9.30.04 ASHLAND, WIS. (Associated Press) -- Rob Stafsholt held up two pictures of dogs he lost to timber wolves whil bear hunting to dramatize his support for removing the timber wolf from federal protection lists. "My problem is not that this happened. It's that we can't do anything about it until the wolves are delisted," Stafsholt said Wednesday in testimony at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hearing. The meeting in Ashland was the third this week on a federal proposal to remove the timber wolf from the endangered and threatened species lists in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan ....Nearly everyone who testified Wednesday supported removing wolves from the protection lists. Stafsholt ... wanted to be even more dramatic in his testimony than he was with his pictures. He brought a mutilated carcass of his dog inside a suitcase to show the effects of wolf depredation, but was not allowed to display the remains inside the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, where the hearing was held.
9.30.04 WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Fossils from extinct dogs show why bigger is not better -- giant meat-eating animals died out because they relied too heavily on hunting other big animals, scientists reported on Thursday. Smaller, quicker carnivores could vary their diet more, hunting small rodents and mixing in berries, roots and other food sources, said Blaire van Valkenburgh and colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles. But once a carnivore reached a certain size, it would spend more energy hunting than it would get from small prey, they report in this week's issue of the journal Science. And that made them less adaptable .... This could help explain the mass extinctions of many giant animals called megafauna that dominated and then disappeared from North America over the last 50 million years. Van Valkenburgh's team studied a range of fossils from extinct canids, a grouping or "clade" of animals that includes wolves, foxes, coyotes and dogs. Canids that fed on large prey tended to have deeper jaws, long shearing teeth and few molars for grinding food. They ranged in size from that of a small fox to about the size of a very large wolf. As they got bigger, their teeth adapted more and more for ripping flesh and crushing bone and became less suited for chewing other foods. Some species developed massive jaws. "As mean body size increased, species evolved into specialized hypercarnivores," Van Valkenburgh's team wrote. "Did this result in an increased susceptibility to extinction? Such 'hypercarnivores' seem to have disappeared, based on fossil evidence, more quickly than other animal species." None of the hypercarnivores lasted for more than six million years, while more omnivorous species endured for as long as 11 million years....
9.29.04 WAUSUA, WI (Wausau Daily Herald) -- Most people at a public hearing Tuesday supported a plan by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take the gray wolf off the endangered and threatened species list in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and in the Northeast. Of the 10 people who commented publicly, eight supported the proposal to delist ... and thereby return management of the wolf to the respective states. Delisting the wolf could mean that the state Department of Natural Resources would allow some hunting and trapping of the animals, said Adrian Wydeven, head of the DNR's wolf management program, before the public hearing .... About 50 people attended the hearing. The state's gray wolf population in late winter this year was estimated to be about 400 animals in 108 packs -- 50 more than what the DNR recommends. Landowners, particularly farmers, and hunters who use dogs support the delisting of the wolf so that the DNR has more options to control the wolf population. The killing of domestic animals by wolves is on the increase, Wydeven said. There have been 21 confirmed cases of wolves killing livestock on farms so far this year compared with 14 in all of 2003 and eight in 2002, he said. Cases of hunting dogs being killed by wolves are also on the rise. Jeff Beard said wolves killed four head of cattle and three sheep on nearby farms in Westboro where he lives. Beard, 43, is the father of three daughters who ride horses in the woods that are home to a wolf pack .... Beard wondered if his daughters need to carry a gun each time they go into the woods. He supports the delisting so that the wolf population is brought down to a more "manageable level" .... Norm Poulton ... said he's concerned that the population will decline if the wolf is delisted and the state allows hunting and trapping. If a breeding male or female is killed, he said, DNR statistics prove that in 30 percent of the cases, a pack splinters and in 50 percent of the cases, no pups will be born from that pack within the next two years. That was the case with a pack in the Harrison Hills area of Lincoln County, Poulton said. The breeding female was shot during deer hunting season in 2002 and the pack, with the exception of the lone breeding male, has not been seen or heard from since .... Lisa Yee-Litzenberg, Great Lakes Wolf Project manager with the National Wildlife Federation, supports delisting in the Great Lakes, but not in the Northeast where populations of gray wolves have yet to re-establish themselves. "We feel they did that to get out of their responsibility to repopulate the wolves in that area," Yee-Litzenberg said....
9.23.04 CHEYENNE, WY (Associated Press) -- A coalition of more than two dozen Wyoming agricultural, sportsmen, predator control and county government groups has followed through on its intention to sue over the federal gray wolf recovery program. The Wolf Coalition is seeking judicial and monetary relief in federal court for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected Wyoming's wolf-management plan. In the suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, the groups also contend that the government failed to properly manage wolves in the state or follow its own recovery plan. On April 22, the state of Wyoming filed its own lawsuit against the Interior Department to force it to immediately approve the state's wolf management plan and begin removal of the predator from the endangered species list. When Wyoming's plan was rejected in January, concern was expressed by federal officials over a so-called "shoot-on-sight" provision in much of the state outside the Yellowstone National Park area to help control a rapidly expanding wolf population. "The rejection of the Wyoming plan is contrary to the Recovery Plan," said Lincoln County Commissioner Kathy Davison in a release Thursday. "The Wyoming Plan provides for substantially more than 6,000 contiguous square miles for wolf protection, which is more than double the amount that the Recovery Plan said was necessary for wolf recovery." The coalition said the government anticipated a "recovered" population would total about 300 wolves. The groups point out that in 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated at least 761 wolves, including 51 breeding pairs, in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. By the end of 2003, there were at least 174 wolves in 14 packs living in Yellowstone and 76 to 88 wolves in eight packs living in Wyoming outside the park, according to agency estimates. The coalition includes the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming County Commissioners Association and commissioners from Campbell, Lincoln, Sublette and Washakie counties. Other members include the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association, Green River Cattlemen's Association, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, and various predator control, grazing and sportsmen groups. The coalition claims that wolves have severely damaged Wyoming's wildlife, including elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep and antelope; the state's ability to manage that wildlife and raise revenue; the outfitting and sportsmen industries; agricultural interests because of depredation on cattle, sheep and horses; and property rights of coalition members
9.20.04 ARIZONA (The Arizona Republic) -- For the next few weeks people with a yen for the wild not only can run with the wolves, they can bark, whine, growl and howl with them, too. All they need do is walk into the small, dark, denlike Arizona State University Computing Commons Gallery, pick up a microphone, stare at a sleeping wolf and let loose. Like student Christopher Sebastian, 21, of Phoenix did this week when he walked into the AlphaWolf exhibition. "Oooo," Sebastian shyly voiced a muted, puppylike call into the microphone at a podium set up before a video screen on which was a computer-generated image of a sleeping wolf. The wolf barely flickered an ear. "Now don't be shy! Don't be shy!" said gallery assistant and student Srinivas Rao, 21, of Bombay, India. "OOOWWOOOOOOO! RUFF! RUFF! GRRRRRR!" the increasingly liberated and lupine Sebastian emoted. Now the wolf woke up, stood up and began trotting into a forest. There another wolf appeared and glared at him . . . and at Sebastian.Students who are able to take a little break from their studies for a wolf encounter can thank Sheilah Britton, director of the Arts, Media and Engineering Program's gallery. "This is a well-known, fascinating exhibition and I really wanted it for ASU," Britton said. University of California, Irvine Professor Bill Tomlinson, 31, and several associates designed AlphaWolf when he was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he left in 2002. In a telephone interview, Tomlinson said AlphaWolf grew out of his interest in social behavior and social relationships, "and figuring out computational systems can form relationships with people. So in the wolf project, there are three kinds of relationships being shown off," he said. "First, there are relationships between virtual wolves. Second is the relationship between the virtual wolves and the person interacting with the system. Finally, there is the relationship between the different people who are interacting with the wolves." AlphaWolf allows up to three people to interact with the virtual pack at the same time, each playing the role of one wolf pup in a new litter. Participants direct their pups with a microphone (into which they howl, growl, whine or bark to affect how their pups interact with their packmates) and a mouse (to tell their pups where to go). Tomlinson said the wolves, "feature a simple model of social behavior, incorporating learning, emotion, perception and development." The exhibit runs until October 15.
9.19.04 COLUMBIA, S.C. (Associated Press) - A report on the death of federally protected red wolf suggests a heartworm-prevention drug may have led to the adult female's death. The medicine, ProHeart 6, has been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration after reports of negative side effects in treated dogs, including death. The rare red wolf that federal wildlife managers at a Charleston nature preserve were counting on to help save the endangered species had been injected with the drug last month by members of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Clemson University autopsy report did not pinpoint a cause of death, but said the wolf might have died from heat stroke or a reaction to the heartworm medicine. Fort Dodge Animal Health, which makes ProHeart 6, was unable to assess whether the drug could have killed the wolf, but the company maintains few dogs have bad reactions to the medicine. ProHeart 6 was the first, and only, product approved by the FDA to be administered once every six months to treat heartworm disease in dogs. Its active ingredient, moxidectin, has been administered without problem to horses and cattle. Biologists at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge where the wolf died will stop using the drug on wolves, refuge manager Matt Connolly said. "We didn't find out it had been recalled until after," Connolly said.
9.17.04 MICHIGAN (The State News) -- A proposal to remove the eastern population of the gray wolf from the endangered and threatened species lists was met with mixed reactions at a public hearing held on campus Wednesday.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service presented the proposal, which was created after the wolf populations in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota recovered to where they would be able to sustain survival and growth. Fisheries and wildlife senior Jonathon McClain said during the hearing that he is supportive of the proposal. Added to the list as an endangered species in 1974, the wolf was under the jurisdiction of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which provides for federal protection against hunting and requires individual recovery plans to be made. The gray wolf was upgraded to a threatened species in 2003 in the newly-designed Eastern Distinct Population Segment - one of three geographical locations in which large populations of the gray wolf can be found. Last winter, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service conducted a population survey which found 389 wolves in Michigan, and 3,207 in the entire Eastern Distinct Population Segment. The segment includes 21 states from the Dakotas, east to Maine and south to Kansas and Missouri. Mike DeCapita, wildlife biologist for the Ecological Services division of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, said people think the removal of the gray wolf from the list would eliminate federal protection that could help restore a population in New England. The act is not designed for that purpose, DeCapita said. People want the Fish & Wildlife Service to rezone the Eastern Distinct Population Segment into New England and Western Great Lakes population segments, rather than one large segment, said Ron Refsnider, regional listing coordinator in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Division of Endangered Species. Refsnider said because populations of the gray wolf are not currently found in New England, the Fish & Wildlife Service cannot legally establish a distinct population segment in that area.
9.15.04 LIVINGSTON, MT (Associated Press) -- Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., is calling for the eradication of a Park County wolf pack that has attacked a sheep herd twice in the past week. Three of Bob Weber's ewes were killed Friday night or Saturday morning less than 100 yards from his home in Paradise Valley. Weber lost four sheep to wolves the week before, and said his herd has been attacked three times in the past year. Weber has since corralled his sheep to within 100 yards of his house. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service traced the attacks to the Lone Bear wolf pack, one of three ranging north of Yellowstone National Park. The pack was also responsible for the December deaths of 25 ewes and lambs on the adjoining ranches of Weber and his brother. ''What we asked (USFWS) for is that the (pack) be eliminated,'' Rehberg spokesman Brad Keena said Tuesday. ''We've been assured that the first step is they're going to kill two adults and tag a third.'' Keena said Rehberg supports ''letting Montana manage the wolves,'' and added ''management must simply be placed in the hands of Montanans to establish more consistent control of the wolves.'' Defenders of Wildlife independent contractor Linda Thurston said the group planned to talk with Bob Weber about erecting wolf-proof fences, and has tied brightly colored cloth on some of them in the meantime. ''Defenders' goal is to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock and therefore hopefully prevent both from getting killed,'' she said.
9.15.04 SAULT STE. MARIE, MI (www.sooeveningnews.com) -- Taking the gray wolf off of the endangered and threatened species list drew widespread approval on Tuesday at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public hearing. The gray wolf was first placed on the endangered list back in the early 1970s when the animals were limited to an isolated region in Minnesota's most northeastern portion and Michigan's Isle Royale. The relatively small population in Minnesota has since grown to more than 2,400, while the virtually non-existent populations in Wisconsin and Michigan now number over 700 animals combined. [USFWS] agent Ron Refsnider of the USFWS explained the delisting will allow the states and tribes to manage these animals as long as the minimal numbers are sustained. This, in all likelihood, should make it easier for officials to deal with problem animals that have turned their attention away from deer and other wild critters in pursuit of farm animals. Farmers from Pickford, Rudyard and Sault Ste. Marie were joined by sportsmen from Engadine and St. Ignace in support of the federal proposal. Eric Wallis, a Rudyard farmer who has lost animals to wolf predation, said he would like the USFWS to give the farmers and ranchers the ability to take care of the problem. As things currently stand, the DNR can send someone out to target renegade animals. However, many have criticized this system as being too little too late as the wolves often do not return. "They're here and we can have them, but I don't think we need a great number of them," said Hugh Anderson of Rudyard, expressing the belief that a minimal number of wolves would be the ideal solution. Tim Nelson was one of only two speakers to express concern with the delisting proposal. "I don't want to see it turn into a free-for-all like it was before with the wolves," he said. "They do serve a purpose." Steve Nelson of Epoufette expressed fear that the DNR is not doing enough to protect the wolves. He also said there may be more to the wolf predation complaints than meets the eye. "Dairy farmers don't bury or burn their carcasses, but use them for bait to draw wolves in," alleged Nelson. Comments on the delisting proposal will be accepted through Nov. 18. Interested parties can enter their opinions into the official record by mailing a letter to Gray Wolf Delist -- Eastern Distinct Population Segment, c/o Content Analysis Team, P.O. Box 221150, Salt Lake City, Utah 84122-1150.
9.13.04 WYOMING (Casper Star Tribune) -- Malnutrition and starvation -- not wolves -- have drastically reduced moose numbers in northwest Wyoming, the author of a new decade-long study says. "I know people don't want to believe this ... but moose are not in the diets of wolves," Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Wyoming Game and Fish commissioners during a meeting last week in Casper. The study is one part of the larger debate in recent years about the effects of wolf predation on the state's big game species -- particularly on elk in western Wyoming herds. Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists say wolves continue to expand their range in western Wyoming. But there were little data about wolf impacts on moose populations. Three moose herds in the Jackson area comprise the moose unit under study. The unit is well below the Game and Fish Department's desired population objective of 3,600 animals. Some outfitters and others have complained that moose numbers have been harmed by the transplanting of Canadian wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-'90s. But Berger said his study showed the decline in moose populations in the Jackson unit is more of a problem with nutrition and habitat than with predators. "There's a lot of other things going on besides predators ... habitat, changing weather, lags in vegetation response, poor willow growth, disease ... and we're losing (moose) habitat not only in quantity, but in quality too," he said. The study showed about 14 to 18 percent of mortality in adult Jackson moose was due to grizzly bears and less than 2 percent due to wolf predation. Car collisions accounted for about 8 percent of total adult mortality, Berger noted. "About 60 percent of adult female mortality is due to malnutrition... Less than 5 percent of adult females are lost due to predation," he said. Berger said the 10-year study revealed that moose birth rates, and rates of twin births, are also down significantly. Commissioner Bill Williams said after the meeting it was important to get the word out about the study to the state's sportsmen and hunters. "I was surprised... I think a lot of people have the misperception that wolves were responsible" for moose population declines, he said. Berger said the Jackson moose unit has been plagued by unusually low pregnancy rates in recent years. The study also tried to determine how fast moose learn to deal with wolves and grizzly bears over time. "The mothers seem to be learning... They exhibited a heightened vigilance, especially after a calf lost to wolves or bears," Berger said. The Jackson moose unit population averaged 2,400 animals from 1998 to 2002, according to Game and Fish data. The population rose slightly in 2003 and was estimated at 2,736 animals. The agency has a statewide population objective of 14,630 moose. Because the herd unit is well below the desired objective, the department has been eliminating hunting permits accordingly, wildlife biologists said.
9.11.04 LEWISTON, ID (Associated Press) -- Wildlife authorities say a new wolf pack has killed a second beef cow near the Elk River. US Wildlife Services confirmed the kill by a pack that has been active on state and Potlatch land about 16 miles south of Elk River. The cow is believed to have been killed late last month. Another cow was killed by wolves there in mid-August. Ranchers in the area say they think other cattle have been killed, but won't know for sure until the herd is rounded up in October. Authorities have collared two wolves. They believe the pack consists of two adult parents and three or four pups. It's been named the Chesimia (cheh-SIM'-ee-ah) Pack. Biologists plan to monitor the pack's movements but have not authorized anyone to kill wolves in response to the cow deaths.
9.10.04 OREGON (Salem Statesman Journal) -- Ben Boswell, a county commissioner from Eastern Oregon, calls an effort to establish and manage wolves in Oregon a “fool’s errand.” Boswell was one of two people on a 14-member advisory group to reject a draft plan for managing wolves in Oregon. The group — representing interests from livestock producers to hunters to conservationists — spent 11 months creating the plan. On Thursday, the advisory group presented the plan to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. “I propose that wolves be kept from Oregon by whatever means are necessary,” Boswell wrote in a report to the commission. “Wolves have no biological, social or legal right to be in Oregon and certainly no one has a right to add a threat to our rural lifestyle.” Sharon Beck, who represents livestock owners, also said she could not support the plan, mainly because of the compensation measures for livestock killed by wolves. The plan calls for paying for cattle killed by wolves, but it does not address other costs, such as the increased work for handlers when livestock react after seeing wolves, she said. The rejection by the two group members means consensus was not reached — a goal that members had hoped to achieve. Other group members called the plan balanced, fair, wonderful and wise. They said it incorporated everyone’s interests and still promoted the conservation of wolves.
The draft wolf plan includes:
•A minimum of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years before the wolf can come off the endangered species list.
•Three different management plans depending on the number of wolves in the state.
•Two separate regions of the state — east and west — with different management based on the numbers of wolves in those regions.
•Education for livestock producers and landowners on nonlethal management techniques.
Even with the commission’s approval, there are three pieces of the plan that would require legislative action:
•Reclassification of the wolf to “special status mammal” within the game mammal category — which means there will be a wide range of management tools available and would allow hunting or trapping in response to management concerns.
•Funding a compensation program that reimburses livestock owners for confirmed and probable wolf kills.
•Options for killing wolves when they are harassing livestock that are not currently allowed under Oregon law.
There are no known wolves in Oregon, but biologists expect the canines to migrate to Eastern Oregon from Idaho. Wolves once lived in most of Oregon but, for the past 60 years, people have heard no wolf howls in the state. The plan is a good start, said Bret Michalski, representing educators. “I don’t envy the first wolves that come to Oregon nor their successors,” he said. “I think they have a long, hard road ahead of them.”
9.9.04 MONTANA (Billings Gazette) -- Federal officials plan to kill one wolf and radio collar another after wolves killed three ewes and a lamb on a Paradise Valley ranch. Bob Weber lost the four animals late Friday or early Saturday. He also lost eight sheep to wolves in December 2003, while his brother, Hubie, who owns an adjoining ranch, lost 17. "Well, I guess it's something we kind of expected," Bob Weber said Tuesday. "We just didn't know when. They've been back every night chewing on the carcasses." The wolves are from the Lone Bear pack - the same pack that attacked the Webers' livestock last year, said Ed Bangs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery coordinator. Government trappers killed three wolves in that pack in 2003. Bangs said Weber will also be given a permit to shoot any wolves on site, although Weber said the sheep are being attacked at night. Weber plans to apply for compensation through Defenders of Wildlife, a group that paid the Weber brothers about $10,000 in February for their losses. The brothers said the sum did not cover future wool losses or stress on the surviving animals.
9.8.04 WISCONSIN (The Ashland Daily Press) -- The killing of seven bear hounds by gray wolves within a one-month period near Glidden has prompted an advisory for hunters with dogs to avoid hunting in that area. The State Department of Natural Resources is also advising hunters with dogs to use caution in Sawyer County northeast of Ladysmith, where wolves killed a dog on Aug. 23. The killings southeast of Glidden occurred within 2.5 miles of each other, likely because the wolves were protecting their pups, Mammalian Ecologist Adrian Wydeven said. "This is the first time I think we've advised people not to hunt," Wydeven said. "This pack seems to be especially aggressive towards dogs." The pack is nine to 11 wolves in size, he estimated. Members of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters' Association said reducing the wolf population is the sure way to stop the killings. David Withers, chairman of the wolf committee for the association, said the association is proposing that the state reduce its management goal from 350 wolves to 100 wolves. He said this could be accomplished through public harvest. "We've been laying somewhat low for a couple years now because we've been advised that would be the thing to do and not to make too many waves before federal delisting," Withers said. "However, this thing has gotten to the point where we are in the immediate future going to be voicing our wishes to the DNR and the legislature if necessary." A Sept. 29 public hearing at the Great Lakes Visitor Center will address a proposal to remove protection for wolves under the Endangered Species Act. If protection is removed, the state could authorize euthanizing and harvesting to control population levels. The DNR calculates between 373 to 410 wolves live in Wisconsin, not including Indian reservation populations. A hunter who lost dogs to wolves, Rob Stafsholt, said the DNR is underestimating the population. His two hounds were killed near Glidden on Aug. 20, he said. The first three wolves were killed Aug. 4. A single dog was killed Aug. 7, and another dog killed Aug. 23. "I'll stay out of that particular area, but how do you stay away from where the timber wolves are?" Stafsholt said. "If they were in one little spot, that would be one thing, but your whole national forest system has wolves in it." Current policy allows for trapping and euthanizing wolves when they kill livestock, but not when they kill dogs hunting on public land. Wydeven said 20 wolves have been euthanized this year for livestock attacks. Wydeven advised that hunting dogs wear bells, noting that only one of the dogs killed this year was wearing a bell. Stafsholt said he doesn't necessarily believe that bells keep away wolves. He said bells could be a signal to wolves that "dinner is coming."
9.7.04 MONTANA (Bozeman Daily Chronicle) -- He has worked with muggers and gunners and now Montana State University doctoral student John Winnie, Jr. has invented his own lower cost, more effective elk-tracking device. For four years, Winnie has worked with MSU ecology professor Scott Creel studying wolf-elk interactions in the Porcupine, Taylor and Teepee/Daly drainages between Bozeman and West Yellowstone. To better study elk responses to wolves, they needed high-tech, global positioning system collars with hourly tracking in addition to traditional radio collars, which require a person to use hand-held telemetry to track each animal. "We wanted to determine where the elk were moving every few hours and needed GPS collars, which were a formidable $3,500 each," Winnie said. "The purchase would not only consume much of the research dollars, but the available collars often failed. So I decided to build my own." Winnie came up with "a small, lightweight, self-contained package that we could simply rivet to a regular radio collar," Creel said. He "tested trial versions by soaking them in buckets of water overnight, smashing them on the floor and freezing them at minus 40 degrees. When they stood up to that, we put them on the elk, and we've had 100 percent success." Researchers have since collected more than 20,000 locations from 18 elk over the past two winters and learned a great deal about the ways that elk respond to the risk of predation by wolves. They used traditional radio telemetry to find the wolves.
9.2.04 MINNESOTA (Mesabi Daily News) -- Earlier this summer the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list. Wednesday, as part of the delisting process, the service held a presentation and public hearing at Mesabi Range Community College. The hearing was the second of three set for Minnesota during a required 120-day comment period for the proposal and was attended by about 20 people. The first hearing was Tuesday in Bemidji and was attended by 75 people. A third hearing will be in October in Bloomington. Ron Refsnider, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said a decision on the delisting should be made by next July. “At this point we think we’re ready to delist this (area),” Refsnider said, referring to an area that covers all of Minnesota, most of the Midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan. As of 1998 there were roughly 2,450 gray wolves in Minnesota, Refsnider said, nearly two times the amount the federal government required for delisting. During the public hearing portion of the meeting seven people spoke, most in favor of delisting but a couple advocating that wolves remain on the endangered species list. Jim Hofsommer of Markham said he’s been an outdoorsman all of his life and has been around most of the wild animals Northeastern Minnesota has to offer. In his estimation, the delisting is long overdue. “I hope this plan can proceed and it can be implemented,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe it will be open season on wolves if the delisting goes through. “I don’t think anyone in this room would like to see wolves eliminated. We should have a reasonable management plan in place,” he said. Karlyn Berg was one of three people who spoke in favor of keeping the wolf on the endangered species list. “It is evident the hostile attitude toward the wolf has not ended,” she said.