Posts tagged: predators
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Residents in the 22000 block of East Morris Road snapped this shot of a cougar in their backyard around 7 this morning and emailed the photo to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.
Anyone out there up for a backyard campout sleepover tonight?
PREDATORS — Big game managers from Washington, Idaho and Montana will discuss their experiences managing game animals in areas populated by wolves during a live webcast, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., on July 18.
Questions can be emailed in advance or during the presentations to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Montana and Idaho have been managing wolves longer than Washington and their experience can provide context to inform the department and citizens on how to confront the challenges that lie ahead for Washington, said Phil Anderson, WDFW director.
“This will give the public an opportunity to hear directly from those who have been involved in wolf management in other areas of the west,” he said.
Jon Rachel, Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s state wildlife manager, and Jim Williams, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ northwest wildlife program manager, will discuss the impacts wolves have had on deer, elk and other big game animals in their states.
Successful big game hunting strategies in wolf country also will be presented.
Dave Ware, WDFW statewide game program manager, will describe the status of wolves and big game hunting in Washington.
PREDATORS — The Washington Legislature appropriated $250,000 to a fund for compensating ranchers for livestock injured or killed by wolves.
Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen's Association, said the amount “a great first step” for the agency and for the livestock industry, according to the Capital Press.
The direction WDFW is going on preventative measures, he said, will hopefully reduce the impacts of wolves. The budget also provides $750,000 for nonlethal deterrence methods.
Another important change this year is the removal of a $1,500 cap on the value of an animal. Instead, compensation will be based on the market value of the animal. A steer could be worth $600 and a prize bull would be far more, but the owner would need proof of its value, Capital Press reports.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this morning announced its proposal to lift most of the remaining federal protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states (with the exception of the Mexican wolf areas), a move that would end four decades of recovery efforts.
But in a draft proposal, federal scientists said the wolves in Washington and Oregon “constitute the expanding front of large, robust, and recovered wolf populations to the north and east.
Federal officials said in the draft, “We are confident that wolves will continue to recolonize the Pacific Northwest regardless of federal protection.”
The public has 90 days to comment period on the proposal. A final decision is expected next year.
With more than 6,100 wolves roaming the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe told The Associated Press that a species persecuted to near-extermination last century has successfully rebounded.
Prominent scientists and dozens of lawmakers in Congress want more. They say wolves need to be shielded so they can expand beyond the portions of 10 states they now occupy.
However, you won't find many lawmakers in districts occupied by wolves calling for more wolf protections, and 72 members of Congress representing both parties signed a letter to President Obama in March requesting the gray wolf be delisted from Engangered Species protections.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., issued this statement today, calling the delisting proposal “long overdue.”
Read this morning's AP report, which includes the range of opinions.
WILDLIFE — Mountain lions are resourceful in living off the land. As the Missoulian reports, a remote camera tended by a homeowner's association outside of Missoula captured footage of a cougar fishing… and then succeeding — near the Blackfoot River, as you'll see in these two short video sequences:
PREDATORS — Federal wildlife officials are postponing a much-anticipated decision on whether to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states.
In a court filing Monday in Billings, Mont., government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.
Gray wolves are under protection as an endangered species and have recovered dramatically from widespread extermination in recent decades.
More than 6,000 of the animals now roam the continental U.S. Most live in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, where protections already have been lifted.
The protections are still in effect for most of Washington.
A draft proposal to lift protections elsewhere drew strong objections when it was revealed last month.
Wildlife advocates and some members of Congress argue that the wolf's recovery is incomplete because the animal occupies just a fraction of its historical range.
State and federal wildlife biologists and groups respresenting agriculture and hunting interests say wolves have recovered dramatically fast and must be managed to control the impact they have on livestock and big game herds in certain areas.
PREDATORS — There's a little less love for wolves in central Idaho this week.
Idaho issues 2 kill permits on wolves near Carey after 31 sheep killed
Between May 10 and May 12, John Peavey, the owner of the Flat Top Ranch near Carey, Idaho, lost 13 ewes and 18 lambs to wolves. Idaho Wildlife Services has issued a kill permit for up to two wolves.
—Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley)
WILDLIFE — Elk numbers in Montana's Bitterroot Valley are up this year mostly because of better calf survival, according to reseachers.
This year’s aerial spring count found 7,373 elk in the five hunting districts that encircle the Bitterroot Valley. That's the fourth highest number of elk spotted by biologists in the 48-year history of the annual spring survey.
Range conditions and more emphasis on controlling wolves, cougars and bears played a roll in the increase, biologists say.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Some pro-wolf groups say hanging red ribbons on fences around pastures will protect cattle from wolf attacks.
The theory is getting another test this spring in the Wenatchee area, site of the most recently documented new wolf pack in Washington.
Question: Does this mean the end of the open range?
Let's just say there could possibly mean a BIG MARKET for red ribbon in the West.
See the KING 5 TV report and video.
WILDLIFE — An internationally famous Yellowstone National Park bull elk has died, likely killed by the Canyon wolf pack, which was seen Saturday feeding on his carcass, according to today's report by Brett French of the Billings Gazette.
Elk No. 10, the last to wear a yellow ear tag with the number 10 on it, was found dead about a half mile east of the Wraith Falls trailhead in the park on Saturday, according to Al Nash, the park's chief of public affairs. The elk was 16-18 years old.
Elk No. 10 became internationally famous after the British Broadcasting Corp. made a film on elk that featured the Mammoth animals as well as those in Estes Park, Colo. Clips from the films “Street Fighters” and “Showdown in Elk Town” can still be found on YouTube.
The large bull elk attracted attention in Gardiner in 2001 when he got his antlers tangled in a badminton net and poles at the Mammoth school. The only way to remove the net was to tranquilize the elk and saw off its antlers. That's when the elk was given its yellow ear tag to ensure that any hunters who saw it that fall would know the elk's meat was unsafe to eat because of the tranquilizer.
“I remember in 2006 when Elk 10 arrived on the Mammoth scene on Sept. 10,” wrote Jim Halfpenny, a Gardner-based naturalist who gives tours in the park, in an email. “He was now big and took the harem over from another bull. In the coming years, he and Elk 6 did battle on more than one occasion. In more recent years he did not come into Mammoth, but maintained a harem of his own between the YCC camp and Mammoth Terraces. Being slightly old, wiser, and lacking the body weight of his youth, it was now time to retreat to a more private place with a smaller harem. He let the younger bulls compete for the prime grazing habitat of Mammoth and the cows that are attracted there.”
WILDLIFE — A reader submitted this photo snapped Wednesday off I-90 between Wallace and Mullan. She said the eyes appeared blue like those of a husky, but the animal ran away as though it were wild.
What's your guess? Wolf, wolf hybrid or husky?
Click “continue reading” for my opinion and the consensus from several Idaho Fish and Game Department wildlife biologists who work with wolves.
Click “continue reading” for my opinion and the consensus from several Idaho Fish and Game Department wildlife biologists who work with wolves.
PREDATORS — A wolf witnessed hunting a deer in a Wenatchee residential area Tuesday is a dose of reality a little too close to home for some people.
It's a reminder that urban deer need to be controlled, and that we need to have measures in place so we can control wolves.
We need to be aware of wolves — all of us. The landscape has changed.
Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman magazine offers this reminder of the well reported developments in the past few years:
It’s a reminder that it’s not just ranchers who will need to adapt to living with the species, but mountain bikers, hikers, mushroom pickers and others who frequent the woods. They will also need to adjust their behavior and become more alert in the outdoors and better understand wolves’ proclivities to avoid the rare negative interactions.
PREDATORS — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists weighed in today, confirming that the Northern Rockies gray wolf population has remained sustainable two years after wolves lost their endangered species protections in most of the region.
The latest wolf status updates on 2012 wolf monitoring in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming found that aggressive hunting, and some trapping, in the three states lowered the overall number of wolves for the first time in years.
Overall, biologists tallied a minimum of 1,674 wolves across the five states at the end of 2012, a 6 percent decline.
However, the wolf population that burgeoned under protections for more than a decade are still FIVE TIMES higher than the federal government’s original recovery goal, set in the 1990s, of at least 300 wolves in the region.
That goal was achieved in 2002, but lawsuits stalled wolf management for years and the population soared.
Read on for a summary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2012 Northern Rockies wolf status report.
WILDLIFE — Northern Rockies gray wolf packs are highly structured socially. Only the alpha male and alpha female breed.
Generally, according to Washington Fish and Wildlife biologists:
A pack is defined as a minimum of two wolves hanging out together.
A breeding pack must have a minimum of one male and one female wolf hanging out together during the winter breeding period.
PREDATORS — Idaho's 2012 wolf monitoring report released Tuesday indicates the state is struggling to get 14 years of burgeoning wolf populations into some sort of sustainable balance with prey and social acceptance.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game reports 683 wolves at the end of 2012, down from 746 wolves in 2011 — an 11 percent decrease.
But the total number of packs has increased from 104 in 2011 to 117 in 2012. Wolves are moving in and out of the state, and a new crop of wolves is being born in dens across the state this month.
State wildlife officials attribute both the overall population downsizing and the increase in packs to continued pressure through hunting, trapping and agency control methods.
“Despite concerns expressed by some people that hunting and trapping would eliminate wolf packs, we haven’t found that to be the case,” said Jon Rachael, Fish and Game’s state big-game manager in Boise.
While the number of wolf packs increased, the average size of the packs decreased, Rachael said.
“That is exactly what we would expect to see with wolves being harvested by hunters and trappers,” he said. “Average pack size peaked in 2008 prior to our first hunting season, when we estimated an average of slightly more than eight wolves per pack, and has declined since then to about five wolves per pack now.”
Last year, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission increased bag limits, extended hunting seasons in some areas, allowed hunters to use electronic calls and certified more wolf trappers.
Idaho reports 418 wolves were killed by these means and the efforts of Wildlife Services to protect livestock
Yet the overall effort has barely made a dent in a wolf population that federal and state experts agree is too large for its own good.
For now, it’s the official policy of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to continue reducing the number of wolves. Wildlife officials don't state a goal for Idaho's wolf population, noting only that the state legislature in 2002 committed to maintaining at least 150 wolves.
“Simply removing them one time doesn't mean they are gone,” Rachael said. “They will backfill suitable habitat fairly quickly. That is why you can have a pretty high harvest rate with wolves and you don't see the population plummeting as some folks were predicting early on.”
PREDATORS — Idaho's gray wolf population at the end of 2012 was at least 683, a decrease of 11 percent from 2011, according to the federally required annual state wolf monitoring report (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wolves/) posted online today by the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
Humans killed 418 of the 425 wolves known to have died in the state last year by hunting, trapping and state and federal agency control efforts to protect livestock, the report says.
However, the number of documented packs had increased and wolves were occupying territories throughout the state.
Montana also has reported a decrease in wolves in its 2012 annual report, the first decrease since 2004.
In Washington, where wolves are still under Endangered Species protections, the number of wolves increased signficantly from 2011 to 2012, with the number pegged at around 100.
Idaho biologists documented 117 packs in the state at the end of 2012 — an increase of seven from 2011 — plus 23 border packs that overlap in Montana, Wyoming and Washington. But total numbers of wolves have gradually decreased because of hunting and other efforts since the population peaked at a minimum of 856 in 2009.
Of the 66 Idaho packs known to have reproduced, 35 packs qualified as breeding pairs at the end of the year, the report says. Those reproductive packs produced a minimum of 187 pups.
A new crop of pups will be born in dens across the state this month.
Wolves were confirmed to have killed 73 cattle, 312 sheep and two dogs in Idaho last year, the report says.
The Panhandle Zone was occupied by 15 documented resident packs in 2012 — up three from 2011 — plus five known resident border packs, three suspected packs and one other documented group during 2012, the report says. Three new resident packs were documented in 2012.
Wolf recovery and monitoring reports from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and more recently from Washington and Oregon are posted on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Northern Rockies Gray Wolf website.
PREDATORS — With wolves stacking up in northeastern Washington at an alarming rate, perhaps Washington ought to take a cue from Montana, which has announced plans to review the guidelines set in the state's wolf management plan.
Montana is rounding up the state's disbanded 12-member Wolf Management Advisory Council in Helena, April 12, for a meeting to review and discuss the wolf management plan they helped to create.
“A lot has transpired since the council last met in 2007,” said Jeff Hagener, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department director. “Governor Steve Bullock and I have invited the members to gather in Helena for a one-day meeting to review the status of the wolf in Montana today and to discuss the effectiveness of the management plan.”
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Where's a good tree when you need it?
Two cougar kittens used their climbing skills and a wooden fence to evade five coyotes on the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyo., as shown in a series of photos by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Outdoor Recreation Planner Lori Iverson.
Iverson witnessed a spectacular standoff between two juvenile mountain lions as the coyotes let the cats know they weren’t welcome in the area. The mountain lions sought safety on a buck and rail fence for over an hour while the coyotes lurked in the background.
Here, one of the coyotes has moved in closer. Notice the flattened positions of the mountain lions.
Click here to see the rest of Iverson's photos.
HUNTING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission today (March 28) voted to extend the current wolf hunting season in the Middle Fork and part of the Dworshak-Elk City wolf management zones.
The commission extended the wolf hunting season through June 30 in the Middle Fork units 20A, 26 and 27 and in the part of the Dworshak-Elk-City Zone's Unit 16 north of the Selway River.
These seasons were scheduled to end Sunday.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — News that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking into the possibility of delisting gray wolves from endangered species protections ought to be good news.
Delisting is the goal of listing.
Delisting was applauded where' it's already happened — much later than federal scientists, elected officials, state wildlife managers, ranchers and hunters would have liked — in Montana and Washington.
But some western environmental groups are opposing the possibililty that's been circulating in the past few weeks.
On the other hand, 72 members of Congress have signed a petition urging delisting.
Click “continue reading” for the latest from the Associated Press.