PBS Poll Results Favor Wolf Control

The extremely liberal TV “news” show NOW on public television aired an hour-long pro-wolf report in February entitled “Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves.”

The one-sided report fawned all over eco-litigious wolf loving groups and poked Obama in the eye for allowing the US Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves [here]:

Last year the Obama Administration removed federal protection from some of the wolves that had been restored to the northern Rockies under the Endangered Species Act. The move paved the way for controversial state-regulated wolf hunts.

Wolf advocates strongly oppose the administrations decision saying the three states in the region, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming need a cohesive management plan that allows for a much larger wolf population. “It was very disappointing when Secretary Salazar in the Obama Administration, signed off on this rushed-through Bush administration delisting package for wolves,” said Doug Honnold, a lawyer with Earthjustice, who is representing conservation groups challenging the government’s decision. …

More than a dozen conversation groups have sued the Interior Department to return federal protection to the northern Rockies wolves. Some believe the result of this legal debate is a litmus test for the Obama Administration’s overall approach to wildlife issues and the Endangered Species Act.

Wolf delisting is required by law, since wolves are in no way endangered. Efforts by the USFWS to delist have been going on for six years or more, but have been repeatedly thwarted by lawsuits from lobby groups (that collect $billions in EAJA monies for their monkey wrenching efforts).

Despite the puerile propaganda aired by PBS, viewers see things differently. In a poll accompanying the web article about the NOW report, 74% of voters believe delisting is the right thing to do.

The Weekly Q

Do you believe wolves in the Northern Rockies require federal protection?

Evidently people are not quite as gullible as the producers of NOW. Note that the poll voters are PBS viewers. It’s not a balanced sampling, but one biased toward the liberal side. Yet even the liberals are not persuaded. Had the poll been a fair sampling across all the citizenry, the numbers would have been 90% or more in favor of delisting.

Wolves are not endangered. Elk are — and deer, and livestock, and pets, and children waiting for the school bus, and teachers out jogging. They are all threatened by exotic wolves dumped in their midst by an overreaching Federal Government 15 years ago. The dozen or so Canadian wolves inflicted on the Northern Rockies have multiplied and now number more than 5,000.

Next up for NOW, a report on the virtues of plague rats, and how spreading bubonic plague via wildlife is just what the liberal doctors ordered.

2 Apr 2010, 4:24pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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IDFG Wolf Depredation Memo Feb. 10, 2010

The following memo describes the efforts by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to control livestock depredation by wolves. This memo is a response or companion piece to the USDA-APHID Wildlife Service report: Idaho Wildlife Services Wolf Activity Report 2009 linked to in the previous post.

State of Idaho
Department of Fish and Game
Boise, Idaho

February 10, 2010


TO: Regional Supervisors
FROM: Cal Groen, Director
SUBJECT: Response to wolf depredations on livestock
CC: Fish and Game Commissioners, Jim Unsworth, Virgil Moore, Mark Collinge, Nate Fisher, Bonnie Butler

Despite our increased response to controlling wolves depredating on livestock in recent years, wolf depredation complaints continued to increase. In November 2008 the Idaho Fish and Game Commission directed IDFG “To develop and aggressively utilize all available tools and methods to control wolf caused depredation of domestic livestock.” Responding to that directive, our control efforts have progressed as follows:

* Decentralized decision-making to Regional Supervisors when authorizing removal of depredating wolves.
* Extended the effective period for take orders by USDA Wildlife Services (WS) and kill permits (livestock owners) from 45 to 60 days following the most recent depredation incident.
* Authorized additional WS wolf removals and extended kill permits based on recurring incidents or chronic history of the wolf pack involved.
* Allowed kill permit designees to include all members of a grazing association during their entire grazing season.
* Increased authorization to remove most or all of the members of wolf packs involved in chronic depredations where there has been a history of depredations from previous years.
* Developed area-specific harvest objectives for the 2009-2010 wolf hunting season to address livestock conflicts.
* Authorized take orders during open hunting season when hunting proved ineffective to remedy chronic depredations.
* Increased coordination between Montana and Idaho WS.

IDFG authorized WS control actions in response to 160 confirmed and 43 probable wolf depredations on livestock during federal FY2009. These control actions resulted in removal of 107 wolves including complete, or nearly complete removal of 6 entire packs (Middle Creek, Snake River, Applejack, Falls Creek, Sage Creek, Blue Bunch) as authorized by IDFG. Fish and Game authorized the removal of the Blue Bunch pack but complete removal was not achieved during the federal FY2009 period. Since the end of the federal FY in September 2009, IDFG has authorized the complete removal of all, or nearly all, members of 3 additional packs (Basin Butte, Steel Mountain, Sweet-Ola) in response to repeated depredations caused by these packs.

Although the Department has documented nearly 300 wolf mortalities in 2009, livestock losses continue at an unacceptable level. As a result, we need to renew our commitment to meeting the Commission’s directive to reduce livestock depredations.

With due consideration to maintaining linkage corridors, we will recommend to the Commission increasing harvest limits in 2010 and expanding season dates in wolf zones with chronic depredations.

Further, in high conflict areas where a history of depredations exists, we will respond to a confirmed depredation incident more aggressively by authorizing WS to remove all involved depredating wolves. Additionally, I am committing staff to work cooperatively with WS to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative methods, such as sterilization or other nonlethal measures, to alleviate wolf damage. We would like to keep all options available to manage wolf depredations in the future.

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.

27 Mar 2010, 4:34pm
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Wolves In Town

Here are some photos of a wolf near the Sunshine Mine, located between Kellogg and Wallace, ID. The wolf chased an elk down the middle of the county road into the parking lot yesterday at the Sunshine Mine. You can see the assay lab building in the background. Photos courtesy Guy Sande.

24 Mar 2010, 1:24pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
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Wolf Rally attracts hundreds

By Emily Florez, KIDK, Mar 21, 2010 [here]

JACKSON, WYOMING - A crowd of nearly 200 residents blocked the road in Jackson Towne center. Ranchers, Outfitters and their supporting troops protested the Wyoming wolf population continuing to be on the endangered species list. They say the wolves are affecting other wildlife and their livelihood.

Brian Taylor, from Jackson Wyoming, said, “The wolves are in the area, they’ve killed our livestock and it’s really affecting us.”

Back in 1994 wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming were placed on the Endangered list. By 2008, they were taken off the list in Idaho and Montana, but not in Wyoming. Protesters are saying the growing wolf population needs to be managed.

“Right now the wolves are able to just run rampant and it’s just creating a problem for everyone,” said Rustin Titensor, an Outfitter from Star Valley, Wyoming. “We are just trying to make a difference. We’re trying to save the elk, the moose, and the wildlife that we have.”

Daniel Sowers, from Spokane, Washington is now guiding tours in Yellowstone Park, he said, “Five years ago I would see 25-30 elk standing right on Old Faithful, I would see 400 bison. This last winter I saw about 35 bison and I saw 3 elk one day. It’s getting harder and harder to find these animals in the wildlife.”

Titensor said, “The elk and the moose population is being seriously depleted by these wolves.”

Taylor explained, “The economic impact of this whole thing is going to be huge to this Jackson area, and in surrounding areas.”

“You go walking or hiking in the back country and you come across wolves, what do you do? They are first going to go after the dog, then after they kill the dog, they are coming after you,” said Chris Alisi from Jackson, Wyoming.

Titensor explained, “Elk and moose and other animal populations are seeing a steady decline. We need these facts brought out so that everybody realized and recognizes what’s going on. We are not trying to extinguish the wolves we just want the truth in the wildlife populations to be brought out.”

Next for the group, they are taking their fight all the way to Congress. If you would like to join in the fight, make a donation, or just learn more you can visit wysfw.org or wyoga.org.

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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11 Mar 2010, 10:41am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Pack thought to have killed teacher in Chignik Lake seen close to village again

By JAMES HALPIN, Alaska Daily News, March 10th, 2010 [here]

Villagers in Chignik Lake were on patrol Wednesday, hunting for wolves they blame in the death of a 32-year-old school teacher who was found dead after she went running on an isolated road this week.

Candice Berner was found Monday evening along a road leading out of town just a short time after leaving work. State officials haven’t yet determined her cause of death, but those who live in the village feel they know.

Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning, villagers said, an armed group of men was out roaming on snowmachines in search of tracks left by wolves, which people say have been coming too close to town lately.

“We approached them last night, but we ended up losing them,” said Fred Shangin, 32, who is among the hunters. “They were right by the village again. They started running, we started chasing them but they came up to a creek we couldn’t get across.”

Villagers say people are on edge, concerned with the boldness of wolves in the wake of Berner’s death.

Berner, who came to Alaska from Slippery Rock, Pa., was a special education teacher for the Lake and Peninsula School District. She was based in Perryville but traveled to different towns teaching. She arrived in Alaska in August, said her father, Bob Berner. …

School district officials say she left work at the end of the day Monday to go for a run on the road out of town.

Four people riding snowmachines along the road came across her body about 6:30 p.m. Monday. Gregory Kalmakoff, 23, said by phone Wednesday he and the others had been out riding at Portage Bay and were on their way back.

“There was a blood spot on the road,” he said. “I turned around, looked and there was drag marks going down a little hill.”

There were wolf tracks in the new snow and footprints left by a person, he said. It appeared something had been dragged off the road, said Kalmakoff’s cousin, 24-year-old Jacob Kalmakoff, who troopers say was among those who discovered the body.

“We seen her gloves on the road where she was running,” Kalmakoff said. “She didn’t get away too far from them; they took her down pretty fast. You could see a blood trail of her body getting drug down the hill.”

They went down the hill to investigate and found Berger’s remains not too far down. Berner’s arms and head had been mangled, Jacob Kalmakoff said. … [more]

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.

more »

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.

more »

27 Feb 2010, 12:09pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
by admin

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.

26 Feb 2010, 7:47pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
by admin
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Elk Foundation Calls Out Motives of Wolf Groups

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, February 26, 2010 [here]

MISSOULA, Mont. — In letters to legislators and newspapers across the West, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling out groups like Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk.

The RMEF action was prompted by each group’s recent op-ed articles in the media, as well as testimony before Utah lawmakers by Western Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director Kirk Robinson. All cited RMEF statistics to argue that restored wolf populations have somehow translated to growing elk herds in the northern Rockies.

“The theory that wolves haven’t had a significant adverse impact on some elk populations is not accurate. We’ve become all too familiar with these groups’ tactic of cherry-picking select pieces of information to support their own agenda, even when it is misleading,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We will not allow that claim to go unchallenged.”

RMEF population data, which come from state wildlife agencies, show that elk populations are expanding the most in areas of the northern Rockies where wolves are not present. However, where elk share habitat with wolves, such as the greater Yellowstone area, some elk populations are declining fast. In fact, since the mid-1990s introduction of gray wolves, the northern Yellowstone elk herd has dropped from about 17,000 to 7,100 animals—a 58 percent decline. Other localities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming also are documenting precipitous downward trends.

Additionally, some research shows that elk remaining in areas of concentrated wolf populations are suffering nutrition loss, lower body weights and decreasing birth rates.

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22 Feb 2010, 8:50pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
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Echinococcosis Fact Sheet

Michigan DNRE

Echinococcosis (Cystic Hydatid Disease) [here]


Echinococcosis (Cystic Hydatid Disease) is the result of an infection with the larval or adult form of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus (E. granulosus) and occurs in humans, wildlife species, and livestock. The adult form of the parasite is present in canids, the larval form in wild cervids, livestock, and humans. The disease is potentially dangerous for humans.

There are two biologically and ecologically distinct forms of E. granulosus in North America: a northern biotype found in the holarctic tundra and boreal forests that is an indigenous sylvatic or wild form that parasitizes free-ranging wolves, bison, and cervids (moose, elk, deer, and caribou); and a southern European biotype that is a pastoral or domestic form that is generally found in domestic ungulates and dogs, but in areas may involve wild canids and other carnivores, wild ungulates, macropodial marsupials, and rarely lagomorphs. The domestic form was spread as Europeans migrated throughout the world with their livestock.


Echinococcosis (Cystic Hydatid Disease) is an emerging disease found in many parts of the world. There are at least nine strains of E. granulosus that have adapted to different hosts and in most cases occupy a wide geographical area. There are pastoral and sylvatic forms of the disease affecting domestic and wild animals, respectively. The pastoral form has been reported in sheep and dogs from the Mediterranean region, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Russia, Central Asia, Mongolia, China, and Oceania. A horse and dog cycle has been reported from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and possibly the United States (Maryland). A cattle and dog cycle has been reported in Belgium, Germany, South Africa, and Switzerland; a swine and dog cycle has been reported in Poland; a reindeer and dog cycle has been reported in the subarctic regions of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Alaska; and a camel and dog cycle has been reported in Iran. In Australia the pastoral form has spilled over into wildlife and has been reported in kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, feral dogs, dingoes, and foxes. The sylvatic form has been reported in sheep, jackals, hyenas, warthogs, bushpigs, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, and lions in Africa and moose, elk, caribou, white-tailed deer, wolf, coyote, and feral dogs in North America and Eurasia.

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan a deer and coyote and a moose and wolf cycle has been observed.


In North America the life cycle of E. granulosus requires two hosts; a definitive carnivore (wolf, coyote, or dog) and an intermediate herbivore (moose, elk, deer, caribou). Humans are a dead-end intermediate host.

The adult tapeworm is very small, usually consisting of only three proglottids and measuring 3 to 6 mm in total length and residing in the small intestine. The eggs of the tapeworm are voided via gravid (mature) segments of the tapeworm in the fecal material of the definitive host. The eggs can survive at least a year in the environment as they are highly resistant to environmental stress. The eggs are vulnerable to high temperatures and desiccation however, dying in two hours under these conditions. Egg survival time is increased in damp and cool (the eggs can survive freezing) conditions (for example near watering holes). Once passed in the feces the eggs can be transported by the wind, water, and insects (flies). Egg shedding in the definitive host may be cyclical and each worm can produce by sexual means up to 1000 eggs every 10 days for up to 2 years. Each egg contains an embryo or onchosphere that serves as the infective stage. When the eggs are voided from the canid definitive host they contaminate vegetation and are accidentally ingested by the cervid intermediate host. Humans can be infected by ingestion of eggs acquired from contaminated food or water, from handling live canids or pelts from dead canids, or by handling canid fecal material.

In the cervid intermediate host, the eggs hatch and release tiny hooked embryos (oncospheres or larvae) once they reach the small intestine. The embryo burrows through the wall of the intestine and enters the bloodstream, eventually lodging in an organ (liver, lungs, kidneys, brain, or bone marrow) with the lungs being the most common site. In humans the egg hatches in the duodenum, the hooked embryo penetrates the intestinal wall and is carried via the bloodstream to various organs (liver, lungs, brain, skeletal muscle, and eye) with the liver being the most common site.

In the intermediate host, once the larvae reach the organ of choice they form a metacestode or hydatid cyst. This larval cyst is unilocular, subspherical in shape and fluid-filled, lined with an inner germinal membrane that produces brood capsules. On the inner wall of the brood capsules, an asexual budding process which enhances infectivity and compensates for low sexual egg production occurs that produces thousands of larval tapeworms or protoscolices. The cysts are thick walled, fluid-filled, and range in size from 2 to 30 cm in diameter. Development of these cysts is slow as the parasite is adapted to the long-lived intermediate hosts with protoscolices developing in 1 to 2 years.

The canid definitive host is infected by eating the intermediate host organ that contains the hydatid cyst which contains the protoscolices which has the ability to grow into an adult worm. One small cyst may contain hundreds of protoscolices and one large cyst may contain tens of thousands of protoscolices. Following ingestion, the protoscolices develop into adult tapeworms which eventually produce eggs to complete the life cycle.


Infections with the adult stage of E. granulosus are generally asymptomatic and non-pathogenic to the canid host. Infections with the larval stage of E. granulosus can be pathogenic depending on the localization, size of the cyst, and intensity of the infection in the cervid or human intermediate host. Most hydatid cysts reside in the lung parenchyma but they are also found in the liver parenchyma, just below the capsule. Displacement of lung or liver tissue and fibrosis of the area surrounding the cyst, as well as pressure placed on organs as a result of the hydatid cyst(s) increasing in size during the life of the intermediate host, results in pathological tissue changes. Occasionally larvae localize in kidney, spleen, or brain tissue where their effects are more severe and often fatal. In cervids the hydatid cysts usually develop in the lungs where they are often superficial and may protrude into the pleural cavity. In humans the hydatid cysts are large with numerous protoscolices with the cysts varying in size from 2 to 35 cm (1 to 14 inches) in diameter. Usually humans are a dead end in the life cycle of this parasite but Cystic Hydatid Disease in humans remains a serious problem in humans because the disease can cause extensive pathological damage.


Diagnosis of E. granulosus in the definitive host is accomplished by demonstrating the presence of adult cestodes (usually less than 6 mm long and possessing 2 to 6 proglottids) in the feces or in the upper one-third of the small intestine and identifying them using morphological characteristics (position of the genital pore, the uterus or the testes). Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) tests for detecting coproantigens in the feces of canids can be used to test for E. granulosus. Coproantigens can be detected shortly after infection and prior to the release of eggs by the adult tapeworms. Serological testing can also be performed to determine the presence of oncosphere, cyst fluid, and/or protoscolex antibodies in the serum. This test however does not distinguish between current and previous infections and cross reactivity between Echinococcus sp. and Taenia sp.

Diagnosis of E. granulosus in the intermediate host is accomplished through necropsy examination of the animal and identifying the larval cyst in the organs, usually the liver or the lungs. Formalin fixed tissue positive on periodic-acid-Schiff (PAS) staining demonstrates a positive acellular laminated layer with or without an internal cellular nucleated germinal membrane (a specific characteristic of the metacestodes of Echinococcus sp.).

Diagnosis of E. granulosus in humans is accomplished through an ELISA test which uses an antigen preparation (hydatid fluid) which detects antibodies. Serological testing can also be performed to determine the presence of oncosphere, cyst fluid, and/or protoscolex antibodies in the serum. The presence of hydatid cysts can be determined on autopsy examination.


Treatment in definitive hosts can be accomplished by giving canids Praziquantel or Arecoline. Arecoline is a parasympathetic agent and increases the tonus and the mobility of smooth muscle resulting in the purgation of E. granulosus adults from the intestinal tract and passing them from the body in the mucus that follows the formed fecal material. The drug works by paralyzing the tapeworm, resulting in its relaxing its hold on the intestinal wall. Dosage with Arecoline is 1 tablet/10 kg. body weight but pregnant bitches and animals with cardiac abnormalities should not be treated.

Treatment of cervid intermediate hosts is unnecessary as this parasite causes limited pathological damage and is not a significant mortality factor.

Treatment of human intermediate hosts consists of removal of the hydatid cyst(s). Removal of the cyst(s) is recommended for pastoral infections but cysts of sylvatic origin may allow for a more conservative treatment. If surgery is performed to remove the cyst(s), a course of drugs (the drug of choice is Albendazole) is prescribed to kill any remaining tapeworm larvae that might still be in the body. The disease may not always be cured by surgery.


Control of the parasite in wild canids is not feasible. Control in domestic canids can be accomplished by preventing the availability of hydatid-infected offal (do not feed dogs carcasses or allow them to scavenge) and a regular worming regiment with Praziquantel or Arecoline. A vaccine has not been developed for canids

Control of the parasite in livestock is possible through the use of a vaccine that has been developed utilizing a protein contained within the parasite’s egg. The vaccine has not been successful in cervids

Prevention of E. granulosus in humans can be accomplished primarily through education and proper hygiene. Eggs can be ingested either from handling a canid (either alive or dead) that may have eggs on its fur or by handling canid fecal material. Examination procedures of either animals or fecal material poses a risk of infection and potentially fatal disease to humans but this can be minimized by appropriate safety measures. Laboratory materials should be frozen at -80 degrees C for 48 hours. A disposable face mask, gloves, and coveralls should be worn whenever handling animals or fecal material. Contaminated material must be destroyed by heat as chemical disinfection is not reliable.

There are no precautions that need to be taken when handling tissue of the intermediate hosts as the lung cysts are not infective to humans.


Though common in both its definitive and intermediate hosts, the low virulence of E. granulosus in natural hosts reduces its potential as an important limiting factor on the population. E. granulosus is not a significant parasite in the definitive canid host. The cervid intermediate hosts are usually unaffected by an infection with E. granulosus but heavily infected animals may have reduced stamina and be predisposed to predation. Meat from infected cervids is suitable for human consumption but tissues or organs containing the cysts should not be eaten.

Cystic Hydatid Disease in humans can be a significant disease because of the mechanical and toxic effects of the cyst(s). The tremendous reproductive potential of the tapeworm as well as the sheer size of the hydatid cyst(s) can cause problems in the organs where they are lodged. If the cyst(s) bursts, the resultant toxic (anaphylactic) shock would probably be fatal. In Alaska and Canada most infections are benign, indicating humans are probably a less suitable host for the sylvatic form of E. granulosus than for the pastoral form.

22 Feb 2010, 4:04pm
Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin
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Maine Residents Are Told To Learn To Live With Coyotes

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, February 22, 2010 [here]

As citizens gathered in Otisfield, Maine, a small, quiet Western Maine community, authorities handled concerns from the town’s residents about as well as one might expect these days. They were told coyotes don’t bother people, that rabbit populations were low and that it was mating season. Combine that with the ever present blame that it’s the people’s fault for… for… for… well, living, and what did the people learn?

Here’s some short quips on what people were told:

“they can learn to coexist with the varmints.”

“Eradication of coyotes in Maine is impossible”

“keep the animal wild and to support the protection of coyotes”

“not feed coyotes”

“coyotes going after large animals was very unusual”

“there is little game wardens can do”

“I don’t believe there’s anything else we can do. It’s up to you folk,”

“safe to go out into the woods, despite the coyote population.”

“You don’t have to worry about coyotes chasing you out of the woods for a meal. It’s just not going to happen.”

Oh, my! Residents deserve to be told something better than that. The coyotes that are prevalent in Maine are larger than what most people picture in their minds when they think of coyotes. The cartoon Roadrunner comes to mind. The reason for that is that it has been readily established that Maine coyotes have wolf genes in them. The wolf gene doesn’t just add size to the animal. It creates in them a different killing instinct and thus Maine’s coyotes are readily taking on larger animals, i.e. deer, horses and cows.

Telling people to “keep the animal wild” is really kind of a silly notion that by not feeding, having pets outside, growing livestock, putting up bird feeders and doing what most Mainers do in the course of their lives will somehow keep a coyote “wild”. I’m not even sure what that means. A coyote is driven by instinct and the forces of nature. If a coyote gets hungry it goes and searches for food. Not unlike the couch potato watching a football game, when he heads to the kitchen looking for food, if he can’t find it, he may have to jump in his car and head for the nearest convenience store.

Talk about passing the buck! “There is little game wardens can do”? Seriously? Seems as though I was reading recently a story of how a couple wardens in far Northern Maine were shooting about every coyote they saw and were told to stop by their superiors. This is an anecdotal reference as I cannot confirm the story but stating there is nothing wardens can do is a cop out. Did someone not get the message to the Maine Warden Service that Maine has a serious deer management problem and coyotes are part of that problem?

As hunters and trappers began complaining to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife about coyotes, the response was quite similar. They were told if they didn’t like the coyotes go kill them. As didn’t happen in this meeting in Otisfield, it would have been nice had a spokesperson for MDIFW or the Maine Warden Service simply stated that they were fully aware of the problem and was working on remedies BUT in the meantime we would like your help. That would go a long ways instead of hiding behind half truths.

It is time to change up the repeated mantra that it is rare that coyotes attack large animals. It is not rare and residents should be told that it is increasing. Poorly managed wildlife creates situations where too many predators can destroy an ecosystem in short order. If an area becomes overrun with coyotes and they’ve cleaned up the turkeys, grouse, rabbits, mice, moles, birds, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, etc., it’s time they headed for the nearest convenience store, which might just be your back yard. Telling people it is rare is misinforming and does nothing to educate the people so they will know what needs to be done to protect themselves and their property.

And as always we hear the same claim that it is completely safe to go into the woods. I wonder if Taylor Mitchell’s family would agree with, “You don’t have to worry about coyotes chasing you out of the woods for a meal. It’s just not going to happen.” Taylor Mitchell was a very young girl and promising musician who was attacked and killed by coyotes while hiking in Nova Scotia this past fall. … [more]

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