U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes another 2006 wolf pop. estimate

This is the second wolf population estimate this year. The official final figures will be released about next March or April 2006.

The estimate is for wolves in the 3-state Northern Rockies “experimental, non-essential” wolf population area. That means Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park is mostly in Wyoming, but part is in Montana and a very small portion inside Idaho.

Here are statistics Ed Bangs, Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator for USFWS just released.

Data presented at our 2006 interagency annual meeting on Nov. 28/29 suggested that the wolf population, livestock loss, and lethal wolf control statistics were higher in 2006 than in 2005. We estimate the 2006 MT, ID, WY wolf population will be around 1,264 wolves in +163 groups of 2 or more animals, and +86 of those will probably be classified as breeding pairs [adult male and female raising at least 2 pups until Dec 31]. Livestock losses until late Nov. 2006 were 170 cattle, 344 sheep, 8 dogs, 1 horse, 1 mule, and 2 llamas. Lethal control removed 152 wolves.
No wolves were confirmed living in other NW US states.
Estimates for MT were 300 wolves in 59 packs, and 25 breeding pairs- 35 cattle, 133 sheep, 4 dogs [2 guard 2 pet], 2 llamas confirmed killed by wolves and 47 wolves removed.
In ID there are about 650 wolves in +70 packs, and + 36 breeding pairs- 24 cattle, 173 sheep, and 4 dogs [3 hounds, 1 guard] were confirmed killed and 61 wolves were removed.
In WY [including YNP at 140 wolves, 14 packs, 12 are breeding pairs] there are around 314 wolves in 34 packs and 25 of those will probably be breeding pairs- 111 cattle, 38 sheep, 1 horse and 1 mule were confirmed killed by wolves and as a result 44 wolves were killed in control actions.
More intensive radio-tracking flights, additional investigations and incidents, and analysis of data in December will improve the final estimates that will appear in the 2006 annual report.

Note that the boldfacing above is mine, not Bangs.

Notice that the cattle loss rate/per wolf is the lowest in Idaho and highest in Wyoming. The wolf “control” (killing) rate is lower in Idaho than Montana and Wyoming (the latter two being about the same). However, this is distorted by Yellowstone Park (no livestock, no control killing) which means that the actual wolf control rate and livestock depredation rate is higher in Wyoming than in Montana or Idaho.

Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns

The excerpt below is from the report, dramatic data on the toll cattle are having on our climate and our future. . .

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.

And it accounts for respectively 37 per cent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 per cent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

Read the full news release

Western ski areas get their annual environmental quality/damage rating

Every year Ski Area Citizens rates the Western ski areas.

This year the very best one was a tie between Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk, both in Colorado. The very worst was also in Colorado–Breakenridge, followed closely by Copper Mountain.

For the compete rundown 

Posted in public lands, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Western ski areas get their annual environmental quality/damage rating

What’s everyone’s favorite wilderness or roadless area?

So, this is an opportunity to discuss them, share information, and learn something. Visiting these areas has been a big part of my life. At one time I hoped to visit every last one of them in Idaho, where I live. Because Idaho has more unprotected roadless area than any other state, my goal, happily proved infeasible.By the way, currently at his blog, Mike is featuring the Crazy Mountains (unprotected) roadless area in Montana.

http://www.wilderness-sportsman.com/wsblog/?p=227

Just added because folks are talking a lot about the Dunoir

bonnpass-pond3-1.jpg
This pond is on top of Bonneville Pass (elev 9923′). The pass is a broad, beautiful swale between the Continental Divide to its north and the Pinnacle Buttes (in the photo) to the south. Just past this pond the trail abruptly drops 1000 feet to Dundee Meadows. The Continental Divide is the southern boundary of the Teton Wilderness (and further east, the Washakie Wilderness). All the country in this photo and much more (I think about 50,000 acres) is called The Dunoir Special Management Unit. It should be added to the Washakie Wilderness. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

bonnpass-sign.jpg
A great sign on the trail just as it starts to drop down to Dundee Meadows.
Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

dunoirbutte-cliffs1.jpg
Dunoir Butte (the Continental Divide). Copyright Ralph Maughan

Requirement of guides has reduced snowmobile stress on Yellowstone wildlife

A technical document, part of the current draft environmental impact statement on Yellowstone snowmobile use tells that the requirement that snowmobilers have guides has reduced, but not eliminated, the stress snowmobiles create on the wintering wildlife.

Bald Eagles are the species that show the most stress, followed by elk and coyotes. While the grooming of roads affects bison, especially those bison deep the in the Park, the bison was the animal that showed the lowest stress response of those studied.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Corey Hatch.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Requirement of guides has reduced snowmobile stress on Yellowstone wildlife