Volume 14, Issue 175, May 2019

SAFHOWL

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

Volume 14, Issue 175, May 2019

From the Editor’s Desk

It’s getting really nippy up here on the Highveld! How I dread winter…

The News section this month is, like just about every month, dominated by bad news for wolves in the US. Well, what can you expect? It is important though to stay up-to-date and sign every petition or protest there is, though, if we want to help these marvellous creatures survive.

An interesting report about the wolves in Yellowstone came our way. It is all the more interesting considering the perils these flagship wolves face at the borders of this park.

We also have a wolf tale, one of how things should be, which might make you forget for a short moment how it really is.

Till the next newsletter,

Ed.

Upcoming Events

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

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 here

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

1. Wolf Camp for Kids!

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)

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 centre home! With all the howls and nature’s night-time chatter, you will feel like you’re camping under the stars with wild wolves!
Pre-registration is required. Space is limited and dates are selling out quickly!

Information and registration here

  1. Join Us for an Adventure in Yellowstone at 

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!

News from the Wolf Front

National

From the HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary (committee@huskyromi.co.za)

Sanctuary Update

The month of April has been a terrible month. It is with sad hearts we had to say goodbye to Chekhov and Wolfie. We had to send Chekhov to the Sanctuary in Thesky because of old age and poor Wolfie was being brave as always and decided to take on a Rinkhals, unfortunately the Rinkhals got the better of Wolfie. Chekhov and Wolfie will roam free in our memories always.

The rains have been difficult to contend with, in one day we had 91 mm of rain causing a lot of damage, but we won’t harp on all the bad. On a happy note our rondavel is now at the stage where we start working on the roof, the trusses go up and stay up now, beginning of May we start with the brandering, and then it’s the tiles with the insulation underneath.

This has been a very long and slow process, with only one builder on site but I wouldn’t do it another way, everyone who knows anything about building has told me what a wonderful job Robert is doing, Thank you Robert for all the hard work. We look forward to seeing some of you out here in the near future, we should throw a roof wetting party, when we have a roof to wet.

To keep the wolves and huskies safe and homed we are continuously busy with maintenance projects at the sanctuary and in order to keep it a sanctuary for the beautiful wolves and huskies we have noticed that the easiest way to get involved and help is to donate the much used and needed supplies for these projects.

Should you know of anyone who can assist or you yourself can support by supplying any of the following, we would highly appreciate the assistance.

Jackal Fencing 1,2 m high

Y-Standards 1,5 m high

Droppers 1,2 m high

Wooden Corner Posts of 1,5 m or longer.

Building materials for shelters and dens

Lavender Bushes to protect against flies

Walk for Wolves Netherlands

Nederland Duinreservaat, Netherlands 14 April 2019.

What an amazing journey for such a great cause, the full story is on our Facebook page @huskyromi, please take a moment to read it as it’s full of tips and tricks.

“I would like to thank all participants, sponsors and supporters that helped HuskyRomi on this amazing day, with special mention of Conny who came up with the idea and helped me set it up, and Tahira of Paws & Hands for her contribution in the form of a workshop”.

Check out the HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary’s Facebook page for more information here: https://web.facebook.com/huskyromi/?rdc=1&rdr . If you wish to subscribe to HuskyRomi’s monthly illustrated newsletter, mail larry@huskyromi.co.za or committee@huskyromi.co.za and have yourself added to the mailing list. It’s FREE!

  1. From the HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary

HuskyRomi’s Volunteer Programme

Ever dreamt of working hands-on with wolves?

Here is an opportunity of a lifetime!

Phone or mail for all the necessary information and request an application form

Larry Paul – 0027 71 679 5141

E-mail: Larry@HuskyRomi.co.za or Committee@Huskyromi.co.za

Note that this offer is available to volunteers from all over the globe!

Why not combine volunteer work with an exotic holiday?

Our GPS coordinates are:

27.776026, 28.442818 or S 27°46’33,5’’, E 028°26’34,0’’

From South African Friends of Wolves (www.safow.org)

500 x 50 – Calling on all South African Friends of Wolves

Set up a standing order with your bank and donate Rand 50 every month to support the wolves, wolfdogs and huskies at the HuskyRomi Wolf Sanctuary

Banking details:

HuskyRomi Rescue and Wolf Sanctuary

First National Bank

Account: 62296463989

Branch: 230833

Type: Cheque Acc

Ref: Donation / Your name

…and then get one of your friends to do the same.

Remember, it’s tax-deductible, sustainable, no Rand is wasted, …and it really feels good to support a worthy cause!

International

From Defenders of Wildlife (defenders@mail.defenders.org)

  1. USA: Stop this death sentence for wolves

The Trump administration wants to abandon wolves once and for all.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is trying to prematurely strip Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from nearly all Grey wolves in the lower 48 states. This could be a death sentence for wolves!

Wolves across the country need your help right now – it’s up to us to ensure the continued protection of these majestic animals who have already come so close to extinction.

Tell the DOI to keep ESA protections for imperiled wolves: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=iTFfQ8oFckknqU__ywxS4g

Despite what anti-wolf groups and politicians claim, gray wolves are still in the early stage of their recovery. Today, these wolves occupy just a tiny fraction of their historic range.

Delisting Grey wolves could ruin that progress by leaving them to the mercy of states, many of which are dominated by politicians that see wolves as vermin to be wiped out.

No other species is actively persecuted by politicians the way that wolves are. In the northern Rockies states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, political pressure forced wolves off the endangered species list. Here’s how those states are managing wolves now:

  • In Wyoming, the vast majority of the state is a free-fire zone where hunters can kill a wolf at any time.
  • The wolves of Yellowstone National Park can be hunted once they set foot outside the Park’s boundary.
  • And in Idaho, taxpayer money is used to subsidize wolf extermination through a permanent wolf kill fund.

Act now: Keep Wolf Protections here

Anti-wolf groups in these states have already spread wolf hate that has led to thousands of these animals being killed.

Entire packs have been gunned down from helicopters, wolves have been poisoned with cyanide, shot, caught in cruel traps that starve them to death, and otherwise killed as vermin.

The vicious carnage happening in these states shows us what the future of gray wolves could be in the rest of the lower 48 states if the administration strips their federally protected status.

The DOI is currently taking public comments on this disastrous plan. This is your chance to call on them to protect America’s wolves!

Take action today: Help us fight to keep wolves on the endangered species list: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=BCNvF6NPiLZzOxS7XVOvTQ

Anti-wolf groups are waiting to take aim at more wolves as soon as they lose their protections. These animals need you more than ever – please speak up to keep them safe today: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=EZzvlB7DoNNuzbcX2V_X7Q

  1. USA: This administration is abandoning wolves – have you?

No Grey wolf will be safe now that the Trump administration is getting its way.

Right now, the Interior Department is trying to strip nearly all Grey wolves in the lower 48 states of their federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This will be a death sentence for recovering wolves.

Deadly threats like these are why we’ve extended our matching gift campaign: give now through April 30th and your gift will be matched 2-for-1 up to a total of $200,000: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=vhzMi-L25TDLKCcrz4WSQw

Defenders of Wildlife will do whatever it takes to keep this delisting from happening, but we urgently need your help.

We’ve seen what happens when premature delisting leaves wolves at the mercy of anti-wolf state politics. In Northern Rockies states such as Wyoming and Idaho, thousands of wolves have been killed since losing ESA protections. Even the celebrated wolves of Yellowstone can be gunned down the instant they step outside the park boundaries!

Have your gift matched 2-for-1 here

If this ill-conceived plan goes forward, decades of hard-won wolf conservation progress could be halted. And the future of Grey wolf recovery would once again be in jeopardy.

Your urgent donation today will go three times as far. Support our all-out effort to keep gray wolves protected under the ESA here

It’s not too late to stop this. With you at our side Defenders is ready to fight back for wolves:

  • We’re engaging a network of thousands of wolf-lovers like you to demand that our nation’s wolves retain federal protection under the ESA;
  • Our experts are providing key ESA policy and legal analysis, making it clear that delisting is not only premature, but also sets a dangerous precedent for other imperiled animals; and
  • We will take this administration to court to fight this premature and lethal delisting of gray wolves.

Wolves are counting on you to stand up for their continued protection, and to speak out against a delisting that could halt or even reverse decades of progress.

Please donate today, while your gift will make 3x the difference: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=nUG9Hs8hE-bK-PTcqXT5jg

  1. eNews: Wherever wildlife needs a voice, we’re there

Concert for Conservation: http://action.defenders.org/site/r?i=1grm66fncwdnfmr-dumiuq

With red wolves in the south-east suffering from mismanagement and political antagonism, one North Carolina activist came up with an ingenious idea to raise awareness of the wolves’ plight: A Concert for Conservation.

Learn more here: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=_Qo4B8wioE8kW79EidQnzg

From Wolf Conservation Center (contact@nywolf.org)

  1. USA: Wolves Are Not Trophies – Oppose USFWS Nationwide Delisting Proposal

He is not a trophy.

On March 15, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially proposed removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for nearly all gray wolves across the lower 48 states, a plan that would allow trophy hunting to immediately resume in three states and put the future of the gray wolf and its proven benefits to ecosystems at serious risk.

Delisting wolves has deadly consequences.

History tells us that under the states’ authority to manage wolf populations, wolves die at the hands of trophy hunters. Since 2011, nearly 3,500 wolves have been killed in states where wolves are unprotected.

If Endangered Species Act protections are removed nationwide, more wolves will be trapped and shot. We’re not going to allow that happen without a fight.

Take Action Now: https://engage.nywolf.org/site/R?i=uIl-3O6GQCjDbO8UvrydGA

Sponsor a Wolf Mom
Show your love and appreciation for the mother in your life by sponsoring one of the Wolf Conservation Center’s endangered red wolf and Mexican gray wolf moms!

Learn more here: https://engage.nywolf.org/site/R?i=_Ueg7GYTjM9h01RNQ_MJlw

  1. USA: Mother’s Day Surprise – Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pups Born at the Wolf Conservation Center

USA: Elusive. Endangered. Extremely Cute.

Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pups Born at the WCC!

Mother’s day came early for Mexican gray wolf Trumpet!

On April 26, the mother of three gave birth to her second litter! Beyond being adorable, the pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in the effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.

The Mexican gray wolf or “Lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of Mexican gray wolves in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998, the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Current estimates put the wild population at 131 in the United States.

To watch the family’s progress, tune in to their live webcams here

  1. Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Born at Wolf Conservation Center Released to the Wild

Endangered Wolf Pup Born at Wolf Conservation Center Joins Wild Den

One small step for an endangered pup, one giant leap for Mexican gray wolves.

SOUTH SALEM, NY (May 15, 2018) — Mother’s Day came early for a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf living at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to wolf conservation. On April 26, Mexican gray wolf F1505 (affectionately named Trumpet) gave birth to a litter of five critically endangered pups.

Beyond being cute, the pups represent the WCC’s active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

The WCC is one of more than 50 institutions in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Most wolves born in captivity spend their lives there, but unbeknownst to the largest of the litter, the female pup was destined for a wild future.

On May 9, the two-week-old pup was flown to Arizona and successfully placed in the den of the Saffel wild wolf pack, where the breeding female had recently given birth to her own litter. Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter to be raised by surrogate parents.

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Initial Release and Translocation Proposal for 2019, Mexican gray wolves within the wild population are as related to one another as full siblings. This cross-foster recovery technique provides the opportunity to augment the population’s genetics.

Addressing genetic imperilment requires an active program of releasing wolves from the more genetically diverse captive population to mitigate further inbreeding. USFWS’s goal for 2019 is to foster up to 12 pups into the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, with the hope that they will eventually spread their genes to the greater population.

The WCC has been a critical partner in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program for nearly two decades. To date, three adult Mexican gray wolves from the center have been released in the wild. Participating in a cross-foster, however, is a historic first for the center.

“Trumpet’s pup is part of the critical effort to save her imperiled species,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC. “At just two pounds, she’s a North American superhero! She’s become a living, breathing part of the south-western landscape, and her story will help raise awareness for Mexican gray wolves and the active efforts to save them.”

“The WCC is thrilled to be a part of this important recovery mission,” stated WCC Curator Rebecca Bose. “The collaboration among all who had a hand in delivering Trumpet’s pup to her wild family is a true testament to the dedication of everyone involved. In addition to USFWS, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and WCC veterinarian Paul Maus, DVM were key. We are especially appreciative of a generous friend of the center for providing his plane to transport the precious passenger from New York to Arizona!”

Trumpet and her pups are not on public exhibit, but sixteen live webcams, available on the WCC website, invite an unlimited number of viewers to enter the private lives of these elusive creatures.

Background

The Mexican gray wolf or “Lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of Mexican gray wolves in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998, the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Current estimates put the wild population at 131 in the United States.

From the California Wolf Center (californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com on behalf of; erin@californiawolfcenter.org [californiawolfcenter] [californiawolfcenter-noreply@yahoogroups.com)

  1. USA: Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, Monthly Update, March 1-31, 2019

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 program 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 Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), 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 location information please visit http://arcg.is/0iGSGH .

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 AZGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Updates

As part of the March 29, 2018 appropriations bills, the U.S. Congress directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to obtain an independent assessment on the taxonomic validity of the Mexican gray wolf. The National Academy of Science’s report was published in March, 2019.  The report confirmed the taxonomy of Mexican wolves as a valid subspecies and further determined that there is no evidence that the Mexican gray wolf genome include introgression from domestic dogs.

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) are used to indicate wolves younger than 24 months.  A lower case letter “p” preceding the number is used to indicate a wolf pup born in the most recent spring. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

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

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

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

The end of year census for 2018 was a minimum of 131 Mexican wolves in the wild (64 in AZ and 67 in NM). This was about a 12% increase in the population from a minimum of 117 wolves counted at the end of 2017.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 pup mortality generally occurs in this period). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable.

At the end of March, there were 27 packs (13 in AZ and 14 in NM) and six single collared wolves. There were 80 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves are collared. Studbook numbers following individual pack names below denote wolves with functioning radio collars.

IN ARIZONA:

Eagle Creek Pack (collared M1477)

In March, the IFT continued to document M1477 travelling with an uncollared wolf in their usual territory in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, f1668, m1671, mp1695, fp1696, and fp1697)

In March, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, m1681, mp1789, and f1830)

In March, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. The Hoodoo Pack was hazed by the IFT on multiple occasions during the month of March to mitigate wolf-livestock conflict on private land. The IFT also established a diversionary food cache to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict with this pack.

Pine Spring Pack (collared AM1394, fp1794, and fp1825)

In March, 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 for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared AM1471, AF1488, mp1790, fp1791, and fp1823)

In March, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared F1489)

In March, the IFT documented F1489 travellling separately from M1829 in the north and east central portion of the ASNF.

Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, fp1792 and fp1833)

In March, the Saffel Pack was located within their territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. The Saffel Pack was hazed on multiple occasions to mitigate wolf-livestock conflict near private land.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared M1571 and F1550)

In March, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared f1683

In March, f1683 was documented travelling in the east central portion of the ASNF and occasionally on the FAIR.

Single collared AM1382

In March, AM1382 of the Panther Creek Pack was not located. AM1382 was last documented in February, travelling with f1683 of the Bear Wallow Pack in the east central portion of the ASNF and occasionally on the FAIR.

Single collared M1574

In March, the IFT documented M1574 travelling in the east central portion of the ASNF and the SCAR.

Single collared f1686

In March, the IFT documented yearling f1686 continuing to make dispersal movements within the north central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico and the eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared M1829

In late March, M1829 was documented making large movements into the western portion of the GNF in New Mexico.

ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and F1560)

In March, the Baldy Pack was documented travelling in the north central portion of the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291 and fp1828)

In March, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.

Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared M1559 and AF1283)

In March, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory and occasionally documented north of their territory on the FAIR.

Tu dil hil Pack (collared F1679 and AM1338)

In March, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented travelling in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  AM1338, formerly of the Bear Wallow Pack, has been documented consistently travelling with F1679 and now meets criteria for being considered part of the Tu dil hil Pack.

Poker Pack (collared F1674)

In March, F1674 was documented travelling separately from Tsay-O-Ah pack on the eastern FAIR and occasionally on the SCAR. F1674 was documented travelling with an uncollared wolf for a period of time that meets the criteria for being consider a new pack.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek Pack (F1444)

During March F1444, the only wolf with a functioning collar in the Copper Creek Pack, was documented making wide dispersal movements in New Mexico outside the pack’s traditional range.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM1354, AF1456, and mp1717)

During March, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented travelling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Datil Mountain Pack (collared F1685)

During March, the Datil Mountain Pack travelled within their traditional territory in the western portion of the Cibola National Forest (CNF), as well as portions of the ASNF in Arizona.  F1685 was documented travelling with Iron Creek M1821 for most of March.

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443 and fp1702)

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

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, M1555, f1670, m1821, fp1721, mp1710 and fp1712)

During March, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.  In March, M1556 was located dead in New Mexico; the incident is under investigation.

Lava Pack (collared AM1285, AF1405, and mp1715)

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

Leon Pack (single collared M1824 and f1578)

In March, M1824 was documented travelling with San Mateo f1578 in the north-western portion of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. They have been named the Leon Pack.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and AF1346)

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

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and mp1831)

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

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, f1705 and m1832)

During March, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north-western portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential conflict with livestock in March.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1398, AF1251, and mp1827)

During March, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. During March, fp1835 and fp1836 were captured and removed to captivity as part of a management order. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Prieto Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock in March.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399, fp1822, and fp1834)

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

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AF1553)

During March, AF1553 was confirmed travelling in the traditional territory of the SBP Pack in the north central portion of the GNF.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788 and M1349)

During March, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF.

Single F1684

During March F1684 was located travelling with M1827 of the Prieto Pack in the north central portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

During the month of March, M1556 of the Iron Creek Pack was located dead in New Mexico. Single M1677 was also located dead in Arizona during March. Both incidents are under investigation.

From January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019, there have been a total of six documented wolf mortalities.

INCIDENTS

During the month of March, there were 20 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and one confirmed wolf depredation on a dog.  There was one nuisance incident investigated in March.  From January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019 there have been a total of 42 confirmed and three probable wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and five confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.

On March 3, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead dog in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the dog was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf and two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined that the calf and one cow were confirmed wolf depredations. The cause of death for the second cow was unknown.

On March 11, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 12, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 14, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both cows were confirmed wolf depredations.

On March 19, Wildlife Services investigated four dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined three cows were confirmed wolf depredations, one cow died from unknown cause.

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

On March 22, the IFT took a report of an elk killed by wolves next to a house near Alpine, AZ.  The IFT investigated the report and determined wolves from the Hoodoo Pack had killed a cow elk overnight within 50 feet of the residence. The carcass was removed to eliminate any attractant to wolves returning to the area.

On March 23, Wildlife Services investigated an injured horse that later died from injuries in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the horse was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 25, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull and a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined the bull and calf were both confirmed wolf depredations.

On March 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf depredation.

On March 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow and calf in Greenlee County, AZ.  The investigation determined the two animals were confirmed as having been killed by wolves and classified as one depredation incident.

On March 28, Wildlife Services investigated three dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined one cow was a confirmed wolf depredation and two were probable wolf depredations.

On March 28, Wildlife Services investigated a colt that was injured and later euthanized in Apache County, AZ.  The investigation determined the colt was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 30, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On March 30, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

The USFWS attended a USFS Forest Leadership Team meeting in Reserve, NM.

The USFWS and AZGFD attended the Mexican Wolf Livestock Council meeting in Springerville, AZ.

In March, WMAT contributed an article to “Nature’s Newsletter”, a publication of the Delaware Valley Eagle Alliance, on the WMAT Mexican Wolf Tribal Youth Conservation Program.

On March 6, 2019, the Alpine Conservation Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) provided outreach training to students from the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, New Mexico.  The Alpine CLEO spoke to criminal justice and vertebrate zoology students providing an overview of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and endangered species to include the Mexican gray wolf.

On March 11, WMAT presented to Canyon Day Cattle Association in Whiteriver, AZ.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Sara Eno started with USFWS at the end of March.  Sara was a part of the IFT as the WMAT Field Team Leader and will be transitioning into the role of the Pinetop biologist for the USFWS.  Sara did an outstanding job as the WMAT Field Team Leader and will continue to work with the WMAT and AGFD in her new role.  Congratulations Sara!

  1. USA: Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, Monthly Update, April 1-30, 2019

Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
On March 30, 2019, a court ruling from the District Court of Arizona regarding several alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedures Act of the 2017 Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision, were denied while the court accepted one element for review; therefore, USFWS will provide an administrative record to the court for further review of the basis for the recovery plan’s criteria and actions.

USFWS staff presented Mexican wolf updates and future recovery recommendations at the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee meeting in Victoria, British Columbia from April 8 through 12. Also participating were representatives from the Arizona and New Mexico Game and Fish Departments.

On April 17, the 25-month timeline to revise the 10(j) rule for the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area was initiated by the District Court of Arizona, resulting in a deadline of May 1, 2021 for the revised final 10(j) rule.  The 2015 10(j) rule will stay in effect until the new revision is finalized.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS
The end of year census for 2018 was a minimum of 131 Mexican wolves in the wild (64 in AZ and 67 in NM). This was about a 12% increase in the population from a minimum of 117 wolves counted at the end of 2017.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 pup mortality generally occurs in this period). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable.

At the end of April, there were 27 identified wolf packs (13 in AZ and 14 in NM) and three single collared wolves. There were 80 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves are collared. Studbook numbers following individual pack names below denote wolves with functioning radio collars.

IN ARIZONA:
Eagle Creek Pack (collared M1477)
In April, the IFT continued to document M1477 traveling with an uncollared wolf in the pack’s territory in the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, F1668, M1671, m1695, f1696, and f1697) 
In April, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico. A male yearling, m1693, was captured by Wildlife Services in New Mexico and transported to captivity for veterinary care. Yearling m1693, was cross-fostered as a neonatal pup from captivity into the Elk Horn Pack in 2018.

Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, M1681, F1830, and m1789)
In April, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. The Hoodoo Pack was hazed by the IFT on one occasion during the month of April to mitigate wolf-livestock conflict. This month, three neonatal pups, born in captivity at the Mesker Park Zoo, were cross-fostered by the IFT into the Hoodoo Pack den. One wild born pup was removed to reduce the Hoodoo Pack litter number and subsequently cross-fostered into the Panther Creek Pack den. The IFT maintained a food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict.  The Hoodoo Pack continued to exhibit behaviour and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Panther Creek Pack (AM1382 and AF1683)
In April, AM1382 and AF1683 were documented traveling together in the east central portion of the ASNF and are now considered Panther Creek Pack. This month the IFT cross-fostered one wild-born neonatal pup taken from the Hoodoo Pack into the Panther Creek den subsequent to a cross-foster event of genetically valuable pups from captivity into the Hoodoo Pack den. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort. The Panther Creek Pack continued to exhibit behaviour and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Pine Spring Pack (collared AM1394, f1794, and f1825)
In April, 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 for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared AM1471, AF1488, m1790, f1791, and f1823)
In April, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. In April, the IFT cross-fostered one neonatal pup, born in captivity at the Endangered Wolf Center into the Prime Canyon den. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for conflict. The Prime Canyon Pack continued to exhibit behaviour and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared F1489)
In April, the IFT documented F1489 in the east central portion of the ASNF. The Rocky Prairie Pack began to exhibit behaviour consistent with denning at the end of April.

Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, f1792 and f1833)
In April, the Saffel Pack was located within their territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. The Saffel Pack exhibited behaviour consistent with denning at the end of April.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared M1571 and F1550)
In April, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the north-eastern portion of the ASNF. The Sierra Blanca Pack exhibited behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Single collared M1574
In April, the IFT documented M1574 traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF and the SCAR.

Single collared F1686
In April, the IFT documented subadult F1686 continuing to make dispersal movements within the north central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico and the eastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared M1829
In April, M1829 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the GNF and in the east central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR: 

Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and F1560)
In April, the Baldy Pack was located in their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north central portion of the ASNF. 

Maverick Pack (collared AF1291 and f1828)
In April, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. Maverick Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared M1559 and AF1283)
In April, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and occasionally documented north of their territory on the FAIR.

Tu dil hil Pack (collared F1679 and AM1338)
In April, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR. Tu dil hil Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Poker Pack (collared F1674)
In April, the Poker Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the SCAR.
IN NEW MEXICO:

Copper Creek Pack 
During April, F1444 was captured by a private trapper.  The IFT was notified and subsequently removed the wolf to captivity due to livestock depredations.  F1444 was the only remaining wolf in the Copper Creek Pack, which is now considered defunct.  F1444 subsequently died in captivity.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM1354, AF1456, and m1717)
During April, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF). The Dark Canyon Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Datil Mountain Pack (collared F1685)
During April, the Datil Mountain Pack traveled within their traditional territory in the western portion of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443, f1701, and f1702)
During April, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona. This month, five neonatal pups born in captivity at the Endangered Wolf Center were cross-fostered by the IFT into the Frieborn Pack den. Three wild pups were transported back to captivity. The IFT initiated a supplemental food cache near the den as part of the cross-foster effort and to reduce the potential for livestock-related conflict. The Frieborn Pack exhibited behaviour and movements consistent with denning after the cross-foster operation was conducted. A female subadult, f1701, was captured, collared, and released in April.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, M1555, F1670, M1821, f1721, m1710 and f1712)
During April, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF. The Iron Creek Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Lava Pack (collared AM1285, AF1405, and m1715)
During April, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the south-eastern portion of the GNF.  The Lava Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April. 

Leon Pack (single collared M1824 and F1578)
In April, the Leon pack was documented within the north-western portion of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
 
Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and AF1346)

During April, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness. The Leopold Pack exhibited behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and m1831)
During April, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  The Luna Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, F1705 and M1832)
During April, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the north-western portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential conflict with livestock. The Mangas Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1398, AF1251, and m1827)
During April, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Prieto Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock in April.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399 and f1822)
During April, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.  In mid-April, f1834 slipped free of its radio collar. The San Mateo Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AF1553)
During April, AF1553 was confirmed traveling in the traditional territory of the SBP Pack in the north central portion of the GNF.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788 and M1349)
During April, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF. The Squirrel Springs Pack showed behaviour consistent with denning in April.

Whitewater Canyon Pack (F1684 and M1827) 
During April F1684 and M1827 continued to be documented traveling together in the north central portion of the GNF and are now considered the Whitewater Canyon Pack.

MORTALITIES

There were no documented mortalities during the month of April. From January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019, there have been a total of six documented wolf mortalities.

INCIDENTS

During the month of April, there were 37 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock.  From January 1, 2019 to April 30, 2019 there have been a total of 77 confirmed and five probable wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and 11 confirmed depredation incidents in Arizona.

On April 3, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 5, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 5, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigations determined all four were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 6, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull and two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the all three were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 8, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined that both cows were confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 9, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 12, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both cows were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 14, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

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

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 15, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow and a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 16, Wildlife Services investigated two dead cows and three dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both cows and all three calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 18, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 20, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined both calves were confirmed wolf depredations.

On April 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead yearling bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the yearling bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On April 24, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined calf was a probable wolf depredation.

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

On April 27, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a probable wolf depredation.

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

On April 30, Wildlife Services investigated a dead yearling bull in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the yearling bull was a confirmed wolf depredation.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On April 2, IFT staff attended a livestock grazing workshop in Alpine, Arizona, hosted by Defenders of Wildlife.

On April 17, IFT staff attended a ranching workshop hosted by the X Diamond Ranch in Arizona and provided a Mexican Wolf Recovery Program update.

On April 26, WMAT staff hosted an educational booth in coordination with the Tribal Environmental Protection Office, for Earth Day.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Tracy Melbihess was re-hired by the USFWS as the Classification, Recovery, and Litigation Coordinator for the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program from her position as a Conservation and Consultation Branch Chief at the Idaho Ecological Services Field Office.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AZGFD 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.

From Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition (action@endangered.org)

Our chance to speak out against the Trump Administration’s outrageous plan to strip gray wolves of protections ends at midnight on May 14th. Have you submitted your comment?

Submit your public comment opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed national wolf delisting here

Gray wolves have only begun to recover. They occupy a fraction of their historic range and have yet to re-establish themselves in suitable wild spaces from California to Colorado to Maine. The work is not finished and the Department of Interior has no business declaring “victory” and walking away. Yet, that is just what they are proposing to do by stripping virtually all gray wolves in the lower-48 of Endangered Species Act protections.

Tell the Department of Interior to keep wolves protected until they are truly recovered  here 

From Brigitte Sommer via Change.org (change@e.change.org)

  1. Germany: Escalating media harassment revolving around the wolf – Please support us!

Elections are coming up in some federal states and for the EU parliament. Lobbyist groups are now pulling all the stops to radically press through their interests. Many of the media have jumped on the hype and publish hair-raising reprints of statements from the hunter and farmer lobby without bothering with checking facts first. Even primetime news joined in.

We oppose this might with our pro-wolf documentary and our media initiative “Menschen für Wölfe” [“People pro Wolves”]. But we urgently need support for our work if we are to be able to counter these powerful lobbies. They have nearly unlimited funding – we don’t! … We need our Earth. It is our base, our home, and we can only conserve it if we eventually stop being the most destructive species on our planet.

The wolf returned to Germany on his own. He offers us a chance to turn around, because he is able to reverse damages we have inflicted on Nature. We must make the best of this opportunity. With your donation to our new Crowdfunding initiative,

www.gofundme.com/menschen-fur-wolfe,

you can help the wolf keep his home in Germany.

You can also support us via PayPal at PayPal.Me/menschenfuerwoelfe  

or by EFT, the details for which can be requested from menschenfuerwoelfe@pr-nanny.de

And: Every donator stands a chance of winning something!

Other News

National

Nothing to report

Next Door

Nothing to report

International

Nothing to report

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Wolf numbers in Yellowstone Park decline

by Mark Davis (mark@powelltribune.com)

A member of the Wapiti Lake Pack is silhouetted by a nearby hot spring in Yellowstone National Park last year. The park’s wolf population has declined in recent years.

The Grey wolf population in Yellowstone National Park has dropped to about 80 wolves, officials say — less than half of the high population mark in the park.

While Yellowstone leaders won’t have an accurate count until the fall after surviving pups are visible, the park’s top biologist doesn’t expect numbers to rise dramatically after litters are included in population estimates.

“Unfortunately, many of them die. Grey pup survival is about 7 percent,” Doug Smith, long-time project leader for the Wolf Restoration Project in Yellowstone, said in a Wednesday video broadcast on the park’s Facebook page.

“Eighty wolves is kind of a drop from what we had,” Smith said, noting that Yellowstone had as many as 174 wolves in the park back in 2003.

Numbers leveled off in 2008 at about 100 individuals in the park, but have since dropped; Smith largely blamed outbreaks of disease — including distemper, mange and the parvo virus — and packs moving out of the park for the decline.

Smith said the leading cause of natural mortality is wolves killing wolves.

“They’re ferociously territorial,” he said.

Wolves in the park have about an 80 percent chance surviving through a given year, Smith said, and the species typically only lives five to six years in the park’s wilderness. He said a 20 percent mortality rate is high, but typical of wolf ecology.

“They were built to endure mortality,” Smith said. “They have a high turnover rate; they deal with death.”

There are about 250 wolves still in the wild outside Yellowstone in Wyoming, according to Wyoming Game and Fish Department estimates.

Smith said his staff is working to avoid any unnecessary mortality to individuals in packs inside Yellowstone.

“The rules change when wolves leave the park,” he said. “The task of large carnivore biologists inside the park is preservation of the species. But once a wolf wanders beyond the invisible boundaries of the park, the treatment of wolves then changes to conservation.”

Wyoming’s second hunting season recently ended with hunters unable to fill a 58-wolf quota, even with an expanded season. Wolves that venture outside the north-western corner of the state are not counted toward population estimates and can be killed without limit year round. More than 80 wolves were killed by hunters last year between the north-western trophy zone and the so-called predator zone.

Approximately another 50 wolves were lethally removed by the Game and Fish and USDA Wildlife Services trappers in conflict management last year.

Smith suggested that only a few wolves from Yellowstone packs are killed in hunts near park boundaries, but he said the harvest of the wrong individual can upset pack dynamics. Yellowstone biologists are studying the effects of hunting in conjunction with other national parks — including Grand Teton and Denali. That’s part of an effort to preserve not just a secure population, but social structure.

“If you lose the wrong individual at the wrong time, it can destabilize the pack dynamics,” Smith said.

As he took questions on Facebook Live, Smith disputed complaints that the wrong wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone. Some take issue with the fact that the animals brought to the park were the subspecies Canis lupus occidentalis (the north-western or Canadian wolf) instead of Canis lupus irremotus (the northern Rocky Mountain wolf).

“A lot of people that don’t like [wolves] emphasize the word Canadian,” Smith said. “These wolves are a whiskers difference than the wolves that were here.”

Smith said all wolves can interbreed and there is very little geography that can isolate wolf subspecies, saying they should all be called “North American wolves.” He did say that wolves are smaller in the south than the north, and that the wolves reintroduced in Yellowstone were latitudinal different from wolves that previously lived in Wyoming. However, he said the difference wasn’t significant enough to make a difference.

Smith also defended the reintroduction and pointed to the species popularity with most visitors to the region.

“Wolves are one of the top attractions in Yellowstone,” he said. “And it’s one of the best places in the world to view wolves.”

Original article at

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 161

Wolf Pups Dream

by Jennifer Tissot

From within the warm, secure den, I watch Father, his coat thick and white as the snow under his paws, disappears into the deep woods beyond for the night’s hunt.

I whine in disappointment of not being able to hunt with them because I’m still young.

“Very soon,” begins my older brother sitting beside me, “you’ll be out there leading the pack just like him and mother.”

I know this is true but it seems so far away when I think about it.

My sister nuzzles me with her stout nose to play a game with her.

My brother is amused and tells me to not think of hunting, but to live and enjoy my precious moments as a pup.

“You’ll be a grown wolf soon enough,” he says.

Feeling a twitch of hope within my heart, I race after my sister and over the cold, powdery face of Mother Earth.

I tumble and roll within the flying flakes of Mother Earth’s hair so white and clean, knowing that I will someday be a leader, a hunter, and a father of a pack all my own.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary

by Erin

Nothing to report this month, but

Will be continued…