Nowhere To Hide…The Intrusive Collaring of Wolves

Pack after wolf pack has been tracked down by WS and killed in “lethal control actions” BECAUSE wolves were wearing radio collars, making them easy to find. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

As you can see from the photo, leg hold traps are also used to capture wolves for collaring. What effect does this traumatizing event have on a wolf? 

The USFWS wolf recovery coordinator, Ed Bangs, estimates two percent of wolves, trapped for collaring “die from the trauma”. Is that acceptable to you?

Wolves can and do suffer from PTSD,  just like people.

The famous Ninemile pack female wolf, Tenino, was afflicted with it.

“Tenino was an adult female wolf, born in the wild and placed into captivity at 1 year of age because of her participation in livestock depredation. Her method of capture, well documented, involved being darted twice by helicopter and translocated twice. This method of capture would have exposed her to the 2 factors that are important in the etiology of post traumatic stress disorder inhumans uncontrollability and unpredictability.

In a case study we conducted, Tenino displayed symptoms that were similar to those of humans with post traumatic stress disorder. These symptoms included hypervigilance, exaggerated startles, generalized fear, avoidance, and arousal. She also displayed looking up behaviors that occurred during the presence of perceived threats such as a neighboring rancher’s gunshots; the keeper truck; some keeper activity; and, occasionally, aircraft. When compared to 3 other wolves, including her enclosuremate, these behaviors were exclusive to Tenino”…Jay S. Mallonee, Wolf and Wildlife Studies

Wolves are sensitive, social animals. Being chased by helicopters or having their paw caught in a trap must be horribly frightening for them. How would you feel? Wolves experience the same emotions we do, including sorrow, loss, fear and pain.

Wolves are continually harassed by the collaring process itself.  Chased, darted with tranquilizers (Telazol), handled, having collars fitted, collars replaced.

Radio-Tracking Timber Wolves in Ontario

“Miniature collar-type transmitters originally designed by W. W. Cochran, Illinois, were adapted for use on timber wolves (Canis lupus sp.) in east-central Ontario. Wild timber wolves were captured in steel traps, restrained with a forked stick, fitted with radio-collars and released at point of capture. Receivers were adapted for use in trucks, airplanes, and for walking in rough bush country. Maximum ranges were 3.2 km with ground and 9.6 km with aircraft receivers.”

That’s why I believe the knowledge gained by studying collared wolves is far outweighed by the negatives.

Another adverse effect of collaring is the dreaded mange mite. It finds a warm home under their collars, which can torment wolves who are infested with the pest, causing itching and distress, leading to further deterioration of their condition.

Look at the size of that thing. Think of mange mites hiding under it and the wolf not being able to do anything about it.

To my knowledge Yellowstone biologists didn’t lift one finger to treat the Druids sarcoptic mange, which contributed to their demise. The last little Druid female was plagued with mange. Burdened by a radio collar, which I’m sure exacerbated her infestation, she eventually drifted out of Yellowstone, weak and hungry. She was shot and killed in Butte, Montana. The last little Druid, dying alone, without a family. What a tragic end for an iconic wolf pack!!

From the Missoulian:

Wolf No. 690 from Yellowstone National Park had seen her pack ravaged by disease and attacks by other wolf packs before she wandered south of Butte and started attacking cattle.Herself stricken with mange, the 2-year-old female was shot recently by a rancher when he spotted the black wolf attacking cattle.

State wildlife officials inspected the collared wolf and found she was from the former Druid Peak pack, which no longer exists after members caught mange and then dispersed into the hostile territory of other packs.

“We had the last location with her in March, then she disappeared,” said Erin Albers, a biologist with the Yellowstone wolf project. “We were searching for her and we were just assuming that she had left the park, but we didn’t expect her to go to Butte.”

The Druid Peak pack was well-known and a favorite of wolf watchers in the park’s Lamar Valley. It was also the subject of several documentaries about Yellowstone’s wolves.But it began to fall apart last fall when the alpha female died, presumably at the hands of wolves, Albers said. The remaining members of the pack were also hit hard by mange.The pack had a litter of pups last summer that all died of the parasite, which causes wolves to lose their hair. The remaining members dispersed, but found a tough environment in the park with its dense wolf population, Albers said.The weakened wolves would wander into a carcass, only to be attacked and killed by other wolves that were protecting their food and territory. Three wolves from the former pack were found dead, their bodies left mutilated by other wolves, within a four-month period.”

Do Yellowstone park biologists believe it’s invasive to treat mange in resident wolf packs but completely miss how intrusive it is to continually collar wolves? If true, how ironic, because Canadian biologists successfully treated wild wolves for mange. If biologists can handle and interfere with wolves while collaring them, they can certainly treat their mange with Ivermectin.

Wolves tranquilized for collaring: Photo Kevin White (Wolf Song of Alaska)

After reading the USFWS wolf reports for the Northern Rockies, I was stunned by the continual intrusion into wolves lives. Two collared wolves were accidentally killed by Wildlife Services in Idaho, while carrying out a lethal control action on other wolves. Collaring has become a tool to track and kill wolves, instead of what it was originally developed for, scientific research.

Just last year IDFG asked the forest service for permission to land helicopters in the Frank Church Wilderness, the largest area of protected wilderness in the continental United States, comprising 2.3 million acres. Can you guess why they wanted to land there?  To dart and collar wolves of course. Even though the Wilderness Act of 1964 states:

“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

That means, helicopters should stay out. Unfortunately, IDFG was eventually granted permission to collar wolves in the Frank Church, even though Western Watersheds Project mounted a court challenge. Hundreds of Americans sent comments to Regional Forester Harvey Forsgren, with a clear message:


Sadly, Judge Winmill ruled IDFG could land helicopters in the Frank Church but with a caveat:

“Chief US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill denied injunctive relief sought by Western Watersheds Project to prevent IDFG from landing helicopters in the Frank Church Wilderness to collar wolves.  This is another blow for wolves and wilderness. It will only embolden IDGF to continue their war on wolves.  The judge did warn:

“The next helicopter proposal in the Frank Church Wilderness will face a daunting review because it will add to the disruption and intrusion of this collaring project. The Forest Service must proceed very cautiously here because the law is not on their side if they intend to proceed with further helicopter projects in the Frank Church Wilderness. The Court is free to examine the cumulative impacts of the projects, and the context of the use. Given that this project is allowed to proceed, the next project will be extraordinarily difficult to justify.”

The outline of  the proposal submitted to the Forest Service by IDFG, asked permission to land a helicopter in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, up to twenty times last winter to dart as many as twelve wolves.  The reason/excuse was to research and observe wolves. Their intentions aren’t so noble. I believe they wanted to collar wolves in the Frank Church so WS can track them easily, or boost wolf quota numbers for future hunts, if they can document more wolves in the FC. In the end IDFG had to land twelve times in the Frank Church to collar FOUR wolves. Pretty ridiculous. That’s an example of the current state of “wildlife management”.

If IDFG wanted to study wolves they could hike or ride into the Frank Church on horseback. The collaring of wolves in this vast wilderness is just another ploy in their continuing harassment of wolves. The Frank Church/River of No Return wilderness is a vast, refuge for wolves and other wildlife. Now they can’t escape humans even there. The collar program has become a means to an end.  And that end spells trouble for wolves.

Wolves have no place to hide, they’re being monitored as if they were common criminals.  Wearing a radio collar is like being under house arrest. The authorities know where you are at all times.

There is a less invasive way to track wolves with the use of Howl Boxes. I personally think wolves should be left alone, to live in peace but “HOWL BOXES” can be used in place of radio collars!!

Ed Bangs, of the US Fish & Wildlife service, …… estimates that approximately 2 percent of the wolves trapped for radio collaring die from the trauma. “The howlbox is efficient, inexpensive, and less intrusive,” says Bangs. “It uses the wolves’ own communication system to monitor populations.”

Teresa Loya’s invention broadcasts a recorded howl into the wilderness and records any responses from wolves in the following two minutes. From that response, Loya hopes wildlife biologists will be able to get an accurate count of the number of wolves in any particular area, reducing the need for the expensive, invasive and time-consuming process of outfitting wolves with radio collars.

It’s time to stop collaring wolves. It’s intrusive, traumatizing and gives Wildlife Services “a leg up” to track and kill wolves for agribusiness. It harasses wolves in Yellowstone and steals their “wildness”. According to a knowledgable reader of this blog, 759 wolves have been collared during the Yellowstone Wolf Study. Further, he states wolves are chased with helicopters to exhaustion, darted and handled by “gloveless self-serving researchers”. What is this doing to Yellowstone’s wolves?

Collaring is also a potential weapon to be used against wolves by poachers, who may have acquired access to their collar telemetry. Think of the four highly endangered Mexican gray wolves who were found dead this year. How many of the dead wolves or members of their packs were collared?  Since wolves stick together, you can track the entire pack that way. Did poachers use wolves’ collars to track and kill them?

Collaring wolves is out of control. Wolves have enough problems, they don’t need to be hounded by biologists or Wildlife Services to further some nebulous agenda.

What right do we have to chase wild wolves around for collaring? Wolves don’t belong to us. Let them live in peace for godsakes!!


A USDA Wildlife Services employee radio-collars a wolf in the Madison Valley after darting it from a helicopter.


Photos: Collared wolf: Courtesy Howard Golden, Tranquilized wolves: Courtesy Kevin White (Wolf Song of Alaska), Tranquilized wolf: Courtesy USDA

Posted In: Let Wolves Live In Peace

Tags: Druid Peak pack, intrusive collaring of wolves, aerial gunning of wolves, Wildlife Services, sarcoptic mange, Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, Yellowstone National Park, HOWL boxes, PTSD, Telazol, Ivermectin

*This post has been re-written. I posted a version of it in December 2009 but have since changed my opinion about even collaring wolves for research in National Parks.

A Quiet Meditation For Wolf Revealed

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My friend, Cindy Campbell,  shared her meditation with wolf and has given me permission to share it with my readers.  During the past weeks of chaos we all need to remember to slow down and reflect on life.  Her experience may bring us a little peace and enlightenment.  HOWLS!!


For My Fellow Wolf Admirers,

  The Wolf Meditation which took place during the twilight hour on November 15 was an enlightening and rewarding experience.  The sky was crystal clear, the stars shown brightly and the air was crisp, measuring only 5 degrees. I had a small campfire which kept me perfectly warm (along with down blankets and a few layers of clothing!).  For the first 10 minutes I took in my surroundings. The sky, the fire, the crystal reflections of the frost on the trees and bushes.  I immediately knew I was transforming into a different space and it felt very comfortable and inviting.  I have always believed the time between dark and light was magical, we just don’t make an effort to go there very often.  The silence was consuming as well.  I did wonder about night visitors and what they might be thinking ie: Great Grey, Raccoon and Coyote.  Then I remembered, they already knew exactly what I were doing and why!
The meditation itself started at 5:30 am and lasted until 6:15 am when I opened my eyes. (After I went back inside around 6:30 I immediately wrote out the message I received during the meditation). At this point the dawn was just starting to peek over the mountains in front of me.  The silhouette, of the tall wise pine trees at the top of the hill, was taking shape.  I stoked the fire, although I must say I stayed very warm and toasty throughout.  What I did next was very powerful.  I slowly dripped the Snake River water onto the fire and imaged lifting and cleansing the spirit of one wolf, then another, then another.  I brought the wolves that we all know and have come to love, I brought wolves killed which we knew nothing about, and I brought wolves who will need cleansing over the next 3 or 4 months.  All the wolves felt healthy, strong, beautiful and forever.  I then asked for forgiveness from the original Wolf Clan for the ruthless way we ended their lives. I promised our support to keep fighting to make sure things become fair and balanced between us and our Brother Wolf. I admitted many of us understand this is not currently the case. As the droplets of the cold clean water hit the fire, it sizzled loudly and put out a small puff of smoke.  It was in that moment I felt a loving presence all around me. I knew I wasn’t alone.
By now the day sky was taking over the night sky and it was time to go back into the warmth of my home and write out the important message I received.  Following is that message.An Alpha female wolf will be born, she will endure a very rough start into this world.  She’ll grow into a beautiful wolf with very distinct markings.  She will be a gray wolf with predominately white feet and tail.   She will have a darker face with a visible black marking on her forehead.  Her Alpha male will be black and he’ll be the larger of the two.  They will live where wolves are hunted on a regular basis.  One of their litters, the second they have, will consist of thirteen pups! Four will die, nine will live through the first months, seven will live to adulthood, and two will have life changing experiences which will turn upside down the entire concept of how humans and wolves walk side by side from here on out.  It will be a revolutionary change. This litter will be the tell all of our progress in helping wolf survive in these small pockets of wilderness.  This family will become known in 4-1/2 – 5 years (2013-14).  The Alpha female will carry the genes of the Cottonwood Alpha female killed during this years hunt. She will teach the 2 special pups from her second litter something new, different and powerful.  It will take the original Wolf Clan that many generations to get the information correct so that it can be safely and effectively passed down.  I got the impression these game changing wolves will be a sister and brother team.

At this point I waited intently for more information but quickly realized the message was complete, for now.  I clearly knew I was alone again.

As I have learned through my work as a animal communicator, it could be tempting for me to start interpreting the message, but I will not. I merely hold the position of messenger. The wolves will fill in the rest as they see fit.  Our job now is to stay attentive and to always be listening.

Thank you to everyone who took a few minutes, sometime during that day to tap into the well-being of our fellow living being – Brother Wolf.

With Love, Illuminating Light and Wolf Howls All Around,

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Canis lupus, Let Wolves Live In Peace
Tags:  gray wolf, gray wolf/Canis lupus
Published in: on November 29, 2009 at 3:34 am  Comments (5)  

A Meditation for Wolf

honoring the hunted 7

Published in: on November 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm  Comments (6)  

Phantom Hill Wolf Killed….Idaho Count Goes Up to 29

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Phantom Hill wolf killed

29 wolves shot in Idaho this season

Express Staff Writer

A member of the Phantom Hill wolf pack pauses for a rest in the central Wood River Valley last winter. Photo by Courtesy photo

A female member of the Phantom Hill wolf pack was killed Monday, the first wolf to be shot in the Wood River Valley since hunting opened in the region on Thursday, Oct. 1.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer Lee Garwood confirmed that the kill occurred in the Eagle Creek drainage, north of Ketchum. He said the wolf, which had been collared for tracking purposes, was about 2 years old. Garwood said a second wolf may have been close to the female when it was shot.

“There’s at least nine or 10 wolves remaining in the Phantom Hill pack,” he said. “It’s difficult to say exactly, as we didn’t see them in a group the last time we flew over the area.”

The wolf was the second killed in the state’s Southern Mountains wolf zone, which includes the Wood River Valley and extends east across the Pioneer, White Knob, Lost River, Lemhi and Beaverhead mountain ranges to the Montana border. Ten wolves can be killed in that zone.

Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Ed Mitchell said the first wolf killed in the zone was shot in Unit 51, northeast of Mackay, which is over Trail Creek Summit northeast of Sun Valley. Mitchell said he did not believe that that wolf was part of the Phantom Hill pack due to the distance from the pack’s usual territory in the Wood River Valley.

The Phantom Hill pack became well known to the public last winter when it traveled near residential neighborhoods.

To date, 28 wolves have been killed in Idaho this season, with a high of seven taken in the Sawtooth Zone, north of the Wood River Valley. The state quota is 220, plus another 35 that can be killed by the Nez Perce Tribe.

In Montana, where wolf hunting opened Sept. 15, 11 wolves have been killed. The state’s quota has been set at 77.

Mitchell said the recent spike in the number of wolves killed, which jumped from 15 for all of September to almost double that in the span of a week, was due to the fact that two-thirds of the 12 zones opened last Thursday.

Mitchell said he expected the numbers to jump again once other big-game hunts open. He said that although the dates vary among hunting zones across the state, deer season opens in most areas Oct. 10 and elk season on Oct. 15.

“The only surprise would be if we don’t see a spike when these hunters get into the field,” Mitchell said.

Wolf advocate and Stanley resident Lynne Stone decried the Phantom Hill pack shooting, saying few older wolves are left in that pack, especially after the alpha male was killed by a car in June. Stone said the pack could have trouble if it’s mostly made up of pups and yearlings.

“It’s sad because it was the pack we were using for education,” she said.

Stone said she saw another wolf near Eagle Creek on Monday and shot in the air to scare it farther away from state Highway 75.

The wolf hunt in Idaho started earlier this year after the federal government removed the state’s wolves from the federal endangered species list.

Jon Duval:

Categories posted in: Idaho wolf hunt, Let wolves live in peace, gray wolf 

Tags: Idaho wolf hunt,  wolf intolerance

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