Posts tagged: wolf packs
PREDATORS – An update on gray wolf status in Washington will be presented by the state Fish and Wildlife Department’s top wildlife managers in Spokane this week.
Nate Pamplin, the state’s assistant wildlife director, will be joined by Dave Ware, wildlife program manager, and Richard Harris, special species specialist in a presentation on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council auditorium, 6116 N. Market.
In an apparent reference to the rudeness exhibited at two agency wolf presentations in Colville this year, wildlife council officers posted this notice in the club's May newsletter meeting announcement:
“Please be respectful with your questions and keep on track with them. Anyone who is disruptive, badgering or just (making) rude or un-tasteful comments will be asked to leave, period.”
ENDANGERED SPECIES — As reports surfaced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the gray wolf from endangered species protections, the costs of the recovery are being totaled:
Between 1991 and 2011, the federal government spent $102 million on gray wolf recovery programs and state agencies chipped in $15.6 million. Federal spending likely would drop if the proposal to lift protections goes through, while state spending would increase.
And the management job's not done. Scanning the news I see that in the past week:
Read on for the latest update on the delisting story by The Associated Press.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commisison's urgently scheduled meeting to discuss a proposal to give people authority to kill wolves that attack pets or livestock will not be broadcast live online as previously reported.
Otherwise the public will be able to go online to listen to a recording of the special meeting on wolf measures shortly after adjournment.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commisison office originally said the meeting would be open in a live online audio stream. The staff said the recording would be posted ASAP after the meeting on the commission website.
UPDATED 4/25/13 at 10:50 a.m. regarding recording of upcoming meeting.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — A request to allow landowners to protect people, pets and livestock by killing an attacking wolf without a permit will be considered Friday in a urgently scheduled special meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife commision.
Ten state lawmakers — from both parties and both chambers — signed a letter Tuesday (click on document below) requesting the commission to enact provisions of two wolf-control bills that are stalling in the 2013 Washington Legislature.
The bills, which have been endorsed by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists, would people to shoot wolves caught in the act of attacking their animals. They also address funding for non-lethal deterrents to wolf depredation.
The measures would apply to the eastern third of Washington where the federal government has delisted gray wolves from federal endangered species protections, but where state protections still apply.
State wildlife managers have testified at legislative committee hearings that the measures would likely result in few wolves killed.
They said the measures would improve social tolerance for the rapidly growing wolf population in northeastern Washington by giving rural dwellers a tool to protect their property if needed.
Idaho and Wyoming enacted similar provisions in the early years of wolf reintroduction and only three wolves were taken, WDFW biologists testified.
However, pressure by animal rights activists in Western Washington apparently have kept lawmakers from moving the measures to final consideration (although the bills are not dead). They apparently were unmoved, even by the testimony of man whose dog was attacked by a wolf on the porch of his house.
Public can listen to recording of wolf issue meeting
The public can listen to a recording of the special meeting on wolf measures shortly after it adjourns. The meeting is set to start Friday at 1 p.m.
- People keenly interested can listen to the meeting live via telecommunications at WDFW regional offices in Spokane, Ephrata and Yakima.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commisison office originally said the meeting would be open in a live online audio stream. But the office announced later that a recording would be posted ASAP after the meeting on the commission website.
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.”
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — A new wolf pack has been confirmed in Washington by state wildlife officials, bringing the number of known packs to 10 with AT LEAST four other packs suspected of operating inside or on the state borders.
The photo with this post shows two wolves near an elk carcass in the Pitcher Creek drainage about six miles south of Wenatchee, as reported in the Wenatchee World.
In the story, state wildlife biologist Dave Volson doesn't hesitate to point out that this wolf pack could be “new” only in the sense thats it's just been confirmed.
Wolf reports — many are substantiated but many others are not — are coming in from a wide range of areas on the state's wolf reporting webpage. Even the more open spaces of the Palouse region is home to wolves.
See a good roundup of recent wolf-related activity and news — including how wolf management is factoring into the state Senate confirmation hearings for Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and a Washington-collared wolf killed legally in British Columbia — in the latest Wolf Howler report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
PREDATORS— The potential impact of wolves on northeastern Washington game species such as deer and elk will be discussed in a public meeting set by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday (March 27) in Colville.
State and local wildlife managers will present information on wolf monitoring in the area along with population trends and harvest data for white-tailed deer, elk and moose.
They’ll also discuss the status of wolves in the region and the impact wolves have had on deer and elk populations in other western states, according to a WDFW media release.
Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, said the department has not documented any measureable impacts from wolves on game species in Washington, but recognizes that reports from other states have raised public concerns.
“We want to talk to people in northeast Washington about this issue because that’s the area of the state that has the largest number of wolves,” Ware said. “We’d encourage area residents who have concerns to attend this meeting.”
ENDANGERED SPECIES — State law is barring the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlfie from paying the vet bill for a dog that was attacked by a wolf last week in the Methow Valley, the agency has posted.
However, in the future, pet owners could be reimbursed if their animals are injured when they tangle with wolves under a bill that passed the state Senate earlier this week.
Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman has a detailed report on the incident and the stage it sets.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Although Idaho won't be releasing its 2012 year-end gray wolf surveys report until March, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department released its federally required report last week, as we reported.
The details are posted on the agency's gray wolf webpage, but Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman Magazine has compiled this easy-to-read rundown of all the known wolf packs in Washington with updated info.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The seven Wedge Pack wolves killed by Washington Fish and Wildlife officers in August and September were healthy, but not necessarily beefy from their diet of livestock.
Read this report by Northwest Sportsman editor Andy Walgamott for updates and details on the weights of the carcasses assessed by the WDFW veterinarian.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Former Spokane County Commissioner (and current candiate) John Roskelley of Spokane claims the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was not being genuine with the public in its handling of the summer wolf attacks in northern Stevens County and ultimately the elimination of the Wedge Pack. Here's Roskelley's take, as posted on my Facebook page:
The WDFW rushed this decision to exterminate the Wedge Pack to avoid having to deal with the public or legislators like Sen. Rankin. I stopped at the meeting in Colville Thursday night; the WDFW got their nose bloodied by McIrvin and other Stevens County ranchers; the agency decided on a quick and dirty fix; provided the news media with their excuses for their action; used Conservation Northwest and the Cattlemen's Association as justified supporters; pretended to hunt the wolves by foot; and then proceeded to do what they intended all along - wipe the wolves out quickly via helicopter and sharpshooters before the public woke up and some organization filed an injunction to get it stopped. The WDFW agency people had their mind made up weeks ago, but they knew better than to let the public in on something this controversial before it was a done deal.”
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Some people are cheering and others are mourning Washington's mission involving a helicopter and gunman to kill six wolves this week and eliminate the Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County.
Eliminating a pack is a milestone in Washington wolf recovery and management. But it's a milestone long past in Idaho and Montana.
Government workers and ranchers in Montana have killed at least 74 wolves this year following livestock attacks.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Three wolves from the Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County were killed by a shooter in a helicopter today as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife continued its effort to stop persistent attacks on livestock by eliminating the pack.
Since early July, Wedge Pack wolves are believed to have killed or injured at least 17 cows and calves from the Diamond M Ranch herd ranging on both private and public land between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers southwest of Laurier, Wash.
Department Director Phil Anderson said a WDFW marksman shot the wolves from a helicopter at about 8 a.m. The wolves were shot about seven miles south of the U.S.-Canada border in the same area where two other wolves from the Wedge Pack were killed by aerial gunning yesterday.
Biologists estimate the pack includes 8-11 wolves. Before this week's kills, the state shot a wolf on Aug. 7 when it was still believed the pack could be thinned and dispersed without eliminating the pack.
One wolf, thought to be the pack's alpha male, was trapped and fitted with a GPS collar earlier this summer. WDFW officers have been monitoring that wolf to follow the pack in the rugged, remote forested country.
Anderson said a department wildlife veterinarian would perform necropsies on all five of the wolves killed this week.
For more information on the situation, see the WDFW's Wedge Pack Lethal Removal Actions FAQ
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Pro-wolf groups aren't all standing by as Washington Fish and Wildlife staffers try to eliminate the cattle-preying Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County. Here's a form letter being promoted by the Center for Biological Diversity:
ENDANGERED SPECIES – Shooting from a helicopter, a marksman with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killed two wolves in Northeast Washington today as part of an effort to eliminate a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in a remote grazing area near the U.S.-Canada border.
The word comes from Bruce Botka, WDFW public affairs director in Olympia.
Teams of marksmen and wildlife biologists returned to an area of northern Stevens County known as the Wedge late last week, but had not killed any wolves after several days of around-the-clock activity.
Beginning Monday, the department called in a helicopter to aid the effort, and an airborne marksman shot the two wolves early this afternoon, about seven miles south of the Canadian border.
WDFW Director Phil Anderson had directed the pack’s removal last week in response to the wolves’ escalating pattern of predation on the livestock herd of the Diamond M Ranch of Stevens County. Since July, the pack of eight or more wolves is believed to have killed or injured at least 17 of the herd’s calves and cows.
The department says the attacks came despite non-lethal efforts to minimize wolf conflict by the rancher and department staff. Some pro-wolf groups say the efforts to prevent the attacks could have been more effective.
Read on for more details from WDFW.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — State officers were unsuccessful this week as they attempted to trap and possibly kill up to four wolves in northern Stevens County — but they found the carcass of a gray wolf that had died of some other means.
The carcass reportedly was decomposed and cause of death could not be determined by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.
The graphic above shows how far the Wedge Pack has ranged in the six weeks since the alpha male was trapped, radio-collared and released. WDFW officials say the pack's full summer-winter range is likely much greater. They also noted that aerial monitoring coupled with on the ground observation show the collared male can be miles away from other wolves in the pack.
“It's a misconception that a pack always runs together,” said Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager.
Read on in this post for today's late afternoon WDFW update on the effort to deal with Wedge Pack cattle depredations.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Washington Fish and Wildlife officials say they plan to kill more wolves in northern Stevens County to curb a spree of attacks on cattle.
After confirming that wolves killed one calf this week and injured another, the agency intends to kill up to three members of the Wedge Pack, Madonna Luers, department spokeswoman said Friday.
“Our officers will try to trap and put a radio collar on at least one more wolf in the pack for monitoring,” she said. “Then the intent is to lethally remove up to three more wolves to disrupt the pack and reduce its need to feed so many mouths.”
The Wedge Pack roams the Colville National Forest area the Diamond M Ranch leases for grazing between the Columbia and Kettle rivers. Wolf attacks have been confirmed on at least five of the ranch's animals in the past four weeks, including two calves killed.
A female non-breeding wolf in the pack was killed by department officers on Aug. 7 after wolves had killed a calf and injured two others. The kill was the first by the agency under its wolf management plan adopted in 2011. Although gray wolves in Eastern Washington are protected by state endangered species laws, the plan allows lethal removal in some cases.
Remote camera images indicate the Wedge Pack includes at least a breeding pair, a few sub-adults and a few pups, but the exact number of wolves isn’t known, Luers said.