9 Aug 2009, 8:25pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Montana FWP To Intervene In Federal Wolf Delisting Lawsuit

Press Release, MFWP, August 04, 2009 [here]

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has intervened in a federal lawsuit aimed at turning back a recent decision to remove gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from the federal list of endangered species.

FWP will also oppose any preliminary injunction requests that seek to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies.

“Montana’s wolf population is growing and is well protected by Montana law and well-managed under the state’s federally approved wolf conservation and management plan,” said Joe Maurier, director FWP in Helena. “Montanans have worked hard for more than a decade to recover wolves and FWP will work equally hard to ensure that wolves in Montana are managed under a highly regarded and science-based state plan.”

The case is before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula. Under a similar lawsuit filed in 2008, Molloy reinstated federal protection for the wolf.

The recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs-successfully reproducing wolf packs-and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years. This goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has increased every year since. Today, more than 1,600 wolves inhabit the Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Area-which comprises Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Utah. That growing population is connected to a continuous population to the north in Canada and Alaska. At least 500 wolves now inhabit Montana.

New Revelations About Reintroduced Wolves

By George Dovel, The Outdoorsman, Bulletin 34, April-June 2009

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

In the early 1980s the 197-page unpublished research report, “Wolves of Central Idaho,” surfaced. In it, co-authors Timm Kaminski and Jerome Hansen estimated that elk and deer populations in six of the nine national forests in the proposed Central Idaho Wolf Recovery Area could support a total of 219 wolves without decreasing existing deer and elk populations in those forests.

They based this on an estimated 16.6 deer or elk killed by each wolf annually, and on estimated increases in elk and/or deer populations from 1981-1985 in the two-thirds of forests where they had increased.

But even if their estimated prey numbers and calculations were accurate, their report said only 17 wolves could be maintained in the Salmon National Forest, five in the Challis NF, and none in the Panhandle, Sawtooth and Bitterroot Forests. Yet the obvious question of what to do when the number of wolves in any National Forest or game management unit exceeded the ability of the prey base to support them was not adequately addressed.

Relocating “Problem” Wolves in Idaho Wilderness

Although there were increased reports of sightings of single wolves or pairs in Idaho during the late 1970s and early 80s and credible reports of at least two wolf packs with pups, no confirmed wolf depredation on livestock had been recorded for nearly half a century. Realizing that livestock killing would occur as wolf numbers increased, Kaminski and Hansen recommended relocating livestock-killing wolves into the central Idaho wilderness areas.

That was written more than 25 years ago …

[Tweny-five years later] Tribal, FWS and State biologists [have] all ignored wolf expert David Mech’s warning that relocating wolves that killed livestock did not stop their killing livestock. Transplanting even more wolves into areas like the Selway and Lolo Zones, with inadequate elk calf survival to support any wolves, guaranteed an accelerated decline in the elk population and the exploitation of alternate prey.

At a Predator-Prey Symposium in Boise, Idaho on Jan. 8, 1999, the featured speaker – North America’s top wild ungulate authority Dr. Valerius Geist – spent two hours explaining to federal, state and university wildlife biologists why wolf populations must be carefully controlled to maintain a healthy population of their prey species. Idaho biologists and members of the Idaho Wolf Oversight Committee appeared to listen carefully – but later invented excuses not to follow his expert advice. …

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12 Jul 2009, 12:55am
Endangered Specious Wolves
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USFWS Reinstates Great Lake Wolves As Endangered

On June 29 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes. In response to a legal challenge from the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals and Their Environment, Born Free USA, and Help Our Wolves Live, the USFWS withdrew the April 2, 2009 final rule that delisted the Western Great Lakes population of gray wolves.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NEWS RELEASE, June 29, 2009 [here]

Statement on Status of Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes

Service Will Provide Additional Opportunity for Public Comment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the Service’s 2009 rule removing Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes. Under the terms of the agreement, which must still be approved by the court, the Service will provide an additional opportunity for public comment on the rule to ensure compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area have exceeded recovery goals and continue to thrive under state management. However, the Service agrees with plaintiffs that additional public review and comment was required under federal law prior to making that final decision.

Upon acceptance of this agreement by the court, and while the Service gathers additional public comment, gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area will again be protected under the Endangered Species Act. All restrictions and requirements in place under the Act prior to the delisting will be reinstated. In Minnesota, gray wolves will be considered threatened; elsewhere in the region, gray wolves will be designated as endangered. The Service will continue to work with states and tribes to address wolf management issues while Western Great Lakes gray wolves remain under the protection of the Act. …

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8 Jul 2009, 8:16pm
Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Montana Institutes Wolf Hunting Season

First wolf licenses go on sale Aug. 17; $19 for Montanans

From the Clark Fork Chronicle, July 08 2009 [here]

Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission set the state’s first regulated wolf hunting season quota at 75 wolves today, leading officials to say the historic decision represents a victory for wildlife conservation in Montana and for the often maligned federal Endangered Species Act.

“Today, we can celebrate the fact that Montana manages elk, deer, bears, mountain lions, ducks, bighorn sheep, and wolves in balance with their habitats, other species, and in balance with the people who live here,” said FWP Director Joe Maurier. “Montanans have worked hard to recover the Rocky Mountain wolf and to integrate wolves into Montana’s wildlife management programs. That’s always been the promise of the Endangered Species Act and we’re pleased so see it fulfilled here in Montana.”

Commissioners approved a harvest quota of 75 wolves across three wolf management units. For northwestern Montana, the commission approved a quota of 41, with a subquota of two in the North Fork of the Flathead River area; a quota of 22 was approved for western Montana; and a quota of 12 in southwestern Montana.

“Montana’s approach is by definition open, balanced, scientific and cautious,” Maurier said. “The quota of 75 wolves is conservative and respectful because it limits the total number of wolves that can be taken by hunters and it ensures that FWP can carefully monitor the population before, during, and after the hunting season to examine how the population responds.”

Wolf hunting-season dates correspond to Montana’s early back-country big game hunting season, which runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 29; and the big game rifle season set for Oct. 25 through Nov. 29. Hunting licenses will cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. License sales are set to begin Aug 17.

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30 Jun 2009, 10:03am
Wolves
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Wolves, Wyoming, and Where We Go From Here

By Harriet M. Hageman and Kara Brighton, Hageman and Brighton, P.C.

On April 2, 2009, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued yet another “Final Rule” in the ongoing wolf “reintroduction” disaster. The latest FWS decision was issued in an obvious attempt to appease the environmentalists’ hand-picked Montana federal district court judge who attempted to erect a major roadblock to delisting by concluding that there was insufficient “genetic exchange” between wolf “subpopulations,” that Wyoming had “failed to commit” to managing for at least 15 breeding pairs, that there were alleged problems with the size of Wyoming’s trophy game area, and criticism of Wyoming’s steadfast decision to designate wolves as predators in part of the State (i.e., those areas of Wyoming that the FWS identified as “unsuitable” for wolf habitat). The FWS’s latest effort to foist the responsibility and expense of managing the non-native Canadian gray wolves onto the States is to “delist” such animals in Idaho and Montana, as well as parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah, and to retain them as a “non-essential experimental” population in Wyoming.

The only real consistency in the FWS’s actions related to the Canadian gray wolf population is its consistency in making a bad situation worse at every turn. The latest decision is no exception, and only confirms that the federal government’s foray into wildlife management will, in the long run, result in the annihilation of many of our elk and moose herds, will end hunting as we know it, will financially ruin many of our outfitters and guides, and will force livestock producers out of business.

While those in the “environmental” community may cheer the last three side effects mentioned above, the long-term legacy of the “wolf introduction experiment” will be anything but positive, and will include the subdivision of some of the most beautiful open spaces left in the Western United States, and the loss of wildlife corridors and habitat. We will be able to thank the federal government, organizations such as “Defenders of Wildlife” (aka “Defenders of Predators,” and “Predators R Us”), and the wolves for spawning 35 to 100-acre “ranchettes,” for increasing the fire load and danger (from a lack of grazing) in our already high-risk national forests and other federal lands, and for destroying the livelihoods of the very people who have actually dedicated themselves, their careers and their businesses to increasing, protecting, and supporting our wildlife populations.

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18 Jun 2009, 11:09am
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies Wolves
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Elk Population Plunges in Montana

For a long time wildlife experts outside the Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks have been pointing out the effects of uncontrolled wolf predation on Northern Rocky Mountain elk herds.

This week the MFWP reached the same conclusion. Department biologists tracking elk numbers have noticed an alarming decline in the cow-calf ratio, a sign of imminent population crash.

As a result, the MFWP is reducing hunting permits, although over-hunting by humans is not the problem. The exploding wolf population is — wolves have been mass slaughtering elk at an unsustainable rate.

There is no plan to limit wolf numbers. The USFWS has twice attempted to delist wolves, and been rebuffed both times by federal judges pretending to be wolf biologists. A third attempt to delist wolves will reach litigation status this month. Despite a consensus among government, university, and private wolf experts that the Canadian gray wolf is fully “recovered” and not in any danger of extinction (it never was), the courts have stymied realistic wildlife management at every turn.

From the Missoulian Online:

FWP may lower number of elk permits in Bitterroot, Lower Clark Fork basin

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian, June 17, 2009 [here]

Elk numbers in some parts of western Montana are so low, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials may dial back the number of hunting permits they release this summer.

“Something of this magnitude does not happen every year,” said Mike Thompson, wildlife manager for the FWP Region 2 office in Missoula. “If you’d asked me about this two months ago, I’ve have said ‘no problem.’ But we’ve never seen such a low proportion of calves to cows across such a broad landscape as we did this year in the Bitterroot.”

In February (which was more than two months ago) we noted the crashing elk population in Montana [here]. Glad to see MFWP is catching the clue, finally.

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14 Jun 2009, 4:15pm
Endangered Specious Homo sapiens Wolves
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Killer Wolf Tagged and Released

Wolves have been mass slaughtering lambs in NE Oregon. In April 23 lambs were wolf-killed in Keating Valley near Baker City [here]. Since then more sheep and calves have been killed by wolves.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife tracked and captured one of the killer wolves. Then they released it so it could kill some more.

NEWS RELEASE, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, May 4, 2009 [here]

LA GRANDE, Ore. – A joint effort by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife specialists resulted in the capture, radio-collaring, and release of a male wolf on Sunday morning, May 3, at approximately 7 a.m. PT. The event marks the first radio-collaring of a wolf in Oregon.

The wolf captured and radio-collared was an 87-pound male estimated to be about 2 years old. The track size and a second, smaller wolf seen at the capture site indicate that the wolf is one of two involved in several livestock depredations in the Keating Valley area of Baker County over the past few weeks.

The male wolf was trapped about 2.5 miles from the ranch house where this pair of wolves attacked a calf on April 17. Tissue samples were taken from the wolf for genetic analysis. …

Here is smiling ODFW wolf coordinator Russ Morgan fondling the killer wolf just prior to releasing it 2.5 miles away from the most recent mass slaughter site.

The killer wolf happily on its way to kill more sheep.

Photos courtesy your bloodthirsty government.

14 Jun 2009, 3:50pm
Wolves
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Wolf lawsuits grow

By JEFF GEARINO, Casper Star Tribune, April 9,2009 [here]

GREEN RIVER — The wolf lawsuits keep piling up.

A loose coalition of agriculture, conservation, sportsman, outfitter and other interests are the latest groups to announce their intent to file a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s final rule for removing wolves from the endangered species list.

The “Wolf Coalition” joins a slew of organizations — including the state of Wyoming, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition — that have filed 60-day notices of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The groups are legally challenging the agency’s decision last week to leave the gray wolf in Wyoming on the endangered species list, but to delist wolves in neighboring Montana and Idaho.

Coalition attorney Harriet Hageman of Cheyenne said Thursday the group’s notice of intent alleges the USFWS violated the terms of the federal Endangered Species Act when it decided to proceed with wolf delisting.

The violations include the agency’s failure to follow and implement the federal wolf recovery plan that formed the basis for the original reintroduction of the non-native gray wolf into the greater Yellowstone area.

Hageman said the coalition is also challenging the agency’s decision to reject Wyoming’s wolf management plan, which classifies wolves as a trophy game animal in the greater Yellowstone area and as a predator in the rest of the state.

She said gray wolf populations in the region have not only met, but exceeded the recovery criteria set in the recovery plan and other federal guideline documents.

“The deal from the beginning was that the gray wolf would be introduced into and managed in the Yellowstone area,” Hageman said in a media release.

“The USFWS is now trying to force Wyoming to adopt a management plan that ensures that the wolves move throughout the state,” she said. “That is directly contrary to everything that the (agency) told us when they brought the wolves into Yellowstone.”

The USFWS has previously defined a viable recovered wolf population as including 15 breeding pairs and at least 150 wolves per state.

However, the federal rules published last week would specify that Wyoming should maintain at least seven breeding pairs and 70 wolves outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Hageman said that in 2007 federal biologists estimated there were a minimum of 1,531 wolves within the Northern Rockies, including 127 breeding pairs.

She said by the end of 2007, there were also at least 171 wolves in 11 packs living inside Yellowstone National Park and 188 wolves in 25 packs living outside the park in Wyoming.

“Despite having exceeded their own goals by more than double, the USFWS refuses to allow Wyoming to manage the exploding gray wolf population,” Hageman said.

The coalition includes the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Wyoming, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, and the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association among others.

Note: the Notice of Intent to Sue is [here, 1.85 KB]

14 Jun 2009, 3:17pm
Wolves
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Wolves Endanger Livestock

Baker County Record Courier Editorial, April 29, 2009 [here]

Most local ranchers have known for several years that small numbers of gray wolves have been making their rounds through Baker County. There have been numerous sightings as well as tracks in several areas, but it took the killing of 23 lambs during two nights this month to finally confirm it. In the beginning, state and federal officials were reluctant to call the predator that killed Jacobs’ sheep anything other than a “large canine-like animal,” but now that the two wolves were caught on camera there is no denying it. There are wolves in eastern Oregon, and here in Baker County.

The more recent loss of a calf this week on the Moore ranch in Keating, may also be attributed to a wolf.

You can hardly blame the wolf; it has to kill to survive. And wolves have just as much right as any other wild animal to co-exist with humans and livestock. But the sad truth is, once they start feasting on domestic livestock, that is no longer a possibility if the livestock industry is to survive.

It has been documented that once wolves get a taste of domestic livestock they will continue to include them in their diet and others of a pack that did not have a taste for sheep and cattle before will follow suit. After all, chasing down a fenced-in lamb or calf is much easier than bringing down a predator savvy deer with miles to run in the wild. To an opportunistic wolf, it’s the difference between an all-you-can-eat buffet and hunting for food.

Unlike other predators, wolves don’t just kill what they need to survive, they kill for the sake of killing as evidenced by the dead, but intact, lambs they left strewn on the Jacob’s Ranch.

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11 Jun 2009, 2:30pm
Wolves
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2008 Idaho Wolf Map

The just released map of wolves in Idaho (2008) is available for downloading [here, 1.56 MB]. The full title:

2008 Wolf Activity Map: Documented, Suspected and Reported 2008 Estimated Locations

Prepared by Idaho Fish and Wildlife Information System in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the National Park Service

Thanks and a tip of the fur cap to Steve Alder, Chairman of Idaho For Wildlife [here and sidebar].

2 Jun 2009, 10:58pm
Wolves
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Lawsuits over wolf hunting filed in Mont., Wyo

By MATTHEW BROWN and BEN NEARY, Associated Press Writers, June 2, 2009 [here]

A pair of federal judges will decide which states in the Northern Rockies have enough gray wolves to allow public hunting, as the bitter debate over the region’s wolves heads to courts in Wyoming and Montana.

Environmentalists filed a lawsuit in Missoula on Tuesday seeking to restore protections for more than 1,300 wolves in Montana and Idaho. The Obama administration in April upheld a Bush-era decision to take wolves off the endangered species list in those two states.

The lawsuit could block regulated wolf hunts slated to begin this fall and scuttle a plan to remove all the predators from part of north central Idaho.

Gray wolves remain on the endangered species list in Wyoming, but in another lawsuit, Wyoming attorney General Bruce Salzburg on Tuesday asked a federal judge in Cheyenne to clear the way for hunts in his state. Salzburg rejected claims by federal officials that local laws were too weak to protect Wyoming’s 300 wolves.

Gray wolves were listed as endangered in 1974, after they had been wiped out across the lower 48 states in the early 20th century by hunting and government-sponsored poisoning. Following an intensive reintroduction program, there are now an estimated 1,645 wolves in the Northern Rockies, not including this year’s pups.

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1 Jun 2009, 11:57am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Yellowstone Staff Remove Human-Habituated Gray Wolf

NPS News Release, May 19, 2009 [here]

A wolf that had become habituated to people and exhibited behaviors consistent with being conditioned to human food was euthanized this morning by Yellowstone National Park staff along Fountain Flat Drive.

The yearling male wolf from the Gibbon Meadow Pack was first sighted in the vicinity of Midway Geyser Basin in March 2009. In recent weeks, the wolf had been frequently observed in Biscuit Basin and the Old Faithful developed areas in close proximity to park visitors. There have been several incidents of unnatural behavior, including chasing bicyclists on at least three occasions, and one report involving a motorcyclist. The park has also received reports of the wolf approaching people, as well as cars, which can best be described as panhandling-behavior consistent with a food conditioned animal. The wolf’s repeat offenses clearly demonstrate a habituation to humans and human food, escalating the concern for human safety.

Yellowstone staff made attempts at hazing the wolf from the area, only to have the wolf return and repeat this behavior. Hazing techniques are meant to negatively condition an animal and may include cracker shells, bean bag rounds or rubber bullets; all non-injurious deterrents.

The decision to remove the wolf from Yellowstone was made in consultation with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. This is the first time such a management action has occurred since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in 1995-1996. Yellowstone National Park removed this wolf from the population in accordance with the park’s habituated wolf management plan. …

According to Doug Smith, Wolf Project Leader, “This wolf was clearly not behaving naturally, reducing our management options. …

The removal of this wolf is not considered to have a detrimental impact to the overall health and population of wild, free roaming wolves in Yellowstone. The wolf population in Yellowstone National Park is currently estimated at 124 animals in 12 packs. Pups that were born this year have not been counted and are not part of this estimate.

1 Jun 2009, 11:49am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Reported in Downtown Lewiston, ID

This email was received Friday, May 29th.

I wanted to tell you, I was at [a youth league] baseball game Tuesdy night, and at about 7:30 PM just as the game was finishing up, a big dog came out of the tall weeds and brush at the east end of the park (Clearwater Baseball Park) in north Lewiston.

It moved like a coyote, but was too big. So I walked down there to check it out. I got within about 70 yards of it. It was sniffing around and being quite jumpy, but it was definitely a wolf! If I did not see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it, but there is no doubt in my mind it was a wolf.

I called Idaho Fish and Game, and they sent someone out there the next day but could not find any evidence of the wolf. I have heard, though, that someone has a trail cam photo of a wolf in the canyon on Gun Club Road.

Thought you would be interested.

20 May 2009, 12:16pm
Wolves
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Broad-Based Wolf Coalition Serves Notice of Intent to File Civil Suit

PRESS RELEASE, April 15, 2009

On April 3, 2009, a coalition of associations and entities which are directly affected from the impact of introduction of non-native Canadian gray wolves into Wyoming filed a formal 60 day notice of intent to sue the federal government over its refusal to delist wolves in the state. The coalition, currently comprised of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Wyoming Association of County Predatory Animal Boards, Niobrara County Predatory Animal Board, Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association, Cody Country Outfitters and Guides Association, and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife Wyoming, (hereafter collectively referred to as the “Wolf Coalition”), served their notice of intent to commence a civil lawsuit against the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, USFWS Acting Director Rowan Gould and Stephen Guertin, USFWS Acting Regional Director for the Mountain Region.

The Wolf Coalition intends to seek injunctive relief for violation of the Endangered Species Act and its related regulations and policies. The Wolf Coalition’s claims arise from the FWS’s continued rejection of the Wyoming Wolf Management Plan, its failure to delist the gray wolf population in Wyoming, and from its decision to proceed with delisting in Montana, Idaho and parts of Oregon and Washington.

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20 May 2009, 12:07pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wolves
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Wolf Slaughter Video

The Killing Sport by Renee Walters is [here]

 
  
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