Volume 13, Issue 161, March 2018

SAFHOWL

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

Volume 13, Issue 161, March 2018

From the Editor’s Desk

We’ve got a bumper issue for you this month, but, I’m afraid to say, most of the information is not good for the wolves rightly co-inhabiting this world. Starting with the scandalous attempts in the US to undermine species conservation in general not only in their own murderous country, but also wherever ‘trophy animals’ persist in the world, through a demented serial killer who tries to find like-minded evolutionary challenged humans for a joint killing spree in a region of Canada where wolves had so far been left to live in peace, to deliberate misrepresentation of official wolf statistics in Germany, and on to disgusting underhanded political power games. If all of this weren’t enough to make a nature-conscious person puke, our attention was pointed to – and now read this twice – to canned wolf hunting in South Africa! I could fill pages with nasty comments, but because this would be pointless, I recommend you read through the News section yourself and form your own opinion… Do not miss the snippet on new pioneer legislation in some US states that will introduce a register for convicted animal abusers similar to that for sex offenders – for this is surely the best news in this issue!

A novelty is that we are now permitted to reprint selected information out of the monthly newsletter from the HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary in Reitz, Free State, South Africa. They are doing excellent work there and deserve every little bit of support our readers can afford them and be it only by advertising their existence! If you wish to receive their newsletter in full (usually around the end of the month), you can add yourself to their mailing list by e-mailing Frans Badenhorst at wolfrescuesa@gmail.com.

Other than that we have a write-up on the wolves in Canada’s Yukon region that a reader has made available. We also found a brief recollection of a real-life wolf encounter that we reprint here. And Erin adds yet another very interesting detail from her day-to-day life together with her pack.

There is also news regarding my own book, A Houseful Headful of Wolves (German edition: Das Haus Den Kopf voller Wölfe), in that there are now links on SAFOW’s Facebook page and on the SAFOW website for submitting book reviews: http://safow.org/book-review/ . Here you can post a short review in English or German without even having to register. We are looking forward to receiving your reviews because we really want to know your thoughts on this book.

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* (– 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

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

From HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary (newsletter February 2018; Frans Badenhorst, wolfrescuesa@gmail.com)

  1. South Africa: Sad news from HuskyRomi

In February the sanctuary in Reitz, Free State, had to say their last farewells to two of their wolves. This time of the year ticks are a major problem, and although they have been spraying the whole sanctuary to protect the wolves from tickbites, heavy rains keep washing everything away, and so Izusu contracted and died of Biliary (a type of tickbite fever endemic to SA).

Another beautiful young wolf called Harley also lost the battle against Biliary.

Totem was luckier by surviving the strike of a Rinkhals Cobra after spending several days in the animal hospital with no control of his muscles and even struggling to breathe. Eventually he pulled through and is now recovering.

And as if that would not be enough the sanctuary’s 6-m³ freezer stopped running just when a huge heap of chickens arrived; they had to be thrown away in the end.

From The “Con” in Conservation (https://m.facebook.com/theconinconservation/photos/a.1527047997525668.1073741829.1525588341004967/1978544299042700/?type=3)

HUNTING WOLVES IN SOUTH AFRICA

You despicable slobs that call yourselves hunters in South Africa. You know and have known this for a long, long time. Yet you keep mum. Further proof that you never were and never will be conservationists. You #CarcassFondlers are nothing but frauds. Just all about the profit.

#TheConinConservation

Info via a Wolf Sanctuary in South Africa.

“Wolves were first introduced to South Africa by the army back in the late seventies, Wolter Basson wanted to try and breed a super dog, a lot of wolves are bred by zoos and sold to the public, we have a number of Canadian Reds which Pretoria zoo had, we have a Russian Tundra wolf bred at the Cradle of Life in Badplaas, two wolves that we got from someone were bred at the Emerald Casino zoo, we have numerous species of wolves form America to Mongolian wolves, the police breeding centre is still breeding wolfdogs/ hybrids and selling them, the list is endless.

The new thing that we are encountering are wolves that have been bred for the canned hunting trade, yes, R 25,000.00 and you can shoot a wolf in SA, I have been approached to sell one male and two or more females on three occasions by different breeders, the money is nice but I still have to sleep with myself at night, we received two wolves from Parys from a hunting lodge that a company bought, these two were the breeding pair, Orkney, Rustenberg, more places than you can even imagine. Bottom line is that they are exotics, there is no law prohibiting the breeding of them, no permits are required to own them or shoot them, I hope I have shed light on how they got here, they have been in SA as long as Huskies have.”

International

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

  1. Mexico: LAWSUIT: Lobos face fatally-flawed “recovery plan”

It’s a cruel joke.

Just 114 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild and now – after 40 years of waiting – a new “recovery plan” threatens to push them closer to extinction.

This plan has put the fight to save Mexican gray wolves, or lobos, into overdrive. And Defenders has filed an emergency lawsuit to stop it.

Support our legal and other life-saving work by helping us raise $150,000 by midnight tonight: Take action.

Lobos have always called the Southwest home – their presence helped shape the ecosystems of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. But they are teetering on the edge of collapse and this “recovery plan” would tip the scales toward ruin.

This fatally-flawed plan is political pandering that disregards the opinions of leading wolf scientists in favour of arbitrary population caps set by the states – guaranteeing that no more than an average of 320 wolves will ever be allowed to exist in the Southwest.

In doing so, the plan ignores the best available science that indicates lobos require at least three connected populations totalling approximately 750 individuals to recover. In addition, it:

  • Cuts off access to vital recovery habitat in the southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon;
  • Fails to address the mounting threat of inbreeding by not calling for enough wolf reintroductions into the wild; and
  • Relies excessively on Mexico for wolf recovery despite its lack of adequate habitat.

This is no recovery plan – it is an attempt to play politics with the lobo’s future and pave a path for its destruction. Wolves deserve better.

Your urgent donation will provide the funds we need to defend wildlife whenever threats arise. Get us to our goal of $150,000 by midnight tonight: donate here.

Our team of conservation lawyers is fighting this disastrous plan in court and we are working every day to meet the ever-growing needs of all wildlife at risk of extinction. But we need the support of people like you to bolster our legal and wildlife-saving work.

We will never abandon wildlife in their fight for survival.

Can we count on your support? http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=8TSkc1KwVCdBTbIiJfMsIw

  1. USA: Congress returns to its cheap tricks

Anti-wildlife members of Congress are using a notorious, cheap political trick to wage war on wolves and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

These lawmakers are shamelessly using the “must-pass” omnibus federal funding bill now being debated in the House and Senate as an opportunity to push through destructive amendments, or “riders.” If successful, these riders would topple gray wolf protections and undermine the ESA.

Act Now: Demand your representatives in Congress oppose all anti-wildlife riders in the funding bill: Take action.

Among the worst of these riders is a collection that together could devastate wolves. They include provisions to:

  • End protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes region and block citizens from going to court to challenge a decision that delisted wolves in Wyoming;
  • Block all federal funding for gray wolf recovery in the lower 48 states – including the endangered Mexican gray wolf;
  • Allow aggressive, scientifically indefensible “predator control” measures to be used on wolves and bears on Alaska’s national preserves; and
  • End the red wolf recovery program and declare red wolves extinct.

But it’s not just wolves…Congress is attacking the ESA itself.

Perhaps the most heinous anti-ESA rider of all is one that would end protections for every single species for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has failed to complete a timely five-year status review. That’s more than 900 species – or roughly 54 percent – that would lose their protections under the ESA!

Speak out for wildlife now! Tell Congress there’s no room in the funding bill – or any legislation – for deadly attacks on wildlife and the ESA: Take action.

Politicizing wildlife protections undermines the very foundation of the ESA and jeopardizes the future of every animal it protects. Congress’ repeated attempts to weaken and dismantle this landmark law and undercut the pillars of science it is founded on is despicable.

The lifeline the ESA provides to species is more critical than ever. Congress should be focused on fully funding this last resort for wildlife, not destroying it.

Take action to defend wolves, wildlife and the ESA here.

 USA: URGENT: Wolves can’t wait

This is urgent.

Lawmakers are once again politicizing wildlife protections by using the must-pass federal funding bill to push through lethal anti-wildlife riders.

The future of wolves and more than 900 species listed under the Endangered Species Act is hanging in the balance.

Make an emergency donation today to help Defenders fight for their continued protection here.

  1. USA: Congress, coexistence and wolves in Colorado

Funding bill wages war on wolves, wildlife

Anti-wildlife members of Congress are using a notorious, cheap political trick to wage war on wolves and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These members of Congress are shamelessly using the must-pass federal funding bill – or omnibus – as an opportunity to push through destructive amendments, or “riders.” If successful, these riders would undercut gray wolf protections and the ESA. Demand Congress oppose all anti-wildlife riders in the funding bill: Take action.

Restoring Wolves to Colorado

Wolves were once a part of Colorado’s landscape. However, their absence over the last 70 years is causing the natural balance of Colorado’s landscape to unravel. Defenders now has an opportunity to help bring them back and restore Colorado’s natural balance, for ourselves and future generations.
Learn more here.

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: We want to prevent the disappearance of Wolves from Saxony. Please donate!

Everybody talks about the allegedly rapid proliferation of wolves in Saxony. Even a so-called wolf expert from Bavaria says so, but is it really true? We had a look at the official statistics at http://www.dbb-wolf.de and also phoned them for further details. In 2015/16, 15 packs, 4 pairs, one territorial wolf and 52 cubs were counted in Saxony. In 2016/17 the numbers had decreased to 14 packs, 5 pairs, no territorial wolf at all, and just 39 cubs.

Territories also decreased from 20 to 19, which means in other words that wolves have not only not proliferated rapidly, but their numbers have decreased. The reason for that is, we think, not only due to more road deaths, but also to the fact that wolves, especially in Saxony, are illegally killed in Wild West fashion. Not every illegally killed wolf is discovered and considered for the statistics.

Since we, in contrast to big Wildlife Conservation organsations, do not receive support from the state we fully depend on donations.  Every single Euro helps to prevent further illegal wolf killings. Please help us to protect the wolves in Saxony by donating to:

Wolfsschutz-Deutschland
Berliner Sparkasse
IBAN DE79 1005 0000 0190 7118 84
BIC BELADEBEXXX

Donations via PayPal: http://wolfsschutz-deutschland.de/spenden-2/

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

  • Canada: A One-Man Bounty On Wolves In British Columbia
  • Wolves in British Columbia are in grave danger at the time of this writing. Steve Isdahl has proudly taken it upon himself on social media to have as many wolves killed in the province as he can. Contacting trappers on Facebook he is appealing to trappers and hunters in the seven regions to join him in his mission. He is raising funds for snares, leg hold traps, gas for trucks and ATV access to remote management units.
    It’s all there to see on his Facebook page, euphemistically named “BC Ungulate Foundation” (https://www.facebook.com/Growungulates/) which he is wanting to register as a charity. He claims that wolves have decimated deer, elk and moose populations in the province, and therefore must be killed exponentially in all regions. He provides no research on wolf populations nor research on specific ungulate populations, only the assertion of some hunters that they have been unable to kill as many ungulates as they did several years ago.
  • Petition update: Stop Under Armour from killing wild Animals – Please Sign: https://www.change.org/p/stop-under-armour-from-killing-wild-animals-please-sign

 

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

  1. USA: Hunting wolves for trophy? What you can do for wolves right now.

URGENT — Facing another appropriations deadline on March 23, Congress is still working to determine how to fund the government. Unfortunately, damaging anti-wolf riders that undermine Endangered Species Act protections for wolves are still in play.
One provision seeks to permanently remove federal ESA protections for Grey 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.
If these riders are not removed by Congress, wolves will die at the hands of trophy hunters. 
Please take action today.

  1. USA: Wolf Conservation Center Slammed by Storm (https://nywolf.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=96aae4d71726eb91ae4d20fec&id=d67bd52a05&e=c4f881378d)

Wolf Conservation Center staff, volunteers, and wolves are sharing a collective sigh of relief today.
Wednesday’s big, blustery nor’easter, the second to hit New York’s Westchester County in less than a week, brought well over a foot of wet, heavy snow and significant fence damage to the WCC. Thankfully, the wolves are okay.
WCC’s endangered species facility, which houses the majority of the Center’s critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves, bared the brunt of the formidable storm. Although a number of enclosures were damaged, the wolves remained safe and contained.
WCC staff has been working tirelessly to remove debris, address the compromised fence-lines and make the pathways and roads accessible. However, many repairs remain to be done. If you are able, please consider making a donation to help us in this effort. Every penny helps!
Some good news — since our restricted area was impacted the most, all education programming remains on schedule!

  1. You heard our howls – Thank you!

We asked for your help and you heard our howls! Thanks to you, we are making good progress recovering from damage brought on by last week’s powerful nor’easter!

We are humbled by the incredible support from our pack – supporters like you.
Howls of thanks from all us here at the Wolf Conservation Center!

From California Wolfcenter (californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

  1. Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project

Monthly Update – January 1-31, 2018

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 up to 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

On January 11, 2018, the USFWS met with the Catron County Commission to discuss the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, the 2016 Office of Inspector General report, and communication.

On January 23, 2018, the USFWS met with the Chairman of the New Mexico State Game Commission, the Director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) and NMDGF staff to discuss permits for cross-fostering, the status of Mexican wolf recovery in Mexico, and communication.

Numbering System:  Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history.  Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an

established territory.  In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

The IFT completed the annual year-end population survey which started November 1, 2017 and concluded with helicopter count and capture operations conducted from January 24, 2018 through February 3, 2018. The year-end population count for 2017 will be available in February.  In 2016, the year-end minimum count was 113 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.  At the end of the helicopter count and capture operation, there were 79 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.

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.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338, AF1335, m1673, m1676, and fp1683)

In January, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF), occasionally documented on the SCAR.  Yearling m1673 continued to make dispersal movements into New Mexico and is now considered a single animal.  Yearling m1676 and female pup 1683 were captured, collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Bluestem Pack (collared F1489)

In January, F1489 continued making dispersal movements around the northern and western edges of the Bluestem Pack’s traditional territory in the central ASNF and is now considered a single animal.  There are currently no functional collars in the pack, but the IFT continues to monitor the pack with trail cameras.

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

In January, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.  In 2016, three yearling wolves from the Elk Horn Pack, m1471, f1473, and m1477, each dispersed from their natal territory.  Yearling m1471 has been travelling with Prime Canyon F1488.  AF1294 was captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.  The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and m1447)

In January, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and into New Mexico.  Female 1443 was captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, f1550, mp1666, mp1677, and mp1681)

In January, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.  Male pups 1677 and 1681 were captured, collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.  Female 1550 was documented travelling with single m1571 during the helicopter count and capture operation.

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)

In January, 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 January, the Panther Creek Pack was located in their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  AF1339 was captured, re-collared, and temporarily moved to captivity.

Pine Spring Pack (collared f1562 and AM1394)

In January, f1562 was localized in the north central portion of the ASNF and was documented travelling with AM1394 (previously fate unknown).  AM1394 was captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture.  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 and m1471)

In January, F1488 was documented travelling within a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.  Yearling m1471 from the Elk Horn Pack has been documented travelling with Prime Canyon F1488 throughout January.

Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, mp1661, and mp1680)

In January, the Saffel Pack was located in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.  Male pup 1680 and AM1441 were captured, collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Single collared AM1038

In January, AM1038 of the old Hawks Nest Pack was documented travelling within the GNF in New Mexico.

Single collared f1473

In January, f1473 was documented travelling alone and continued to make dispersal movements between Arizona and New Mexico.

Single collared m1477

In January, m1477 was documented travelling with an uncollared wolf in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared f1484

In January, f1484 was documented travelling alone to the east and north of the Panther Creek Pack’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared m1571

In January, m1571 was documented making wide dispersal movements in New Mexico and the north central portion of the ASNF.  Male 1571 was documented travelling with Hoodoo f1550 during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Single collared m1572

In January, m1572 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the Coconino National Forest, and through the western and central portions of the ASNF to the eastern portion of the FAIR.

ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and mp1672)

In January, mp1672 was documented travelling occasionally with f1560 in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  Male pup 1672 was also located in the north-eastern portion of ASNF.  During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, AM1347 (previously fate unknown) was documented travelling with f1560 and mp1672.  AM1347 was captured, re-collared, and released.

Diamond Pack

As of January, the wolves in the Diamond Pack have all been travelling separately for more than three months and are now considered single animals.

Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1343, AF1283, and fp1674)

In January, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR.  AF1283 and AM1343 were captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Single m1559

In January, m1559 made large dispersal movements in the eastern portion of the FAIR and was documented travelling with an uncollared wolf (now known as f1679).

Single f1560

In January, f1560 was documented travelling with the Baldy Pack in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared f1679

In January, f1679 was first documented as an uncollared wolf travelling with m1559 in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  Female 1679 was captured, collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek Pack (collared M1386)

During January, M1386 was documented travelling in the western portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF), in traditional Copper Creek Pack territory.  During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, the IFT documented F1444 travelling with M1386.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared F1456 and M1354)

During January, 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 January, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  Sub-adult m1556 continued to show dispersal behaviour in January, and was located in the east portion of the Gila Wilderness.  The IFT captured, re-collared and released AF1278 during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Lava Pack (collared AF1405 and AM1285)

During January, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south-eastern portion of the GNF.  AF1405 was captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293, AF1346, and m1561)

During January, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.  During January, m1561 made dispersal movements around the GNF.  Male 1561 was captured, re-collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and fp1684)

During January, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  Female pup 1684 was captured, collared, and released during the annual helicopter count and capture operation.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and fp1664)

During January, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north-western portion of the GNF.  Female pup 1664 was captured by a private trapper in the north-western portion of the GNF.  The IFT processed, collared, provided veterinary treatment for a foot injury, and released the wolf.  During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, fp1664 was re-captured to provide additional veterinary treatment for the foot injury and is being temporarily held in captivity.  AM1296 was captured, re-collared, and released.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, AM1398, f1565, mp1669, and mp1678)

During January, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, mp1678 was captured, collared, and released.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399 and fp1578)

During January, 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, mp1667, and fp1682)

During January, the SBP Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, AF1553 and fp1682 were captured, collared, and released.

Single collared AM1155

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

Single collared M1453

In January, M1453 was documented travelling with two uncollared wolves (one now known as f1685) in the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Single collared m1486

During January, m1486 travelled throughout northern and central portions of the CNF.

Single collared M1552

During January, M1552 was not located by the IFT.

Single collared m1569

During January, m1569 travelled throughout the central and northern portion of the CNF.

Single collared f1685

During the annual helicopter count and capture operation, f1685 was captured, collared, and released.  Female 1685 was documented travelling with M1453 and an uncollared wolf in the western portion of the CNF.

MORTALITIES

There were no documented mortalities in the month of January.

INCIDENTS

During the month of January, there were seven confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and one confirmed wolf depredation on a domestic dog.  There were 3 nuisance incidents investigated.  From January 1 to January 31, 2018 there have been a total of five confirmed depredation incidents in New Mexico and three confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.

On January 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 8, Wildlife Services investigated a domestic dog killed at a residence in Greenlee County, AZ.  The investigation determined the dog was a confirmed wolf kill.  The IFT responded to the location and initiated trapping efforts in attempt to capture and identify the wolves involved with the depredation.  No wolves were captured.  The IFT confirmed there were no wolves with functional radio collars and no known wolf packs in the area at the time of the incident.  No residents were present when the incident occurred.  The IFT initiated monitoring efforts in the area that remain ongoing at the time of this writing.  The IFT has advised residents in the area of their legal rights under provisions in the Federal Final 2015 10(j) rule to protect domestic dogs and livestock from wolves.  Private land owners or their designee can shoot wolves that are in the act of biting, killing, or wounding domestic animals (livestock or non-feral dogs) on non-federal land (private, tribal, or state land).  Any form of take must be reported within 24 hours to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by telephone 505-346-2525; or fax 505-346-2542.

On January 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 14, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 15, Wildlife Services investigated three dead cows in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the cause of death for all three cows was unknown.

On January 22, the IFT received a report of a two wolves observed near an occupied residence in Catron County, NM.  The IFT confirmed the animals were wolves by a photograph taken.  By the time the IFT received report of the incident, the wolves had left the area.

On January 24, the IFT received a report of wolves observed feeding on a deer behind a residence in Greenlee County, AZ.  The IFT responded, conducted a site investigation and determined the sighting was probable wolf.  The IFT initiated ongoing monitoring efforts in the area.  At the time of writing, there have been no additional confirmed wolf sightings in the area.

On January 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf kill.

On January 31, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM.  The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On January 9, WMAT personnel presented during a radio show on KNNB in Whiteriver, AZ.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In January, two tribal youth started an internship with WMAT.

  1. Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project

Monthly Update – Feb 1-28, 2018

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update

On February 2, 2018, the Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator briefed staff from Senator Udall and Senator Heinrich’s staff on the status of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.

On February 21, 2018, the USFWS, AZGFD, and Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP by its Spanish acronym) held a conference call to discuss collaboration in implementation of recovery actions in the two countries.

Reproduction Specialists with the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan collected semen from Mexican wolves at Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility on February 8, 2018, for the “frozen zoo,” which will be used in future research and artificial insemination.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

The IFT completed the annual year-end population survey which started November 1, 2017 and concluded with helicopter count and capture operations conducted from January 24, 2018 through February 3, 2018. The year-end minimum population count for 2017 was 114 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. In 2016, the year-end minimum count was 113 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. 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. At the end of February, there were 76 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring.

IN ARIZONA:

Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338, AF1335, m1676, and fp1683)

In February, the Bear Wallow Pack was located within their traditional territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF), occasionally documented on the SCAR.

Bluestem Pack

In February, the IFT documented the pack in the Bluestem Pack’s traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. There are currently no functional collars in the pack, but the IFT continued to monitor the pack with trail cameras.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, fp1668, and mp1671)

In February, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache on the ASNF for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Frieborn Pack (collared F1443 and m1447)

In February, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, f1550, mp1666, mp1677, and mp1681)

In February, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. Sub-adult f1550 was documented travelling apart from the Hoodoo Pack with single m1571 during the month of February.

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291)

In February, 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 February, the Panther Creek Pack was located in their traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Alpha Female 1339 was returned to the wild from captivity and released back in the Panther Creek Pack’s territory. The members of the pack have been travelling separately.

Pine Spring Pack (collared f1562 and AM1394)

In February, the Pine Spring Pack was located within their territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. 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 and M1471)

In February, F1488 was documented travelling within a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. M1471 from the Elk Horn Pack has been documented travelling with Prime Canyon F1488 since December and is now considered a part of the Prime Canyon Pack.

Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, mp1661, and mp1680)

In February, the Saffel Pack was located in their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared m1477

In February, m1477 was documented in the east central portion of the ASNF and occasionally on the SCAR.

Single collared f1484

In February, f1484 was documented travelling alone to the east of the Panther Creek Pack’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. The IFT confirmed the mortality of f1484 in February. The incident is under investigation.

Single collared F1489

In February, F1489 has been travelling on the east side of Bluestem’s traditional territory in the east Central portion of the ASNF.

Single Collared m1571

In February, m1571 was documented making dispersal movements in the north central portion of the ASNF. Male 1571 has been documented travelling with Hoodoo f1550 during the month of February.

Single collared m1572

In February, m1572 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the Coconino National Forest and through the western portion of the ASNF. In February, the IFT confirmed the mortality of m1572. The incident is under investigation.

Single collared m1673

In February, m1673 made dispersal movements back into Arizona and has been documented travelling in the area north of Bear Wallow Pack’s territory.

ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and mp1672)

In February, the Baldy Pack was documented travelling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AM1343, AF1283, and fp1674)

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

Single Collared wolf m1559

In February, m1559 was documented travelling in the eastern portion of the FAIR with f1679.

Single Collared wolf f1560

In February, f1560 was documented travelling with the Baldy Pack in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single Collared f1679

In February, f1679 was documented travelling with m1559 in the eastern portion of the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek Pack (collared AM1386)

During February, the Copper Creek Pack was documented travelling in the western portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF), within the packs traditional territory.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AF1456 and AM1354)

During February, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented travelling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the GNF.

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

During February, 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 continued to show dispersal behaviour. Male 1555 was also documented making dispersal movements in February.

Lava Pack (collared AF1405 and AM1285)

During February, 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 February, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. Male 1561 continued to make dispersal movements within the GNF.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and fp1684)

During February, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a food cache for the Luna pack to reduce potential for livestock conflict.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and fp1664)

During February, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north-western portion of the GNF. Female pup 1664 was released within the Mangas Pack territory after temporary medical treatment for a foot injury.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251, AM1398, f1565, mp1669, and mp1678)

During February, 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 February, 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, mp1667, and fp1682)

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

Single collared AM1155

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

Single Collared M1453

In February, M1453 was documented travelling within the ASNF at the beginning of the month, then returned to the western portion of Cibola National Forest (CNF). M1453 has been documented travelling with f1685.

Single collared m1486

During February, m1486 travelled throughout the northern and central portions of the CNF.

Single collared m1569

During February, m1569 travelled throughout the central and northern portion of the CNF and in portions of the GNF.

Single Collared f1685

During February, f1685 was documented travelling with M1453 in the western portion of the CNF.

Single collared AM1038

During February, AM1038 of the old Hawks Nest Pack was documented travelling in north central portions of the GNF and was located at least once travelling with f1473.

Single collared f1473

During February, f1473 was documented travelling in north central portions of the GNF and was located at least once travelling with AM1038.

MORTALITIES

In February, f1484 was located dead in Arizona, the incident is under investigation.

In February, m1572 was located dead in Arizona, the incident is under investigation.

From January 1 to February 28, 2018 there have been a total of two documented wolf mortalities.

INCIDENTS

During the month of February, there were nine confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock. There were five nuisance incidents investigated in February, three of which were confirmed as wolf by the IFT. From January 1 to February 28, 2018 there have been a total of 14 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and three confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.

On February 1, the IFT received a report of three wolves near an occupied residence in Apache County, AZ. The IFT confirmed the presence of wolves, but they had left the area by the time the report came in.

On February 2, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a probable wolf kill.

On February 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf kill.

On February 6, the IFT received a report of a wolf from a highway in Catron County, NM. The IFT confirmed a wolf was in the area and attempted to haze the animal away, but the animal had already left the area.

On February 8, WMAT investigated a dead heifer on the FAIR. The investigation determined the heifer died of unknown causes.

On February 8, WMAT investigated a dead cow on the FAIR. The investigation determined the cow died of unknown causes.

On February 13, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf had been killed by coyotes.

On February 23, the IFT received a report of a wolf feeding on an elk carcass in the vicinity of occupied residences. The IFT responded immediately, confirmed the presence of a wolf in the area and attempted to haze, but the animal had already left the area.

On February 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

On February 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf kill.

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

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

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On February 6, WMAT met with Tribal and non-Tribal stakeholders and a consultant regarding predator/livestock coexistence/conflict mitigation.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

There are no project personnel updates for the month of February.

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

Next Door

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International

From ForceChange (TakeAction@ForceChange.com)

USA: Trump Tricked Us – Oppose His Quiet Plan to Allow Trophy Hunting

Trump has re-approved his plan to allow imports of dead exotic animals killed by trophy hunters. Previously, Trump had reversed this decision after public uproar, including by our community. However, once that uproar died down, Trump returned to his original decision to encourage trophy hunting. Sign this petition to denounce Trump’s support of trophy hunting: Sign petition.

Now it’s our turn to ask for help:

We are only able to continue our work due to the financial support from people like you. This is because running a major online activism platform is expensive. Without our Premium Members, we would be forced to shut down our operations — and animal abusers, environmental polluters and wrongdoers across the globe would breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there was one less watchdog shining light on their evil ways.

Don’t let this happen! Please consider upgrading right now: Upgrade here.

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From Selflovers (website)

USA: Thanks to new law, animal abusers will now be registered like sex offenders

Now that animal abuse is being taken way more seriously than ever before, more and more jurisdictions are altering their laws to reflect this new reality. A number of United States jurisdictions have made laws that require the names of animal abusers to be displayed in a registry that is similar to the ones that are used for sex offenders.

These registries are designed with the objective of keeping people who have harmed animals in the past from ever having the chance to do so again and they are a welcome addition to the lawmaking policies of places as disparate as New York City and Tampa, FL.

Retail outlets and shelters no longer have an excuse when it comes to providing animals to those who have a history of abuse, as they are required to have a prospective adopter read and sign an affidavit that provides assurance that they are not on the registry.

If you are a regular person who is in search of a pet sitter while you are away on vacation, these registries also take on added value, allowing you to vet candidates more readily and do the proper research before potentially leaving your animals in harm’s way.

The registries are not yet a requirement in all states, but they are slowly popping up throughout the country, in places like New York City (although theirs is not able to be viewed by the general public), Tennessee (whose is statewide) and Cook County, Illinois.

For those who consider pets to be family members, this is welcome news. Perhaps individuals who consider hurting animals in the future will reconsider their actions if they are aware of the fact that their name will end up on a list that is easily searchable. Having actual documentation to use makes life simpler for animal lovers, as well as law enforcement.

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Wolves in the Yukon

To spot a wolf in Canada’s Yukon is a rare occasion, but they’re indeed out there – an estimated population of 5,000 wolves calls the Yukon their home, which comes to about one wolf every 96 square km. Their geographic range spreads from the boreal forest to the alpine and Arctic tundra with only the vast Kluane Icefield being unoccupied. While wolves in many parts of North America had been exterminated and then reintroduced in some parts they are still thriving in the Yukon.

The wolves in the Yukon are not unique in any sense but just normal Grey wolves like all the others living in other wild areas. The difference here is the ecosystem they move through so invisibly is still intact because of a natural predator-prey system, meaning that the wolf and ungulate populations (mostly moose and caribou and, to a lesser extent, mountain sheep) are largely in balance. Of course have humans not always been content to leave that balance alone, but wolves existed in the Yukon as many as 47,000 years ago.

The wolf-human conflict did not become a major issue in the territory until the 20th century, after the Klondike Gold Rush brought thousands of newcomers to the area. It was then that trappers in a booming and busting fur industry began to complain that wolves were harming their business, blaming the wolves for decrease of numbers of ungulates. In the 1920s it was allowed to use strychnine baits for wolves, and a system of wolf bounties was set up. Eventually, the government took control of the strychnine programs.

In his book Wolves of the Yukon author Bob Hayes describes his arrival by helicopter on the scene of a strychnine bait site in 1985 where he found a sow grizzly bear crumpled in the trees, two wolves, 10 ravens and six magpies besides of hundreds of dead chickadees on the ground and in the willow branches.

In 1972 the use of Strychnine use was restricted but its use continued illegally in some quarters for several years with nobody ever charged. Bob Hayes, a biology grad, was offered the position of wolf biologist for the Yukon government in 1982. The carnivores were a hot topic at the time, with Whitehorse residents concerned about incursions into their yards and subdivisions, and hunters in the Southern Lakes region of the territory upset about low moose numbers.

Bob Hayes took the job and kept it for 18 years. After one decade on the job the government launched a new wolf management plan in 1992, which included some progressive and pro-wolf elements such as the assertion that wolves had an inherent value in and of themselves — beyond their influence, positive or negative, on human concerns such as game availability or the safety of neighbourhood pets. But it also made provision for legalized aerial wolf control as a means to protect ungulate populations for human hunting.

After the 1992 plan was adopted, a large-scale aerial wolf-kill program was launched in the Aishihik region, near Kluane National Park and Reserve and the town of Haines Junction. Dozens of wolves were shot from helicopters, and because Hayes was the as the government’s leading wolf biologist and therefore responsible for overseeing the program, was suddenly viewed by activists as Wolf Enemy No. 1.

The furor over the wolves in the Yukon has almost died down since the 1990s and after Bob Hayes had left his post in 2000 he became a potent voice against aerial wolf killings and other lethal wolf-management methods. The Yukon government released a new wolf management plan in 2012 that put an end to government-run wolf killing programs. Mark O’Donoghue, a territorial biologist, was one of the authors of the new plan. This time the public was asked for their opinion and surprisingly they declared that they did not want to see any more of these big helicopter wolf-control programs. This change in public sentiment was based on ethical considerations as well as on concerns over the programs’ high costs and low efficacy. For now this plan is working and the wolf population is healthy the impact of climate change could turn into another benefit for the wolves – some of the territory’s tundra is gradually becoming taiga, a moose habitat and an increasing moose density.

Original source: Canadian Geographic 2017, “They’re out there” by Eva Holland, kindly made available by our supporter, Andreas Schillert.

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 148

Face to Face
by Ally Cleetz
based on a true story

The highway seemed to stretch without an end as I drove along for home. It was on that bright, summer morning as I was driving with the deep woods on either side of me that I saw it up ahead.

I pulled over to the curb, thinking the long-legged animal was a deer. But to my surprise, I saw a lean, gray wolf, standing in the underbrush on the edge of the woods. Stepping out of my car, I stood thirty feet from the wolf.

It was my first sighting of a wolf in my whole life and I was thrilled. My heart beat quicker as the wolf and I stared for what seemed a moment frozen in time.

The wolf wasn’t sleek but mangy and thin, as if it’d had a rough life over the past winter months.

I wondered just what it was like to be a lone wolf in an area I didn’t think had wolves. Was it lonely? Did it long for a mate of its own?

Then, time moved forward and the wolf turned and dashed into the darkness of its wooded home.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary
By Erin

I cannot believe how time is flying – hasn’t it just been New Year a few days back? – and suddenly it’s again the middle of March. The furry kids are all but through with shedding hair, which is great because I already feared my vacuum cleaner would not survive this season. We had loads of work over the year’s end season and maybe that’s why time seemed to be flying.

One thing that came up over the last few months was this: For donkey years we have been employing the same feeding routine and it always worked fine, until Ascar II suddenly decided that all three having a food bowl with an equal portion in it was not in line with his understanding of pack rules. Every day at feeding time, he now started to first inspect his food bowl, then move over to Kajack’s, pushing him aside and making it clear that Kajack II was not allowed to eat before he, Ascar, had taken out the best bits. That caused great irritation with Taima, the undisputed boss, who started to snarl at him and show him her K9s, but then was so unsettled that she would abandon her bowl and retreat into the house. That’s what I call true disharmony at the dinner table.

My first try to solve this problem was to take Ascar’s bowl away as soon as his nose was buried in Kajack’s and give it to Kajack. I also placed Taima’s bowl farther away from the two others to give her more space and peace. That worked for about two days, and then Ascar started to move between the two remaining bowls, pushing Kajack away from the bowl he was just busy with and wandering off to inspect Taima’s. Next try was to place Taima’s bowl inside the house so that at least one of them could eat without interruptions and hold Kajack’s bowl on my lap while Ascar’s was placed in front of him. That also worked for another two or three days, and then the game started over, because now Ascar only wanted to eat from the bowl on my lap. O.k., boys; my lap is not big enough for two bowls, but my arms are long enough to hold both with outstretched arms, one to the right, one to the left. You should give that a try – it’s better than a workout at the Gym!

It worked for about a week, but then Ascar decided that this was still not good enough for him and I started to feel like that guy on the airfield directing the aeroplanes from and to their parking spots, and slowly but surely I was running out of ideas. Then Ted came to the rescue – Taima eating inside the house, Ted holding Ascar’s bowl for him, and I, at some distance, held Kajack’s. O.k., that seemed to be fine – for a while … After that we decided to feed Taima in the passage where she was feeling comfortable, Kajack in the kitchen, and Ascar outside, with the doors between them closed. Ted was in the house with Kajack and Taima and I was outside with Ascar. Oh boy, what a chaos! The only one eating was Taima; Ascar had nothing else on his mind but finding a way inside to get to Kajack’s food and Kajack refused to eat being separated from his idol (regardless of all the mobbing he has to endure from Ascar he worships the ground he is walking on), wanting to get out to him. When I already thought that this nightmare would never end I remembered the way they do it in the wild. If there are no cubs, the alphas will eat first, take the best morsels and only when they allow the rest of the pack to join in they can also have their rations. O.k., maybe I had to try a completely different approach.

Since just throwing the food out on the lawn would never work because the only one getting some would be Ascar, I took a big bowl and put all the food in it. They typically get chicken feet, heads and necks, sometimes chicken parts, and when I can get my hands on game offcuts from our butcher they will get chunks of that. Then I took that bowl, went outside, sat on the step of the rear veranda and called them. I let Ascar, the alpha male, choose the first piece and while he was busy with it I started to throw each of the other two their pieces while they were standing at a short distance away from me. When Ascar had finished his piece he came for the next and I threw more food to the other two. This way they all got equal portions, and Ascar seemed to be perfectly o.k. with that method, his own concern apparently having been to claim ‘first choice’ for himself all the time.

Kajack has always been very good at catching in the air whatever you throw at him; Taima needed some time to learn it by watching him, but meanwhile she is almost as good as Kajack, and as long as they keep their distance to Ascar and he can choose his pieces from the bowl, he is happy with it. This method has now been working for many months without any problems and I’m happy to say that harmony at the dinner table could be re-established.

Will be continued…