Latest federal wolf update, July 20-24, 2009

Officials news for Wyoming and other areas, excluding Idaho and Montana-

The USFWS in Helena continues to put out the wolf news for all of Wyoming and other Western States, except Idaho and Montana where wolves are delisted, and the Mexican wolf recovery area. This means wolf news in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Utah, etc. is covered.

Here is the latest, and there is good news from Oregon, Washington and Yellowstone Park. Ralph Maughan

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WYOMING WOLF PROGRAM

WEEKLY REPORT

To:                   Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado

From:               USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

Date:                July 20 through July 24, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.

Annual Reports

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .

Delisting Litigation Status

On June 2, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Missoula (9th Circuit) by a coalition of 13 environmental and animals rights groups. Another separate lawsuit challenging the USFWS delisting criteria was filed shortly after in the 9th Circuit by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.  While the two groups have their own attorneys, both those cases have now been consolidated in the Missoula District Court under Judge Molloy.  Their complaint alleges the NRM wolf population is not recovered and that the delisting violates the federal Endangered Species Act for many legal reasons, including delisting can not occur without an adequate Wyoming regulatory framework in place, which is not currently the case.  A request for a preliminary injunction has not been filed at this time.  In addition, the State of Wyoming, Park County, and the Wyoming Wolf Coalition filed lawsuits in the 10th Circuit District Court (Cheyenne, Wyoming) challenging USFWS’s rejection of Wyoming’s regulatory framework and the Wyoming state wolf management plan.  Those three cases have been consolidated in the Wyoming court.

Monitoring

USFWS trapping efforts ended east of Dubois, WY due to potential conflicts with summer recreation activities on back-country roads where trapping was attempted. Two bobcats were trapped and released onsite. One large male wolf pup was caught and fitted with a padded radio collar. Trapping efforts may resume later this summer, before big game hunting season.

W.S. and USFWS crew trapped 2 wolves in the Sweetwater Pack, south of Lander, WY. One male wolf was fitted with a VHF collar. A female wolf, that had previously been radio collared in YNP, was released on site.

Summer monitoring of Yellowstone wolves is focusing on reproduction and summer predation at this time. Pup production appears typical of non-disease years, with no evidence of significant pup or adult mortality patterns as in previous disease years. Wolves are beginning to move to higher elevations typical of summer patterns that mirror ungulate movements to higher elevations presumably following greenwave patterns. Spring and summer precipitation and temperature patterns are producing some of the greenist landscapes this far into the Yellowstone’s summer as has been seen in well over a decade. Bull and cow/calf elk groups are appear abundant at higher elevations in many wolf pack territories, and field observations indicate robust calf production and survival so far. Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho’s calls of the wild help improve ‘howlbox’

Research into wolf howl boxes advancing but I doubt it will reduce collaring of wolves for the benefit of livestock interests.
Idaho’s calls of the wild help improve ‘howlbox’
BY JOE JASZEWSKI – Idaho Statesman

Idaho Fish and Game Postpones Public Hearings on Wolf Hunting Quotas

The Idaho Fish and Game held it’s recent Commission meeting in McCall over the last two days but failed to take up one item on its agenda. The Commission did not discuss wolf hunting even though they are likely to start hunting wolves starting September 1st. They plan to take up the subject at their August 17th meeting which is just days before wolf hunting would start. This gives very little time to contemplate any proposed rules and is widely viewed as a way to avoid an injunction on the pending court case against delisting.

Horse Debate Misses the Point.

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Ted Williams, a writer for Fly Rod and Reel Magazine and Audubon has written a piece attacking wild horse advocates and politicians who supported H.R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act.

I think it misses the point. I think that an opportunity to do something about livestock damage was missed and the bill will ultimately result in great ecological damage. For whatever reason language to proportionately reduce livestock grazing in horse areas was not included in the bill that passed the House but has no counterpart in the Senate.

I think that everyone knows that high use by non-native horses, invasive livestock, and even native ungulates such as elk is damaging ecologically. That is not my debate with the author. I think that the debate rests in proportionality. Livestock damage is several orders of magnitude higher than horse damage even though there needs to be serious reductions in both populations.

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses.  There are many more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses. There are far more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

In an exchange between Williams and myself he states this: “Unlike horses, cows can be managed, moved, brought in in the winter, and they’re a business”. In essence he seems to justifying the damage they cause for these reasons but I don’t see that they are being managed in such a way to benefit anything other than the pocket book of the rancher.

I go on to respond “we need to be talking about proportion since cattle cause 1000 more times damage to the lands, water, wildlife, vegetation and fisheries. By all rights you should be writing about 1000 times more articles about that damage. I don’t think this issue should be ignored but it certainly needs to be put into proportion.”

One of 239 Ecological Illiterates in the U.S. House
Ted Williams for Fly Rod and Reel.