The Monthly Free E-Newsletter of South African Friends of Wolves
Volume 12, Issue 158, December 2017
From the Editor’s Desk
A merry and peaceful Festive Season
and a good start into the New Year
to all who care for the wolf
International Wolf Center (firstname.lastname@example.org); on behalf of International Wolf Center (email@example.com)
Register Now for the 2018 International Wolf Symposium 2018:
Wolves in a Changing World
October 11-14, 2018
Calling all Wolf Biologists, Enthusiasts, Educators and Wildlife Conservationists. Registration is now open for the sixth International Wolf Symposium.
Location & Lodging:
Minneapolis Marriott Northwest
7025 Northland DR N, Minneapolis, MN 55428
Lodging is available at a reduced rate of $119 + taxes per night. All-suite hotel.
- Early registration – $399.00* (October 13, 2017 – May 31, 2018)
- Regular registration – $474.00 (June 1, 2018 – August 31, 2018)
- Late registration – $500.00* (Any time after September 1, 2018)
- Student registration – $299.00 (High school or college. Member discount does not apply.)
*International Wolf Center members will receive a $50.00 discount. Not a member? Join today!
Registration includes 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, a reception, all daily break refreshments and materials.
- Welcome Rendezvous Reception with cash bar, Thursday 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., October 11, 2018
- Wolves and Wilderness Bus Tour, Thursday, October 11, 2018 – $99 (Bus tour will not be back in time for the reception.)
- The Last Great Wolf Restoration Banquet, Saturday evening, October 13, 2018 – $50
*If your employer will not cover these expenses or you are bringing a significant other, click here to register for the additional events separately.
Keynote speakers and Plenary sessions will be presented by international wolf experts in their particular fields of study.
Concurrent sessions, given throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will focus on a variety of topics under the following categories:
- Distribution of Wolves Around the World
- Wolf Ecology
- Wolf/Human Interactions
- Wolf Management and Policies
- Wildlands and Ecosystems
- Wolf Conservation and Education
- Emerging Research and Technologies
Poster Session: Posters will be on display Friday through noon Sunday, with a Q&A session Saturday at noon.
Exhibitors will have displays throughout the symposium.
Networking opportunities will be plentiful.
Be sure to watch your email and wolf.org for updates! You can help us spread the word by sharing this email.
Learn more here.
- International Wolf Center’s Adventure Programs
Say Yes to New Adventures!
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.
- Upcoming Webinars
Webinar rate: $15 Non-members, $12 Members
News from the Wolf Front
Nothing to report
From Defenders of Wildlife (http://www.defenders.org)
- USA: This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for YOU!
It has truly been a challenging year in the fight to protect imperilled species and safeguard the places they call home.
But no matter how hard things have gotten, you have stood by us through it all – and that has meant the world to us and, more importantly, to the wildlife that depend on all of us.
So, from all of us here at Defenders of Wildlife and on behalf of the threatened and endangered species we all love, thank you for your support.
1. Germany: Petiton Update: Wolf Pumpak must live
Unbelievable: Saxony-Anhalt allows police to shoot at wolves
The Home Secretary of Saxony-Anhalt has with an edict interfered in the affairs of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs, permitting police to shoot at wolves (https://www.mdr.de/sachsen-anhalt/woelfe-duerfen-von-polizisten-geschossen-werden-100.html). Purportedly this is to prevent injured animals from suffering since up to now only a specialist was allowed to euthanize a seriously injured wolf, and such specialist may not be always immediately available. However, this new edict also applies to conspicuously behaving wolves, the evaluating of which is left to the police. This is entirely unacceptable for a true nature lover.
To us it is clear that this is just another attempt to soften the high protection status of the wolf in Germany; and the fact that the Home Secretary is a hunter himself leaves a bitter by-taste.
Please sign and share the petition initiated by our wolf friend Lutz Lambrecht here.
One Euro for the wolf
(translated here from German)
The Christmas season has started and this is a time of reflection and awareness of what we love: our families. Wolves also live in families, and also have a right to a peaceful Christmas time. Petitions and public pressure help to save the lives of wolves, and I’m thankful for all their supporters. However, in times of opinionated media where hardly a day goes by without fear-causing, badly investigated and completely made-up articles on wolves, petitions also offer the opportunity to convey information.
But we must also act, and that is what we, of the Wolfsschutz Deutschland in Pro Naturschutz Sachsen e.V. (Grüne Liga Sachsen), stand for. We don’t talk, we act. In contrast to the bigshot nature conservation activist groups, which have this year even agreed to wolf culling, we receive no support from the state. We depend on donations to continue our work. That reminds me of the story of actor Karlheinz Böhm who came to great fame through the Sissi movies. Deeply disturbed by reports of the food crisis in the Sahel zone he placed a legendary bet at the ZDF TV show “Wetten, dass …?” (Bet you…), betting that not even every third viewer would donate 1 German Mark, 1 Swiss Franc or 7 Austrian Schillings for the people in the Sahel zone. The result: a donation of 1.2 million German Marks.
Our petition for Pumpak was signed by 120,000 people, and my Christmas wish for the wolves is that every one of these signatories donates 1 Euro to us, which would bring us one vital step farther in our fight for the lives of the wolves, because court cases cost a lot of money!
We are happy about every donation. The money is exclusively used for our work for the wolves in Germany. We consciously do without colourful flyers and information brochures for that.
Wolfsschutz Deutschland in Pro Naturschutz Sachsen e. V. (Grüne Liga)
IBAN DE78 8705 4000 0725 0179 88
In Sweden, wolves are shot left, right and centre to purportedly eliminate wolf/dog hybrids living among wolves, which means nothing else but to kill them.
Here in Germany cross-bred cubs were facing a similar fate, and only the public attention caused by a petition initiated by a student and our public protests have prevented it. Now the cubs will be captured and sent to live in an animal park. That’s not what we had in mind. We wanted these cubs to be sterilized and, like in Italy, be released back into nature. At least they will be allowed to live. Here we also had to go against the NABU activist Tamas who wanted them shot. At the beginning of this year our court case saved Pumpak from being shot. He hasn’t been seen since then, but pictures of a well-fed wolf in Austria that have surfaced recently might actually depict Pumpak. Theoretically he could have migrated south. Since the beginning of this year the complete Rosenthal pack in Saxony has been in danger. Thanks to the petition and the public outcry caused by it, we could so far prevent the shooting of the pack Provincial Councillor Harig (CDU) so longingly wishes for.
We went to check and photograph fences and realized that the livestock there have hardly any protection. After that Provincial Councillor Harig wanted a randomly selected wolf of the Rosenthal pack shot. Our members were holding nightwatch in the area and made sure that the wolves were staying away while our umbrella organisation Grüne Liga Sachsen (Green League Saxony) filed an urgent application with the court against the shooting order. For now we could stop the order, but the fight goes on. Presently the wolves in Saxony are in great danger. The new coalition agreement between SPD and CDU includes “wolf-free dikes”. Which consequences this might have for the Cuxland pack everybody can guess. There we also checked and photographed fences and again realized that there was hardly any protection. In Saxony-Anhalt, the Home Secretary has issued an order that allows the police to decide for themselves whether a wolf must be shot. In Bavaria, we could prevent the shooting of another escapee wolf. There is so much to be done. The new year will not be less dramatic for the wolves than this one was. But so far and with joined power we could stop every attempt at their lives.
Please support these petitions:
You want to contact us directly? We are on Facebook where you can talk to our members:
We are often asked whether our goals are the same as those of NABU and the like. No, they are not. These organisations agree to shootings, we don’t.
Also interesting what Vince Ebert thinks of the bigshot organisations: “Many of the initially oh-so idealistic eco-Davids have long developed into recklessly operating Goliaths who push their actions through with the help of PR professionals, controllers and efficiently organized law departments. Many Nature Conservation organisations now focus less and less on the most urgent environmental problems but rather on “which topic generates the biggest amount of donations?” Relevant topics are no longer suggested by real scientists, but rather by so-called “campaigners” who first and foremost figure out how the most successful hypes can be started.
You can read further here (in German).
3. Touching Video of Pumpak from Poland
(translated here from German)
There are news about Pumpak. Yesterday, Katarzyna Bojarska, a researcher from Poland, who has been monitoring the Ruszow pack from which Punpak originated, sent us a link to a very touching video, which shows Pumpak at one year old caring lovingly for his siblings while their mother is out hunting. The subtitles in the video are in polish, but the pictures speak for themselves. They are so heart-warming that they need no translation. To fight for these animals every single day is really worth it. We are their voice. Watch the video here.
I really do hope that Pumpak is still alive somewhere. In Switzerland, they caught a suspected wolf killer and he is to be charged. This will also send a clear signal to the poachers in Saxony and anywhere else in Germany. Don’t feel too safe; you will be caught one day. We are on tour in all the wolf rangers, too.
- Jan Olsson via Change.org (firstname.lastname@example.org, translated here from German)
Germany: Petition update: With the human! – For the Wolf!
- Rescue our Wolves! How fake press reports cause the shooting of Wolves!
The threat for our wolves to be killed through illegal and legal shootings is ongoing.
The Barnstorf/Goldenstedt and the Cuxhaven packs are possibly about to be shot.
For the Cuxhaven pack, the shooting order is expected to go through as soon as the DBBW (Federal Bureau for the Documentation of and Advice on Wolves) has handed its report over to the Ministry for Environmental Affairs of Lower-Saxony. This is a question of days only.
When the Cuxhaven pack is shot it could be the beginning of a series of shooting
entire wolf packs. Next would be the pack of our Goldenstedt she-wolf!
What’s the reason for this? The absence of or ineffective protection of livestock herds and flocks in the regions where these two wolf packs live. Even after several years, many livestock farmers refuse to protect their animals, even though they are entitled to receiving subventions for preventative measures from the state if only they cared to apply for them.
As though this weren’t bad enough, the reporting culture of the media on national and even more so on local levels keeps on promoting the distorted impression that wolves would kill livestock all the time by overcoming “wolf-safe” fences!
This is simply wrong!
W-I-S-Z-V have clearly demonstrated in a new post on their website how the continuous misrepresentation in the media on the purported overcoming of wolf-safe fences is used again and again for arguing in favour of unjustified claims to shoot our wolves.
A fact is, however, that many of these fences are not electrified, do not have the right height, lack streamers, or are unprotected against digging through under, etc.
Please share this information from the W-I-S-Z-V in your forums, your friends, colleagues at work, and other friends of wolves and repost it wherever you deem fit. Write to the editors of local newspapers and let them know what the story really is. Demand that they finally start writing factually correct and properly researched articles on wolves.
This is about the lives of strictly protected and socially highly evolved animals – our wolves!
Please join us, all of you! And we appreciate any donation, however small, so that we, the W-I-S-Z-V can continue fighting for our wolves! We will not abandon them!
Wolf-Informations-und Schutz-Zentrum-Vechta e.V.
IBAN DE74 2804 2865 0630 0719 00
More information on the W-I-S-Z-V website.
From Wolf Conservation Center (email@example.com); on behalf of Wolf Conservation Center (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- USA: Busy Season Ahead – Prepping For Pups
The Wolf Conservation Center participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the red wolf (Canis rufus). The Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf are among the rarest mammals in North America; both species were at one time extinct in the wild.
While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to secure protections for critically endangered wolf species, we have also naturally been quite active in physically safeguarding the representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to our care.
Organizations participating in SSPs are tasked with basic husbandry, collaborating in the carefully managed captive breeding program, recommendations for release, and research.
This work is literally “behind the scenes” as visitors rarely get to see the wolves because they are generally kept off-exhibit to maintain their healthy aversion to humans.
This season promises to be a busy one as it features not only our normal husbandry, but also five breeding pairs (three Mexican wolf pairs and two red), collection of genetic material, new arrivals, bittersweet goodbyes, and even an extraordinary medical procedure.
See a summary of actions here.
- Public Comments Show Overwhelming Support for Mexican Wolf Recovery
Of the more than 100,000 comments submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Mexican Wolf Draft Recovery Plan, more than 99% were in support of recovery!
Seven organizations and dozens of volunteers came together to tally the comments, publicly available on the government comment portal, Regulations.gov. The organizations included the Endangered Species Coalition, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, Lobos of the Southwest, Wolf Conservation Center, White Mountain Conservation League, Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, and Sierra Club’s Rio Grande Chapter. It took weeks and over a hundred hours for the volunteers to tally the thousands of comments, which came from all 50 states.
“Every voice raised in support of wildlife can make a difference and Americans overwhelmingly support Mexican wolf recovery,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “We’re counting on USFWS to take notice and follow the best available science to ensure that the world’s most endangered gray wolves remain a living, breathing part of the south-western landscape.”
- 11-Yr-Old Saving Wolves, One Painting At A Time
By giving endangered species a voice via her artwork, 11-yr-old Bria of Faces Of The Endangered is making a difference one painting at a time.
“I read about all of the endangered animals and I couldn’t believe what is happening to these wonderful creatures. I want to paint all the endangered animals and donate the money to give them a face so they don’t disappear.”
Thank you, Bria, for opening minds, touching our hearts, and exemplifying the amazing potential of your generation to make this world a better place!
From Andreas Schillert (Dasypeltis@fasciata.de)
Original source here. (translated and summarized here from German)
Germany: Bavaria: Wolves in the heart of Germany
- Nov. 2017
Farmers at the border between Bavaria and Hesse have become nervous after several flocks of sheep were attacked, and a wolf was sighted. There are sixty packs nationwide already, farmers demonstrate, but was it really a wolf?
It wasn’t a nice sight: sheep and goats with bite wounds were found dead again and again in the Oden Forest on the Bavaria/Hesse border. Following reports by the Bavarian broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, authorities are presently investigating whether a wolf may be responsible, because a wolf had been spotted in the region as recently as in September. Now lab analyses are expected to demonstrate whether a wolf killed the sheep, for which purpose DNA samples were sent to the Hessian Laboratory for Wild Animal Genetics. Results are expected for mid December. Experts so far have not excluded the possibility that a lynx or a feral dog could be the culprit.
Mountain farmers have staged a demonstration in Munich on Thursday, demanding better protection against wolf attacks. “More and more cattle and sheep are killed by wolves,” the president of the Bavarian Farmers’ Organisation, Walter Heidl, said when addressing about 100 farmers from Austria and Bavaria. The way of farming that was so typical of the Alps region were threatened.
It is a fact that the number of free-ranging wolf packs has been on a steady increase. Their number has by now reached sixty, thirteen more than last year, which is evident from data released by the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) and the Federal Office for Documentation and Advice on the Wolf (Dokumentations- und Beratungsstelle des Bundes zum Wolf, DBBW). .
The wolf started to return to Bavaria a few years ago, and free-ranging wolves have reproduced in the Bavarian Forest for the first time in more than a 150 years in 2017. Furthermore, six wolves escaped from an enclosure in the national park in October. Because they were used to humans and in contrast to their wild cousins did not show sign of being shy of them, it was decided to shoot them. Three animals have been killed by now, one was captured alive, but two are still at large. They were last seen in the surroundings of Sankt Englmar and at the border with the Czech Republic. One was reported to be limping and the other was said to appear emaciated.
From California Wolfcenter (email@example.com)
Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project
Monthly Update – November 1-30, 2017
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. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit www.wmatoutdoors.org.
Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign upto receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.com and clicking on the E-news Signup tab on the top left corner of the webpage.
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).
Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: the Alpine wolf office at (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office at (928) 532-2391 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. For sightings or suspected depredations on the FAIR, please call the FAIR wolf office in Whiteriver at (928) 388-4385 ext. 226. 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
On November 29, 2017, the USFWS posted on its website the finalized Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision. The goal of the plan is to provide guidance to recover the subspecies within the subspecies’ historical range in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The recovery plan provides measurable and objective criteria which, when met, will enable the USFWS to remove the Mexican wolf from the list of endangered species and turn its management over to the appropriate states and tribes. To review the recovery plan and related documents, visit the USFWS Mexican wolf website at: www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf/.
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. A lower case letter “p” preceding the number is used to indicate a wolf pup born in the most recent spring. 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. Studbook numbers listed in the monthly update denote wolves with functioning radio collars.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
Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as mortality is particularly high on young pups). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. This allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year that accounts for most mortality and survival of young pups.
During annual year-end population counts, the IFT documented a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016. At the end of November, there were 66 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.
Wolves with functioning radio collars are listed by studbook number in the pack updates below.
Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338, AF1335, and m1673)
In November, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF). The pack had several infrequent locations on the SCAR during November. Yearling m1673 made a wide dispersal movement into southwestern New Mexico.
Bluestem Pack (collared F1489, f1563, and fp1665)
In November, f1489 made dispersal movements around the northern and western edges of the Bluestem Pack’s traditional territory in the central ASNF. Yearling f1563 and fp1665 were found dead; the incidents are under investigation.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, m1471, f1473, m1474, m1477, fp1668, and mp1671)
In November, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Two yearling wolves, m1477 and f1473, each made wide dispersal movements, travelling separately, from their natal territory. Two pups were documented travelling with the pack in November.
Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and m1447)
In November, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and into New Mexico.
Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, f1550, f1663, and mp1666)
In November, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Hoodoo f1663 was found dead in November; the incident is under investigation. Two pups were documented travelling with the pack in November.
Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)
In November, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.
Panther Creek Pack (collared AF1339, AM1382, and m1574)
In November, the Panther Creek Pack was located in the east central portion of the ASNF. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache for this pack with the goal of increasing survival of genetically valuable pups that the IFT cross-fostered into the Panther Creek Pack in May.
Prime Canyon Pack (collared F1488)
In November, F1488 was documented travelling within a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.
Saffel Pack (collared AF1567 and mp1661)
In November, the Saffel Pack was located in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Four pups were documented travelling with the Saffel Pack in November.
Single collared AM1038
In November, AM1038 of the old Hawks Nest Pack was located travelling in the north central portion of the ASNF.
Single collared m1483
Male 1483 was found dead in November; the incident is under investigation.
Single collared f1484
In November, f1484 was documented travelling alone and occasionally with the Panther Creek Pack in the Panther Creek’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.
Single collared f1562
Female 1562 was localized in the north central portion of the ASNF during November and has been documented travelling with an unknown collared wolf. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for this pair to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.
ON THE FAIR:
Baldy Pack (collared mp1672)
In November, mp1672, previously captured, collared and released in October, was determined via genetic analysis to be offspring of AF1445 and AM1347 of the Baldy Pack. Male pup 1672 was located travelling alone in the eastern portion of the FAIR and northern portion of ASNF during November. AF1445 and AM1347 have not been located by the IFT this year and remain fate unknown.
Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1343, AF1283, and fp1674)
In November, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR. A female pup, fp1674, was captured, collared, and released.
Diamond Pack (collared m1559, f1560, m1571, and m1572)
In November, f1560 was documented travelling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north central portion of the ASNF. Male 1571 continued to travel apart from other Diamond Pack members and made wide dispersal movements to the eastern portion of the FAIR and the central portion of the ASNF. Male 1572 dispersed from traditional Diamond territory through the western portion of the ASNF into the Coconino National Forest during the month of November. Male 1559 was not located during the month of November.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Copper Creek Pack (collared M1386)
During November, M1386 was documented travelling within the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). F1444 was not located during November due to a collar malfunction, but is believed to still be travelling with M1386.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared F1456 and M1354)
During November, F1456 and M1354 were documented travelling together within the west central portion of the GNF.
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, m1555, m1556, and f1670)
During November, 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 F1405 and AM1285)
During November, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF.
Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, AF1346, and m1561)
During November, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.
Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)
During November, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and fp1664)
During November, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF.
Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, AM1398, f1565, and mp1669)
During November, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT re-collared mp1669 during trapping efforts in November.
San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399 and fp1578)
During November, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT captured, re-collared, and released AF1399 in November. The supplemental food cache maintained by the IFT to increase survival of cross-fostered pups was discontinued due to reduced use and increased movements of the pack throughout its territory.
Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AM1284, AF1553, and mp1667)
During November, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Single collared AM1155
During November, AM1155 of the old Morgart’s Pack was documented travelling within the GNF in New Mexico.
Single collared M1455
M1455 was not located by the IFT during November and is now considered fate unknown.
Single collared m1486
During November, m1486 traveled throughout northern and central portions of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).
Single collared M1552
During November, M1552 traveled throughout central portion of the CNF and eastern portion of the GNF.
Single collared m1569
During November, m1569 traveled throughout central portion of the CNF and eastern portion of the GNF.
During November, Bluestem f1563 and fp1665, Hoodoo f1663, and single m1483 were located dead in Arizona. These incidents are under investigation. From January 1 to November 30, 2017 there have been a total of 12 documented wolf mortalities.
During the month of November, there were no confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock. There was one nuisance incident investigated. From January 1 to November 30, 2017 there have been a total of 16 confirmed depredation incidents in New Mexico and 15 confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.
On November 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a probable wolf kill.
On November 4, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was killed by a coyote.
On November 6, the IFT investigated a report of wolves acting aggressively toward campers at the Hannagan Campground located near Hannagan Meadow. Based on interviews of the campers involved and evidence gathered from an investigation of the scene, the IFT determined domestic dogs were responsible for the incident.
On November 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf had been killed by coyotes.
On November 28, WMAT investigated a dead steer on the FAIR. The investigation determined the steer died of illness.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On November 4, WMAT personnel presented at the White Mountain Apache Wildlife Fair at the Hon dah Conference Center on the FAIR.
On November 14, WMAT personnel presented on a radio show on KNNB radio in Whiteriver, AZ.
WMAT welcomed a temporary employee this month. We are glad to have her on board!
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.
Nothing to report
Nothing to report
Nothing to report
Wolves and Wolfdogs
A Wish for Christmas we all share
Dreaming of a National Wolf Recovery Plan
by Rick Lamplugh
The slaughter of wolves in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and even Oregon makes me wonder “How can this be?” It’s disappointing and frustrating to see hatred legalized, and I struggle to stay optimistic. One strategy I use is imagining what might be instead of dreading what is. With that in mind, here’s an idea that gives me hope: a national wolf recovery plan.
[I’m pleased to say that this commentary, in my voice, is now available for your listening on Wolfdog Radio. I want to thank Deanna and Greg for making a place for my commentaries in their station’s programming and for creating a section for me on the website. Here’s the link.]
Though each wolf state must have a federally approved wolf management plan, the federal government does not have one. The feds have the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency responsible for ensuring that gray wolf recovery meets the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. Critics on both sides—those who want the wolf off the endangered species list and those who want the animal on it—criticize the agency. Litigation and legislation abound. Should we delist, downlist, or destroy wolves?
A while back, three scientists stepped away from that fray and studied the situation. They wrote “A Framework for Envisioning Gray Wolf Recovery” and proposed an alternative to the mess we are mired in. Their two-page proposal stuns me with its overall simplicity and main point: the U.S, Fish and Wildlife Service should develop a national wolf recovery plan that adheres to the ESA.
The scientists believe wolf recovery is feasible in the Lower 48. “Wolves are one of the most adaptable mammals on the planet and can live where there is adequate food and where regulatory mechanisms limit the rate at which humans kill wolves.” In other words, if we don’t shoot, trap, or poison them, wolves will recover.
Wolves will recover best where fewer than 142 of us humans crowd each square kilometre, the scientists calculate. Their proposal includes a map pinpointing localities too thick with humans. These high-density areas freckle the Lower 48’s eastern half, but the western half has few. In addition to showing where wolves should not live, the map reveals where they could live, even if reintroduction was necessary to get them there. Three potential recovery areas reside in the wide open West. Another one is in the very northeast corner of the U.S, above the congestion of the BosNYWash megalopolis.
Of course, wherever wolves appear, some people will wail that the predators threaten humans. But the scientists say that wolves present less danger “than any number of animal species that Americans encounter on a daily basis, including white-tailed deer, hogs, bees, and domestic dogs, to mention just a few.”
I doubt that ranchers and their lobbyists—the big and noisy anti-wolf faction—believe that statement. The scientists do project that more wolves will kill more livestock, while they add, from “an industry perspective the economic losses attributable to wolves would be genuinely trivial.” They recommend compensating ranchers for losses—as programs now do in wolf states.
The recovery plan answers a big question: How is recovery defined? The scientists chose a definition based on scholarship and case law: a species is recovered when it occupies much or most of its former range.
But even after a successful recovery, the authors don’t expect to find wolves everywhere the animals once roamed. Humans have so damaged some historic range that it can’t provide the needed prey and habitat. In other areas, humans present too much of a threat to wolves. However, even with wolves missing from some past range, wolf country would increase under a national wolf recovery plan.
Their proposal imagines a small, vocal, and influential group insisting that Americans will not tolerate widespread recovery. But the scientists believe that wolves and humans can coexist, and “…if intolerance is a genuine threat to recovery, then according to federal law such threats must be mitigated before the wolf can be delisted.”
To me, that idea—that federal law requires reducing intolerance of wolves—is the cornerstone of a framework for envisioning wolf recovery. The danger for America’s wolves comes from our culture’s ingrained hatred of a competitive species—most conflicts, after all, arise over who gets to eat livestock or wild game first. That hatred arrived with Old World colonists and over the years took on an American twist. By the early 1900s, the U.S. Biological Survey—our nation’s first government wolf-killers—played up the lies and fantasies behind that hatred as a way of raising money for predator eradication. Once dollars flowed, they and their prodigy, Wildlife Services, almost emptied the Lower 48 of wolves. Even after seventy years with few wolves around, the hatred survived and today spawns vicious acts and intolerance, like the poaching or mysterious deaths of wolves in the last two years in Oregon.
That hatred lurks behind the vow of some states to kill all wolves except the minimum number their federally approved plans require. Those plans don’t reduce wolf hatred; worse yet, they give the false impression that wolf recovery depends on the number of surviving breeding pairs. Numbers obscure the truth: we must transform our culture from one of wolf hatred to one of wolf respect.
A national wolf recovery plan could address the hatred and intolerance that threatens wolf recovery. It could include strategies to promote the value of wolves and change intolerance to—at the very least—begrudging acceptance. Now that’s something to hope for when times are tough.
You can read more about wolves and our relationship with them in Rick’s books. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone, is available signed from Rick at http://bit.ly/2tIEt62, or unsigned on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tgPU3E. His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at http://bit.ly/1gYghB4, or unsigned on Amazon at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.
Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 145
A Picture of a Wolf
by Candida Barrett
The moon rises higher, through the sky, beneath the blanket the night provides. There lies one soul, a human, alone, making camp in a clearing lit by the moon. He makes a fire, sets up a tent, and starts to cook his food, to soon eat. He then takes out a camera and looks around to take pictures of this peaceful place.
A deer has been captured on film, forevermore a bird flitting away to its nighttime nest. A rabbit hopping through the green bushes, but the man wants something more. Something he has yet to see with his own eyes. A wolf, he wants, a picture of a wolf beautiful and proud, to be seen on film. He wants to do it himself, not happy otherwise, so he waits, hoping to come across a wolf.
The moon moves on its arc in the sky, time clicks on, and still the man waits. Never losing faith, still waiting there, fire has long gone out, food long since eaten. Camera held in waiting hands, quiet eyes searching. He waited until the sky became soft pink, the moon had vanished, the stars were fading. The sun was coming; the man admitted defeat and he started to pack up, to leave.
Suddenly, ahead of him there was a form. It appeared with silence, like a ghost, it was no more than a few feet away. The man looked in awe, becoming still, he didn’t want to scare it away, so he stood. It was a wolf, a female, her body a misty white. She seemed ageless, majestic, and wise; fur was wispy with beauty, like well-combed hair. But her eyes were the strangest thing. There were scars on her forehead, from a battle long past, one streaked over her right eye, which was empty. It was stark white, as if a pearl was in her forehead, the other eye was like a sapphire, beautiful and sparkling. She looked at him in reverent silence.
The man stood there, taking in her beauty, like a beautiful ghost, a being from the mist. She then moved on, paws walking in silence, her form seemed to disappear, melting into the air. The man remained in awed silence. He never took a picture of a wolf, of her, but then again, now he didn’t need to.
A Wolfdog Diary
Today I don’t want to talk about our pack, because I have a story to tell about another wolf, and since this is our last issue before Christmas, I thought this story was very well suited for that time of year – it is about a wolf who will live to have a nice Christmas thanks to some people who cared.
On Sunday, 3 December 2017, at 14.59 h, Ted received an e-mail from our good friend, Lars, asking for his help in locating a wolf named Warrior who had run away. What had happened?
A lady caring for a male wolf, Warrior, and a female German shepherd dog named Minchkins had decided to end her life because of a number of very tragic circumstances that had made it unbearable. In her last note she left all her belongings to Lars and asked him to please take care of her two beloved animals. Now, a good friend of his, Frank, had offered to go and fetch the wolf and the dog who were inseparable friends, because he lived closer to the place of these events, Swartruggens, and then take them to Lars’s place. However, when he arrived, the wolf bolted and disappeared into the fields behind the house through the rather desolate fence. Frank had tried to follow him but unfortunately unsuccessfully so, and the wolf was gone. He could do nothing but take only the dog with him and think of a plan of how to find the wolf before he might get shot by a neighbouring farmer or killed by a car on the road. On top of this he was also scared that the immediate neighbour, who did not like the wolf, would make a short business of him when he saw him.
But what had all this to do with Ted? Well, he is a very well-trained and skilled animal communicator and had managed to locate lost animals before, and so Lars’ friend, although rather sceptical, thought it might be worth a try. Knowing that we were friends he had asked Lars to get in contact with Ted and explain the problem.
“How the heck am I supposed to do that?” Ted asked me. “Who are these persons Lars talks about, and where is this place? Probably somewhere in the Freestate. Anyway, I don’t have a photograph or a memory of that wolf.” Ted also learned that Warrior’s father lived with Lars. “Okay, I’ll try”, he said and eventually really managed to make contact with a wolf who responded to the name of Warrior. He seemed to be a very light-coloured animal, but was not white. He was very wary and, of course, distrusted him. Ted introduced himself and let him browse through his mental history with wolf contacts. The wolf was impressed and started listening to him. Ted asked him where he was, and he returned two views, the first one very brief as though he was approaching a certain place, and then a longer one that showed what he was looking at in the moment. He knew these views meant past and present, respectively.
At 14.59 h, Ted sent an e-mail to Lars, informing him about what he had seen through Warrior’s eyes and asking to forward the information to Frank: “He can see a few small houses with white-washed walls, shiny corrugated roofs, an open fence in front of these. He is lying in the shade of a small stand of trees, a short and narrow strip really, with scrub for undergrowth. He is very thirsty. He knows that his owner is no more. She was the only tallwalker he trusted, but now he feels he has to take over responsibility and he trusts no one. There is a stout, fairly tall guy with shortish, blond/brown hair he distrusts and dislikes deeply. “
Ted tried to convince Warrior that the tallwalkers looking for him meant him well, but he obviously distrusted him. He told him that they wanted to take him back to his wolf family. At least he was talking and, more importantly, listening to Ted after he managed to credibly identify himself.
This was exceedingly difficult without a photo and not knowing the persons Lars mentioned either so that there was no chance for Ted to familiarize him with Frank for example. Minchkins might have served as a physical link to him, but with her removed from his location Ted didn’t really know how to make this work now.
At 20.55 h, Ted received an e-mail from Frank with two video clips of Warrior. “Aaah,” Ted realized that it was indeed a light-coloured wolf and that he had probably found the right individual. “I never knew or even expected that contact could be made like this! A pity that none of the videos shows a clear view of his face, but still better than no pic at all!” said Ted. But who was this friend of Lars’? “Doesn’t matter, the thing is he must be enabled to find Warrior, and now I have his E-mail address.” Ted concluded.
On Monday, 4 December 2017, 12.18 h, we got an email from Lars, saying that Frank had checked the area for what Ted had seen and that his comment had been, “Ted is scarily accurate.”
At 12.21 h, we received another email, asking for a cell number to send Ted copies of Frank’s posts to him that morning, saying, “He has always been a sceptic until now.”
At 12:22 h, Ted sent an e-mail to both of them: “Warrior has moved overnight from the place where I found him yesterday: It looks like a slope with trees and undergrowth next to an open field more distant from houses. He is extremely stressed and unsure of what to do. He has not eaten anything since his escape and is now starting to feel hungry, but is actually too stressed to go and look for something. At least he could drink some rainwater. Last night he halfheartedly tried to sneak back to his home, but eventually did not dare to. He saw a group of three or four people this morning (?), one was a black lady in a white dress with a large floral pattern, and there was at least one small child amongst them. He could not tell whether they saw him too as he stayed concealed in the underbrush. There is very little traffic where he is now; he noted only two or three “boxes that move fast” (=cars), and only a white one of these was nearby. He keeps on showing me a male person in blue clothing; could be a black man in an overall, but I can’t make sense of that. He is very worried about Minchkins. I am aware that all this might help very little, but his transmissions are so mixed up from his being stressed to the extreme that they might be a mix of past and present, which complicates things even further. I would think it could be useful if I could show him pics of the persons meaning him well and looking for him, otherwise he might just stay in hiding.”
At 12.55 h, Ted received an answer from Lars saying, “Thank you, please tell him that Minchkins is well, she is at my house and sleeping inside, I took her for a long drive with me while I went on farm patrol as I didn’t want to leave her on her own (abandoned), she licks me in the face when I’m in bed so she is feeling safe. I have some pictures that Frank sent me via whatsapp.”
At 13.12 h, an e-mail from Frank arrived, saying, “Thank you Ted. Should you be able to make contact with him again, please try to convince him to go back to the house. It is his only chance on survival. He has to go to the man who gave him food last week, even if he does not trust him. I do not trust him either, but he is his only chance. He must stop running. The man who gave him food at the house will call us and let us know so that we can go and get him and take him to his family and safety. We are just far away and it will take about two hours. Attached is a picture of myself.”
Ted burst out to me: “What? Frank isn’t even on site in Swartruggens? I should have known this!”
“Warrior is an uncle of my wolf called Wahya. Rocket, Warrior’s brother from the same litter, is his father. Maybe such a connection may help that he will trust me better. “
“No, that will not do; this chain is much too long to help”, Ted commented.
“Tell him Minchkins is safe with Lars at the place where his family and father are. I’m grabbing at straws, but it is all I have after our disastrous weekend.”
At 13.36 h, Ted got another email from him. It said: “I attach a screenshot of the area where Warrior lives. In the centre of the photo is a large dark green tree. The house just opposite was Warrior’s house. The fields to the top of it is where he disappeared into. The whole area is much more overgrown at the moment than on the satellite pic. “
“Ooops”, Ted was surprised to find that Swartruggens was in Northwestern Province!
At 14.50 h, he sent an e-mail back, including a segment of Frank’s satellite pic with a specific area marked: “This is where he was yesterday. I used Google Earth to maybe get an idea from where he can see what he has shown me today, but the only area that comes close to it is here.” He inserted a screenshot and marked the area that looked the closest to what he had seen.
“And I could be completely wrong. I contacted him again, but all I can say is that he is presently lying in an elevated spot (like a hill or something that is not horizontal and flat) between trees and scrub, looking down at an open field, across which there are people at a distance. He is deeply depressed. I emphasized on him that he must turn to tallwalkers for help. He wants to wait for nightfall, ‘when it will be safe to move again’”.
At 15.48, he wrote again to Lars, asking for a picture of Rocket to show to Warrior.
At 17.30 h, he received the requested picture. Rocket turned out to be the twin brother of Kajack II who lived with ourselves!
At 18.02 h, Ted wrote again to Frank: “I have impressed on Warrior that he must go back to “the box to live in” (=house) and let the tallwalker he distrusts so deeply know that he is there by howling loudly and showing himself. He is not required to take food from him or be touched if he doesn’t want to, but he must wait for the friendly tallwalker (=your picture) to arrive and take him to Minchkins who is with his father (Lars sent a pic). Both Minchkins and Rocket are worried about him. He must not try travelling to them on his own, because he does not know where to go (he was seriously contemplating this!) and it is a loooong way and very dangerous. At first he wouldn’t listen to me, but then I impressed on him that I knew both the world of the wolf and the world of the tallwalker, and that made him listen eventually. If he follows my guidance, he will do so only after dark, even though he is up and pacing nervously in his ‘forest’ right now, wanting to get going. I really do hope for the best.“
At 20.16 h, Frank answered, sending a pic of the back fence of the property Warrior had disappeared from.
At 20.23 h, another e-mail arrived with several pics taken on the neighbouring property where vegetables were cultivated and which was also the property next to that where Ted had placed Warrior on Sunday.
At 20.51h, Ted replied: “Photo 439 is EXACTLY what I saw briefly as is and then, for a longer period, from the perspective of the trees in the background yesterday!” and, “Warrior is currently moving, very carefully approaching some buildings, but I can’t tell what/whose they are. I just hope he is following my advice… “
At 20.53 h, he got a return mail saying, “I just received an unconfirmed message that Warrior is back at the house. He will probably stay there for the night (I hope) and unless he is chased again not run off tomorrow morning. The neighbour sent me an SMS earlier that he tried to block off the holes in the back fence as best as he could and left the gate open to allow him back in.”
Ted answered: “WOW! I trust you are going there tomorrow morning? When are you planning on arriving there? I want to talk to him before that and prepare him for the encounter with the likeness of your photo.”
At 21.28 h, he received an answer, “We will arrange tomorrow morning very early. I will let you know. It is a two-hour drive for me.”
By Tuesday, 5 December 2017, 12.40 h, we had not heard a word from anybody. Ted was wondering what was going on. “I’m worrying myself sick here for all I know Warrior could have been shot dead by now and nobody cares to keep me updated? How am I supposed to work like this? The flow of information is most crucial in this situation!” He was getting upset and sent an e-mail to both Lars and Frank asking what the status quo was.
At 13.31 h, Frank answered: “The heavens opened up this morning. Warrior is still at the house, but is running circles around everybody. I asked them to just make sure he cannot get out and rather not stress him out until we can get there. I have a team on standby now for tomorrow if need be to corner and catch him, but I trust it will not be necessary. He is injured and limps with his one front leg. Does not seem too serious though. “
Ted’s reaction was an outburst: ”Oh Fock, he didn’t leave at all when he said he would. What will THAT do to my credibility with Warrior?” He was getting more agitated by the moment (and angrier, too). He fully understood the weather problem though; it was pouring cats and dogs on our place as well.
At 13.53 h, he wrote to Frank again: “I kept an eye on him until about 2.30 this morning and calmed him down just about every time he got up and walked to the gate or a fence, telling him that he must wait for the friendly tallwalker (your picture) to arrive when it would get light so that he could take and reunite him with Minchkins. He listened very nicely. I did not pick up his limping, but he was probably suppressing it with all the stress he is experiencing. I will talk to him right now and assure him of your coming and helping him tomorrow.”
At 14.30 h, Ted sent another mail: “Apparently he got pricked by the end of the mesh fence wire where it is fixed to the bottom string wire when he tested how to get through there, but I couldn’t find out when this happened. It feels like the left front paw. He was thrown something to eat and he ate it when it was safe to. I asked him to stay under cover, keep his paw clean, and wait for you to arrive tomorrow morning. The big problem here was, and probably still is, that my unfulfilled promise to him for this morning and then my not contacting him (for lack of information) have palpably undermined my credibility with him. I explained to him that I made a mistake by making a promise on another tallwalker’s behalf and apologized, but he just doesn’t trust me as much as he did yesterday. I can only hope that he won’t try to get out again, be it for hunger or out of desperation over having seemingly been abandoned once more. I know he has not been dumped and forgotten, but it must surely look like it to him at the moment… I will keep contact throughout the day and well into the night again.”
At 17.37 h, he received an answer from Frank: “If Warrior is in the house and easy to get hold of, I will be driving through tonight to collect him. I do not trust the neighbour (our only contact there) and I am scared that he may just open the gate and let Warrior go just to spite us. He promised me updates during the day of which the last was at 7 this morning. Warrior will just have to trust me on this one. He has no other choice or chance. If we get there and he bolts it will probably mean his end. We all know it. We will be a couple of people because we have to secure the yard first to make sure that he does not simply run away the moment we get there like he did on Sunday. I understand that he is stressed, but we cannot keep on driving there and back every day or so. This morning I could not muster up assistance quickly and that is why we decided to leave the move till tomorrow. I can but hope and pray that he will sit tight and not do something silly.
“Ted, you have NO idea how terrible I feel about this wolf and how important it is that I, or whoever for that matter, can get him safely to his family. It has nothing to do with me , there just simply is nobody else and I am passionate about ‘rescuing’ wolves from hardship. Why? I don’t know – it just happened. I even bought a trailer specifically for the purpose. All my colleagues think I’m a little nuts and maybe they are right. All my spare time goes into the two wolves that live with us. It is just who I am. No friends, family avoids us, and we never go away – but I think if somebody can understand that, it is you.”
Ted was relieved, “Great!”, he said to me and answered. “I’ll prepare Warrior for the encounter. As far as I know he is still there, but still refuses to go into the house.” I could literally see the pressure falling off his shoulders.
At 18.24 h, Ted wrote: “Warrior is wary of the door that might just close behind him when he ventures into the house. He went in there at least once, but quickly returned to the outside. He is VERY suspicious of this man next door (which I presume is this neighbour character). Let me know when you can foresee when you will arrive there and I’ll do my utmost to pacify him and let you come near him. He is more agitated than yesterday, though.”
At 21.18 h, Ted thought Frank should be nearly on site by now and sent him a last e-mail for the day, asking him to send him an SMS maybe 30 minutes before he arrived there, as he would now switch off the PC.
At 21.20 h, Ted got an SMS saying, “Will do thanks Thomas. Should be around 07:30.”
“WHAT?”, Ted nearly freaked out. “That would be only tomorrow morning, and I thought he is almost there already!” Oh boy, I knew that would be another loooong and restless night.
AT 21.21 h, Ted sent an angry SMS asking: “What is it now? After your last mail I thought you were almost there by now.” Ted was surely getting really upset. He was supposed to pave the way for this guy, but he kept on changing plans without so much as a word to him and no idea what it took to keep the most fragile balance of trust with Warrior. He was putting him in an almost impossible position!
At 21.44 h, another SMS arrived. “…should we fail tomorrow, Warrior will most likely be shot because the property should have been vacated already and it is only him blocking it. I think I am more stressed out than him.”
Ted was at the end of his nerves and said, “Tell me about being stressed out! I am worrying myself sick and into a frenzy here over my losing credibility with Warrior. How can I possibly keep Warrior under control until Frank will arrive there tomorrow morning and then make him let him come near him??? He doesn’t trust me anymore after two broken promises!” I could clearly hear how scared he was of losing this fight for Warrior’s life.
On Wednesday, 6 December, at 07.32 h and after a sleepless night, we got an SMS from Frank, saying: “We are about 30 minutes away. Please try to assist us no matter you may think. I am not the bad guy in this mess.”
“Of course you aren’t the ‘bad guy’ here!”, Ted said, getting up, “And I’m thinking only the best of him, but his communication skills? We will have to sort this out after Warrior is either safe or dead. I now have to keep contact with Warrior until he has arrived; this is gonna take a MAJOR effort…”
At 09.18 h, after hardly being able to think of anything else but Warrior, the relieving SMS arrived: “Thanks Ted. Got him without a fight. He listened to me.”
At 09.19 h, Ted answered: “Fantastic! Congrats. Thank you so much for caring. Let me know when you are at his family’s place.”
It took until 16.37 h to hear from Frank again: “Hi Ted. Safely at home. Will give you a total report on e-mail later when I’m back home and rested. Also nice photos.”
Then followed an email from Lars saying: “Together again, I’m very emotional at the moment, but thank you very much for talking to him, Frank wants to learn more about this communication with animals, he was always a sceptic.”
On Thursday, 7 December, 9.36 h, we got an long email from Frank: “Hi Ted. Got the final proof yesterday morning that our contact in Swartruggens, the neighbour, was the fly in the ointment. He was extremely mad at us when we just arrived there without consulting with him first. He just unlocked the gates, shouted at Warrior to spook him, and left. We closed the gates before Warrior could bolt, and slowly and silently started securing the yard perimeter with shadenet while keeping a close eye on Warrior. We had about secured one corner when one of the team noted that Warrior wanted to go into the house through a side door. It was opened and he went inside and lay down in the kitchen.
“Not leaving anything to chance, we secured the kitchen window from the outside and a couple of us went in slowly to see what would happen. He was sitting quietly under the windowsill in the half dark. I told the guys to stay back and went to sit about 2 m from him and started talking to him, telling him to look at me and remember his dream. He gave me glances and then looked away, just sitting there. I kept on talking, telling him we were there to help him and take him to Minchkins and his family, slowly moving closer. I started scratching behind his ear and for a moment he snarled at me, but I just continued, softly telling him it was not necessary. He turned around and lay down with his head between his front paws, totally succumbing. My friend moved closer and asked if he could join us. I said yes and he also started scratching him, reassuring him that he was going home. I injected him a small amount of tranquilizer to make it easier for us to load him into the trailer and keep him calm and sleeping most of the way. Some of the group started clearing up again outside while the others stayed with him, talking to him and reassuring him that all would be ok. We moved him onto a duvet and carried him to the trailer. We put one of his lady’s old sweaters in with him for the familiar smell. I also took the carpet that he was apparently sleeping on and gave it to Lars. You will see him sitting on it in his house.
“Overall it was an enriching and extremely emotional experience for all of us involved. I cannot but thank you for the role you played in this and would very much wish to talk to you some more at a later stage.
“By the way, I think I was one of the first people in SA to buy a copy of your book on Amazon. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was enriching to see how similar our experience of living with wolves in the house is to yours.”
At 09.45 h, another e-mail from him arrived: “My total distance travelled since Saturday morning with three trips to Swartruggens and two to Lars, is just under 2000 km. Every one of them worthwhile. I love the photo of Minchkins kissing him when I opened up the trailer at his new home.”
At 09.53 h, the next mail followed with photos of Warrior and his family attached. It said: “My final conclusion on this terrible case is that we are dealing with a wolf that has gone to hell and back the last couple of months. He turned from a very loved and well cared-for house companion into a semi-feral wolf roaming the area and fighting with dogs to survive. He has numerous bite marks, is covered in ticks and has injured his paw. Lars is tending to it. His ears are also terribly bitten by flies, showing that he basically lived outside for some time. As I read the timeline of events this downhill trend must have started around June/July until ending in this tragedy.”
Ted wrote back to both: “I got all your mails/SMSs, I think. Thanks for the additional info and the photos! I slept like a log last night, completely drained after all the drama, and just so happy that all ended well.
“After receiving your SMS that you were about half an hour from reaching him, I made contact immediately, but like throughout the day before, he wouldn’t answer me and was distrusting me to some extent over the broken promise of the time of collection that had been rained out. At least I noted that he was listening, and that what was important. I kept on virtually bombarding him every few minutes with your picture, telling him this was the friendly tallwalker he could trust and that he would now arrive very soon. Then, eventually, he responded for the first time, letting me feel how unsure he was of everything. I reassured him that all would be fine, connecting him to Minchkins and his family at Lars’s place who did not seem to have direct contact with him (strange!) and pictures of my imagination of a happy reunion. He liked that idea very much. Then I got the briefest of flashes of you standing at the gate and the connection broke off abruptly. A little while later I managed to obtain a blurry picture of what looked like as though he was looking out of something through white bars and guessed it was a trailer. I was greatly relieved! And then your SMS arrived that all went better than anyone might have expected and my blood pressure returned to normal.
“I was unable to connect again until sometime in the early afternoon: Warrior was a little scared in the ‘moving box’ (= trailer), but like the contact before, it was all blurry and no proper connection was possible.
“In the evening, I managed to establish a good contact once more, and he was happy in the company of Minchkins and several wolves. He had realized that there were tallwalkers that could indeed be trusted, and I told him that he can trust anyone who can talk to him like I did and those a “talking tallwalker” tells him are okay. He sent me the picture of you back, smiling…
“I think Warrior expected that you would now be looking after him and Minchkins. I didn’t of course confuse him with letting him know that this would not be the case and another tallwalker, Lars, would take over. The priority had to be to get him back to the house and trust you when you arrived. I think he will settle in quite quickly and accept Lars’s role in it. I would not really like to interfere in this process unless there are genuine problems popping up.
“There is no reason to thank me. I would much rather like to thank both of you for saving a wolf’s life and giving him a new home!
“There were some serious stumbling blocks in the whole story that made it difficult to the extreme for me to operate effectively. While these pushed me to try out new approaches that fortunately worked and taught me new things, they might have spoiled everything in a more acute scenario.”
Late that evening, Ted contacted Warrior again and sent his findings to both our friends – the old and the new one: “I connected to Warrior, which has once more become easy. I found him blissfully asleep, and he thought he was dreaming. ‘You are finally at home and safe now. Did you recognize your old family? And the friendly tallwalker who now looks after you? The place you are at now is where tallwalkers come who want to meet you and the other wolves because they love you like I do – and the other two tallwalkers (I send pictures of both of you).’ ‘Are you feeling good?’ Dreamy pictures in response. ‘Oh, you got bowled over and snarled at today? Yes, you must learn that you have a certain place in a large pack now. Later, you may rise in the ranks, but for now you must listen to your elders!’ He almost wakes up now. ‘Hello Warrior, yes, this was not a dream…’”
For Ted a dream has come true. Why? The preface of his book says it at the end of page 8: And if it helps to save the life of just one wolf, my dream will have come true. He says that his part in this rescue mission was a very small one, but I see it from a different angle and am very proud of him and it certainly helped the real hero in this story, our new friend Frank.
And if you want to learn more about what it is like to live with wolves and what animal communication is and can do for you, you may want to get yourself a copy of Ted’s book: A Houseful A Headful of Wolves.
I hope you enjoyed this little story and wish all of you
A peaceful and Merry Christmas and
A successful and happy New Year
Will be continued…