Volume 11, Issue 136, February 2016

SAFHOWL

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

Volume 11, Issue 136, February 2016

From the Editor’s Desk

“Americans ain’t happy if they can’t kill something,” was what somebody said to me recently. And reading the news from the US below, I can only agree. If the current batch of congressmen is bad news for wildlife, I wonder what will happen after the November presidential elections. I have been watching the candidate selection process with interest and am appalled by what is going on in the republican camp. Do they really want $crooge McDuck at the helm? Germany in 1933 comes to my mind every time I hear his nationalist paroles. And people again go wild about them, just as they did back then. If he really came to power, it would surely not be long before it’s tickets for the last of America’s wolves and other predators. After all, money is to be made elsewhere…

We have an overview of the wolf populations throughout Europe, which don’t look too bad overall and even pretty good in some countries. Years of public education, creating awareness, and providing government support finally appear to be paying off.

The continuous heat wave conditions that started in early summer in South Africa and has been continuing since in some parts of the country is also taking its toll on pets. Please read the item on this subject and see if you can help.

A rather brief wolf tale sums it all up. Who is the noble and who is the beast? I am tempted to make a cross-reference to the first paragraph here…

Till next month,

Ed.

Upcoming Events

The International Wolf Center (info@wolf.org) in March 2016:

 YOU Let the Dogs Out! – March 5-6

(Formerly Dog sledding in the Wilds of Northern MN)

Program Rates: Non-member $375, Member $340
Registration Deadline: February 20, 2016

This exciting two-day trip offers you hands-on dogsled training from professional sled dog outfitters. Feel the wind tug at your hat as you handle a dog sled team dashing through the woods!  Your weekend experience also includes meeting our ambassador wolves at the International Wolf Center, learning about their behaviours, and participating in the popular “What’s for Dinner” wolf feeding program. Munch. Crunch.

Learn More & Register here.

Wander the Winter Wilderness – March 11 – 12

(Formerly Winter Wilderness Survival)

Program Rates: Non-member $260, Member $230

Deposit: $100
Registration Deadline: February 26, 2016

Get out into the northern forest and find out what the word wildlands really means. We start with an overnight with our ambassador wolves at the International Wolf Center where you’ll gain an appreciation of wolf behaviour and pack dynamics.  We will also delve into the history and ecology of the Northern Forests. The next day we’ll snowshoe into the BWCA to explore both natural and human-caused landscapes such as blow downs, fires, logging, and insect infestation, while searching for signs of both predator and prey.

Learn More & Register here.

All About Wolves! – March 12

(formerly Winter Wolf Ecology Workshop)

Program Rates: Non-member $105, Member $95

Registration Deadline: February 27, 2016

Join us at the International Wolf Center to learn All About Wolves!  You will discover the natural history of wolves, wolf ecology, behaviour, and taxonomy. Using scientific data, you will examine wolf predation and depredation, and analyze the effects it has on different human and animal populations. The programs wraps up with an examination of the different value systems people have regarding wolves, and learn about wolf policy and management programs.
Learn More & Register here.

Tracking the Pack – March 18-20

Program Rates: Non-member $225, Member $200
Registration Deadline: February 26, 2016

Live the life of a wolf biologist! Join us for our Tracking the Pack adventure and you’ll learn your way around the tools biologists use in the field to locate and study wild wolves.  Then the staff will take you out to the wolves’ natural  habitat to test your newly learned telemetry skills.  Find the signal, hop on the bus, and search for that elusive radio collar signal!

Learn More & Register here.

Wine, Women, and Wolves! – March 25 – 27

Program Rate: Non-member $150, Member $125
(Ladies only – Age 21 and over)

Registration Deadline:  March 16, 2016

Come on, ladies – you know you want a break from the everyday grind.  Head up to Ely for a unique Wine, Women and Wolves Weekend!   Where else can you spend an evening lounging in your sleeping bag, sipping wine, and observing wolves?  During the day we’ll get you strapped into some snowshoes and teach you how to use our real life telemetry equipment.  Then it’s out into the BWCA, searching for wolves in a learning experience you’ll never forget!

Learn More & Register here.

News from the Wolf Front

National

Nothing to report

International

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

  1. USA: ALERT: Stop the Senate sneak attack on wolves

They’re at it again.

Anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.

Urgent – Tell your senators to oppose anti-wildlife amendments to the Energy Bill when it comes up for a vote:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=QBqE5p71TrK1IkuVY3I_zw

These amendments would undermine protections for individual species like wolves and tear away at the very fabric of the law by limiting citizens’ ability to enforce essential protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in court.

There are three amendments in particular that must be defeated:

The “let’s throw wolves under the bus” amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;

The “leave bats in the dust” amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperilled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and

The “forget your day in court” amendment – tries to block citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.

In the past year alone, anti-wildlife forces have introduced over 90 legislative measures aimed at crippling America’s commitment to restoring and protecting imperilled wildlife.

Tell your senator to oppose these lethal amendments:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ODKgQz91XYd0t9BfLae0Xw

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: URGENT: Help stop the brazen attacks on wildlife

Can you believe it?

There have been more than 90 legislative measures introduced this Congress to undo decades of wildlife conservation progress and abandon the wildlife we all love.

If these measures pass, wolves will die. Other wildlife will lose protection. And still others will find their habitat plundered and destroyed.

Urgent – your support gives Defenders the resources we need to fight the anti-wildlife agenda:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=-Xj_JIX0n9TTkH5mxwDBVg

Most recently, anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.

There are four amendments in particular that must be defeated:

The “open season on wolves” amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;

The “let’s give up on Mexican grey wolves” amendment – would delist Mexican grey wolves if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines that minimum survival goals under a deficient, outdated plan from 1982 have been met;

The “leave bats in the dust” amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperilled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and

The “forget your day in court” amendment – blocks citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.

The anti-wildlife forces have their high paid lobbyists and lawyers. Wildlife have you and me as their voice – we’re the premier organization speaking out on behalf of wildlife and wild places.

You and I know that most Americans love their wildlife and want to see it protected. It’s up to you and me to make sure the true voices of Americans are heard on Capitol Hill.

Won’t you help us today with a generous donation:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=fCX3AyE9yoS2w035qG7OVg

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: Stand up for endangered animals

I won’t sugar coat it – this is going to be a tough year for wolves and the imperiled wildlife we all love.

Anti-wildlife special interests are mounting historic attacks – on wolves, on protected habitats and even on the Endangered Species Act itself.

I know you love wildlife too.

Help us get 2016 off to a strong start with a generous donation to Defenders of Wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=3wZcBdnq–pyMysD6iwzEw

Do it for the wolves.

Even as grey wolves in the Northern Rockies die by the thousands, there are other wolf populations in even more dire shape still!

In the Southwest, Mexican grey wolves (also known as lobos) are still hanging by a thread. What’s worse, anti-wolf forces in Congress have introduced an extinction bill that would terminate all recovery efforts for the lobos altogether.

In North Carolina, as few as 50 red wolves cling to survival. We need your help to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service redoubles their efforts and doesn’t cave to special interests who want wolves eradicated from the landscape.

You know us. Wherever wolves’ survival is at stake, Defenders is at the forefront of their defence. But we’re only as strong as our membership – concerned wildlife loving people like you.

We have a tough year ahead of us. The wolves need you and me, now more than ever:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=lPhXjWGwU6xvxNXdZTdVUg

Thank you so much for your passion and your commitment.

Sincerely,

  1. USA: Howling for the wolves across State lines

Earlier this month, wolf advocates from Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado rallied to support the recovery of Mexican grey wolves in their respective states. Despite the fact that the lobo is the most endangered grey wolf in North America, the governors from the Four Corner States are attempting to undermine the recovery of this ecologically indispensable species, and subverting the will of their constituents. While Defenders of Wildlife and our passionate members took part in each of the rallies in the four states, we were especially active in New Mexico and Colorado. First on the agenda was the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting in Denver.

Colorado

This past November, Colorado Parks and Wildlife proposed a resolution  banning Mexican grey wolves from being reintroduced into our state. Jonathan Proctor, our Rockies and Plains Program Director, attended the Commission’s meeting in Wray and, as the only member of the public present to speak, strongly stated Defenders’ opposition to the anti-wolf resolution:

“The department’s vision statement reads: “Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a national leader in wildlife management, conservation, and sustainable outdoor recreation for current and future generations.” A ban on active wolf recovery would not make Colorado Parks and Wildlife a leader in any of these categories; rather, it would be a betrayal to current and future generations.  Colorado is better than this! We are honoured to share our lands with wildlife, including the Mexican grey wolf which needs our great state to recover.”

The Commission was expected to vote on the anti-wolf resolution at its January meeting, so we encouraged all local wolf advocates to rally and speak out for wolf recovery in Colorado. To prepare for this fight, Defenders hosted a series of briefings to explain why Mexican grey wolves need to expand into Colorado to survive. Wolf advocates learned how to write compelling comments and testimony, and more than 50 supporters rallied with us and our partners in the conservation community at the hearing.

As expected, the pro-wolf community turned out in force to the Commission meeting. The meeting room was filled to capacity with 150 people, and 30 additional attendees were forced to stand outside the meeting room doors listening to the debate. On top of that, 100 more people waited outside the building, hoping to have the opportunity to testify.  It was fantastic to see wolf supporters dominating the turnout.

Unfortunately, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to approve its anti-wolf resolution, which “opposes the intentional release of any wolves into Colorado,” including Mexican grey wolves. Even though this decision was a blow to Mexican grey wolf recovery, we were so inspired by the number of passionate citizens who showed their support for one of our most iconic animals.

New Mexico

At its August meeting in Santa Fe, the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission heard an appeal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after the Commission had denied the Service’s permit to release captive wolves into New Mexico. The following month, the commission denied the appeal at its meeting in Albuquerque, and in October, the Turner Endangered Species Fund (http://www.defenders.org/press-release/nm-game-and-fish-commission-denies-ted-turner-ladder-ranch%E2%80%99s-appeal-support-lobo) made its appeal on the denial of the permit it has held for the past 17 years to hold Mexican grey wolves at its Ladder Ranch pre-release facility. These large, fenced holding pens gave Mexican grey wolves a safe haven en route to or from the wild.

At each commission meeting, we gathered with dozens of Defenders of Wildlife members to show our support for wolves. We were not allowed to speak at any of these meetings, so instead, we held signs that read, “More Wolves, Less Politics.” The message was a powerful if silent one.

When the rally before last week’s meeting began at 8 a.m., the mercury measured below 20 degrees. But despite the cold temperatures, more than 50 activists – roughly the number of Mexican wolves in the state – gathered outside to march with signs and listen to speakers comment on this pressing matter. It was heartening to see so many dedicated advocates brave the elements in support of Mexican grey wolves.

Even after the commission voted unanimously to deny the permit, we recognized that our fight was not over. Despite continued opposition from the game commission, wolf advocates have continued to make their voices heard in letters to the editor, at meetings with local elected leaders, and at rallies and meetings across our state. Without a doubt, we’ve made this an issue that the state cannot ignore.

We Want Wolves

The momentum for protecting Mexican grey wolves is strong, and together, we succeeded in raising the profile and visibility of this important issue. Defenders will keep moving forward with our wolf recovery efforts and we hope that you will continue to speak out and stand with us. The enthusiasm and dedication of hundreds of wolf supporters in New Mexico and Colorado sent a clear message from wildlife advocates that we are not giving up until lobos are home for good!

  1. USA: ALERT: New round of aerial wolf killing in Idaho

Breaking news from Idaho.

The state government with the highest body count of wolves in the West has unleashed a new round of aerial killing. Once again, the purpose is to artificially inflate elk numbers for sport hunters and boost the sale of elk hunting licenses. And once again, the killing is happening on public land.

Tell the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to rein in Idaho’s killing spree:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=qlxsAI7WNupr5HRCdArmQw

We’re still trying to learn how many wolves have already been shot from the air in Idaho’s Lolo National Forest. But even one wolf killed in this way is unconscionable.

The deeply disturbing actions by the Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency working on behalf of the state of Idaho must stop. And the U.S. Forest Service is letting it happen on its land! It’s now up to the federal government to put the brakes on Idaho’s vendetta against wolves.

What we continue to see over and over again is that Idaho does whatever it wants, whenever it wants, with zero consequences when it comes to wolves.

This latest outrage comes less than a month after Idaho state officials “accidentally” put radio collars on wolves in the nearby Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness area managed by the Forest Service. The state has not ruled out using those unauthorized collars at some point to follow the wolves back to their packs and kill them. While those are not the wolves currently being gunned down in the Lolo, it’s just one more indication that Idaho’s war on wolves will continue and is completely out of control.

Since Congress prematurely forced Idaho’s wolves off the endangered species list in 2011, more than 1,900 wolves have been killed in that state.

Both the U.S. Forest Service and Wildlife Services are agencies in the Department of Agriculture.

Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack that the federal government should be protecting wolves and not aiding their slaughter: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=rzUatIrjBhKnnlZaIxE4dg

Thanks for all you do!

From California Wolfcenter
(californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

  1. Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

Endangered Species Updates December 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 visitingwww.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.

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

In December, the USFWS met with the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; scientists from both the U.S. and Mexico to review the “Vortex” model, which is a population viability analysis model being used to explore demographic and genetic threats to the Mexican wolf. Participants discussed the structure of the model, input values, scenarios to explore, scientific assumptions and uncertainties, and how to interpret the output. The USFWS will use the Vortex simulations to inform the development of recovery criteria. Additional meetings will be convened in March and April 2016 to continue review of the Vortex model and to review information on habitat and prey availability in Mexico. The revised recovery plan will provide measurable and objective criteria which, when met, will enable us to remove the Mexican wolf from the list of endangered species and turn its management over to the appropriate states. The revised recovery plan will also provide estimates of the time required and the cost to carry out those measures needed to achieve the plan’s goal.

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 December 2015 the wild Mexican wolf population consisted of 45 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 18 packs and two single wolves.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared m1338 and f1335)

In December the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

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

In December, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). Bluestem wolves’ m1382, m1404, and f1443 have been located in their traditional territory during the month with at least two other uncollared wolves, while m1331, f1333, and f1405 have been located separate from the pack. Wolf m1331 has been located in the north-east portion of the GNF in New Mexico in December. Wolf f1333 has been travelling with the Hoodoo Pack, and wolf f1405 has been located travelling with M1161 for more than three consecutive months and are now referred to as the Buckalou Pack.

Buckalou Pack (collared M1161 and f1405)

M1161 and f1405 have been documented travelling together in the east-central portion of the ASNF for more than three months and are now referred to as the Buckalou Pack.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)

In December, the Elk Horn Pack continued to make broad movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to document only the collared pair travelling together.

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

In December, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. A minimum of four sets of tracks associated with the Hawks Nest Pack was documented. Wolf f1439 dispersed from the Hawks Nest Pack and has remained with M1296, of the Mangas Pack, in the north-western portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290 and mp1441)

In December, the Hoodoo Pack remained localized in the north-central portion of the ASNF.   AM1290 has been located travelling with Bluestem f1333. Wolf mp1441 has been documented travelling alone.

Marble Pack (collared AF1340, mp1440, and fp1442)

In December, the Marble Pack was located in their traditional territory in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to document five animals (at least three pups) in the Marble Pack.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183 and AF1291)

During December, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF. The IFT has documented a minimum of four animals travelling together.

Panther Creek Pack (F1339 and M1394)

During December the Panther Creek Pack has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT documented three sets of tracks with this pack during the month indicating a third uncollared wolf with the pack.

ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared F1437)

During December, the Diamond Pack was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343, AF1283, fp1445)

During December, Tsay o Ah Pack was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

Single (mp1447)

During December, mp1447 was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)

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

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, m1354, m1347, and fp1444)

During December, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)

In December, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack (m1396 and AM1158) outside of their traditional territory and travelling with f1397 of the Willow Springs Pack.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and AF1278)

During December, 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 December, the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory between the Gila Wilderness and the Elk Mountains.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)

During December, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented dispersal behaviour of m1398 travelling between the east-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and the north-central portion of the GNF in New Mexico.

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

During December, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented dispersal behaviour of f1392 which was located with single wolf M1284 in the north-central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared M1345)

During December, the San Mateo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north eastern portions of the GNF. AF903 was located dead in December in New Mexico.

Willow Springs Pack (collared f1397)

In December, the IFT located Willow Springs Pack f1397 in its traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF travelling with Fox Mountain m1396 and AM1158. AM1185 was located dead in New Mexico this month.

M1284 (collared)

During December, the IFT located M1284 travelling with dispersing wolf f1392 from the Prieto Pack within the GNF in New Mexico.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296)

During December, M1296 was located travelling with dispersing wolf f1439 from the Hawks Nest Pack in north western portions of the GNF in New Mexico.

MORTALITIES

Four wolf mortalities occurred in December:

Rim AF1305 was located dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.

An uncollared juvenile wolf was located dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.

Willow Springs AM1185 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.

San Mateo AF903 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.

INCIDENTS

During December, there were 5 livestock depredation reports involving wolves and no nuisance reports.

On December 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near O bar O canyon in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.

On December 2, Wildlife Services investigated an injured calf near O bar O canyon in New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf sustained injuries from a wolf.

On December 11, WMAT investigated a dead cow in the eastern portion of the FAIR. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.

On December 16, WMAT investigated a dead cow in the eastern portion of the FAIR. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves.

On December 29, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf near Rainey Mesa in New Mexico. The investigation determined the calf was killed by wolves.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

No significant activity to report

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.

  1. Mexican Wolf Update January 1-31, 2016

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), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR) 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.

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

The Fish and Wildlife Service met with the 11 South-western Region Forest Supervisors on February 4 to give an overview of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.

The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department met with the Forest Service’s Black Mesa Ranger District and local permittees on February 8 to discuss release/translocation sites for Mexican wolves.

The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will participate in the USDA Wildlife Service’s Non-Lethal Damage Management Workshop at the Hon dah Casino and Hotel on February 18.

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

The IFT continued efforts to document the overall wolf population this month with track counts and visual observations being obtained on known packs. Food caches and trail cameras were also being deployed in an effort to document the uncollared portion of the population.

Project personnel commenced the end-of-year population count on January 20. The population count will conclude February 6 and the minimum population estimate for 2015 will be available in February. As a result of survey and capture efforts associated with the end-of-year population count, the collared population at the end of January 2016 consisted of 52 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 20 packs and 2 single wolves.

Note: In accordance with Standard Operating Procedure 27.0, the end-of-the-year population count is a minimum count with no range of numbers or associated statistical confidence intervals. The count includes three components:

  1. All current radio-collared wolves and their pack associates being monitored as of December 31 of each year;
  2. Radio-collared wolves whose collars are not functioning, but for which evidence exists indicating they were likely to have been on December 31, as determined by the IFT;
  3. Uncollared wolves confirmed by IFT personnel anytime during November, December and January.

On January 20, the IFT captured AM1296, from the Mangas Pack. This wolf was re-collared and released it back into the pack territory.

On January 23, the IFT captured AF1295, from the Lava Pack. This wolf was re-collared and released back into the pack territory.

On January 25, the IFT captured M1342, from the Elk Horn Pack. This wolf was re-collared and released back into the pack territory.

On January 25, the IFT captured and collared mp1453 from the Hawks Nest Pack. The wolf was processed and released back into the pack territory.

On January 25, the IFT captured m1383 from the Hawks Nest Pack, replaced the collar and released the wolf back into the pack territory.

On January 25, the IFT captured AM1341 from the Bluestem Pack.   This wolf was fitted with a collar and released back into the pack territory.

On January 26, the IFT captured M1345 from the San Mateo Pack. The wolf was re-collared released back into the pack territory.

On January 26, the IFT captured AF1115 from the Luna Pack.   The wolf was re-collared and released back into the pack territory.

On January 26, the IFT captured AM1155 from the Luna Pack. The wolf was re-collared and released back into the Luna pack territory.

On January 26, the IFT captured m1354 from the Dark Canyon Pack. The wolf was re-collared and released on site.

On January 28, the IFT captured wolf M1249 from the Diamond Pack. The wolf was re-collared and released back into the pack territory.

On January 28, the IFT captured and collared mp1454 from the Diamond Pack. The wolf was released back into the pack territory.

On January 28, the IFT captured mp1442 from the Marble Pack. The wolf was evaluated for a foot injury and released back into the pack territory.

On January 28, the IFT captured AF1340 from the Marble Pack. The wolf died within minutes of being captured.

On January 28, the IFT captured AM1243 from the Marble Pack. The wolf was re-collared and released back in the pack territory.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared m1338 and f1335)

In January the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF and the northeast portion of SCAR.

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, m1331, f1333, m1382, m1404, and f1443)

In January, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). Bluestem wolves’ m1382 and f1443 have been located in their traditional territory during the month with at least two other uncollared wolves, while m1331, f1333, and f1405 have been located separate from the pack. Wolf m1331 has been located in the north-east portion of the GNF in New Mexico in January. Wolf f1333 has been travelling with the Hoodoo Pack. Wolf m1404 has been documented travelling with f1405 of the Buckalou pack.

Buckalou Pack (collared M1161 and f1405)

The collar on M1161 is non-functional. The wolf was not observed travelling with f1405 in January. Wolf m1404 was observed travelling with f1405 at the end of the month.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294 and M1342)

In January, the Elk Horn Pack continued to make broad movements within their traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF. On January 25, the IFT captured and replaced a non-functional radio collar on M1342. The wolf was released back into the Elk Horn territory.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, m1383, f1439 and mp1453)

In January, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. Wolf f1439 dispersed from the Hawks Nest Pack and has remained with M1296, of the Mangas Pack, in the north-western portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico. AF1280 was not observed with the Hawks Nest Pack in January One uncollared wolf was documented travelling with the Hawks Nest Pack. On January 25 an uncollared wolf (now designated mp1453) and m1383 were captured, processed, and released back into the Hawks Nest Pack territory.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290 and mp1441)

In January, the Hoodoo Pack remained localized in the north-central portion of the ASNF.   AM1290 has been located travelling with Bluestem f1333. Wolf mp1441 has rejoined AM1290 and f1333 and have been travelling together this month.

Marble Pack (collared AM1243, AF1340, mp1440, and fp1442)

In January, the Marble Pack was located in their traditional territory in the northwest-central portion of the ASNF. On January 28, the IFT captured AM1243, AF1340 and fp1442. AF1340 died within minutes of being captured. AM1243, formerly of the Paradise Pack, was re-collared and released back into the Marble Pack territory. Wolf fp1442 was evaluated to assess a foot injury and released back into the Marble Pack territory.

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183 and AF1291)

During January, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF. The IFT has observed 2 uncollared wolves travelling with the pack this month.

Panther Creek Pack (F1339 and M1394)

During January, the Panther Creek Pack has been located in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT observed 2 collared wolves with this pack in January.

ON THE FAIR:

Diamond Pack (collared M1249, F1437, mp1447, and mp1454)

During January, the Diamond Pack was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF. Wolf mp1447 regularly travelled with the Diamond Pack and the IFT determined that this animal is a Diamond Pack member. On January 28, the IFT captured and re-collared M1249. On the same day, the IFT captured and collared mp1454. Both wolves were released back into the pack territory.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343, AF1283, fp1445)

During January, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR. The IFT documented 1 uncollared wolf travelling with the pack.

Single (mp1447)

During January, mp1447 was located in the eastern portion of the FAIR, traveling regularly and extensively with the Diamond Pack. The IFT determined that this animal is a Diamond Pack member.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Coronado Pack (collared AM1051)

During January, AM1051 of the Coronado Pack was documented on a trail camera travelling alone in the Gila Wilderness.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293, m1354, m1347, and fp1444)

During January, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). On January 26, the IFT captured and re-collared m1354. The wolf was processed, re-collared and released on site.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared m1396)

In January, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack (m1396 and AM1158) outside of their traditional territory and travelling with f1397 of the Willow Springs Pack. Having been consistently located together for three months, f1397 is now considered a member of the Fox Mountain Pack.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240 and AF1278)

During January, 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 AF1295 and mp1446)

In January, the Lava Pack was located in its traditional territory between the Gila Wilderness and the Elk Mountains. On January 23, the IFT captured AF1295. The wolf was re-collared, processed and released back into the packs territory. On January 27 the wolf died and was recovered. The cause of the death is pending due to necropsy being performed.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, and m1398)

During January, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT continues to document dispersal behaviour of m1398 travelling between the east-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and the north-central portion of the GNF in New Mexico. On January 26, the IFT captured via helicopter, both AM1155 and AF1115. The wolves were re-collared and released back into the pack territory.

Prieto Pack (collared m1386 and f1392)

During January, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. During January, f1392 has continued to be located with single wolf M1284 in the north-central portion of the GNF. Wolf m1386 displayed dispersal behaviour in January, but was later located back within the packs territory.

San Mateo Pack (collared M1345)

During January, the San Mateo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north eastern portions of the GNF. F1399 was observed with M1345 in January.

Willow Springs Pack (collared f1397)

In January, the IFT located Willow Springs Pack f1397 in its traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF travelling with Fox Mountain m1396 and AM1158. Having been consistently located together for three months, f1397 is now considered a member of the Fox Mountain Pack.

M1284 (collared)

During January, the IFT located M1284 travelling with dispersing wolf f1392 from the Prieto Pack within the GNF in New Mexico.

Mangas Pack (collared M1296)

During January, M1296 was located travelling with dispersing wolf f1439 from the Hawks Nest Pack in north western portions of the GNF in New Mexico. On January 20, M1296 was captured during the helicopter population survey, re-collared and released back into the Mangas Pack territory.

MORTALITIES

Two wolf mortalities occurred in January:

On January 23, Lava Pack AF1295 was captured during the annual population survey, processed and released. The wolf was found dead on January 27. A necropsy will be conducted at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, to determine causes of death.

On January 28, Marble Pack AF1340 was captured, during the annual population survey. The wolf died within minutes of its capture. A necropsy will be conducted at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, to determine causes of death.

INCIDENTS

During January, there was 1 livestock depredation report involving wolves and no nuisance reports.

On January 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow north of the town of Luna in New Mexico. The investigation determined the cow was killed by a wolf.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

No significant activity to report

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.

Other News

National

From International Fund for Animal Welfare
(news@ifaw.org)

We have an urgent crisis in the communities we serve in Johannesburg, South Africa that is causing widespread animal suffering.

Can you please help the animals?

The area has suffered heat wave after heat wave. As a result, a tsunami of ticks and fleas are infecting family pets with deadly illnesses like biliary. The dogs we’re treating have high fevers, and they’re listless, tired and very ill.

Sandy, the sweet dog pictured above, was so tired that her legs just gave out on the examination table.

The heat waves have also caused widespread water shortages, so we’re treating a lot of dogs for severe dehydration. Some pet owners are even surrendering their beloved dogs to us because they can’t provide them with water or food.

Make an emergency gift today

Your gift can help provide vital care to the animals we help in Johannesburg and around the world. You’ll help us care for dogs, cats, and so many other animals that urgently need us.

We’ve seen it over and over again – when times are tough for people, they need their animal companions more than ever to get them through.

The people in the impoverished Johannesburg townships we serve love their animals dearly. But when they have no water, and barely enough food to feed their children, they sometimes have to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their pets.

I can’t imagine how deeply sad that is for these families. But they know that we’ll take good care of their pets and find them loving homes.

Help animals in Johannesburg and beyond

It’s still summer in Johannesburg, and we’re continuing to see pets surrendered to us, we’re still treating so many cases of biliary and other diseases, and we’re caring for dogs suffering from starvation and dehydration.

Our staff is working as hard as they can to keep up, but we could really use your help to buy more antibiotics to cure infections, bags of intravenous fluids to quickly replenish dehydrated dogs, and medicine and bandages to treat the skin of dogs with mange.

Make an emergency gift for animals today.

Your support for our lifesaving work around the world is even more crucial during times of crisis.

I hope I can count on you now to help us save animals in Johannesburg and around the world.

Make an emergency gift today

Thank you for helping us save suffering animals like Sandy and Buddy.

International

From Born Free Foundation (bfmail@bornfree.org.uk)

We’re thrilled! A Born Free-supported expedition by lion-expert Dr. Hans Bauer has discovered an unknown population of up to 200 rare lions in NW Ethiopia. AND they’re probably the most endangered central African subspecies…

Read more here.

Wolves and Wolfdogs

 An overview over the present Wolf populations and their protection status in Europe

Europe, excluding Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, is home to some 12,000 wolves in more than 28 countries.

Greenland has a population of 20-100 wolves, which are afforded protection in approximately 90% of their range, though no compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Portugal has a stable wolf population of 200-300, which is afforded full protection. Compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Spain‘s wolf population is estimated at 2,000 and growing. Wolves are considered a game species, though they are protected in the southern regions of the country. Compensation is paid for livestock damage, though this varies according to regional laws.

In Italy, wolves are a protected species, with current estimates indicating that there are 600-700 wolves living in the wild (according to other sources, up to 800). The largest concentrations of wolves occur in the Italian national parks in Abruzzo, mostly in the Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, in Calabria, in the Pollino, on Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, and, more recently, on the Alps. Isolated individuals have been sighted in the vicinity of human populated areas such as Tuscany, Bologna, Parma and Tarquinia. Wolves have also been sighted denning 25 miles from Rome, with one small population living in the regional park of Castelli Romani. Currently, Italian wolf populations are said to have been increasing at a rate of 6% a year since the 1970s, though 15% of the total Italian wolf population is reported to succumb annually to illegal poaching and road accidents. Compensation is paid by regional governments for livestock damage. Italy’s leading wolf biologist, professor Luigi Boitani of the Sapienza University of Rome, expressed concern that the Italian wolf recovery may have been too successful, due to a large portion of the public refusing to concede to the possibility of rising wolf populations requiring management in the future.

Wolves migrated from Italy to France as recently as 1992, and the current French wolf population is said to be composed of 40-50 individuals and growing. Estimates in 2005 put the figure at between 80 and 100. Under the Berne Convention, wolves are listed as an endangered species and killing them is illegal. Official culls are permitted to protect farm animals so long as there is no threat to the national population as a whole. Compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Wolves were first spotted in Germany in 1998, and are thought to have migrated from western Poland. Currently, there are around 150 wolves in 26 packs now roaming in Germany, most of them in the eastern German region of Lusatia, and they are now still expanding their range to the west and north. In July 2012, for the first time in 150 years, wolves were born in Heidekreis in Lower Saxony, which confirms the spread of wolves from the eastern part of Germany. In October 2014 Lower Saxony had a wolf population of circa 50 animals: 5 packs, all with confirmed pups in 2014, 2 confirmed mated pairs and one territorial unpaired female. Under German law wolves are a protected species, in several regions livestock damage compensation programmes exist.

In 2011 wolves were spotted in Belgium and the Netherlands in several locations. The different lone wolves are probably from the French or Italian populations. Since wildlife corridors and wildlife crossings over highways are being created that connect wildlife areas in the Netherlands, such as the Veluwezoom National Park and the Oostvaardersplassen with the Klever Reichswald in Germany, nature conservation organisations expect wolves to migrate to the low countries in the near future.

In Switzerland there is one wolf pack in the Calanda mountain and several lone wolves. Wolves are afforded protection, and livestock damage compensation is paid by Cantons. Swiss authorities gave permission to shoot eight wolves between the years 2000 and 2013. The Scandinavian Peninsula has a population of over 300 wolves (official number in 2012/2013 was 350-410 wolves that is shared between Sweden and Norway.

The Norwegian population is located in the southeast, close to the Swedish border, and consists of about 30 wolves. The population is protected and compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Sweden has a protected population of around 300 wolves, and compensation is paid for livestock damage. The Swedish wolf population is restricted to forested areas in mid-Sweden. The Scandinavian wolf population is open to some immigration from Finland.

The last wolf in Denmark was shot in 1813, but in 2009, 2010 and 2012 there was speculation that a wolf had crossed the border from Germany due to numerous observations, latest in the national park of Thy. This was confirmed after an autopsy, which also concluded that the particular wolf had died from side effects of a cancerous tumour. It was the first known wolf in Denmark for 199 years. In 2013, three different lone wolves have been observed in Denmark. According to local biologists based on sound recordings, one pair have had pups. Compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Finland has an almost stable population of 97-106 wolves. Wolves are legally hunted only in areas with high reindeer densities. Compensation for livestock losses are paid by the state and insurance companies. The population is connected to the large Russian wolf population.

Poland has a population of 700-800 wolves and increasing. Since 1995, they have been a protected species, and compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Estonia has a quite stable wolf population of around 200, down from around 500 in the middle of the 1990s. The official standpoint considers the optimal population to be 100-200. At rough scale the distribution range includes the whole country. In 2007, new version of the law on nature conservation introduced compensation for livestock damage, paid by the state.

Lithuania has a population of 300-400, which are increasing in number. The species is not protected, and only insured livestock receives compensation.

Latvia has an unprotected population of 600 wolves, down from 900 in the middle of the 1990s. No compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Belarus is home to a population of 1,500-2,000 wolves. With the exception of specimens in nature reserves, wolves in Belarus are largely unprotected. They are designated a game species, and bounties ranging between €60 and €70 are paid to hunters for each wolf killed. This is a considerable sum in a country where the average monthly wage is €230. No compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Ukraine has an unprotected, yet stable population of appr. 2,000 wolves. Since May 2007, the killing of pregnant females and pups is banned. No compensation is paid for livestock losses. Many of the wolves live in the Zone of alienation north of Chernobyl, where they face few natural threats. This applies equally to the Belarusian part of the zone.

The Czech Republic has a stable and protected population of 20 wolves, though there are no livestock damage compensation programmes.

Slovakia has a stable population of 350-400 wolves which are considered a game species, though with some exceptions. No compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Slovenia has a population of 70-100 wolves and increasing. Since 1991, they have been a protected species, and compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Croatia has a stable population of around 200 wolves. Since May 1995, they have been a protected species, and the wilful killing of wolves can result in a fine equivalent to $6,000. However, according to Dr. Djuro Huber of the University of Zagreb, illegal wolf killings increased after the protection scheme began, resulting in the deaths of 40 wolves. Compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is thought to have a population of 400 wolves, though they are decreasing in number and are afforded no legal protection. Compensation for livestock losses is not paid.

The former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro has a stable population of 500 wolves, though it is unknown if they are afforded any protection and no compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Hungary has a stable population of 250 wolves which are protected, though with some exceptions. No compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Romania has an increasing population of 2,500 wolves which are granted legal protection. No compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Bulgaria has a stable population of 1,000-1,200 wolves which are granted no legal protection. Wolves are considered a nuisance and have an active bounty on them. No compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Greece has a stable population of approximately 700 wolves which are legally protected. Compensation is paid for livestock losses, with over 80% of it from insurance.

The FY Republic of Macedonia has an increasing, yet unprotected population of 1,000 wolves, with no livestock compensation programmed.

Albania has a protected population of 250 wolves, which are increasing in number, though no compensation is paid for livestock losses.

Turkey has population of about 7,000 wolves, although this seems to be an overestimate. There are some local extinctions especially in the western parts of Turkey and the wolf population is declining in Turkey as a whole. Historically, the wolf has officially been considered a pest species and so it was hunted throughout the year without any limits. It was only in 2003 that the wolf received the status of a game species. Although wolves in Turkey are not legally protected, the gained status of a game species means that wolves can only be hunted with a license using established quotas which are restricted to hunting seasons. No compensation is paid for livestock damage.

Although wolves in Russia have no legal protection, they number 25-30,000, and are probably increasing in number in some regions, such as Koryak Okrug and Kalmykia. Some villages in Chechnya’s Nadterechny district have been reporting increasing wolf numbers since the decrease of military activities. On the other hand, in more populated regions of Central and Southern Russia the number of wolves is very small. In some regions, bounties are paid for the destruction of wolves and dens. Wolves live in comparatively few numbers in the Sikhote-Alin region due to competition with increasing tiger numbers. This competitive exclusion of wolves by tigers has been used by Russian conservationists to convince hunters in the Far East to tolerate the big cats, as they limit ungulate populations less than wolves, and are effective in controlling the latter’s numbers. No livestock damage compensation is paid.

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 123

The Truth

by Vanya Bosiocic

There was a time long ago when I fought the greatest wolf one has ever seen. He was white, with amber eyes that pierced my soul and a strong body that blazed with power and dominance. I trespassed on his territory and angered him; he growled, warning me that where I stood was his land, and there I had no right to be.

“But I am a warrior”, I said to the wolf, “this forest is all mine and I shall walk where I please, for I am a man and you are only a beast.” The wolf growled at me again and bared his fangs at me, warning me for the last time that this was his territory. To show him that I was a man and a warrior, I fought him, bare-handed, without my knife or sword. It was a good fight, full of courage and heart, and the victor was excellent and noble. So noble was he that, at the end, when he had my throat between his teeth and could have killed me with one effortless move, he let me go and walked away. I stared back at him in shock, unable to comprehend why the monster had speared my life: “why did you do that, wolf, for I am your enemy, if you were a man I would have been dead instantly.”

He stopped and looked back at me one more time, his wise amber eyes pierced my heart more deeply than any sword and arrow I ever took to my flesh: “I give you back your life, my enemy” he said to me, “because you are only a man, and I am a beast.” And in that instant, when I watched him retrieve into his darkening kingdom, I realized who the monster really was.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary

By Erin

Erin has nothing to report this month but will be back next month.

Will be continued…