Volume 9, Issue 120, October 2014

SAFHOWL

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

Volume 9, Issue 120, October 2014

From the Editor’s Desk

This month’s news section is again dominated by atrocities against the wolves in the US, while the rest of the world stands by, blissfully ignorant of the crimes against nature that are committed there day in day out. The latest perversion is the (renewed) plans to sell out their wild wolves as live targets for a fun killing day. Do not be misled for a moment by the fact that SAFHOWL mostly compiles only the news relating to wolves; their dire situation is mirrored throughout the wildlife unlucky enough to be native to North America. Yet this country still insists to be the most developed and civilised. Delusional is the only term that comes to my mind! Read the news section for yourself and you will know what I mean.

We have an interesting snippet on how wolves resolve conflicts within their society. If only humans could learn from other forms of life, but no, people continue to think of themselves as the cherry on top of the evolutionary cake, ignoring for the largest part that inventing the wheel has done nothing to advance our species socially or helps to manage our resources in a responsible manner.

A wolf-dog tale and Erin’s update on her pack conclude this issue.

Till next month,
Ed.

News from the Wolf Front

National

Nothing new to report.

International

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

  1. USA: Stop the Federal Wolf Killers for Hire

Idaho’s war on wolves is about to take a new, gruesome turn.

The federal wildlife kill-for-hire agency misleadingly called “Wildlife Services” just received $225,000 from Idaho to aid the state’s ongoing wolf killing efforts.The money will help pay for aerial gunning, trapping and other lethal tactics.

Tell the Secretary of Agriculture, who oversees Wildlife Services, to direct that agency to stand down in helping Idaho persecute its wolves:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=vvzpLWgZvopNF7LtJzXvBQ

It’s no secret that Idaho has declared war on its wolf population. But few people realize just how far Idaho has gone in its effort to dramatically reduce that population.

At the end of 2013, it was estimated that less than 20 breeding pairs of wolves survived in the Idaho wild – and that number will almost surely decline if Idaho’s War on Wolves continues. Since 2009, the number of breeding pairs has declined by more than 60 percent. Based on these plummeting numbers, the future of Idaho’s wolves is increasingly grim.

What’s worse, Idaho has contracted with Wildlife Services to help kill wolves in order to boost Idaho’s elk population for sport hunters. They will no longer be able to excuse their wolf killing as protecting livestock – Wildlife Services will be killing wolves for trying to live off of their natural prey.

Stop the wolf carnage in Idaho – tell the Secretary of Agriculture to order his agency to stop helping Idaho with its reckless killing of wolves:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=LIaAR_C_hyP2AE48FPBUfQ

Wildlife Services is often indiscriminate with the wolves they kill. Just last week, shooters under contract with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife mistakenly killed the alpha female of the Huckleberry pack in Washington State, throwing that pack’s future into jeopardy.

It’s shameful that a federal agency within the Department of Agriculture has been allowed to contract with Idaho to help it decimate its population of wolves. Idaho’s anti-wolf rampage is out of control. The last thing the federal government should be doing is aiding and abetting in this slaughter.

Tell the Secretary of Agriculture to order Wildlife Services to immediately stand down in Idaho:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=Yq4fQp3A4hADh8nOYovrBg

Thank you for your passion and your commitment!

  1. USA: Idaho Wolf Crises: A new wave of killing

We feared this would happen: the crisis facing Idaho’s wolves has taken yet another dark turn.

The Idaho state government has just given $225,000 to the federal kill-for-hire agency, Wildlife Services, solely to dramatically accelerate the killing of wolves. The planned slaughter, which will almost certainly include aerial gunning, will be used to drastically drive wolf populations down to the bottom.

Idaho’s wolves can’t take much more of this.

Your urgent donation to Defenders of Wildlife will help us fight the killing and protect imperilled wildlife nationwide:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=bxLIWkF9U1UQaGbFQD-_Vw

It’s no secret that Idaho has declared war on its wolf population. But few people realize just how far Idaho has gone in its effort to dramatically reduce their population.

At the end of 2013, it was estimated that there were only 20 breeding pairs of wolves left in the Idaho wild – and that number will surely steeply decline if Idaho’s War on Wolves continues. Since 2009, the number of breeding pairs has declined by 60 percent. Based on these plummeting numbers, the future of Idaho’s wolves is increasingly grim.

But it gets worse – with Idaho’s nearly year-round hunting season that started on August 30th, even more wolves will die.

In the three years since Congress stripped Idaho’s wolves of federal protection, the state has:

  • Used aerial gunning to wipe out entire packs to artificially boost elk populations;
  • Doubled the number of wolves that could be trapped or snared; and
  • Enacted HB470 into law, setting aside an annual amount of $400,000 for the sole purpose of killing wolves.

Your urgent donation to Defenders of Wildlife will help us fight the killing and protect imperilled wildlife nationwide:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=5nrbOVQ_fKHqyW1WWp7H5w

The Governor of Idaho has made no secret of his intention to reduce the state’s wolf population down to 150 animals – which would require the additional killing of more than 450 wolves, including mothers and pups.

You and I are these wolves’ best hope for a future. Please help today:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=U0ckAZ2tUlDiKAz8Ns0Qvw

  1. USA: CORRECTION: This wolf may be doomed for extinction

There are fewer than 90 wild Mexican gray wolves left, making them the most endangered wolf in the world.

Despite this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has put forth a proposal that would effectively destroy the hope of saving these wolves from extinction.

Tell FWS to give Mexican grey wolves the help they need to survive:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=59W4IxLz5YYa6P1WjWdFhg

Currently, these wolves are only allowed to roam within the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area, a small region in Arizona and New Mexico. Any wolf that leaves this designated area to try and set up a new territory is trapped and moved back within the restricted boundaries. FWS’s proposal would give the wolves more room to roam but would still keep them out of the habitats they need to recover and thrive!

So what’s the problem?

Scientists working for FWS have told the agency that Mexican gray wolves will not be safe from extinction unless there are three separate populations that wolves are able to move between and at least 750 wolves total. While this proposal offers the remaining wolves a larger area to roam, FWS is ignoring the steps needed to recover the species as a whole – if passed, it will make establishing new wolf populations impossible.

Tell FWS that wolves need real help – not half-hearted measures that prevent recovery:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=w_k3ZoinTqZGuMQFKA8RHg

What’s worse, the proposal also includes provisions that make it easier to kill wolves. This is not the way to recover Mexican gray wolves!

Time is running out for these wolves. Without the release of new wolves, especially breeding pairs, and the establishment of new populations, Mexican gray wolves will slowly fade off the face of the Earth.

Please take a moment to tell FWS that you want to see Mexican gray wolves recovered:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ityMXUOBI5pu_K11GIY5Rg

Thank you for everything you do.

  1. USA: Red Wolves in trouble!

With fewer than 100 wild red wolves clinging to survival, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced that it will complete an evaluation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

But there are very serious problems with how they are proceeding:

  • This evaluation does not meet legal requirements that govern completion of status reviews for endangered species, including adequate public notice and opportunity to comment;
  • They’re giving the public less than two weeks notice about public meetings which have been scheduled in remote and hard to access  places; and,
  • FWS has publicly stated that terminating the Red Wolf Recovery Program is an option!

Tell FWS to give red wolves a fighting chance and do a thorough and fair evaluation:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=4SM59DSy2Jfjbg_vZhUjrg

Intentionally hidden amongst the distraction of Labor Day weekend, FWS announced the review via press release – not through the Federal Register, as required by law under the Endangered Species Act. They also announced that under a rushed timeframe, they’ve hired a third party contractor to conduct the review.

Demand that FWS take red wolf recovery seriously:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=_TzoqhZGmQK0_NsyNUgHZw

Red wolves once roamed across the south-eastern United States. Today, the last remaining wild population on Earth is making its last stand in the scrub forests of eastern North Carolina. With fewer than 100 left in the wild, they need all the help they can get.

FWS is under increased pressure from anti-wolf groups to walk away from recovery efforts – making it more important than ever to make our voices heard.

Tell FWS not give up on red wolf recovery:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=N7bnMMI1tsA116p8VZG4Tg

Thank you for everything you do.

  1. USA: Wyoming: Rage campaign launched by wolf haters

In Wyoming, the killing of wolves may be blocked, but the hatred is raging.

Despite our second court victory yesterday, reaffirming the court’s earlier decision last week restoring Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Wyoming wolves, the battles over wolf management in Wyoming are far from over.

Help us keep Wyoming’s wolves safe with your urgent donation to Defenders of Wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=wHmbuqFqnVFKvLdUVoCtaQ

After losing in court last week, the state of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went racing back to the same judge this week with new claims as to why Wyoming wolves should not be protected under the ESA. Even though they lost again, make no mistake, they will continue to fight tooth and nail to get wolves delisted in Wyoming – and we’ll be fighting back every step of the way.

If that’s not tough enough, you wouldn’t believe the hatred that’s been unleashed by wolf-haters in the past few days as a result of last week’s ruling.

Here’s just a sample of posts wolf-haters have written on social media:

“I love wolves there [sic] so fluffy and furry and look absolutely beautiful skinned out in front of a fire place…”
“Keep shooting them anyway!”
“There is a GOOD reason our forefathers eliminated them”
“Shoot, Shovel, Shut up!!”
“I’ll shoot em if I get a chance. Watcha gonna do about that? tell on me?”

The haters are showing their true colors. It’s a shocking reminder of what you and I are up against in our efforts to restore wolves to the wild!

Wyoming’s management plan would have allowed unlimited killing of wolves as vermin in a wolf predator zone covering 80 percent of the state – and hunting in the remainder.

Donate today to help us continue our all-out fight for wolves in Wyoming and across the Northern Rockies:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=kmWYCPx9JRZMT2Jv6whW7g

Defenders has been leading efforts to restore wolves to the Lower 48 for nearly two decades. We’ve made critical progress, but as this last explosion of hate attests, we still have our work cut out for us.

Thank you for being at our side as we pursue the fight for America’s wolves.

And thank you in advance for your generous help:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ckK-Ka6pOPetyy3qk7riTQ

  1. USA: Stop the Killing Derby in Idaho!

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now seriously considering allowing a five-year predator-killing derby on our public lands in Idaho.

If you care about wolves and other wildlife as much as I do, please help by telling the BLM that you do not support a free-for-all killing spree on our public lands:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=Z4OcYBtZhAG9-Jew0u5hfw

A “hunters’ rights” organization wants to hold this multi-year wolf and predator-killing derby on national public lands, including those being studied for designation as wilderness!

Turning wolf killing into a competitive sport is bad enough. But this proposed derby would also sweep many important species of predators and other wildlife in Idaho into its gun sights, rewarding the killing of wolves and others predators.

Last year’s wolf and coyote-killing derby, sponsored by this same group, included prizes for killing the most coyotes and killing the largest wolf. This is not hunting; this is simply mass-killing for fun based upon hatred and fear.

Tell the BLM to deny a five-year predator derby permit on public lands:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=g11tCuz2-SWFqMSI8jpiWw

The proposed event would take place every winter for five years when wolves and other wildlife are at their most vulnerable – out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.

Events like these are the same kinds of barbaric extermination-era tactics that drove wolves to the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 in the first place! This is not modern wildlife management, and it has no place in our society.

Please take just a moment to stand up for wolves and other predators in Idaho:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ZE9aNvvSYteLeUR9ma0tiA

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: SHOCKING: Will wolf-killing become a competitive sport?

Whoever kills the most wolves wins.

That’s the bottom line of a planned predator-killing competition in Idaho. Prizes would go to whoever kills the most wolves, coyotes and other predators.
To add insult to injury, this “kill fest” would take place on publicly-owned land, some of which is being considered for wilderness status!
If you care about wolves and other predators as much as I do, please help by sending an emergency donation to Defenders of Wildlife to protect wolves and other imperilled wildlife:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=TRPBGqZMni8zUTDNTNvMsQ

A “hunters’ rights” organization has formally requested permission to hold this despicable contest every year for the next five years.

The proposed event would take place every winter, when wolves and other wildlife are at their most vulnerable – out foraging for food in the snow and bitter cold.
This is not hunting; this is simply mass-killing for fun based upon hatred and fear.

Please support our campaign to stop this killing spree:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=7W-iQcbMXd5Txb9jyut1TA

With your help:

  • We’re fighting in Washington, D.C. to stop the proposed delisting of nearly all gray wolves in the Lower 48;
  • We’re on the ground in local communities to dispel ignorance and counter anti-wolf propaganda and to build political opposition to vicious anti-wolf bills;
  • And we’re working with ranchers, private landowners and others to continue to lead the effort to implement non-lethal strategies so that wolves and livestock can coexist.

Events like this competition are the kinds of barbaric extermination era tactics that drove wolves to the brink in the first place! This is not modern wildlife management, and it has no place in society.

Please make an emergency donation today:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=JPPuHfOWuOIUm4DOKAghiw

Thank you for all you do.

  1. USA: Why I never give up

You might wonder why, with all the bad wolf news coming from the Northern Rockies lately, I remain optimistic.
I remain optimistic, because not all the news is bad. In Wyoming, this would have been the end of the first week of the wolf hunting season. But thanks to your support, we went to court, and Wyoming’s wolves are back on the endangered species list – where they belong.
I remain optimistic, because not all states are dominated by wolf-haters. Just last week, the California Fish and Game Commission officially added gray wolves to the state endangered species list. That means the welcome mat is out for wolves in some great wolf habitat in the Lower 48!
I remain optimistic, because if you look at the big picture, we’re winning. Just 20 years ago the wolf population of the Northern Rockies was almost zero. Today, there are more than 1,600 wolves roaming the forests, mountains, and valleys of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. And while old hatreds and prejudices die hard, a new generation of Westerners, many of whom are wolf-lovers like you and me, is coming of age.
Most of all I remain optimistic, because of you. Supporters like you are the lifeblood of our work. It’s no exaggeration to say that without you, we wouldn’t be here.
Some things are worth saying as often as possible. Here’s one – Thank You.
We will never give up fighting for the wolves, and we are so proud to have you by our side.

From California Wolfcenter (californiawolfcenter@yahoogroups.com)

Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update

**Corrected Version**

September 1 – 30, 2014

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is issuing a corrected version of the Sept. 2014 Mexican wolf report as the report that was issued on Oct. 9, 2014 was from Sept. 2013. The department apologizes for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). 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 http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/ es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction 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 weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

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

At the end of September, the collared population consisted of 57 wolves with functional radio collars. There are currently 18 packs and 5 single wolves in the BRWRA. As of this report the IFT has documented 40 pups produced in the wild population.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, AM1341, m1330, m1331, f1333, f1339, f1340 and mp1382)

Pups associated with pack this year: 3

In September, the Bluestem Pack continued to use their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has observed the pack several times during the month of September and have documented eleven wolves in the Bluestem Pack.   Wolf f1332 has been located separate from the Bluestem Pack for three consecutive months and will now be considered a single wolf.

Elk Horn Pack (collared F1294)

Pups associated with pack this year: 3

In September, the IFT located AM1287 dead. The incident is under investigation. The IFT documented the production of 3 pups with the Elk Horn Pack. Following the loss of AM1287, the IFT established a supplemental food cache to assist AF1294 with rearing pups. AF1294 continues to be located within its traditional territory in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1038, AF1280 and mp1382)

Pups associated with pack this year: 3

During September, the Hawks Nest Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the ASNF. The IFT documented 3 pups with the Hawks Nest Pack during September. On September 1, mp1383 slipped its radio collar. The pup was recaptured and re-collared on September 16. On September 26, AM1038 was caught and its collar was replaced.

Hoodoo Pack (collared M1290)

In September, M1290 travelled between the northern portion of the FAIR and the north portion of the ASNF.

Rim Pack (collared AM1107 and F1305)

Pups associated with pack this year: 1

In September, the Rim Pack was located in the south-central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared AM1183, AF1291, f1335, mp1336, and m1342)

Pups associated with pack this year: 4

During September, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory both on the FAIR and ASNF.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared M1343 and AF1283)

During September, the Tsay o Ah Pack was located on the FAIR.

M1249 (collared)

Wolf M1249 was located on the FAIR throughout the month of September.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)

During September, the IFT located these wolves within their traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF.

Coronado Pack (collared AM1051 and AF1126)

Pups associated with pack this year: 4

Throughout September, the Coronado Pack was located within the Gila Wilderness.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923 and M1293)

Pups associated with pack this year: 5

Throughout September, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. On September 2, mp1354 slipped its radio collar; efforts to re-collar this pup have been unsuccessful.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, m1345 and mp1384)

Pups associated with pack this year: 4

During September, the IFT documented the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwest portion of the GNF. On September 2, the IFT captured and collared a wolf pup associated with the Fox Mountain Pack. The wolf was collared, designated mp1384 and released on sight.

Lava Pack (collared M1282 and F1295)

During September, the Lava Pack has remained separate from each other. Throughout September, M1282 has been located with its natal pack, the San Mateo Pack. F1295 has been located with, or in close proximity to, single M1285 in the Gila Wilderness throughout September.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, m1337, and M1284)

Pups associated with pack this year: 3

In September, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has initiated efforts to attempt to capture and collar uncollared wolves with the Luna Pack.

Prieto Pack (collared AM1387, AF1251 and mp1386)

Pups associated with pack this year: 3

Throughout September, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. On September 22, the IFT captured a male wolf; it was collared, designated mp1386 and released on site. On September 25, the IFT captured and adult male wolf; it was collared, designated AM1387 and released on site.

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296)

In September, the Mangas Pack utilized the area in the North-eastern Portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, and M1282)

Pups associated with pack this year: 1

In September, the IFT located AM1157, AF903 and M1282 from the Lava Pack in the San Mateo’s Pack traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. Wolf M1282 from the Lava Pack has returned to the San Mateo Pack and has been associated with the San Mateo Pack throughout September.

Willow Springs Pack (collared AM1185, AF1279, m1338 and mp1385)

Pups associated with pack this year: 5

In September, the Willow Springs Pack used their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. On September 5, the IFT trapped and collared a male pup; it was collared, designated mp1385 and released on site.

Iron Creek Pack (collared M1240 and F1278)

Pups associated with pack this year: 1

In September, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the Gila National Forest.

M1254 (collared)

In September, the IFT located M1254 in the north western part of the GNF. The Wolf has travelled between the north western portion of the GNF and the western portion of the GNF throughout September.

M1284 (collared)

Throughout September, M1284 was located with its natal pack, the Luna Pack.

M1285 (collared)

In September, M1285 was located with or in close proximity to F1295 within the Gila Wilderness.

M1286 (collared)

M1286 was not located for three consecutive months; the IFT now considers M1286 fate unknown.

f1332 (Collared)

f1332 is now considered a single wolf. Originally from the Bluestem Pack, it has been located separate from the Bluestem Pack for three consecutive months. Wolf f1332 has remained in Arizona and has travelled the south central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has documented this wolf travelling alone.

MORTALITIES

In September, AM1287 from the Elk Horn Pack was located dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation.

INCIDENTS

During September there were five livestock depredation reports and no nuisance reports in the BRWRA.

On September 1, Wildlife Services investigated one dead cow in New Mexico near the Mangitas Mountains. The investigation determined the cow was killed by wolves. The depredation was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On September 7, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves near Mexican Hay Lake in Arizona. The investigation determined the calves had been killed by wolves. The depredation was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On September 10, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow near Crosby Crossing in Arizona. The investigation determined the cow died from a broken back.

On September 26, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Arizona west of the town of Greer. The investigation determined the calf was killed by wolves. The depredation was assigned to uncollared wolves.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity to report

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On September 26, 27, and 28 a journalist from Arizona Highways Magazine, toured the BRWRA with members from the IFT.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

In September, Aron Smethurst concluded his internship with the USFWS. Thanks for all your hard work Aron!

In September, Becca Lyon concluded her internship with the USFWS. Thanks for all your hard work Becca!

In September, Alex Hanrahan concluded his internship with the USFWS. Thanks for all your hard work Alex!

In September, Carrie Kyle decided to extend her internship with the USFWS. Thanks for your continued dedication to the program Carrie!

In September, Gael Sanchez began her internship with the USFWS. Welcome to the program Gael.

In September, Dan Tomasetti began his internship with the USFWS. Welcome to the program Dan.

In September, Allison Greenleaf ended her career with AZGFD and started working with the USFWS contingent of the Mexican Wolf Project. Congratulations Allison!

REWARDS OFFERED

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

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

Other News

National

From SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary (sanwild@gnetmail4.co.za)

Christmas at Savannah Camp

R 1000 pppn if you book 4 to 8 guests for a min. of 4 nights or

R 1045 pppn if you book for 2 guests and a min. of 2 nights.

Rate includes:

All meals, special Christmas and New Year lunch, daily cleaning service, daily game drives, visits to wildlife rehab center and accommodation in thatched roof chalets with en-suite bathroom, small lounge, TV and use of an Espresso machine.

Terms and Conditions:

Offer only applicable from receipt of this mailer •

All prices are subject to availability •

Not applicable for groups of more than 10 •

No Commissions payable to booking agents•

Bookings over the Festive season must be booked and paid for in full 3 days after confirmation•

To book your spot email reservations@sanwild.org or contact 0834594913.

Reservations office: +27(0) 21-5594918

Non-Profit Organisation Number: NPO 011-266

Trust Number: IT 8147/00

Public Benefit Organisation Number: PBO 930 013 787

Next Door

Nothing to report

Wolves and Wolfdogs

Wolves are even more socially complex than we thought…

As a conservation scientist at Defenders of Wildlife, Dan Thornhill followed the latest scientific findings on wolves and other important wildlife species closely. Wolf science is a very active area of inquiry, and lately, there have been many studies coming out about wolves’ social structures and behavior. In this article he passes along one of the latest discoveries.

In order to survive in a dangerous and competitive world, wolves form cooperative groups known as packs. Members of a wolf pack hunt together, rear pups together, and compete against other wolf packs for food and territory. Cooperation benefits all members of a pack and improves their odds of survival.

Wolves naturally develop a hierarchy within their pack, with the most dominant wolves acting as – you guessed it – the “leader of the pack.” While wolves occasionally compete for the top spot in a pack, it is rare for sustained fights to occur within a pack. Until recently, researchers didn’t fully understand how wolves are able to resolve or eliminate inter-pack conflict, but a new study sheds light on this process. It turns out that wolves have elaborate ways of communicating that help to maintain hierarchy and reinforce relationships among pack mates. For instance, a subordinate wolf might spontaneously lie on its back with its tail tucked between its legs, exposing its stomach and throat to a more dominant wolf. This submissive behavior acknowledges the submissive–dominant relationship between the two individuals, thereby maintaining order and preventing violence among pack mates. This study underscores just how complex and intelligent wolves really are.

While these behaviors help to explain inter-pack dynamics and how submissive behavior can actually be a conflict deterrent in wolf packs, how are conflicts resolved once they occur?

To answer this question, researchers working in Yellowstone observed two packs of free-ranging wolves, the Druid Peak pack and the Blacktail Deer Plateau pack, from 2008 to 2009. The scientists monitored and recorded wolf behaviors following fights and compared these observations to the behaviors of wolves during times with no group conflict. What the researchers found was that after a fight, subordinate wolves would actually attempt to reconcile with their more dominant pack mates. Ever hear of “kiss and make up?” Immediately after a conflict, subordinate wolves will often touch noses and lick their more dominant pack mates. Researchers think that this nose touching behavior is a way of apologizing and asking for forgiveness. It’s their way to resolve a conflict, reduce tension within a group, show respect, and prevent further violence. The more heated the fight, the greater the number of friendly behaviors that followed, including nose touching, licking, body contact, greeting, inspecting, playing, and sniffing.

Why would subordinate wolves want to ‘make amends’ after a fight? It is probably due to the interdependence of the group. Subordinates benefit most by maintaining peaceful relationships with their more dominant pack mates – they need each other in order to survive. Resolving and diffusing the conflict helps to prevent further violence and keeps the group cohesive so that they can work together to hunt and defend territory. This research is yet another example of the remarkable intelligence of wolves, and their complex social structure.

Original source: Dan Thornhill at Facebook

Wolf Myths and Legends, Part 108

Wolf or Dog?

by MaukiWolf

The great, powerful creature ran through the woods, his heart beating fast. He was a strongly muscled canine. But what kind of canine? It was a mystery. He was enormous, that’s certain – thirty-eight inches tall at his shoulder, and weighing one-hundred and seventy pounds. He was built like your ordinary tundra gray wolf, but somehow he did not seem wolfish. His fur was similar in colour to a malamute’s, black and white, but it had silver and gray streaking through. His fur was wolf like enough. That wasn’t what made the creature un-wolf like. It was his eyes. True, they were large and rimmed in black, but the colour was not right somehow. No wolf had blue eyes. The creature’s irises were deep cerulean blue. He had inherited his blue eyes from his mother, who was 3/4 wolf and 1/4 malamute. His father had been an enormous black wolf, even larger than the blue-eyed creature. And presently, that blue-eyed creature fled, away from a terrible incident that had nearly cost him his life.

Because men, who had purchased him a while ago from an animal sanctuary, had recently decided to kill him for his luxurious pelt. This magnificent creature, a living, breathing animal, would have become a coat for some human. The wolf-dog stopped running, and looked back at the trail that his huge paws had worn. He had travelled for so long, and so far, and he decided to rest. Not to sleep. To simply rest. He shook himself back and forth to rid himself of the human scent, then sat. He listened to the quiet rustlings of the forest, his new home. Would he be able to hunt? Would he starve like the many wolf-dogs that humans dumped here? He did not know, nor did he contemplate over it. As he sat, a peculiar scent caught his nose. A scent that made the fur around his neck bristle. Despite his weariness, he trotted closer to the scent. A very odd feeling gripped him, and he could not stop himself. His massive shaggy head rose high, his long muzzle pointed up, and his deep, lilting voice cascaded out in a cloud of mist. Any hiker nearby who heard it would have heard what was undoubtedly a wolf. But no hikers heard it. Only a group of large gray dogs that were more than just dogs.

With silent golden eyes and pricked ears, they cocked their heads and loped towards the sound that called to them, in their own language, telling them to come. They came upon a large black, gray and silver animal, and sniffed it curiously. The animal, the wolf-dog, showed no signs of aggression. The wolf pack invited him closer, not discriminating against him because of his dog heritage. The wolves licked him and treated him as one of their own, and soon one wolf whined softly, asking him to run with them, to become their brother. The wolf-dog smiled a wolf smile, and spanked his forelegs on the ground playfully. The wolves ran, the wolf-dog somewhere among the crowd. He was no longer a dog. A wolf he had become.

This story is dedicated to Ramo, a very special friend of mine, who is 97% wolf and 3% Alaskan malamute. He is the wolf-dog in this story, and looks exactly as described. He will always be a symbol of the wolf to me.

Readers’ Contribution

A Wolfdog Diary, Part 99

By Erin

Early summer has arrived with very high temperatures at times, but unfortunately, rain is still an elusive visitor to our region. The grass is still very short and more brown than green, and there is an unbelievable amount of dust in the air, which drives me mad and makes cleaning the house sort of ongoing torture. If I have managed to remove the dust and sand from the furniture and the dry grass from the carpets after hours of work, it will be just two or three hours before I can see it collecting on all surfaces once more.

It’s amazing how time is flying – on Saturday, Athaba II will be one year old, and I cannot believe that it has been so many months since we picked him up at the tender age of 5 weeks. I still see this little fur bundle that fitted into two hands in front of my inner eye, and now he is taller than Taima, has almost reached Aqua’s shoulder height, and weighs about 40 kg. He is very (!) strong, although he is so slim in build that one will easily underestimate his strength. Kapu II, who is 7 weeks younger, is of a more sturdy build and therefore looks heavier and stronger than Athaba II, but he actually isn’t.

Athaba II still has his somewhat hyperactive temper, and we have to stop him from time to time from going completely overboard when playing with us. I also have to say, however, that when our German friends visited us a few days ago, he showed a much better behaved side of him than the last time.

Kapu II is more like Taima and still rather wary when it comes to people visiting. Taima will give them a sharp bark when they arrive and then usually disappear for the period of their presence, unless these people come here more often. Then she may come in from time to time to check on us or take a place outside the room we occupy with our guests, or, if we sit outside, at a safe distance to the veranda to keep an eye on the situation. Kapu II behaves very similarly, and although he doesn’t really disappear from the scene he also likes to keep a safe distance. He is more of the quiet type with a very gentle temper, but boy, can he get angry if something appears to be out of the ordinary to him. And although he is 7 weeks younger and was really tiny when he moved in with us because he came from a litter of 7 and had to fight his way through to his mother’s milk bar while Athaba II was a single cub with all the milk to himself, Kapu II has already overtaken Athaba in shoulder height. Both are a true delight to us.

… will be continued