Kathie Lynch: Yellowstone Park wolf news

About 40 wolves are on the Park’s northern range-

Yellowstone wolf news. June 2009.

Copyright by Kathie Lynch

The beautiful green hills of Lamar Valley brim with bison, and their cute little orange calves greet early summer wolf watchers in Yellowstone. However, the drop from 171 wolves in Yellowstone Park in December 2007, to only 124 as of December 2008, means that it is now much harder to find a wolf to watch.

By my calculations (and these are definitely not official counts), there are only about 41 wolves in the Northern Range. That number includes only adults, as follows: Druid Peak pack (14), Blacktail pack (7), Cottonwood pack (6), Everts Pack (6), Agate Creek pack (4), 471F’s Group (3) and miscellaneous–“Big Black” (1). The Quadrant Pack (4) may also still be in the area, but I have not heard of any sightings. The Slough Creek, Leopold and Oxbow packs essentially no longer exist, although a few individuals may still be around. Other packs in Yellowstone’s interior include the Canyon pack (4), Mollie’s, Gibbon, Bechler, and Yellowstone Delta. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fencing, Bright Lights and Loud Noises Keep Wolves at Bay

314 livestock were lost to wolves last year. Between 5000 and 10,000 head lost to other predators-

This feature ran on a number of radio stations.

Non lethal management of wolves, which keeps both wolves and livestock alive is feasible.

However, most livestock operators are not like Mike Stevens (see in story) because the U.S. government will kill the wolves for free for you and it looks like Idaho is about to get a million dollar slush fund to compensate operators for animals that were or might have been killed by wolves — a pretty strong incentive to conduct livestock business as usual.

. . . and In Wyoming, if a wolf kills your lamb or cow calf, steer, etc. you get compensated seven times its value! That is one royal payoff.

Rethinking Mountain Pine Beetles: Wuerthner testifies to Congress

A forest displaying beetle effects in Colorado

A forest displaying beetle effects in Colorado

So many of us have seen the effects of Mountain Pine Beetles on forest we’ve visited here in the west ~ up close we see dead or dying trees and from afar perhaps a red and gray hue from within a forest canopy.

Mostly, we’ve come to learn via media accounts, the words and tones of managers – even conservationists – that Pine Beetles are “negative”, that they’re a “threat” to “healthy” forests.

Testimony of George Wuerthner June 19, 2009 Joint Oversight Hearing on “Mountain Pine Beetle: Strategies for Protecting the West”:

PEJORATIVE WORDS
Let me start my testimony by suggesting that many of the phrases and words used to describe natural ecological processes like episodic pine beetle events and wildfire are pejorative in tone. We heard a lot of people testifying in this hearing that pine beetles were destroying the forests and/or wildfires were catastrophic and so forth. From the perspective of human values, these words might resonate—certainly if a wildfire burns down someone’s home, it is a devastating experience. However, it is less clear that these terms are appropriate in describing natural ecological events like pine beetle events or large blazes. (See my comments on this in Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy or Rocca and Romme (2009).

Read the rest of this entry »

Court-ordered Settlement Restores Endangered Species Act Protections to Great Lakes Wolves

How will this affect the wolves of the Northern Rockies? RM

Press Release.
Humane Society of the United States
Center for Biological Diversity

Court-ordered Settlement Restores Endangered Species Act Protections to Great Lakes Wolves

– – – – – – –

Update:
Great Lakes wolves returning to endangered list
By JOHN FLESHER
Associated Press

Update, July 1, 2009
Statement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Service Will Provide Additional Opportunity for Public Comment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the Service’s 2009 rule removing Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes. Under the terms of the agreement, which must still be approved by the court, the Service will provide an additional opportunity for public comment on the rule to ensure compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

Gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area have exceeded recovery goals and continue to thrive under state management. However, the Service agrees with plaintiffs that additional public review and comment was required under federal law prior to making that final decision.

Upon acceptance of this agreement by the court, and while the Service gathers additional public comment, gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes area will again be protected under the Endangered Species Act. All restrictions and requirements in place under the Act prior to the delisting will be reinstated. In Minnesota, gray wolves will be considered threatened; elsewhere in the region, gray wolves will be designated as endangered. The Service will continue to work with states and tribes to address wolf management issues while Western Great Lakes gray wolves remain under the protection of the Act.

This settlement agreement does not affect the status of gray wolves in other parts of the United States.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Wolverines on the move.

Colorado and Washington State see wolverines in new places.

In recent years wolverines have been seen in places where they were not expected. Is this because people are looking for them or are they expanding their range? One wolverine in an isolated location does not mean that there is a sustainable population. There have been reports of radio tagged wolverines which have travelled very long distances across what would seem to be unsuitable habitat.

Recall the wolverine sighted in California on two occasions.

Here are two recent stories about wolverines in Washington State and Colorado.

Wolverine caught on camera on Mount Adams
Seattle Times

After 90 Years, the Wolverine (Just One) Returns to Colorado
New York Times

Men hound-hunting black bear near Island Park run into a Grizzly with cubs

Bear bites back

Grizzly feeding on elk.  © Ken Cole

Grizzly feeding on elk. © Ken Cole

News Release – 6/28/09
Idaho Department of Fish and Game 

Three eastern Idaho bear hunters got an unpleasant surprise Sunday morning, June 28, when their hounds surrounded a female grizzly with cubs.

The bear took after the hunters, knocked one man down, bit him on the right arm and tossed him around.

The names of the three men haven’t been released.  All are from the Idaho Falls area and two are brothers.  The victim was transported to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg. He suffered lacerations to his right arm but no other apparent injuries.

Idaho Fish and Game officials are in the area looking for the bear. But they warn area residents, other hunters and anyone in the backcountry that the bear may be wounded and dangerous.

The three men were hunting black bears with hounds about 6 a.m. Sunday, on Bishop Mountain near Harriman State Park.

They released their hounds on a scent, and the dogs soon surrounded what the men thought was a black bear. When the men arrived they quickly realized they had a grizzly.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Losing Sagebrush

The Button Valley Bugle writes a nice piece about the sage-steppe ecosystem.  It also includes a remarkable photo of Prairie Wind Farm which illustrates the conundrum concerning new energy but continued habitat degradation/fragmentation.  Check it out :

Sagebrush RebellionThe Button Valley Bugle

We have lost over half of our sagebrush ecosystems and yet, we continue to find new ways to threaten sagebrush habitats. Coal, gas and oil development across the western states threatens, fragments and endangers the “sagebrush sea” and now we plan large wind farms and solar developments that will present even more problems for these same habitats.

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