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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]

August 2003
8.31.03 SCOTLAND (Sunday Herald) -- Having made this heath a safe haven for foxes, who would bet against the Scottish Executive sanctioning the reintroduction of the wolf? Older readers may recall seeing a wolf as recently as 1745. Since then, alas, sightings have been rarer than tax cuts. But that could all change. Paul van Vlissingen the wealthy Dutch businessman who owns the 80,000-acre Letterewe estate in the Western Highlands, wants to reintroduce the wolf. His logic is incontrovertible. “To people who say this is a ridiculous idea,” he says, “I simply pose this question: if there were still wolves in the wild in Scotland, would you want them killed? It would be unthinkable.” If Mr van Vlissingen has his way, the wolves would be protected by law and treated as national treasures, like Tommy Sheridan or Kirsty Wark. The forces ranged against him, however, are formidable, including sheep farmers, who are said to be outraged at the proposal, and Scottish Natural Heritage, which howls: “Wolves aren’t on our agenda at all!” Presumably because they don’t exist in these parts. Be that as it may, Mr van Vlissingen is determined to pursue his dream. “We have to be more daring in our thinking,” he says. “We can’t keep depending on the Loch Ness monster for tourists.” Which, when you come to think of it, makes a lot of sense.
8.28.03 WISCONSIN (Daily Press) -- So far in 2003, 16 Wisconsin wolves have been trapped and shot by natural resources workers in an attempt to lower the number of farm animals being preyed upon by wolves. Trapping efforts are also underway in Barron County, where one wolf has been trapped, and for the third time this season near Danbury in Burnett County where four adult wolves have been euthanized. Traps are also set in Price County near Prentice and in Taylor County near Westboro, though no wolves have yet been caught. A farm needs to have two separate, verified animal losses attributed to wolves before trapping and euthanizing can occur, Weydeven said. Or, a farm needs to have a history of chronic losses, meaning it's had more than one verified wolf kill within the last five years, before wolves can be trapped and euthanized.
8.27.03 WYOMING (AP) -- A federal trapper killed a gray wolf feeding on a dead domestic sheep in the Big Horn Mountains. Mike Jimenez, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf recovery leader for Wyoming, said he authorized the shooting, which happened Sunday in Big Horn National Forest about 25 miles east of Ten Sleep. ‘‘Wolves will come into an area, and if they don't cause any problems, fine,'' he said. ‘‘But if they do we move to stop it quickly.''Jimenez said six or seven sheep were killed over about a week before the young male wolf was shot over a fresh sheep kill.
8.26.03 WISCONSIN (Pioneer Press) -- Two species of wild animals that didn't roam in Wisconsin for decades have now recovered so well that one is preying on the other for food, re-establishing their natural relationship, state wildlife officials say. A pack of timber wolves attacked, killed and consumed a 2-year-old bull elk near Clam Lake in Sawyer County earlier this month, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday. It's the first time wolves have killed an adult elk since the majestic herd's reintroduction in 1995, DNR wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven said. "I think it is good. It indicates we have a healthy wolf population and a healthy elk population and the two are going to be interacting in the future," he said. "I don't think it is anything to be concerned about. It is just the natural process." In 1995, the state released 25 elk from Michigan in Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake — the first herd to roam the area in more than a century. The herd has grown to about 120 animals, pushing it closer to the desired size before any hunting can occur. Besides the elk killed by wolves, nine others have been killed by vehicles and two others were accidentally shot since 1995, the DNR said.
8.26.03 MONTANA (Billings Gazette) -- A gray wolf was reported north of here this spring, and experts say the animals could easily spread into Carbon County as their numbers increase. The wolf was reportedly seen heading toward Muddy Creek. Experts "seemed fairly certain it was probably a pretty good sighting," said Dave Moody, trophy game coordinator for the Game and Fish Department. Wolves wandering from the Yellowstone region are "going to be the wave of the future, as we get a few more individuals and they expand," he said. "You're going to get individuals, especially in the spring, when they sub-adults are looking for mates," Moody said. "I seriously doubt they're going to stick around unless there's adequate prey basis." Wolves have been reported as far south as Mountain View and the north Red Desert in recent years. One was also found in Utah this past winter, Moody said.
8.22.03 MONTANA (Independent Record) -- Montana's long-awaited plan to manage the gray wolf is being touted as a "remarkable achievement" by state officials, but others say it will resurrect "the very threats that nearly wiped out wolves in the lower 48 states." Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain currently are protected under the Endangered Species Act, but earlier this year, federal managers downlisted the wolves' status from "endangered" to "threatened." The change is one of the steps involved in delisting wolves. However, before the wolves can be removed from the Endangered Species lists, state officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming must put together and adopt regulations to ensure the wolf population's survival under state management. An estimated 660 wolves, in about 80 packs, were present in the northern Rockies at the end of 2002. About 180 wolves, in 35 packs, are in Montana including a pack in Boulder and in Avon. Between 1995 and 2002, authorities confirmed roughly 100 cattle, 220 sheep, 21 dogs and nine llamas were lost to wolf depredation in Montana. It's expected that stockgrowers also experienced other unconfirmed losses. Joe Fontaine, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's assistant wolf recovery coordinator in Helena, said that at first glance the plan appears to be a good effort. "But like all of the plans, it will need additional review," Fontaine added. That assessment isn't shared by all. Some wolf protection proponents dismissed the plan as one that gives "short shrift" to non-lethal alternatives in dealing with human/wolf conflicts, and it gives broad discretion in managing livestock/wolf conflicts. They say it fails to protect habitat corridors, which provide links for wolf populations among large areas, and they're upset with the potential for sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the future.
8.16.03 (CHINA Daily) -- Wolves have killed at least seven children and injured more than a dozen people in northern India over the last three months, officials said Saturday. Panicked villagers in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh state are keeping their children indoors. Men are standing guard through the night. The forest department has ordered that the animals be shot on sight, said forest official A.P. Sinha in Bahraich district, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the state capital, Lucknow. Wolves usually avoid human habitats, said former forest official Ashok Singh. But dwindling forest may be pushing them closer to villages in search of prey.A team of 25 hunters is pursuing the wolves, Sinha added. They've killed three and trapped two others. One was handed over to the Lucknow Zoo, while the other was released in a remote area. Environmental groups have criticized the forest department's policy of killing some of the animals. ``Wolves are an endangered animal according to India's wildlife protection laws,'' said Pushpa Ranganathan of the group People for Animals.
8.15.03 CRAIG, Colo. (AP) — Some ranchers in northwestern Colorado say the area isn't ready for gray wolves, and they are prepared to take matters into their own hands if the lanky predators ever show up.
The county Land Use Board spent nearly three hours Tuesday reviewing evidence and discussing wolves, which were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies in 1995 and have since made a strong comeback. "These wolves are coming, whether we like it or not," said T. Wright Dickinson, an agriculture representative. For now, the animals are known to be roaming in parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The board urged county commissioners to stress the need for a state wolf-management plan. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has no such plan. Gray wolves are a threatened species in Colorado north of Interstate 70. South of the highway, the wolves are officially endangered. Division spokesman Todd Malmsbury said no wild wolves are confirmed to be living in Colorado and that the Colorado Wildlife Commission officially opposes reintroduction of the gray wolf. "I'd be real surprised if you see many wolves over the next five to 10 years because most of our wolves will be up in northwest Wyoming and that's quite a way for wolves to travel through country where they're going to be considered predators," said Reg Rothwell, supervisor of biological services for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. That is going to be a real impediment for those wolves to get as far as Colorado," he said. He said wolves reported to be near Colorado are likely lonely, adventurous animals.
8.13.03 (IDAHO Mountain Express) -- After a one-year hiatus, gray wolves have returned to the White Cloud Mountains, renewing a debate in central Idaho over how huge tracts of federal land in and around the region are managed. Wolf advocates have applauded a federal ruling this year that prohibits federal officials from killing wolves that prey on livestock in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which includes the White Clouds. At the same time, many object to grazing permits that allow thousands of sheep and cattle to be placed in proximity of known wolf dens in the 756,000-acre SNRA. Meanwhile, opponents of wolf reintroduction in Idaho have asserted that Idaho’s wolves are negatively impacting livestock and elk populations, threatening the valued institutions of ranching and hunting. Two new wolf packs moved into the White Clouds this year, filling a void left in 2002 by the erstwhile Wildhorse Pack, which disbanded, and the Whitehawk Pack, which was killed by federal officials after it was implicated in attacks on livestock. Wolf advocates have applauded a federal ruling this year that prohibits federal officials from killing wolves that prey on livestock in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, which includes the White Clouds. At the same time, many object to grazing permits that allow thousands of sheep and cattle to be placed in proximity of known wolf dens in the 756,000-acre SNRA. Meanwhile, opponents of wolf reintroduction in Idaho have asserted that Idaho’s wolves are negatively impacting livestock and elk populations, threatening the valued institutions of ranching and hunting. Two new wolf packs moved into the White Clouds this year, filling a void left in 2002 by the erstwhile Wildhorse Pack, which disbanded, and the Whitehawk Pack, which was killed by federal officials after it was implicated in attacks on livestock. Carter Niemeyer, Idaho wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency currently charged with managing reintroduced wolf populations in Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park, said the new packs bring to 20 the number of wolf packs with litters in Idaho. An additional 20 known groups of wolves without a breeding pair reside in the state. Despite the newfound success of wolves in the White Clouds, their future is not certain. The wolves are scheduled to soon lose their federally protected status, and eventually will be managed by the state of Idaho. The state has determined it will manage wolves depending on the number of packs in the state, with an overall goal of maintaining at least 15 wolf packs in Idaho.
8.12.03 (Canadian Press) -- A coalition of Canadian environmental groups is trying to save a northern Ontario national park from a proposed logging road network, which it says will destroy the sensitive habitats of wildlife in the area. "We have a deep concern that if this road does go through that very critical wolf habitat will be harmed irreparably," said Albert Koehl, a lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, a non-profit organization that offers free legal services to environmental groups. The proposed roads skim the northern border of Pukaskwa National Park, a 1,880-square-kilometre protected wilderness area on the shore of Lake Superior, roughly 100 kilometres west of Wawa, Ont. The logging roads would cut directly into the territories of four of the park's wolf packs and across habitat essential to the recovery of woodland caribou populations. "Plowing a logging road right through an area that's known to be a recovery zone, certainly is irresponsible of a government that's supposed to be in the jurisdiction of protecting wildlife and species at risk in the province," Melissa Tkachyk, a spokeswoman for the environmental group Earthroots, said Tuesday.
8.11.03 (MONTANA Standard) -- The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition – formerly known as the Central-Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition – is trying to raise money to file a class-action lawsuit asking the federal government be ordered to eliminate wolves from Idaho. Coalition founder Ron Gillett of Stanley told a news conference Sunday said that increasing wolf populations across the state are putting stress on wildlife, outfitters and ranchers. “I am afraid we are about to experience the biggest wildlife disaster in Idaho’s history,” Gillett said. “Something must be done immediately, because the Canadian gray wolf population has exploded to the point of decimating Idaho’s big game herds.” Research from the Nez Perce Tribe indicates that wolf populations are decreasing in some areas because as packs grow the territorial animals roam into less desirable territory. “The density of wolves in a given area is pretty much fixed. That is all the wolves you are going to have in an area.” said Curt Mack, director of wolf recovery in Idaho for the Nez Perce Tribe. An average wolf pack probably eats 80 to 100 elk per year, said Curt Mack, director of wolf recovery in Idaho for the Nez Perce Tribe. He guessed wolves kill about 2,500 to 5,000 elk per year. The latest estimates of Idaho’s wolf population place it around 284 and composed of about 19 packs. The numbers come from the 2002 gray wolf status report produced by the Nez Perce Tribe. Gillett’s coalition estimates the population has reached between 700 and 1,000 animals.
8.5.03 BISMARCK, ND -- large canine carcass found near Stanley early last spring was a wolf, laboratory testing has confirmed. Rich Grosz, a special agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck, said Monday that the wolf was accidentally killed during a USDA Wildlife Services coyote predation program being conducted on behalf of a Stanley area rancher. "Inadvertently, the wolf was exposed to an M-44 and died," Grosz said. An M-44 is a spring-activated device loaded with sodium cyanide powder that's baited and set out. North Dakota has no known breeding population of wolves. This wolf, a 2-year-old female, came from the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan population, Grosz said. Typically young wolves are kicked out of the pack when they reach sexual maturity, and they begin roaming in search of a new home.