Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior

11.29.04 SWITZERLAND (11.29.04) --Switzerland wants to water down the protection given to wolves in Europe, which would allow the animal to be culled. The Swiss government presented its proposal in Strasbourg on Monday to fellow signatories to the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. However, countries party to the legal instrument, which is also known as the Bern Convention, said they needed more information on the environmental impact of the wolf before making a decision. The Swiss authorities want the wolf to be reclassified. The predator currently appears on the list of “Strictly Protected Fauna Species”; Switzerland would like to see it downgraded to a “Protected Fauna Species”. If the proposal were accepted, the wolf would have the same status in Switzerland as the lynx, allowing it to be shot under strict conditions. An estimated three to six wolves are thought to be present in the country. Under legislation introduced in Switzerland in July this year, cantons can issue a licence to kill if 35 farm animals fall prey to a wolf in the course of four months, or 25 animals in one month. Since 1995, 14 wolves have wandered into Swiss territory from France and Italy, according to Pro Natura, Switzerland’s largest conservation organisation. It said seven had been killed under licence. Pro Natura has criticised the Swiss proposal, fearing it could lead to the extinction of the wolf in Europe. The group has already launched a campaign with the slogan, “Don’t let Switzerland kill your wolves!” Switzerland could find support for its proposal among other parties to the convention, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Around 12 countries are said to be unsure as to whether the wolf merits complete protection.
11.27.04 FAIRBANKS, ALASKA (Miami Herald) -- State officials have begun issuing permits for aerial hunters to kill wolves in parts of Alaska in an effort to boost moose and caribou populations. The first pilot-gunner teams killed four wolves last week after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game began issuing the permits earlier this month. More hunters are expected to take to the air beginning Wednesday. Officials want to cull about 500 wolves in various parts of the state to control their numbers this winter. Alaska's wolf population is estimated at 8,000 to 11,000 and hunters and trappers kill an average of 1,500 a year, officials said. The aerial hunting program is being met with protests by several wildlife advocacy groups. Friends of Animals, based in Connecticut, is organizing a tourism boycott of Alaska and "howl-in" demonstrations in more than two dozen cities. The group organized a similar campaign during last year's aerial hunting campaign. Washington-based Defenders of Wildlife, meanwhile, has petitioned U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton to halt the program under the Federal Airborne Hunting Act. The group is also collecting signatures on a petition to send to President Bush. "They have no idea how many wolves are in these areas, yet they're going in with these numbers made up on purely anecdotal information and doing some serious damage to the predator population," said Karen Deatherage, a Defenders of Wildlife spokeswoman in Anchorage.
11.27.04 ONTARIO, CANADA (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal) -- The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters says the province’s Enhanced Wolf Management Plan sets out a balanced approach to conservation. The proposal “is a reasonable balance to enhance wolf conservation, maintain hunting opportunities and protect farmers’ property rights,” OFAH spokesman Terry Quinney said Friday. On Thursday, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced a comprehensive wolf strategy which proposes new hunting seasons and mandatory wolf-harvest reporting in central and Northern Ontario. “This is the first time provincewide regulations have been proposed to limit wolf hunting in Ontario,” Ramsay said, adding that “with these changes, we are building on the steps already taken to protect the eastern wolf in the Algonquin Provincial Park area.” Quinney said in a news release that the Ontario government “actually listened” to OFAH advice, and has saved wolf hunting traditions and given wildlife managers the improved ability to collect data and manage harvest. The proposed wolf strategy includes:
• Developing and implementing a research and monitoring program to determine the status of wolf populations in Ontario.
• Requiring wolf and coyote hunters in selected wildlife management units (WMUs) in central and Northern Ontario to purchase up to two special game seals, in addition to their small game licence.
• Requiring mandatory reporting by hunters about wolf and coyote hunting and harvest in WMUs in central and Northern Ontario.
• Implementing a closed season for wolf and coyote hunting and trapping from April 1 to September 14 in WMUs in central and Northern Ontario.
Earlier this year the province banned the hunting, trapping and chasing of wolves and coyotes in and around Algonquin Provincial Park — the largest protected area for the eastern wolf in North America. The province has also designated the eastern wolf as a “special concern” on the Species at Risk list. Ontario’s wolf population has been pegged at between 8,000 and 10,000.
11.25.04 (EurekAlert!) -- A new study undertaken by researchers at UCLA, Uppsala University and National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and published in the journal Molecular Ecology, suggests that plans to reintroduce American gray wolves to the Western US will not restore the population to the near same extent of genetic diversity it originally boasted. As a result of the most extensive and systematic predator elimination program ever practiced by a government, the gray wolf was eradicated from the Western US and Mexico by the mid-20th century. However, this extinction, and the damage done to natural ecosystems, could conceivably be reversed through natural migration and reintroduction from surviving wolf populations in Canada. Unfortunately, the new research indicates that the genetic diversity of historic US wolves was much greater than that of contemporaneous Canadian wolves because historic US wolves lived in an Ice Age, rich in genetic diversity. Approximately 400,000 wolves existed historically in the western coterminous US, suggesting that past ecosystems were dominated by gray wolves and were profoundly altered by their absence. Professor Robert Wayne, one of the researchers on the project based at UCLA concludes: "Our results imply that current restoration goals of a few hundred wolves in the American West are grossly inadequate and reflect political and economic concerns rather than past biological reality".
11.25.04 ONTARIO, CANADA (Bloomberg.com) -- Ontario is proposing a law to limit wolf hunting to protect a species whose numbers fell by an estimated two-thirds over a 20-year period. The measure would ban wolf hunting from the beginning of April to the end of September each year and limit each hunter to two wolves or coyotes a year in the central and northern portion of the province, the government said in a Canada NewsWire release. Earlier this year, the province prohibited the hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes in and near Algonquin Provincial Park, the largest nature preserve for the eastern wolf, a smaller subspecies. The province hopes to determine the size of the wolf population and preserve its role in the ecosystem, the statement said. Ontario's wolf population declined to as few as 5,000 in the 1980s from as many as 15,000 in the mid-1960s, the government said on its Web site, based on academic and provincial studies. The province said it has little information on current population trends. The restrictions also apply to coyotes because hunters often mistake wolves for coyotes, the background paper said.
11.20.04 CHEYENNE, WY (Casper Star Tribune) -- A federal judge has consolidated lawsuits that seek to force the federal government to accept Wyoming's plan for managing gray wolves once endangered species protections are lifted. The state of Wyoming and a coalition of farm and ranching interests and county governments had filed separate lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Gov. Dave Freudenthal has no problem with consolidating the state's lawsuit with the Wolf Coalition's lawsuit so long as it does not prolong the court battle, Lara Azar, the governor's spokeswoman, said Friday. Oral arguments in the consolidated case are set for Feb. 4 before U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson. The Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring acceptable wolf management plans from Montana, Idaho and Wyoming before it will consider lifting federal protection for wolves and turn management over to the states. The agency approved plans offered by Montana and Idaho, but rejected Wyoming's plan because of a provision that would consider wolves as predators in parts of the state. Wyoming's plan would allow wolves to be killed at any time, by any means, everywhere except in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and adjacent wilderness areas.
11.19.04 LIVINGSTON, MT (Casper Star Tribune) -- An environmental group is building 6-foot-high fenced pens on two sheep ranches in the Paradise Valley where wolves have killed 38 sheep in the past year. Suzanne Stone, Rocky Mountain field representative for Defenders of Wildlife, said the 4.5-acre enclosures were being built on Bob and Hubie Weber's sheep ranches because other deterrents, including bright flags and noisemakers, had failed to ward off the Lone Bear pack. Stone said she hoped the fences would eventually become an alternative to killing wolves. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to kill the remaining three wolves in the Lone Bear pack, suspected in all 38 sheep kills. Six in the pack have already been shot by federal officials. Nine of the sheep kills took place in September on Bob Weber's ranch, who said he was told Defenders wouldn't compensate him for sheep killed in the future unless he had the pens built. "It's kind of a blackmail deal," Weber said Wednesday. The organization paid for the Webers' sheep losses last year, when 29 sheep were killed, mostly on Hubie Weber's ranch. Bob Weber said the 6-foot fence might not be high enough to deter wolves, but said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials told him if it was any higher it would prevent game migration and injure animals. Earlier this month, wolves jumped a 5-foot fence in the Paradise Valley and killed two goats. The enclosures for Bob and Hubie Weber's property will cost about $12,500, which Defenders is raising through donations.
11.19.04 DULUTH, MINN (Associated Press) -- A new survey by the Department of Natural Resources shows the population of timberwolves in Minnesota is stable and possibly growing. The state has about 3,020 wolves, a 23 percent increase from a 1998 survey that showed an estimated 2,450 wolves roaming the state's woodlands. But because of a large variability in the survey's margin of error, wildlife managers don't believe the increase is as great as the survey shows. The survey also indicates that wolves, for now, have stopped expanding their range south and west out of the north woods. Their range includes about 26,197 square miles of northern Minnesota, about the same as in 1998. The size of each wolf pack has remained stable at about 5.3 wolves. But the survey also hints that the range of each wolf pack has shrunk by about one-third, meaning more wolves can fit into the core north woods range. Wildlife experts said that's probably because there are so many more deer now -- 80 percent more than 1998 in some areas -- and wolves don't have to travel as far for food and are more tolerant of other nearby packs. "We estimated that there are now more wolf packs occupying smaller territories in the same range," John Erb, DNR wolf research biologist in Grand Rapids, said in a statement releasing the survey data. There are now nearly 400 wolves in Wisconsin and nearly 400 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, more than double the number called for in the federal government's 1970s wolf recovery plan.
11.16.04 ALBUQUERQUE, NM (Associated Press) -- A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist says returning wolves to the Rocky Mountains from southern Wyoming to northern New Mexico is "a chance to undo a great wrong" done when wolves were exterminated from about 98 percent of their range by the mid-1900s. Steve Fritts said he believes the region could support wolves. Recent scientific studies by the federal government and independent groups suggest it could support as many as 1,100 wolves. About 60 percent of the 108,000-square-mile area is public land. Wolves already have been reintroduced in the Northern Rockies. No proposals to reintroduce wolves to the Southern or Central Rockies are currently under consideration, and it would be months before a formal recovery plan could be made. Gray wolves are an endangered species in the region. Still, the idea of reintroducing the predators was a hot topic for conservationists, biologists and wildlife managers gathered this week in Albuquerque to celebrate a decade of gray wolf recovery efforts in the Northern Rockies. The event was sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife. "I think there would be room for a population 20, 40, 60 years from now," Michael Phillips, who co-wrote a report analyzing the potential for reintroducing gray wolves in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, said in an interview from Bozeman, Mont. Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, said the report is centered around Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch on the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The study, using computer modeling, was done to see if putting wolves back into the wild in key locations could help regional recovery efforts by returning the animals more quickly and with greater viability than by them expanding their ranges naturally.
11.12.04 GAYLORD, MI (Royal Oak Daily Tribune) -- A Rogers City man who killed the first gray wolf documented to be in the Lower Peninsula in almost a century will not face criminal charges. Presque Isle County Prosecutor Don McLennan said this week that he would not charge Jeffery Karsten, 50, in the Oct. 23 shooting of the federally protected wolf. Karsten, a hunter and trapper, killed the 70-pound female gray wolf after finding it caught in a coyote trap in a hayfield near his home. Karsten noticed a radio collar around the wolf's neck after shooting it and called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' anti-poaching hot line. Experts say wolves once lived throughout Michigan, but a state-paid bounty led to their virtual extinction; none were recorded in the Lower Peninsula after 1910. The wolf shot by Karsten probably crossed the frozen Straits of Mackinac to reach the northern Lower Peninsula.
11.12.04 ROGERS CITY, MI (Michigan Outdoor News) -- Residents and biologists have speculated in recent years about the presence of gray wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula. Those speculations were confirmed on Oct. 23, when a local trapper found what turned out to be a 70-pound female wolf in one of his coyote traps, about six miles west of Rogers City. The trapper mistook the wolf for a large coyote and killed it on the spot. Finding a radio collar on the animal, he realized it was a wolf and contacted a local conservation officer, who transported the dead wolf to a wildlife biologist at the DNR’s Atlanta field office for positive identification. DNR law enforcement and wildlife officials are investigating the incident. As of press time, no charges had been filed against the trapper for killing a threatened species. Wolves are listed as threatened in Michigan, which allows state, federal, and tribal authorities to manage nuisance wolves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of delisting wolves in the Eastern Distinct Population Segment, of which Michigan is a part. Brian Roell, the DNR’s wolf specialist, said he was not surprised at finding a wolf in the northern Lower. “We knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when,” Roell told Michigan Outdoor News from his office in Marquette. “We’ve been getting some sightings down there, and some pretty reliable ones, but this is the first time we’ve been able to identify one.” The wolf was initially caught on Nov. 2 of 2003 by a coyote trapper in western Mackinac County, near Engadine. When that trapper contacted the DNR, biologists fitted the yearling female with a radio-tracking collar and released her. She was last detected in the U.P. on Feb. 26, 2004 along the Lake Michigan shoreline, about 15 to 20 miles from where she had been collared, according to Glenn Matthews, the DNR’s management unit supervisor at Gaylord. Roell believes the she-wolf walked across the ice to the northern Lower last winter while the Straits of Mackinac was frozen over. Roell said there was no way of knowing, but that there, “certainly could be others” in the northern Lower. “She was collared as a young animal, not a mature female, so she probably came over by herself,” Roell said. “There is habitat in the northern Lower where wolves could live and thrive." Historically, there have been wolves in the Lower Peninsula, but the last one documented was in 1910. Last winter’s tracking survey in the Upper Peninsula showed a minimum of 360 wolves residing there, and the population is growing at about 12 percent each year. At the present time the DNR is following 49 collared wolves in the Upper Peninsula but has a list of about 20 to 25 that are missing.
11.12.04 ALBUQUERQUE, NM (Associated Press) -- A wildlife biologist with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service is the new coordinator of the Mexican gray wolf recovery program. As coordinator John Morgart will recomment and interpret federal policy and serve as the project's lead scientist. Morgart spent the last five years working for the agency at its Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. [He] holds a PhD in wildlife ecology from the University of Arizona. He has a master's degree in zoology and a bachelor's in wildlife biology from Arizona State University. Morgart has worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service since 1987.
11.12.04 BILLINGS, MT (Associated Press) -- Authorities following up on reports of livestock losses set out to kill a wolf pack, but only one pup was shot and the other wolves fled into timber, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. The pup, part of a pack in the Roscoe area, was shot Thursday from the air. Wolf recovery coordinator Ed Bangs of the Fish and Wildlife Service said the agency will wait until hunting season closes before making any further decision about wolf control. Bangs said there were reports of sheep and calf losses earlier this year. The Fish and Wildlife Service determined the wolf pack consisted of a pair with three pups. Officials caught and collared one pup during the summer. The pack lives on a ranch where no loss of livestock has been reported, but neighbors said they lost about 40 sheep and half a dozen calves, Bangs said. The sheep had one owner and the calves several, he said. Agents with Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, flew over the area in a helicopter Thursday and shot an uncollared pup weighing as much as an adult. It is common to blame wolves when there are livestock losses, Bangs said, "but it's kind of not fair. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. Most of the time, it's not predators."
11.11.04 DENVER, CO (Associated Press) -- Members of a new task force believe that wolves that wander into Colorado from neighboring states should be left alone unless they start killing livestock. The Colorado Wolf Working Group reached the consensus last week and will present its final recommendations to the state Division of Wildlife next month. The group began meeting after a dead wolf traced to Yellowstone National Park was found in June along Interstate 70 about 30 miles west of Denver. At first, several ranchers and hunters on the panel thought that wolves posed too much of a danger to livestock and big game to allow any in the state. Since then, state biologist Gary Skiba said that members of the panel have agreed that not every wolf has to be killed immediately. "We think the best approach is to live and let live," said rancher and task force member Jean Stetson. For now, the task force will only make recommendations on what to do about the first wave of wolves expected to migrate south from Yellowstone. Later, if packs of wolves establish themselves in the state, Stetson said ranchers will want to look at tighter controls.
11.11.04 HOLLYWOOD, CA (Variety) -- The deep friendship which develops between a Russian man and the wolf who threatens his livelihood makes for enthralling cinema in "The Vesyegonsk's She-Wolf," about historical enemies (hunters and wolves) achieving harmony together. Exquisite cinematography captures Russian snowscapes in all their immaculate beauty and the noble canines are best in show. A natural for fests, film could also be suitable for limited arthouse release or a makeover set in a U.S. or Canadian wilderness. Some bloody moments may need to be trimmed for the school-age market which is likely to thrive on pic's storybook qualities. A pack of wolves savagely attacks hunter Egor (Oleg Fomin), forcing him to take refuge in a tree. As the hunter faces his new role as the hunted, story flashbacks to when he originally enraged the trio of beasts by raiding a litter of cubs. Within that flashback, there's another flashback, to show the beginnings of the intense rivalry instigated by Egor's need to protect his chickens and livestock. This cinematic double somersault is executed with ease, quickly establishing each protagonist's motivation. And after being rescued from the tree by his fellow residents of the village of Vesyegonsk, the narrative settles down. Angry about the wolves' threat to their safety, Egor's neighbors set out to dispose of the roving pack. On this follow-up mission, Egor shoots a she-wolf point blank but, astounded by the animal's ability to stay alive, he nurses it back to health, much to the consternation of his wife and the townfolk. Egor's bonding with the animal moves beyond affection to a relationship so intense that the community believes he's become a werewolf. Central focus of the picture is depicted with sensitivity and intelligence, with vet documentarian Nikolai Solovtsov in full control of his material. Keeping both the realistic and the artistic aspects of the story in balance, Helmer never compromises the truth of his yarn, despite some improbable moments.
11.10.04 ANCHORAGE, AL (Associated Press) -- Two men approved to participate in a state-sponsored program to kill wolves near McGrath are facing criminal charges, including shooting the animals from their planes outside the prescribed area. Court papers show that David Haeg, 38, of Soldotna, and Tony Zellers, 41, of Eagle River, each face five counts of shooting wolves from a plane, two counts of unlawful possession of game, and one count of lying about where they shot the wolves. Haeg, owner and operator of Trophy Lake Lodge, also is charged with two counts of trapping in closed season and one count of failure to salvage game. Each charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Alaska State Troopers said Haeg and Zellers last March applied for and were granted a state permit allowing them to kill wolves in an area near McGrath. The predator-control program approved by the Alaska Board of Game in 2003 was designed to eliminate wolves in a 3,300-square-mile area surrounding McGrath to help the moose population increase. But charges say Haeg and Zellers on numerous occasions shot wolves outside the prescribed area. In one case the alleged shooting occurred as far as 80 miles from the nearest border of the legal hunt zone and paperwork was then falsified to conceal the true location. Both men have pleaded not guilty, prosecutor Scot Leaders said Tuesday.
11.10.04 GAYLORD, MI (Traverse City Record-Eagle) - Authorities won't criminally charge a Rogers City man who shot and killed the first gray wolf documented to be in the state's Lower Peninsula in almost a century. Presque Isle County Prosecutor Don McLennan said this week he would not charge Jeffery Karsten, 50, in the killing of the federally protected wolf. "Clearly, he believed it to be a coyote. There was no intent to kill a wolf," McLennan said. On Oct. 23, Karsten, a hunter and trapper, shot and killed a collared, 70-pound female gray wolf caught in a coyote trap in a hayfield near where he lives. Officials said Karsten noticed a radio collar around the wolf's neck after he shot the animal. He called a hot line set up by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, designed to collect tips about poachers. Federal officials still could pursue charges, but likely won't because the state already passed on the case, said Dan Sheill, a law enforcement agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last several years, the DNR has received dozens of reports of wolf sightings in the northern areas of the Lower Peninsula. "We've had some intriguing - perhaps very credible - sightings," said DNR biologist Glen Matthews. But it's unknown how many of those sightings were coyotes and how many were wolves, he said. How the wolf reached the Rogers city area remains a mystery, Matthews said, though most biologists agree the likeliest path was across an ice bridge at the Straits of Mackinac. Wolves are able to travel farther than most animals, said Brian Roell, the Michigan wolf coordinator for the DNR. He said wolves can maintain a trot of five miles per hour for 20 hours without stopping. "We fully expected wolves to reach the Lower Peninsula. They have the ability to move great distances," Roell said. The wolf killed near Rogers City was first captured and collared in November 2003 near Manistique in the Upper Peninsula. She was last spotted near the same area in February this year.
11.10.04 HARRISBURG, PA (Public Opinion) -- A 56-year-old Chambersburg man pleaded guilty Monday to illegally possessing a Canadian timber wolf. Glenn William Haines, Mountain View Drive, was charged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission with unlawful importation, sale and release of certain wildlife and with unlawful possession of exotic wildlife. Haines pleaded guilty after a warrant was issued for his failure to respond to the citations. He was ordered by District Justice Larry K. Memminger to pay $400 in fines, according to Wildlife Conservation Officer Barry Leonard. The animal, which Haines purchased in Indiana, was taken to a licensed menagerie in another part of the state, according to Leonard. "The wolf had been imported unlawfully and was being kept on a chain attached to a doghouse in an open yard," Leonard said. "Numerous small children lived in the neighborhood and played in the area." Under state law, exotic animals can only be imported with proper paperwork, including a permit and veterinarian certificate. The person importing the animal must be able to provide documentation of at least two years of experience working with the species. A permit is issued once adequate housing for the animal is approved prior to obtaining the animal. Minimum cage size requirements (for a single wolf) are 15 feet long by 8 feet wide by 6 feet high, including a secluded den area, according to Leonard. Earlier this year, a Philadelphia man pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a wolf.
11.10.04 SILVER CITY, NM (Associated Press) -- Two endangered Mexican gray wolves have returned to the San Mateo Mountains in southwestern New Mexico and must be recaptured. The pair were released into the Gila Wilderness in September after being captured a month earlier in the San Mateo Mountains, which is outside the official area for the species recovery. Officials said the wolf reintroduction field team plans to use a helicopter to recapture the pack. 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, also born in the wild, was captured for the first time in August and fitted with a radio collar.
11.9.04 SILVER CITY, NM (Silver City Sun-News) -- A Grant County man said he may sue the state after his hunting hounds were attacked by a pack of wolves Sunday morning while trailing a bear near the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Billy Lee, 44, a Mimbres resident and 15-year hunting outfitter, said several of his hunting hounds were attacked by wolves in the Brushy Mountain area just south of the cliff dwellings around 10 a.m. Lee said two of the dogs were severely injured in the attack and may have died had he not been close by when the attack occurred. Lee said there were seven wolves in the pack, and three were attacking his lead male and female hound. At least one wolf was wearing a GPS tracking collar. Lee said the male hound is valued at nearly $2,500 and the female, an imported Jage Terrier, was used for breeding and the puppies were selling for $400 each. Lee said he scared the wolves off by running toward them and firing his .357 over their heads. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said Monday that given the location of the incident and the tracked movements of wolf packs in the Gila Wilderness, the Saddle Pack wolf pack was responsible for the attack. Wildlife officials said Monday that the incident is being looked into, but no plans have been made to move or eliminate the wolves at this time .... Susan MacMullin, field supervisor with the New Mexico Ecological Field Office .... said the pack would have attacked dogs, coyotes or other wolves it saw as a threat in its territory. She said it is unlikely Lee will be reimbursed by the department for the medical expenses for his dogs because they are not “working dogs,” like those used to herd sheep or cattle. MacMullin said she will contact the Defenders of Wildlife to see if Lee could get reimbursed through them. Colleen Buchanan, assistant Mexican wolf recovery coordinator, said the location of the Saddle Pack in the Gila Wilderness is “perfect” and the incident has not spawned any plans to move or kill the wolves. She said there should be only minimal concern to hikers and campers with dogs in that area of the Wilderness. Michael Robinson, coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the incident is “not unexpected” because wolves are very territorial, but the incident requires tolerance. “The Mexican gray wolf is the most imperiled animal in North American and it behooves us to give them the room they need to roam,” Robinson said. “They need a little human tolerance.” Some residents around the Gila Wilderness are not as forgiving of the incident. “It is typical that we get all the problem animals,” Chloride resident Laura Schneberger said. “We won’t have any hunting in this area in a year or two or any livestock for that matter.” Lee said he, too, has changed his stance on wolves in the wilderness and will be seeking amends. “I wasn’t an advocate of wolves to start with, but I wasn’t against them totally. That has changed. They don’t have a place here,” he said. “Who’s to say I’m not going to infringe on their territory in my back yard in a few years?” Lee said because of the attack, the Detroit hunters whom he was guiding didn’t get their bear. Lee added that they will not likely report favorably to others their experience hunting in New Mexico. “They are going to go back and tell their buddies not to go to New Mexico to hunt because we have wolves,” Lee said. Lee said he is going to file litigation in conjunction with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, which is already filing law suits to remove the Mexican wolves from the wilderness.
11.6.04 ANCHORAGE, AL (Associated Press) -- A Connecticut-based animal rights group is again taking aim at Alaska with more than two-dozen "howl-ins" planned in states from New York to Alaska. Friends of Animals is hoping to put a stop to a state-sponsored wolf-kill program by targeting Alaska's $2 billion-a-year tourism industry. A similar campaign begun last year fell flat with an estimated 1.4 million summer visitors coming to Alaska, up 100,000 to 150,000 from the previous summer, according to the Alaska Travel Industry Association. Friends of Animals blames Gov. Frank Murkowski for allowing predator control programs to flourish since he took office in 2002. Under the programs, wolves are either shot by pilots and hunter teams from planes or killed after the plane lands. The governor has said the programs are a necessary wildlife management tool to reduce predators and make sure that rural Alaskans have enough moose to eat. "We cannot wait to howl with the people of San Francisco this Saturday and Sunday. We'll make sure that Frank Murkowski can hear us," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. She was reached by phone Friday from San Francisco, where she was organizing the weekend protests. The Darien, Conn.-based group had better success about a decade ago when it took 53 howl-ins in 51 cities for then-Gov. Wally Hickel to order a moratorium on a similar wolf program. Friends of Animals, along with members and supporters of the Last Resort Animal Sanctuary of Sitka, will again ask people to sign post cards to be sent to the governor pledging to boycott travel to Alaska. In addition to Alaska, protests are planned this weekend for California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Pennsylvania. Protests are planned for Washington, D.C., and New York City later this month and in early December. Friends of Animals also has placed advertisements calling for the tourism boycott in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and Mother Jones Magazine. "We have seen these boycotts before. They threatened to boycott last year and frankly it was not effective," said Murkowski spokesman Mike Chambers. "We value wolves but we need to manage them like we do any other wildlife," he said. "If Alaskans found themselves in a position where there weren't enough wolves, we would be taking action to protect them. Currently, we find ourselves in the opposite position." Alaska's wolf population is estimated at 7,700 to 11,200 animals. Under the predator control program, 144 wolves were killed last winter around the Interior town of McGrath and in the Nelchina Basin northeast of Anchorage. That number could increase to 500 wolves under an expansion of the program to two more areas west of Anchorage.
11.4.04 THUNDER BAY, MN (tbSource.com) -- The wolf that jumped a fence for freedom at Chippewa Park last month is almost certainly dead. That's the conclusion of the city Parks Division and the MNR. Parks Manager Dwight Gessie says his staff has not been given access to the pelt of a wolf that was shot near Loch Lomond last week. However based on its description, officials believe it's the animal that got away. The three remaining wolves have since been relocated to an enclosure that has a concrete wall which reduces the risk of escape.
11.3.04 ANCHORAGE, AL (Associated Press) -- The Alaska Board of Game is considering a plan that would result in more than two dozen brown bears and 300 wolves being killed in the eastern Interior. The wolf kill program for game units 12 and 20E, which extend north and south from Tok, would likely be similar to others approved by the Game Board in recent years. Those programs utilize private pilots to shoot the animals from the air or shortly after landing. The program near Tok, however, could be the first time the board authorizes the killing of brown or grizzly bears. Studies have shown bears can be substantial predators of moose and caribou calves. If the board approves the killing of grizzlies, there is bound to be a public outcry. "Bringing grizzly bears into the equation is a whole new, extremely controversial issue," said Matt Robus, wildlife director for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Robus said Fish and Game is suggesting a conservative approach because brown bears reproduce slowly. Predator control has blossomed since Gov. Frank Murkowski was elected in 2002. Last winter, pilots around McGrath and in the Nelchina Basin northeast of Anchorage killed 144 wolves. This winter, the take could range from 350 to 500 as the program expands to include additional areas on the Kuskokwim River and the Skwentna River west of Anchorage. The Game Board this week will consider extending predator control to two additional game management areas covering nearly 21,000 square miles in the upper Yukon/Tanana drainage. In recent years, hunters in units 12 and 20E have shot 275 moose a season, far short of the state's harvest goal of 750 to 1,450 animals. The region has adequate vegetation to support more moose, state biologists say, but bears and wolves prevent the stock from growing. A 1984 study found wolves killed 12 percent to 15 percent of moose calves, while grizzly bears killed 52 percent. If the Game Board approves predator control, it will determine how many of the areas' estimated 425-450 wolves and 825-975 grizzly bears will be killed, and what means are used. Biologists suggest leaving at least 110 wolves in the two areas, which could mean a harvest of more than 300. The board could allow aerial or land-and-shoot methods.