The Monthly Free E-Newsletter of South African Friends of Wolves
Volume 12, Issue 156, October 2017
From the Editor’s Desk
Here we go again: Hysterical politicians versus nature treasures and a few reasonable people with brains who put up the last stand. The only difference between the news in this newsletter and those in many, many previous ones is that the American hysteria seems to have found copycats in Germany, interestingly in a region that is likewise orientated to the right of the political spectrum. #So sad…
We thought it sensible to include here a more unbiased look at the situation, which re-immigrant wolves find themselves in in Germany to enable people to form their own opinion based on information rather than on emotion and propaganda.
Also included is a Russian wolf tale, and Erin is back with a brief report on what her pack is up to these days.
Till next month,
Say Yes to New Adventures!
International Wolf Center’s Adventure Programs
Turn your vacation into a one-of-a-kind wilderness experience. The International Wolf Center offers a variety of Adventure Programs led by informative and enthusiastic wolf experts for people of all ages. Visit our website for a complete list of adventure programs here.
Webinar rate: $15 Non-members, $12 Members
Wolf Conservation Center
Wake Up With Wolves!
Sleeping with Wolves, the Wolf Conservation Center’s popular nocturnal adventure experience, gives guests a chance to camp out overnight with the 25 wolves that call the center home! With all the howls and nature’s night-time chatter, you will feel like you’re camping under the stars with wild wolves!
Pre-registration is required. Space is limited and dates are selling out quickly!
Information and Registration here.
News from the Wolf Front
Nothing to report
1. Germany: Petiton update: Pumpak the Wolf must continue to live (translated here from German)
Are more than 122.000 signatures still not enough to be taken seriously?
That’s politicians for you: Actually we wanted to hand our successful petition against the shooting of Pumpak (so far more than 122.000 signatures) and against the shooting of the Rosenthal pack (almost 40.000 signatures) – to the people in charge still before the general elections www.change.org/woelfe, but the politicians did not allow that.
While the advisor to Saxony’s minister for Environmental Affairs and Agriculture, Schmidt, responded to our application for an appointment to hand in the petition stating that it was not common practice in Saxony to hand over petitions to ministers directly, the district administrator of Bautzen, Michael Harig (CDU) defends in his written response the planned shooting of the Rosenthal pack by saying that the provisions taken into consideration by the district are not an act of stately arbitrariness but represent an act of the law.
Is that democracy? Are these politicians really so afraid of so many people taking a stand against the shooting of Pumpak and the Rosenthal pack? We have to act against so much arbitrariness! This is ignorance and unacceptable.
We have to go against this! Keep supporting us and protest by e-mails and phone calls to Mr. Harig
Phone: 03591 5251-80000; Fax: 03591 5250-80000
And to the advisor of Saxony’s state minister Schmidt
- Germany: Escapee Wolves in Bavaria must not be shot
During the night of Friday (06.10.17) to Saturday, some wolves escaped from the Falkenstein National Park in Bavaria. One has already been killed by a car, and another has been shot dead.
We will not accept that the wolves that escaped from the National Park Center Falkenstein in Bavaria’s Ludwigsthal (district Regen) are shot.
According to a press release of the National Park management, a door to the enclosure was broken open, and a number of wolves found their way out. It can only be speculated who has and why this door was broken open.
We of the Wolfschutz Deutschland [Wolf Conservation Germany] within the registered organisation Pro Naturschutz Sachsen (Pro Nature Conservation Saxony) (Grüne Liga Sachsen; Green League Saxony) object to plans of shooting the escaped wolves and demand an end to the hysterical and heartless treatment of the wolf.
15 years ago, the she-wolf Bärbel escaped from the Klingenthal Animal Park. Our chairman, Wolfgang Riether, fought for her life while she roamed through a number of federal states. He submitted several appeals for clemency. Contrary to the claims by officials of the large nature conservation groups, Bärbel was able to hunt and survive on her own. When it was eventually decided that she could live in freedom she was shot dead by a hunter from Lower Saxony.
You can read Bärbel’s story here: http://www.gepardenland.de/Wolf/Baerbel.htm
The claims made in a press release by the National Park Centre, stating the wolves would not be able to survive on their own and must therefore be shot is as absurd as calling these wolves “ticking time bombs”, as was done today by a Bavarian radio station.
We demand that the wolves, if they cannot be captured, are allowed live in freedom. Where else, if not in a national park, will be enough space for these predators. In the same way Bärbel managed to survive these wolves will also learn to take care of themselves. Our member Beatrice Rüger has initiated a petition for the Bavarian escapee wolves. You can sign it here: https://www.change.org/p/tötet-nicht-die-entlaufenen-wölfe-jede-minute-zählt. Please do so and share the address further.
- Germany: Escapee Wolves in Bavaria: Second wolf shot dead!
We have just learned that another wolf was shot dead! We are busy preparing for the hand-over of our petition. Please protest again via phone calls and e-mails to the persons in charge.
Dr. Franz Leibl, head of the National Park management:
Phone: +49 8552 9600135; Fax:+49 8552 9600100; E-mail: email@example.com
- Germany: Appeal for clemency for the escapee wolves to Bavaria’s Prime Minister, Horst Seehofer
Until we will have received an appointment to hand over our petition eventually, we have sent an open letter to prime minister Horst Seehofer and asked for clemency for those wolves that are still alive. To lend it more weight, it would be great if many more people signed our petition. We keep on fighting for the wolves, but we need your support!
From Protect the Wolves (http://www.protectthewolves.com)
- USA: Montana Slaughters another possible Park Wolf
Montana has slaughtered another possible Yellowstone Wolf in Unit 316. 18 possible Park Wolves have lost their lives in Wyoming, and 19 more in the rest of Wyoming as of today.
Hunters are camped tight against the boundary line in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Some trophy zones have Yellowstone Park at both its north and south boundaries. Then take a look at the rest of the state…not one trophy unit in it. It is all designated along Yellowstone and Teton’s border. This speaks volumes of the intent to take as many park wolves as they can. Are you ready to allow that to happen? There is a way to stop this. Take your power back that these states have stripped you of and let’s get these beloved wolves back to protection & safety. Now is the time to do it. Now is why the wolves desperately need you.
Policy States that Federal Resources are protected as well. Park Policy states that “OUR” sacred resources be protected. Wolves are considered one of our sacred resources. Federal Policy also states our resources are protected not only on but off Reservations
How many more Yellowstone Wolves will need to needlessly die before you say “no more!” Let’s get this done…Now! Our Sacred Resource Protection Zone helping keep park wolves safe is beyond needed. We asked for your support in May when we began to petition states surrounding the national parks. Wolves are now crying out for your help by needlessly being slaughtered now
Help us help park wolves here: https://continuetogive.com/protectthewolves
With your support, we can be successful in putting an End to this Needless Slaughter!! Thank you for Joining The Howl that will be heard around the world!
Remember: All of our staff including directors are volunteers; we do not pay $ 400,000 per year in director’s or staff salaries…
From Wolf Conservation Center (firstname.lastname@example.org); on behalf of Wolf Conservation Center (email@example.com)
- USA: Meet Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Max!
So many wonderful things are happening at the Wolf Conservation Center and we are excited to share a little news with you all. We are so lucky and grateful to have a wonderful supporter and volunteer named Max Toscano (featured below with Ambassador wolf Atka in 2014). The teen from Darien, Connecticut has a passion for wolves that is unparalleled. Max has been a part of the WCC family since he was 12 years old!
While our three little Mexican gray wolf pups were recently assigned their alphanumeric “names,” two of them have yet to receive proper names. It seemed only natural that one of them would be named after Max. We introduce to you, little Max, one of our three feisty pups named in his honour!
Learn more about Max and her critically endangered kin here.
- USA: A Special Milestone for Red Wolves
Thirty years ago this month, a new chapter in wildlife conservation began with a wild homecoming unlike anything seen before. The first captive-bred red wolves were released to the wild!
The red wolf reintroduction was among the first instances of a species, considered extinct in the wild, being re-established from a captive population. In many ways, the red wolf program was the pilot program, serving as a model for subsequent canid reintroductions, particularly those of the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest and the gray wolf to the Yellowstone region.
In recognition of the anniversary, the Wolf Conservation Center will celebrate the red wolf with interesting red wolf facts, ways to take action, special events, giveaways and more! Follow the WCC on Facebook to take part!
- USA: Meet Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Jean
Jean is one of the three critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups born on May 22, 2017. Beyond being cute, this little kiddo represents the Wolf Conservation Center‘s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.
While our three little wolf pups were assigned their alphanumeric “names” last month, the sisters deserve proper names too! First, you met Nita. Max was next. Now we are happy to introduce you to Jean!
We are so lucky and grateful to have so many wonderful friends and supporters. Jean Ossorio has been a vital member of the WCC pack some time. For those who have met Jean, it’s no secret that she is committed to Mexican gray wolf recovery. Not only has Jean been a tireless advocate for the protection and preservation of the lobo for decades, she has spent more time than anyone camping in Mexican wolf country, hoping for a glimpse, sound, or other sign of these rare and elusive animals.
Jean is courage, compassion, brilliance, and grit in action; and her love for lobos goes unparalleled. It seems only natural that one of our three spirited Mexican gray wolf pups should be named after her.
So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory howl for little Jean!
From Endangered Species Coalition (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- USA: Wolves and public lands at risk
This week, Congress will vote on a disastrous bill that would kick Great Lakes wolves off of the endangered species list and allow states like Wisconsin to begin wolf hunting and trapping seasons immediately.
Fight attacks on the Endangered Species Act with a donation today.
This bill – the Sportsmen’s Act – is one of more than two dozen bills in this Congress that take aim at the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are the most immediate victims of this senseless legislation, but they are not the only species that will suffer. By redefining “hunting” to include trapping, it forces lands managers to permit the use of traps and snares on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands that are now closed to this outdated and cruel practice. Wolverines, lynx, even bald eagles are just three of the species put at risk by traps and snares that would be allowed on millions more acres of public lands.
Also included in the Sportsmen’s Act is a provision that would block efforts to phase out lead fishing equipment and ammunition in national parks and on other public lands. This action alone will sentence millions of birds annually to slow and painful death by lead poisoning. And this is just one bill of dozens that this Congress is considering.
Help stop Congress from abandoning wolves and gutting the Endangered Species Act with a 100% tax-deductible donation today.
The Endangered Species Act has helped recover vanishing species for nearly half a century, but this Congress intends to bring it to an end. The Endangered Species Coalition is fighting the Sportsmen’s Act and dozens of others like it with every resource we have. Please make a secure and tax-deductible donation today to help keep wolves protected and stop the Endangered Species Act from going extinct in this Congress:
Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and wild places.
From Change.org (email@example.com) (translated here from German)
- USA: Petition update: Boycott Under Armour for Promoting the Slaughter of Wildlife! Under Armour-Ad encouraging Kids to Kill Animals!
Under Armour’s Back-To-School Ad: “Back to school season isn’t so bad when you have this to look forward to”.
This Ad targets the US market specifically. And it is designed to help ensure that the new generation follows in the footsteps of the older one, killing wild animals for sport.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
From SanWild Wildlife Trust (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Water crisis at SanWild
We have been faced with a severe and on-going drought since May 2015 and during the last two years we have put up a brave battle with the help of so many wonderful people to fight the odds stacked against our animals to ensure that they are provided with enough food and water to survive the drought.
This year we could fortunately plan ahead and it has not been necessary for us to spend the same amount of money on providing drought relief food as the previous financial year. Grazing has been okay right up to August and we only resumed providing drought relief in September. For now we are okay as far as food is concerned and we trust that the rains will come early this year.
Unfortunately we are now faced with yet another crisis after not just one but two of our existing boreholes have dried up. For the past three months we anticipated that it may happen as the water levels dropped. We continued to lower pumps, but now the water supply has reduced to a couple of litres per day and we can no longer pump water from the two boreholes which means we urgently need to make other plans to continue to provide water to the SanWild animals.
It is a known fact that underground water levels can take as long as 3-4 years to fully recover after prolonged droughts so even if the rains do come early; it will not solve our problems straight away and we will have to make alternative plans to provide water.
Fortunately we still do have one strong borehole, but this one is situated on the one end of the reserve and it is necessary to lay down a pipeline to get water to the watering points that were fed from the two boreholes that dried up.
Unfortunately we are always stretched for cash and have not been able to build up a savings to accommodate unexpected crisis. When disaster strikes; we and the animals we care for are left at the mercy of kind-hearted animal loving people.
To save costs and not to waste any money drilling for water where there may not be any, we have ordered PVC plastic piping and already have a hired backackter on site to dig a trench for the pipeline to be put down. The pipes and machine hire will cost us in the region of approximately Seven thousand five hundred US dollars ($7500) and we need your help to urgently raise this amount.
The pipes will be ready for delivery by the end of this week, but delivery will not happen until we have the funding to pay for the pipes.
Please do consider our animals’ welfare and make a donation if you can. We will be extremely grateful for your support.
Please note that SanWild is a registered non-profit and public benefit organization and therefore all donations made to us are fully tax-deductible.
The SanWild Wildlife Trust would like to thank you for your financial support as well as sharing our appeals with family and friends. We really do appreciate this greatly.
Nothing to report
Nothing to report
Wolves and Wolfdogs
Wolves in Germany: Germans divided over the return of the wolf
Wolves have been making a comeback, with a few dozen packs already roaming Germany’s forests. But the return of a predator feared since ancient times has the human population fiercely divided.
Holger Benning visits his flocks of sheep at least once a day. He checks the electric fences are working and brings food for his 17 guard dogs. Both are there to protect his livestock from wolves.
The predators returned to Lüneburg Heath in Lower Saxony, between Hannover and Hamburg, 10 years ago.
“Wolves do kill sheep, goats or other farm animals around here from time to time,” Benning tells DW. But he’s convinced that with the right precautions, the risk “is very small.”
So far, Benning hasn’t lost a single sheep.
But not everyone has been so lucky. Wolves have killed more than 600 farm animals in the region – mainly sheep, but also cows and farm deer.
Making a comeback
Wild wolves were eradicated from Germany at the end of the 19th century. But in the late 20th century, conservation efforts saw populations in neighboring Poland expand, and gradually move west in search of new territory.
By 2000 they had crossed the border and the first wild wolf pups for more than a century were born in Germany. From the eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg, they pushed on into other parts of the country’s north, and even the outskirts of Berlin.
By the end of 2016, at least 47 packs and 21 pairs were officially documented in Germany’s woodlands, about 130 adult wolves in total, according to the German wolf documentation and consultation office (DBBW): https://www.dbb-wolf.de/Wolfsvorkommen/territorien/karte-der-territorien
Lüneburg Heath has nine packs, comprising around 80 animals, including pups.
“A few years ago, they said the likelihood of encountering a wolf was like winning the lottery,” Benning says. “That means I have already won the lottery five times.”
And even when the wolves themselves stay hidden, the shepherd often finds their traces – tracks and scat – around his sheep pastures. “They are definitely around,” he says.
Nature lovers and conservation societies like the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) are thrilled Germany’s wolves have bounced back from extinction.
“It is one of the biggest successes from a nature conservation point of view,” according to NABU.
Yet even NABU admits their return is controversial.
“Wolves belong here and I think it is a good thing that they are back,” says NABU’s Peter Schütte. “But I know that it can cause problems in such densely populated areas like we have in Germany.”
Schütte heads a NABU project to help farmers protect their herds, for example by erecting fences: http://www.herdenschutz-niedersachsen.de/
“There are solutions to make coexistence between humans and wolves possible,” he says.
However, dogs and fences mean extra work for the farmers – and cost money.
Public support is available to help farmers protect their livestock, as is compensation when a farm animal is killed by wolves. But Benning says he is still out of pocket.
“I have to put up with an income loss of 20,000 Euros ($22,800) each year,” he says. “I cannot make my lamb more expensive or the customers will go to the next supermarket and buy New Zealand lamb which is already cheaper than what we can produce.”
‘It’s getting out of hand’
Wolves are strictly protected under German law. But there are plenty of people in Lüneburg Heath who think it’s time to start shooting them.
Sonja Christiansen, a horse breeder, says culling wolves when they become too numerous should be permitted.
“I think it is too dangerous to have wolves around,” she says. “It’s getting out of hand. It started with two wolves, now nobody even knows exactly how many we have.”
Christiansen is afraid the wolves could kill her foals or stud – or just frighten the animals so they bolt and hurt themselves.
“Wolves do not fit into our civilization any longer,” she said, adding that her fear of wolves means she no longer enjoys walking in the countryside.
Sheds instead of pasture
Cattle farmer Hendrik Meine also believes hunters should be allowed to keep wolf numbers down.
“There is nothing to be said against a few wolves in the area,” he told DW, “but not in huge numbers. We are too densely populated for that.”
Meine says he knows of cattle farmers whose calves, and even adult animals, have been killed by wolves, and now keep the animals inside.
“Keeping animals outside on pastures won’t be possible in the future if wolves continue to thrive in this area,” Meine says.
With NABU’s support, Meine is about to erect a 1.5-meter wolf-proof electric fence around his pasture. “I just hope that this will help,” he says.
To protect the wolves or kill them? It’s a question that divides the region, and has even become a hot topic in regional election campaigns.
Some people now light warning fires whenever they spot a wolf to raise awareness of what they see as a lurking danger.
NABU’s Schütte says historic fears mean people can be irrational about wolves.
“In the Middle Ages, wolves were a danger for our ancestors who owned maybe only one cow or one goat,” he explains. “When that animal got killed, a family lost their livelihood. It’s not like that anymore today. But the idea that this is a big dangerous predator still remains.”
Here to stay
Hannelore Martin is a horse breeder and head of NABU’s “horse and wolf” research team. She says she also worried for her horses when she first heard that wolves were back. But she did a bit of research and realized how rare it is for wolves to kill foals.
Now, she’s committed to “reducing the hysteria.”
Shooting wolves, Martin says, wouldn’t help anyway: “New ones would just come in from Eastern Europe. This migration is a permanent process.”
And killing off individual wolves could actually make the rest of a pack more dangerous by disrupting their natural hunting patterns.
“It could screw up the animals’ social structure,” Martin says.
Martin and Schütte believe the better the human population is informed about their lupine neighbors, the better the chances of peaceful coexistence.
Because even as debate over wolves’ place in Lüneburg Heath rages, the wolves seem to have made up their own minds: They’re here to stay.
Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 143
A Russian Wolf Fable
Ankakumikaityn, the Nomad Wolf – A Siberian Tale
One summer, the fox heard that Ankakumikaityn, the nomad wolf, was courting his neighbour, the elder she-dog. So the wily fox made himself an outfit of wolf’s clothing: a grey fur cloak, boots and cap. Then, when the she-dog’s brothers were away and she was at home with her younger sister, he called upon her.
“I have two herds of fat reindeer,” said the fox to the elder sister, as he sipped the bilberry tea she offered him. “I have come to seek your hand.”
Thinking that this was, indeed, Ankakumikaityn the nomad wolf, the she-dog treated him to reindeer meat, hot mare’s-blood sausages, raw walrus liver and pickled fish, the very choicest pieces. All the while, the fox sat in his cap, unwilling to take it off lest he be recognized.
“Being a wealthy person,” he explained, “I keep my cap on that people might respect me. “All of a sudden, the sound of dogs barking could be heard from afar. “It is my brothers returning from hunting,” the she-dog said. “Oh dear,” exclaimed the fox, “they will likely scare my herds. I must run to caution them.”
Once away from the tent, the fox quickly dashed up the nearby hill and loosened some rocks. When the dog brothers came in sight, he pushed the boulders down the hillside and crushed them all. Thereupon, he returned to the tent and finished his tea, charming the sisters with his oily-tongued tales. As dusk fell and the sisters were busy about their housework, he made off with all their food supplies.
Early next morning, the sisters became most alarmed on discovering their supplies gone and their brothers still absent. As they searched the valley and found their poor brothers dead, they wept in despair.
“Who could have done us such harm?” they wailed. In their sorrow, they decided to go to Ankakumikaityn to seek his counsel. The nomad wolf was puzzled. “But I never came to you yesterday!” he exclaimed.
It was not long before the sisters realized they had been tricked by the fox. With the wolf’s help, they worked out a plan to get their revenge.
Next day, the fox, unaware that he had been discovered called on the sisters again dressed as Ankakumikaityn. But this time they were expecting him. While the fox drank bilberry tea and exchanged pleasantries, the nomad wolf stealthily entered the tent, grabbed the treacherous fox and tied him up.
“What shall we do with the scoundrel?” asked the wolf. “Let’s put him in a sack and leave him in the tundra,” suggested the two sisters. That they did. The poor fox almost fainted from fright, wondering what his fate would be. At last, he was set down with a bump; the younger sister collected a heap of dry grass and brushwood for a fire, piled it round the sack, surrounded the tinder with stones and then lit the fire. Poor fox. He at last burst out of the burning sack, his wolf’s clothing aflame, and rushed headlong over the tundra like a burning torch. Satisfied at their revenge, the dog sisters and the wolf returned to the tent.
Ankakumikaityn wed the elder sister, and the younger dog looked after their children. Some time later, she found herself a husband too. Since that time red foxes began to appear in the tundra. So it seems that wily old fox, scorched and fiery red, managed to survive his roasting after all.
A Wolfdog Diary
Nothing much has happened lately. Summer is on its way, the days are nice and warm and the nights are also much warmer now. The only problem we have in the moment is that our three have rediscovered their taste for pigeons. Every now and then the birds find their way into the greenhouse; I guess they just walk in through the gaps between the wooden planks of the door or through the greenhouse foil flaps and then cannot find their way back out. The kids then hear them flying around inside and because they cannot squeeze through the gate they have managed to pull the surrounding fence up and slip in under it. Then will they chase the poor bird around until it gets so tired that it has to take a break on one of the plant benches, and that’s when they will get it. In the very few cases when Ted or I heard what was going on, we stepped in and opened the flaps and gate for the bird to escape, but in most instances we will only realize what has happened when we find lots of feathers on the lawn. We have tried to fix the fence to stop them from killing the poor birds, but when we have closed one gap we will typically find a new one a day or two later. This reminds me of the time when Kia had that thing about plastic flowerpots and broke into the greenhouse again and again to get to them. Even after I had removed all pots and placed them in some other place she didn’t stop, until Ted built the wooden door and put a fence around the whole greenhouse. This time it’s not the pots but the pigeons, but the problem is the same – how do you secure the greenhouse properly to keep both, the birds and the furry kids out? Besides of the fact that we don’t like them killing the birds (they get enough food and could happily live without supplementing it with feathery creatures), chasing their prey around inside the house also causes a lot of damage to the plants in there. Focused on getting to the bird they don’t care how many plants will fall off the benches and have to be repotted by me after the chase is over. Well, I guess we have to come up with a plan (once more). Otherwise everything is hunky-dory.
Will be continued…