Volume 10, Issue 132, October 2015

SAFHOWL

The Monthly Free E-Newsletter of South African Friends of Wolves

Volume 10, Issue 132, October 2015

From the Editor’s Desk

While new incidents of canned hunting in public places by mentally disturbed people have been very prominent in the news over the recent weeks, it has actually been hard to find updates on the fate of the wolves in the US. Why this is so, I have no idea, and I am sure they are still suffering. Next to the imperilled gray wolves in the northern states and the almost extinct red wolves in the southeast, now it’s also the equally nigh-extinct Mexican wolves in the central south. What is behind it will make you shake your head in disbelief – read the News section for yourself.

Motivated by a documentary on the Iberian wolf we watched recently we did some research and found an interesting write-up on the effects of a EU-ordinance that compels livestock farmers to remove perished cattle. The problems caused by this first showed in a population decline of the exceedingly rare European vulture, but the absence of carrion has also forced the rare Iberian wolf to change its feeding habits – with attacks on livestock having increased in number. What the write-up quoted here does not state, however, is that while the authorities in Galicia enforce compliance with this ordinance, they will also issue permits to hunt wolves every year and thus contravene the EU-ordinance on the conservation of endangered species.

As usual, we have a dramatic wolf tale, and Erin is back, reporting on her efforts to keep her pack, or rather one particularly headstrong member of it, safe.

Enjoy our October newsletter,
Ed.

News from the Wolf Front

National

Nothing to report

International

From Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org)

USA: For the love of lobos

The future of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves, or lobos, is being sabotaged by politicians, and these animals are running out of time.

We need your immediate help to break the deadlock.

At issue is the urgent need to release more wolves into suitable habitat in New Mexico. But New Mexico’s governor is attempting to block the move, largely out of disdain for the federal government.

The Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, has the authority to override the governor and approve the release of lobos.

Tell Secretary Jewell to issue a go-ahead order to release more lobos into the New Mexico wild lands:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=3_9hnMbbHGf99hw0bjZG5g

The lobo literally can’t survive these pointless delays. Fewer than 130 of these unique wolves, once an icon of the American Southwest, survive in the entire world. Their recovery has been hamstrung by political manoeuvring and by hesitation on the part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to do its job in the face of state objections.

The release of additional animals is a critical step toward increasing the genetic diversity and overall health of wild lobo packs. Without urgent action, the world’s most endangered gray wolf subspecies could become extinct in the wild in a matter of years.

Please take action today:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=hwXG57BzwxbzHNUglxDFYA

Thanks for all you do for our imperilled wildlife.

From CBC News
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/wolves-trapped-killed-after-dogs-attacked-earlier-this-year-says-manitoba-conservation-1.3267155)

Canada: Wolves trapped and killed after attacking dogs earlier this year

According to the Manitoba Conservation two black wolves have been killed in the Victoria Beach and Hillside Beach area north of Winnipeg. It is believed that they are the same animals responsible for the fatal attacks on dogs earlier this year.

After three dogs had been killed by a wolf pack in September the province sent a trapper to the area. A fourth dog was also injured in a separate attack.

Barry Verbiwski, head of  fur-bearer and human wildlife conflict management at Manitoba Conservation said that the trapper is still searching for two other wolves, and he’s asking pet owners to remain vigilant.

He warned dog owners not to chain their dogs up in the backyard, because the dog won’t be able to defend itself if a wolf does come through.

Hair and tissue samples from the wolves that were killed have been sent for DNA analysis.

Their remains are now with the provincial vet , who will check their stomach contents to determine if either animal was involved in the dog attacks earlier this year.

From Statesman Journal
(http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/2015/10/07/2016-hunting-rules-wolves-top-agenda/73531914/)

USA: 2016 hunting rules, wolves top agenda

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will approve the 2016 big-game hunting rules, the top action item on the agenda when it meets Friday in Florence.

But the hottest topic at the meeting will be a proposal to take gray wolves off the state Endangered Species List, which has drawn nearly 6,000 written comments.

And a vote about de-listing won’t even be held until the Nov. 9 commission meeting in Salem. The Friday agenda item is for taking some of the anticipated huge volume of verbal public comments about the proposal.

The meeting starts at 8 a.m. at the Driftwood Shores Resort, 88416 First Ave.

The de-listing proposal is on the table because Oregon’s Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to take the predators off the state list when there are four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon.

The criteria were met in early 2015 after the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife documented 10 packs and nine breeding pairs of wolves in 2014. A breeding pair is an adult male and female wolf with at least two pups that survive through Dec. 31.

The overwhelming majority of written comments support a continued listing, but the bulk of those are postcard, note card and boilerplate email submissions from organized “send the following message” solicitations.

On the item about the 2016 hunting regulations, some of the hot topics include allowing archery hunters to use lighted nocks, adding a new Premium Hunt series for drawings for an additional deer, elk or antelope tag with extended seasons; changing the renewal period for hunters with a disability permit from every two years to every five years, legislatively mandated prohibitions of the use of “drones” to aid in hunting, trapping and fishing; and to adopt rules that clarify public access to the new Lower Deschutes River Ranch, which has been added to the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area.

The full agenda, complete with links to all of the public correspondence on all of the agenda items, is online at stjr.nl/October_commission.

From California Wolfcenter
(californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

Endangered Species Updates September 1-30, 2015

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), and New Mexico. Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at(888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

To view semi-monthly wolf telemetry flight location information please visit www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf/RWL.cfm

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at(888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of September 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 48 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 21 packs and three single wolves. Members of the IFT continue pup counts this month and have so far counted 43 pups produced by 11 packs in the MWEPA.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1331, f1333, m1382, m1404, and f1405)

In September, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). Bluestem wolves’ f1333, m1382, and m1404 have been located in their traditional territory during the month, while m1331 has been located separate from the pack in New Mexico. Wolf f1405 has been located separate from the pack in eastern Arizona.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)

In September, the Elk Horn Pack continued to make broad movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. Visuals on the pack have not confirmed the presence of pups.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, AF1280, m1383, and f1439)

In September, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to document Hawks Nest utilizing a rendezvous site in September. A diversionary food cache was maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock. Wolf fp1438 was found dead this month. The incident is under investigation.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290 and mp1441)

In August, AM1290 remained localized in the north-central portion of the ASNF. In September, the IFT documented AM1290 travelling with another adult wolf and at least two pups. A male pup born in April (mp1441) was captured and collared by the IFT.

Marble Pack (collared AF1340, mp1440, and fp1442)

The IFT continued to document a male wolf with a non-functional radio collar travelling with AF1340 in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to document the Marble Pack utilizing a rendezvous site in September. The IFT also documented a minimum of five pups travelling with the Marble Pack. The IFT captured and collared a second pup born this year (fp1442). A diversionary food cache was maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, and f1335)

During September, the Maverick Pack travelled within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (F1339 and M1394)

The IFT has documented denning behaviour from the Panther Creek Pack, and has documented a minimum of one pup. The Panther Creek Pack has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF. A diversionary food cache has been set up to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Rim Pack (AF1305)

In September, AF1305 has remained in the traditional Rim Pack territory in the central portion of the ASNF.

Bear Wallow Pack (m1338 and f1335)

This pack continues to utilize the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Single M1161 (Collared)

M1161 has not been located during the month of September. The IFT believes the collar has failed.

ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared 1437)

During September, the Diamond Pack was located on the FAIR.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343 and AF1283)

During September, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)

During September, AM1051 of the Coronado Pack was not located.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, m1354 and m1347)

During September, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)

In September, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack within their traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and AF1278)

In September, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF. The IFT captured and re-collared the breeding pair (AM1240 and AF1278) in late September. The IFT continues to document denning behaviour in this pack during the month.

Lava Pack (collared M1285 and F1295)

In September, the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory between the Gila Wilderness and the Elk Mountains. The IFT has documented pups produced by the Lava pack. Two diversionary food caches have been maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)

In September, AM1155 remained in the Luna Pack territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. Luna wolves AM1155 and m1398 have been documented travelling at different times together during the month of September.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251, m1386 and f1392)

During September, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT continues to document denning behaviour in this pack during the month. The IFT attempted to trap other members of the Prieto Pack this month to collar additional wolves, but efforts were unsuccessful. A diversionary food cache has been set up and maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and M1345)

During September, the San Mateo pack was located within their traditional territory in north eastern portions of the GNF.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, f1390 and f1397)

In September, the IFT located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT was unsuccessful at trapping the Willow Springs pack in September.

M1284 (collared)

During September, M1284 was located by the IFT within the GNF in New Mexico.

m1350 (collared)

Wolf m1350 was not located during September.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296)

During September, M1296 made large movements in and outside the north eastern portion of the GNF in New Mexico.

MORTALITIES

In September, fp1438 from the Hawks Nest Pack was found dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.

In September, f1390 a, dispersing wolf from the Willow Springs Pack, was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.

INCIDENTS

During September, there were 8 livestock depredation reports involving wolves and no nuisance reports.

On September 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Coyote Creek in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was a probable wolf kill.

On September 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow south of Tenney Mountain in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow had been killed by wolves. The Depredation was assigned to the Bluestem Pack.

On September 7, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Greens Peak Arizona. The investigation determined the calf died of pneumonia.

On September 7, Wildlife Services investigated a second dead calf near Greens Peak in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was killed by lightening.

On September 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf south of Reservation Lake in Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was killed by lightening.

On September 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow south of Reservation Lake. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves. The incident was assigned to the Maverick Pack.

On September 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Williams Valley Arizona. The investigation determined the calf was killed by a motor vehicle collision.

On September 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Williams Valley in Arizona. The investigation determined that the cow was killed by a motor vehicle collision.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On September 9, an IFT member gave a presentation on wolves to a Boy Scout troop near Carnero Lake in Arizona.

On September 26 and 27, the IFT ran a wolf information booth at the Wildlife Fair in Pinetop Arizona.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

No significant activity to report.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

Other News

National

Nothing to report

Next Door

From Johnny Rodrigues, Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (www.zctfofficialsite.org)

ZCTF Report – 2nd October 2015

APOLOGY

In our newsletter of 18th September the first paragraph dealt with a report concerning animal skins seen on a truck bearing the insignia of Mashonaland Tobacco, and suggesting that this might indicate that elephant skins are being shipped to China in tobacco containers, possibly underneath the tobacco.

We now accept that the vehicle in question was not one belonging to or connected with Mashonaland Tobacco, and that the implication that Mashonaland Tobacco might be a party to the unlawful contraband in wild animal products is completely without foundation. We acknowledge that we ought to have checked this story with Mashonaland Tobacco prior to issuing our newsletter, and we unreservedly apologise to the company for the publication of the news item.

The driver of the vehicle was Gilmore Masakwa and the vehicle registration was ACN 4587. He is apparently a member of the police force.

ELEPHANTS POISONED

Three elephants were found poisoned with cyanide in the Kariba area. One was still alive but had to be shot because it quite obviously was not going to survive. It is heartbreaking to see this type of cruelty to our wildlife.

  1. WALTER PALMER 14th October 2015

It is with great regret that we announce that the Zimbabwean authorities have decided not to prosecute Walter Palmer for killing Cecil the lion. According to them, all Palmer’s paperwork and documents were in order so he didn’t break any laws. We don’t agree with this at all and we intend to try other avenues to have him prosecuted.

OPEN SEASON ON ELEPHANTS

The rate at which elephants are being killed in Zimbabwe is truly disturbing. Last week, 14 were killed – 3 in Matusadona and 11 in Hwange National Park. 16 were found dead in Lupande and 10 in Chakabvi in Nyamatela. Many of these elephants have been poisoned with cyanide. 14 tusks have been recovered but the other tusks were taken by the poachers. The problem with the cyanide poisoning is that other animals are dying as well. 2 vultures were found poisoned after eating the carcass of one of the elephants and an eland was found snared. A packet containing 1 kilogram of cyanide was also found by the authorities. 36 carcasses were found near Sinamatella in Hwange National Park in the Dzivanini area. This totals 76 elephants killed in the past 2 weeks.

BIG TUSKER KILLED

A huge elephant with tusks weighing 122 pounds was killed in Gonarezhou by a German hunter. We suspect this elephant may have come from Kruger Park. His tusks were so big that they dragged along the ground when he was walking.

The most disappointing thing is that when a local Zimbabwean kills an animal for food for his family, he is sentenced to between 5 and 15 years in prison, but when a wealthy foreign hunter comes in and shoots an animal, he gets away with it. What message are we giving the people?

International

Nothing to report

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Mad cow disease and its influence on the diet of the Iberian Wolves

Canis lupus signatus, the Iberian wolf, also known as the Galician wolf, is a grey wolf subspecies native to Spain and Portugal. The major part of their diet is carrion, typically dead pigs and cattle, or that how is was till 2000, when the Iberian wolf started to change his diet.

Why? Because of Europe’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease crises, better known as mad cow disease.

At the outbreak of this disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), farmers and ranchers were forbidden to abandon dead and dying animals, as they usually did. Most of the ecological research on this subject looked at the effect of a lack of carrion on Europe’s vultures, but the wolves were also forced to adapt.

According to researchers at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Iberian wolves have started to rely on roe deer, wild boar and pony populations as a substitute for carrion.

Especially in the areas studied in western Galicia, researchers observed a decline in carrion consumption among wolves, and also found that livestock in general now plays a diminishing role in the wolves’ diet.

Felipe Barcena, co-author of the study, explained that the increasing number of roe deer and Galicia’s significant wild pony population made the disappearance of the cattle carrions less dramatic and allowed the wolves to change their diet and to strengthen their predatory niche.

Although roe deer seem to be the wolves’ favourite target, in different areas, and during different seasons, the wolves turn their focus to wild boars and ponies, and since the growing number s of wild boars across Europe have caused many ecological problems, conservationists welcome the predation of wild boars.

The not so nice side of this change is however, that although livestock attacks are down overall, those benefits have been mainly seen by goat and sheep farmers, while cattle ranchers have experienced an increase in wolf attacks.

This fact gives researchers a good reason to worry about the protection and recovery of the once endangered Iberian wolf. Conservationists are working together with cattle ranchers to develop new management practices that might result in a better protection of cattle without harming the wolf populations. Part of that process is to bolstering pony and roe deer numbers

to provide the wolves with ample hunting opportunities. In order to provide the wolves with plentiful wild prey sources and diversity habitat restoration work is an important step in this direction, because these are essential points to ensure that the wolf population can survive natural and artificial changes to its habitat, and to reduce conflicts with livestock.

With a strong habitat restoration effort, ecologists say farmers and ranchers could even be allowed to once again let animal carcasses be.

Original source:
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015/10/07/Mad-cow-disease-forced-Galician-wolves-to-alter-their-diets/2521444233473/

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 119

Wolf or Dog?

by MaukiWolf

The great, powerful creature ran through the woods, his heart beating fast. He was a strongly muscled canine. But what kind of canine? It was a mystery. He was enormous, that’s certain – thirty-eight inches tall at his shoulder, and weighing one-hundred and seventy pounds. He was built like your ordinary tundra gray wolf, but somehow he did not seem wolfish. His fur was similar in colour to a malamute’s, black and white, but it had silver and grey streaking through. His fur was wolf like enough. That wasn’t what made the creature un-wolf like. It was his eyes. True, they were large and rimmed in black, but the colour was not right somehow. No wolf had blue eyes. The creature’s irises were deep cerulean blue. He had inherited his blue eyes from his mother, who was 3/4 wolf and 1/4 malamute. His father had been an enormous black wolf, even larger than the blue-eyed creature. And presently, that blue-eyed creature fled, away from a terrible incident that had nearly cost him his life.

Because men, who had purchased him a while ago from an animal sanctuary, had recently decided to kill him for his luxurious pelt. This magnificent creature, a living, breathing animal, would have become a coat for some human. The wolf-dog stopped running, and looked back at the trail that his huge paws had worn. He had travelled for so long, and so far, and he decided to rest. Not to sleep. To simply rest. He shook himself back and forth to rid himself of the human scent, then sat. He listened to the quiet rustlings of the forest, his new home. Would he be able to hunt? Would he starve like the many wolf-dogs that humans dumped here? He did not know, nor did he contemplate over it. As he sat, a peculiar scent caught his nose. A scent that made the fur around his neck bristle. Despite his weariness, he trotted closer to the scent. A very odd feeling gripped him, and he could not stop himself. His massive shaggy head rose high, his long muzzle pointed up, and his deep, lilting voice cascaded out in a cloud of mist. Any hiker nearby who heard it would have heard what was undoubtedly a wolf. But no hikers heard it. Only a group of large grey dogs that were more than just dogs.

With silent golden eyes and pricked ears, they cocked their heads and loped towards the sound that called to them, in their own language, telling them to come. They came upon a large black, grey and silver animal, and sniffed it curiously. The animal, the wolf-dog, showed no signs of aggression. The wolf pack invited him closer, not discriminating against him because of his dog heritage. The wolves licked him and treated him as one of their own, and soon one wolf whined softly, asking him to run with them, to become their brother. The wolf-dog smiled a wolf smile, and spanked his forelegs on the ground playfully. The wolves ran, the wolf-dog somewhere among the crowd. He was no longer a dog. A wolf he had become.

This story is dedicated to Ramo, a very special friend of mine, who is 97% wolf and 3% Alaskan malamute. He is the wolf-dog in this story, and looks exactly as described. He will always be a symbol of the wolf to me.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary

By Erin

Oh boy, as happy as we are about the newly found confidence of Aqua, it is now starting to cause some problems we thought we had overcome a long time ago – breaking down fences and opening gates. There is this big gate at the end of the backyard that separates the garden from the carport area and the driveway, and I reported last time how Aqua enjoys running up and down the driveway when we come home and Ted opens this gate to drive through. This gate is held close with a chain hooked over a hook on the pole and a padlock pushed through the chain and the fence on the pole. Now, it is obviously much more fun to do that if the others are still in the garden area and Aqua can chase them up and down along the fence without them being able to get into the driveway too. First, Aqua got the idea to rip a hole into the fence covering the gate, big enough to get his head through, and then push and push until the rest of him would also fit through, and out he was. Ted and I were out shopping, and when we came back and I opened the main gate, Aqua came running down the drive way to greet us while the others were standing at the small gate that leads to the front yard, and they were not impressed with his behaviour. That fact was made clear to him by Taima as soon as I opened this small gate to let him in and get him out of the car’s way. When Ted drove down to the carport he discovered the damage Aqua had caused to the gate, and he fixed it with fence wire as soon as we had unloaded the car. Well, it was o.k. for the moment, but we knew exactly that it would just last until our next outing, and we had to come up with a better idea. Since we were sure that he could not push the lock out of the chain and the chain off the hook, he would surely go for the fence again, and we decided to cover the fence with a spare corrugated roof sheet until we would get to the wood place to buy suitable material for building a permanent reinforcement for the fence. It didn’t look very nice and the sheet was also a bit shorter than the width of the gate, but what was left uncovered was also too small for him to fit through, and so we thought it would do for the moment.

Unfortunately Aqua thought differently about it and had at least to give it a try when we were out the next time, which resulted in a bloody cheek and a bald patch in this area. Well, he did not manage to break through and get out, but the fact that he had injured himself in the attempt (although it was nothing serious) was worrying us. The best thing we could come up with for the moment was to cover the small space that was still open up with some more material. Ted had seen that the wood place was closed and would only reopen three weeks later, so that we had to improvise. When we came home from our next outing everything was in order, and we took a big breath of relief. It was not the end of the story, however, and the next time we came home from shopping, Aqua came running down the driveway again to greet us – this time he had managed to open the gate so that all of them could have some fun. To be honest, I have no clue how he managed to push the lock first out of the fence and then unhook the chain, but somehow he got it right – the gate was wide open with the lock lying in the grass next to the gate. Now we had two options; we could start to lock the padlock but unfortunately the key to this lock is missing, or we could take a longer chain and wrap it around the gate and pole and then push the lock through both ends of the chain to tighten it, so that he could not push it back again. That second option fell through because the existing chain was too short for that, and we did not have a longer one at hand. Ted came up with a third option: There is a hole going through the pole from left to right, and he found a steel rod that fitted through the hole and was long enough to stick out of the pole and block the gate from being pushed open on the other. That looked pretty promising, and for the next two outings it worked perfectly fine.

Unfortunately Aqua then found out how to push the bar lock back far enough with his nose until the gate starts moving again, and then he unlocks it the way he did before. And although he will get into to trouble with Taima every time for separating from the pack and feel sorry for himself for being bodily reprimanded by her this will only last until our next outing. Now Ted will have to get a chain that is long enough and a lockable padlock to put an end to this nonsense. Sorry Auqa, for spoiling your fun, but it’s for your own best. Our tenant has this habit of leaving the main gate wide open when he comes home, driving through to the carport first, then walking back to close the gate, and that is just too dangerous to allow them to play in the driveway while we are out. It happened once before that they managed to get out into the street in such a situation, and the moment they were out they started to panic and ran into every direction. Luckily I was at home and could call them to come back, but if Ted and I are not home there would be no chance for them to listen to our tenant to come back inside.

Will be continued…