Some good Wyoming wolf management news-

The 10j rules under which Wyoming wolves are still managed read that regarding wolf control,  “Artificial or intentional feeding of wolves must not have occurred. Livestock carcasses not properly disposed of in an area where depredations have occurred will be considered attractants. On Federal lands, removal or resolution of such attractants must accompany any control action. Livestock carrion or carcasses on Federal land, not being used as bait in an authorized control action, must be removed, buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of such that the carcasses will not attract wolves…..”

So a bunch of cow carcasses were left in the Upper Green River and USFWS refused to order wolf control when wolves showed up and attacked some living cattle.  It’s good to see livestock operators held to account.

Below are two Wyoming wolf reports. They both arrived today. There is no Yellowstone, Oregon or Washington news included this time. The oldest report is placed first. Ralph Maughan

WYOMING WOLF PROGRAM

WEEKLY REPORT

To:                   Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado

From:               USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- August 3 through August 7, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.

Annual Reports

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .

Delisting Litigation Status

On June 2, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Missoula (9th Circuit) by a coalition of 13 environmental and animals rights groups. Another separate lawsuit challenging the USFWS delisting criteria was filed shortly after in the 9th Circuit by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.  While the two groups have their own attorneys, both those cases have now been consolidated in the Missoula District Court under Judge Molloy.  Their complaint alleges the NRM wolf population is not recovered and that the delisting violates the federal Endangered Species Act for many legal reasons, including delisting can not occur without an adequate Wyoming regulatory framework in place, which is not currently the case.  A request for a preliminary injunction has not been filed at this time.  In addition, the State of Wyoming, Park County, and the Wyoming Wolf Coalition filed a lawsuit in the 10th Circuit (Cheyenne, Wyoming) challenging USFWS’s rejection of Wyoming’s regulatory framework and the Wyoming state wolf management plan.

Monitoring

Nothing to report at this time.

Control

On 8/1/09, WGFD and Wildlife Services confirmed a calf killed by wolves in the Upper Green River drainage. At least 7 carcasses from cattle that died from causes other than wolf predation were left in general vicinity where the depredation occurred. On 8/6/09, WGFD investigated 11 additional dead cattle in the same area. Two dead cattle were confirmed as bear kill, but 9 other cattle died from causes other than predation. Carcasses left in the area have become an attractant to wolves and therefore no wolf control will be implemented. The USFWS will meet next week with the livestock producers, WGFD, and Wildlife Services to resolve carcass disposal issues. As specified in the 1994 Final EIS, “The following conditions and criteria will apply in determining the problem status of wolves within the nonessential experimental areas…..Artificial or intentional feeding of wolves must not have occurred. Livestock carcasses not properly disposed of in an area where depredations have occurred will be considered attractants. On Federal lands, removal or resolution of such attractants must accompany any control action. Livestock carrion or carcasses on Federal land, not being used as bait in an authorized control action, must be removed, buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of such that the carcasses will not attract wolves…….”(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. Interim Wolf Control Plan: Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming; The Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to Yellowstone National park and Central Idaho – Final EIS. 1994)

On 8/1/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed a calf killed by wolves south of Hwy 28 near South Pass in the Sweetwater drainage. The area is heavily grazed by sheep and cattle. Wolves in nearby areas in past years have caused numerous cattle and sheep depredations. Wildlife Services flew telemetry flights and made several investigations on the ground to determine that 2 radio collared wolves were in the area. The USFWS requested Wildlife Services to remove both wolves. On 8/6/09, 2 adult wolves were removed and control was completed.

This year, 3 packs of wolves have recolonized parts in Wyoming which are heavily grazed by domestic sheep during summer months.  All 3 packs have killed exceptionally large numbers of sheep:

On 8/3/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed 2 sheep killed on private land in the southern Big Horn Mountains. The land owner saw 2 black wolves walking along the fence line of his pasture. The USFWS issued the landowner a Shoot-on-Site Permit and Wildlife Services will attempt to remove the 2 wolves from the area where these recent depredations occurred. This summer, >2 wolves have killed a total of >70 sheep (owned by 5 different producers) in this general vicinity, but previous control efforts have been unsuccessful.

On 8/3/09, Wildlife Services confirmed 1 sheep killed by wolves on a public grazing allotment north of Pinedale. Since 7/21/09, wolves have killed 1 yearling steer,

>26 sheep (22 ewes and 4 lambs), and injured 1 guard dog in this area. Control efforts are ongoing to remove all wolves involved in the depredations.

On 8/4/09, Idaho Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves from the Dog Creek Pack killed 15 sheep (13 lambs, 2 ewes) and 2 guard dogs on a public grazing allotment in the Hoback drainage in Wyoming. Control efforts are ongoing.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities

Nothing to report at this time.

Outreach and Education

On 8/5/09, Jimenez (USFWS) spoke about wolves and wolf management at the Northwest Intertribal Agriculture Council Conference in Pocatello, Idaho. The conference was sponsored by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and approx. 75 people attended.

Further Information

To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.

For additional information, please contact:

Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Ed_Bangs@FWS.GOV

Mike Jimenez (307)733-7096 or (307)330-5631 or  Mike_Jimenez@FWS.GOV

_________________

To:                   Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado

From:               USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- August10 through August 14, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.

Annual Reports

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .

Delisting Litigation Status

On June 2, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Missoula (9th Circuit) by a coalition of 13 environmental and animals rights groups. Another separate lawsuit challenging the USFWS delisting criteria was filed shortly after in the 9th Circuit by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.  While the two groups have their own attorneys, both those cases have now been consolidated in the Missoula District Court under Judge Molloy.  Their complaint alleges the NRM wolf population is not recovered and that the delisting violates the federal Endangered Species Act for many legal reasons, including delisting can not occur without an adequate Wyoming regulatory framework in place, which is not currently the case. [boldface mine] A request for a preliminary injunction has not been filed at this time.  In addition, the State of Wyoming, Park County, and the Wyoming Wolf Coalition filed a lawsuit in the 10th Circuit (Cheyenne, Wyoming) challenging USFWS’s rejection of Wyoming’s regulatory framework and the Wyoming state wolf management plan.

Monitoring

At least 1 adult and 2 pups from the Antelope Pack near Jackson, WY show signs of mange. Last winter when the USFWS radio collared wolves in the area, > 6 adult wolves from the Antelope Pack had noticeable hair loss due to mange. Pups are very vulnerable to mange and other parasites, and often don’t survive mange infestation.

This summer, the USFWS continues to monitor and document reproducing wolf packs in Wyoming (outside YNP).  At least 16 packs have produced pups this year. Litter sizes have ranged from 4 pups to a record high of 12-15 pups produced in 2 (possibly 3) litters in the Buffalo Pack.

Control

On 8/11/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed a 300 lb calf killed by wolves on private property, west of Daniel, WY.  A pack of 4-6 wolves has been in the vicinity since last winter. Wildlife Services will attempt to trap and radio collar >1 wolf.

Wolves from the Dog Creek Pack in the Hoback drainage killed 15 sheep and 2 guard dogs on 8/4/09. This week, the sheep producer reported an additional 23 sheep and a third guard dog were killed. Control is ongoing to reduce the size of this depredating pack.

The USFWS responded to 2 complaints involving wolves habituating to human residences and horse corrals but not leaving the area when people have tried to chase them away. Wolves harassed a mule and several horses kept at a USFS cabin in the Upper Green River drainage. Wolves chased the animals and eventually bit the mule on its front leg. Rubber bullets were issued to owner for him to shoot at wolves if they return to the pasture. Rubber bullets were also issued to a local resident north of Jackson when wolves repeatedly came onto private property but wouldn’t leave when the resident tried to scare them away.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities

Nothing to report at this time.

Outreach and Education

USFWS Law Enforcement (Domenici) traveled with 3 wolf officials from Sweden to meet with the USFWS Wyoming wolf program (Jimenez) and the YNP wolf project (Smith). The Swedish wolf recovery effort consists of a small government program with very similar management challenges as our wolf programs in the northern Rocky Mountains.  The Swedish government has set an upper limit of 200 wolves as an overall recovery goal for the country. Wolf recovery in the northern regions of the country is not encouraged due to conflicts with domestic ungulates. Swedish biologists monitor population growth, reproductive success, recolonization, and home ranges of wolf packs without the use of radio telemetry.

Further Information

To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.

For additional information, please contact:

Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Ed_Bangs@FWS.GOV

Mike Jimenez (307)733-7096 or (307)330-5631 or  Mike_Jimenez@FWS.GOV

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

8 Responses to Latest government wolf news for Wyoming

  1. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Mexico has plans to release Mexican wolves in Sonora state in October.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g2G0TrHnokajCTtDl895tMEtGrRQD9A1KTV84

  2. avatar JW says:

    Yippee to Barb’s news! At least it is a start, but only 1 family unit?

  3. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    JW, seeing as how low the population in captivity and the wild is, there cannot be a huge release.

    I like the ruling that dead livestock left in areas with wolf predation are considered attractants and people will not be reimbursed. About time. That is like setting up a bunch of beehives in a huckleberry patch and then shooting grizzlies for eating the honey.

  4. avatar JW says:

    ProWolf,
    the population is pretty robust in captivity. Many zoos which have Mexican wolves aren’t breeding them b.c they would be surplus. Surely, more than that can be released, and then they could start breeding again.
    I agree with your dead livestock comment…

  5. avatar JW says:

    Breeding them again in captivity that is

  6. A couple points.

    The dead livestock enforcement was in Wyoming, not in the Mexican wolf 10j area where it is most urgently needed.

    I don’t know how Mexican wolves will enhance genetic diversity because it is already irrecoverably low. They trapped all of the last Mexican wolves years ago and have been carefully trying conserve what diversity they have through planning mating in captivity. There are no wolves anywhere to increase this low diversity.

    Perhaps genes from gray wolves that function identically to those of Mexican wolves could be inserted into Mexican wolves in a laboratory breeding center to increase Mexican wolf genetic diversity. Am I engaging in science fiction? Don’t know.

    The USFWS allowed some of most genetically important wolves to be removed and killed because they ate some of local livestock. Which is the most important? That’s a value judgment, but an easy one for me to make because sheep and cows are almost infinitely replaceable.

  7. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Ralph, I did realize the dead livestock enforcement was in Wyoming, I didn’t clarify. When you mentioned inserting genes into other wolves, would that make them hybrids then? Was that the argument in Florida about introducing mountain lions from Texas to bolster the Florida panther’s genetic diversity?

  8. avatar Peebee says:

    When a population reach such lows it is imperative to focus much more on the function the animal plays in its environment than on a futile genetic purity (which probably is not there anymore in the case of Mexican wolf… well! it is debated). Hybrids occur naturally in many situations and it is one way speciation takes place (more and more work are being done on that these days). Look at the situation in the East. There are a lot of talks about several plausible events of hybridization in the past for the different wolf populations (Red, Algonquin etc.).
    The point here is to preserve as much as possible the existing gene pool (that might contain important adaptive traits) by introducing progressively and slowly new genetic materials (from close subspecies) in the gene pool while allowing the population to grow as fast as possible.
    Just my two cents
    cheers

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

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