Three Legged Wolves

mexican-gray-wolf-4

The US Fish and Wildlife Services in New Mexico is being heralded as heroes because they didn’t kill two three legged Mexican gray wolves for preying on five cows. Yes, I did say three-legged wolves. Both alphas lost their left front legs. Alpha female AF861, lost her leg to a gunshot wound, that case is still being investigated.

Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap. This breeding pair is the  VERY ENDANGERED Middle Fork Pack, who live in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, that is HEAVILY GRAZED  by cattle. In spite of their handicaps they’ve managed to hunt and raise pups.  Amazing animals!

I do have compassion for the cattle, it’s not their fault they’re grazing there. But wolves are opportunistic predators and with cattle carcasses scattered around, wolves can still get in trouble and killed for scavenging on them.  This isn’t hard to figure out, it’s a human caused situation and it needs to be remedied!.

Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states:

“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”

This Mexican gray wolf  breeding pair (Mexican gray wolves number only 52 animals in all of Arizona and New Mexico) narrowly missed a death sentence because the government continues to allow cattle to graze on our public lands and punish wolves for doing what any predator would do.

Isn’t it time to  limit the grazing leases on our public lands?  Why are cattle allowed to degrade and trample a national forest?  Why aren’t ranchers held accountable for the security of their investment instead of using the federal government as their own private wolf extermination service?  These questions need to be asked and answered.

The Mexican gray wolf , one of the most endangered animals in North America, is being subjected to a ridiculous situation, surrounded by cattle,  yet expected to casually ignore them. Even so, these wolves show amazing restraint with only 4.2% of their diet consisting of livestock.  Are the wolves to blame for this situation or the ranchers?  Who is putting out leg-hold traps?

The wolves were spared in August but what happens when the next conflict comes, as it surely will?  When is this going to stop?

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Mexican Wolf Pack Spared from Removal
Author: Center for Biological Diversity
Published on Aug 29, 2009 – 6:52:18 AM

http://yubanet.com/usa/Mexican-Wolf-Pack-Spared-from-Removal_printer.php

Categories posted in: Mexican gray wolf,  biodiversity, wolves under fire   Tags: wolf recovery, wolves or livestock

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 10:54 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: ,

Wolves Flourish Where Humans Fear To Tread…

Chernobyl wolf Sergey Gashchak_Chornobyl Center

“A European gray wolf on the Ukrainian side of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.” Sergey Gashchak/Chornobyl Center

Chernobyl, one of the greatest disasters of the modern age, has turned into a haven for wildlife in just thirty years. How ironic, that a place uninhabited for decades, due to a catastrophic radiation spill at a Ukrainian power plant (which was then part of the USSR), is now a flourishing wildlife refuge, particularly for wolves. The explanation: NO HUMANS!

“It’s very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are much higher than they were before the accident,” a researcher says in a release. “This doesn’t mean radiation is good for wildlife, just that the effects of human habitation, including hunting, farming, and forestry, are a lot worse.”

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In the eerie emptiness of Chernobyl’s abandoned towns, wildlife is flourishing

The sound was like nothing Tom Hinton had ever heard before: a chorus of baleful wolf howls, long and loud and coming from seemingly every direction in the darkness. The predators yipped and chirped and crooned to one another for what seemed like forever, sending a shiver of awe and intuitive fear down Hinton’s spine.

“It was a primordial experience,” he said, something most of humanity hasn’t felt for tens of thousands of years. “That dates back to when humans were prey.”

It was only possible because of where Hinton was standing, a remote area along the Belarus-Ukraine border that’s been uninhabited by humans for decades.

They all left in the wake of a very different sound nearly 30 years earlier: the massive explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986, which left dozens dead and drove more than 100,000 people from their homes across a 1,600-square-mile swath of Ukraine and Belarus. These days, abandoned apartment complexes are nothing more than crumbled concrete wrecks. Vines crawl up the decaying walls of old farmhouses and break unintended skylights into their roofs. No one lives in the post-apocalyptic setting.

No one human, that is. Wildlife populations there – shaggy-haired wild boar, long-legged elk, the howling choruses of wolves that so captivated Hinton last August – are flourishing.

“It shows I think that how much damage we do,” said fellow co-author Jim Smith, an environmental science professor at the University of Portsmouth. “It’s kind of obvious but our everyday activities associated with being in a place are what damages the environment.”

“Not that radiation isn’t bad,” he added, “but what people do when they’re there is so much worse.”

The study is the first real census of wild animals in the exclusion zone. It relies on a decades worth of helicopter observations in the years right after the disaster, and three winters of scientists carefully counting animal tracks on foot between 2008 and 2010 in the Belarusian section of the zone.

Though animal numbers were low when scientists first started counting them in 1987 (because no data was taken before the disaster, they can’t tell to what degree the populations were hurt by the explosion), they rapidly rose once humans left the region. Brown bears and rare European lynx – predatory cats the size of a Great Dane with tufted ears and glimmering gold eyes – quickly appeared in the forests, even though they hadn’t been seen for decades before the accident. Wild boar took up residence in abandoned buildings. Forests replaced humans in the villages’ empty streets.

Within 10 years, every animal population in the exclusion zone had at least doubled. At the same time, the kinds of species that were flourishing in the exclusion zone were vanishing from other parts of the former Soviet Union, likely due to increased hunting, poorer wildlife management and other economic changes.

By 2010, the last year of the on-foot census, the populations for most species were as large as in any of Belarus’ four national parks. For one species, the wolves, the population was seven times bigger.

This indicates to researchers that chronic exposure to radiation from the explosion has had no impact on overall mammal populations. Whatever fallout may have come from the initial explosion was completely offset by the benefits of life without humans.

This doesn’t mean that the zone isn’t dangerous, Hinton stressed. He and his colleagues didn’t study the individual- and molecular-level damage caused by lingering contamination. While whole populations aren’t dying out, individual animals might be getting sick. And surveys have shown that the soil in areas close to the reactor site still exude radiation.

But, “the environment is very resilient,” Hinton said.

The presence of wolves is particularly telling. As apex predators, they are a sign of the health of the entire ecosystem – if they’re flourishing, that means that every other level of species, from elk and deer on down to insects and plants, must also be healthy.

Another team of researchers is currently using camera traps to count wildlife on the Ukrainian side of the exclusion zone. Nick Beresford, a radioecologist at the National Environment Research Council in the UK, said that their work won’t be done until the end of the year, but he expects to reach the same conclusions as those working in Belarus.

Beresford praised the Current Biology study and its findings: “People have said before that wildlife in the zone is flourishing, but those accounts were rightly criticized as anecdotal,” he said. “This is the first study to really back it up with science.”

Walking around the exclusion zone is like being in “a national park without the people,” Hinton said. The forests are nearly pristine, the animals abundant. What relics of human presence do remain have been almost entirely reclaimed by nature.

Even the Soviet city of Pripyat in Ukraine, which once housed tens of thousands of workers at the Chernobyl plant, has been subsumed by trees.

“When I was there 15 years ago, it looked like a city with some trees growing in it,” recalled Smith. “Now it looks like a forest with some buildings in it.”

For Hinton, who is currently studying the effects of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, the impact is both astounding and sobering.

“It’s an amazing experience from a wildlife perspective, but it’s also a sad experience because you see homes that have been abandoned and you imagine the people’s lives that have been disturbed,” he said. “It’s sad to see the houses and the cars and the baseball bats and you envision the life that people had to drop and leave. But you also see wild boar running around and you don’t see that as soon as you leave the zone.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/72915118/in-the-eerie-emptiness-of-chernobyls-abandoned-towns-wildlife-is-flourishing

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Wolves Have Taken Over Chernobyl

ELK, DEER, WILD BOAR ALSO ENJOYING LIFE FREE FROM HUMAN HABITATION

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 6, 2015 7:32 AM CDT

Wolves Have Taken Over Chernobyl Valeriy Yurko/T.G. Deryabina

“Wolf populations are seven times greater near Chernobyl than in nearby uncontaminated nature reserves.   (Valeriy Yurko/T.G. Deryabina)”

http://www.newser.com/story/213986/wolves-have-taken-over-chernobyl.html

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Radioactive Wolves

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Top Photo: Courtesy  Sergey Gashchak/Chornobyl Center

Bottom Photo: Courtesy Valeriy Yurko/T.G. Deryabina

Video: Courtesy Youtube

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity

Tags: Chernobyl, wolves flourish in Chernobyl, radiation, Ukraine, biodiversity

Mexican Gray Wolves On The Brink!

July 4, 2010

As I reported previously, three Mexican gray wolves are dead or missing.

The Hawks Nest alpha male was discovered shot to death on June 18 in eastern Arizona. The Hawks Nest pack was one of just two packs who had a surviving pup at the end of 2009. To add to the tragedy, last week the alpha male of the San Mateo pack in New Mexico was found dead under a cloud of suspicion. And the alpha male of the Paradise Pack, who roamed the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, has been missing since the middle of April.

The Hawks Nest Pack is believed to have seven pups, now fatherless. The other two packs were observed denning, so they probably have pups. Both the Paradise and San Mateo packs are down to just one adult, the alpha female and any pups she may have. Now they are alone with  no other wolves to help them.

A captive Mexican gray wolf pup is held by a keeper to be weighed
at the Endangered  Wolf Center in St. Louis.
 
This pup is one of  five eight week old pups, four boys and one girl.  Will they survive in the wild?  
Photo Courtesy: Tom Gannam / Associated Press

Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered mammals in North America, with only 14 wolves in New Mexico and now just 25 wolves in Arizona.

From Lobos of the Southwest:

“The Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is the Gila National Forest in New Mexico and the Apache National Forest in Arizona and part of New Mexico—comprising 4.4 million acres (twice the size of Yellowstone National Park), which support an extraordinary array of wildlife and vegetation types. In addition, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has welcomed wolves onto its 1.67-million-acre reservation in Arizona adjoining the national forest.”

This sad little tale has been going on since the late seventies, when a captive breeding program was started because the Mexican gray wolf was technically extinct in the wild, the result of a hundred years of persecution.The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan was adopted in 1982.

In 1998 captive born wolves were released into Arizona and New Mexico. Before reintroduction began the US Fish and Wildlife Service projected 102 wolves, including 18 breeding pairs, would be thriving on their historical range by 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter. That was four years ago and twelve years have gone by since their release. Not only are there not 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild but there now are only 39, deducting the recent losses.

The three legged alphas of the highly endangered Middle Fork Pack  are up against a sea of cattle in the Gila National Forest.

Middle Fork three-legged alphas

Both alphas lost their left front legs. Alpha female AF861, leg was shot to bits, that case is still being investigated. Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap. Despite their handicaps they were still able to hunt and raise pups!!   

Many of the cows in the Gila belong to the Adobe/Slash Ranch, which is owned by a Mexican businessman. 

One of their ranch hands was actually caughtbaiting wolves, to get them in trouble and cause the three strikes rule to kick in. 

Finally in 2009 the  USFWS  Settled a lawsuit:

“brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.”

Since the three strikes rule was scrapped it looked like the beleaguered wolves would have a fighting chance to start their long-awaited recovery. That was until they counted them in 2009.  Their numbers plummeted from 52 to 42 wolves. Ten wolves lost, two confirmed shot and six more likely shot.

“The decline is “tremendously disconcerting and very disturbing,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional director for the Southwest.

An unusually poor survival rate among wolf pups appeared to play a key role in last year’s population decline, officials indicated. Thirty-one pups were born last year in seven wolf packs. Seven survived, the wildlife service said.”

Two wolves were confirmed to have been shot to death last year. Tuggle said he is not ruling out the possibility that the other six dead wolves were shot. Those deaths are under law enforcement investigation.

“USFWS relies on captive wolves being reintroducedand pup survival to maintain or increase the population. With the loss of four pups to probable poaching. a poor pup survival rate and no reintroductions in 2009, the wolf population declined significantly.”

I think it’s safe to assume the other six wolves were the victims of foul play. There is tremendous intolerance for wolves in the Southwest.  Big surprise. The same attitudes that plague wolves here in the Northern Rockies are mirrored there.

How pathetic, in the expanse of Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, which encompasses the Gila and Apache National Forests, over 4.4 million acres, there isn’t a place for 39 wolves, much less a hundred? There’s plenty of room for cattle though. And that’s the problem.

Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states: 

“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”

USFWS better figure out how to help these animals survive before they go extinct in the wild AGAIN!  Every single wolf is a national treasure to be protected. USFWS needs to aggressively go after the low life poachers, slapping them with long jail sentences and huge fines. Otherwise it will be business as usual, wolves shot and killed and their killers walking free. If those pathetic excuses for human beings think they can shoot a wolf and get away with it, what incentive do they have to stop?

Aside from the cretin poachers, until recently it was the USFWS themselves that was getting in the way of wolf recovery, with their heavy-handed “wolf management” measures, that got many wolves killed over livestock. The USFWS killed 151 Mexican gray wolves since their reintroduction, including over 20 puppies. That is simply outrageous.

Here are the grim statistics of Mexican gray wolves killed by USFWS since 1998.

Mexican wolf management removals from the Blue Range Population, Arizona and New Mexico, 1998-2010.

http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/pdf/MW_removals.pdf

If those wolves were alive today, what a difference it could have made in Mexican gray wolf recovery. We might be at 100 wolves instead of 39.

Lobos of the Southwest states:

“Wolves have done what is needed to thrive in the wild: They have formed packs, had pups and successfully hunted elk and deer.

Unfortunately, the recovery effort has failed to reach the first reintroduction objective of at least 100 wolves in the wild. Until recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s aggressive wolf “control” measures repeatedly knocked the population down. The wild population of Mexican gray wolves has declined over the past five years, and at the end of 2008, only about 50 wolves lived in the wilds of the Southwest. The wild population was lower at the beginning of 2009 than it was at the end of 2003.”

Time is running out for wolves in the Southwest. The loss of the three alpha males is beyond measure. The Hawks Nest pack have seven pups and the Paradise and San Mateo packs are believed to have pups. The poachers disrupted the social structure of three wolf packs who may never be the same again. Even though USFWS is supplementing the diet of the San Mateo and Paradise Packs, losing their fathers is a huge blow. You can hardly call them packs anymore. It’s just the alpha females alone with their puppies.

It’s obvious drastic measure need to be taken. Even though the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area is prime wolf habitat, most of the land is heavily grazed by cattle.

Many Southwest ranchers don’t want wolves or any predators around for that matter. USFWS should think about moving or widening the wolves range to a more wolf friendly environment.

Why not expand the wolves recovery area outside the Gila and Apache National Forests to Grand Canyon National Parkfor starters? Or start retiring grazing leases.

It’s ridiculous cattle are causing wolves to die, especially since 94% of the Blue Range Recovery Area is public land.

The status quo won’t cut it anymore. The wolves have been struggling ever since their reintroduction in 1998. It’s going to take a major effort by Fish and Wildlife to protect these wolves and allow them to finally make their long-awaited recovery. Poaching has to be stopped. Hopefully the $50,000 reward will be enough to rat out the killer!!

Please contact:

US Department of the Interior
http://www.doi.gov/public/contact-us.cfm

USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Program
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/comments_form.html

Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program
http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/

New Mexico Department of Fish and Game
http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/contact/index.htm

Arizona Fish and Game Dept.
http://www.azgfd.gov/comments.shtml

From Lobos of the Southwest:

Editors in Arizona and New Mexico

Regional/National

http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php?page=letters-to-editors

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Upper Photo: Courtesy National Geographic

Middle Fork Pack Photos: Courtesy USFWS

Posted in: Mexican gray wolves,  gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: Hawks Nest Pack, critically endangered species, Paradise Pack,  San Mateo Pack, Arizona, New Mexico, low life poachers,  $50,000 reward

Some hope:

Five new Mexican gray wolf pups at St. Louis facility represent new hope for their species

July 1, 2010

 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2010/07/five-new-mexican-gray-wolf-pups-at-st-louis-facility-represent-new-hope-for-their-species.html

 

Bad Moon Rising On Mexican Gray Wolves

February 7, 2010

In a season of bad wolf news, Mexican wolves have been dealt another blow. Their numbers, already dismal, dipped from 52 wolves in 2008 to 42 wolves in 2009.

“The Mexican wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico plunged to its lowest level in seven years in 2009, with eight wolves including four pups found dead last year, officials said Friday.

Last year’s total of 42 wolves found in the wild was down nearly 20 percent from 52 wolves in 2008. Since the wolf recovery plan began back in 1998, the U.S. government has spent about $20 million trying to restore wolves in Eastern Arizona and southwest New Mexico, federal records show. Ninety-two total wolves have been released into the wild.”

This sad little tale has been going on since the late seventies, when a captive breeding program was started because the Mexican gray wolf was technically extinct in the wild, the result of a hundred years of persecution.  The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan was adopted in 1982.

In 1998 captive born wolves were released into Arizona and New Mexico. Before reintroduction began in 1998, the US Fish and Wildlife Service projected 102 wolves, including 18 breeding pairs, would be thriving on their historical range by 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter. That was four years ago and twelve years have gone by since their release. Not only are there not 100 Mexican gray wolves in the wild but their numbers have dipped even further from the handful of 52 animals counted in 2008.

Is it any wonder the program has been a failure?  Up until last year the wolves were subjected to the three strikes rule, meaning kill three livestock and you’re out, as in dead.

The three legged alphas of the highly endangered Middle Fork Pack  are up against a sea of cattle in the Gila National Forest, which is heavily grazed.  Many of those cows belong to the Adobe/Slash Ranch, which is owned by a Mexican businessman. One of the ranch hands was actually caught baiting wolves, a few years back, to get them in trouble and cause the three strikes rule to kick in.

I sincerely hope these amazing wolves were not part of the reported grim statistics of dead wolves. Both alphas lost their left front legs. Alpha female AF861, lost her leg to a gunshot wound, that case is still being investigated. Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap. Despite their handicaps they are able to hunt and raise pups!!

Finally in 2009 the  US Fish and Wildlife Services settled a Settled a lawsuit:

“brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.”

Since the three strikes rule was scrapped it looked like the beleaguered wolves would have a fighting chance to start their long awaited recovery. That was until they counted them.

“The decline is “tremendously disconcerting and very disturbing,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional director for the Southwest.

Two wolves were confirmed to have been shot to death last year. Tuggle said he is not ruling out the possibility that the other six dead wolves were shot. Those deaths are under law enforcement investigation.

An unusually poor survival rate among wolf pups appeared to play a key role in last year’s population decline, officials indicated. Thirty-one pups were born last year in seven wolf packs. Seven survived, the wildlife service said.”

Apparently the agency relies on captive wolves being reintroduced and pup survival to maintain or increase the population. So with the loss of four pups to probable poaching. a poor pup survival rate and no reintroductions  in 2009,  the wolf population declined significantly.

I think it’s safe to assume that the other six wolves were the victims of foul play. There is tremendous intolerance for wolves in the Southwest.  Big surprise. The same attitudes that plague wolves here in the Northern Rockies are mirrored there.  How pathetic that in the expanse of the Gila and Apache National Forests there isn’t a place for a hundred wolves?  There’s plenty of room for cattle though.  And that’s the problem.

Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states: 

“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”

It sounds like Fish and Wildlife is finally waking up to the seriousness of the situation.  Bud Fazio is now heading the Mexican Gray wolf program.  He ran the Red Wolf program successfully in the Carolinas so I  have  hope he can figure out how to help these animals survive before they go extinct in the wild AGAIN!  It should start with going after the  poachers and giving them substantial jail time. If they think they can shoot a wolf and get away with it, what incentive do they have to stop?

Time is running out for the wolves in the Southwest. Why not expand the wolves recovery area outside of the Gila and Apache National Forests? How about Grand Canyon National Park for starters?

The status quo won’t cut it anymore.  The wolves have been struggling ever since their reintroduction in 1998. It’s going to take a major effort by Fish and Wildlife to protect these wolves and allow them to finally make their long-awaited recovery. Any good news on wolf recovery would be heralded.

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Officials say total from last year was down nearly 20%

Mexican wolf population dipping

http://www.azstarnet.com/news/science/environment/article_1d9a72c2-9f55-5730-b948-b57533cd1620.html

Elk in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area

 

Photos: Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Services

Posted in: Mexican gray wolf, gray wolf/canis lupus, wolf recovery, Wolf Wars

Tags: Mexican gray wolves,  wolf recovery, canis lupus, wolves or livestock

More Complaining About Mexican Gray Wolves From Ranchers

Here we go again.  Ranchers in the Southwest can’t tolerate 52 Mexican Gray wolves.  How pathetic is this?  In the expanse of New Mexico and Arizona there is no place for wolves to recover?

This is what happens when the feds cater to ranchers. They will never be happy.  And they know that most of their cattle losses come from disease, reproduction and weather.  But it makes good PR to keep hammering the wolves. Sad enough both the Middle Fork Pack alphas in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest have only three legs each, one lost to a bullet and the other to a leg hold trap…and they’re RAISING PUPPIES!! 

Settling a lawsuit brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.

At last count in January 2009, there were just 52 Mexican gray wolves and only two breeding pairs in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Another count will take place in January 2010. Before reintroduction began in 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service had projected 102 wolves including 18 breeding pairs by the end of 2006, with numbers expected to rise thereafter.

Well it’s almost 2010 and the feds have failed miserably to re-establish the Mexican Gray wolf.  Twelve years have gone by and there are still only 52 wolves because people keep shooting them!!  Wildlife Services has taken them out, they’ve been shot illegally, baited.

Bud Fazio is now heading the Mexican Gray wolf program.  I believe he ran the Red Wolf program successfully in the Carolina’s.  He has his work cut out for him!!   

I say stop limiting the wolves recovery to a few small areas.  How about Grand Canyon National Park for starters? Let’s think outside the box here.  The highly endangered Middle Fork Pack with their three legged alphas are surrounded by a sea of cattle in the Gila.

 Michael Robinson of  the Center for Biological Diversity states: 

“Lackadaisical Forest Service management, severe grazing during drought, trespass stock, and scattered carcasses of cattle that died of non-wolf causes which draw wolves in to scavenge, all guarantee continued conflicts between wolves and livestock,” pointed out Robinson.

“Preventing conflicts with livestock on the national forests makes more sense than scapegoating endangered wolves once conflicts begin,” said Robinson.”

The Beaverhead area has a history of wolves scavenging on carcasses of cattle that they had not killed, and then subsequently beginning to hunt live cattle. This spring, the Center for Biological Diversity documented sixteen dead cattle, none of them with any signs of wolf predation, within a few miles of the Middle Fork’s den site.

Independent scientists have repeatedly recommended that owners of livestock using the public lands be required to remove or render unpalatable (as by lime, for example) the carcasses of cattle and horses that die of non-wolf causes — such as starvation, disease or poisonous weeds — before wolves scavenge on them and then switch from preying on elk to livestock. No such requirements have been implemented.”

So ranchers just turn their cattle loose, cattle die, not from wolves but their carcasses aren’t removed.  What does this teach wolves?  Are they gong to pass up a free meal to scavage on dead cows, which only teaches them to feed on cattle.   

It always comes back to livestock when discussing wolves.  We need a new paradigm. Here’s a thought,  get the cattle off our public lands, especially since rules are being broken by not removing dead cows. Then maybe wolves can thrive without a gun to their heads.

When will ranchers realize that wolf recovery in the Southwest is not all about them.  I wish the feds would  put the wolves first for once.  Is that too much to ask??

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Wolf recovery at crossroads in the Southwest

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press Writer Sun Dec 6, 4:16 pm ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091206/ap_on_sc/us_endangered_wolf

All Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Mexican Gray Wolf, wolf recovery, Wolf Wars, Public land degredation by livestock

Tags: wolf recovery,  Wildlife Services, wolves in the crossfire

Wolf Victory…”Three Strikes Rule” Rescinded!!

Finally some good news!!  Center for Biological Diversity issued a press release announcing the feds struck down the  “three strikes rule” against Mexican gray wolves.  The victory for the wolves was a result of a settlement reached between  environmental groups and US Fish and Wildlife Services.  

By Settling a lawsuit brought by conservation organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service reasserted its authority over a multiagency management team and scrapped a controversial wolf “control” rule that required permanently removing a wolf from the wild, either lethally or through capture, after killing three livestock in a year. Conservationists had criticized the rigid policy, known as Standard Operating Procedure 13 or SOP 13, for forcing wolves to be killed or sent to captivity regardless of an individual wolf’s genetic importance, dependent pups or the critically low numbers of wolves in the wild.

For several years, the Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee, also known as AMOC, had called the shots on whether or not a wolf would stay in the wild. AMOC was organized to bring other agencies to the table, but the Fish and Wildlife Service – in an unusual move – had ceded control of the Mexican gray wolf’s reintroduction to the committee.

Thank goodness they’ve wrested the management of the wolves away from AMOC and back to the feds. Some people referred to it as AMOK…like things going AMOK….since recovery of the wolves wasn’t doing very well under their auspices.

Roaming the Gila National Forest in New Mexico is probably the most endangered wolf pack in the world, the Middle Fork Pack. Both of the alphas have three legs, each having lost a limb to leg hold traps.  This is a major victory for them and all the 52 beleaguered Mexican gray wolves  and I thank Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, New Mexico Audubon Council, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, University of New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, The Wildlands Network, Sierra Club, Southwest Environmental Center, and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, for fighting this fight and winning for them.  Now if we can just get the dang cattle off our public lands!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Categories posted in: Mexican gray wolf,  wolf recovery

Tags: wolf recovery, wolves or livestock

Published in: on November 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

Sorry, But Wolf Slaughter Is Not American by James William Gibson

FacebookphotoOfWolfhuntres

October 28, 2013

“Fed Up in Wyoming” reads the caption under this stunning photograph posted on a hunter’s Facebook page (reproduced here under Fair Use). The photo is yet more evidence that, two years after political reactionaries led a successful campaign in the House of Representatives and then the Senate to remove the North Rocky Mountain gray wolf from the endangered species list, the slaughter of wolves continues to escalate as wolf hunters fall deeper in their paranoid fantasy that the wolf represents a liberal conspiracy against rural communities.

The Facebook page  that originally posted the image belongs to two Wyoming hunting outfitters, Colby and Codi Gines. The Gines run CG Wilderness Adventures, headquartered in a highly remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger Teton National Forest, bordering on the southeast section of Yellowstone National Park.  “Wyoming is God’s country, and we invite you to come see it for yourself,” says the Gines’ website.

Their invitation evidently does not extend to wolves. Driven extinct in most of the continental US in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the wolf returned to the American landscape in 1995, when the US  Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced 66 wolves captured in the Canadian Rockies to Central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. Conservationists saw as the return of the wolf as a crowning accomplishment to renew the wilderness, and millions of Americans came to celebrate the wolf’s comeback. But by 2009 a virulent opposition movement opposed to the wolf had formed. Made up of hunters and outfitters, ranchers, and far-right groups, these forces coalesced around a cultural mythology in which  wolves became demons — disease ridden, dangerous foreign invaders  — who served as icons of the hated federal government. (Read Cry Wolf, our in-depth report on this issue.)

With the Klan-like hoods and the ostentatious display of the American flag, the photo is a glimpse into the mentality of those behind the anti-wolf campaign. There is, apparently, a cohort of people who view the destruction of wild nature as something to be celebrated, something quintessentially America. They are play acting at both patriotism and rebellion. And, in their play-acting, they reveal a great deal about the paranoid fantasies that have gripped some people in the age of Obama.

The Facebook comments following the photo are especially revealing. Among those who LIKE this page is Sportsmen Against Wolves, a group whose “About” statement is, “Sportsmen against illegally introduced Canadian Gray Wolves.”  Here’s one wolf-killing friend, J. Weeks, commenting on the photo: “Kill all federally funded terrorists. ” To some, the reintroduction of wolves represents Washington’s treason against civilization itself: “Yet another brilliant bleeding heart program…reestablish the bloodthirsty critter that every civilization form the dawn of time has tried to eliminate,” says Johnny W.  To Sarah H., the wolf killing is just self-defense: “I imagine they don’t want any wolfies to come after them or their families!” Then Haines complained that only one had been killed — there “should be a pile of them tho!”

The white hoods, with their echoes of Jim Crow-era terrorism, were actually celebrated by some commenters.  “Redneck KKK” wrote Austin T. One fan, Julia G., argued that the wolf hunters should be more brazen, posting,  “Next time they go full REGALIA.”

For their part, the Gines prefer to call the hoods the sign of “Vigilantes,” a way of “Trying to make a statement!…Frontier Justice! Wyoming hunters are fed up!” John  P. concurred, “Yeehaw…looks like modern day Wyoming rangers taking care of business!!!!!”

Some commenters suggested that the wolf hunters wore hoods to protect themselves from government persecution. One supporter of masked men posted, “I fully understand the masks…Keep on killing guys.”

It would seem that wolf hunting is the wildlife version of George Zimmerman’s vigilantism – self appointed keepers of order waging a battle against an imaginary enemy.

Or maybe it’s worse, and the wolf hunters with their KKK masks are more like shades of Timothy McVeigh. The cammo gear, the rifles – it’s as if the wolf hunters were  fighting a guerrilla war against Washington. As if they were worried that at any moment a US Fish and Wildlife Service black helicopter would swoop down and a SWAT team emerge, assault rifles blazing.

But it’s a phony rebellion against a phantom menace. The wolves aren’t actually any danger to people or much of a threat to ranchers’  livestock. And the US government permits them to be killed. There’s no real transgression here requiring a mask. It’s all theater meant to self-impress.

In April, 2011, the House and Senate sponsored a “rider” on a federal budget bill that removed gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Here’s the very long story in short: Democratic Senator Jon Tester faced a rough challenge in the 2012 Montana election, and sacrificing wolves as expendable was deemed politically expedient to win the race. Wolf hunts renewed in Idaho and Montana that fall. Legal challenges by environmental groups against the delisting failed.

Wyoming took until 2012 to win full federal approval for a plan to declare the lands near Yellowstone a “trophy zone” with wolf quotas. In most of the state, wolves can be killed year round without limits.  The Gines’ hunting operation is in “Wolf Hunt Area 3.” In late October they reported killing two wolves, filling its quota of three wolves. Whether the wolf in this photo is one of the three legally killed is not known.

The Northern Rockies have become an unsupervised playpen for reactionaries to act out warrior fantasies against demonic wolves, coastal elites, and idiotic environmentalists — the members of these latter two categories being “two-legged” wolves. The sheer extremity of the hatred shown to wolves, and the bizarre juxtaposition of the KKK-like hoods and American flag, plainly expose this movement for what it is: A scapegoating of the wolves by men and women who have succumbed to their own rage against imagined enemies. And while the failure of federal, state and local political leaders to denounce the anti-wolf movement illuminates their moral failure, history offers encouraging instances of public indignation creating change from below.

Read the rest of the article @ Earth Island Journal: 

 http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/sorry_but_wolf_slaughter_is_not_american/

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Photo: Earth Island Journal

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: James William Gibson, Earth Island Journal, wolf hate, wolf persecution, Wyoming disgrace, Northern Rockies

Published in: on October 28, 2013 at 11:00 am  Comments (83)  

A Round of Applause…

The endless whining and demonizing of wolves is so mind numbing  it could actually rival the drug Ambien as an effective sleep aid. The same talking points are repeated over and over ad nauseam. That’s why it was so refreshing to read reporter Nick Geovck’s piece in the Mt.Standard. A round of applause to him for having the courage and conviction to speak out about this modern-day witch hunt, directed at wolves and other predators.

He drives his point home by quoting from Aldo Leopold’s famous writing, Thinking Like a Mountain, from a Sand County Almanac. Leopold, who was once a wolf hunter himself, had an epiphany:

“Leopold realizes that killing a predator wolf carries serious implications for the rest of the ecosystem.”

Please take the time to thank Nick Ge0vck by leaving a comment under his excellent article.

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Hatred of predators reaches ridiculous fervor

In the Hunt by Nick Geovck |

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:15 am

“Conserva-tion is a state of harmony between men and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators.”

Aldo Leopold

Let’s kill every wolf in Montana.

Sounds like a popular idea these days among hunters.

While we’re at it, let’s kill every grizzly bear, every black bear and every mountain lion. Throw in golden eagles, bald eagles, rattlesnakes and coyotes.

We’d be left with a hunter’s paradise – a state teeming with game animals and hunting opportunity, right?

That’s the sentiment I heard recently at a meeting on the hunting season setting proposals in Butte, where an oft-angry group of sportsmen called for large-scale killing of predators to increase the number of deer, elk and other game species. The suggestions ranged from having government trappers shoot wolves from helicopters to creating a season on eagles so they don’t kill mountain goats.

Of course Butte sportsmen aren’t alone. Over the past few years anger has been building blaming predators – and in particular wolves – for lower game herds and for less hunting opportunity. Wolf haters throw around words like “annihilation” and “devastation” when it comes to Montana’s deer and elk herds. And even some respected conservation groups have gotten in on the wolf bashing through public statements decrying the effects of predators.

What state are these people living in?

Here are a few facts about Montana’s wildlife populations and hunting over the past two decades, covering the period during which the much-maligned western gray wolf has been on the landscape.

In 1992, three years before wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks official estimate of the elk herd was 89,000 elk in Montana. Today we have a statewide estimate of 150,000 elk.

In 2003, the state Legislature passed a bill that required FWP biologists bring elk numbers down to the targeted objective populations laid out in the statewide elk plan. They were responding to complaints from ranchers about too many elk on their private land.

Ironically, some of the same lawmakers who supported that bill are among the most vocal wolf bashers. That hypocrisy begs the question: are there too many elk or too many wolves in Montana?

Anyway, the Legislature in recent years has given FWP several tools to kill more elk, including giving hunters the chance to kill two elk per year.

And since then, Montana has on three occasions extended the general elk season to give hunters two additional weeks to kill elk in years when the harvest was slow.

Second elk tags, extended seasons and liberal regulations allowing more cow elk hunting: where’s the loss of hunting opportunity?

In truth, elk hunters have had more opportunity than in decades and now we’ve seen the effects of that.

Over the past couple years we’ve brought elk back down closer to the target populations or in some cases dropped it below those objective numbers. Accordingly, FWP biologists have gone from liberal to more conservative seasons, allowing fewer cow elk to be killed in many areas and reducing the second tags.

It proves that two-legged predators with high-powered rifles can be extremely effective at killing elk.

Read more: http://mtstandard.com/news/local/hatred-of-predators-reaches-ridiculous-fervor/article_3e418c46-47ba-11e1-b87a-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1kelv40FJ

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Photo: Courtesy goukaboutdotcom

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf persecution, wolf hysteria, Mt. Standard, Nick Gevock ,  war on predators

Ground Hog Day….

It’s Ground Hog day in the Northwest, as Wolf Wars plays out over and over. Oregon and Washington’s tiny wolf populations are being subjected to the same “wolf hysteria” that plagues the rest of the Northern Rockies.

Here’s a good article from the NYT on the state of wolf wars in the Pacific Northwest.

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Conflict Over Northern Rockies Delisting for Wolves Extends to Pacific Northwest

By LAURA PETERSEN of Greenwire
Published: June 16, 2011

While the battle over Northern Rockies gray wolf management has been most visible in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, wolf issues are also heating up in the Pacific Northwest as Washington and Oregon strive to manage small but growing packs.

Environmentalists are blasting Oregon wildlife managers for killing two wolves last month, dropping the state’s wolf population to 17. The state also has issued 30 permits authorizing land owners to kill wolves caught attacking livestock or dogs.

Meanwhile, Washington is struggling to develop a recovery and management plan that satisfies both wolf advocates and opponents as wolves move back into the state, which is now home to three confirmed packs.

Gray wolves in the eastern third of Washington and Oregon were removed by Congress from the federal Endangered Species List in May along with wolves in Montana, Idaho and parts of Utah. The Northern Rockies delisting measure was inserted into a last-minute budget deal funding the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year (Land Letter, May 5).

However, wolves are still protected by federal law in Wyoming and in the western two-thirds of Oregon and Washington. State law also protects wolves in the two Pacific Northwest states, where the animals were once abundant before being extirpated as ranching and farming expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

But as Rocky Mountain wolves slowly recovered after the late 1970s, some of the animals began to trickle into the Pacific Northwest, giving rise to conflicts between ranchers, property owners and wildlife advocacy groups “When wolves came into Oregon, they came into a different political, social and ecological landscape,” said Rob Klavins, wildlands advocate for Oregon Wild. “We had a hope Oregon could do better than places like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, and up until last year we had this feeling of ‘all right, we can avoid the wolf wars.'”

‘Wolf hysteria’

But last week, Oregon Wild joined a coalition of 11 groups in writing to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife accusing the agency of violating its management plan and state law by baiting wolves back to the site of reported depredations and failing to adequately document and publicly share information about non-lethal measures taken to prevent depredations before issuing kill permits.

The agency also has approved the killing of a third wolf and distributed at least 30 take permits to livestock owners.

The coalition requested that the take permits issued to ranchers be suspended until some of their concerns are resolved. But so far, Oregon regulators have no plans to do so.

 Michelle Dennehy, an ODFW spokesperson, said regulators are adhering to the state’s 2005 wolf management plan, which calls for establishing four breeding pairs — defined as a mated male and female that produce two pups that survive to their first birthday — but also allowing for the killing of wolves that are witnessed attacking livestock or dogs.

“We need to meet our conservation mandate, but we also have to address chronic livestock losses when they occur,” Dennehy said.

Oregon’s wolf management plan earned qualified support from both environmentalists and ranchers when it passed six years ago, in part because the plan requires that non-lethal actions be taken to deter wolf predation before sanctioned killings can occur.

Until last month’s two wolf takings, only two wolves had been killed in Oregon for livestock depredation since 2005.

But, Klavins said, “Last year, some wolves were seen on private property, and we started to see the beginnings of wolf hysteria.

“What started to happen was every single dead cow was of course a wolf kill … when further investigations were showing that for the most part that wasn’t the case,” he added.

Anti-wolf sentiment appears to be growing in the region, with some critics describing wolves as “four-legged piranhas of the West,” even though depredation accounts for a small fraction of livestock losses. In 2010, fewer than a dozen cows and calves were killed by wolves compared to 55,000 lost to disease, weather and other causes, Klavins said.

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/06/16/16greenwire-conflict-over-northern-rockies-delisting-for-w-59888.html

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolf hysteria, wolf wars, Pacific Northwest, Oregon wolves, Washington wolves

Published in: on June 19, 2011 at 2:19 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Suspends Trapping in Wolf Recovery Area

Middle Fork Pack alphas both  missing their front legs, Alpha male AM871 lost his limb to a leg hold trap.

What a breath of fresh air. Positive wolf news for a change.  Governor Bill Richardson has suspended trapping on the NM side of the wolf recovery area for six months.  He wants to know what effect trapping has on the highly endangered Mexican gray wolf population and has ordered New Mexico Fish and Game to study the issue.

Actually they don’t have to do a study, I can tell you trapping is devastating to all animals, including gray wolves. The alpha male of the Middle Fork pack lost his front leg to a trap. He and his mate are both missing their front legs. The alpha female lost her front leg to a bullet.

Even though this is a suspension for six months and not a permanent ban it certainly is a step in the right direction. We need to get traps and snares off all public lands. 

I commend the Governor for doing something pro-active for wolves. We should write and thank him for his efforts.

Contact Governor Bill Richardson:

http://www.governor.state.nm.us/email.php?mm=6&type=opinion

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NM governor suspends trapping in wolf area

Associated Press – July 28, 2010 4:55 PM ET

http://www.kwes.com/global/story.asp?s=12885938

 

Photos: Courtesy USFWS

Posted in: Mexican gray wolf

Tags: trapping suspension, New Mexico, traps and snares, Governor Bill Richardson

 

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