Gray wolf found shot dead in NE Oregon

This news release is from the USFWS.

It will probably be the Oregon papers tomorrow.

GRAY WOLF FOUND DEAD IN UNION COUNTY, OREGON

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the discovery of a dead gray wolf in Union County, Oregon. The animal had been shot, and was recovered on May 25, 2007, from a forested area north of Elgin.

The carcass was badly decomposed when first discovered, making initial identification of the animal nearly impossible. Testing has confirmed that the animal was a mature female wolf, genetically related to the wolf population in Idaho, and that it died from a gunshot wound. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents are requesting that anyone who may have information regarding the death of this or any other wolf contact them immediately at 503-682-6131.

This is the fourth confirmed wolf to have been found in the state. In March 1999, a radio-collared female was captured near John Day and returned to Idaho. In 2000, a collared wolf was found dead along Interstate 84 south of Baker City, and a wolf without a radio collar was found shot between Ukiah and Pendleton. All three animals were confirmed to have been migrants from Idaho.

“It’s important for people to be thinking about the possibility of wolves in their area and to understand how to respond,” said Russ Morgan, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf coordinator in Northeast Oregon. “It is illegal to shoot a wolf, even one mistaken for another animal. Hunters in particular need to identify their target before shooting because wolves can look similar to coyotes.”

Hunters, livestock producers and others can visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/ for more information on how to identify wolves and respond to encounters including predation.

Any gray wolf which shows up in Oregon is listed as an endangered species under both state and federal law. Killing an animal protected under the federal Endangered Species Act is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000, one year in jail, or both. Killing a wolf is also a violation of Oregon state game law, with fines and penalties that are assessed by the court. In the unlikely event that a wolf attacks a human, any person may use lethal force to prevent or stop the attack. Such an incident must be reported to the Fish and Wildlife Service, at 541-786-3282, or 541-962-8584; or ODFW at 541-963-2138, within 24 hours. The wolf carcass must not be disturbed.

Individuals who see a wolf, or suspect or discover wolf activity are asked to contact one of the following immediately:

* Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Wolf Coordinator Russ Morgan in La Grande: 541-963-2138

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf Coordinator John Stephenson in Bend: office, 541-312-6429; cell, 541-786-3282.

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service La Grande Field Office: 541-962-8584.

Experts have long predicted that wolves from the expanding Idaho population would continue to cross the Snake River and enter Oregon. Breeding pairs and packs could also become established.

Although the Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species in the Northern Rockies, including part of Oregon, the wolf will remain federally listed until that process is complete. The proposal is open to public comment until August 6, 2007, after which comments will be considered carefully and more procedural steps will be completed before a decision is made. Information on the proposal can be found at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/

Oregon has a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, created with extensive, state-wide public input and collaboration, which was adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2005. More information on wolves and wolf management in Oregon is available on the website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/

Update July 13. Here’s the story in the Oregonian. By Michael Milstein. It adds little new information, except that it wasn’t the wolf that has been videoed in the area.

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Wyoming could start killing wolves in early 2008

“Wyoming could start killing wolves that harm or harass wildlife in early 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday.” Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

Can you believe that, the US Fish and Wildfire Service is going to let Wyoming kill wolves for eating elk? Most likely on the state’s disease-ridden elk feedlots which are maintained despite so that the ranchers don’t have to share any winter range with wildlife while they collect their fat subsidy checks.

There will be one hearing on this in Wyoming. It is in Cody July 17. During the last public hearing in Cody, those who rejected this wolf delisting plan were harassed and shouted down by some in the audience. The hearing officer closed the hearing because of the lack of order. Local politicians threatened and harassed her until she opened it up again.

Why isn’t there at least a hearing in Jackson, Wyoming? That’s where the killing will be. I guess that’s a rhetorical question — they couldn’t put together a room full of ignorant thugs and welfare ranchers there.

Here is the rest of the story in the Guide.

Here is the info on the upcoming Cody hearing:

Tuesday, July 17th in Cody, Wyoming (12:30 – 8:30 pm) at the Cody Auditorium, 1240 Beck Ave. There are two hearings the same day in Cody. The first hearing, immediately following the informational Open House held from 12:30-1:30 p.m, is from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. and concerns the proposal to modify the 10(j) rule in the region. The second hearing is regarding delisting in the region under Wyoming’s wolf control plan. A second Open House will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. followed by the hearing at 5:30 – 8:30 pm. This is the only hearing scheduled in the region pertaining to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting proposal.

Could they have made this any more complicated?

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Wolf Tug-of-War in the Southwest

In case folks haven’t picked up on what Mary is posting about, it’s about the removal (gov’t killing of Mexican wolf) of wolf AF924k. She was thought by many in the locality to be an especially dangerous wolf. Wolf supporters thought her to be an especially valuable wolf because of her good genetics and the fact that she had wild born pups. Wolf supporters have been saying for some time that local livestock growers don’t clean up the carcasses of dead livestock.

See here are some stories on this controversy.

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Wolf Tug-of-War in the Southwest

Jess Edberg, Information Services Director — International Wolf Center, 07/10/2007

Conflict between livestock producers and the reintroduced Mexican wolf population has remained steady since the first release of captive-reared wolves in 1998.

Emotions are running high in Catron County, New Mexico, after the lethal removal of a female Mexican wolf that had been seen near a family ranch. Wolf AF924 was released in the county on April 25 after being relocated due to depredation.

Wolf AF924, of the Durango pack, killed two cows previous to being released in Catron County. She was involved in a third depredation of a cow and calf that occurred late last month within the Durango pack territory. This recent depredation incident is the third strike against her.

In accordance with the rules of the 1998 program to reintroduce endangered Mexican wolves to Arizona and New Mexico, a wolf with three depredations on its record within one year must be removed permanently from the wild by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Removal can be in the form of removing the wolf from the wild and placing it in captivity or by lethal control—killing the wolf.

The removal of AF924 came as a relief to many residents in the Durango pack area. Previous to the current depredation investigation, residents in the area had appealed to the county for action against the wolf. They stated that AF924 was a threat to human safety, requiring fearful residents to arm themselves with pistols as they walked to the mailbox or ventured into their yard. A psychiatrist also diagnosed a teenage girl with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the presence of AF924 on her family’s ranch.

Catron County commissioners took immediate action and filed a notice with the USFWS that county officials would trap AF924 themselves and turn her over to the USFWS for removal.

The USFWS responded to the county with a letter stating that although the agency understood the presence of this wolf might be disconcerting, there was no evidence that AF924 was an imminent danger to humans and, therefore, there was no reason to remove her. The USFWS also reminded the commissioners that a county ordinance does not supersede the federal Endangered Species Act.

With the recent depredation, however, the USFWS took action with a lethal removal order on July 3. AF924’s mate, AM973, is also implicated in the livestock kill, but this would be the first strike against him. AF924 was shot and killed by USFWS agents on July 5.

This depredation incident comes on the heels of a failed attempt by Representative Steve Pearce (R-NM) to get the House to approve two amendments targeted at restricting the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. Representative Pearce argued that the program has failed primarily due to depredation.

Conflict between livestock producers and the reintroduced Mexican wolf population has remained steady since the first release of captive-reared wolves in 1998.

However, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful, expressed dismay at the USFWS policy to lethally remove depredating wolves.

“I strongly support the effective recovery of endangered Mexican wolves in the Southwest, done in a responsible and sensitive way,” said Governor Richardson “Changes must be made to the protocol for the wolf reintroduction program.”

The USFWS did not comment on Governor Richardson’s statement but did comment on the removal of AF924 in a previous meeting.

Elizabeth Slown, public affairs specialist for the USFWS, told the media that they want to take care of AF924’s pups and her mate AM974.

“We want the male to take over the care of the pups,” Slown said. “That’s why we didn’t set traps [to remove AF924]. We didn’t want to chance catching the male and causing too much stress on the pack.”

USFWS plans to supplement AF924’s pups and her mate AM974 with road-killed elk.

For more details on the removal of AF924, see the monthly report available later this month at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/BRWRP_notes.cfm

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Sinapu has a story too.

Wildlife officials in N.M. shoot wolf after her third cattle kill

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Story in the El Defensor Chieftain. Tuesday, July 3, 2007 (local newspaper)
[Rep] Pearce’s amendment to end wolf program is defeated. The local congressman tried to get the Mexican wolf program ended.

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A lot of scientists were very unhappy about the termination of this wolf.

Hundreds of Scientists Warned Against Wolf Killing Before Feds Shot New Mexico Wolf. Governor Richardson’s Demand for Reform Echoes Scientists.’ News release in Common Dreams

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