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

Gray wolves from China’s provinces have various lineages: research – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Gray wolves from China’s provinces have various lineages: research
Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-22 16:13:23|Editor: Li Xia

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese researchers have disclosed that gray wolves from the country’s different regions derived from different lineages, according to a recent study paper published in the journal iScience.

Gray wolves, or Canis lupus, are one of many widely distributed terrestrial mammals in Eurasia, North America and North Africa.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) sequenced six specimens from wolf skins around the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guizhou, Heilongjiang and Jilin.

They found that the gray wolves from the first three provinces derived from a single lineage, distinct from those from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and northern regions.

The results also indicated that the interspecific gene flow in the genus of Canis likely played an important role in its speciation.

The research approach on ancient DNA can be a remarkable reference for animal museums, said the paper.
via Gray wolves from China’s provinces have various lineages: research – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Sen. Mike Phillips speaks on restoring gray wolves to Colorado

University of Colorado Boulder students may have seen the various volunteers around campus asking their signature question, “Are you a Colorado voter?” These volunteers are working for the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, an organization dedicated to bringing the gray wolf back to the Colorado mountains.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, Montana Sen. Mike Phillips came to the CU campus to speak on the subject.

Phillips is a conservation biologist whose career has focused on species recovery. He is the leader of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project and its sister organization, the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, through which he educates people on the history of gray wolves and garners signatures and donations for the cause.
via Sen. Mike Phillips speaks on restoring gray wolves to Colorado

Study suggests monogamous wolves make better parents | The Spokesman-Review

In the rugged, sometimes violent world of the wolf, it pays to have mom and dad around.

The longer wolf couples are together, the more likely their offspring are to survive into adulthood, according to new research from the University of Idaho.

According to the study, which will be published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, for each year a wolf pair stays together, the odds of their pups surviving into adulthood increased 20%.

Put another way, “they get 20% better at what they do every year,” study author David Ausband said.

The study used nine years of scat data collected by Ausband and others from wolves throughout Idaho.
via Study suggests monogamous wolves make better parents | The Spokesman-Review

Himalayan wolf foraging ecology and the importance of wild prey – ScienceDirect

Abstract

Carnivore predation on livestock and game species leads to human-carnivore conflict. Thus, understanding the foraging ecology of threatened carnivores is important for conservation planning. We explore the summer diet of the Himalayan wolf, and of sympatric carnivores, based on the analysis of 257 field collected and genetically confirmed scat samples collected across three study areas in the Himalayas of Nepal (Humla, Dolpa, and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area) and two study areas on the Tibetan Plateau of China (Zhaqing and Namsai Township). We compared the prey species consumed to the relative availability of wild and domestic prey species. Himalayan wolves tend to select wild over domestic prey, smaller (e.g., Tibetan gazelle, Procapra picticaudata) over larger sized wild ungulates (e.g. White-lipped deer, Cervus albirostris), and plains-dwelling (Tibetan gazelle) over cliff-dwelling ungulates (naur, Pseudois nayaur). Tibetan gazelle was consistently selected for by the Himalayan wolf and smaller mammals such as Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana), woolly hare (Lepus oiostolus) and pikas (Ochotona spp.) are important supplementary food resources. Himalayan wolves avoided livestock which showed a seasonal high abundance, that exceeded many-fold the abundance of wild prey species during the summer study period. Given this seasonally high livestock abundance, depredation by Himalayan wolves is inevitable and a major conservation concern. Habitat encroachment and depletion of wild prey populations are important drivers of this conflict. But we found that livestock was avoided when wild prey was available, a finding that can direct conservation. We conclude that the protection of Himalayan wolves, and other sympatric carnivores can be enhanced by a) securing healthy wild prey populations (ungulates and small mammals) through setting aside wildlife habitat refuges, and b) more sustainable livestock herding including reduced livestock loads, and improved herding practices and protection.
via Himalayan wolf foraging ecology and the importance of wild prey – ScienceDirect