Research links wolf color to survival and reproduction – Explore Big Sky

BIG SKY – Ongoing research in Yellowstone is revealing a curious relationship between a wolf’s coat color and its health. Preliminary studies with CRISPR technology—a tool for editing genomes—shows that something different is going on when a black wolf is exposed to canine distemper versus one that is gray.

Through a partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles, biologists from Yellowstone National Park developed cell cultures derived from skin swabs from the ears of wild Yellowstone wolves.

“This is the first time that cell lines [or cell cultures] have been developed and gone through such experimentation from a wild animal,” said park biologist Dan Stahler during the Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem held at Big Sky Resort in mid-September. Stahler is the project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project.

via Research links wolf color to survival and reproduction – Explore Big Sky

Washington wolf issues are heated, but experts urge perspective | The Spokesman-Review

MOSES LAKE – Julia Smith is a relative newbie when it comes to Washington’s wolf issues.

But the statewide wolf coordinator is no newbie to the predatory canines. Prior to coming to WDFW nine months ago, she worked with wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. That work gives her a larger perspective on Washington’s wolf issues.

“Wolf conflict is heated here,” she said during an interview at the Wolf Advisory Group meeting Tuesday. “But it’s much lower here.”

That may be hard to believe during a summer dominated by news of wolves killing and injuring cattle, the state killing wolves, environmental groups filing lawsuits and WDFW canceling a series of statewide meetings due to threats of violence.

Still, Smith said there’s reason for optimism, despite those issues.

“Look at how wolves didn’t exist here 10 years ago,” she said. “That’s important to me. That’s incredible to me. That’s a success story.”

via Washington wolf issues are heated, but experts urge perspective | The Spokesman-Review

Fearing violence, officials cancel public meetings on managing Washington wolf packs | The Seattle Times

A motion-triggered wildlife camera near the den of the original Profanity Peak pack captures the family in 2016. Seven pack members were shot by Department of Fish and Wildlife after the wolves killed cattle on public land at the Colville National Forest.  (WSU wolf livestock research program)

State officials have canceled a series of public meetings about possible changes to the state’s wolf-management policy, citing fear of violence.

The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife had planned 14 public meetings from Spokane to Montesano to kick off a yearslong process of creating a new wolf-management policy, once wolves are no longer protected under the state and federal endangered species acts.

Instead, the department is hosting online webinars. The dates have not yet been announced.

via Fearing violence, officials cancel public meetings on managing Washington wolf packs | The Seattle Times

The Key Arguments for Both Sides of the Wolf Reintroduction Debate in Colorado | OutThere Colorado

Mexican gray wolf escapes

The debate over whether or not wolves should be reintroduced into Colorado’s landscape is a hot one right now. Both sides seem to have plenty of support behind how they feel from potential impact on the local ecosystem to whether or not humans will be at risk.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the arguments that each side tends to use in this debate.

via The Key Arguments for Both Sides of the Wolf Reintroduction Debate in Colorado | OutThere Colorado

Americans’ love of hiking has driven elk to the brink, scientists say | Environment | The Guardian

Increasing numbers of outdoor recreationists – everything from hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry skiers to Jeep, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders, aren’t good for Elk populations.

Biologists used to count over 1,000 head of elk from the air near Vail, Colorado. The majestic brown animals, a symbol of the American west, dotted hundreds of square miles of slopes and valleys.

But when researchers flew the same area in February for an annual elk count, they saw only 53.

“Very few elk, not even many tracks,” their notes read. “Lots of backcountry skiing tracks.”

The surprising culprit isn’t expanding fossil-fuel development, herd mismanagement by state agencies or predators, wildlife managers say. It’s increasing numbers of outdoor recreationists – everything from hikers, mountain bikers and backcountry skiers to Jeep, all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders. Researchers are now starting to understand why.
via Americans’ love of hiking has driven elk to the brink, scientists say | Environment | The Guardian

Alberta considers expansion of ‘unethical’ wolf killing program: Conservation group | News

A conservation group is calling on Albertans to speak up to the provincial government — and demand that it to stop killing Canadian wolves in its efforts to recover the Woodland Caribou population before it’s too late.

via Alberta considers expansion of ‘unethical’ wolf killing program: Conservation group | News

Greene: Will Colorado roll out the red carpet for the gray wolf? | CanyonCourier.com

Ready or not, you could be approached by someone wielding a clipboard who wants to educate you about the Gray Wolves Initiative.

The plan will require Colorado’s Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop and implement a plan to reintroduce gray wolves to the state’s Western Slope. In 2020, voters could have the opportunity to weigh in on whether they are willing to bring back the apex predator that has been absent from Colorado since 1940.

Excitement elicited by June’s confirmed sighting of a lone wolf near the Wyoming border rippled through the state. However, many wolf biologists believe that waiting for wolves to independently return to Colorado to establish a sustainable population could take decades.

Wolves ran afoul of settlers in the early 1600s, and a bounty was declared in the colony of Massachusetts. In 1940, the last Colorado wolf was trapped and killed. But public sentiment began to pivot, and by the early 1990s, Americans began to recognize and value the wolf’s place in nature.

via Greene: Will Colorado roll out the red carpet for the gray wolf? | CanyonCourier.com