Volume 10, Issue 133, November 2015


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

Volume 10, Issue 133, November 2015

From the Editor’s Desk

Tous les peuples du monde sont Paris!

We are currently suffering from a heatwave of epic proportions, with temperatures apparently being a full nine degrees Celsius above average and way outside normal range for our region. In addition, the last rain fell around the beginning of September. I like it warm, but this is really a bit much even for me.

Just as I had presumed, wolf news from the hillbilly states of the US are bad; just how bad you had better read for yourself below. If you can help those trying to help wildlife to survive, please do not hesitate to support them. As for myself, I will continue to boycott US products wherever and whenever possible.

Ever since starting to watch the extraordinary TV series Games of Thrones I have been wondering about the gorgeous wolves that feature in various episodes. Well, I thought, there must be some truly expert and very patient trainers to make genuine wolves act as they did in front of the camera. However, I researched this subject further and found that these wolves were in fact a new and as yet unrecognised dog breed from the UK: the Northern Inuit Dog. We provide a brief portrait of it here.

Erin shares sad news about her pack and we feel with her…

Till next month,

News from the Wolf Front


Nothing to report


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

USA: Wolf killing surges in Wyoming

It’s just been reported that 55 wolves have been killed in Wyoming this year. These killings happened despite the fact that Wyoming wolves are supposedly protected under the Endangered Species Act. Absolutely shocking.

The 55 that were killed were done so by taxpayer funded federal wildlife managers. That’s the most wolves killed in Wyoming by wildlife managers in eight years.

Bottom line: Wyoming wolves are in immediate danger, and we need your help:

Once again, Wyoming’s wolves are in the crosshairs.

It was only a year ago that we won back protections for Wyoming’s wolves after two long years in court.

But now, wolf-hating politicians are jamming a measure through the Federal appropriations process that would strip Wyoming’s gray wolves of protection under the Endangered Species Act. This would inevitably open the way for a fresh round of killing.

Your immediate, urgent donation will help Defenders fight for wolves and other imperilled species:

As you know, the federal government turned wolf management over to Wyoming in 2012. In less than two years, more than 200 wolves were slaughtered across the state.

Under Wyoming’s brand of “wolf management,” most of the state was designated a “predator zone,” literally a free-fire zone where anyone could kill any wolf at any time and for any reason.

Among the early victims of Wyoming’s killing spree was a magnificent collared Yellowstone wolf known only as “06.” The matriarch of the Lamar Canyon pack, 06 drew wolf-watchers from around the world. Her death just a few miles outside the Yellowstone National Park boundary was a tragic loss for science, for wolf tourism, and for her pack.

If anti-wolf members of Congress win, this is the sort of horror we could be going back to.

Thanks to a lawsuit brought by Defenders and our allies, a federal court ordered Wyoming’s wolves back on the endangered species list in 2014. Now some in Congress are looking to undo that decision.

Anti-wildlife extremists are pouring millions into this kind of bold Congressional attack on the wildlife we love. And if they win, wolves will die.

Your urgent support will help protect Wyoming wolves and other imperilled wildlife:

Thanks to people like you, Defenders has been at forefront of wolf recovery in the Lower 48 since day one.

  • We were there 20 years ago when the first gray wolves in a generation took their first steps into Idaho and Wyoming wilderness.
  • Since then, we’ve been to court to protect wolf recovery every time its been threatened – and won.
  • We’re mobilizing our pro-wildlife action community in America to fight on Capitol Hill and elsewhere for compassionate, science-based conservation.
  • And we’re on the ground in the Northern Rockies, working with ranchers, landowners and others to promote coexistence and build local support for wolf recovery.

Today, wolves cling to survival in the vast forests and valleys of Wyoming. If these anti-wolf members of Congress have their way, the killing could start as soon as December.

Please donate today:

  1. USA: Oregon delisting could spell trouble for Wolves

How much longer will the famous wolf, OR-7, and his pups survive if protections are taken away?

That question is important, now that Oregon is considering removing gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list. This listing has helped wolves begin to recover in Oregon and even allowed OR-7 to become the first wolf in 90 years to set foot in California.

Don’t let this success turn into another nightmare for wolves.

Your urgent donation will help us fight for Oregon’s wolves and for imperilled wildlife everywhere:

The State of Oregon was one state that was getting wolf recovery right. Wolves have been making progress but there are still fewer than 100 wolves state-wide. Much of the state is still without any wolves, and by the management plan’s own definition, these animals are far from recovered.

Most of Oregon’s wolves are in the northeast corner of the state, not far from the Idaho border. Wolves in northeaster Oregon were stripped of federal protections by Congress in 2012. State delisting could drastically reduce protections for the still fragile wolf population in Oregon.

And in neighbouring Idaho, it’s legal to kill a wolf almost every day of the year, so any Oregon wolf that happens to wander into Idaho is an immediate target.

It’s a fact. No species with a population below 100 animals has ever been delisted in Oregon. Wolves must not become the exception.

If Oregon delists wolves now, wolves may needlessly die. We can’t let that happen.

Won’t you help?

Thank you for your passion and your steadfast support.

  1. USA: Oregon delists wolves

The state of Oregon has just stripped wolves of all protections under the state’s endangered species law. Below is the statement that we sent out immediately following the decision in an effort to bring national attention to this important issue.

This premature decision could lead to needless wolf deaths and could slow or halt Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery.

Please help us fight for Oregon’s wolves:

November 9, 2015

Conservationists Criticize Precedent Setting State Wolf Delisting

SALEM, Ore. – Defenders of Wildlife says the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s decision today to remove state endangered species protections for wolves is premature and would likely lead to slowed or stopped wolf recovery in the state. No other species has been removed from the state’s endangered species list with a population of fewer than 100 individuals state-wide or when they were still absent from a significant portion of their historic range.

Shawn Cantrell, Defenders of Wildlife’s northwest director, testified at today’s meeting and issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed to see the Fish and Wildlife Commission approve a state delisting of wolves when only the barest minimum requirements have been met. The better and more cautious alternative would have been to down list wolves from endangered to threatened and not delist them entirely. This would have continued to provide vital state protections for wolves, while also recognizing the progress the state has made to recover wolves in the eastern part of the state. More importantly, it would have left wolves fully protected in the western part of Oregon, where they are only just starting to expand and are in the earliest stages of recovery.

“Unfortunately, the commission decided to prematurely delist wolves without first updating and amending the Oregon Wolf Management Plan, which is overdue for a planned update. It will be critical that any subsequent revision of the plan maintains protocols for using non-lethal conflict avoidance tools, like livestock guarding dogs or fencing, to reduce potential livestock-wolf conflicts.

“Oregon recently has been a real leader emphasizing non-lethal conflict management between livestock and wolves so that wolves can continue their recovery in the state. Given the commission’s decision on delisting today, it will be all the more critical for Oregon to continue to emphasize and promote non-lethal strategies for allowing wolves and livestock to coexist on the same landscapes.

“Defenders has recently expanded its staffing presence in Oregon and intends to continue to work tirelessly for wolf conservation in the state through whatever means or opportunities that are available.”

From Andreas Schillert (dasypeltis@fasciata.de)

The Last wolf

Have you ever seen wolves like that before?

Jean-Jacques Annaud, the fairytale teller of the wild, celebrates in his new movie the last wolf as a holy creature. A grand story, camouflaged as a romantic eco-epos, and all that in 3-D.

For more information go to
http://www.welt.de/kultur/kino/article148143537/Haben-Sie-Woelfe-schon-mal-so-gesehen.html or http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000269/

From California Wolfcenter

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

Endangered Species Updates October 1-31, 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 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.


At the end of September 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 45 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 21 packs and two 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.


Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1331, f1333, m1382, m1404, f1405, and f1443)

In October, 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 f1443 was captured and collared this month.   Wolf f1405 has been located separate from the pack in eastern Arizona.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)

In October, the Elk Horn Pack continued to make broad movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. The IFT has not documented the presence of presence of pups with the Elk Horn Pack.

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

In October, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. Wolf f1439 has begun exhibiting dispersal behaviour and is localizing near the western border of New Mexico.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290 and mp1441)

In October, the Hoodoo Pack remained localized in the north-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has documented AM1290 and mp1441 travelling with a wolf believed to be AF1395, whose radio collar is non-functional.

Marble Pack (collared AF1340, mp1440, and fp1442)

In October, the Marble Pack was located in their traditional territory in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to document the Marble Pack utilizing a rendezvous site in October.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, and f1335)

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

Panther Creek Pack (F1339 and M1394)

During October 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. During October the IFT captured and re-collared AM1394.

Rim Pack (AF1305)

Throughout October, AF1305 has been travelling a wide area throughout the central portion of the ASNF.

Bear Wallow Pack (m1338 and f1335)

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

M1161 (Collared)

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


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.


Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)

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

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

During October, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). Trapping efforts this month resulted in the capture of a female pup (fp1444), as well as the re-capture and re-collaring of the breeding female (AF923), both were fitted with GPS radio collars.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)

In October, 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 October, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.

Lava Pack (collared M1285 and F1295)

In October, the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory between the Gila Wilderness and the Elk Mountains. The IFT was successful in deploying GPS radio collars in the Lava pack on October and will continue to monitor this pack closely. Two diversionary food caches have continually been maintained to reduce potential conflicts with livestock.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)

In October, the Luna pack remained in their traditional 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. The IFT was successful at deploying an additional GPS radio collar.

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

During October, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT successfully re-captured a female sub-adult (f1392) and fitted her with a GPS collar this month.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and M1345)

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

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, f1390 and f1397)

In October, the IFT located the Willow Springs Pack in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. During the month, Fox Mountain m1396 was documented with f1397 in the Willow Springs territory.

M1284 (collared)

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

m1350 (collared)

Wolf m1350 was not located during October, and is considered fate unknown by the IFT.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296)

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


No wolf mortalities were documented during the month of October.


During October, there were 2 livestock depredation reports involving wolves and no nuisance reports.

On October 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow on the FAIR. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.

On October 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Centerfire Creek in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.


On October 9, a member of the IFT gave a presentation on Mexican Wolves to 35 students from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

On October 17, a member of the IFT gave a presentation about the Project to 50 people at the South West Conservation Center in Scottsdale Arizona.

On October 20, a member of the IFT gave a Project briefing at the NRCS meeting in Springerville, Arizona.

On October 28, members of the IFT gave a Project update to county board members at the 4-FRI meeting in Show Low Arizona.


No significant activity to report.


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


From Drakenstein Lion Park
(info@lionrescue.org.za, http://www.lionrescue.org.za)

New Rescue

Meet Leonidas, our newest rescue.

Leonidas spent his entire life prisoner in a six-meter shipping container.

He arrived at the sanctuary on 4th November 2015.11.13

Please consider adopting Leonidas to help us meet his care costs.

You can adopt Leonidas for R 1000 per year, or a once off payment of R 8500 for life.

Elzette Lategan – General Manager
Tel/Fax: 27 21 8633290

Join us on Facebook

Saving one animal may not change the world, but surely for that one animal the world will change forever!

Next Door

We are waiting to hear from Johnny Rodrigues, Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (www.zctfofficialsite.org), with details on the recent mass poisoning of elephants by ivory poachers in Hwange.


Nothing to report

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Really wolfish dogs. Part 4

The Northern Inuit Dog

Very recently, the Northern Inuit Dog has come to worldwide fame from being used to play the roles of Dire Wolves in the acclaimed TV series Game of Thrones. The exact origins of this breed are unknown and conversely debated, but it is certainly based on dogs of mixed parentage imported from Canada into the UK in the 1980’ where a few clubs now exist that are dedicated to breeding them.

Huskies, Malamutes, German shepherd, and Eskimo dogs are thought to have originally been involved. The British Kennel Club does not recognize the breed – as yet at least. These are truly stunningly beautiful dogs with heights ranging from 58-81 cm and weights of 25 (small females) to 52 kg (large males) and a life expectancy of 12-14 years. Colours are mainly shades of black, white, brown and beige in a pattern that will make most specimens look like picture-postcard wolves. Their medium-length topcoat conceals a thick undercoat and requires regular brushing, in particular during the coat-changing seasons. They are very intelligent and therefore easily bored, friendly with people, can be quite stubborn, but are overall gentle in their disposition, and need an experienced and understanding hand for training. Socialization is crucial and must begin at an early age. Their athletic build and high activity levels make them best suited for being incorporated in a sporty family with a strong human alpha, and they should have a canine companion, in the best-case scenario a partner of their own kind. They fare poorly if left alone for too long or are excluded from family life. Instances of hip dysplasia and epilepsy have been noted, which might confirm that German shepherds were indeed involved in creating this breed.

If you want a dog that looks like a wolf but can be handled like a dog, this will probably be the best choice you can make.

For more information, go to www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Inuit_Dog, www.petguide.com/breeds/dog/northern-inuit-dog/, and www.nisociety.com/, for example.

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 120

A note about the Wolf

by Richard Fox

True, wolves can’t be mastered, but they can be tamed to some degree. They are most magnificent animals. To watch their tail tuck between their legs, humped back, and full of love for you is quite a sight. Not everyone gets to enjoy the thrill of watching a wolf walk the edge of the woods keeping his/her distance from people.

A shy animal indeed. But very powerful with love, a pleasure only few people like us can appreciate. Ears laid back, while in that radius around us, a warm feeling of contentment, I would say. My sister wolf and I are quite a pair. No, not everyone should have a wolf, but those who do have a gift from Nature. If you have a wolf and don’t have these wonderful feelings toward that animal you might need to find a home for it, because the wolf is lacking something in its inner self. Never stop a wolf from howling.

In 1836, (the trail of tears) my people were told to stop speaking Cherokee; some forgot their language as time went on. I say, let the wolf spirit run free, wolves and Indians should be kept together.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary

By Erin

Well, the story I started to tell in the last issue has suddenly come to a sad end. Although Aqua now had no chance anymore to open the gate and get out into the driveway, and Ted and I were much more relaxed when we had to go out, this wasn’t the end of the story.

On a Sunday three weeks ago we decided to attend a new gemstone and crystal fair that took place about an hour’s drive away from us. It was a very hot day and we left early, found the place at the first try (how amazing), and spent about two hours at the fair. When we arrived back home everything was in order, and we were quite happy to see that there had been no further attempts to break or open the gate. A short while later, however, we were alerted to Taima and Ascar II attacking Aqua rather fiercely, not stopping even though Aqua had rolled on his back to signal defeat, and we had to interfere to put a stop to the fight. Aqua had a few scratches, nothing serious, but we were alarmed by the manner of this attack. Reprimanding him usually was done only by Taima with the others keeping out of it, and there had been no apparent reason for reprimanding in the first place either.

Still keeping a close eye on the pack, Ted and I started to discuss the situation – what could be behind this sudden attack? Aqua had put on quite some weight after Una, Ascar I and Kajack I had died, and that had been my fault because I had had a serious problem adjusting the food rations after 3 pack members had left us within just 8 months in 2012. I had been trying everything in the books to get him off his weight again, but to no avail. However, about three months ago, Aqua had started to lose weight and by now had returned to his old weight and shape. We really were happy about it, because overweight is as dangerous for animals as it is for humans, especially in older animals. But what had triggered the weight loss? I had not been thinking about that much, just being happy that he did lose weight eventually. He was now also much more active than before, which was an equally good sign, but we had noticed that he was getting out of breath quite fast, which we thought of as being a result of his having been so inactive for so long. Many years ago we had noticed a small lump under his skin at his belly and had it checked out. We had been told that it was nothing more than sort of a fatty deposit under the skin, nothing dangerous, and that it could grow or that he might develop a few more of these as he grew older. If it grew too large we could have it removed, but otherwise it would be no reason for concern. Indeed had we noticed that this lump had started to grow recently but did not think much of it, because it was still so small that you would have to know where it was to find it. Ted told me that he also had found a few more of these but they were so small that he didn’t mention them before. Looking at all these facts and adding the sudden and fierce attack, a picture started to form – could it be that Aqua was seriously sick without showing clear symptoms? He still had a good appetite, his stools looked completely normal, and he did not show any others signs of discomfort either.

Sunday evening, he did not want to eat, but later on nibbled on some dry dog pellets. Monday morning, he first seemed to be interested in his food, but then turned away from his bowl and made himself comfortable on the cool kitchen floor. We decided to give it some more time till the afternoon, because we had noticed that the others also were not too keen on their food that day, most likely because of the heat. They were all drinking well, including Aqua, and all of them were resting in some cool places, being rather inactive after a lengthy early morning running and chasing game.

In the evening, we realized that Aqua’s breathing got shallower and more laboured and he had coughing fits in between. His heartbeat was slowing down, he was having problems to even roll over, let alone get up, and we knew only too well what these signs were telling us.

Aqua died the same night, and as we found out then he had been suffering from cancer, although, surprisingly, there had been no apparent suffering, for which we are very thankful. It is not at all the rule that cancer goes undetected for such a long period of time. Aqua was more than 10 years old, and we guess that the rest of the pack knew all along that he was terminally ill and would leave soon. Maybe the attack that day was their way of trying to help him out of the situation, but whatever the reason was, it had made us aware of the fact that something was not what it should be. Without it we would have had no clue and maybe just found him dead the next morning; this way we could at least say goodbye and make sure that we and the pack were with him to the end. It was another very sad day and time for us, and no matter how often we already had to say goodbye to one of them and will have to in the future, you never get used to it and it never gets easier. On the other hand, the unconditional love, loyalty, joy and happiness they bring into your life is worth every single minute we have with them.

Will be continued…