25 Jul 2010, 6:04pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Population Dynamics Predators
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Predator-Mediated Competition

Charles E. Kay. 2010. Predator-Mediated Competition: What happens when there is a second, alternative prey in a system? Muley Crazy, July/August 2010.

Full text:

In systems with a single predator and single prey, the predator cannot generally take the prey to extinction due to declining return rates — that is the predators usually starve to death before they can find the last few prey. So while mountain lions, for example, can have a negative impact on mule deer, the cats can only take the deer population so low before the lions begin to run out of food and increasingly turn to killing each other. But what happens when there is a second, alternative prey in a system? Counter intuitively, the additional prey species does not buffer, or reduce, the predation pressure on the first prey animal. Instead, fueled by alternative prey, the predator takes the more vulnerable species to even lower levels. This is called predator-mediated or apparent competition and where this occurs habitat and habitat improvements are largely irrelevant, contrary to what most biologists would have you believe.

A classic example of predator-mediated competition is now playing itself out in Yellowstone National Park. For over 60 years, 600 to 700 food-limited elk wintered in the thermal areas along the Firehole, Gibbon, and Madison Rivers in the west-central portion of the park. With the arrival of introduced wolves, however, the elk population began a precipitous decline with researchers predicting extinction — see The Ecology of Large Mammals in Central Yellowstone. The wolves have been able to do this because they have bison as an alternative prey. In fact, if the elk did not have a partial refugia by fleeing into the depths of the Madison River when confronted by wolves, the elk would already be extinct. The habitat is still there, after all this is a national park, but the elk are all but gone.

Similarly, moose-fueled wolves are in the process of eliminating mountain and woodland caribou across the length and breadth of Canada. While in Alaska, wolves fueled by salmon, yes salmon, have taken black-tailed deer, moose, and caribou to very low levels — much lower then if the wolves did not have salmon as an alternative prey. In Nevada, mountain lions that prey on wild horses have a much greater impact on mule deer than cougar populations without feral equines as alternative prey. It has also been reported that mountain lions have taken bighorn sheep to near extinction on several western ranges where the cats subsist on alternative prey.

In many parts of the West, white-tailed deer and mule deer are sympatric; that is the two species occupy the same areas. Researchers in Alberta have identified predator-mediated competition as a key reason mule deer are declining. Due to behavioral differences, mule deer are more vulnerable to coyote predation than are whitetails. But by preying on both mule deer and whitetails, the coyotes are able to exert much greater predation pressure on mule deer, then if mule deer were the canids only prey. Again the addition of a second prey species, whitetail deer, allowed the predator, coyotes in this case, to have a much greater impact on the more vulnerable prey, mule deer.

While in British Columbia, predator-mediated competition between whitetails, mule deer, and mountain lions has been documented. Again, mule deer are the more vulnerable prey, but by subsisting mainly on whitetails, the cats are able to take mule deer populations to very low levels — much lower than if whitetails were not present. Whitetail-fueled cougars have also been identified as the factor driving British Columbia’s southern, mountain caribou to extinction. Similarly, in Canada’s Banff National Park, elk-fueled wolves have been instrumental in the elimination of both mountain caribou and moose.

Which brings us to the question of predator-mediated competition between ever-increasing numbers to elk in the West and declining mule deer populations. By subsisting on elk, could mountain lions be taking mule deer numbers even lower? Given the fact that mule deer are easier for cougars to kill than elk, predator-mediated competition is certainly possible. Although no one has specifically studied this problem, work that I have been doing for San Juan County in southeastern Utah does shed some light on this issue.
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20 May 2010, 1:08pm
Predators Wildlife Management Wildlife Policy
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Criminal Activities by Federal Bureaucrats and Others Involved in the Introduction, Protection and Spread of Wolves in the Lower 48 States

Beers, Jim. 2010. Criminal Activities by Federal Bureaucrats and Others Involved in the Introduction, Protection and Spread of Wolves in the Lower 48 States. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, Bozeman, MT 16 May 2010.

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:


The period 1967 to 1999 saw the passage of 3 Endangered Species Acts and a tightening of federal authority over a host of plants and animals formerly under the jurisdiction of state governments. Mr. Beers was employed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in many capacities and locations during this period. He explains the growth of federal power, the shift in the sort of employees and agendas responsible for the federal growth, and the resulting subversion of state fish and wildlife agencies and any respect for law by increasingly powerful bureaucrats. The introduction, protection, and spread of wolves by federal decrees during this period are detailed and major violations that occurred are explained. The violations include the theft of $60+ of excise tax money by federal bureaucrats from state fish and wildlife programs to introduce wolves, Non-governmental organization entanglements with federal bureaucrats and federal funds, quid pro quo arrangements with state bureaucrats, failure to audit state fish and wildlife programs in order to maintain state compliance with illegal federal actions, failure of federal bureaucrats to describe and forecast the impacts and costs of introduced wolves, and the cover-up of millions of dollars of state misuse of federally-collected excise taxes.


The following two-hour verbal presentation is divided into three parts. This is so that the listener or reader understands three things.

First is the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) time of employment of the author and his competency concerning this subject. This is important for you to appreciate the competency of the author to speak about federal environmental/animal rights policies, federal bureaucracies and their operation, the changing nature of federal and state fish and wildlife programs, and the impacts that these changes are continuing to have on our American society.

Second are the political, scientific, and legal changes of the past 40 years and how their cumulative impacts have led to the corruption and disregard for both US law and the US Constitution described in the third part.

Third is a description of law violations by both those immediately involved in the introduction, protection, and spread of wolves in the Upper Great Lake States, the Carolinas, the SW States, the Upper and Central Rocky Mountain States and the resulting and ever-widening range of associated bureaucrats’, agencies’, and associated “partners’” activities continuing in disregard of federal laws.

Descriptions and explanations of the growing danger of wolf attacks; the purposeful lack of information about wolves as carriers of diseases that infect and kill humans, livestock, and wildlife; the annihilation of big game animals, big game hunting, and hunting revenues to state wildlife agencies; the widespread destruction of pets and working dogs; and the ruination of the tranquility of rural life where wolves exist are topics that are being addressed in detail elsewhere.

This presentation is intended to describe criminal activities by federal and state bureaucrats, lobbyists, and radical organizations associated with the establishment, protection and spread of wolves in the Lower 48 states. It is my belief that understanding this aspect of the wolf issue will enable all of us to better understand and work more effectively to solve the myriad problems that government bureaucrats, activist organizations, and politicians have caused by illegal actions disguised as wolf introduction and protection.

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2 Apr 2010, 4:06pm
Predators Wildlife Management Wildlife Policy
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Idaho Wildlife Services Wolf Activity Report 2009

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Wildlife Services


Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:


This report summarizes Idaho Wildlife Services’ (WS) responses to reported gray wolf depredations and other wolf-related activities conducted during Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 (October 1, 2008 – September 30, 2009) pursuant to Permit No. TE-081376-12, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) June 16, 2006. This permit allows WS to implement control actions for wolves suspected to be involved in livestock depredations and to capture non-depredating wolves for collaring and re-collaring with radio transmitters as part of ongoing wolf monitoring and management efforts. …


Brief summaries that pertain to those investigations which resulted in a finding of confirmed or probable wolf damage are available on request from the ID WS State Office.
Investigations Summary: WS conducted 226 depredation investigations related to wolf complaints in FY 2009 (as compared to 186 in 2008, an increase of almost 22%). Of those 226 investigations, 160 (~71%) involved confirmed depredations, 43 (~19%) involved probable depredations, 16 (~7%) were possible/unknown wolf depredations and 7 (~3%) of the complaints were due to causes other than wolves.

Based on Idaho WS investigations, the minimum number of confirmed and probable livestock depredations due to wolves in FY 2009 was:

76 calves (killed), 7 calves (injured)
14 cows (killed)
344 sheep (killed), 20 sheep (injured)
16 dogs (killed), 8 dogs (injured)
1 foal (killed), 1 goat (killed)

26 calves (killed), 3 calves (injured)
1 cow (killed)
156 sheep (killed)
4 dogs (killed), 2 dogs (injured)
1 goat (killed)

The number of both cattle and sheep killed and injured by wolves in FY 2009 was the highest ever recorded. The number of cattle killed and injured was only slightly higher than in FY 2008, but there was a dramatic increase in the number of sheep killed and injured, as compared to FY 2008 (Figure 2). Although there were more incidents of wolf predation on cattle than on sheep (Figure 3), the tendency for wolves to kill multiple sheep per incident contributed to the greater numbers of sheep killed. Wolf depredations on cattle and calves more often involve attacks on just a single animal per incident.

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8 Mar 2010, 10:23pm
Predators Wildlife Management
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Lessons from a Transboundary Wolf, Elk, Moose and Caribou System

Mark Hebblewhite. 2007. Predator-Prey Management in the National Park Context: Lessons from a Transboundary Wolf, Elk, Moose and Caribou System. Predator-prey Workshop: Predator-prey Management in the National Park Context, Transactions of the 72nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:


Wolves (Canis lupus) are recolonizing much of their former range within the lower 48 states through active recovery (Bangs and Fritts 1996) and natural dispersal (Boyd and Pletscher 1999). Wolf recovery is being touted as one of the great conservation successes of the 20th century (Mech 1995; Smith et al. 2003). In addition to being an important single-species conservation success, wolf recovery may also be one of the most important ecological restoration actions ever taken because of the pervasive ecosystem impacts of wolves (Hebblewhite et al. 2005). Wolf predation is now being restored to ecosystems that have been without the presence of major predators for 70 years or more. Whole generations of wildlife managers and biologists have come up through the ranks, trained in an ungulate- management paradigm developed in the absence of the world’s most successful predator of ungulates—the wolf. Many questions are now facing wildlife managers and scientists about the role of wolf recovery in an ecosystem management context. The effects wolves will have on economically important ungulate populations is emerging as a central issue for wildlife managers. But, questions about the important ecosystem effects of wolves are also emerging as a flurry of new studies reveals the dramatic ecosystem impacts of wolves and their implications for the conservation of biodiversity (Smith et al. 2003; Fortin et al. 2005; Hebblewhite et al. 2005; Ripple and Beschta 2006; Hebblewhite and Smith 2007).

In this paper, I provide for wildlife managers and scientists in areas in the lower 48 states (where wolves are recolonizing) a window to their future by reviewing the effects of wolves on montane ecosystems in Banff National Park (BNP), Alberta. Wolves were exterminated in much of southern Alberta, similar to the lower 48 states, but they recovered through natural dispersal populations to the north in the early 1980s, between 10 and 20 years ahead of wolf recovery in the northwestern states (Gunson 1992; Paquet, et al. 1996). Through this review, I aim to answer the following questions: (1) what have the effects of wolves been on population dynamics of large-ungulate prey, including elk (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces) and threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus tarandus), (2) what other ecosystem effects have wolves had on montane ecosytems, (3) how sensitive are wolf-prey systems to top-down and bottom-up management to achieve certain human objectives, and (4) how is this likely to be constrained in national park settings? Finally, I discuss the implications of this research in the context of ecosystem management and longterm ranges of variation in ungulate abundance. …

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22 Feb 2010, 7:04pm
Homo sapiens Predators
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The Danger of Wolves to Humans

Mikhail P. Pavlov. 1982. Appendix-A, Chapter 12, “The Danger of Wolves to Humans” (pp 136-169) IN The Wolf in Game Management. First edition 1982, 2nd edition 1990, Agropromizdat, Moscow. (Translated from Russian by Valentina and Leonid Baskin, and Patrick Valkenburg. Edited by Patrick Valkenburg and Mark McNay)

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

Cases of severe unprovoked aggression by wolves toward humans are numerous, so we touch upon a very dramatic subject. Society needs more complete information on the problem to evaluate the true danger of predatory wolves and take precautions. There are tendencies, even among scientists, to believe that aggression by wolves toward humans is quite rare (138). To overcome this, it is necessary to describe some horrible, heart-stopping details of this aggression in Russia, just for the sake of further safety. This is the only way to persuade people how threatening wolves (i.e. anthropophagy) can be. The greatest danger is posed by rabid wolves in settlements and villages. Each rise in the wolf population results in increasing aggression, mostly by rabid animals.

According to N.V. Turkin, in 1870 an explosion of wolves led to numerous cases of humans being bitten by rabid wolves, though only a few of these cases became the subjects of newspaper articles (210: 77). To prove his statement, the above-mentioned author referred to 38 newspaper articles on rabid wolves in various regions of Russia.

Today, even hunters are not well versed in the statistics of wolf rabies. Only the most notorious cases have become known. Thus, in the book “In a native land”, 1952, issue 2, P.V. Plesskiy mentioned that in 1924 in the town of Kirov (then Viatka) two rabid wolves bit about 20 people during one night. Ten of these people died. In documents from the Kirov Game Management Department I found information that in spring 1954 a rabid wolf in Urzhumskiy district bit 3 people and then was killed. …

Later, … P.A. Manteifel regarded as tales and fantasies all rumors about wolves attacking humans. As thorough a researcher of wild animals as he was, he could not accept the very idea of aggression of a normal (non-rabid) wolf towards a human. It was his principle to trust to personally proven facts only. Like many other scientists, Manteifel was sure that through long experience with humans, the wolf has developed an instinctual fear of humans that forbids it to even approach a human.

Manteifel’s idea was so firmly implanted in his numerous apprentices that it would probably still be popular today if it had not been for the events of World War II. These events caused most people to change their general attitude of good will towards the wolf. As a consequence of wolf-human interactions during wartime, a special commission was established, not very widely known then, under the supervision of the technical-scientific council of the Hunting Department in the Russian Federation. Facts about man-eating wolves led to steps intended to increase defenses against wolves. P. A. Manteifel headed the commission, and it’s conclusions and recommendations were presented in a report in November 1947. …

According to the conclusions of the report, sometimes, man-eating wolves proved to be wounded, or weak due diseases, but sometimes the animals were quite “normal”. The document recorded some specific cases of wolf attacks on children and women: 1920, Voronezhskiy district, Roman forestry area, an attack on a woman; 1935, Kuibishevskaya Oblast, villages of Kochetovka and Kanemenki, attacks on two children; 1935, Minsk Oblast, near the settlements of Kozli and Zachastse, attacks on two children; 1936, Minsk Oblast, Lyubanskiy district, attack on a child; 1937, in the same district, more than 16 children were bitten by a wolf; in 1940, in Domanovichskiy district of Minsk Oblast, more than eight children and some women; 1945 in Georgia, in Akhalkalakskiy and Bogranovskiy districts, some children were attacked; 1945 in the settlement of Dagestan, some children attacked; 1946, Voronezh Oblast, Polenovskiy district, a child was attacked; at the railway station at Bologoye, two children were stolen by wolves from a house; 1946 in Kaluzhsk Oblast, Ludinovskiy district, 10 children were attacked; and in 1947 in Kirovskiy Oblast, 27 children were attacked. The document stated that most of the children were torn to pieces.

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20 Jan 2010, 12:34pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Predators Wildlife Management
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The Kaibab Deer Incident: Myths, Lies, and Scientific Fraud

Charles E. Kay. 2010. The Kaibab Deer Incident: Myths, Lies, and Scientific Fraud. Muley Crazy Jan/Feb 2010 (posted with permission of the author).

Full text:

The North Kaibab, or simply the Kaibab, is famous for producing large-antlered, record-book mule deer. The Kaibab historically, however, is also noted for something else — controversy! At least one book has been written on the Kaibab Deer Incident, as well as scores of scientific reports and monographs. The Kaibab figures prominently in the history of mule deer management in the West and even the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed-in on the Kaibab. Although the story has changed over the years, the Kaibab is still discussed in wildlife textbooks and the ghost of the Kaibab stalks wildlife management to this day.

The Kaibab Plateau is bordered on the south by the Grand Canyon, on the west by Kanab Canyon, and on the east by Houserock Valley. The plateau, which is entirely in Arizona, slopes gently downward to the north and ends near the Utah stateline. The plateau reaches a height 9,200 feet and although the Kaibab receives abundant snow and rainfall, surface water is exceedingly rare due to area’s geology. Winter range is abundant on the Kaibab, while summer range is more limited-the exact opposite of most western situations. Approximately two-thirds of the mule deer on the Kaibab winter on the westside with the remaining deer wintering to the east. There is very little movement of mule deer into Utah. Thus, the deer herd on the Kaibab is essentially an insular population with little immigration or emigration. Cliffrose is the most important browse species on the plateau’s shrub-dominated winter ranges.

The Kaibab was established as a Forest Reserve in 1893 and in 1906 was designated as the Grand Canyon National Game Preserve by President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, the southern end of the plateau is in Grand Canyon National Park, while the rest of the area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. When the Kaibab was declared a game preserve in 1906, hunting was prohibited and the federal government began an extensive predator control program. Between 1907 and 1923, an average of 40 mountain lions, 176 coyotes, 7 bobcats, and 1 wolf were killed each year. In all, only 30 wolves were ever killed by government agents on the Kaibab. Instead, the main predators were mountain lions and coyotes. The Forest Service also reduced the number of livestock permitted to graze the plateau.

In response to those measures, the mule deer herd irrupted from around 4,000 animals in 1906 to an estimated 100,000 head in 1924. As might be expected, the growing deer population severely overgrazed both the summer and winter ranges. This lead to a number of studies and reports, as well as a dispute between the federal government and the state of Arizona. In short, the Forest Service said that the deer herd needed to be reduced to prevent further range damage but the state refused to open the area to hunting. In response, the federal government claimed that it could kill deer on the Kaibab to protect habitat without a state permit. Needless to say, Arizona objected and the ensuing legal battle made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court agreed that the Kaibab deer herd had exceeded the range’s carrying capacity and that overgrazing by mule deer had denuded public lands. The Court also sided with the federal government in ruling that the Forest Service could authorize hunting on the Kaibab without state approval. This legal precedent still stands and means that when push come to shove, the federal government can control wildlife populations on public lands. Arizona had no alternative but to capitulate, but it was too late because the plateau’s mule deer had experienced a major die-off and by 1931 fewer than 20,000 animals were left.

For years, the Kaibab deer irruption, overgrazed range, and subsequent die-off were cited in wildlife textbooks as a classic example of what happens when predators are controlled and hunting eliminated. “The Terrible Lesson of the Kaibab” became a cornerstone of modern game management and an example of why hunters were needed to harvest surplus animals. Even Aldo Leopold cited the Kaibab in his study of mule deer overgrazing on western ranges. This interpretation of the Kaibab Deer Incident was accepted as fact for over 40 years until New Zealand biologist Graeme Caughley questioned its validity in a 1970 paper published in Ecology-the scientific journal of the Ecological Society of America. Caughley’s reanalysis of the Kaibab Deer Incident involved primarily published mule deer population estimates. In a later paper, Caughley admitted that he had never set foot on the Kaibab and that he had conducted his reanalysis from a desk 10,000 miles away! Caughley cautioned that his “interpretation may therefore be wrong.”

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Wolf Predation: More Bad News

Charles E. Kay. 2008. Wolf Predation: More Bad News. Muley Crazy, Sept/Oct 2008 (posted with permission of the author).

Full text:

As I explained in an earlier article, pro-wolf advocates are now demanding 6,000 or more wolves as one interbreeding population in every western state. Pro-wolf advocates also claim that predation, in general, and wolves in particular have no impact on prey populations. Recent research by Dr. Tom Bergerud and his colleagues, however, paints an entirely different picture and serves as a poignant example of what will happen to the West’s mule deer if pro-wolf advocates have their way.

Woodland and mountain caribou have been declining throughout North America since European settlement. Many attribute the decline to the fact that caribou must feed on aboral or terrestrial lichens during winter, a food that is being destroyed by logging, forest fires, and other human activities; i.e., modern landuse practices are to blame. While others attribute the decline to predation by wolves and other carnivores. To separate between these competing hypotheses, Dr. Tom Bergerud and his co-workers designed a series of simple but elegant experiments and have now accumulated 30 years of data.

In the northern most arc of Lake Superior lie a cluster of seven major islands plus smaller islets. The Slate Islands are five miles from the mainland at their nearest point and only twice during the last 30 years has winter ice bridged that gap. Terrestrial lichens are absent, plus the islands have been both logged and burned, making them unfit for caribou according to most biologists. The Slate Islands lack wolves, black bears, whitetailed deer, and moose, but caribou are indigenous. As a companion study, Bergerud and his associates chose Pukaskwa National Park, which stretches for 50 miles along the north shore of Lake Superior. In contrast to the Slate Islands, Pukaskwa has an abundance of lichens, which are supposed to be a critical winter food for caribou, but unlike the Slate Islands, Pukaskwa is home to wolves, bears, moose, and whitetails. Woodland caribou are also present.

So we have islands that are poor caribou habitat, but which have no predators, versus a nearby national park that is excellent caribou habitat but which contains wolves. Now according to what many biologists and pro-wolf advocates would have you believe, habitat is the all important factor in maintaining healthy ungulate populations, while predation can largely be ignored. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Habitat it turns out, is irrelevant and ecologists have been, at best, braindead for years.

Despite the supposedly “poor” habitat in the Slate Islands, Bergerud and his research team recorded the highest densities of caribou ever found anywhere in North America. Moreover, those high densities have persisted since at least 1949 when the herd was first censused. More importantly, the density of caribou in the “poor” habitat, but predator-free, Slate Islands was 100 times that in Pukaskwa National Park where predators hold sway. 100 times or 10,000% more caribou per unit area. A significant difference by any objective standard.

Then during the winter of 1993-94, a natural experiment occurred when Lake Superior froze and two wolves crossed to the Slate Islands. Within days, the two wolves proceeded to cut through the Slate Island caribou like a hot knife through butter. Because caribou, like mule deer, are exceedingly susceptible to wolf predation. Only when the two wolves disappeared did caribou numbers recover.

A second set of manipulated experiments was conducted when Bergerud and his associates transplanted Slate Island caribou to adjoining areas with and without wolves. A release to Bowman Island, where wolves and moose were present, failed due to predation. A second release to Montreal Island doubled in numbers until Lake Superior froze and wolves reached that island. A third release was to Michipicoten Island where wolves were absent but so too were lichens. Despite the “poor” habitat, those caribou increased at an average annual rate of 18% for nearly 20 years. A fourth release to Lake Superior Provincial Park on the mainland failed due to wolf predation. Thus, the data are both conclusive and overwhelming. Habitat is largely irrelevant because caribou numbers are limited by wolf predation. Bergerud goes so far as to say that managers have wasted the last 50 years measuring lichens! Remove the wolves and you have 100 times more caribou, even on supposedly “poor” ranges.

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11 Aug 2009, 11:17am
Deer, Elk, Bison Predators Wildlife Management Wildlife Policy
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The Complexities of State Management of Wildlife Under Federal Laws

Budge, Randy*. 2009. The Complexities of State Management of Wildlife Under Federal Laws. Conference of Western Attorneys General, Aug 3-5,2009, Sun Valley, Idaho.

*Randy Budge is an attorney and an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner. This paper represents his personal views and options, not necessarily that of the entire Idaho Fish and Game Commission or the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Full text [here] (4.5 MB)

Selected excerpts:


By far the greatest conservationist of our times was President Theodore Roosevelt, who was driven by a passion to protect wildlife for future generations:

“Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property of the people who are alive today, but the property of the unknown generations whose belongings we have not right to squander.”

In an incredible feat to restore dwindling wildlife and protect wild lands in the early 1900s, Roosevelt was instrumental in bringing under federal protection 230 million acres in the form of 150 national forests, 50 national wildlife refuges, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments. This amounted to an incredible 84,000 acres for each day he was in office. …

A tension has always existed between the rights of the states to manage the wildlife within their borders and the right of the federal government to restrict the taking of wildlife or to otherwise manage wildlife in the national interest. The history of federal and state wildlife legislation exhibits an intricate dance over jurisdiction and the right to manage wildlife.

State wildlife laws are based on the principle states own the wildlife within their borders to be held “in trust” for their citizens. Accordingly, the states have primarily shouldered the responsibility to manage wildlife, and have a proven track record of success. In my opinion, the states are far better suited to manage wildlife within their borders than the lumbering and detached federal bureaucracy because the states are better able to monitor and respond to wildlife needs and threats, and to establish cooperation with landowners and other agencies while recognizing the social values of the residents that regularly interact with wildlife.

Federal wildlife laws generally preempt state laws only when necessary to manage or conserve wildlife species that occupy multiple states. Preemption of state law is an area of considerable complexity to be addressed by a later speaker, so further discussion here is omitted. It should be noted, however, that state laws often expressly include or complement Federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act, whose list of endangered species is usually adopted in full by states in their own legislation of endangered and threatened species. …

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20 Dec 2008, 11:09am
Predators Wildlife Management
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Large predators: them and us!

Dr. Valerius Geist, PhD. 2008. Large predators: them and us! Fair Chase. Vol. 23, No. 3. pp. 14-19

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

We pay close attention to large predators. We do so because we evolved as prey. It was our ancient fate to be killed and eaten, and our primary goal to escape such. Our instincts are still shaped that way.

There is thus a reason why the bloody carnage on our highways is a mere statistic, but the mauling of a person by a grizzly is news. It’s not only that so many fossilized remains of our ancient ancestors are meals consumed by large predators in secluded caves or rock niches, but also that we speciated like large herbivores. That is, our pattern and timing of forming species, of adapting to landscapes, mimics and coincides with that of deer, antelope or cattle, but not that of large carnivores. And that despite our fondness for meat, despite “man the hunter”, and despite the fact that at least one species of humans, Neanderthal man, grew into a super predator.

Large herbivores readily form new species and show a pattern of strong speciation from the equator to the poles, terminating in the cold, glaciated latitudes as “grotesque ice age giants”. Large predators do not. They evolve no grotesque ice age giants comparable to the woolly mammoths among elephants, or the massive-antlered giant deer among deer, the giant sheep, or anything else for that matter as grotesque as ourselves. Is there a more grotesque animal than man? And we did it twice, once as Neanderthal and once as Modern Man. Moreover, herbivores readily form dwarf species under poor ecological conditions such as in rainforests, deserts or predator-free oceanic islands, and they differentiate rapidly into new subspecies as they disperse geographically into new habitats. Predators form no dwarfs, on islands or otherwise. Nor do they segregate sharply into swarms of regional subspecies. Large herbivores do that - and so do humans. Also, our bursts of speciation coincide in time with those of African antelope.

Humans grow small canine teeth, not the large combat-canines typical of apes. Canine reduction is a signature of a common anti-predator adaptation, called the “selfish herd”. In such unrelated individuals cluster together in the open as protection against predation. Herbivores form “selfish herds”, predators do not. Herbivores may “evolve away” huge combat-canines, as shown not only by us, but by deer, horses, rhinos and half a dozen extinct families of large mammalian plant eaters. Carnivores reduce no canines!

Our ancient herbivore root is still reflected in our taste preferences, for when we eat meat we flavor it liberally with plant poisons (pepper, chili, sage, thyme, curry etc). Apparently meat does not really taste “good” till it tastes of “plant”! We also have the herbivore’s craving for salt. So, watch what you reach for next time you get a sizzling steak!

While we may have evolved as hunters, we did not evolve like predators. …

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Effects of Wolf Predation on North Central Idaho Elk Populations

Idaho Department of Fish and Game, April 4, 2006, Effects of Wolf Predation on North Central Idaho Elk Populations

Full text [here] (2.3 MB)


Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were reintroduced into Idaho in 1995 and listed as an experimental nonessential population under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Thirty-five wolves were reintroduced and by 2005, an estimated 512 wolves (59 resident packs and 36 breeding pairs) were well distributed from the Panhandle to southeast Idaho. In February 2005, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) modified the 10(j) rule which details State options for management of wolves impacting domestic livestock and wild ungulates (Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Regulation for Nonessential Experimental Populations of the Western Distinct Population Segment of the Gray Wolf [50 CFR Part 17]).

The provisions of the 10(j) rule fall short of allowing the states’ preferred management tool of regulated hunting. However, under Section (v): “If gray wolf predation is having an unacceptable impact on wild ungulate populations (deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelope, or bison) as determined by the respective State and Tribe (on reservations), the State or Tribe may lethally remove wolves in question. In order for the provision to apply, the States or Tribes must prepare a science-based document that: 1) describes what data indicate that ungulate herd is below management objectives, what data indicate there are impacts by wolf predation on the ungulate population, why wolf removal is a warranted solution to help restore the ungulate herd to State or Tribal management objectives, the level and duration of wolf removal being proposed, and how ungulate population response to wolf removal will be measured; 2) identifies possible remedies or conservation measures in addition to wolf removal; and 3) provides an opportunity for peer review and public comment on their proposal prior to submitting it to the Service for written concurrence.”

This document supports the State’s determination that gray wolf predation is having an unacceptable impact on a wild ungulate population. Specifically, this document reviews the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) evaluation of the effect of wolf predation on an elk population below state management objectives. The document includes a review of elk population data, the cause-specific mortality research being conducted on elk, the wolf population data, and the modeling conducted to simulate impacts of wolf predation on elk using known population parameters. Additionally, this report identifies remedies and conservation measures that have already been attempted to reduce impacts of the multiple factors influencing the current elk population status, and identifies management actions and objectives to improve and monitor elk populations in the Lolo Zone.

This evaluation addresses the criteria outlined under 10J SEC. (v) and provides detailed information on the following topics:

1. What is the elk management objective?

Management objectives for elk in the Lolo Zone (Game Management Units [GMU] 10 and 12) is to maintain an elk population consisting of 6,100 – 9,100 cows and 1,300 – 1,900 bulls. Individual GMU objectives for the Lolo Zone are: 4,200 – 6,200 cows and 900 – 1,300 bulls in GMU 10; and 1,900 – 2,900 cows and 400 – 600 bulls in GMU 12. Population objectives for GMU 17 are 2,400 – 3,600 cows and 650 – 975 bulls. Objectives are based on the Department’s best estimate of elk habitat carrying capacity and acknowledge a reduction in habitat potential from the conditions observed in the 1980s. In 1989, the Department estimated 16,500 elk in the Lolo Zone. Current cow and bull objectives (7,400) are 60% of the 1989 estimate of 12,378 cow and bull elk. In 2006, the Department estimated 4,233 cow and bull elk in the Lolo Zone.

2. Data used to evaluate populations in relation to management objective.

IDFG biologists use aerial surveys to monitor elk populations throughout the state, including GMUs 10, 12, and 17. Surveys are designed to provide a statistically and biologically sound sampling framework. Biologists generate estimates (and confidence intervals) of population size, age ratios (e.g., calves:100 cows) and sex ratios (e.g., bulls:100 cows) from the survey data. Current status of elk populations are: 2,276 cows and 504 bulls in GMU 10; 978 cows and 475 bulls in GMU 12; and 2,076 cows and 486 bulls in GMU 17.

3. Data that demonstrate the impact of wolf predation.

Elk survival rates were estimated using radio-collared animals. A total of 64 adult cow elk were captured, radio-collared, and monitored in GMUs 10 and 12 in 2002-2004 (90 elk-years). Combining samples across areas and years produced point estimates of annual elk survival (includes all mortality sources) ranging from 75% to 89%, with a 3-year weighted average of 83%. More recently, survival from March 2005 through February 2006 was 77%.
Nine of 25 (36%) mortalities among adult cow elk from January 2002 through March 2006 were attributed to wolves. Wolf-caused mortality was not detected during 2002 or 2003; whereas 1 death was attributed to wolf predation in 2004 and 8 through 1 March 2006. Three additional losses resulted from predation, but species of predator could not be determined; 4 were attributed to mountain lions; and 9 were attributed to factors other than predation (e.g., hit by a vehicle, harvested, disease) or cause of death could not be determined.

Similar survival and cause-specific mortality data for elk in GMU 17 does not exist because of logistical difficulties with capture and monitoring of elk in designated Wilderness.

IDFG used the available data and assumptions based on peer-reviewed literature to simulate the impacts of wolf predation on elk populations in north-central Idaho. All simulations revealed a lack of cow elk population growth in the presence of wolf predation. Most simulations suggest moderate to steep declines in abundance caused by wolf predation. Regardless of the approach we used to model elk populations, all simulations used suggest wolves are limiting population growth.

4. Why wolf removal is warranted.

Several factors may have contributed to the elk population decline in the Lolo Zone, including harvest management, habitat issues, and predation. The Department and collaborators have aggressively addressed each of these factors for a number of years. Nevertheless, the Lolo Zone does not meet state management objectives. Without an increase in cow elk survival, the Lolo Zone elk population is unlikely to achieve management objectives.
The available data indicate that wolf predation is, at a minimum, partly additive and likely contributes to low adult female elk survival. Based on our evaluation and analysis, the State has determined that wolf predation is having an unacceptable impact on elk populations in the Lolo Zone. This evaluation demonstrates that wolves play an important role in limiting recovery of this elk population and that wolf removal is warranted as allowed under the 10(j) rule.

Management of most big game populations is accomplished through regulated harvest by hunters. A reduction in wolf numbers in the Lolo Zone would ideally be accomplished through regulated take by sportsmen rather than by state or federal agencies, and all alternatives for removal would be explored.

5. Level and duration of wolf removal.

During year one, we propose to reduce the wolf population in the Lolo Zone by no more than 43 of the estimated 58 wolves (75% reduction) that currently occupy the zone. The first year reduction represents about 8% of the estimated 512 wolves present in Idaho in 2005. The wolf population will be maintained at 25-40% of the pre-removal wolf abundance for 5 years. Concurrently, we will monitor elk and wolf populations. After 5 years, results will be analyzed and a peer-reviewed manuscript will be prepared that evaluates the effect of fewer wolves on elk population dynamics.

6. How will ungulate response be measured?

We will monitor the performance of elk populations in GMUs 10 and 12 with ongoing statewide research efforts on elk and mule deer and within the context of Clearwater Region wildlife management activities. The information will include fecundity, age/sex-specific survival rates, and cause-specific mortality rates. We will use aerial surveys to monitor elk populations in GMUs 10, 12, and 17. In GMUs 10 and 12, complete surveys will be scheduled for 2006, 2008, and 2010. In GMU 17, complete surveys will be scheduled for 2007 and 2010. Composition surveys will be flown in intervening years. In GMUs 10 and 12, we will document elk survival rates and cause-specific mortality factors from samples of radio-marked adult cow and calf elk.

The Truth about Our Wildlife Managers’ Plan to Restore “Native” Ecosystems

George Dovel. 2008. The Truth about Our Wildlife Managers’ Plan to Restore “Native” Ecosystems. The Outdoorsman, Number 30, Aug-Sept 2008.

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

In 1935 when Cambridge University botanist Arthur Tansley invented the term “ecosystem” in a paper he authored, he was attempting to define the system that is formed from the relationship between each unique environment and all the living organisms it contains.

Ecologists concluded that these individual systems evolved naturally to produce an optimum balance of plants, herbivores that ate the plants, and carnivores that ate the herbivores. Many accepted this “food chain” theory as a permanent state of natural regulation and a theory was advanced that certain “key” species of plants and animals were largely responsible for maintaining these “healthy” ecosystems.

But subsequent archeological excavations or core samples of the buried layers of periods in time revealed that these “perfected” ecosystems were actually in a continuing state of change which could be caused by changes in weather, climate or various organisms. They concluded that parasites or other organisms that were not included in their food chain charts often caused radical population changes in one or more of the keystone species.

The “Balance-of-Nature” Myth Keeps Surfacing

In 1930 noted Wild Animal Ecologist Charles Elton wrote, “The ‘balance of nature’ does not exist and perhaps never has existed. The numbers of wild animals are constantly varying to a greater or less extent, and the variations are usually irregular in period and always irregular in amplitude (being ample).” Yet 33 years later, in a highly publicized Feb. 1963 National Geographic article, titled, “Wolves vs. Moose on Isle Royale,” fledgling Wolf Biologist David Mech and his mentor, Durward Allen, claimed just the opposite. …

Debunking the “Balance-of-Nature” Myth

The extreme “spikes” (highs and lows) in numbers of keystone species resulting from reliance on the theory that “natural regulation” will produce a “balance” are evidence that the so-called “Balance of Nature” is a pipe dream. One fairly long-term example of this is seen in the following graph recording 50 years of wolf and moose populations on Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

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6 May 2008, 7:21pm
Population Dynamics Predators Wildlife Policy
by admin
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Idaho Wildlife Services Wolf Activity Report

USDA-APHIS Idaho Wildlife Services Wolf Activity Report Fiscal Year 2007

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:


This report summarizes Idaho Wildlife Services’ (WS) responses to reported gray wolf depredations and other wolf-related activities conducted during Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 pursuant to Permit No. TE-081376-12, issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) June 16, 2006. This permit allows WS to implement control actions for wolves suspected to be involved in livestock depredations and to capture non-depredating wolves for collaring and re-collaring with radio transmitters as part of ongoing wolf monitoring and management efforts.

Investigations Summary

WS conducted 133 depredation investigations related to wolf complaints in FY 2007 (as compared to 104 in 2006, an increase of almost 27%). Of those 133 investigations, 88 (~66%) involved confirmed depredations, 19 (~14%) involved probable depredations, 20 (~15%) were possible/unknown wolf depredations and 6 (~5%) of the complaints were due to causes other than wolves.
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6 Apr 2008, 5:20pm
Predators Wildlife Policy
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What They Didn’t Tell You About Wolf Recovery

Dovel, George. 2008. What They Didn’t Tell You About Wolf Recovery. The Outdoorsman, Bull. No. 26, Jan-Mar 2008.

Full text [here]

Also includes:

Geist, Val. 2008. Two Letters from Dr. Valerius Geist. The Outdoorsman, Bull. No. 26, Jan-Mar 2008.

Dovel, George. 2008. Attempt to End Airborne Predator Control-How Alaska’s Governor Responded. The Outdoorsman, Bull. No. 26, Jan-Mar 2008.

Collinge, Mark. 2008. Relative risks of predation on livestock posed by individual wolves, black bears, mountain lions and coyotes in Idaho. The Outdoorsman, Bull. No. 26, Jan-Mar 2008.

Dovel, George . 2008. Outdoorsmen Document Surplus Wolf Kills Hunters Comment on Declining Elk Harvests. The Outdoorsman, Bull. No. 26, Jan-Mar 2008.

The Outdoorsman is edited and published by George Dovel. For subscription info please contact:

The Outdoorsman
P.O. Box 155
Horseshoe Bend, ID 83629

Selected excerpts:

By 2006 many people in the West were aware that minimum estimated fall wolf numbers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming already exceeded the criteria for delisting wolves by several hundred percent. But few seem aware that the FWS agenda to allow this to happen was exposed by wildlife ecologist Dr. Charles Kay way back in 1993 – before any Canadian wolves were transplanted into the three Northern Rocky Mountain states.

In an article entitled, “Wolves in the West – What the government does not want you to know about wolf recovery” in the August 1993 issue of Petersen’s Hunting, Dr. Kay asked the question, “If wolves are brought back how many are enough?” He pointed out that the federal government’s recovery plan announced that when 10 breeding pairs (approximately 100 wolves) existed in each of the three recovery areas for three consecutive years, wolves would be declared recovered and removed from the Endangered Species list.

Then Dr. Kay also pointed out that to prevent harmful inbreeding and protect against random environmental changes, most scientists believed that a minimum population of 1,500 wolves must be achieved. When he attempted to find out why such a low number was being sought for recovery FWS could not produce evidence of any scientific research to justify such a low recovery number. …

Six years after the 10 breeding pairs per area was established as the criterion for delisting, Wolf Project Leader Ed Bangs included Appendix 9 in the draft EIS stating that a questionnaire had been mailed to 43 wolf biologists in Nov.-Dec. 1992 asking whether they agreed with the minimum criteria of 10 pairs established in 1987. The names of the 25 biologists who reportedly responded and the specific answers they provided were not included.

Meanwhile Bangs initiated a letter-writing campaign to discredit Dr. Kay among his peers and elsewhere. Instead Kay’s scientific associates defended him and rebuked Bangs for his attempt to destroy Dr. Kay’s scientific reputation while also attempting to suppress legitimate scientific opinion. …
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31 Mar 2008, 6:09pm
Predators Wildlife Habitat Wildlife Policy
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Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit Working Paper

Armstrong, J. Scott, Kesten C. Green, Willie Soon. 2008. Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit Working Paper Version 68: March 28, 2008

Full text [here]

Abstract: Calls to list polar bears as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act are based on forecasts of substantial long-term declines in their population. Nine government reports were prepared to support the listing decision. We assessed these reports in light of evidence-based (scientific) forecasting principles. None referred to works on scientific forecasting methodology. Of the nine, Amstrup, Marcot and Douglas (2007) and Hunter et al. (2007) were the most relevant to the listing decision. Their forecasts were products of complex sets of assumptions. The first in both cases was the erroneous assumption that General Circulation Models provide valid forecasts of summer sea ice in the regions inhabited by polar bears. We nevertheless audited their conditional forecasts of what would happen to the polar bear population assuming, as the authors did, that the extent of summer sea ice would decrease substantially over the coming decades. We found that Amstrup et al. properly applied only 15% of relevant forecasting principles and Hunter et al. only 10%. We believe that their forecasts are unscientific and should therefore be of no consequence to decision makers. We recommend that all relevant principles be properly applied when important public policy decisions depend on accurate forecasts.

Key words: adaptation, bias, climate change, decision making, endangered species, expert opinion, extinction, evaluation, evidence-based principles, expert judgment, extinction, forecasting methods, global warming, habitat loss, mathematical models, scientific method, sea ice.

Dr. J. Scott Armstrong is professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Professor Armstrong is internationally known for his pioneering work on forecasting methods. He is author of Long-Range Forecasting, the most frequently cited book on forecasting methods, and Principles of Forecasting, voted the “Favorite Book – First 25 Years” by researchers and practitioners associated with the International Institute of Forecasters. He is a co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting, the International Journal of Forecasting, the International Symposium on Forecasting, and forecastingprinciples.com [here]. He is a co-developer of new methods including rule-based forecasting, causal forces for extrapolation, simulated interaction, and structured analogies.

In 1989, a University of Maryland study ranked Professor Armstrong among the top 15 marketing professors in the U.S. In 1996, he was selected as one of the first six Honorary Fellows by the International Institute of Forecasters. He serves or has served on Editorial positions for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, the Journal of Business Research, Interfaces and the International Journal of Forecasting , and other journals. He was awarded the Society for Marketing Advances Distinguished Scholar Award for 2000. One of the most frequently cited marketing professors worldwide, his “first-author” citation rate currently averages over 200 per year.

Dr. Kesten C. Green is Senior Research Fellow, Business and Economic Forecasting Unit, Monash University, Australia. He is Co-director of the Forecasting Principles site, forecastingprinciples.com [here], and a member of the Editorial Board, Foresight: The International Journal of Applied Forecasting and the Editorial Board, Forecasting Letters. He is also Founder and former Director of Infometrics Limited, a leading New Zealand economic forecasting and consulting house. He is also Founder and former Director of Bettor Informed, a computerised horse-racing information magazine based on assessment of probabilities under different conditions.

Dr. Willie Soon is a physicist at the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory. Among his many published research studies is Reconstructing Climatic and Environmental Changes Of The Past 1000 Years: A Reappraisal with Sallie Baliunas, Craig Idso, Sherwood Idso, and David R. Legates. Energy & Environment, Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3, 2003.

The Need for the Management of Wolves

Bergerud, Arthur T. The Need for the Management of Wolves-An Open Letter. 2007. Rangifer, Special Issue No. 17, 2007: The Eleventh North American Caribou Workshop, Jasper, Alberta, Canada, 24-27 April, 2006.

Note: A.T. Bergerud is former chief biologist of Newfoundland. He has been a population ecologist involved in research on caribou populations in North America since 1955. Along with Stuart N. Luttich and Lodewijk Camps, Bergerud authored the just released The Return of Caribou to Ungava [here].

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

Abstract: The Southern Mountain and Boreal Woodland Caribou are facing extinction from increased predation, predominantly wolves (Canis lupus) and coyotes (Canis latrans). These predators are increasing as moose (Alces alces) and deer (Odocoileus spp.) expand their range north with climate change. Mitigation endeavors will not be sufficient; there are too many predators. The critical habitat for caribou is the low predation risk habitat they select at calving: it is not old growth forests and climax lichens. The southern boundary of caribou in North America is not based on the presence of lichens but on reduced mammalian diversity. Caribou are just as adaptable as other cervids in their use of broadleaf seed plant as forage. Without predator management these woodland caribou will go extinct in our life time.


A major ecological question that has been debated for 50 years is: are ecosystems structured from top-down (predator driven) or bottom-up (food limited) processes (Hairston et al., 1960; Hunter & Price, 1992)? Top-down systems can vary widely from sea mammals such as sea otters (Enhydra lutris) to ground nesting birds. The sea otter causes an elegantly documented trophic cascade through sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus spp.) down to kelp beds (Estes & Duggins, 1995). Ground nesting waterfowl and gallinaceous birds are not limited by food resources but are regulated by top-down nest predation caused by a suite of predators, mainly skunks (Mephitis mephitis), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) (Bergerud, 1988; 1990; Sargeant et al., 1993). Management decisions depend on understanding which structure is operational.

Discussions on top-down or bottom-up have been recently been rekindled with the introduction of wolves (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho in 1995 (Estes, 1995; Kay, 1995; 1998). The elk/wapiti (Cervus elaphus) population in Yellowstone prior to introduction were basically limited by a density-dependent shortage of food (Singer et al., 1997) but now is declining from wolf predation (Crête, 1999; White & Garrott, 2005). All three states, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, are litigating the federal government to get the wolf delisted so they can start wolf management to maintain their stocks of big-game.

We conducted a 30 year study (1974 to 2004) of two caribou (Rangifer tarandus) populations, one in Pukaskwa National Park (PNP) and the other on the Slate Islands in Ontario, relative to these two paradigms of top-down or bottom-up. (Bergerud et al., this conference). In Pukaskwa National Park, there was an intact predator-prey system including caribou, moose (Alces alces), wolves, bears (Ursus americanus), and lynx (Lynx canadensis). On the Slate Islands, our experimental area, there were no major predators of caribou. The PNP populated was regulated top-down by predation and existed at an extremely low density of 0.06 caribou per km2, whereas the population on the Slate Islands averaged 7-8 animals/km2 over the 30 years (100X greater than in PNP). In the absence of predators, these island caribou were regulated from the bottom-up by a shortage of summer foods and the flora was impacted, resulting in some floral extinctions. The extremely low density of only 0.06 caribou per km2 in PNP is normal for caribou populations coexisting with wolves (Bergerud, 1992a: Fig. 1, p. 1011). The top-down predator driven ecosystem of caribou in PNP also applies in Canada to moose, elk, and black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) that are in ecosystems with normal complements of wolves and bears (Bergerud, 1974; Bergerud et al., 1983; Bergerud et al., 1984; Messier & Crete, 1985; Farnell & McDonald, 1986; Seip, 1992; Messier 1994; Hatter & Janz 1994; Bergerud & Elliott, 1998; Hayes et al., 2003).

Of all the predator driven ecosystems of cervids, the threat of extinction is most eminent for the southern mountain and boreal woodland caribou ecotypes, both classified as threatened (COSEWIC 2002, Table 11). These herds are declining primarily from predation by wolves plus some mortality from bears. From west to east the equations for continued persistence are not encouraging — in British Columbia the total of the southern mountain ecotype is down from 2145 (1992-97) to 1540 caribou (2002-04) and four herds number only 3, 4, 6, and 14 individuals (Wittmer et al., 2005). In Alberta, the range has become fragmented and average recruitment recently was 17 calves/100 females, despite high pregnancy rates (McLoughlin et al., 2003). That low calf survival is less than the needed to maintain numbers - 12-15% calves or 22-25 calves per 100 females at 10-12 moths-of-age to replace the natural mortality of females (Bergerud, 1992a; Bergerud & Elliott 1998). In Saskatchewan, populations are going down, ?=0.95 (Rettie et al., 1998). The range is retreating in Ontario (Schaefer, 2003) as southern groups disappear; in Labrador the Red Wine herd is now less than 100 animals (Schmelzer et al., 2004); in southern Quebec, there may be only 3000 caribou left (Courtois et al., 2003), and in Newfoundland, herds are in rapid decline from coyotes (Canis latrans) and bear predation (G. Mercer and R. Otto, pers. comm.). In Gaspé, the problem for the endangered relic herd is also coyotes and bear predation (Crête & Desrosiers, 1995). In Gaspé, these predators have been reduced and there is a plan in place to continue adaptive management (Crête et al., 1994). Do we have to wait until the herds are listed as endangered to manage predators?

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