2 Apr 2010, 4:14pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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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 [here]


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.

2 Apr 2010, 12:24am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Wolf Hunt Accounting

A curious headline accompanied an article on the recently finished first-ever Idaho wolf hunt:

Successful wolf hunt may not be profitable

By Brad Iverson-Long, IdahoReporter.com, April 1st, 2010 [here]

Idaho’s first sanctioned wolf hunt ended March 31. Despite all the notoriety surrounding Idaho’s wolf hunt, it may not be a moneymaker for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), according to a department spokesman. Ed Mitchell said it’s debatable whether the hunt that led to 186 hunters killing wolves paid for itself. More than 31,000 hunters bought tags to hunt wolves, which sold for $11.50 to Idaho residents and $186 to out-of-state hunters.

“We need that tag money for our wolf and other big game programs,” Mitchell told IdahoReporter.com. He said the cost of wolf management programs, including tracking and tagging wolves, and the loss of revenues on elk hunting tags due to elk being killed by wolves has offset the more than $400,000 raised from wolf tag sales. Mitchell said elk herds in several areas of the state have been declining, including the Lolo zone. “The Lolo’s been studied so thoroughly,” he said, adding that other areas, like the Selway zone, may also have had large depredation. “We just have more complete science on the Lolo.” Both the Lolo and Selway zones are located along the Montana-Idaho border.

How is $400K in wolf tag sales not profitable?

Mr. Mitchell offered up the word “debatable”. I accept the challenge.

The cost of wolf management is not an “offset” of the hunt. Wolf management is a burden accepted by the State, in effect forced on them (extortion is the appropriate word) by the Feds. The wolf management costs must be borne whether there is a wolf hunt or not. The tag sales offset the management costs, not the other way around.

The loss in elk tag revenues due to the wolves radically reducing the elk population is also not an offset of the wolf hunt. Again, it’s the other way around. The wolf hunt is a method to save the elk, so more elk tags might be sold, if there are any elk left.

The decline in elk tag revenues is another burden borne by the State courtesy the Feds. That burden is a cost to the State that has nothing to do with the wolf hunt. The wolf hunt might reduce that burden, if the State can sell more elk tags. In other words, the wolf hunt is a potential benefit to the State, over and above the $400K in wolf hunt tags.

The IR article continues:

Wolves that kill livestock can also harm ranchers’ bottom line. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that Idaho will get a $140,000 grant to pay back livestock producers in cases of depredation. U.S. Sen. Jim Risch said in a news release that ranchers need this support. “Over the past year, I have heard repeatedly from ranchers who have been pushed to the brink of going out of business as a result of wolf predation,” Risch said. “This funding will help provide the resources to prevent future conflicts and provide compensation for losses. Idaho needs to continue active and aggressive management of the wolf population, just as it has successfully done with cats and bears over the last century.”

The wolf hunt will hopefully reduce livestock losses. That’s another benefit (opposite of a cost). The USFWS grants would not be required if there were no wolves, so technically killing all the wolves would eliminate the need for the grants. That would be an opportunity cost to the State, technically. But the economic effect of livestock loss is much greater than the USFWS reimburses for, so even considering the grant income, depredation is a net cost to the State. Reducing the livestock depredation is a net savings, even if as a result the grants are not necessary and not forthcoming. Hence reducing the number of livestock killed by wolves is another economic benefit of the wolf hunt.

As is well-known, the economic gain from any hunting program is vastly more than tag sales. Hunters buy equipment, rent motel rooms, and spend money like any tourist or recreationalist. The economic boost from hunting benefits businesses, causing them to hire more employees, and everybody pays more taxes on their enhanced incomes. Hence the State benefited from increased sales and income taxes.

All the wolves were not killed. In fact, the wolf population is expected to increase despite the hunt and removals of livestock depredating wolves. It is probable that elk populations will continue to decline. Hence it is difficult to accurately appraise many of the gains mentioned above. As I explained, they are not all gains per se, but reductions in costs, and possibly not much in the way of reductions either.

However, without the wolf hunt the costs probably would be even greater. The wolf hunt potentially provided a savings in costs as well as a boost in revenues. Both are economic benefits.

The State is not a private business. It is not the mission of State government to make a profit. It is their mission to provide services at a reasonable, affordable cost (that ought to be their mission at any rate). Hence the headline claim that the wolf hunt was not profitable is slightly off-kilter. A better headline would have been Wolf Hunt Enhances Economy, State Government Revenues and Reduces Costs to Taxpayers.

The wolf hunt was, in fact, a money maker. Maybe not as much as most citizens would like, but definitely an economic positive rather than a negative.

Calamity Jane Lists Pacific Smelt

Lunatic NOAA Admin Jane Lysenko freaked out and put the common Pacific smelt on the Endangered Species last week.

You ask, can Calamity Jane do such a thing? The answer is yes. Only in America, and only when the Commies run the zoo, but yes, yes they can.

The common, abundant Pacific smelt was listed as “threatened” on March 16th by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMS), a vassal sub-sect of NOAA [here].

[T]he ESA requires federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund or conduct are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species. Prohibitions against harming them would apply only to Pacific smelt in U.S. waters or to U.S. citizens on the high seas, even though the population extends into Canada.

No more smelt dipping under penalty of 5 to life in Leavenworth. The super-abundant, NMS-protected sea lions can have all they want however.

The Pacific smelt or eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) is abundant, has high fecundity, and a demonstrated ability to rebound from periods of low abundance. Even the smelt-brains at NMS know that. But the facts don’t matter with “our” feral gooberment.

The NMS created a “distinct population segment” out of thin air, declared it in danger of going extinct, and slapped a new Law of the Land on an astounded human population, caught unaware and blindsided by the smelt-brains.

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Environmental Groups Net $91,000 on Jaguar Habitat Litigation

For Immediate Release / March 22, 2010

From the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association

The federal government paid a total of $91,000 to environmental groups as part of settlement agreements in two lawsuits filed regarding designation of critical habitat for the jaguar.

“The amount of money — our tax dollars — that has gone and continues to go to these groups is unbelievable,” said Bert Ancell, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association (NMCGA) President, Bell Ranch. “How the government can continue to make these agreements, knowing that money will be used to fund yet another lawsuit against the federal government, is beyond me.”

The Center for Biological Diversity received $53,000 and the Defenders of Wildlife received $38,000 in settlement of a case they filed in 2008 to force the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the jaguar. The groups are pushing for the designation of 53 million acres of habitat in southern New Mexico and Arizona, for a species that is rarely seen north of the Mexican border.

Ancell is concerned about the impacts a critical habitat designation could have on natural resource users, including ranchers. “These designations are far-reaching, and could seriously impact ranching operations and rural economies in southern New Mexico and Arizona.”

“The cost of these lawsuits is staggering,” Ancell continued, “with no actual benefit to the species in question. These environmental groups file hundreds of lawsuits every year, forcing agencies to dedicate time, money and resources that could go to species benefit, instead it goes into the courtroom. Our tax dollars are used to defend the case, our tax dollars are used to settle the case and the environmental groups go out and file more lawsuits. None of this impacts the jaguar one way or the other – the species continues to do just fine in natural range — which does not include the southwestern United States. Jaguars need running water and a humid climate.”

Groups are able to ask for attorneys’ fees as part of the settlement of a lawsuit with the federal government under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and other fee shifting statutes. EAJA was passed in the 1980s to ensure that private citizens’ and non-profits’ rights were protected. Today, however, well-funded environmental groups are using the legislation for profit, Ancell concluded.

The NMCGA has represented the beef industry in New Mexico and the West since 1914 and has members in all 33 of the state’s counties as well as some 14 other states. The Association participates in venues necessary to protect beef producers and private property rights including litigation, state and federal legislation and regulatory affairs.


18 Mar 2010, 10:10pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2009 Interagency Annual Report

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nez Perce Tribe, National Park Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Idaho Fish and Game, and USDA Wildlife Services. 2010. Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2009 Interagency Annual Report. C.A. Sime and E. E. Bangs, eds. USFWS, Ecological Services, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, Montana. 59601. [here]


Abstract — The 2009 NRM wolf population increased over 2008 levels and now includes at least 1,706 wolves in 242 packs and 115 breeding pairs. Wolf packs and especially breeding pairs largely remain within the core recovery areas, but for the first time breeding pairs were confirmed in eastern Washington and Oregon. Agency control, hunting, other causes of mortality, and the natural territorial behavior of wolves slowed population growth to less than 4 percent in 2009, the lowest growth rate since 1995.

In 2009 Federal agencies spent $3,763,000 for wolf management. Private and state agencies paid $457,785 in compensation for wolf damage to livestock in 2009. Confirmed cattle losses in 2009 (192) were lower than in 2008 (214), but confirmed sheep losses (721) and dog losses (24) were higher than in 2008 (355 and 14 respectively).

Montana removed 145 wolves by agency control and 72 by hunting. Idaho removed 93 by agency control and 134 by hunting. In Wyoming, 32 wolves were removed by agency control. In Oregon two wolves were removed by agency control. No wolves were controlled in Washington or Utah. Wolves in the NRM, except in Wyoming, were removed from the list of endangered species on May 4, 2009. That decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is being litigated in both Wyoming and Montana Federal District Courts.

See [here] for the following reports:

Wyoming Wolf Recovery 2009 Annual Report
(50 pages, 800 KB PDF file)

Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2009 Annual Report
(178 pages, 6 megabyte PDF file)

Wolf Conservation and Management in Idaho Progress Report 2009
(78 page 5 megabyte PDF file)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Program Update 2009
(44 pages)

11 Mar 2010, 11:06am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Panel Roundtable: Canadian Gray Wolf Introduction into Yellowstone

by Tom Remington, Blackbear Blog, March 10, 2010 [here]

Following is no doubt the most candid discussion you will find anywhere in North America today about predators and their diseases. The discussion surrounds the introduction of the gray wolf to the Greater Yellowstone area and the impact this has had on not only the ecosystem but economically, socially and in the lives of private ranchers and citizens. This discussion not only covers the politics behind the introduction and the ongoing politics but also covers the diseases carried and transmitted by the wolf and the lack of comprehensive research to fully study the environmental, social and economic impacts to this region of the country. This discussion no doubt covers this topic to depths most Americans have never had the opportunity to experience and it is done by some of this continent’s most renowned scientists and researchers. This is a bit lengthy but is very much worth the time it takes to read it thoroughly. — Tom Remington

Republished by permission

Economic and physical dangers to Rural Americans and other unintended consequences

By Kelly Wood, All American Patriot, March 2010

There are significant economic, health and safety ramifications of the Gray Wolf Introduction Program in Yellowstone Park that have manifested themselves in the Western States along the Rocky Mountain Front. A distinguished panel joins The All American Patriot to discuss these critical issues. The guests assembled for this roundtable are:

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7 Mar 2010, 4:28pm
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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MT EQC Gets Earful on Wolf-Borne Diseases

The Montana Environmental Quality Council, an interim legislative committee charged with oversight of the MT Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, became informed at a March 5th meeting concerning wolf-borne diseases such as Hydatid (tapeworm) disease and rabies. The DFWP attempted to defend their look-the-other-way unmanagement of wolf vector diseases, but were less than successful according to observers.

The testimony included a letter from MT State Sen. Greg Hinkle [here]

Additional follow-up testimony was provided by Gary Marbut, President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association [here]. Mr. Marbut wrote:

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Council:

There are issues about wolves that were not adequately addressed before the Council on Friday, primarily because of time constraints, and about which I’d like to follow up.

Wolf diseases and human health risks.

About Echinococcus granulosus (EG for short), I felt that the council did not get a good synopsis of this disease. The Council was informed by FWP that 63% of Montana wolves carry this disease, which is transmissible to humans.

Because this disease has not been well studied, especially concerning the likelihood that this disease has been or will be transmitted to humans, FWP takes the position that it is no big deal. They equate their lack of information with absence of risk — what you don’t know about can’t hurt you, an attitude similar to the people of Haiti about earthquakes a year ago.

This is a mistake. Council members have been provided recent issues of The Outdoorsman [here] which will generate a more informed view. Let me summarize.

EG (called “Wolf Worms” by some) is a parasite — a type of tapeworm. In Montana wolves examined there were literally thousands of these tiny tapeworms in the intestine of wolves. These tapeworms produce tens of thousands, maybe millions of microscopic eggs that are expelled in wolf feces. These eggs are viable for long periods of time, depending upon conditions.

These millions of EG eggs can become airborne or get flushed by rain into moving water. I have been unable to learn if community water treatment processes normally used to purify drinking water will reliably remove or destroy these eggs. That remains an open question.

What is not open to question is that people who intake these eggs though inhalation or any sort of transport-to-mouth mechanism can develop cysts that may be discovered any time from soon after exposure to as long as 20 years later. Such a long incubation period causes EG to be a nightmarish, untrackable public health risk.

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Hydatid Disease Medical Reports

Was it a conspiracy, a terrorist act or stupidity that introduced a diseased animal species to the Northwest?

By Harvey Neese, The Eagle & Boomerang, March 1, 2010 [here]

Was it some kind of a conspiracy involving various government agencies/organizations to introduce an animal species with potentially dangerous diseases to the Northwest area? After introduction of Canadian wolves to the Northwest area carrying the Hydatid disease, the government organizations and so-called expert biologists responsible for the introduction have kept very mum on the Hydatid malady introduced by them.

If the biologists in the various agencies responsible for importing this disease to the Northwest had strange sounding foreign names and long beards and taking into account the potential long term financial and health costs to livestock, wildlife and humans in a large sector of the U.S., this might be dubbed a “Terrorist Act” and U.S. security agencies would be actively involved.

It has been reported that a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who was previously employed in Alaska where the Hydatid disease had been known for many years, was transferred to this wolf dumping project in the Northwest. Really now, we are to believe he did not realize the potential undesirable ramifications of introducing this disease to the Northwest area with some 15 times more population than in prevalent areas in Alaska? Either he’s from another planet or this has to be stupidity at its height! Trying to cover up for this incompetence, the Idaho Fish and Game Dept. is now saying the disease was in the area several decades ago, so it is now okay to reintroduce it or a different strain to the Northwest. How much more idiotic thinking will this project lead to?

What are the ramifications of introducing a disease carrying animal species, as Canadian wolves infested with Hydatid tapeworm disease, to large public land areas, numerous farms and ranches with livestock and families throughout the area alongside some larger cities? This is an area that is inhabited by a high percentage of people who hunt, fish and recreate in the forest areas where wolves are now multiplying.

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27 Feb 2010, 12:09pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Lolo Elk Decline

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released the aerial elk counts for the Lolo Wildlife Management Zones 10 and 12 in the Clearwater River watershed in Idaho. The counts along with counts of prior years are graphed below:

Lolo Zone 10 aerial elk counts 1989-2010.

Lolo Zone 12 aerial elk counts 1989-2010.


All aerial elk counts were made in January or February, although not in every year. The data I received did not include any estimates of the uncertainty (statistical error) associated with the counting method.

Total count and counts of cows and calves by year are displayed. The count of cows is particularly important. This is because in ungulates the number of cows, that is the number of females capable of bearing young, are critical to population dynamics. One bull can impregnate many cows, so the number of bulls can vary greatly and not affect the birth rate or population change trends. That is not true for cows, which can bear only one or two calves (twins are rare) per year. On average most cows will have their first calf at 3 years of age. The gestation for elk cows is 250 days, which means calves are generally born in May and June. Calves counted in winter are those which have survived for six to nine months.

Also included in the graphs are linear trend lines for the cow count. In Zone 10 the number of cows has declined from 7,692 in 1989 to 824 in 2010, or 89 percent. In Zone 12 the number of cows has declined from 3,059 in 1986 to 534 in 2010, or 83 percent.

In Zone 10 the number of calves has declined from 2,298 in 1989 to 144 in 2010, or 94 percent. In Zone 12 the number of calves has declined from 856 in 1985 to 38 in 2010, or 96 percent.

Clearly, the elk populations have crashed in these zones.

The reason is not a lack of fecundity: calf/cow ratios have varied from 6 per 100 to 30 per 100 and were reported to be 17 per 100 in Zone 10 and 7 per 100 in Zone 12 in 2010. A calf/cow ratio of 15-20 per 100 is considered to be sufficient to replace the population under normal circumstances, and no trend in calf/cow ratio was detected over the counting period. As recently as 2006 the calf/cow ratios were 29 per 100 in Zone 10 and 20 per 100 in Zone 12.

The reason for the elk population crash is not hunting. All the animals taken are bulls, and that does not affect population dynamics as explained above. Furthermore, Lolo zone elk harvest has also decline precipitously, from over 1,500 in 1989 to less than 150 in 2008 in Zone 10 and from nearly 600 in 1992 to less than 100 in 2008 in Zone 12. I do not have the exact harvest numbers at this time.

The principal reason for the crashing elk populations is undoubtedly the introduction of wolves in 1995, and the subsequent explosion of the wolf population.

Wildlife and People has reported on the wolf problem in the Lolo Wildlife Management zones many times [here, here, here, here, here]. These are just the posts that mention wolves in the Lolo zones. The posts regarding wolves and elk in the Northern Rockies are too numerous to list.

Upcoming IDFG Meetings

The IDFG is holding public meetings next week from 5 to 7 p.m. at the IDFG Clearwater Regional Office in Lewiston on Tuesday and at the Clearwater Hatchery in Orofino on Wednesday. I invite you to print out the graphs above and present them, and ask the IDFG experts why they think the Lolo elk populations have crashed.

No Balancing of Hardship in ESA Cases

Note: the following article is from Ag Alert, a news service of the California Farm Bureau Federation. The article quotes a U.S. District Court judge from a speech he gave at a water conference. The judge says, in so many words, that there is no such thing as justice in the Endangered Species Act. The Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, has been discarded, and there is nothing the judiciary can do about it.

Judge says water problems won’t be solved in court

By Steve Adler, Associate Editor, Ag Alert, February 24, 2010 [here]

His rulings play a crucial role in determining the operation of federal and state water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but Judge Oliver Wanger said last week that court rulings aren’t to blame for drastic reductions in water deliveries.

Wanger, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of California, gave the keynote address during the annual Madera County Farm Bureau Water Conference.

He has been instrumental in several recent court cases relating to Central Valley Project and State Water Project water deliveries that have been severely restricted by the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. Most of those cases revolve around protected species such as the threatened delta smelt, as well as threatened and endangered species of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and even killer whales — “because they feed on salmon,” Wanger said.

Wanger let it be known at the beginning of his talk that he was speaking as “a private citizen and not on behalf of the United States District Court where I serve,” and that his views were not intended to be a comment on any pending cases.

“I am going to touch on subjects that relate to these cases, but I am going to try to not comment on the cases themselves, because we have issues which have been submitted for a decision, or will be very soon,” he said.

The Fresno-based federal judge said he finds it remarkable that there is, what he called, so little accurate information about how the California “water wars” were created and whether there are any solutions to the dilemma.

“I will start by saying one thing: The one place where there can be no solution is in the courts. That is where these cases are, at present, but there is no question that the courts don’t have resources, the courts don’t have expertise, the courts don’t have political authority or executive authority to do anything to solve the issues that are presented,” he said.

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12 Feb 2010, 9:10am
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Mexican wolf end-of-year counts mislead the public

by Laura Schneberger, Gila Livestock Growers Association, [here]

Are Mexican wolves really being destroyed by humans in the reintroduction area? That is the question behind what is becoming an annual failure of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to increase their wolf population. Slipping from 52 wolves in 2009 down to 42 in 2010, the program consistently fails to gain ground.

Since the FWS are so “determined to identify the reasons for this decline”, let’s examine what they might be missing. n 2008 18 foxes attacked people in Silver City NM, not isolated incidents, yet rabies is completely ignored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, in New Mexico and Arizona. This is odd considering FWS regional director; the man responsible for the Mexican wolf program, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, is an expert in wildlife diseases.

Fact, there is a major rabies outbreak destroying wild canine and cat populations throughout the (BRWRA) Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, and has been for several years. The FWS cites 31 pups they know were born last spring. However they didn’t vaccinate or collar all of those pups according to the Final Rule governing the program.

Thirty-one new pups should have boosted wolf numbers beyond 80 in the wild. If 50% of the pups survived, there would be 67 give or take, on the ground now. There could very well be that large an increase, but since FWS annual count occurs only after young wolves begin dispersing, their census numbers might not reflect much in the way of an increase [because many wolves go uncounted].

FWS imply in media reports that they believe more than 2 of the 8 wolves found dead last year were illegally shot. Fact, one of those shootings was done in a front yard. FWS were notified of the shooting when it occurred. They found a collared but offline (radio malfunction) dead wolf — one not counted in last year’s tally. Currently an investigation is ongoing into what may be yet be a legal wolf shooting. FWS know this but continue to insinuate there is something shady and sneaky going on in the backwoods of the BRWRA.

At least two wolves were killed by FWS manipulation of the San Mateo pack. FWS know this as well, but still appear to insinuate that ranchers or someone else killed the animals by shooting them. How is misleading the media and public about dead wolves found, but not confirmed as illegally killed, going to contribute to a self sustaining wild wolf population?

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10 Feb 2010, 4:06pm
Moose Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Too Hot for Moose?

It started out as a joke. At least, I thought it was a joke. A spoof, a satire on crappy wildlife ecology. But evidently it was for real. Or surreal. The article:

What’s killing Minnesota’s moose?

By DOUG SMITH, Star Tribune, February 9, 2010 [here]

The bad news continues for Minnesota’s moose.

The population of the iconic animal in northeastern Minnesota has declined again, based on the latest aerial survey this winter by the Department of Natural Resources.

Wildlife researchers estimate that there are 5,500 moose in that region of the state. With a 23 percent margin of error, the estimate is not statistically different from last year’s estimate of 7,600, but it supports other evidence that the moose population is declining.

“We don’t believe the population dropped 2,000 in the past year, but it’s indicative that the population is declining and parallels everything else we’ve been seeing,” said Mark Lenarz, DNR wildlife researcher. “Our concern continues.”

Reasons for the decline are uncertain, but researchers continue to believe a warming climate is responsible. Minnesota, already at the southern fringe of the moose range, apparently is becoming inhospitable for the large animals. Moose are extremely heat-sensitive, and temperature readings in Ely show over the past 48 years, average summer and winter temperatures have increased substantially.

Moose aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon, but as their range shifts north, Minnesota’s population could continue to stumble.

“People come up here to catch fish and see wildlife,” said Bob Baker, owner of Gunflint Pines Resort and Campground on the Gunflint Trail, northwest of Grand Marais, Minn. “The moose is the one animal people want to see when they’re here, and its decline could impact tourism.”

Already in the northwest part of the state the number of moose has fallen from around 4,000 in the mid-1980s to around 100 today.

“There’s more and more evidence suggesting it’s related to climate,” Lenarz said. Higher temperatures can stress moose, making them susceptible to diseases and parasites.

OMG! Minnesota mooses are dying from gloooobal waaarming!! And there goes the tourism industry right along with them. Quick everybody, change your lightbulbs to the twisty, mercury-filled kind and/or pay more taxes. Definitely pay more taxes. That’ll save the mooses and the gawker/gaper businesses. Oh, and be sure to hire more wildlife ecologists!

Some of my correspondents were less amused than I was. One eminent wildlife scientist was perturbed at the idiocy in his own clan:

Mike, the same BULLSHIT appeared in Bioscience, and in Defenders magazine, without one word about predation, and as XXXXXX pointed out in an email in response to this nonsense, moose are NOT declining in Utah but increasing because we have no wolves. Yet. If warming was really killing off the moose, you would expect that moose in the SOUTHERN part of their range to be affected first, but they have not. Consider the moose population in Alberta, where moose are increasing in the agricultural zone, which is poor moose habitat, while at the same time moose are decreasing in the forest-mountain zones — BECAUSE there are neither wolves or grizzlies in the ag zone, while predators are common in the rest of the providence!!!!!!!!!

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9 Feb 2010, 3:11pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Negligent or Naive About Wolves?

by Kelton Larson

Read the article below where Commissioner Randy Budge comes clean on what has really happened to our big game populations in Idaho.

Although the reality is not pleasant, it is certainly positive that the commission is coming clean by telling us the facts about Idaho big game populations. Hopefully this will bring positive changes for Idaho’s wildlife and sportsmen.

The real question is: why did the IDFG and Commission sit back and let our let our big game populations crash? Why wasn’t the 10j Rule used 5 to 7 years ago?

The 10j Rule was the rule that was used to introduce the Nonessential Experimental Population of wolves into central Idaho and YNP in January of 1995. It was rewritten in 2005 to allow Montana — and subsequently Idaho after the MOU was signed by Kempthorne in Jan 2006 — to allow both states to kill wolves that were having an unacceptable impact on ungulate populations. Although IDFG described it as “having to jump through a bunch of hoops,” IDFG only had to document a 25% decline in an ungulate population in five years and get a peer review of their wolf kill plan to be able to remove the wolves.

Instead the IDFG implemented the cow/calf collaring study that initially reported wrong numbers and failed to report the actual elk population decline. But even after the losses became evident in the Lolo and Sawtooth Zones, and Dr. Geist and other experts reviewed the IDFG plan, IDFG still has not controlled very many wolves to date.

I remember when Governor Kempthorne signed the 10j rule. We were all excited that IDFG could start controlling wolves. There is no excuse for what has happened to our big game populations. The IDFG and the commission have had their hands in their pockets for a long time. The IDFG and the Commission and many legislators have bought into this delisting myth. As Commissioner Budge points out in the article below, the 200 wolf hunt quota will not be enough to halt elk population decline.

The bottom line is the whole introduction of wolves has been a disaster for Idaho. The impact will be felt for many years to come. Outfitters have been put out of business. Revenue to Idaho’s economy and small business’s has been greatly reduced. Wolves have been a plague on Idaho’s ranchers and farmers. Now we find out that these wolves were probably introduced with diseases. And of course the IDFG will probably want residents to pick up the bill for nonresident hunters not coming to Idaho anymore.

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29 Jan 2010, 9:26pm
Wildlife Agencies bighorn sheep
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Environmental Justice on the Payette NF

The Payette National Forest has modified a plan to exclude domestic sheep on the basis that they transmit diseases, specifically pneumonia, to wild bighorn sheep. They base that contention on speculative computer models, not empirical evidence.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Payette NF, January 25, 2010 [here]

Update to Bighorn Sheep Viability Study Released Today

Today the Payette National Forest (PNF) released updated information pertaining to the analysis in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) to supplement the 2003 Southwest Idaho Ecogroup Land and Resource Management Plan FEIS (Forest Plan) as it relates to bighorn sheep viability on the Payette National Forest. The DSEIS was released in October 2008. This supplemental report to the DSEIS contains the following updates:

* Since the release of the DSEIS the PNF has worked with population and disease modeling experts from the University of California at Davis to develop models based on telemetry data from bighorn sheep populations that utilize habitat on or adjacent to the PNF.

* In September 2009, the Regional Forester determined that bighorn sheep merited designation as a Sensitive Species in Region 4 because of population declines from disease. This document will update and analyze the alternatives in light of the new designation.

* The Economic Impact Analysis has been changed to include both community level and regional level impact models in response to public comment on the DSEIS.

* A section on Environmental Justice has been added to the Economic Analysis. Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, education level, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. Environmental Justice seeks to ensure that minority and low income communities have access to public information relating to human health and environmental planning, regulations, and enforcement.

The updated information includes a revised source habitat model and core herd home range analysis, a new contact analysis, and a disease model. To better address the issue of bighorn sheep viability, several additional alternative management approaches were developed and analyzed in the DSEIS. However, the new models and updated analyses led to the development of five new alternative approaches which are described, displayed and analyzed in the Updated Information Report. …

The Idaho Statesman reports:

Idaho Statesman, 01/28/10 [here]

LEWISTON, Idaho — The Payette National Forest has released a set of proposed updates to its plan to keep domestic sheep from intermingling with wild bighorns, a species susceptible to pneumonia that can be passed along by their domestic cousins.

Forest officials are taking public comment on the 184-page document that spells out five new alternatives to keep the herds segregated. It also includes the latest scientific analysis on the health risks wild bighorns face in sharing habitat with domestics.

Forest managers have been working to update the plan since 2005 when the chief of the U.S. Forest Service declared that the previous plan failed to adequately protect wild sheep in north-central Idaho.

The draft, citing field observations and scientific research, finds bighorn sheep have a high probability of contracting fatal pneumonia after contact with domestic sheep. …

Many wildlife scientists are convinced contact between domestic sheep and bighorns reintroduced into the region in the 1970s is behind deadly disease outbreaks. Disease transmission concerns figured prominently in an Oct. 14 federal court ruling that banished a rancher from his family’s historic grazing ground along the Salmon River. …

more »

26 Jan 2010, 10:46am
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin
1 comment

Interview With Will Graves: Author, “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through The Ages”

Black Bear Blog, January 26, 2010 [here]

Below is an interview, moderated by Jim Beers, with Will Graves, author. It took place on January 24, 2010 in response to reports of cystic Hydatid disease from worms that have been reported in wolves in Idaho and Montana.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.

Will Graves is author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages [here]


Q: Will, didn’t you work and travel extensively in Asia, Europe, and Africa during your career with the US government?

A: Yes. I was very fortunate to visit and work with a variety of people in places such as Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Siberia, the Karellian Peninsula, Iran, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italy to name a few.

Q: What did you learn about wolves based on your travels and work in these foreign lands?

A: First and foremost, that the management of wolves depends entirely on people and not on any so-called “balance of nature”. When management and control of wolf numbers and their distribution is absent, the damage to human life, livestock, domestic animals like dogs, and wildlife increases as wolf numbers and densities increase. Unlike other large predators, wolves are very adaptable, wide-ranging, pack animals that keep expanding their range both as individuals and as packs that expand as food and opportunities present themselves.

I was amazed at how little attention was being paid to both the visible danger of wolves and the hidden potential for the spread of diseases affecting people and other animals when wolves were being Re-introduced into Yellowstone Park in the 1990’s. The lack of discussion and preparation for controlling wolves and the absence of any candid description of historical and current wolf experiences and research worldwide struck me as a potential problem of great magnitude.

In addition to the substantiated deaths of many rural people especially in Russia, particularly children and women year around, outbreaks of wolf attacks on humans occur periodically in severe winters or when wolves become habituated to humans when they are not hunted as during World War II in Russia or when their numbers and densities increase with resulting losses of certain prey animals. They are particularly dangerous when they become increasingly bold around humans and human habitations. When wolves come into Russian villages or begin appearing at rural American school bus stops or when, as I was recently told by a Montana rancher, one came into his yard and actually looked in a window of his home, this is a very dangerous situation and almost certainly a prelude to an attack. While trying to chase off such animals is futile, removing such animals should be done immediately. However, this is merely a stopgap because other nearby wolves are likely to soon adopt similar behavior; when wolves exist routinely in such proximity to humans, history and research in Russia show this to be a dangerous situation requiring constant caution and constant control of the wolves.

Also in addition to the observable losses of cattle, sheep, domestic geese and turkeys, pet dogs, herding dogs, hunting dogs, watchdogs, and wildlife like deer, elk, and moose, there is the hidden damage from the stress of constant harassment of chasing and stalking all the surviving animals resulting in reduced physical capacities to survive and reproduce. This resulting stress leads to reduced resistance to disease and reduced weight and stamina that constitutes a significant loss to ranchers, farmers, hunters, rural residents and wildlife populations in my opinion. … [more]

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