Good News!! “Federal Judge Denies Wyoming’s Request To Regain Control of Wolf Management”

howlingwolfkewlwallpaersdotcom-1

Today, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Wyoming’s desperate attempt to change her ruling, so the state could proceed with their precious wolf hunts! Too bad, hunters are going to have to get refunds on their wolf tags!

As of this moment it’s still illegal to kill a wolf in Wyoming. Thank you Judge Jackson, it feels so good to have a victory for wolves, even though I’m saddened that wolves in Montana and Idaho are being hunted and Minnesota and Wisconsin hunts are just around the corner. But today we can celebrate that Wyoming wolves will be safe from hunter’s bullets and will  no longer be treated as vermin, to be shot on sight in 80% of the state.

For all the wolves, For Wyoming wolves,

Nabeki

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Federal Judge Denies Wyoming’s Request To Regain Control of Wolf Management

Article by: BEN NEARY , Associated Press Updated: September 30, 2014 – 4:15 PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

Wyoming had requested fast action on its reconsideration request because the state had planned to allow hunters to begin killing wolves Wednesday in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park. The judge’s ruling bars any hunting.

Conservation groups sued in 2012, saying the state’s management plan failed to protect wolves adequately. The state plan classified wolves as predators that could be shot on sight in most areas.

A lawyer for the state says officials haven’t decided whether to appeal.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/277653971.html

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Photo: Courtesy Wiki

Posted in: Wyoming wolves, gray wolf, Wolf Wars

Tags: Wyoming, gray wolf, Judge Jackson,  Wyoming wolves remain listed, Judge denies Wyoming request, good news, Wyoming wolves remain safe from hunts

Iconic 06 To Be Immortalized On Film….

O6 Female CC BY 2.0 Flickr

She was the alpha female of Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon pack, the most famous wolf in the world, with many names. The O6 female, collared wolf 832f, Rockstar but she was most commonly called O6, after her birth year. She was the granddaughter of the beloved Druid Peak Pack alphas, 42F and 21M. She was a legend.

From Notes From The Field:

“She left her family as a young adult and lived a colorful and independent life for the next few years. She became a master elk hunter, one of the best in Yellowstone, and was famous for killing elk by herself. In addition, 06 had scores of suitors over the years. During one mating season she bred with five different males. She left each of those males, however, and
continued to live independently sometimes in temporary association with a few other wolves, sometimes as a lone wolf.

When she was nearly four years old, in early 2010, 06 finally settled down. She ran into two yearling brothers who had just dispersed from their pack. They were later collared and given the numbers 754 and 755. At the time that 06 met the two brothers, they had already started a partnership with seven sisters who controlled a high quality territory. Their father, the
pack’s alpha male, had recently left the group and the sisters needed new males. Despite the brothers being in such favorable circumstances, 06 managed to lure them away from the other females and they joined her in establishing a new pack. That event said a lot about 06. The brothers judged her to be more valuable than seven females.

Being only yearlings, the two brothers had not bred while 06 had more experience. Perhaps due to the significant difference in their ages and experience levels, the brothers, with 755 as  alpha male, were willing to let 06 be the undisputed leader of the new group they formed: the Lamar Canyon Pack. Both brothers bred with 06 a month later. She discovered an old wolf den near Slough Creek and prepared it for her pups. The site was centrally located in an area with enough prey to support her family. But it had one disadvantage: grizzlies were very common in the region. In mid-April, 06 had four gray pups in that den: two males and two females. Since the opening to the den was visible from the road, we often saw 06 nursing the pups and carrying them back into the den when they strayed too far away.

Fiercely protective of her pups, 06 frequently had to deal with grizzlies that approached her den. She would run at a bear, get behind it, bite the rear end, then run off in the opposite direction of her pups. The grizzly would chase her, but could not match her speed or agility. When the bear stopped, 06 would run back, bite it again on the hind quarters and draw it further away. In one case she spent twelve hours decoying a grizzly away from her pups before she felt it was lured a safe distance away and only then returned to the den. That fall, when the pups were old enough to travel, she led her pack a few miles to the east and resettled her family in Lamar Valley. That had been the territory of her ancestors, the Druid Peak Pack..”

Read more: 

http://www.as.wvu.edu/biology/bio21site/Rick’s%20Field%20Notes%204-2013.pdf

Lamar Canyon Pack Flickr_CC BY_ND 2.0

Sadly, on a cold December day in 2012, her life came to a sudden and ugly end. Brought down by a hunter’s bullet, as she ranged outside the safety of Yellowstone’s boundaries, something she rarely did,  the wolf who had come to mean so much to so many, was no more.

Now a book and film are memorializing her life. She is the ambassador for all  wolves who’ve suffered and died due to the unnecessary delisting of  gray wolves and speedy wolf hunts that followed in 5 states: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota,  Wisconsin with Michigan not far behind. UPDATE: On September 23, 2014, District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson  reinstated  ESA protections for Wyoming wolves, it is now illegal to kill a wolf in Wyoming.

I hope the film, along with celebrating her life, will confront why wolves are being hunted at all. O6 and thousands of other wolves, who’ve been brought down by hunter’s bullets, would still be with us today if they hadn’t been betrayed by Congress and the Obama administration.  The infamous budget bill wolf delisting rider, passed in 2011, wiped out decades of wolf recovery and seriously weakened the Endangered Species Act.  Now wolves face a USFWS national delisting, which would remove all federal protections for wolves in the lower 48, including areas where they remain listed, including western Oregon and Washington.

The movie and book are called American Wolf. Thank you Leonardo for taking on this project to tell the O6 story. It’s well worth telling and in the process will elevate the discussion of the importance of wolves. This could be a game changer!

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Leonardo DiCaprio Tackling Wild Animal Tale ‘American Wolf’ (Exclusive)

2:29 PM PST 09/26/2014 by Borys Kit

Wolf tells the story of O-Six, who in some circles was the world’s most famous wild animal. The female alpha wolf was collared and tracked by researchers at Yellowstone National Park, gaining a huge following from not only scientists but the public as well. She was shot by a hunter in 2012 just outside the park’s boundaries, an act that caused howls around the country (she even got an obituary inThe New York Times)

Read More: 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leonardo-dicaprio-tackling-wild-animal-735948

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Photos: Courtesy Treehugger (CC BY 2.0 Flickr) (Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

Video: Courtesy YouTube/ SuperMontanamike

Posted in: Wolf Wars, gray wolf, Yellowstone Wolves, biodiversity, trophy hunting

Tags: American Wolf, O6 female, wolf 832f, Rockstar, Yellowstone’s Lamar Canyon alpha female, iconic Druid Peak Pack alphas, 21m and 42f, Yellowstone National Park, Leonardo DiCaprio, wolf hunting, wolf delisting via budget bill rider 2011, wolf persecution, stop the wolf hunts

CBD Press Release: Victory For Wolves In Wyoming!

Gray wolf_National Park Service Photo

September 24, 2014

I could post this news everyday for the next month and it wouldn’t get old. Here’s the Center For Biological Diversity’s press release on the relisting of wolves in Wyoming. Good bye Wyoming predator zone, you can no longer treat wolves like vermin! The Wyoming wolf  trophy hunt, due to start in October, has been cancelled. Music to my ears! Thank you again Earth Justice and all who were involved in this fight!

 A great victory for Wyoming wolves!  Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court  “invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species.” What welcome news, it’s been a long time coming!

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For Immediate Release: September 23, 2014

Victory for Wolves in Wyoming

Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

WASHINGTON— Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf-management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. History has shown that sound, science-based management practices are at the heart of successful efforts to bring animals back from the brink of extinction. Sound management will ensure that we can continue to reap the benefits wolves bring to the region,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background
There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS: http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/14-09-23%20Doc%20%2068%20OPINION.pdf

http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/14-09-23%20Doc%20%2067%20ORDER%20%282%29.pdf

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-09-23-2014.html

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Photo: Courtesy NPS

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming Wolves,

Tags: Victory for Wyoming Wolves, Center For Biological Diversity, predator zone, wolves are not vermin

Victory! Federal Judge Reinstates Protections For Wyoming Wolves!!!!

Wolves in lamar valley_ Earth Justice

September 23, 2014

Finally I have good news to report! Wyoming wolves have regained their federal protections! Thank you Earth Justice!

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VICTORY FOR WOLVES IN WYOMING

Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide
Earth Justice
September 23, 2014
Washington, D.C. —

Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of the species. The ruling from the U.S. District Court halts the management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies.

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.”

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity in challenging the Fish and Wildlife Service’s September 2012 decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups challenged the 2012 decision on grounds that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf killing in a “predator” zone that extended throughout most of the state, and provided inadequate protection for wolves even where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law,” said Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark. “Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.”

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state,” said Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state,” said Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign. 

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.”

The 2012 delisting of wolves in Wyoming turned wolf management over to the state, which opened up over 80 percent of its land to unlimited wolf killing and provided weak protections for wolves in the remainder. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management. Prior to the 2012 reversal of its position, the Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming the authority to manage wolves in the state due to its extremely hostile anti-wolf laws and policies.

Background: There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States, a proposal that the groups strongly oppose; a final decision could be made later this year.

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2014/victory-for-wolves-in-wyoming

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Posted in: Wolf Wars, Wyoming wolves

Photo: Courtesy Earth Justice

Tags: Wyoming wolves regain protections, Earth Justice, Tim Preso, Victory

Don’t Silence The Howl!

Lookout Pack yearling 2008 WDFW

Don’t Silence the Howl!

from Anonymous for Wolves


So quickly we forget. Joe Public, the press, politicians, you and me, we appear to tire of being reminded that the problem remains, that the system is broken, that something needs to be done NOW. We become monkeys sitting comfortably on our asses, our eyes tightly shut, our fingers in our ears and our mouths so filled with food that we cannot speak.

Newspaper editors tell me that there has been enough in print lately about the Washington State wolves and that there is currently little interest in updates or fact checks.

Allow me then to remind you that wolves are being killed every day, killed and tortured by poachers, ranchers, hunters, trappers, sociopaths, and by your very own state and federal governments. Wolves are dying at the hands of state and federal agencies to “protect” irresponsibly ranged livestock and you are paying dearly for this service. You pay with your tax dollars and maybe you even pay with a heavy heart. The wolves are paying with their lives.

Between poaching, tribal takes and government issued kill orders, nowhere else in the Lower 48 is there a more dangerous place for a wolf than in the Northeast corner of Washington State. And the director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Phil Anderson, has been doing his darndest to make this so, first with the death sentence carried out in September 2012 on eight members of the Wedge pack, and now, not even two years later calling for an aerial assault on the Huckleberry pack. Both packs were located in northeastern Washington, Stevens County, with members killed to pacify irresponsible ranchers busily crying wolf.

The Wedge pack was accused of attacking and eating McIrvine cows, yet necropsy reports from the dead wolves found that no, they had not been ingesting cows. At the time, WDFW’s carnivore specialist Dave Ware told a local news station that agreements with ranchers were subsequently being put into place (new best practices for non-lethal aversion tactics) for the following year to, “avoid a repeat of the Wedge Pack situation.” While Anderson had said that killing the Wedge would “hit a re-set button” between ranchers and wolf management.

McIrvine, the rancher on who’s cows the Wedge had allegedly been snacking, was quoted as saying that he believed groups with “a radical environmental agenda” were conspiring to introduce gray wolves in order “to take our (grazing) lease from us”; a lease which allows him to range livestock in terrain unsuitable for responsible ranching and for pennies an animal. Welcome to crazy town! Gray wolves have been returning to the Northern Rocky States from Canada naturally, yes, of their very own accord, without the aid of any radical environmentalists.

Are you curious of the bill from Wildlife Services for the aerially gunning of the Wedge? $76,500.00 that could have bought a lot of McIrvine cows!

Said another of WDFW’s carnivore specialists recently, “Wolves are recovering (in the Northern Rocky States) at a phenomenal rate, a rate unheard of in wildlife. This growth rate is unprecedented and to experience the return of an apex predator in our lifetime is exciting.” But are wolves retuning so that they can again be systematically and inhumanely eradicated, as they were almost seventy years ago?

Details from the recent aerial gunning of the Huckleberry pack’s breeding female were slow to come. WDFW’s initial goal was to gun from a helicopter, again using USDA approved Wildlife Services, up to four members of the pack thereby reducing their numbers and lowering the pack’s food requirements. This could also, they hoped, break the offending male’s cycle of sheep depredation.

Dashiell’s sheep, for which this wolf had been found to have acquired a taste, were being irresponsibly ranged on a rugged and sprawling timber company allotment for mere pennies per. Allow unprotected sheep to run around in the woods in known wolf country… what else would one expect? Wolves find sheep to be delicious and easy prey.

But the rancher and again WDFW cried wolf, saying that there had been in place an active range rider with guard dogs on the scene and that neither had been an effective means of deterrence. It later surfaced that Dashiell’s range rider had quit over a month prior to the incidents and that the added protection of range riders had not occurred until August 20th (the Huckleberry wolf was shot on the 23rd). Frequent nocturnal human presence was also added but not until after the kill order was already in place.

It was simply a matter of far too little, far too late.

The Wildlife Services sharpshooter went up in the chopper over a three-day period, experiencing poor visibility conditions and unable to spot wolves for the first two days. On the third day the shooter finally spotted a lone, black wolf under the craft and shot her dead. BLAM! It was day three of a very expensive undertaking and a wolf needed to die.

Prior to shooting the lone, black, nearly 70 pound wolf (reports of 66lbs were the results of post-mortem weighing) WDFW made statements that they did not wish to shoot the breeding pair nor the collared male. To this end WDFW vowed to only shoot when multiple wolves were under the chopper to use for size comparison and to not shoot black wolves as the collared male is black. They would shoot smaller wolves: two-year olds and pups. And while the breeding female was not a monster in size, 70 pounds is not small especially if you have other wolves spotted for size comparison.

But in the end, the only instructions from WDFW to the sharpshooter were that if the opportunity to sort existed, to try and not remove the collared male. “You know going into it you get what you get,” said the guy I talked to from WDFW.

It took me weeks and numerous phone calls to several WDFW contacts to find out what had been the color of the breeding female. In an earlier interview, Ware (WDFW) had told me he thought she was gray, not white or black, but your standard gray. The others I spoke with knew her weight but not her color. I finally got a hold of the report from the wildlife veterinarian who conducted the necropsy on the dead wolf for WDFW.

The vet confirmed that the pups would have been about four months old at the time of her death, weighing about forty pounds: far from almost full grown as I had been told earlier by WDFW, and far smaller than their almost 70 pound mother if one wished to use them for size comparison.

When asked, the vet said that the breeding female had been shot through the chest and had likely “bled out quickly.” She had been shot with buckshot which is bigger than bb sized pellets and scatters like shotgun powder.

Her postmortem condition was “Poor” because she had been frozen, taking two days to thaw with the first tissues to thaw beginning to rot early on (the vet had been out of area at the time of the killing and so freezing the breeding female’s body had become necessary).

Her stomach was empty -EMPTY- at the time of her death; she hadn’t eaten in 24-48 hours, not sheep, not anything. Had she ever eaten sheep? Truly, we will never know. It is obvious, however, that the non-lethal aversion activity and maybe even the noise of the chopper’s flights, was working days before she was shot; apparently this was so disruptive she stopped eating all together. But again, a wolf needed to die …

Wildlife Services were out in Washington again recently, this time killing coyotes on Vashon Island, coyotes who had also discovered that sheep are delicious and easy prey. Sheep that had been shipped up from Oregon to the Island for the Vashon Sheepdog Classic. Sheep grazing in an unfenced field and ironically enough, without the protection of guard dogs. The dead sheep were not removed and the coyotes came back for those the very next day. No surprise!

And now three coyote’s howls have been silenced forever.

Do not forget and do not remain silent. Do not become accustomed to images of dead wolves as some Conservation Nothing organizations would prefer of you. Do not sit idly by while heartless humans and greedy, weak government officials cry “off with their heads” to apex predators or to any wildlife.

Take action! Make noise! Never compromise! Do not let Them silence the howl!

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Photo: Courtesy WDFW Lookout Pack yearling 2008

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Washington Wolves, gray wolf

Tags: Don’t Silence the Howl, WDFW, Huckleberry Pack

UPDATE: Two Young Wolves Run Down On Purpose?

Facebook post_Toby Bridges claims to run over two wolves_Photo posted in the Great Falls Tribune

Photo posted in Great Falls Tribune – Warning Graphic

September 20, 2014

I’ve added an editorial from Predator Defense you will find at the bottom of this post. It’s a call to action for all who are outraged by this terrible tragedy. We cannot allow it to fade into obscurity. Please use the contact information provided by Predator Defense for Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (MFWP). Demand action!

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September 19, 2014

I guess wolf haters think they can get away with anything.  They certainly don’t think they’ll be held accountable for their actions. This is truly disgusting. Warning graphic descriptions follow.

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Missoula man runs-down wolves, brags on Facebook

John S. Adams 10:34 p.m. MDT September 19, 2014

Editor’s note: What follows is a graphic description that may be difficult for some readers.

A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks law enforcement official said Friday the agency is “looking into” a Missoula anti-wolf extremist’s Facebook claim that he purposefully ran down a pair of wolves on Interstate 90 just east of the Idaho-Montana border.

Montana FWP Region 2 Warden Capt. Joseph Jaquith said they were aware of Toby Bridges’ Facebook post in which he brags about killing two young wolves with his wife’s van.

“We’re trying to determine, first of all, what exactly we can do with something somebody says on Facebook with no other physical evidence,” Jaquith said. “Whether or not it’s true remains to be seen.”

Bridges, who runs an anti-wolf website and Facebook page called Lobo Watch, on Tuesday posted pictures on Facebook and described in graphic detail how he accelerated his vehicle in an apparent attempt to intentionally run down the wolves.

Bridges did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Bridges described a scene in which he claims a group of wolves were chasing a cow and calf elk across the highway about four miles east of Lookout Pass. Bridges said he “let off the brake and hit the accelerator.”

Click Link To Read More:

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2014/09/19/missoula-man-runs-wolves-brags-facebook/15910397/

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Predator Defense Calls For Action

posted by Predator Defense (Facebook)

It is never a good time to be a wolf in Montana, but actions last week by a known wolf-hater there really take the cake. A man
named Toby Bridges claims he intentionally ran down two wolves on I-90 outside Missoula with his vehicle and then bragged
about it on Facebook. His behavior is reprehensible and we need your help calling him to task and demanding a full investigation by Montana wildlife authorities.

Please rally everyone you can to contact Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as detailed below. Tell FWP you are horrified by Bridges’ actions, that the state needs to come out publicly and say his behavior is deplorable, and that they must fully investigate whether he should be charged with a crime against wildlife.

In addition to possible poaching or “weapons” violations, Bridges running down the wolves is a hate crime. And he has been known for years as a wolf-hater. He runs an anti-wolf website and Facebook page and his words on both prove his hatred. He has even posted instructions on how to poison a wolf online–poison that has killed dogs and threatens humans.Please help us flood FWP with outrage right away. Their office doesn’t open til Monday, but you can fax email or mail them any time at:

FWP Headquarters
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
1420 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620-0701

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM

Phone: (406) 444-2535
Fax: (406) 444-4952
E-mail: fwpgen@mt.gov
Directors Office: (406) 444-3186

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Predator-Defense/197030276997795
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Brooks Fahy
Executive Director
PREDATOR DEFENSE
PO Box 5446
Eugene, OR 97405
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www.predatordefense.org
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Photo: Courtesy Great Falls Tribune

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolves run down on purpose?, Toby Bridges, Lobo Watch, brags on Facebook, anti-wolf website, Predator Defense, The Imperiled American Wolf

Wolves In North America Losing Their Genetic Diversity….

NatureColdWarriors_3wolves

September 19, 2014

I thought this was worth reposting, in light of the ongoing and relentless wolf slaughter.

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February 7, 2012

The mass slaughter of wolves over the centuries in North America has caused more damage then we could ever have guessed. As far-fetched as it sounds it could push wolves to extinction.

A 2004 study in New Scientist found wolves in Canada have lost 43% of the their genetic diversity. This is very concerning, it means wolves are becoming increasingly inbred. This can effect them negatively in so many ways. Weaker immune systems unable to fight off disease,  skeletal deformities, the inability to withstand increased hunting pressure, smaller litters.  It’s a shocking find, yet very little attention has been given to this important study.

The hunt slaughter, taking place in the Northern Rockies, could have far-reaching implications. The 432 wolves who’ve been killed in the hunts took their genetics with them, they won’t be coming back. All this killing is weakening the wolf. Could they be wiped out by an epidemic, due to their diminished genetic diversity?

Are either of the fish and game agencies in Montana and Idaho concerned about wolves loss of genetic variability? Isn’t it their job to know and care about this? What about Yellowstone wolves? Their numbers have crashed several times. The iconic Druid Peak Pack is gone, taken down in large part by mange mites they were unable to fight off.

When Judge Molloy presided over the 2009 delisting lawsuit there were several  issues raised supporting wolves relisting,  including  the lack of  genetic connectivity of the three wolf sub-populations (Idaho, Montana, Yellowstone NP).  Unfortunately his ruling focused on just one, the USFWS decision to delist Montana and Idaho wolves, while keeping Wyoming wolves listed. Once Judge Molloy returned wolves’ protections,  in August 2010, the anti-wolf forces went to work and lobbied Congress to remove Northern Rockies wolves from the ESA,  without judicial review.  Sadly, the science was not mentioned again.

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New Scientist

Wolves’ genetic diversity worryingly low

 by Gaia Vince

18:41 26 November 2004

Wolf eradication in the US has had a far more devastating impact on the genetic diversity of remaining populations than previously thought, a new study reveals.

Although wolves were systematically eradicated across North America over the last couple of centuries, it had been thought that the human impact on the Canadian wolf population – which is currently a relatively healthy 70,000 – was minor.

Conservationists therefore assumed that the Canadian population had the same level of genetic diversity that had existed in the 19th century – prior to the mass slaughter – and that small-scale re-introductions of these wolves into the US would lead to diversity on a par with this earlier period.

But these assumptions were wrong, according to researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and the University of California Los Angeles, US, who looked at the genetic diversity of the original wolf populations using DNA analysis. They used bone samples taken from grey wolves dating from 1856 – held in the National Museum for Natural History in Washington DC – and compared this genetic diversity with that of modern wolves.

“We found a 43% drop in genetic variability in the modern wolves,” said Carles Vila, one of the team. “It is impossible for the wolf populations to recover this important diversity, which enables them to adapt to different environmental challenges.”

Bears and lions

Vila notes: “It takes thousands of years of naturally occurring mutations to build up such diversity. And if the Canadian wolves – with such a large population remaining – have lost so much genetic variation, what is the situation for other endangered species in North America, such as bears or mountain lions?”

Wild wolves from across North America were captured and reintroduced to the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, 10 years ago with considerable success. For example, the population of elk was reduced to more sustainable levels, allowing vegetation to recover.

It was hoped that choosing wolves from across the continent would produce a population with high genetic diversity. But the new research shows this has not happened.

Isolated pockets

The researchers suggest the wolves’ limited genetic variation will make them more vulnerable to factors such as disease or environmental change, limiting the pack’s ability to survive in adverse conditions.

“The species now exists in such isolated pockets that it is impossible for them to breed across the gaps, so genetic diversity will continue to fall,” Vila told New Scientist.

Read more: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6730-wolves-genetic-diversity-worryingly-low.html

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In 2007, geneticist, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, testified at an IDFG  open house on Idaho’s then wolf management plan.

Testimony Concerning The Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan – 2008

 Idaho Fish & Game Open House

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, December 12, 2007

 Genetic Problems in Small Populations of Idaho Wolves

 Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

 Ladies/Gentlemen:

 My name is Ken Fischman, and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho.  I have a Ph.D. in Genetics, and over 30 years of experience in Genetic research. I wish to address the question of the number of wolves in Idaho that would constitute a genetically viable population.

    Everyone has been impressed by the rapid increase in Wolf numbers since their reintroduction.  However, that was to be expected when wolves were first introduced into this area, in which the ecological niches for large carnivores were previously quite open.  As these niches are filled, wolf reproduction will likely slow down.

    I would like to put the 673 wolves in Idaho in geographical and comparative perspective.  The size of Idaho is 82,751 square miles. That works out as one wolf for every 123 square miles.  The Human population is more than 1,240,000, which means one wolf for every 1,842 people.

    ID F&G has proposed a minimum of 100 wolves and 15 Breeding Pairs as a statewide objective.

    A key principal in Population Genetics is that what is important for species preservation is not the total population, but the number of Effective Breeders.  ID F&G estimates that there are currently no more than 42 Effective Breeding Pairs in Idaho.(that is, wolves, not people)

    Because only a small fraction of a pack reproduces, that further decreases the genetic pool.  If Idaho’s wolf numbers are reduced to this level, it could lead to severe inbreeding, thus decreasing their genetic diversity, and making them more prone to a population crash under a variety of circumstances.

    The concept that the existence of over ten breeding pairs of wolves should justify removing wolves from the Endangered Species list is therefore biologically insupportable.  It is clear therefore, that this was a political, not a scientific decision, and has no basis in any established genetic or evolutionary principles.

     Inbreeding is far from the only danger to small populations. Even under the best of circumstances, the lives of wolves are precarious.  Any one of dozens of natural or man-made calamities, which could be weathered by large, dispersed populations, such as a virus epidemic, an unusually severe winter, change of climate, or loss of habitat, could wipe out such a small number of animals almost overnight, with permanent loss of their gene pool.

    Population Genetics guidelines estimates that a Minimal Viable Population is 500 individuals, and I calculate that the Number of Effective Breeders should be at least 50 pairs.

    Under any other circumstances, and with almost any other animal population, the numbers of wolves in ID F&G’s Statewide Objective would be considered, not a success, but a population in danger of extinction.

    This is the likely outcome if the number of Idaho’s wolves is reduced to the level ID F&G has proposed.

      No, in a manner of speaking, these wolves are not out of the woods yet.   A much larger, genetically diverse, and widespread population would be needed if wolves are to become once again a stable, permanent part of the forests of the Northern Rockies.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

====

What happens to a  species when genetic diversity declines?  Look to the wolves of Isle Royale.

Bone Deformities Linked To Inbreeding In Isle Royale Wolves

Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 2, 2009) — The wolves on Isle Royale are suffering from genetically deformed bones. Scientists from Michigan Technological University blame the extreme inbreeding of the small, isolated wolf population at the island National Park in northern Lake Superior.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090402171440.htm

===

Wolves will never regain the genetic diversity they once had. Instead of conducting more research into wolves decreasing genetic variability, it seems “wolf managers” will just try to guess if the mass slaughter of wolves in the Idaho and Montana hunts will weaken the species even further.  Russian Roulette anyone?

====

Photo: Courtesy Nature Cold Warriors

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: wolves decreasing genetic diversity, Dr. Ken Fischman, Ph.D, IDFG, University of Uppsala, Sweden, UCLA, wolf inbreeding

Eastern Oregon Wolves Could Be Facing Delisting In 2015…

walla-walla-pack-pup-odfw

Eastern Oregon Wolves Could Be Removed From State’s Endangered Species Act

OPB | Sept. 16, 2014 2:21 p.m. | Portland

Gray wolf populations are on the rise in Oregon, but that may not necessarily be good news for the animals.

The Statesman Journal reports  that the state may have enough potential wolf couples in 2015 for the minimum requirements to delist the animal.

“We were told in the beginning that when wolves first came to the county, we were waiting for that day,” said Todd Nash, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattleman Association, in an interview with the newspaper.

According to Oregon’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife must verify four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years.

In 2012, there were six pairs and last year the organization located four pairs. It’s predicted that 2014’s count won’t be complete until early next year, but early reports show more than four couples.

By removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list, ranchers would be permitted to use lethal force to defend their animals in more situations.

According to ODFW , shooting a wolf is considered a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $6,250 fine and a year in jail.

http://www.opb.org/news/blog/newsblog/eastern-oregon-wolves-could-be-removed-from-states-endangered-species-act/

===

Anyone who’s read the Oregon wolf “management plan” could see this coming a mile away. There was major push-back against “the plan”  in 2010. The number of breeding pairs needed, to reach delisting, was ridiculously low.  Here’s part of what Oregon’s wolf plan states:

Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan

Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding
pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon.1

Four breeding pairs are considered the minimum conservation population objective, also described as Phase 1. The Plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs. This means, for example, that a landowner would be required to obtain a permit to address depredation problems using injurious harassment.

While the wolf remains listed as a state endangered species the following will be allowed: Wolves may be harassed (e.g. shouting, firing a shot in the air) to distract a wolf from a livestock operation or area of human activity.

Harassment that causes injury to a wolf (e.g., rubber bullets or bean bag projectiles) may be employed to prevent depredation, but only with a permit.

Wolves may be relocated to resolve an immediate localized problem from an area of human activity (e.g., wolf inadvertently caught in a trap) to suitable habitat. Relocation will be done by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel but will not occur with wolves known or suspected to have depredated livestock or pets.

Livestock producers who witness a wolf ‘in the act’ of attacking livestock on public or private land must have a permit before taking any action that would cause harm to the wolf.

Once federally delisted, wolves involved in chronic depredation may be killed by ODFW or Wildlife Services personnel. However, non lethal methods will be emphasized and employed first in appropriate circumstances.

Once the wolf is delisted, more options are available to address wolf-livestock conflict. While
there are five to seven breeding pairs, livestock producers may kill a wolf involved in chronic
depredation with a permit. Five to seven breeding pairs is considered Phase 2.

Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.

The Plan provides wildlife managers with adaptive management strategies to address wolf predation problems on wild ungulates if confirmed wolf predation leads to declines in localized herds.

In the unlikely event that a person is attacked by a wolf, the Plan describes the circumstances under which Oregon’s criminal code and federal ESA would allow harassing, harming or killing of wolves where necessary to avoid imminent, grave injury. Such an incident must be reported to law enforcement officials.

A strong information and education program is proposed to ensure anyone with an interest in wolves is able to learn more about the species and stay informed about wildlife management activities.

Several research projects are identified as necessary for future success of long-term wolf conservation and management. Monitoring and radio-collaring wolves are listed as critical components of the Plan both for conservation and communication with Oregonians.

An economic analysis provides updated estimates of costs and benefits associated with wolves in Oregon and wolf conservation and management.

Finally, the Plan requires annual reporting to the Commission on program implementation.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/docs/Oregon_Wolf_Conservation_and_Management_Plan_2010.pdf

===

This was posted in June 2010 on Howling for Justice, written by wolf advocate Katie, a Oregon resident, explaining why the plan was insufficient and should be changed.

Help Change Oregon’s Wolf Management Plan, PLEASE COMMENT BY JUNE 30th

June 21, 201o

 “Wolves may be considered for statewide delisting once the population reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon…. The plan calls for managing wolves in western Oregon as if the species remains listed until the western Oregon wolf population reaches four breeding pairs.”

This means when there are four packs in eastern Oregon and four in western Oregon, wolves will be stripped of ESA protection statewide.

The average gray wolf pack size is about 8 wolves. If packs in Oregon follow the norm, then roughly 64 wolves will be present when they are delisted. A recent study suggests Oregon could support up to 2200 wolves and still maintain a healthy ecosystem. I don’t know about you, but 64 wolves doesn’t sound like recovered to me.

READ MORE: http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/help-change-oregons-wolf-management-plan-please-comment-by-june-30/

===

So it’s come to this. Oregon, one of the friendliest of wolf states, may soon subject Eastern Oregon wolves to delisting because of the state’s weak management plan. This is the defining statement in their “plan”. “Seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern or western Oregon is considered the management objective, or Phase 3. Under Phase 3 a limited controlled hunt could be allowed to decrease chronic depredation or reduce pressure on wild ungulate populations.” 

Howling for Justice does not support managing wolves. Wolves are self-regulating and do not need to be “managed” Managing wolves is a catch phrase for the lead up to eventually hunting and killing them,  as you can see by the statement above, quoted from Oregon’s wolf management plan.  IMO, management includes continually harassing wolves through collaring, counting their numbers, treating them as though they are terrorists, needing to be watched every second. Wolf management plans are driven by agribusiness and unfortunately state fish and game agencies bow to that pressure. Ranchers lose thousands of livestock annually to non-predation, yet tiny wolf/livestock issues get headlines.

In 2010, Oregon ranchers lost 51, 200 calves and cows to non-predation. Yes, 51,200 and those numbers come from NASS ( National Agricultural Statistics Service). At the time, two members of the Imnaha pack, including the alpha male, father of OR7, were under a kill order for supposedly killing a few cattle. But ranchers lost thousands and thousands of cows that year to digestive problems, respiratory problems, metabolic problems, mastitis, lameness/injury, other diseases, weather related issues, calving problems, poisoning and theft. 51.200 to be exact. Can everyone see how ridiculous it is that ranchers complain wolves affect their bottom line when in fact it’s non-predation that takes a toll on their business. And remember ranchers are compensated for every confirmed wolf kill but aren’t reimbursed for non-predation deaths.  To put this all in perspective, concerning predation losses for all predators in the lower 48  in 2010, including coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, dogs, vultures, wolves, bears. other predators and unknown predators, “coyotes and
dogs caused the majority of cattle and calf predator losses….”. NASS

 Wolf predation is a red herring and an excuse to kill wolves, period.  How could 14 wolf predations in 2010, blamed on the Imnaha Pack, have any effect on Oregon ranching’s bottom line, compared to the 51,200 cows and calves lost to non-predation? It would laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious for wolves.

I know ranching is going to be pushing hard for delisting Eastern Washington wolves in the coming months, sadly because the Oregon Wolf Management Plan falls far short. It should be revisited and revised to allow Oregon wolves to continue to grow and prosper.

You can contact Governor Kitzhaber by clicking  HERE  to voice your concerns!

===

51,200 Dead Oregon Cows, Not Killed By Wolves, Where’s The Media?

Sept 28, 2011

READ MORE: http://wp.me/pDTDG-3RT

===

Photo: Courtesy ODFW

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Oregon Wolves

Tags: Eastern Oregon wolves, delisting 2015?, Oregon wolf management plan insufficient, revisit Oregon wolf plan

Bloody Budget Bill….

September 12, 2014

This was posted in the aftermath of the disastrous sellout of wolves by the US Senate and President Obama in 2011.

===

April 23, 2011

A dead on opinion piece from the Christian Science Monitor. It explains how Congress played “let’s make a deal” with wolves lives in a BUDGET BILL.  This was especially egregious because Democrats led the charge, betraying wolves and their base.

===

True cost of budget deal will be paid in blood – of gray wolves

By David N. Cassuto APRIL 19, 2011

Many words have been spent on the budget compromise struck between Republicans and Democrats in the 11th hour a couple weeks ago, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. In the days since, details of this budget agreement have slowly emerged, but few actually know what it fully entails – and what it really means for Americans. Perhaps this is because Congress and the president appear to have had a similarly limited understanding of the nature and scope of the cuts they agreed upon.

Nevertheless, President Obama and members of Congress did know that they agreed on a few things having nothing whatsoever to do with the budget, budget cuts, or with federal spending at all. One of the most unfortunate of these “budget” agreement riders is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. In the 37-year history of the Act, no species has ever been delisted for purely political reasons. Prior to last week, science guided such decisions. Now, science will be subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

A political, rather than scientific, agenda

The gray wolf was reintroduced into the Northern Rocky Mountains in 1995. Today, there are approximately 1,700 wolves in Idaho, Wyoming, andMontana – a significant resurgence, albeit a relatively small number of wolves for 328,417 square miles of territory. Nevertheless, those three states have campaigned tirelessly to delist the wolf in order to legalize wolf hunts and thereby cut back their allegedly unmanageable populations. Under such pressure, the Bush and Obama administrations agreed to delist the wolf, but the plan did not survive legal challenge.

The court found the delisting agenda to be based on political rather than scientific reasons, an approach that did not withstand scrutiny under the plain language of the Endangered Species Act. Still, the anti-wolf contingent (including the governors and congressional delegations from all three states) persisted, arguing that the wolves needed culling because they were killing livestock and decimating the elk population. The diminishing number of elk, the argument goes, interferes with the rights of hunters.

Hunters complain that the wolves – who hunt for survival using only their bodies – impede the hunters’ ability to hunt for fun with high-powered rifles. It bears noting that before wolves were extirpated from the region, they coexisted with humans with little incident. Those humans also hunted elk, but did so with bows, arrows, and spears. Despite the challenges posed by wolves, fewer elk, and low-tech gear, they managed to find enough game to survive.

It seems reasonable to assume that today’s hunters, whose survival depends more on supermarkets than elk, and who enjoy competitive advantages and a far larger elk population, could do likewise.

Benefits of wolves outweigh ranchers’ concerns

The ranchers’ argument against wolves also withers under serious scrutiny. While it is true that wolves take a certain amount of livestock, it is also true that ranchers annually lose more cattle to lightning strikes, dog attacks, and noxious weeds than they do to wolves. The leading causes of livestock deaths are not wolves or other predators but bad weather, disease, and birthing complications. Even so, there are nonprofit groups with compensation programs in place to partially compensate ranchers who do suffer losses from wolf predation.

The benefits of having wolves in these ecosystems – even for ranchers – far outweigh livestock losses. Since wolves have been reintroduced to the region, the deer and elk populations have been brought under control, which has enabled nearly wiped out native tree and plant species to grow back. Concern for the ranchers might be better expressed by maintaining the health of the ecosystem – of which wolves are a vital part – and the range, thus protecting the ranchers, the ranch land, and the rest of the regional environment. Many ranchers are already making efforts in these directions.

Why are wolves part of a budget deal?

But perhaps more important than the weakness of the arguments for delisting the wolf is the fact that there is no good reason for this discussion to have taken place during these budget negotiations. The issue at hand was (or was supposed to be) the federal budget. There are legitimate policy differences about the ways, means, and even the need to bring federal revenues in line with spending, but this important national conversation has nothing to do with wolves.

Yet in defiance of logic and sound wildlife management, the two sides negotiated an agreement under which endangered wolves will die, and the deficit will remain. As the rest of the particulars of the deal come to light, one thing will remain clear: The true cost of this agreement has nothing to do with money. It will be paid in blood.

David N. Cassuto is the Class of 1946 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Law at Williams College and professor of Environmental Law at Pace Law School. He is the founder and chief contributor to the Animal Blawg, a blog on animal law and policy.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0419/True-cost-of-budget-deal-will-be-paid-in-blood-of-gray-wolves


Photo: Courtesy of All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolves sold out, playing politics with wolves, bloody budget bill, infamous 81, US Senate betrays wolves, tampering with the ESA, David N. Cassuto, Christian Science Monitor


UPDATE: Huckleberry Pack Alpha Female Shot Aerially by WDFW Contract Sharpshooter

huckleberry pack pups 2012 WDFW

Huckleberry Pack Pups – 2012/WDFW

September 10, 2014

This post was sent to me by “Anonymous For Wolves”

Huckleberry pack alpha female shot aerially by WDFW contract sharpshooter

On September 4th, WDFW posted a News Release under the Latest News link on their website wdfw.wa.gov) with this heading, Sheep moved from scene of wolf attacks. The release reads that rancher Dave Dashiell worked over the Labor Day weekend collecting his flock of 1800 sheep to eventually truck them, somewhat prematurely, to their winter pasture area.

This is good news for Stevens County Huckleberry wolf pack as it acts as a stay of execution after a WDFW contract sharpshooter from USDA Wildlife Services, shot dead the breeding female from a helicopter on August 23. The pack had been preying on Dashiell’s sheep with WDFW determining the need for lethal action. “If non-lethal tools fail, lethal actions can be taken. It is a process,” WDFW’s Wildlife Conflict Manager Stephanie Simek said.

Wolves are on Washington’s landscape and ranchers now need to put in place the new best practices for ranging livestock. These practices include quickly removing injured, sick or dead livestock, all of which help attract wolves and other large carnivores. Consistent human presence in non-fenced range situations to “babysit” herds is imperative. Such models are being taken from Western Idaho and Montana ranchers: range-riders go out on foot, 4-wheeler or horseback, attending to the herds.
“This may not be accomplished 24/7,” said Donny Martorello, WDFW’s Carnivore Manager, “but they go out as much as they can.” Wolves can also be hazed by shooting overhead and with rubber bullets, as well as by being chased off. Spotlights, flashing lights and fladry may also be employed.

Was Stevens County rancher Dashiell timely and diligent in his non-lethal tactics? Reports have been mixed. WDFW had claimed that Dashiell was out every day and night, along with four guard dogs, a range rider, and eventually with the department adding a second rider and a greater human presence during the night. West Coast Wolf Organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, Amaroq Weiss, believes otherwise.

Weiss spoke with David Ware, WDFW’s game division manager who also oversees wolf management for the department. While WDFW had released statements that on August 15 Dashiell’s range rider was on task and the sheep were being moved, “Ware confirmed that these actions were not happening and that (Dashiell’s) range rider had quit a month ago. The following week the sheep still had not been moved and a range rider did not show up until August 20,” said Weiss.

WDFW observed prey switching within the Huckleberry pack: the switch from preying on wild to domestic animals. This switch can be determined by energetics, ease in taking, and by abundance, what is most often being seen.

“Sheep are such easy prey and so abundant, it’s hard to get wolves to stop preying on them,” said Martorello. Dashiell’s range allotment is also rugged, brushy and sprawling; it can be difficult to protect livestock on this type of landscape.

The GPS collar on the Huckleberry pack’s alpha male collects data every 6 hours. It was observed that by the 3rd or 4th depredation, with the wolf traveling back and forth from the rendezvous site to the sheep, the animal had begun solely preying on the domestic sheep. This behavioral pattern can also be passed on to pups.

WDFW’s original goal was to remove four animals from the Huckleberry pack as a means to reduce their numbers on the landscape. This reduction would lower the food requirements and nutritional needs of the pack. In this case, the removal of the breeding female may have broken the Huckleberry pack’s pattern of sheep depredation. Said Martorello, “Removal of a single animal may have been enough to break the pack’s cycle. The animal was removed on August 23rd and the collared male has not been back to the vicinity of the sheep since the 27th. The sheep were not moved until September 1st or 2nd.”

WDFW claims that killing the breeding female was not the department’s intention. Their goal was to not take the breeding pair, but to remove yearlings and two-year olds from the pack. The litter had a mix of colors with the pack’s collared adult male being black. The sharpshooter was to look for color (the breeding or alpha female’s color has yet to be released at the time of this writing), look for smaller–younger– wolves to shoot, and to only shoot when multiple wolves were under the helicopter to use for size comparison.

When the breeding female was shot by Wildlife Services, she was the sole animal under the under helicopter and weighed only 66lbs; small but not uncommon for an adult female wolf. “We were certainly disappointed in this outcome but, there was no way to sort from the air in this circumstance,” said Martorello .

When asked why take the risk of shooting the wrong wolf if there is no means of comparison,  Martorello explained that the department was trying to achieve an objective and the only instructions were that if the opportunity to sort existed, to try and not remove the collared male. “You know going into it you get what you get. We did not have the opportunity to sort in this case,” said Martorello .

The helicopter had been up on multiple occasions and had been unable to spot animals due to weather conditions and visibility limits. And as we learned from the aerial shooting of the Wedge pack in 2012, time in the air translates to tens of thousands of dollars ($76,500 in 2012 to kill the Wedge). Per Martorello, at some point a wolf, or wolves, must simply be killed.

The Huckleberry pack is a relatively young pack, having only been formed in the last 3 years and with a young breeding female. It would not be uncommon then, for another female next in the hierarchy to step in and care for the pups, pups approaching full-grown and traveling with the pack. She may also become the new breeding female. With the Huckleberry pack WDFW finds science, in these early stages, that pack cohesiveness remains and that there may not be a loss in pack structure.

Hope for the Huckleberry pack.

===

My comments:

Everything kills sheep, wolves are certainly not the main predator of sheep. Bears, bobcats, coyotes, dogs, ravens, eagles, foxes, mountain lions and others all eat sheep, since sheep have literally no natural defenses. But whenever a wolf does anything it’s treated as if it’s headline news. Mostly sheep  die from other causes, like lambing complications, disease and bad weather.  Sheep are also found on their back, they’re stolen and yes, overeat and die. Sheep and lambs are farm animals slaughtered for food.  So the hoopla about  predators attacking sheep, living in rugged country, is not really news. It’s only news when wolves are involved.

Meanwhile we have a dead alpha female, motherless wolf pups, all because of a few sheep! And please don’t think I’m denigrating sheep because I value their lives as well. I hate that the little lambs are slaughtered. Ranching is a cruel, cruel business. It would be a much better world without it!

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Photo: Courtesy WDFW

Posted in: Wolf Wars, gray wolf

Tags: Huckleberry Pack, alpha female shot dead, WDFW, sharpshooter, sheep

Published in: on September 10, 2014 at 9:10 pm  Comments (10)  
Tags: , , , ,
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