Western Slope prepping for wolves | Aspen Journalism

 

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.

“Our ecosystems are not in great shape,” Malone said.

The combination of a warming climate and lack of predators has reduced the resilience of Colorado’s aspen forests and other habitats. Malone said the presence of wolves has tremendous benefits, including improving water availability in the driest months of the year.

“They (wolves) move the elk so that they don’t overgraze, so that there’s willow left for the beavers to build their dams, to store their water, to supply streamflows in the late-summer season,” Malone said.

Malone and others point to the ecological benefits seen after wolf recovery in Yellowstone National Park as a model. The National Park Service says that without pressure from predators such as wolves, the elk population grew far beyond what was sustainable. The number of elk has since reached healthier levels.

via Western Slope prepping for wolves | Aspen Journalism

Gazette opinion: Yellowstone wolves worth more alive than dead | Editorial | billingsgazette.com

Wolf moving through fresh snow

What’s a gray wolf worth in Montana?

For licensed resident hunters, it’s an extra $10 for a wolf tag, $50 if you want to shoot five. Trapping is allowed, too.

For most of Yellowstone National Park’s visitors, who collectively spend tens of millions of dollars in Montana annually, wolves are part of the natural attraction that lures them to Montana from all over the world.

Meeting in Helena last week, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission reduced the limit on wolf harvest in two management units bordering YNP from two wolf kills per year in each district to one wolf kill per year. That means instead of four Yellowstone wolves being legally shot or trapped on the park border between Gardiner and Silver Gate, only two can be in the 2020-2021 season.
Read more  Gazette opinion: Yellowstone wolves worth more alive than dead | Editorial | billingsgazette.com

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

Advocating for Wolves in Idaho – CounterPunch.org

 

I recently testified before the Idaho Fish and Game Commission opposing proposals to increase wolf-killing and allow glorified wolf baiting in Idaho. I pointed out that since the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) does not have a wolf population estimate based on radio collar data and aerial surveys, increasing wolf killing does not reflect science-based management.

And, I reminded the Commission that it rejected a similar proposal to allow wolf baiting after overwhelming public opposition in 2017. I also spoke in favor of restricting body-gripping Conibear traps, which can be lethal to pets.

When I returned to my seat, a self-identified trapper told me I’d better hurry to my car at the end of the evening.

Advocating for wolves in Idaho means addressing a hostile audience and being exposed to threats from bullies emboldened by having the Commission’s ear. As I left the meeting, I wondered what exactly that man was threatening me with, or for—but his remark served its purpose of warning me that expressing a pro-wolf position before the Commission is unpopular, if not downright dangerous.

The Commission is composed of men, not one of whom could accurately identify himself as a conservationist or wolf advocate. Until the Commission’s composition accurately reflects the diversity of wildlife interests in Idaho, it is stifling voices of thousands of Idahoans who support conservation of wolves and other wildlife species. It’s time for wildlife conservation interests have an equal voice in Idaho’s wildlife management policy—or at least a safe seat at the table.

Talasi Brooks is a Staff Attorney, based in Western Watersheds Project’s Boise, Idaho office.

via Advocating for Wolves in Idaho – CounterPunch.org

Two wolf pups killed by vehicle in Yellowstone | All Abc Fox | abcfoxmontana.com

Junction Butte Pack wolves
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Yellowstone officers reported two wolf pups were killed after they were struck by a vehicle near Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance on Tuesday evening, November 19.

Park officers say the pups belonged to the Junction Butte Pack–one was male and the other was female.

According to park officers, the pack lived in a den nearby a busy hiking trail in the northeastern portion of the park and became too comfortable around humans summer of 2019.

Their den was closed off by park officials in order to prevent human and pup interaction. However, some visitors failed to obey the 100-yard separation from wildlife rule and interacted with the pups when they came close to the trail.

via Two wolf pups killed by vehicle in Yellowstone | All Abc Fox | abcfoxmontana.com

Isle Royale Wolf Project Researchers Document Summer Predation – Isle Royale National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Two researchers kneel and sit around wolf scat recording information.

MICH– The National Park Service (NPS) in collaboration with the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) concluded summer predation monitoring by the wolves introduced to the Isle Royale ecosystem in the fall of 2018 and winter of 2019. This marks the first time wolf predation has been monitored on Isle Royale during snow-free periods. The monitoring effort utilized the most recent advances in the study of wolf predation patterns.

Park staff and research partners from SUNY-ESF used GPS data from collars on the introduced wolves to identify “clusters” of locations that signified areas where wolves spent extended periods of time. Between May and October, field crews visited 381 of these sites, determined wolf behavior associated with site use, and located the remains of 60 prey, including primarily moose, beavers, and snowshoe hares.
Read more  Isle Royale Wolf Project Researchers Document Summer Predation – Isle Royale National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Uncovering the secretive lives of Minnesota’s North Woods wolves – StarTribune.com

On a bitterly cold January afternoon in 2011, Tom Gable was snowmobiling to his family’s remote cabin near Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario.

Suddenly, on his right flank, a dark figure appeared across the frozen lake. “Initially, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at … but then I realized it was a wolf,” he said. “I could hardly believe it — I had never seen a wolf before, let alone watch one for a minute or so. I was enthralled.”

It wouldn’t be Gable’s last encounter. Far from it. Since 2015, Gable, 28, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, has been the project lead for the Voyageurs Wolf  Project — an ongoing research effort to uncover the secretive lives of North Woods wolves. It began as a small project in 2012 at Voyageurs National Park and increased in scope and intensity in 2015.

Read more…  Uncovering the secretive lives of Minnesota’s North Woods wolves – StarTribune.com