Friday, August 31, 2018

Washington State Prepares to Kill Injured Wolf To Protect Cows

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A Thurston County Superior Court judge today issued an order permitting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to initiate lethal action to kill the adult male wolf from the Togo pack. The kill order was originally issued following livestock depredations in Togo territory, including on U.S. Forest Service land, over the course of 10 months.

Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands filed a lawsuit when the kill order was first issued on August 20, citing faulty protocol and a lack of environmental analysis, but a judge stated the standards to halt the kill order weren't met.

WDFW killed state endangered wolves in 2016 and 2017 in order to "change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock," yet livestock attacks continue.

What does this mean for the Togo pack? As of 5 pm (PST) today, the kill order is active. The Togo male is already injured, having been shot by a rancher claiming self-defense, yet he will be tracked by WDFW officials until he is killed.

Although Washington stands apart from other states by requiring the utilization of nonlethal practices, such as employing range riders to separate wolves from cattle, the debate surrounding WDFW's wolf management remains contentious. WDFW killed state endangered wolves in 2016 and 2017 in order to "change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock," yet livestock attacks continue.

Is it time for WDFW to listen to science and the desires of the American public and stop killing wolves, on America's public lands no less, in order to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Judge Blocks Grizzly Trophy Hunt


U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen just blocked the opening of the first grizzly bear trophy hunt in the Rockies in more than 40 years. The hunts were poised to be the biggest in the lower 48 states since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region less than a year ago.

Earlier this year, 73 scientists wrote a letter in opposition to the hunting season, Wyoming approved its first hunt of grizzly bears in over four decades. The hunt will be the biggest in the lower 48 states since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region less than a year ago.

Many from the scientific community urged Wyoming Governor Matt Mead to halt the proposed grizzly bear hunt and convene a panel of experts to review data on the area’s grizzly bear populations. The letter, sent on April 25th, cites several concerns regarding Wyoming’s upcoming grizzly bear hunt; changing food sources and incidental grizzly mortalities, affecting the estimated population size, were among the listed concerns.

Hunts had been scheduled to start Saturday in Wyoming and Idaho targeting a total of 23 bears (22 in Wyoming and just a single bear in Idaho).

Earthjustice is leading the lawsuit representing the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Stay tuned for updates.

More via the Washington Post.

New Study Supports Ecological Importance of Wolves

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According to a new study published today, the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park is tied to the recovery of aspen trees in areas around the park.

This is the first large-scale study to show that aspen is recovering in areas around the park, as well as inside the park boundary, said Luke Painter, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study.


The study answers the question of whether the return of wolves to Yellowstone could have a cascading effect on ecosystems outside the park where there is increased human activity such as hunting, livestock grazing, and predator control. There has also been skepticism surrounding the extent and significance of aspen recovery, he said.

Wolves didn't cause aspen recovery all by themselves, but it is safe to say it would not have happened without them.

More via PHYS.ORG

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Oppose Rider Taking Aim at Wolves




Damaging anti-wildlife amendments (riders) that undermine Endangered Species Act (ESA) are still in play for the House FY 2019 Interior/EPA appropriations bill - H.R. 6147.

One provision goes as far as to remove protection for gray wolves nationwide.

Section 117 legislatively removes federal protections for all gray wolves in the lower 48 states except the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf.

While the return of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes has been an incredible success story, this iconic American species still only occupies a small portion of its former range and wolves have only just started to re-enter areas like northern California, where there are large swaths of suitable habitat. By stripping federal protections from wolves nationwide, wolves in historically occupied areas like the southern Rockies and Northeast may never be able to establish viable populations despite suitable habitat and availability of prey. A national delisting for wolves would reverse the incredible progress that the ESA has achieved for this species over the past few decades and once again put the gray wolf at risk of extirpation.

Take Action

The Senate moved its FY2019 Interior-Environment bill (S. 3073) without the addition of anti-environment budget riders poised to threaten wildlife, the ESA, and wolves.

Until we find out how negotiations between House and Senate appropriators play out, please urge the leading members of the U.S. House and Senate to reject all policy riders in appropriations bills that would undermine the ESA, including H.R. 6147's anti-wolf provision in section 117.

Take Action Here

This action is open to U.S. residents only.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Federal Plan Poised to Allow Landowners to Kill Endangered Red Wolves - Last Day to Take Action


This red wolf pup was born into a world that currently has only one place for them in the wild.

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seeks to take that place away.

On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it's proposal that could result with the extinction of the last wild red wolves. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

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Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

Take Action Today

Join the thousands of people speaking up for endangered red wolves before the midnight tonight ET. You can find the link to submit comments and talking points here.

No species should face extinction at the hands of humanity, much less twice.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Eastern Coyote Genetics

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There is a charismatic canid living in the eastern United States, and it is the result of evolution occurring right under our noses!

Over the years these coyotes have acquired a number of sensational nicknames; both "Coywolf" and “Coydog” have been growing in popularity, however, the scientific community calls them Eastern Coyotes.

Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Javier Monzón, previously at Stony Brook University in New York, now at Pepperdine University in California, analyzed the DNA of 437 eastern coyotes and found the genes contain all three canids -- dog, wolf, and coyote.

According to Monzón's research, about 64% of the eastern coyote's genome is coyote (Canis latrans), 13% gray wolf (Canis lupus), 13% Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), and 10% dog (Canis familiaris). Sounds like a recipe for canis soup!

More.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Office Dog Drew Listens to 50 Wolves Howling


It's National Dog Day!

At the Wolf Conservation Center, we believe happiness is having dogs (and wolves!) at the office.
Drew and Kai

Drew (the dog featured in the video) is a member of the staff pack - a squad of office dogs who come to work every day at the Center.

Although Drew has never met the wolves, he knows there at some pretty wild VICs (Very Important Canines) right beyond the trees.

What do you think Drew is thinking?

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Government Denies Liability After Teen Is Injured by Its M-44 "Cyanide Bomb"


Last year, just 300 yards away from their home in Idaho, 14-year-old Canyon Mansfield and his best pal, 3-year-old Labrador Casey, encountered a "cyanide bomb" (M-44 device) - a deadly device intended to control predator activity by spraying deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait.

This Idaho teen is lucky to be alive. His beloved dog Casey wasn't so lucky.

Canyon survived the incident, but only to watch helplessly as the poison killed his dog. Beyond being extremely dangerous and non-discriminating killers, these "cyanide bombs" are paid for by tax-payers like you and me.

The M-44 cyanide trap was planted by Wildlife Services – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife-killing program.

To add insult to injury, the government is denying liability and placing blame on the boy rather than apologizing for the injuries caused by the M-44 that a federal worker mistakenly placed near their home.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in documents filed last week that "any injuries were caused by the negligence of the parents and child," and asked for the family's lawsuit to be dismissed.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Endangered Red Wolves Approach iPhone with Interest and Trepidation



Wolves are not only intelligent; they can be playful and have a natural sense of curiosity.

Their curious nature, however, comes second to their neophobia - a fear of anything new. Note the how although the unmanned iPhone evokes curiosity, the red wolves' neophobia prevents them from lingering too long around the alien gadget. This behavior helps nonlethal management tools like fladry (fencing with strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a breeze) work as an effective resource to prevent conflict with livestock.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Free Webinar - Hybridization Dynamics between Eastern Wolves and Coyotes

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FREE webinar September 5, 2018

Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) have hybridized extensively with coyotes (C. latrans) and gray wolves (C. lupus) in Ontario, but little is known about the mechanisms underlying Canis hybridization.

Join the Wolf Conservation Center and wildlife research biologist John F. Benson, PhD for an exclusive webinar about his intensive field study in Algonquin Provincial Park (APP) and the adjacent unprotected landscape to investigate Ontario canids, hybrid zone dynamics, wolf ecology, and canid predation.

The free webinar will be offered on Wednesday, September 5 at 6 PM EST. RSVP today!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Washington State Poised to Take Lethal Action to Protect Cows

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials have issued a kill order for the Togo pack, a family that consists of two adults and their pups. The kill order was issued following livestock depredations in Togo territory, including on U.S. Forest Service land, over the course of 10 months.

Lethal action is consistent with Washington's Wolf Management Plan of 2011 and with the department's policy that allows for the removal of wolves if they prey on livestock three times in a 30-day period or four times in a 10-month period.

WDFW killed state endangered wolves in 2016 and 2017 in order to "change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock," yet livestock attacks continue.


Is it time for WDFW to listen to science and the desires of the American public and stop killing wolves, on America's public lands no less, in order to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

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UPDATE: A Washington judge has issued a temporary injunction, thus preventing WDFW from carrying out the kill order, in response to a lawsuit filed by Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands. More information to follow.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Arctic Wolf Atka - Adorable When Wet


Atka, born in 2002, is a captive-born Arctic gray wolf who teaches the public about wolves and their vital role in the environment.

The confident and charismatic ambassador has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people throughout his storied career. As an important player in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, Atka’s credentials are beyond dispute. Because Atka retired from his career as a traveling Ambassador in 2016, he interacts with fewer people than he used to and we realized he missed communicating with his fans. So, after the long, requisite talk about safety, etiquette, and responsibility, for his 15th birthday in May 2017, WCC staff gave Atka his very own email account at atka@nywolf.org!

Atka isn’t just a luminary in the world of conservation, he's a superstar!

Thank you, Atka, for allowing the world to form lasting connections with not only you but your wild kin as well!

Friday, August 17, 2018

How closely related is your dog to wolves? Look into her eyes.

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Because dogs use eye contact and follow the human gaze better than wolves, it’s possible that a breed’s ability to communicate visually is associated with how genetically similar that breed is to a wolf. Recent research suggests that the more closely related to wolves a breed is, the less often it will make spontaneous eye contact with humans.

Interesting!

More via the American Kennel Club

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happiness is Having Amazing Summer Interns

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Sending howls of thanks to the Wolf Conservation Center's summer education interns!

Although diverse in experience and backgrounds (engineering, theater, wildlife biology), together they worked as a unified pack, educating countless visitors about the importance of preserving wild wolf populations. Their passion for wolves united them and will surely guide them in the years to come.

Interested in joining our pack? Apply to become a WCC volunteer! More information can be found HERE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Another Chance to Speak Up For Endangered Red Wolves

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On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it's proposal that could result with the extinction of the last wild red wolves.

Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.


The good news is that USFWS has re-opened their public comment period, so if you didn't have an opportunity to comment before the July 30th deadline, now is your chance to take action.

Join the thousands of people speaking up for endangered red wolves before the August 28 deadline.

You can find additional information and talking points here.


Submit your comments HERE.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

OR-7's Adorable Pups of the Year Captured on Video



CUTENESS ALERT!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just published adorable trail camera footage from Earlier last month of Oregon wolf OR-7's newest kiddos!

Sending congratulatory howls to OR-7 (Journey) and his family!

Learn more about OR-7's storied past as a boundary-breaking wolf here via Oregon Wild

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How Do Wolves Stay Cool in the Summer Heat?

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With temperatures reaching over 90°F, the wolves have been all tongues this week...

Wolves (like dogs) will stay cool by panting to evaporate heat and moisture off their tongue. Panting is especially effective for wolves. A wolf’s elongated muzzle and the shape of the inner nose serve as an efficient cooling system. Wolves also alter their patterns of activity, staying hunkered down during the hottest times of the day.

Stay cool, everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Carnivore Coexistence in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

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Curious about life in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem? Join the Wolf Conservation Center and biologist Melissa DiNino for a discussion on large carnivore coexistence!

DiNino will offer insight into challenges facing wolf, grizzly bear, and large carnivore recovery across the American West, while detailing her experience as a range rider and biologist among Montana's most wild places.

Date: August 30th at 6:30 pm

Fee: $20 per person



ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Melissa DiNino is a biologist working on livestock-predator conflict projects throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is best known for her work as a range rider in Montana’s Centennial Valley and Tom Miner Basin, from where she continues to live and work. She has also tracked the Lamar Canyon Pack with the Yellowstone Wolf Project to study predation rate in the park. Born and raised in Connecticut, she found her first opportunity to work with wolves through the Wolf Conservation Center before taking her passion out west.

Photo by Louise Johns.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Why do wolves' eyes glow in the dark?



Eyes that glow in the pitch-black night make for many a scary tale. But why do wolves' eyes glow in the dark?

Wolves have a special light-reflecting surface right behind their retinas called the tapetum lucidum that helps animals see better in the dark. When light enters the eye, it's supposed to hit a photoreceptor that transmits the information to the brain. But sometimes the light doesn't hit the photoreceptor, so the tapetum lucidum acts as a mirror to bounce it back for a second chance.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Ambassador wolf Alawa is so lazy, she howls lying down.


Essential. Elegant. Extremely chill! Nobody does Sunday better than Alawa!

Friday, August 3, 2018

PUPDATE - Mexican Wolf Pup Milestone


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Rosa (F1143) and Alleno's (M1198) pups are now three months old! The critically cute litter of nine received their twelve-week health check earlier today, with assistance from Dr. Bayha of Pound Ridge Veterinary Center, and each pup is healthy, strong, and wild - the perfect combination!



As part of the Wolf Conservation Center's participation in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), these pups and their parents reside off-exhibit in an effort to safeguard their natural, elusive behaviors. Wolves in the wild are naturally afraid of people so the WCC staff follows a protocol to have minimal human contact with the Mexican wolves, which will ensure they have a greater probability of being successful if they are released into the wild as part of the recovery plan. Under these protocols, captive born pups must be checked during certain milestones in their development to ensure proper growth.


Learn more about Mexican gray wolves and the WCC's efforts to save them.

Join the lobos right now via LIVE webcams!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

For Wolves, It's All About Family

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Allowing wolves to express their natural social behavior benefits the wider ecosystem as well as the wolves themselves. (Dr. Gordon Haber)

In Algonquin Provincial Park eastern wolves have been protected for more than a century. Nevertheless, hunting in the surrounding townships was causing around two-thirds of total wolf deaths, primarily in winter when their main prey, white-tailed deer, roamed outside the park in search of forage. But in 2001, when hunting on the outskirts of the park was banned, an amazing transition began to unfold. Protected from hunting, not only did the Algonquin wolf population hold steady, there was also a rapid transition to more stable, family-based packs. This shift in social structure allowed younger wolves to learn sophisticated hunting strategies from their elders and better equip the family to successful hunt larger prey. With added protections, eastern wolves reclaimed their place as a keystone species within the ecosystem.

More via New Scientist.