What will we lose? Tracking climate change in Yellowstone | Environment | bozemandailychronicle.com

Tourist Tourism, Yellowstone National Park File

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Doug Smith has been spending a lot of time thinking about tweety birds lately.

The Yellowstone scientist best known for his work on wolves is now leading a study of jays, warblers and sparrows, among other bird species. His researchers wake up obscenely early, leave the office by 3:30 a.m., and are in the woods listening for bird calls before the sun comes up.

The goal is to figure out what migratory and resident birds are living in old growth, subalpine forests consisting of spruce and fir trees — a forest type climate change could erase.

via What will we lose? Tracking climate change in Yellowstone | Environment | bozemandailychronicle.com

Park service looks to solve mystery deaths of Isle Royale wolves

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician Brad Johnson, right, and Nick Fowler, graduate research assistant with the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry take measurements of a gray wolf captured Sept. 6, 2019 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Looking on are National Park Service veterinarian Michelle Verant and Michigan DNR veterinary specialist Dan O’Brien.

Isle Royale — One year into its effort to reestablish the wolf population on Isle Royale, the National Park Service and its partners have a problem: The new wolves keep dying and nobody knows why.

Since the park service began its relocation efforts in September 2018, 19 wolves have been transplanted from Minnesota, Ontario, Canada and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Three of the wolves have died, the most recent on Sept. 15. Another wolf left the island for mainland Ontario on an ice bridge in January.

via Park service looks to solve mystery deaths of Isle Royale wolves

At Least 4 Wolf Pups Born Into Oregon’s Indigo Pack This Year . News | OPB

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday at least four wolf pups were born this year into Oregon’s Indigo wolf pack.

The agency said it recently put a tracking collar on one of the pups, which is now about 6 months old.

The Indigo pack lives in Lane and Douglas counties.

In March, the Trump administration issued a proposal to strip wolves of federal protections in Oregon and other states in the nation.

Oregon adopted a new management plan in June for gray wolves. It applies to eastern Oregon, where the wolves are most abundant and not under federal protections.

Wolves in the western part of the state are still under federal protections.

Oregon’s wildlife agency estimated the wolf population at the end of 2018 to be 137 individuals in 16 packs.

via At Least 4 Wolf Pups Born Into Oregon’s Indigo Pack This Year . News | OPB

Inslee asks Washington wildlife agency to kill fewer wolves, pursue new management methods | The Spokesman-Review

By Eli Francovich

Kill fewer wolves.

That was the message Gov. Jay Inslee sent to Washington’s wildlife management agency in a letter, Monday.

“We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state,” Inslee said in the letter. “The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”

Inslee acknowledges that in most cases Washington’s wolves are existing peacefully with livestock and people. According to agency statistics 90% of Washington’s wolves aren’t causing problems. He also praised the state’s Wolf Advisory Group, which has members representing cattle, conservation and business interests.

However, in northeast Washington it’s been a summer of conflict with wolves killing and injuring cattle, prompting the state and, in some case, ranchers to kill wolves, in turn prompting environmental groups to sue the state.

In response to the state-ordered killings, Inslee urged a reexamination of policy and procedure in parts of northeast Washington where WDFW has repeatedly killed wolves charged with attacking cattle.

“For reasons that are not entirely clear, numerous conflicts with livestock producers have occurred in a handful of federal grazing allotments,” the letter states.

via Inslee asks Washington wildlife agency to kill fewer wolves, pursue new management methods | The Spokesman-Review

Hunters ‘shoot dead’ Belgium’s first wild wolf in more than 100 years

Hunters have shot dead Belgium’s first wild wolf in more than a century, conservationist groups monitoring the resurgent species have said.

Naya, a she-wolf, has been missing since May. Scientists and associations watching her since she was first spotted in Belgium in January 2018 fear the worst.

Her male companion August is now exhibiting signs of being a lone wolf once more, experts said. Naya was pregnant when she was last seen in May on one of the 60 wildlife cameras set up in rural Limburg, close to the Dutch border.

“I am 100 percent sure that Naya was shot. It is the only plausible explanation,” said Sil Janssen, of the Natuurhulpcentrum animal shelter in Oudsbergen, which is in the eastern Flemish region that Naya made her territory.

via Hunters ‘shoot dead’ Belgium’s first wild wolf in more than 100 years

Opinion: Wolves play key role on Isle Royale – John A. Vucetich

In 2019, the U.S. The National Park Service began to restore wolf population to Isle Royale National Park. Some think the decision is relevant far beyond the remote island park and its denizens and has implications for what could be a new development in our relationship with nature.

The decision is noteworthy because it could seem in opposition to a century-old philosophy for letting nature take its course in protected areas like Isle Royale. Because Isle Royale is small and isolated, the wolf population has always, and quite naturally, been small and isolated. Nature’s course drives such populations to extinction.

Reasoning of that ilk benefits from a better account of the circumstances.

Here’s the best scientific understanding in a nutshell:

For decades wolves slipped past the adverse effects of inbreeding by occasionally receiving an infusion of fresh genes when, perhaps once a decade or so, a wolf would come to Isle Royale by crossing an ice bridge. With each passing decade, ice bridges have become less frequent, and the flow of new genes diminished. The wolves became inbred, and the population failed. The root cause had been human-caused climate warming which led to the loss of ice bridges.
via Opinion: Wolves play key role on Isle Royale

Opinion: Barry R. Noon: Wolves could benefit deer and elk populations in Colorado – Boulder Daily Camera

By Barry R. Noon

Gray wolves, a key component of Colorado’s natural heritage, are noticeably absent from the state’s landscape. Their absence reflects a long history of human persecution and intolerance. For example, many hunter advocacy groups view the re-establishment of a viable wolf population in Colorado as a threat to hunter success and to the abundance of deer, elk and moose (collectively called ungulates).

Unfortunately, the myth that wolves would compromise the health and vitality of ungulate populations in Colorado is as misguided and inaccurate as it is deep-seated.

Hunters have legitimate reasons to be concerned about the future of ungulate populations, but predation by wolves, or other predators, should not be part of their worries. Currently, the greatest threats faced by deer and elk result from the loss and fragmentation of winter range (a consequence of exurban encroachment and oil and gas development), declines in habitat quality arising from climate change (increasing temperatures and drought stress affecting food plants), increased poaching rates (particularly high near areas of oil and gas development), and an increasing prevalence of chronic wasting disease.
via Opinion: Barry R. Noon: Wolves could benefit deer and elk populations in Colorado – Boulder Daily Camera