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

July 2003
7.31.03 SHERIDAN, Wyo (AP). -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a plan for managing gray wolves Tuesday, despite concerns of federal wildlife officials about whether it adequately protects wolves in the state. The commission Tuesday also requested an immediate petition for removing wolves from the endangered species list once Wyoming, Montana and Idaho complete state wolf-management plans. Wolves are now managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wyoming's plan has raised the most concern because it would classify the wolf as a predator in most of the state. Predators can be killed with few limitations. State Game and Fish Director Brent Manning described the plan as a "middle-of-the-road" compromise. But ranchers and outfitters said it deviates from the law. Maury Jones, an outfitter from Grover in western Wyoming, said wolves are little more than killers of the elk that he and others rely on to do business. Conservationists, meanwhile, complained that wolves could be shot virtually on sight in much of the state under the plan. Jennifer Williams, of Big Horn, blamed the "huge political influence" of Wyoming's farm and ranch community for a system allowing wolves to be shot "by anyone, anytime" in places where they are classified as predators -- outside Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and the adjacent wilderness areas.
7.31.03 CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should take “speedy action” toward removing wolves from the endangered species list now that Wyoming has become the second of three states to approve a plan for managing the species, Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Wednesday. The Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring Wyoming, Idaho and Montana to develop plans to ensure a viable wolf population. The plans must earn approval from Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. Idaho has also approved a wolf management plan and Montana’s plan is expected to be ready by September. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved Wyoming’s plan at a meeting in Sheridan on Tuesday. Freudenthal said at his regular news conference that the Wyoming plan ought to be able to pass muster with the federal government. “I don’t think anybody likes this plan,” he conceded. “I mean, it’s one of these things we didn’t want to have to do to begin with. And it is just a continuing reminder of, frankly, the heavy-handed federal government in Wyoming.” He said it is important for wolves to be delisted. “The population numbers are going up exponentially and there’s a point at which, you know, the federal beast has to be dealt with,” he said.
7.25.03 ONTARIO (Pembroke Daily Observer) -- Protection is running out for the most popular animal in one of the country’s oldest and most recognized parks. Algonquin Park is the largest protected habitat for the Eastern Canadian wolf, which is on the federal Species at Risk List. The moratorium on hunting and trapping wolves in 39 townships surrounding Algonquin Park will automatically expire on June 30, 2004; just 30 months from the day it first went into force. Earthroots says the moratorium is too short and is demanding permanent protection so that the wolves do not suffer the same unfortunate fate as their endangered relatives in the United States. The environmental group is not alone in their criticisms of wolf protection. In his last Annual Report, Environmental Commissioner, Gordon Miller criticized the MNR’s weak and inadequate rotection measures. The commissioner recommended extending the length of moratorium and the monitoring program. Miller also supported the inclusion of coyotes in the moratorium to reduce the possibility of mistaken identities. Along with the fate of the Algonquin wolf, Earthroots is concerned about Ontario’s Gray wolf, which the government knows even less about. Ms. Tkachyk says, “The government is prepared to gamble with this species’ future by allowing an open season on wolf hunting and snaring throughout the province.” There are no limits to how many Algonquin or Gray wolves can be killed each year in Ontario; whether for sport, rugs, fur trim on a coat or simply because they are perceived as vermin.
7.22.03 (Washington Post) -- [A]nimal behavior experts have debated for years how much of [canine] perceptiveness is inborn and how much is learned by being raised around humans. New research, however, indicates that the capacity to communicate with humans silently through gestures and glances has become an inborn talent because of the thousands of years that dogs have lived, worked and played with people. People usually assume that dogs got more stupid because humans provided everything. All they have to do is lie back and enjoy life," Miklosi said. "What we think is that dogs went through a re-evolution that started from some sort of wolflike animals. ... They acquired skills that make them adaptive to the human environment. They interact with humans. They learn from humans." To test his ideas, Miklosi and his colleagues designed an experiment comparing dogs with their closest relatives — wolves. They took 13 wolf pups from their mothers when they were just 4 or 5 days old and raised them in human homes like puppies. As adults, the wolves received intensive contact with their human caretakers, who literally carried the animals with them wherever they went. Previous studies had shown that adult dogs were better than adult wolves at reading human body language. But it was unclear how much of that was inborn and how much dogs learned growing up around humans. This experiment was aimed at clarifying that point. "The wolves got more human contact than the ordinary dogs got from their owners," Miklosi said. "They were really thrown into the human environment." The researchers then trained the wolves and various breeds of dogs to get a piece of meat by pulling on a string. After the animals learned how to get the meat, the researchers attached the string so that no matter how hard the animals pulled they could not get the meat. The wolves just continued to pull on the string in frustration. But the dogs quickly stopped pulling when the string did not move and turned to look at the faces of the humans, the researchers reported in the April 29 issue of the journal Current Biology. The experiment shows that "the dogs have adapted to use this channel" of communication, Miklosi said. "This has provided the opportunity to communicate with us. And the wolves have not."
7.17.03 World Wolf Congress 2003: "Bridging science and community" - September 25-28, 2003. The Central Rockies Wolf Project is inviting the world community to share scientific and community approaches to wolf management and conservation. Join more than 500 attendees from around the world learn, share and discuss wolves. Youth are invited too! A special forum for youth has been organized for Saturday, September 27, 2003 All young people (age 10-13) are invited to attend this first-ever Youth Wolf Congress. There'll be entertainment, storytelling, and learning about your favourite subject and ours - wolves! To register and find out more information visit: www.worldwolfcongress.ca.
7.10.03 TORONTO (Parry Sound North Star) -- Protection is running out for the most popular animal in one of the country's oldest and most recognized parks. Algonquin Park is the largest protected habitat for the Eastern Canadian wolf, which is on the federal Species at Risk List. The moratorium on hunting and trapping wolves in 39 townships surrounding Algonquin Park will automatically expire on June 30 2004, just 30 months from the day it first went into force. Earthroots says the moratorium is too short and is demanding permanent protection so that the wolves do not suffer the same unfortunate fate as their endangered relatives in the United States. "Over a decade of research has shown that the Eastern Canadian wolves of Algonquin Park are in peril," said Earthroots spokeswoman, Melissa Tkachyk. "It will take more than the next year to ensure this species' future is protected." The environmental group is not alone in their criticisms of wolf protection. In his last Annual Report, Environmental Commissioner, Gordon Miller criticized the MNR's weak and inadequate protection measures. The Commissioner recommended extending the length of moratorium and the monitoring program.There are no limits to how many Algonquin or Gray wolves can be killed each year in Ontario.
7.10.03 SWITZERLAND -- The Swiss National Council has narrowly rejected an MP's motion to remove the wolf from the list of endangered species. The motion proposed by Theo Maissen and carried in the Swiss Council of States in December 13 2001, instructed the government not to implement the Swiss Wolf Concept and to release the country from all international obligations that require it to protect the wolf. However after a long debate, Members voted 84 to 77 on June 2 in favour of an alternative non-binding instruction to adapt the Swiss Wolf Concept.Under the Swiss Wolf Concept, the Cantons will continue to shoot wolves that cause damage to livestock and the Swiss Confederation will continue to pay compensation for livestock losses attributed to wolves. Theo Maissen had argued that Switzerland was too densely populated and the country too dependent on tourism to accommodate wolves. However opponents said that wolves would continue to immigrate to the Swiss Alps and that livestock owners would suffer because compensation for damages would be scrapped if the wolf's protected status was removed. Others believed that wolves could provide an added attraction for tourists.
7.7.03 WISCONSIN (Marshfield News Herald) -- A Central Michigan University graduate student and his instructor think they might have found a way to keep Wisconsin wolves from killing livestock: Don't shoot the wolves, shock them. Jason Hawley and assistant professor Tom Gehring have joined forces with members of the state Department of Natural Resources wolf management program to study how shock treatment can help control wandering wolves. Last year, wolves killed a record 62 domestic animals in Wisconsin, including cows, horses and dogs. Before April, the DNR's only choice was to relocate problem wolves. Now the wolves can be destroyed, and four have been killed since April. Gehring grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin 15 miles north of Chippewa Falls. He aimed to develop tools that would prevent farmers from suffering livestock losses. But he also grew fond of wolves while studying the animals for his master's level thesis in the mid-1990s. "I'm really interested in having the two co-exist," he said. "I think it's possible." To determine that, Gehring landed funding from his university. The Defenders of Wildlife, a national organization, also is contributing to his study as is the DNR with in-kind donations. But a lot of leg work remains before the researchers can determine if shock treatment is a viable option. Questions remain, such as how other wolves in the pack will react when the collared wolf gets shocked. The uncollared wolves will teach researchers just as much as the collared wolf. And, once the collared wolf learns not to go near a protected area, how long will it remember? Batteries in the collars last three to six months, Gehring said. Another questions: When new wolves are born, will they learn from the elder wolf to stay away from the protected areas?
7.1.03 MILWAUKEE (Star Tribune) -- Seven rare Mexican gray wolves were born six weeks ago at the Apple Valley zoo. Monday marked their coming-out party. Senior veterinarian Dr. Jim Rasmussen and other zoo staff workers had waited nine years for this moment. The most endangered of gray wolves in North America, only 250 Mexican gray wolves are in captivity and, perhaps, another 20 or so are running wild in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The birth of pups in the smallest of the gray wolf species was not only big news, but long-awaited. The Minnesota Zoo has been a part of a breeding program for the wolves for nine years. It had two other Mexican gray wolves from 1995 to 2001, but breeding attempts were unsuccessful. Then came the arrival of two wolves from Michigan's Belle Isle Zoo. The pair had shared a previous litter and, before that, the mother produced a litter with another partner. This time, mother Cheyenne was more than generous, giving birth to four female and three male pups _ a large litter for wolves, Fallon said. But this litter is particularly important because the pups come from genetically diverse lines, which bodes well for the longevity of the species. Captive wolves are expected to live about 14 years. As healthy as they are feisty, the pups were tested for parasites, fleas, ticks, cleft palate, overbite, hernia and eye and ear disorders. "They have beautiful skin, they're healthy and at six weeks, they should be out of the danger zone," said Dr. Melissa Weisman, the zoo's part-time vet. "They seem to have everything." Except names. For now, the wolves are identified by five-digit numbers and, thanks to Rasmussen's shaver, small bare spots on different parts of their bodies.