Yellowstone National Park Uses Facebook Live To Commemorate Wolf Reintrodution | MTPR

This photo was taken Jan. 12 1995 when the first wolf arrived in Yellowstone at the Crystal Bench Pen.

Yellowstone National Park wildlife biologists will host Facebook Live events each Tuesday in March to commemorate the 25th anniversary of wolf reintroduction in the park.

In the first Facebook Live Mar. 3, Senior Wildlife Biologist Doug Smith will recap the events leading up to the transfer of eight gray wolves from Jasper National Park in Canada to Yellowstone in 1995.

Smith says wolves have been and remain a controversial species.

“But there’s isolated problems about everything. And really, it’s made the world’s first national park a better place, a more complete ecosystem. We have all the original mammals back in place,” Smith said.

Subsequent Tuesdays will highlight some of the scientific discoveries learned in the last 25 years, wolves’ effect on visitors’ experience and the global impact of their reintroduction.

“The high profile of Yellowstone, the high profile of wolves definitely has been seen across the globe. Wolves have increased all over Europe because of human tolerance, not because of growth in habitat. You know, they’re trying to bring back carnivores in other places in Asia and Africa,” Smith said.

On the last Tuesday of the month, Smith will talk about the future of wolves and discuss the relationship between the keystone species and people.

Wolves were routinely killed in Yellowstone in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The last wolf pack in the park was wiped out in 1926. Congress listed the gray wolf as endangered in 1974, paving the way for their reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho two decades later.

As of January, there were at least 94 wolves in the park. Wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 108 wolves since 2009.

Yellowstone’s Facebook Live events will take place each Tuesday in March at 11 A.M. Mountain Standard Time.

via Yellowstone National Park Uses Facebook Live To Commemorate Wolf Reintrodution | MTPR

House votes to ban introduction of wolves in Utah – Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid a few playful wolf howls by legislators, the Utah House of Representatives voted 54-13 on Friday to approve a resolution prohibiting the “artificial” introduction of the predator into Utah.

HCR19, sponsored by Rep. Logan Wilde, R-Croydon, makes clear Utah does not want wolves and does not want to go the way of its neighbor, Colorado, which has a voter initiative later this year on the ballot for the introduction of wolves into the state.

“What Colorado is doing will have impacts on us in this state,” said Rep. Casey Snider, R-Paradise, who said he strongly supports the resolution and is in “stark opposition” to the Colorado initiative.

Wilde said it is important to leave the management of species to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which monitors big game populations and other animals in a comprehensive wildlife plan.

“The concerns we have is every time someone introduces something artificially without science behind it … we end up having to go in and declare that an invasive species,” Wilde said.

There are no documented cases of wolves presently in Utah.

Wilde said there are populations of the Mexican gray wolf south of Utah and the Rocky Mountain wolf north of the state, which serves as a buffer zone.

“What science has added is that if these two wolves start to co-mingle, breed together there will be a hybrid come out of this,” Wilde said.

Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, had concerns over the resolution.

“I am not sure I feel comfortable restricting the natural wolf (that) would be in this state or this area,” Maloy said.

The measure now moves to the Utah Senate.

via House votes to ban introduction of wolves in Utah – Deseret News

Western Slope prepping for wolves |


Since Colorado’s last wild wolves were killed in the 1930s, a few lone animals have been spotted in the state. So, when a pack was spotted in northwest Colorado — several months before Colorado voters decide whether they’ll support a bill to reintroduce gray wolves to the state — it wasn’t a total surprise to Carbondale ecologist Delia Malone.

“It does give life to the idea that Colorado has ample suitable habitat for wolves,” said Malone, a member of the science advisory team for the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, which hopes to reestablish a sustainable population of wolves in Colorado.

Malone and Colorado wildlife officials agree that the rural northwest corner of the state is well-suited for wolves. CPW isn’t releasing the pack’s exact location, but agency spokesperson Lauren Truitt says there is plenty of prey and room to roam.

“With Colorado not having any wolf presence, there’s not a whole lot of competition for them, so it’s very likely that they’ll hang around,” Truitt said.

CPW biologists used DNA testing on four scat samples, which revealed there are at least three females and one male in the pack, and those wolves are all closely related, probably as full siblings.

“That does not mean there’s a sustainable population of wolves in Colorado,” Malone said. “A sustainable, recovered population is a population that is ecologically effective in their role to restore natural balance; they’re well-distributed throughout Colorado; they’re well-connected. And six little wolves is not that.”

Malone says her work as an ecologist gives her a clear view that Colorado needs wolves.

via Western Slope prepping for wolves |

Photographic evidences of Indian grey wolf (Canis lupus pallipes) in Sundargarh forest division, Odisha, India


The Indian grey wolf (Canis lupuspallipes) is a rare and lesser-known top predator in India. A rapid camera trapping survey was conducted to assess the large carnivores and their preys in the Sundargarh forest division, Odisha, India. Two individuals of Indian grey wolf were recorded during the survey offering the first photographic evidence of the Indian grey wolf outside protected areas of Odisha. This record increases knowledge on the distribution of the species. More extensive surveys are needed to understand the distribution and population dynamics of Indian grey wolf in the area. We provide photographic evidence of Indian grey wolves and highlight the importance of Odisha forest for species conservation.
via 2019_Photographic_evidences_of_Indian_grey_wolf20200222-95774-caszvq.pdf

Fish and Wildlife Commission tightens wolf, elk hunting rules | State & Regional |


Elk Wolf Stand OffThe Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission tightened wolf hunting rules near Yellowstone National Park and reduced elk shoulder seasons in west-central Montana Thursday.

The subject of elk and wolves together took up the bulk of the rule-making body’s daylong meeting in Helena, which was streamed to Fish, Wildlife and Parks Regional Offices around the state. By the time the agency’s wolf proposals came up towards the end, the commission limited commenters to 3 minutes each.

Wolf management has drawn intense debate since the state took over management of them in 2011, and commenters had plenty to share about the state’s latest proposals. In December, Fish, Wildlife and Parks had suggested reducing the hunting quotas in Wolf Management Units 313 and 316, just north of Yellowstone, from two each to one each. Then, earlier this month, it changed course and proposed keeping them at two.

For Region 1 in the state’s northwest corner, the agency had proposed extending the general wolf hunting season from Sept. 15-March 15 to Aug. 15-March 31, moving the wolf trapping season end date from Feb. 28 to March 15, and increasing the individual limit from five wolves per person to 10.

It fell to the commissioners to adopt or reject these rules. In the weeks leading up to their meeting, the wolf rules received more than 900 comments online, from as far away as Florida, Hawaii and the United Kingdom.

When it came up for discussion, Commissioner Pat Byorth motioned to keep Region 1 on the 2019 wolf hunting regulations, but accept Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ proposal to maintain districts 313’s and 316’s quotas at two wolves each. He explained that in his view, “the Region 1 proposal came late, and it’s a sea change, and it’s going to have implications for wolf management in a bunch of other regions and so to have it at this late date just doesn’t sit right with me.”

As for the wolf quotas in 313 and 316, Byorth argued that reducing them was not likely to increase wolf sightings in Yellowstone or affect the area’s elk population.

The first commenter, Illona Popper of Gardiner, called for a reduction of the Yellowstone-area districts’ quotas to one each — or, ideally, none at all. A member of the Bear Creek Council, she said that “the wolves are valued intrinsically as wildlife that is crucial to our ecosystem also for tourism, which is crucial to our economy and research, which is crucial to the world.”

But soon afterwards, Mark Lambrecht, director of government affairs for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, said that group supported the department’s proposals to both expand offerings in Region 1 and maintain the quotas at two near Yellowstone. “Wolves, like other wildlife, require management according to biological and social capacities. For those reasons, we support the proposal.”

via Fish and Wildlife Commission tightens wolf, elk hunting rules | State & Regional |

Health of packs studied, new wolves identified in annual Mexican gray wolf count – azcentral

A 1-year-old wolf pup is examined for general health during the annual Mexican gray wolf count on Feb. 1, 2020, in the Apache National Forest near Alpine. A consortium of federal and state agencies responsible for managing wild populations of the endangered canine visually counts packs and pack members and evaluates wolves for general health.

ALPINE — On a clear, frosty February day in eastern Arizona, ice hugs sidewalks and piles up in the shade of pine trees, steep slopes and buildings. Snowdrifts from a recent storm paint the nearby slopes glittering white in the bright sunlight, the promise of a warmer day ahead.

But while the temperature is just 36 degrees, the timing is right for the annual count of the endangered Mexican gray wolf across east-central Arizona and western New Mexico. The process usually stretches from November to the beginning of February.

For the past three months, biologists and technicians have roamed the region enumerating wolves and their packs in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila national forests. They’re members of the Interagency Field Team, a consortium of federal, tribal and state agencies charged with ensuring the recovery of one of the country’s most imperiled wolf species.

On this day, a group of nearly 20 biologists, technicians, managers and volunteers were gathering for the next step in the count, to survey at least one member of each Mexican gray wolf pack in Arizona and New Mexico and collar wolves that were previously not collared.

The annual count is critical in the ongoing effort to rebuild the population of wolves on a landscape where the predator was once all but eradicated.

The government tracks the progress of the wolves’ recovery using the wild population, which has increased an average of 12% since 2009. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2017 recovery plan says that one goal for taking the wolf off the endangered species list is demonstrating an average of 320 wolves over an 8-year period. The 2018 count showed that the wild wolf population grew to 131 from 117, with 64 of them roaming Arizona.

Locating and collaring previously uncontacted wolves supports another key goal of the recovery plan: widening the packs’ genetic pool. Each “new” wolf has a DNA sample taken. The results become part of the “studbook,” a listing of every known wolf, living and dead, in the recovery program.

Because the entire population of wolves, both in the wild and in captivity, is descended from just seven canids, increasing genetic diversity is vital to their long-term viability.

Read more: Health of packs studied, new wolves identified in annual Mexican gray wolf count

Yellowstone biologist reflections on wolves and elk | Open Spaces |

Doug Smith 2

Doug Smith arrived in Yellowstone National Park in 1994 with orders to reintroduce wolves. The same year, a cow elk numbered 1125, was born.

On Jan. 30, 25 years after wolves repopulated northwest Wyoming, grizzly bears came back from the brink and mountain lions re-established themselves, elk 1125 finally died, giving into the weather, a predator or perhaps something else entirely.

Yellowstone National Park senior wildlife biologist is picture with a wolf. Smith arrived in the park in 1994 to reintroduce wolves.
Courtesy, Doug Smith

Smith, 59, tried finding her collar on Tuesday, hoping to definitively say what killed the oldest elk collared in Yellowstone National Park. But signals from her collar were too difficult to trace. After hours of skiing through the backcountry, the senior wildlife biologist and and a team turned around, knowing she will likely be buried by snow soon and then scavenged until she’s no more than bones.

People think of Smith as the wolf guy. He’s spent years at public meetings and in hundreds of interviews talking about wolves. But over the years, he’s felt more connected to that elk.

“We all need touchstones, and this gal out there. Every step of the way was with me in Yellowstone,” he said. “Her life was unsung and mine has been this exciting slog through the wolf world and government bureaucracy, and I wondered how she did it.”

The Star-Tribune caught up with Smith to talk to him about the past 25 years, what he has seen, what elk 1125 likely saw, and what is next for Yellowstone’s elk and wolves.

CST: What was the environment like when you arrived in Wyoming? Were you prepared for the divisiveness?

Smith: I was. Having been interested in wolves most of my life, I had 16 years prior wolf experience, and controversy and wolves go hand in hand. They’re a polarizing topic, sadly, agonizingly, and they’re emotional.

But every time I sat down with a rancher or hunter I always liked them. That was the attitude I came in. I get this, it is the right thing to do, it’s backed by policy and law, but it doesn’t have to be that bad. You can have wolves and hunting and ranching altogether. I was optimistic.

Read more Yellowstone biologist reflections on wolves and elk | Open Spaces |