Volume 13, Issue 160, February 2018

SAFHOWL

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

Volume 13, Issue 160, February 2018

From the Editor’s Desk

Let’s see what we’ve got for you this month. First a long string of bad news for wolves in the US and, note that, Germany. The parallel development of matters wolf in these two countries is nothing short of shocking, at least as far as the state of Saxony is concerned. Read the various snippets for yourself and you will see what I mean.

Then we have a short excerpt from Rick Lamplugh’s writings, which, in spite of its being brief, sheds light on a crucial turning point in the joint history of man and wolf.

From here, this issue becomes unusual. First, we came across a tale authored by a sixteen year-old, and we found it so compelling that we thought we just had to draw your attention to it. What a writing talent!

And finally, a South African reader asked us if we could please publish her utterly sad story with a baby wolf, and we are only too willing to comply. I hinted to it already in the January issue, but now you can read it in full for yourself, as submitted. It is illustrated, and for this reason you’ll find it attached in PDF format. If you can help, please do…

Till next month,
Ed.

Upcoming Events

International Wolf Center (info@wolf.ccsend.com); on behalf of International Wolf Center (info@wolf.org)

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.

Register now

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.

Symposium Fees:

  • 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.

Optional Events:

  • 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.

Program:

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
  • Other

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.

  1. 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

  1. Upcoming Webinars 

Webinar rate: $15 Non-members, $12 Members

Wolf Conservation Center (contact=nywolf.org@mail63.sea91.rsgsv.net)

1. Wolf Camp for Kids!

It may be cold outside, but it’s time to start thinking about summer camp!

Give the young animal lover in your family a chance to thrive among wolves all week long!  The five-day program will include opportunities for your child to learn about nature and wildlife through woodland exploration, scavenger hunts, wilderness games, live animals, etc. Children will learn about various habitats, animal communication and behaviour, food chains, and local wildlife.

Programs will run with a minimum of 4 children and a maximum of 12.  All children who complete the program will get a special “Junior Wolf Biologist” certificate. Pre-registration is required.
SUMMER SESSIONS
Time: 
9AM – 3PM
Fee: $350 per child for the week-long program (Monday – Friday)

Spring Break Camp 
SPRING SESSION: APRIL 3 – 6
For children entering grades 3 – 5  ​
Time: 9AM – 3PM
Fee: $300 per child for the 4-day program (Tuesday – Friday)
Information & registration HERE!

2. Sleeping with Wolves – Our Wild Campout Adventure

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 30 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.

Summer Internships for College Students

The Wolf Conservation Center is pleased to offer summer environmental education internship opportunities for college students! The environmental education internship is designed to expose interns to the field of conservation education and wildlife biology. Interns conduct a variety of education programs and assist with the daily operations of the WCC.

Information here.

  1. Join Us for an Adventure in Yellowstone (website)

The Wild is Calling!

Join us for an adventure sure to impart wild memories!
Join professionals from Yellowstone Insight and the Wolf Conservation Center for unique, educational, and wildlife-filled adventures in Yellowstone National Park!
Have you ever wanted to go to Yellowstone? Bask in the natural wonders of the first National Park? If so, one of these adventures is perfect!
SUMMER FAMILY ADVENTURE: August 5 – 10, 2018: details here.
FALL WILDLIFE ADVENTURE: September 8 – 13, 2018: details here.

News from the Wolf Front

National

Nothing to report

International

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

  1. USA: Idaho wants to renew its rogue war on wolves

If you love wolves, we need your help now.

On January 25th, the Idaho Wolf Control Board will be asking the state legislature for even more money from taxpayers to fund their killing of wolves.

Stand with Defenders in the fight to project Idaho’s wolves: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=rldVZtrxYhbAFkGc4cng_g

During the first three years of the Wolf Control Board’s lethal removal program, over $1.2 million in taxpayer money was used for the sole purpose of killing wolves.

In that time, 177 wolves have been killed. Despite the tragic loss of life, there has been no reduction in livestock losses – the reason the control board was developed! This careless killing of wolves has to stop now!

It’s a proven fact: Wolves and people CAN share the landscape. Nonlethal coexistence measures pioneered by Defenders across the American West – like using livestock guard dogs, range riders and wolf-deterrent fencing – are not only more cost effective, they’re better at keeping animals out of harm’s way.

Enough is enough. Your urgent support for Defenders of Wildlife will help us continue the fight to protect wolves and other vulnerable wildlife: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ISC7VHnMrdQbj3aTcdpAJg

Idaho’s wolves have been in mortal danger since Congress stripped them of federal protection in 2011. Since Idaho took over their management, the number of breeding pairs has plummeted and nearly 2,000 wolves have been killed – more than any other state in the Lower 48.

Defenders is the only national organization with staff on the ground in Idaho who not only helped restore wolves in the 1990s but are still actively working against such harmful programs at the statehouse and with the state wildlife commission.

Your urgent support will help us fight to end Idaho’s rogue war on wolves.

Please help – before it’s too late: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=JM0aYG954kj9vzYsGcQlKw

From Change.org (Brigitte Sommer (www.wolfsschutz-deutschland.de) via Change.org (change@mail.change.org, translated here from German)

Wolfsschutz Deutschland on Facebook.

1. Germany: Saxony: Again a death sentence for a wolf from Görlitz, Saxony! Please interfere!

Again a shooting order has been issued for a wolf in the Lausitz region of Saxony. Purportedly, it has attacked two dogs on a fenced-in property and killed one of them, but the facts are still unclear. The reports about that incident are controversial: one says that the dogs it killed were alone outside during the night, chained to a kennel. That causes the question of which responsible dog keeper would chain his beloved dog to a kennel outside at night in the middle of wolf territory, and then go straight to the newspaper the next morning demanding the wolf be killed?

Apparently this wolf suffers from mange, which is nothing more than suspicion based solely on some pictures taken by a photo trap. And just because residents “are concerned” the wolf must now be killed?

Please get organized and protest. It cannot be that yet another wolf is judged before all facts have been analysed. The fact that the administrative district office is apparently too scared that journalists and citizens could interfere shows the state of democracy in Saxony.

2a. Germany: Saxony: Please this petition for wolf Zottel – Nie wolno dać zabić wilka Zottel!

Another wolf has a target painted on his back in the Saxon border region to Poland. After we managed to prevent the shooting of Pumpak, a wolf from the Rosenthal pack, another wolf from Poland is about to lose its life. In autumn an éclat erupted with many people from Poland being shocked by the fact that a European bison that had passed the border from Poland was shot dead in Germany.
Find the petition to sign in German and Polish here.

Please help us to prevent this shooting order from being carried out!

2b. Germany: Saxony: Wolf Zottel was killed last Friday by order of the administration. Lay charges!

What a black day for nature conservation and democracy. Friday, the administrative district office Görlitz confirmed on their homepage in just one sentence that the “conspicuous” wolf has been “removed” (https://www.kreis-goerlitz.de/city_info/webaccessibility/index.cfm?item_id=852594&waid=392). This means in clear words nothing else but that the subadult wolf was killed.

It is unbelievable that district administrator Bernd Lange has plainly ignored the new wolf management plan of Saxony. Those who want to lay charges can do so via the Internet here.

The violated articles together with explanations can be found in the petition text at www.change.org/zottel.
Those who want to send complaints directly to the administrative district office can write to:
Landratsamt Görlitz
PF 30 01 52
02806 Görlitz
Important: please state the name of the office concerned in all correspondence!

Telephone: 03581 663-0
E-mail: info@kreis-gr.de , Büro.landrat@kreis-gr.de
Responsible for the shooting order is the Minister for Environmental Affairs, Thomas Schmidt. His contact details can be found here.
We from Wolfsschutz Deutschland (“Wolf Protection Germany”) are bewildered and shocked by such cold-blooded behaviour. We have laid charges against both the District Administrator and the Minister of Environmental Affairs as well as against the person who has executed the shooting order. Read our press release here

  1. Germany: New Joint Government wants to shoot wolves? Please remind the SPD of their Election Promise!

Recently, German national news reported that the parties CDU and SPD in their negotiations for forming a joint government (“GroKo”) have agreed on “decimating” the wolf population in Germany.

Aside from the fact that this would contravene EU legislation and incur penalties for Germany, it does not match at all what the SPD stated in the run-up to the elections. Quote: “We welcome the natural return of the wolf.”

The German wolf forms part of the Central European lowland population that, together with the Polish specimens, makes up about 500 animals. Scientific studies deem this population not yet self-sustainable so that it still enjoys particularly strict protection according to the FFH guidelines. The wolf in Germany is considered a strictly protected species as per National Nature Conservation Law (BNatschG).

“We welcome this strict protection status for the wolf and see no reason for changing it.”
This statement can be verified here.

We have sent an open letter to the SPD to remind them of their promise. Please become a co-signatory, for which you are welcome to reuse our letter.

  1. Brandenburg Farmer wants entire Pack to be shot. Please sign Jürgen’s Petition

19 Jan 2018
Defying clear-cut laws, the state of Brandenburg tries to bow to lobbyist groups of hunters, farmers and owners of forest parcels by permitting them to kill wolves. And the inventive wolf haters have promptly stepped up their game. Suddenly, there are more and more “dangerous” contacts with wolves, which turn out, in most instances, to be alternative facts, however. One farmer was even as cheeky as simply placing five sheep in an ill-secured pasture that had not been used before even though it was known that a pack of wolves lived nearby. It shows that “situations” are deliberately provoked in order to be able to apply for legal shooting permits. Now the first farmer from the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark has applied at the State Office for the Environment for “removal” of the so-called Dobbrikow Pack. If this application is granted, these wolves would either be killed or caught and rehomed. We cannot allow this to happen. Please sign this petition and spread the word: www.change.org/Brandenburgwoelfe

From Wolf Conservation Center (contact=nywolf.org@mail102.atl71.mcdlv.net); on behalf of Wolf Conservation Center (contact@nywolf.org)

  1. USA: We’re Going to Court for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves

A coalition of wolf advocates, including the Wolf Conservation Center, today filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s deeply flawed recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, one of North America’s most endangered mammals.

The lawsuit challenges the plan because it disregards the best available science in setting inadequate population goals, cuts off wolf access to vital recovery habitat, and fails to respond to mounting genetic threats to the species.

“Mexican wolves urgently need more room to roam, protection from killing, and more releases of wolves into the wild to improve genetic diversity, but the Mexican wolf recovery plan provides none of these things,” said Earthjustice attorney Elizabeth Forsyth, who is representing the wolf advocates.  “The wolves will face an ongoing threat to their survival unless major changes are made.”

The Trump administration issued the long-awaited recovery plan in November 2017.  The plan ignored comments submitted by tens of thousands of people—including leading wolf scientists—who challenged the quality of the science used and asked for stronger protections and more aggressive recovery efforts.  The best available science indicates Mexican wolf recovery requires at least three connected populations totalling approximately 750 individuals; a carefully managed reintroduction effort that prioritizes improving the genetic health of the animals; and establishment of at least two additional population centers in the southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon region.

The new plan disregarded that scientific evidence by failing to consider additional recovery areas in the United States.  Instead, it shifts much of the proposed recovery effort to Mexico, where adequate wolf habitat is not available.  The plan also calls for inadequate wolf numbers and fails to provide a sufficient reintroduction program to address genetic threats.

“Mexican wolves are vital to restoring natural balance in the Southwest, but they need a strong, science-based recovery plan to address urgent threats,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.  “We’re gravely concerned that Trump’s plan would cut wolves off from habitats in the Grand Canyon and southern Rockies and remove protections while they’re still imperilled.”

“The final recovery plan leaves too much to chance and will likely result in relisting the Mexican wolf again sometime in the future,” said Bryan Bird, Southwest director for Defenders of Wildlife. “This is a political plan, not a recovery plan that meets the standards of the Endangered Species Act.”

“This is a national issue. Mexican wolves help keep the American landscape intact and healthy. Our hope is that this legal challenge can help Fish and Wildlife Service create the best plan possible, based on sound science, to help save this critically endangered wolf,” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center near St. Louis, Mo.

“It is deeply disappointing to have waited 35 years for a new plan that is fatally flawed in so many ways.  The content of the plan was dictated primarily by state wildlife agencies known to be antithetical to meaningful recovery of Mexican wolves.  High-value habitats suitable for wolf recovery in the United States have been excluded from consideration.  And reliance on a foreign country, where the U.S. government has no authority, to achieve full recovery is fraught with risk for the long-term survival of our south-western lobos,” said David Parsons, former Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The Service is granting the very state agencies that have gone to extraordinary lengths to obstruct recovery too much authority over the time, location, and circumstances of wolf releases,” said Maggie Howell of the Wolf Conservation Center. “Too many opportunities, and quite frankly genetically irreplaceable wolves have already been wasted under the states’ mismanagement — critically endangered lobos deserve better.”

Read more here.

  1. USA: Funding Bill Rider Slated to Open Trophy Hunting Seasons on Wolves

Facing another appropriations deadline on February 8, Congress is still working to determine how to fund the government. Unfortunately, damaging anti-wolf amendments (riders) that undermine Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections are still in play.
One provision seeks to permanently remove federal ESA protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, to allow trophy hunting to resume. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.
Another provision goes as far as seeking to strip protections for critically endangered Mexican gray wolves.
As the rate of extinctions and the loss of biodiversity accelerates, the ESA is essential for keeping vulnerable species alive. If the appropriation bills pass as is, the act itself could become extinct.
Please tell Congress to stop the attacks on wildlife and oppose all legislation that targets wolves and endangered species.

Please sign here

From California Wolfcenter (californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project

Monthly Update – December 1-31, 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).

To view semi-monthly wolf telemetry flight location information please visit http://arcg.is/0iGSGH  or www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/RWL.cfm.

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

The USFWS published the 2018 Mexican Wolf Release and Translocation Plan on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program website from December 4 to 29, in order to comply with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish regulations for permits.  Over 100 public comments were received and will be forwarded to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for their review and consideration.

The USFWS attended the December 20, 2017 meeting of the New Mexico State Game Commission.  The Commission voted to 1) approve the Final Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan as written including comments as discussed at the August 24, 2017 and December 20, 2017 Commission Meetings; 2) allow the USFWS to import Mexican wolf pups born in the wild in Arizona to the Ladder Ranch in coordination with the 2018 cross-fostering events (in addition, no wolves shall be released from the Ladder Ranch into the wild without prior approval); 3) direct the Director to allow for the importation of one female adult wolf in Arizona into captivity for artificial insemination, for breeding and then release back into the wild in Arizona; 4) direct the Director to allow for the release of up to 12 wolf pups into the wild in New Mexico with the approval of the Chairman of the State Game Commission.

At the end of November, 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 South-western 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. 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 December, there were 66 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. The year-end population count for 2017 will be available sometime in mid-February.

Wolves with functioning radio collars are listed by studbook number in the pack updates below.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338, AF1335, and m1673)

In December, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF), occasionally using the SCAR.  Yearling m1673 continued to make dispersal movements in December.

Bluestem Pack (collared F1489)

In December, F1489 continued making dispersal movements around the northern and western edges of the Bluestem Pack’s traditional territory in the central ASNF.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, m1471, f1473, m1477, fp1668, and mp1671)

In December, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.  Three yearling wolves, m1471, m1473 and f1477, each made dispersal movements, travelling separately, from their natal territory.  Yearling m1477 was documented travelling with an uncollared wolf and maintaining a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  Hazing efforts were conducted this month by the IFT in order to address wolf-livestock conflict with the Elk Horn Pack.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and m1447)

In December, 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, and mp1666)

In December, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)

In December, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.

Panther Creek Pack (F1339, AM1382, and m1574)

In December, 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.

Pine Spring Pack (collared f1562)

In December, yearling f1562 was localized in the north central portion of the ASNF and has been documented travelling with an unknown collared wolf. This pair has been documented travelling together for over three months and thus have been named the Pine Spring Pack. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for this pair to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared F1488)

In December, F1488 was documented travelling within a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  During December, Elk Horn disperser m1471 began travelling in the same territory in proximity to F1488.

Saffel Pack (collared AF1567 and mp1661)

In December, the Saffel Pack was located in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared AM1038

In December, AM1038 of the old Hawks Nest Pack was located traveling in the north central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared f1484

In December, f1484 was documented traveling alone and occasionally with the Panther Creek Pack in the Panther Creek’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared mp1672)

In December, mp1672 was documented travelling occasionally with Diamond f1560 in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  Male pup 1672 was also located in the northern portion of ASNF.  AF1445 and AM1347 were not located by the IFT during 2017 and remain fate unknown.

Diamond Pack (collared m1559, f1560, m1571, and m1572)

In December, yearling m1559 was located on the FAIR.  Yearling f1560 was documented travelling occasionally with Baldy mp1672 in the eastern portion of the FAIR and on the north central portion of the ASNF.  Yearling m1571 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.  Yearling m1572 remained dispersed from traditional Diamond territory on the Coconino National Forest during the month of December.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343, AF1283, fp1674)

In December, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek Pack (collared M1386)

During December, M1386 was documented travelling in the northeast portion of the Gila Wilderness, outside of Copper Creek Pack territory.  F1444 was not located during December.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared F1456 and M1354)

During December, F1456 and M1354 were documented travelling together within the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, m1555, m1556, and f1670)

During December, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  Sub-adult m1556 showed dispersal behaviour in December, and was located in the east portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Lava Pack (collared F1405 and AM1285)

During December, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south-eastern portion of the GNF.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, AF1346, and m1561)

During December, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158 and AF1487)

During December, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and fp1664)

During December, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, AM1398, f1565, and mp1669)

During December, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399 and fp1578)

During December, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AM1284, AF1553, and mp1667)

During December, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.

Single collared AM1155

During December, AM1155 of the old Morgart’s Pack was documented travelling within the GNF in New Mexico.

Single collared m1486

During December, m1486 travelled throughout northern and central portions of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Single collared M1552

During December, M1552 travelled throughout central portion of the CNF and eastern portion of the GNF.

Single collared m1569

During December, m1569 travelled throughout central portion of the CNF and eastern portion of the GNF.  In December, m1569 was captured by a private trapper in the western portion of the CNF.  The IFT responded and processed, recollared, and released the animal on site.

Single M1453

On December 27, M1453 (previously fate unknown), was captured by a private trapper in the western portion of CNF.  The IFT processed, collared, and released the animal on site.

MORTALITIES

During December, a previously uncollared wolf, f1675, was located dead in Arizona. This incident is under investigation.  From January 1 to December 31, 2017 there have been a total of 12 documented wolf mortalities and one lethal removal (F1557).

INCIDENTS

During the month of December, there were 3 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and one confirmed wolf depredation on a domestic dog.  There was one nuisance incident investigated.  From January 1 to December 31, 2017 there have been a total of 19 confirmed depredation incidents in New Mexico and 15 confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.

On December 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cause of death was unknown.

On December 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead heifer in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cause of death was unknown.

On December 18, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On December 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On December 27, Wildlife Services investigated a domestic dog attacked in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the incident was confirmed wolf.

On December 28, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

There are no communication and coordination updates to report for the month of December.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

There are no updates to project personnel for the month of December.

REWARDS OFFERED

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

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

Other News

National

From Change.org (Salty Dog via Change.org [change@mail.change.org]

Demanding Justice for the Murdered Rhino in KwaZulu, Natal, South Africa

Please sign: Dumisani Gwala the Poaching Kingpin of that area and Killer of hundreds of Rhino is not being charged. International attention will make a huge difference. Thank you.

Next Door

Nothing to report

International

From Change.org (Salty Dog via Change.org [change@mail.change.org]

  1. Esmond Bradley Martin: US-Ivory investigator killed in Kenya

Esmond Bradley Martin, 75, was found in his Nairobi home on Sunday with a stab wound to his neck. The former UN special envoy for rhino conservation was known for his undercover work investigating the black market.

Read the full update here.

Wolves and Wolfdogs

The War on Wolves

by Rick Lamplugh, author and wildlife advocate

Let’s use the Middle Ages as a starting point for understanding this war. That was a time when horrifying rumours—some true—about rabid wolves killing humans spread across Europe. Governments declared war. In France in the 800s, the government hired an elite corps of hunters to control the wolf population. In England in the late 1200s, King Edward ordered the extermination of wolves in some parts of the country. In 1427, James of Scotland passed a law requiring three wolf hunts a year, even during denning season.

Those wolf wars were not waged in a vacuum. Around the time that King Edward ordered wolf extermination, the Little Ice Age chilled Europe, reducing harvests and creating painful shortages of crops and livestock. A few years later, the Great Famine struck, killing about ten percent of Europe’s population.

With families and friends starving and dying, few would accept wolves taking livestock. I can imagine the war cry spreading across the countryside: Protect our families, our animals! Kill all wolves!

Then conditions worsened…

To read more: https://goo.gl/XN8GtG

To listen: http://bit.ly/2FKk5nb

Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wild lands. 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 at http://amzn.to/Jpea9Q.

A signed set of both books is available with free shipping at http://bit.ly/2uYTtsU.

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 147

KnightWolf and GrayWolf forever soul mates

by Laura Thai, age 16

The lone gray wolf stood out from the forest out looking the lake. She had been alone for some time. Her pack had died in the blizzard up north where she was from, the only survivor of the pack she had decided to make her way south. Maybe to find a mate or another pack she thought.

The long journey had taken its toll on the young female wolf and she needed to rest at what most wolves liked to call “Lake of the Wolves”. It was a resting place for traveling wolves and a playground as well.

She stood watching the other wolf packs wishing that she could be with them. But she couldn’t, she was an outcast now, she thought watching them. Slowly she made her way down to the lake. She took a seat down on a rock that wolves used for howling to one another which its edge hung over the lake. Laying down she looked down at her reflection. Thin and a little boney from starvation and small game that wasn’t enough to fill her.

A low growl came from behind her, she turned and found one of her packs old adversaries, a pure black wolf stood there growing at her. “Hello GrayWolf, I heard what happened to your pack. Want to join mine?”

“Not in a million lifetimes DarkWolf!!!! Eat scum!!!” she snapped back as her hackles and lips rose.

The black wolf came closer “Come on. Look how you look: all boney and thin. I don’t get how you even made your way down her without you dying”

“Step any closer and you will wish your mother never birthed you in the litter!— Oh wait she already wished that, too bad it never happened!!”

The black wolf got ready to pounce but everything had gone quiet. Every wolfs attention that had been on them turned their heads to the part of the forest where the moon light settled. Even the young black alpha male that was fighting with the gray wolf had looked.

She watched as four wolves emerged from the forest. The leader; ahead of the pack was black and white. Strong and athletic, and stood proudly out of the forest. He was known as Knight-Wolf.

All knew who he and his pack were. They were the wolf pack of the lake of the wolves. And all knew Knight-Wolf, and all knew what happened to his alpha female three winters back. But no one knew why he hadn’t already chosen another mate. Some just thought he wasn’t ready yet. Some thought he hadn’t found the right one yet. And no one dared asking to join in on such an honor of being with such a royal and most respected pack.

Knight-Wolf stood at the edge of the woods surveying the scene. He sniffed the air for any new sent. . . The wind carried a new sent. One that hadn’t been there for over 2 years. He let his nose point to the direction of the new sent and it pointed him to a young , shaggy, thin, lone gray wolf who was fighting with one of the black males of the Black woods, in which he had dealt with many a time. He turned to his pack. “Go rest. I’m going to check something out.” They nodded and ran off.

Knight-wolf started toward the young female. “LEAVE THE FEMALE ALONE DARKWOLF!!! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CLAIM NOR FIGHT WITH THE FEMALES ON MY TARRITORY!!!” Knight-Wolf snapped.

The dark wolf snarled and reluctantly left unharmed. No wolf dared to ever fight with Knight-Wolf one reason was that it was his territory. Second, he was very strong and powerful and had so much respect that every wolf would start to defend him if necessary, leading in death or bloodshed.

Knight-Wolf turned to the young female wolf. “Are you okay???” he asked going over to her. Even if she was tattered and looked shaggy she looked. . . Beautiful in his eyes.

She shook off. “Yeah, I guess I’ll live,” She said looking him over with big brown eyes.

“I’m happy of that. You are new here aren’t you?” he asked.

She shook her head. “No, I am no. I came from the north to seek a mate.”

“What happened to your pack and what is your name my I ask??”

“GrayWolf, and my pack-” there was a long pregnant pause, “- is dead. They died of a snow storm that happened a while back. I was the only survivor. I am in also need of a pack,” she added.

He lowered his head in reverence. “I am so deeply sorry to hear that Gray,” he said. “Will you walk with me around for a while so we may get to know each other? Are you hungry??”

She licked her lips. “I am starving. I haven’t eaten in like a week thank you. And after I eat yes, we can walk around. I think I’ll like the company of another for a bit. It’s been so long.”

“Follow me, my pack left leftovers back in the woods. It was too big to consume so we saved some for later. Its deer.” he said leading her into the woods. They both felt every set of eyes on them as they entered.

He watched as she wolfed down the still fresh meat he thought of her hard hardships that she had endured just to get here. This wasn’t a mere accident of her coming down here. It was fate. Something called to him that wasn’t there before, something his soul had recognized. He looked up at the shiny bright stars. ‘Is this my true calling’ he called silently. ‘give me a sign’! he saw a shooting star fly across the starry sky. ‘Is that my sign???’ he asked. Again another star shot across the sky. His eyes smiled.

“What’s wrong Knight-Wolf?” the young gray wolf said looking up to the heavens with Knight-Wolf.

‘Nothing is the matter GrayWolf,” shyly he looked away. “How would you like to join my pack Gray? It would be an honor if you did?”

“Your not serious are you?” she said with a slight wag of her tail.

“I am dead serious, I don’t say thing’s I don’t mean you know,” he said truthfully.” Besides you can take the alpha female role.”

“But we just met.”

“I know, but we can get to know each other. Common what do you say? Please??” he said waging his tail.

“Well. . . I think I can. I have no pack and I came here to get one, and here I got more than I bargained for. So. . . yes I will”

He licked her happily. “Come let’s let the pack know. Come howl with me my new mate”.

Together they sent a call that he had finally found his mate. It was a call that every wolf hoped for knight wolf’s pack. They would see the happier side to him and the rest of the pack. The new pair smiled at each other, “come run with me. I want to be at your side always and forever” he said starting to run. She kept pace with him with ease as they ran side by side alone the lake water’s edge, forever bound to each other. . .

Readers’ Contribution

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