Monday, December 30, 2013

Plan to delist gray wolf endangers other threatened species, researchers find

The federal government's proposal to discontinue protection for the gray wolf across the United States could have the unintended consequence of endangering other species, researchers say.
As written, scientists assert, the proposed rule would set a precedent allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife .
Service (FWS) to declare habitat unsuitable for an endangered animal because a threat exists on the land – the exact opposite of the service's mandate to impose regulations that reduce threats against imperiled 
The FWS has "conflated threats with habitat suitability" by stating that U.S. land currently unoccupied by wolves – most of the country that historically served as wolf habitat – is now unsuitable because humans living in those regions won't tolerate the animals, the lead scientist said. This claim runs counter to existing research, which the service did not cite in its explanation of the rule.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to detail what the threats are and if they're substantial enough, they're supposed to list a species and put in place policies to mitigate the threats," said Jeremy Bruskotter, associate professor in The Ohio State University's School of Environment and Natural Resources and lead author of the paper.

Read more 

Why Reforming State Game Commissions is so Important

There is perhaps no issue we view as more important than reforming Game and Fish Departments across our country. We have said many times nothing will have more impact on our lands, water and wildlife than this reform. Over the past few months we have looked nationally at what is occurring andsee clear evidence that many Game and Fish Departments are in need of serious reform.
From Bear Baying in South Carolina, to coyote penning in North Carolina, to the complete slaughter of wolves in Montana, Game and Fish departments are not becoming more progressive, but relics of a bygone era.
But it does not end there, the battle over trapping continues and many states appear dug in to the idea that trapping is part of the custom and culture of their state. We know that trapping must be eliminated, and such rational makes no sense in a modern and educated society.
The more we research and investigate, the more disturbing the story becomes on a national level!
Game and Fish departments are run by commissions; they are generally chosen by the Governor as political payback and depending on the state are tied to specific interests. In the West, that translates to ranching and oil and gas interests.
The agencies themselves use these commissions to cover their lack of Peer reviewed science, and the killing of predator species. In many states they also continue to allow trapping, because sportsmen continue to say if trapping is removed, then it’s only a matter of time before hunting is outlawed.
It’s time than Game and Fish Departments move into the 21st century. But as long as departments gain most of their revenue from hunting and trapping tags, and the tax on firearms and ammunition, we are left with little or no voice.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Idaho’s Wolf Management Receives Scrutiny

by KEN COLE on DECEMBER 28, 2013

Today, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the nation is taking notice of how Idaho is managing wolves just two years after they were
stripped of the protection of the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Congress. This weekend anti-wolf forces are having a highly controversial 2-day wolf and coyote killing contest where two person teams will receive prizes for the biggest wolf and most coyotes they kill. At the same time, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has hired a private trapper to kill the entire Monumental Creek and Golden Creek packs of wolves deep inside one of the nation’s largest wilderness areas – the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area – far away from any livestock simply because an outfitter whined to an Idaho Department of Fish and Game commissioner.

The nation is taking notice. This morning the New York Times published a scathing editorial titled "Wolf Haters", the Idaho Statesman published a Guest Opinion by Rick Johnson of the Idaho Conservation League, and even the BBC reported on the derby.

Read more . . . 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Should wild horses, wolves, be sacrificed for public lands ranchers

The dilemma has come down to this: Should ranchers be allowed to graze their livestock on public lands, then expect both Government help and public support for killing any native wildlife there that conflicts with their non-native livestock?
Point 1: When ranchers plunk herds of domestic livestock in the forest or wild wolf territory, there will be conflict with predators.
How can there not be? These are not 'problem wolves', coyotes or mountain lions; they are simply native wildlife trying to survive, in their own territories, in their wild lands, just as they always have throughout the ages. By dumping helpless, non-native, introduced cattle, sheep and other livestock onto designated wild lands, ranchers are deliberately and knowingly offering up their livestock to the wolves.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Proposal reignites passions over Mexican wolves

An area set aside in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona for the recovery of Mexican gray wolves is not big enough, according to a regional official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"We can't, over time, maintain genetic viability in the little area that they have," said Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle.
The agency has proposed expanding the range of the wolves and as a result has reignited passions about whether and where humans should coexist with the predators.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Death of Yellowstone's Most Famous Wolf Is a Troubling Sign of Things to Come

The alpha female of Yellowstone's Lamar Canyon pack may have been the most famous wolf in the world. Endlessly photographed and admired by thousands of visitors to the national park, this matriarch of Yellowstone -- often known by her number, 832F -- made the cover of American Scientist and was discussed at length in the pages of theNew York Times.
With a gorgeous gray coat and fearless spirit, she was a true rock star from the wolf world. Sadly, a year ago this Friday, 832F crossed the invisible boundary of the national park, entering Wyoming, and was gunned down by a hunter.

Monday, December 2, 2013

“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man...” - Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Putting Politics Before Science Won’t Save the Lobo

With winter upon us and the days getting noticeably shorter, so too is the time left to speak out on behalf
Mexican Gray Wolf
of 
Mexican gray wolves. Among the country’s most imperiled species, there are only about 75 lobos left in the wild. The ultimate fate of these iconic animals could be decided in the next year and, troublingly, it appears that the wolves’ best interests may not be the only factors at play.
Scientists agree that there are three things vital to successful wolf recovery – a comprehensive, science-based recovery plan; the release of more wolves into the wild; and at least two new core populations in the most suitable habitat areas in the Grand Canyon region and southern Utah/southern Colorado. But these recommendations are seemingly falling on deaf ears as the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) makes decisions about the lobos’ future management that ignore these basic findings. Worse still, the FWS may be engaging in some backroom dealing with states
.

Read more from Defenders of Wildlife
.

Becoming King: Why So Few Male Lions Survive to Adulthood

The first sight of wild lions is stirring, for a number of reasons. The cubs themselves are adorable, but the adults — each of which easily outweighs an offensive linemen and sports paws the size of small dinner plates — elicit a sort of tense wonder consisting of awe, respect for these powerful beasts, and something resembling fear but more like an awareness of one's mortality. They could easily kill us. But there are no words in the moment besides exclamations of disbelief.
But none of that matters to the lions, who live on this land and don't seem to pay any attention to visitors, driven about in a couple of Toyota Land Cruisers that are completely open to the air, no windows for separation.
The lion cubs seem happy and carefree, but their lives are not easy. Only about 1 in 8 male lions survive to adulthood, Dereck said.

Tough childhood
All lions face high mortality as cubs, for a variety of reasons, including injuries, lack of food, illness and being killed by adult lions — more on that later. But when male lions begin to reach sexual maturity around age 2, the older males within the pride kick them out, Dereck said. The female lions, which are usually all related to some degree, typically stay behind.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Living With Lobo: The Mexican Gray Wolf

The Mexican wolf once roamed throughout vast portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. But, as human settlement intensified across the Southwest in the early 1900s, wolves increasingly came into conflict with livestock operations and other human activities. Private, state, and federal extermination campaigns were raged against the wolf until, by the 1970’s, the Mexican wolf had been all ...but eliminated from the United States and Mexico.

In 1976, however, a new era dawned for the Mexican wolf. The Mexican wolf, a subspecies of gray wolf, was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a recognition that the subspecies was in danger of extinction. The wolf was already functionally extinct in the Southwest, and only occasional reports of wolves in Mexico confirmed its continued existence in the wild. It was now incumbent upon the Service, one of two federal agencies responsible for administration of the Endangered Species Act, to lead an effort to bring the Mexican wolf back from the brink of extinction in the United States.

video

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wolf Hunter Kills Man's Pet Malamute

A Missoula man's malamute was fatally shot by a wolf hunter on Sunday. Layne Spence was skiing with his three dogs near Lee Creek, Montana, when Little Dave, a two-year old brown and white malamute, was shot in the leg.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review - Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf


  • Title: Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf
  • Author: John Hyde
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bunker Hill Publishing Inc
  • Review by: RJ Hayden

From the "Disneyesque" opening chapter to the fateful ending, Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf is one that will warm your heart while at the same time, dispel the myriad of myths and unbridled misinformation that is so prevelant these days regarding the North American gray wolf. 

Author John Hyde's work chronicles the fascinating true life story of a lone Alaskan wolf affectionately named Romeo by the localsCoupled along with his own personal encounters with Romeo, this book will leave you with an amazingly different perspective of canis lupus.

While the title's main focus is a solitary animal, Hyde also does a very credible job in providing an extremely readable description of the inner workings of a wolf pack; highly social creatures whose members all have a specific role in the pack's survival. From the alpha male and female to the lowest ranking wolf, it provides just the right amount of particulars to educate and inform the reader without getting overly involved with a lot of scientific detail or animal psychology. 

The heart of the story however revolves around Romeo's behavior and the relationship he develops with the townsfolk and their dogs . . . a behavior which might be classified as atypical if you were one who held on to the misguided belief that wolves are nothing more than vicious, methodical thrill killing predators. If so, you will be astonished and pleasantly surprised by what this remarkable story describes. Hyde carefully recounts how the citizens of Juneau transitioned from their initial fears of a wild animal playfully interacting with his canine cousins to an almost complete acceptance of this wolf which would eventually became a national celebrity. 

Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf, brimming with brilliant photographs, is certainly a must read for any wolf or wildlife champion. I also can't help but to think that it would offer great insight to those who mistakenly support the delisting of wolves from the endangered species list. 

Bravo zulu John Hyde - and thank you!

RJ Hayden  




Footnote: Romeo was believed to be an Alexander Archipelago wolf; a sub-species of the gray wolf and exceedingly rare, with fewer than 1000 wolves left in Southeast Alaska. (Ref: http://goo.gl/ePxm29)


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wolf slaughters raise urgency for reform of state agencies

“There is perhaps no issue we view as more important than reforming game and fish departments across our country.” — Bold Visions Conservation 
Driving back from the International Wolf Symposium, I glimpsed a large billboard featuring the American flag, a large gun display, and an ominous message, summarized as “keep control of your guns and you can control everything else.”
Everything includes you, me, the majority of citizens, legislators, wilderness, wildlife and wolves.

Read more: 
Patricia Randolph's Madravenspeak: Wolf slaughters raise urgency for reform of state agencies : Ct:


Montana’s wolf management challenge

That year, 2004, a Montana advisory council had its work, the state’s first Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. FWS made no bones about the plan’s quality

.Montana’s wolf management challenge - Hungry Horse News: Columns:


Wolf watchers want IDs of dead animals near Yellowstone

Wolf watchers want IDs of dead animals near park - Jackson Hole News&Guide: Environmental: "Wolf watchers in the Lamar Valley — perhaps the most famous place on Earth to spot a Canis lupus in the wild — fear the worst: that the animals killed were members of the Lamar Canyon Pack"