Sunday, February 28, 2016

A 60°F February Day Makes For Lazy Wolf Howls

How do wolves feel on a 60°F day in February? Pretty lazy. But apparently they're still unable to resist singing a wild melody.  



 Alawa (the lazy howler) and Nikai (atop the rock) are a captive-born Canadian/Rocky Mountain gray wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), a 501c3 non-profit organization, in South Salem, NY. They are two of the four 'ambassador wolves' at the WCC that help teach the public about wolves and their vital role in the environment.

Tune in the WCC's Webcams to watch Zephyr, Nikai, Alawa, Atka or the WCC's critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves in live time. If you see something cool, let us know!

Friday, February 26, 2016

House Amendment to Delist Wolves Passes

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Today the cause of wolf conservation was dealt a serious blow when the amendment to delist wolves in WY and the Great Lake states was approved* on the U.S. House floor.

The passing of this amendment to H.R. 2406 (“Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015”) also paves the way for U.S. Fish and Wildlife to issue their national wolf delisting rule -- meaning all wolves in the lower 48 (except Mexican wolves and Red wolves) can lose protection at a time when they have claimed less than 10% of their historic range.

 Big thanks to Representative Peter DeFazio for his support for wolves and the Endangered Species Act while speaking out against the amendment on the House floor.

 

Information will be shared as it becomes available.

*Amendment was approved by voice but U.S. Rep Don Beyer requested a vote. Thus, the vote is officially postponed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

DNA Tests Confirm Animal Killed in Utah was Federally Protected Wolf

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Utah authorities announced today that DNA tests confirm that the animal killed in a coyote snare last year was a federally protected gray wolf. And no charges will be filed...

Read More.

Last November the private trapper discovered the 89-pound female wolf dead in a neck snare he set. In 2014 a different coyote hunter killed another gray wolf, a young female affectionately nicknamed "Echo" in a worldwide naming contest.

Federal prosecutors wont charge either hunter because the coyote - an animal hunters may kill without a license or bag limit, and regardless of the season in Utah - was the intended target in both cases.

You see, the U.S. Justice Department's McKittrick policy prohibits prosecuting individuals who kill endangered wildlife unless it can be PROVED that they knew they were targeting a protected animal. The toxic policy provides a loophole that has prevented criminal prosecution of dozens of individuals who killed grizzly bears, highly endangered California condors as well as dozens of critically endangered Mexican wolves.

So Utah’s war on coyotes has claimed the lives of two federally protected gray wolves within the past two years.

It's the 21st century. Is it time to end the indiscriminate killing of coyotes and other predators? What say you?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Take Action to Protect Wolves on National Refuges

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently proposed a new rule sharply restricting certain controversial wolf and other predator control measures on 77 million acres of federal wildlife refuges in Alaska - measures promoted by Alaska state wildlife managers like:
  • Killing wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the animals’ denning season.
  • Taking black bears with artificial light at den sites.
  • Taking brown or black bears attracted to bait.
  • Targeting bears with snares, traps, etc.
  • Using dogs in black bear hunts. State law currently prohibits using dogs to hunt big game, with an exception for black bears. The park service will no longer honor this exception on national preserves.
  • Shooting swimming caribou, a practice primarily used in the Noatak National Preserve in Northwest Alaska.
Federal public hearings are now underway across Alaska to gather public input prior to adopting the final rule. The draft rule, published in the Federal Register, aligns with a similar National Park Service rule that was finalized in October and would formally establish a goal of “biodiversity as the guiding principle of federal management of wildlife refuges.

That stands in contrast to the goal of the Alaska Board of Game, which is to ensure maximum sustained populations for hunting. Increasingly over the last decade, the Game Board and the federal agencies have clashed over managing predators, largely over the idea that the state manages for "abundance" of moose and caribou. Under state law, the Board of Game focuses on sustaining populations of moose, caribou and deer for hunting and consumption.

The Wolf Conservation Center commends the USFWS for following the law, for managing the refuges as Congress intended, and for excluding extreme measures that are in direct conflict with preserving biological integrity, natural diversity and environmental health. To do anything less would violate public trust in the agency responsible for managing the national wildlife refuges -- "special places that belong to all of us."

The USFWS is accepting until March 8th. Comments can be submitted online through the Federal Register [https://www.federalregister.gov/ using docket number FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0005]

Click on “Comment Now

Monday, February 15, 2016

Does Science Support Oregon's Wolf Delisting?

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When Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife made the controversial decision to delist Oregon’s few dozen wolves, they ignored overwhelming public input, independent scientists, and they ignored the law.

Dr. Adrian Treves, director of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, believes Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission's decision to delist wolves is a "flawed decision, and the state Legislature could make it worse." Dr. Treves speaks out in an op-ed that defends of the broad public interest in support of wolves and to clarify what the best available science says.

You can read it here.

Our friends from Oregon Wild have made it easy to take action to urge Oregon's Governor to oppose legislation that harms wolves, undermines public process, and sets a dangerous precedent for all wildlife.

Act today.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Is the Ecological Role of Canids as Important as Evolutionary History?

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Today on International ‪Darwin Day‬, we celebrate the amazing evolution stories that continue to unfold right underneath our noses!

But we also ask: Is the ecological role of species (canids in particular) as important as their evolutionary history?

Arguments about wolf management and conservation can quickly descend into trying to reconstruct the past. What wolf really belongs in the East? Were gray wolves there? Are Canadian gray wolves the same as Rocky Mountain wolves? Where do other wild canids with hybrid origin fit in?

Historical records don’t help. European explorers were not taxonomists, let alone geneticists. And so obsessing over what canine belongs where can seem a futile quest.

Geneticist Linda Rutledge proposes another way to approach canid conservation: focus on the ecosystem not the species. “Let’s quit trying to make wolves fit into our neat little taxonomic boxes. Let’s focus instead on how to protect and restore their critical role as top predators.”

Since hybridization, in its many forms, is an important part of adaptation, evolution and speciation, should endangered species legislation "evolve" to reflect the potential conservation value of hybrids?

More.

(Photo © 2016 Steve Dunsford)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wolf Conservation Center Founder Hélène Grimaud and Water

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Renowned pianist and Wolf Conservation Center founder Hélène Grimaud talks to NPR's Leonard Lopate about how music and the environment have inspired her latest album, “Water.”

Listen.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aerial Gunning of Wolves Underway in Idaho

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Aerial gunning of wild wolves is underway in Idaho again. And paid by taxpayers like you and me. 

USDA's Wildlife Services is taking to the skies to kill wolves in the remote and rugged areas of the Clearwater National Forest. The state wants to kill wolves to address elk population decline in the Lolo Elk Management Zone. History tells us, however, that the Lolo elk population dropped to historically low levels before wolves were restored to the region. So in an effort to boost elk numbers for hunters, Idaho is scapegoating wolves and ignoring the many factors that affect elk population including human activities, weather, disease, and wildfire.

More.

Do you think this aerial gunning operation is an appropriate use of taxpayer resources?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday Gets Thrown to The Wolves


Thursday, February 4, 2016

At Least Two Wolves Remain on Isle Royale

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Researchers working on the Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale project found tracks of two wolves frozen in the slush of Lake Eva. They had spent time during a two-day thaw nosing around an active beaver pond.

For over 50 years the researchers working on the Wolf-Moose Project have been observing and learning about the predator and prey dynamics between wolves and moose on Isle Royale National Park. Sadly, wolves have shown a 90% decline since 2009. For decades the wolf population kept itself healthy by occasional immigrants from the mainland. But with warming temperatures the frequency of ice bridge formation has dropped dramatically.

As of last fall only 3 wolves remained.

Experts say those animals are inbred and weak and without intervention, the island's native population wolf may go extinct. So while it is reassuring that at least 2 wolves are still roaming the island, scientists leading the project insist that importing wolves from the mainland is the population's only chance of recovery.

Learn more about the Wolf-Moose Project of Isle Royale at http://www.isleroyalewolf.org/

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Amendment Aims to Strip ESA Protection for Endangered Mexican Wolves



U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to the Senate Energy Bill (S. 2012) which, if passed and signed into law, would remove federal protections for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf - a species already on the brink of extinction.

Sen. Flake's amendment would direct U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine whether there are at least 100 wild wolves remaining in the recovery area, and if so, Mexican gray wolves will lose endangered species act protections permanently.

Please urge your senators to oppose any legislation that takes aim at critically endangered wildlife!

This is urgent, and we appreciate your consideration. Please take action today.

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of gray wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. In 2015 there was a single wild population comprising only 110 individuals and USFWS will announce results of the current population survey any day now.

As a participant in the federal Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the Mexican gray wolf, the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) plays a critical role in preserving and protecting the imperiled species through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the largest holding facilities for the rare species and four wolves from the Center have been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume their rightful place on the wild landscape.

Happy Groundhog Day!

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If a wolf eats the groundhog, do we get an early spring?