Eight wolves killed in SW Wyoming because of the death of just one lamb

Two adult wolves and six pups killed by Wildlife Services in an area with just one confirmed wolf depredation, a mere lamb-

The state of Wyoming wants to confine wolves to 13% of the state, and Judge Molloy struck that plan down back in 2008.  Currently under federal wolf management wolves are allowed to inhabit anywhere in Wyoming under federal protection, dependent of course on their behavior.

It seems the wolves have to be very well behaved because in an area northwest of Kemmerer, USFWS told Wildlife Services to kill a lone adult male wolf and a female and all of her pups because one lamb had been confirmed killed by wolves. Other dead sheep (number not released) were found dead in the general area but the cause could not be determined.

Here are some thoughts (1) that is a lot of dead wolves to compensate for a dead lamb, (2) the federal government seems to be carrying out Wyoming’s illegal wolf plan but  in a de facto way, (3) this is an ideal way to make sure wolves never get to Colorado, northern Utah or southeast Idaho.

The story is in the official latest Wyoming weekly wolf report of June 25, 2010. I converted the Microsoft Word report to a pdf file and put emphasis (boldface) to the relevant parts of the story.

wyomingnews-June25-2010

112 Responses to “Eight wolves killed in SW Wyoming because of the death of just one lamb”

  1. jon Says:

    Absolutely disgusting.

  2. Taz Alago Says:

    There’s a lot of hope that Malloy will re-list, but if this is the way Bangs will administer the fed program, it won’t amount to much of a victory.

  3. Save bears Says:

    Re-listing will not change anything, Wild life services will still kill wolves with no fear of reprisal..

  4. Cody Coyote Says:

    Ralph, I am of the 3rd generation born and raised in Cody Wyoming ( the greatgrandfolks immigrated here from central Montana ) . I spend entirely too much time apologizing to folks in the outside world for the transgressions and medieval behavior of my beloved state of Wyoming. It seems to be getting worse, not better, especially towards wildlife . Or perhaps I’m just getting more cynical with age , maybe the effects of taking too many direct lightning strikes for being an outspoken wolf advocate in Cody .

    Wyoming’s management philosophy of keeping both wolves and grizzlies contained behind an imaginary zoo fence, and eradicating any of those apex predators when they disperse out to the rest of the natural world on their own , naturally, is Just…Plain…Wrong.

    As an aside, It isn’t widely stated but when human caused mortality of Grizzlies are tabulated, those bears that Wyo G&F put down outside the Primary Conservation Area do NOT count against the mortality quota. It’s no coincidence that the Wolf trophy zone is the same as the Grizzly PCA. Further, wolves have no value whatsoever to Wyoming Game and Fish , the Stockgrowers, the hunting lobby et ux . They would eliminate the buffer ‘trophy’ protection zone around Yellowstone and push the Shoot On sight predator zone right to Yellowstone’s gates and equally imaginary boundary lines.

    I long ago gave up being disgusted with Ed Bangs and USF&WS kowotowing to the whims of Wyoming’s rancher hegemony. It’s a slow motion range war.

    Wyoming: what a country . 500,000 against the world.

    • wwy Says:

      Cody
      “As an aside, It isn’t widely stated but when human caused mortality of Grizzlies are tabulated, those bears that Wyo G&F put down outside the Primary Conservation Area do NOT count against the mortality quota. It’s no coincidence that the Wolf trophy zone is the same as the Grizzly PCA. ”

      You are absolutely false in this statement. All known and probable grizzly mortalities count against the mortality threshold under the Conservation Strategy and the Grizzly Bear Management Guidlines regardless of where they occur in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. You are spreading false information. Secondly, Wyoming’s Wolf Trophy Game area is not the same as the Recovery Area or PCA for bears. Large portions included in the Wolf Trophy Game area are nowhere near the PCA or RZ for bears. I don’t know what your point is but all your supporting information is absolutely false. Seeing as you have a computer you may want to visit the FWS site to read current management plans.

  5. Marc Cooke Says:

    Taz, I am afraid we are going to win the battle but lose the war

  6. jon Says:

    “If the wolf is to survive, the wolf haters must
    be outnumbered. They must be outshouted, out financed, and out voted.
    Their narrow and biased attitude must be outweighed by an attitude based
    on an understanding of natural processes.” -L. David Mech

    • Save bears Says:

      Given the current population make up in the states with wolves, I think you are going have a tough time outnumbering them and they power, I am not optimistic at this time, in the future perhaps and population segments change, I fully respect Mech, but I don’t see it happening that quick…

    • jon Says:

      That is why we are taking “them” to court. It is sad that hatred for wolves continues to this day, but states like Idaho and Montana and Wyoming have proven they are not capable of managing wolves.

    • Save bears Says:

      Taking “Them” to court, has no effect on the real killing machines, which is wildlife services, this lawsuit will not affect them at all, as long as the 10(j) remains in effect, you could take all of the guns away from people in the states that currently have wolves and you ain’t going to really affect anything…the focus is in the wrong place, win the battle, but until something changes, the war is lost!

    • jon Says:

      That’s true, but atleast we can spare the lives of hundreds of wolves killed by sport hunters. Such sad times we live in when we constantly have to fight our battles thru the court systems because states have proven they are incapable of managing wolves.

    • JB Says:

      SB:

      You’ve just made a very succinct argument for continued federal protection. If (a) majority public opinion has turned against wolves in these states, and (b) state agencies manage resources based upon what their citizens desire, then federal protections would seem to be a necessary component to the continued success of these populations, would it not?

      Personally, I would like to see management authority turned over to the states, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot with all of the silly, anti-wolf rhetoric.

    • Save bears Says:

      JB,

      Getting them re-listed will not affect wildlife services…they still have the 10(j) behind them in the majority of the affected areas! It amazes me, that the organizations, have not focused their efforts on getting 10(j) overturn, that is the real threat, not the hunters…

      Keep them listed, for what little good it will do, as long as 10(j) stands, wolves will continue to be killed in mass numbers…a hunter can kill one, wildlife services can kill 8 or as many as they want in one swoop…

    • Brian Ertz Says:

      (1). the 10(j) rule revision is currently being litigated in MT as well. However, with delisting, that litigation is moot – we have to win the delisting litigation to make 10(j) ripe for contest again – and if that happens, I’m pretty certain we’ll be pushing to expedite that litigation.

      (2) Wildlife Services in Idaho is arguable operating without aquequate NEPA coverage. That is being litigated in Idaho as well.

      we’re still pushing – still getting things done. But Wildlife Services needs more political heat in congress.

    • JB Says:

      SB:

      10(j) is only applicable to a listed species; therefore, right now, it is only in place in Wyoming. Regardless of 10(j), my point was that your assertion that attitudes are extremely negative among important stakeholders suggests that there is a clear and substantial threat to wolves in the northern Rockies without the protection of the ESA. As I’ve said many times, I agree with you regarding the hunting of wolves.

    • Save bears Says:

      There either needs to be a new lawsuit filed in Wyoming over 10(j), come on folks, the wolves are still listed in Wyoming, if you can get a favorable ruling in Wyoming, then you have set precedence…and have a leg to stand on if they are re-listed by Molloy..Montana was the wrong venue to file the 10(j) lawsuit….

      I know there are a lot of people that think that Molloy will re-list, but from what I am hearing on both sides, I seriously have my doubts..but if he does, then again, the 10(j) comes back into the equation, but you need to hit where the 10(j) is currently in effect…

      I am only saying this based on my experience working for an agency, and understanding where the vulnerability is…

    • Brian Ertz Says:

      litigate in Wyoming ?! 😦

  7. Taz Alago Says:

    Washington and Oregon have different demographics than Wyo, Mont. and Idaho, so we may see a different attitude developing in the NW. That is, if we can keep our few wolves alive…

    • Save bears Says:

      Taz,

      The power base in WA and OR, have no different attitude than in WY, ID and MT.

      Didn’t you read the request of the OR Livestock Association that was posted here the other day!! The wolves don’t live in Western WA and OR, they are in the heart of cattle ranching country in those two states, and the ranchers are virtually identical to the other states involved..

      Until Wildlife services are taken down a peg or two when it comes to wolves, there is going to be no change at all!

    • jon Says:

      Ranchers in Oregon have proven they are not capable of co-existing with wolves. Oregon has 14 plus wolves and they still can’t co-exist with the, They just extended the kill order for 2 wolves to 2 months. I believe the kill order was for 2 weeks before they extended it. They won’t stop until those 2 wolves are dead.

    • Save bears Says:

      Stop the hunters, then they resort to SSS or the states call in wildlife services, it is 6 or 1/2 dozen the other. Until people focus their efforts in the correct spot, the killing is going to continue, the focus should have been getting the 10(j) lawsuit settled, not getting them re-listed…

    • jon Says:

      sss will always be there, but sss kills far fewer wolves than those that would have been killed if this wolf hunt goes throw. Not all the wolves in the quota killed though or maybe they will.

    • jon Says:

      goes through*

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Save Bears is right. If you want a successful recovery of any animal public land ranchers don’t like, U.S. Wildlife Services has got to be terminated.

      They are a rogue (captured*) agency composed of killers with a 19th century mindset about wildlife. Conservationists had hoped Obama would put in Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior who would get down to these clientele-captured agencies and really clean house, and that means more than just their appointed/nominated heads. Sadly, his Secretary of Interior didn’t even clean up the nationally known, shining example of corruption and clientele capture at the time, the Minerals Management Service.

      Those interested in wildlife beyond a couple huntable species need to get together and think of how WS can eliminated.
      – – – – –
      * “capture” of government agencies by “clientele” groups such as: investment bankers, doctors, meat packers, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, has always been a grave problem in politics. Despite all the talk about Wildlife Services in this forum, there are many far more damaging examples in American politics.

  8. Chris Harbin Says:

    This is why a few environmentalist took up monkeywrenching. You can win a lot of Court rulings but if they have no teeth then other means need to be taken. Several people have unveiled the “threat” that if hunting of wolves is not allowed then people will take the matter in their own hands. Perhaps the time has come to make up for the 8 wolves for 1 lamb.
    Please hunters don’t get excited I used that as an example, I know the current article focuses on Wildlife Services. Nor do I advocate cow or lamb shooting – especially in Wyoming where I believe you can still be hung for cattle (and lamb) rustling.
    I DO think it may be time to quite giving up the minute the law and/or the powers that be make the game tough. Maybe those of us who actually care about our world and those animals, plants and people get in the sewer and start battling the rats.

    • jon Says:

      Since Wyoming is not allowed to let sport hunters kill wolves, they make up for it by ws slaughtering whole packs of wolves when just one wolf from that pack kills a livestock animal.

    • WM Says:

      Chris,

      ++I DO think it may be time to quite giving up the minute the law and/or the powers that be make the game tough. Maybe those of us who actually care about our world and those animals, plants and people get in the sewer and start battling the rats.++

      Exactly what does that statement mean?

    • Chris Harbin Says:

      WM,
      Sorry, I should have been more direct..it meant ‘quit playing nicely’.

  9. jon Says:

    As much as I dislike sport hunters, I dislike ws much more. They will kill a whole pack of wolves just to make a rancher happy. Something needs to be done about ws. They have been killing thousands and thousands of animals over the years just to cater to ranchers and the agriculture industry and no one is doing anything to stop them or maybe they are and we just aren’t able to stop them from massacring wildlife.

    • Save bears Says:

      Until 10(j) is overturned, they will continue to kill, a hunter can kill 1, WS can kill as many as they want…focus people, focus…the groups filing the lawsuits are feeding their donators a line of BS…..Wildlife Services should be the first and foremost issue being addressed in the lawsuits, and what is sad, is there is a lawsuit pending on this very issue!

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Folks should know that Advocates for the West and the Western Watersheds Project are just about the only groups to directly challenge Wildlife Service’s wolf killing activity in the West.

      Please recall the Frank Church Wilderness helicopter lawsuit of last winter, there was that second part of the suit challenging their killing of wolves where their biggest friends hang out — the area around Stanley, Idaho

    • Brian Ertz Says:

      Again, the 10(j) litigation is moot unless wolves are relisted

  10. jon Says:

    Yeah, but the difference is stopping ws from killing wolves is a lot harder to do than stopping the wolf hunts. We have a chance of stopping the wolf hunts, stopping ws from killing wolves is a much harder thing to do imo. I believe people should be trying to stop ws first before anything else.

  11. jon Says:

    So, the question is how do we get 10j overturned sb?

  12. Robert Hoskins Says:

    This is a question for Ralph. Back when wolves were first delisted and the lawsuits were filed, there was a separate lawsuit filed challenging the updated 10j rule. What ever happened to that lawsuit?

    I agree with SB and Ralph. Wildlife Services–and by extension the livestock industry/oligarchy–is the real enemy. Plus the 10j provision itself is a huge loophole that allows the ESA to be undermined. Too little attention is paid to going directly after the political power of the livestock industry to control land use and wildlife management.

    RH

    • jon Says:

      I agree with that. I believe ws to be a greater threat to wolves than hunters.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Robert,

      It must be on hold waiting the outcome of the lawsuit on delisting.

      I have to wonder, however, if perhaps the 10j lawsuit should have taken precedence. I would have no objection to Idaho and Montana managing wolves if there was a good 10j rule putting sideboards on the states’ discretionary action through better state management plans.
      – – – –
      Note that Brian Ertz just explained above that the 10j lawsuit is moot until the delisting one is settled.

    • JB Says:

      “I would have no objection to Idaho and Montana managing wolves if there was a good 10j rule putting sideboards on the states’ discretionary action through better state management plans.”

      My thoughts exactly!

  13. Merdoch Says:

    Save Bears,

    You’re utterly ignoring that the OR Livestock Association made similar requests in the past and didn’t get anywhere. (I.E. the much lower total of wolf breeding pairs until de-listing was requested for Oregon’s Wolf Management Plan, but it was flat out rejected for the actual plan.)
    http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/management_plan.asp

    As unhappy as I am about how the situation with the kill authorization for the two wolves is being extended, there still are considerable significant differences between how its being handled there as opposed to Wyo, Mont. & Idaho. The big key is they went to the trouble of determining the collared wolves were not responsible and limited the authorization to protect the breeding pair. With the typical kill policies in the other three states those wolves would have been killed quite some time ago, the limits with Oregon’s policies mean none of the potentially targeted wolves have been killed, and at least the guilty parties are more likely to be targeted.

    The state differences in the political situation matter allot, with simply far more power in the hands of the eastern portion of the states of Washington and Oregon, which does in fact have an impact on how wolves are to be handled in the states. The wolf management plan, (or draft plan) for the two states simply are very different than what Idaho, Wyo, or Mont. would pick unless they were compelled into it.

    While I’m unhappy with the extension of the kill authorization and concerned about the loss of the signal from the male alpha wolf’s collar, we’re still talking of a pack of around 10 wolves, who likely had additional pups this year. Very significantly, we haven’t heard bad news regarding the other 3 known packs in Oregon and Washington, and at least if something happened to the collared members in those packs, we really should have heard something about it.

    Basically for the moment, the overall situation with the packs hopefully all reproducing as seems likely, does look encouraging as far as the overall population trend is concerned, and does look promising as far as wolves really getting established in the two NW states is concerned. (Especially given lone wolves also being observed in the two states as well which likely will lead to additional packs being at least partially formed from this sources in the longer term as well.)

    Clearly this doesn’t mean there should be complacency, and there is the longer term question of how many wolves in the state will ultimately end up being accepted under state management policies, but the political situation simply leaves allot more room to work with things that way.

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Merdoch,

      The conservation enlightened part of Oregon needs to reach out to make sure the Oregon Cattle Association is put in its place.

      From my somewhat distant perspective they seem worse than the Idaho Cattle Assn and the Wyoming Stockgrowers, if that is possible.

  14. Merdoch Says:

    In the last post Eastern portion of the states should have said Western portion of the states with regards to Oregon and Washington State.

  15. Robert Hoskins Says:

    I would add that Wildearth Guardians has been going after WS, particularly funding, for years.

    RH

  16. Mike Says:

    I’ve said this before, but the wolf’s best friend is going to be $10 a gallon gas. Everything else will be scarcth and claw until then.

    Until we can force these wolf haters out of rural areas with high gas prices, not much is going to change.

    • Elk275 Says:

      Mike

      Ten dollar a gallon gas is also going to keep wolf lovers and wildlife watchers out of rural areas, too. There are wolf haters who live in rural areas, while $10 a gallon gas may have some effect, but be careful what you wish for. Every game warden has a budget and the higher the gas prices the less he/she can patrol.

      I was at the headwaters of Leadford Creek in the Snowcrest Mountains today. There had not been another person up there since the last rain. If one saw a wolf and shot and wounded it no one would every know. No one is going to Shoot, Shovel and Shut up. It is shoot and wound.

      Ten dollar a gallon gas is not going to happen until the market says it is going to happen. What are you going to do stop power boating, RV’s, Harley’s, general tourism and everything things else. Everyone one from Main Street to Wall Street would hurt. It ain’t going to happen. When middle American hurts those that hurt could careless about wolves. I need affordable gas to do my business and the businesses that I support need affordable gas so that I can patronize.

      You are totally off base in your thinking.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Mike,
      the majority of wolf haters live in rural areas…

  17. Taz Alago Says:

    There are ranchers in Wallowa County who are trying to find decent ways to get along with wolves. Doesn’t mean they love them, but that they’re willing to do what they can to mitigate conflicts. These include Dennis Sheehy and Clint Krebs, and others who remain silent. Dennis is trying for a community-funded comp plan, Krebs is one of the authors of the OWP. The OCA is very very radical re: wolves and other right-wing issues but numbers only about 2,000. The membership may be more centrist than the leadership. Sheep penning material was delivered today to sheepers whose flocks are in the pack area. The Wallowa Stockmen’s Assoc. has had talks by wolf biologists who lectured on wolf behavior and pooh-poohed the extreme anti-wolf crap circulating locally. Williamson from WS lectured on how to detect wolf kills. Some other community NGO’s are doing what they can to provide advice to ranchers and citizens about wolf toleration. Local B&B’s are interested in wolf tourism.

    The OCA submission was a product of the most extreme elements of the group, led by Childers and Sharon Beck. Beck was one of the two OWP authors who refused to sign the final OWP version. On the state political scene, the OCA does not necessarily prevail in any issue, although the story is different at the local level with WS, BLM, NFS, etc.

    Until re-listed, all Oregon’s wolves fall under state rule, where 10j doesn’t prevail because they’re in Eastern not Western Oregon. The WS so far has been subservient to the ODFW, which calls the shots.

    The current lethal order not only excludes collared wolves, but is limited to gray-colored wolves only (by verbal instruction). One dark uncollared wolves has been trapped and released. Also, there are some landowners who won’t allow WS to kill on their property.

    I hope the combination of some (perhaps reluctantly) open-minded ranchers in Eastern Oregon together with the political climate in the rest of the state will mean a different environment here for wolves.

  18. Angela Says:

    Some videos of denning by WS would help. Photos of coyote denning really affected me when I was young. What kind of person kills puppies?

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Angela,

      If there is anything WS hates, it is people following them around trying to get photos of what they are up to.

    • jon Says:

      Sick people and people with no regard for the animals the are killing. I often wonder why kind of person would work for ws gunning down and massacring animals that deserve the right to live. When I read this story a few months back, I was sick to my stomach.

      http://www.adn.com/2008/07/20/469720/wildlife-biologists-kill-14-wolf.html

    • Angela Says:

      You would have to have a very black heart to shoot puppies in the head while the gunshots scare the rest awaiting their turn, trying to get away and crying.

      Can they legally hide their activities from being documented, say from a journalist?

      I could find no photos on the web, but there must be some of coyote denning. Where are there some good photos of Wildlife Services doing their job? Outside of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, it doesn’t seem like anyone is paying much attention.

    • Brian Ertz Says:

      when i tried to document the trapping of the soldier mountain pack up willow creek north of Fairfield, ID – on public land with a camera – the WS agent called the sheriff and the FBI. it’s not illegal, but that doesn’t mean that won’t try to intimidate anyway.

      a couple months later, the soldier mountain pack was found dead, all poisoned – laid out together in a group, allegedly facing the same direction.

    • jon Says:

      They tried to hide that incident because they knew there would be public outlash and they were right. What they did was illegal and should have cost them their jobs and maybe even face fines and perhaps jail time. This is just one man’s opinion. What they did was sickening and what makes this even worse is that they are wildlife biologists.

    • jon Says:

      I wondered that myself Angela. What we need is journalists coming out with stories and articles about wildlife services and what they do to widllife. I don’t think there has been many stories at all about ws. I haven’t seen one from a journalist. These people need to be exposed in the newspapers. Anytime someone catches them killing wildlife, they should take pictures and record it if they have a small video camera on hand. These people need to be exposed to the whole public for what they do.

    • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Says:

      Brian – the death of the six yearling wolves in the Fairfield area was not a case of poisoning – at least by any of the likely poisons that were tested for. Though inconclusive, the evidence strongly pointed to parvovirus as the cause of death. My post to that string, with the findings of the IDFG investigation:
      “The IDFG conducted an investigation of the deaths of the six juvenile wolves in the Wood River Valley, discovered last June. The wolves were discovered within several hundred yards of each other in varying stages of decomposition. Initial necropsy of the carcasses was conducted at the IDFG wildlife health laboratory in Caldwell, Idaho. There was no evidence of physical injuries (bullet wounds, arrow wounds, or blunt trauma) for any of the dead wolves. Tissue samples were collected for histo-pathological analysis by the USGS laboratory in Madison, WI, the Washington toxicology laboratory in Pullman, WA and the University of Idaho toxicology laboratory. Tissue samples were analyzed by the USFWS Ashland Forensics laboratory in Ashland, Oregon for evidence of chemical poisoning.

      Forensics analysis was conducted for evidence of poisoning by cyanide or strychnine compounds, compound 1080 (sodium flouroacetate) and common pesticides (including organo-phosphate compounds) that have been implicated in wildlife poisoning attempts in the past. The Ashland laboratory analysis did not find evidence of poisoning as a cause of death for the wolves in this investigation.

      Pathological analysis looked for evidence of common canine pathogens, including canine distemper, canine hepatitis and canine parvovirus. Analysis did not find distemper or hepatitis but did confirm the presence of parvovirus in tissue samples. However, analysis did not produce clinical evidence that the wolves in fact died of parvovirus infection. Based on the lack of evidence that the wolves died as the result of criminal actions, the IDFG has closed the criminal investigation. At this time, the cause of death of these wolves is undetermined, though parvovirus is a possible explanation.”

    • Barb Rupers Says:

      Mark Gamblin
      Thanks for responding with information regarding the investigation into the possible causes for the deaths of the six young wolves in the Fairfield area.

      On the other hand why was the FBI and the sheriff called when Brian Ertz wanted to document the activity around the denning area by taking photographs?

    • Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Says:

      Barb – Having no involvement or knowledge of that situation, I don’t know.

    • Barb Rupers Says:

      MG
      Thanks, again.

  19. Linda Hunter Says:

    Ever an optimist, I hope that someone will make a movie of the book “Don Coyote” by Dayton O. Hyde, an Eastern Oregon Rancher who has written many books, but this one took place on an eastern Oregon ranch where he learned the value of having coyotes while his neighboring ranchers were killing them on sight and having WS shoot and poison them everywhere. It is an early, personal description of throphic cascade where he learned that without his coyotes his neighbors ranches were overrun with rats and mice. . . then they had to add more poison. It all starts with one coyote who he gets to know and like . . a good book. I think it could change people’s ideas of the way ranchers might think. We only hear about the ones who violently against wolves . . I hope I am right in thinking the quiet ones may be different than the vocal “By gum if I see one of those critters anywhere near my land . . . “

  20. buckaroo Says:

    hhhmmmm
    seems the one thing missing from the discussion is a ” devils advocate”. Not to point out the obvious but i am sensing that the “wolf at any cost” entries posted here seem to be coming from folks who have little to nothing at stake in the game. Put yourselves in the position of the wyoming or montana native. If their were introduced into your neighborhood a pack of wild dogs that covered the neighborhood every alley hunting not only your favorite pet, be it your cat or dog, i dare say you may have the same reaction as the very people you are condemning.
    Cody Coyote posted:
    I am of the 3rd generation born and raised in Cody Wyoming ( the greatgrandfolks immigrated here from central Montana ) . I spend entirely too much time apologizing to folks in the outside world for the transgressions and medieval behavior of my beloved state of Wyoming.
    so don’t spend so much time apologizing , i too am a codyite and a nw wyoming native, the difference is i actually get up in the hills and see the difference between the pre-wolf wildlife conditions and post-wolf. Do you remember this in the cody paper…….
    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=8118412&page=1
    funny a young lion in it’s prime was starving to death in what used to be the land of plenty.
    have you noticed the number of animals coming out of the mountains into the flatlands looking for food now, here are just a couple more this spring
    http://www.cody-wyoming-network.com/2010/06/mountain-lion-tranquilized-on-ina-ave/
    http://powelltribune.com/index.php/content/view/3447/1/
    how about the grizzly that was killed between ralston and heart mountain last summer that was tearing around powell for a few days……simply becouse their was no natural “live” game in her old area.
    the entire Yellowstone ecosystem has basically been turned on it’s ear. reports now from the jackson area are that the harassment by wolves of moose during calving season has grown to bad that they are beginning to fear for the moose population as a whole and fully expect to haft to list the once thriving moose population within the next 8 years.
    of coarse it’s not just the moose that are being ravaged
    http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_fed621c8-728e-11de-886c-001cc4c03286.html
    this study was published july of 09, they will be releasing their new findings august 14th and it shows the elk herds are dropping exponentially and are far more drastic than previously projected.

    just a little food for thought guys, your love for the wolf does have a cost, and it is not the people proving they can not live with wolves , but that wolves cannot live with people ( or in some cases- with other preditors as well)
    nw wyoming native

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      Buckaroo,

      You might disagree with some of the folks here, but you’ll find that most know a lot about the outdoors.

      As for me, my family settled Cache Valley, Utah in the 1850s.

    • jdubya Says:

      I dunno bucky…I got lions walking around my house at night in the winter. I see no reason to kill every damn one of them: I just keep the dog inside. It ain’t that hard.

      But on the broader question, i.e. livestock depredation..maybe the question should be why is livestock continued to be pushed into range that they don’t belong. If you know that sheep or cows are gonna be food for a wolf, cat or bear, why put them there in the first place? All because it has been a “historical” grazing site doesn’t mean it is correct to continue the process. But no one wants to step up to that plate, not the state nor fed’s.

    • jon Says:

      Cattle should not be on public lands plain and simple. Public lands are meant for our wildlife, not cows and sheep.

    • pointswest Says:

      My great, great, grandfather was the first settler north of the Snake River, 1878.

      My stake is all of this is my decendents who may want to enjoy the beauty and interest of a wild ecosystem with wild game and preditors and who may not want to see gas fields, clear cuts, or fenced off cow pastures.

    • pointswest Says:

      I might add that 1878 was the year of the Bannock War so he came to Idaho at some risk.

    • JEFF E Says:

      bucky,
      just curious, what is the thought process behind forming the conclusion that all or the majority of posters are ‘from else where”?
      granted you have the socals and the norcals and the midwesterners…. but i believe that a good percentage of the posters are or have lived for extensive periods of time in “the west”. the one or two that have not are easy to spot, but does that make their opinion any less valid concerning public lands?
      Just to qualify. One branch of my family landed in what is now Maryland in 1620, six months before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth rock. (imagine what chesapeake bay was like then). that branch almost immediately moved “west’ and was on the leading edge of european expansion for the next 200+ years.
      the other branches came later but they all hit Idaho in the mid 1800’s
      so what do you got?

    • JEFF E Says:

      …and that is just the european side…

    • Peter Kiermeir Says:

      “You are not from here…” One of the famous killer arguments universally used to disqualify somebody. “He´s not from here” can mean almost everything geographically, from the next block, the next village, to a different county, state, country, continent, even “he´s not from our family clan”. Somebody even said: “I have no problem with strangers , but this stranger is not from here”. It always means: “He has not the faintest idea and therefore no point in a discussion. But of course, we locals have the full picture!” What they always forget is: Those “from here” seldom have a neutral or objective view, often have a blind spot and are heavily involved in local good-old-boy networks.
      It´s never wrong to appreciate fresh thoughts, fresh approaches and a glimpse beyond an often all too narrow horizon.
      Now, by the way, wolves actually prove that they can live exceptionally fine around people and with people. Wolves do not need the absolute “wilderness”. Wolves in Italy, Germany, Spain, etc. prove this. And, yes, conservation of wildlife comes at a cost! That is no surprise. I happily contribute – so do you, I hope.

    • jon Says:

      Peter, they say that to any wolf advocate because they assume that all wolf advocates live in the city and they have no idea what is going on with the wolves and that is false. Wolf advocates who live with wolves and don’t are very much aware of what is going on and in most of their eyes, they see nothing wrong. Wolves killing elk is perfectly natural and acceptable. You cannot fault wolves for killing animals in order to survive. Wolves killing cattle is expected as well as cattle animals are not exempt from the wolf’s menu. It is the rancher’s fault for not being able to provide better protection for their cattle without resorting to calling in ws.

      “It does matter that much of the elk decline is caused by human harvest,” he said. “We share elk with wolves. Humans take elk for recreational purposes in many locations throughout the West. Wolves are restricted to a tiny portion of their former range and take elk for their survival. Given these circumstances, we have to decide how much sharing is right.”-John Vucetich

  21. Cindy Says:

    Buckaroo – I’ll need more time to decide if I try and counter more of your claims (your completely off on the Moose studies) but my family has been in Wyoming for nearly 100 years and am as pro wolf as you’ll find. I am proud that the wolf is once again thriving in the same forest I live in (yes I live a few miles from a pack of wolves). I will however remind you to turn back to history to see what was one of the most horrific episodes of Yellowstone being turned on its ear. That of course was the elimination of one of its more important wildlife species – wolves! And sadly for those of us with deep Wyoming roots, it was our own relatives that may have contributed to the mass murder of wolves. Until folks come to except the wolf was RETURNED to his rightful ecosystem where it belonged for hundreds of thousands of year, it’s doubtful we’ll see eye to eye. Wolves are Wildlife too!

  22. Cindy Says:

    “ACCEPT the wolf was RETURNED….”🙂

  23. RE Chizmar Says:

    “Devil’s Advocate”? – how about “Devil’s Dopey Statements” – none of the articles you cited support anything you’ve said — guess you ignored these statements in the articles.

    “Queen said there are frequent sightings of mountain lions in areas where abundant deer, their preferred prey, attract them.”

    “Too many missed meals may be the larger cause of the decline of elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – not wolf predation or the elk’s fear of being eaten by wolves, according to a newly published study.”

    “Only eight cases of mountain lions acting aggressively toward humans have been documented in Wyoming over the last decade.”

    You should spend more time apologizing for making any of your unsupported arguments.

    • WM Says:

      RE Chizmar,

      ++“Too many missed meals may be the larger cause of the decline of elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – not wolf predation or the elk’s fear of being eaten by wolves, according to a newly published study.” ++

      You just might want to read the article that has this rather misleading title. The study done by Montana State University researcher and ecology professor Scott Creel, concludes that wolves run elk around alot, pushing them out of meadows into the brush, which means they miss those meals of more nutritious grasses. Rather they get pushed to higher ground and into dense brush eating browse – plant twigs and branches of less nutritous species. That means they go in to winter with less body fat, resulting in fewer successful pregnancies and lower and weaker birth weight calves. This means the calf per cow ratio is lower. Some cows don’t even get bred.

      Here is the study from which that article was written. If you have the mental horsepower, perhaps you should read it for content.

      http://www.montana.edu/wwwbi/staff/creel/nurtitional%20risk%20effect.pdf

      Now, I don’t know anything about the other points that “buckaroo” made, but clearly buckaroo is not the “Dope” for that particular statement. If you are looking for makers of “Dopey Statements” may I suggest to you a mirror.

    • JB Says:

      “…concludes that wolves run elk around alot, pushing them out of meadows into the brush, which means they miss those meals of more nutritious grasses. Rather they get pushed to higher ground and into dense brush eating browse – plant twigs and branches of less nutritous species. That means they go in to winter with less body fat, resulting in fewer successful pregnancies and lower and weaker birth weight calves. This means the calf per cow ratio is lower. Some cows don’t even get bred.”

      This study hardly establishes that all of what you have just written is taking place. Essentially what it shows is that elk with poor winter nutrition co-occur spatially with wolves. The researchers do, as you have said, conclude that the presence of wolves affects elk winter nutrition by displacing them into poorer quality habitat and causing them to spend less time grazing. However, an equally plausible explanation for explaining why wolves were found in proximity to elk in poorer health is that they tend to target these individuals; moreover, the study does not rule out that elk in poor nutritional condition behave differently around wolves.

      I found this study a very interesting read and look forward to further research, but I don’t think you can pin elk declines (where they have taken place) on wolves just yet.

    • Jay Says:

      Careful JB–if you start stating that virtually all research done to date shows that elk pregnancies rates haven’t changed, etc., etc., you’ll be accused of using outdated, non-peer reviewed, or poorly written science.

    • jon Says:

      Everytime when it seems like there are low prey animal #s, the normal and expected thing to do is to blame wolves, ignoring the fact that other things besides wolves kill prey animals. They completely ignore this fact and automatically place all of the blame on wolves.

    • WM Says:

      JB,
      ++This study hardly establishes that all of what you have just written is taking place.++

      I may have gotten a bit too generalized, but I think the jist of the comment is accurate as regards this paper and a couple of others Creel has done, which are available on his website.

      ++However, an equally plausible explanation for explaining why wolves were found in proximity to elk in poorer health is that they tend to target these individuals; moreover, the study does not rule out that elk in poor nutritional condition behave differently around wolves.++

      It seems like there is this constant hum of creation of doubt about wolf impacts on elk. By running the elk around and not eating as much nutritious grazing, wolves create new opportunities (more severely weakened prey) which clearly would not otherwise be available (except those old and injured ones).

      I am more inclined these days to think along the lines of, “But for the new presence of wolves would many of these elk go into winter with higher fat reserves; would more cows be pregnant, and would there be more successful pregnancies, with higher calf birth weights? Would more mature elk survive over the winter period?

      I believe the answer to those questions is an unqualified yes to each. To the extent research has been done to date, it generally supports the hypotheses. You can parse it out all you want, but I don’t think it changes the conclusion – wolves in increasing numbers have an increasing effect by reducing elk numbers, changing age distribution, and modifying behavior proportional to the number of wolves present in the areas they co-occupy with elk.

      ——
      Yeah. I’ve been waiting for Jay to show up. He always adds so much depth and perspective and maturity in his offerings to a conversation.

    • WM Says:

      JB,

      ++I found this study a very interesting read and look forward to further research, but I don’t think you can pin elk declines (where they have taken place) on wolves just yet.++

      And, I should have mentioned that I certainly do agree that changing habitat, increases in other predators (bears and lions) are also impacting elk numbers. I am not as concerned about the past effects, but I am the future effects of wolves if their numbers are not reasonably controlled through seasonal harvests just like other game animals in ID, MT (and WY if and when they are mature enough to take on a management role).

    • JB Says:

      “But for the new presence of wolves would many of these elk go into winter with higher fat reserves; would more cows be pregnant, and would there be more successful pregnancies, with higher calf birth weights? Would more mature elk survive over the winter period…I believe the answer to those questions is an unqualified yes to each.”

      I would agree that the answer is “yes” but strongly disagree that it is “unqualified”. There are three MAJOR problems with these types of studies that ecologists like to ignore, mostly (I believe) because they don’t know what to do about them. First, these studies generally take place in very brief windows of time (2 to 4 years). Over the past few years I have had the good fortune to attend presentations of long-term studies from the Isle Royal project (>50 years of data; Rolf Peterson) and the Yellowstone project (15 years of data; Doug Smith). Interestingly, both of these men came to the same conclusion regarding their data–I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this: “If you looked at any 2 to 4 years of these data [the typical length of a research project that supports a M.S. or PhD student] you would come to a different conclusion.” Second, these studies are spatially limited; they are analogous to what social scientists refer to as “case studies.” They require the assumption that a study conducted in one location during a relatively short period of time generalizes to other locations and other time periods. Finally, researchers are very limited in the number of variables they can measure and thus can not account for unmeasured influences on the variable of interest. These limitations do not mean the research is not valuable, but rather, that each should be viewed as a small piece of a broader research literature.

      To be clear, I am not trying to undermine these findings, as you suggest. They are important, but need to be interpreted within the broader context of research (i.e. how do they “jive” with the findings of other studies). I don’t think any study should be taken as gospel, but should be approached skeptically.

      “It seems like there is this constant hum of creation of doubt about wolf impacts on elk.”

      I do not doubt that wolves are impacting elk, I doubt that we have ANY idea about the extent to which this impact is attributable to wolves, grizzlies, hunters, cougars, competition with cattle, or other unmeasured effects. Moreover, I strongly resent the implication of bias from someone who continually cites the Creel et al. study while ignoring other research (e.g. http://www.mtu.edu/research/archives/magazine/2006/stories/wolf/).

    • WM Says:

      JB,

      ++Moreover, I strongly resent the implication of bias from someone who continually cites the Creel et al. study while ignoring other research (e.g. http://www.mtu.edu/research/archives/magazine/2006/stories/wolf/).++

      I don’t know what to say about reliance on Creel’s work, except that he and Marc Hebblewhite seem to be the most prominent NRM researchers focusing on elk/caribou and other herd animals, as opposed to the hard core wolf researchers.

      The state of MT has relied very heavily on his work (and that of scientists on his team), and in the references of the MT FWP “Wolf – Ungulate” impact document his work dominates any other works referenced. In the past, I have cited Doug Smith, Dan Stahler. Mech and a few other other wolf folks at Yellowstone. I would love to see the papers and research of others so that we can read and see what they have to say. I am especially interested in seeing others match up or challenge the work of the tropic cascade folks from OR state (Ripple, et al.). I know Creel and a couple of USGS hydrologists and biologists whose names escape me at the moment have said – not so fast in reaching the conclusions Ripple did- saying climatic effects (less snow and not so much reliance on willows) had alot to do with recent riparian recoveries in YNP. A rare benefit of drought, I guess.

      And, I certainly agree with you that transferrability, or drawing conclusions from one or more sets of data in one geographic location or focusing too much on just a few variables, when many may be at play, is not good science.

      I cannot pass up mentioning, however, the Isle Royale research. No doubt much good data and valid conclusions have been derived from the data that has been generated from this unique closed environment. This study of such a very small population for such a long time (a population that now has dwindled to maybe 26 individuals, so inbred over and over and over again that they have severe spinal problems and who knows what else) may have limited application. And, I have always found it ironic they dine on tick and fluke infested moose nearly all year long, which are also captive on that small island.

      Sorry, JB, the link to Mich. Tech archives doesn’t open for me, so I couldn’t tell what you were referencing.

      Anyway, yes, long term studies are likely to produce more reliable knowledge of cause and effect relationships, and reliable conclusions; and we should acknowledge the limitations of transferrability.

      PS- regarding my earlier post on nutritionally deprived and weakened elk. I parenthetically wanted to mention that it is highly likely bears and lions also benefit from the elk that have been weakened going into winter. More for them to eat, and I expect they benefit in the spring when those weaker low birth weight calves show up. Easier to catch, but it is likely they would take more of them (eg, five skinny ones = four fat/fit ones). Is my hypothesis unsupported by research? Yes, but sometimes the obvious and near obvious needs to be acknowledged and examined further.

      Sorry for rambling. I only had a few minutes to crank this out, unedited.

    • jon Says:

      Thanks for that link JB. What I find funny is if you ask any hunter about ys and the elk and the moose, most of them will tell you the elk and moose are basically all gone because of the wolves. I have seen numerous hunters comment that the wolves killed all of the moose off.

      Elk numbers are down by nearly half in Yellowstone since wolves were introduced a decade ago. But hunting and drought are the real culprits, says Michigan Tech scientist John Vucetich.

      I would like to see one shred of tangible evidence that wolves are the sole cause for the decline in elk and moose in ys.

    • jon Says:

      What some of these people fail to realize is that wolves just don’t go around killing every animal they see, it takes numerous attempts on their part to actually kill an animal.

    • Jay Says:

      Yes, and we all miss your hypocrisy WM.

    • WM Says:

      JB,

      Thanks I was able to get to the article from the link. Do you have a reference to Vucetich’s full elk study? This MTU research release is a very general article, and of course only tracks through 2005. That is 10 years since wolf reintroduction, with increasing numbers of wolves in YNP and then spreading outward from the Park, one may speculate the impacts of wolves on elk would change as their numbers increase.

      By the way, I am familiar with Vucetich, as well as his role in the first MT delisting suit, using the Isle Royale genetic problems to unjustly, in my view, represent (read as scare the hell out of Judge Molloy on the genetic connectivity issue) that is what might happen in the NRM if wolves had been delisted before proof of connectivity. Similarly, I have been told, the results of the VonHoldt/Wayne work was misrepresented by using a computer output scenario that had near zero probability of ever, and they meant ever, happening.

      And, this is of course, from Mich. Tech Univ., where Vucetich received his schooling and works as a researcher The sidebar says: “This viewpoint {Vucetich’s} has been hotly contested by other researchers and by the states of Montana and Wyoming, which are responsible for elk management.”
      —————
      Jay, why don’t you just cut the crap and actually make a contribution to the conversation.

    • Jay Says:

      WM, I’ve already told you, I don’t waste my time on hypocrites that can’t have a debate without changing the rules to suit their particular position.

    • JB Says:

      WM:

      Okay, here’s my more general issue. In the past I’ve heard you express skepticism about the work of VonHoldt, Bergstrom (yes I know this was an opinion piece) and other studies that generally get read as favoring wolves, politically speaking. I have no problem with this skepticism so long as it is applied equally to all research, but you seem to hold Creel’s work to a different standard? All of these studies–Creel’s work included–have pretty major limitations that require them to be set within the broader context.

      Regardless, I very much appreciate your reasoned and thoughtful dialogue on these topics.

      – – – –

      I posted the link to MTUs summary because I thought most people would not have access to the article directly. Here’s the abstract with a link to the pdf: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118647699/abstract

    • WM Says:

      JB,

      ++Okay, here’s my more general issue. In the past I’ve heard you express skepticism about the work of VonHoldt, Bergstrom (yes I know this was an opinion piece) and other studies that generally get read as favoring wolves, politically speaking. I have no problem with this skepticism so long as it is applied equally to all research, but you seem to hold Creel’s work to a different standard? All of these studies–Creel’s work included–have pretty major limitations that require them to be set within the broader context.++

      I have no allegiance to Dr. Creel or his work which is often co-authored with other scientists, nor do I hold it to a different standard. The reason he gets cited by me is that he is a reputable international ungulate scientist who just happens to be local (Montana State U); his work is often relied upon by MT FWP; and his papers are easily accessible for others to review on his university website at no cost. Coincidentally, my field observations in ID and MT seem to track his conclusions to a degree, so I suppose I have a bias there – who wouldn’t? And I clearly realize there are limitations to all the research we are tending to see and talk about, as you and I discussed earlier.

      I will also submit there may be researcher bias, depending on whether you life’s work is studying wolves or if you are studying their prey. But I want to stay on task and save that discussion for another day.

      Those who follow and comment on this forum turn over quite a bit, with new people coming on all the time, while others seem to fade away, or at least do not comment anymore. Some come to the conversation with their own biases and prejudices, do not know what our conversation has been in the last six months, or just have a need for more information, so reminders of other viewpoints are not inappropriate, in my view. Of course, we do have repeats and threepeats of the same conversations, in which case the same arguments and sources come up, interspersed with some new, if we are lucky. And then there are those who, for their own reasons, simply choose not to believe that wolves are locally impacting elk. I try to fill that void, sometimes by offering up Creel’s work for the reasons stated above, and do it as a periodic reminder to suggest to some that actually reading a little in depth about what is going on rather than just on-line news articles might be enlightening (and that is certainly a challenge for some). I would hope others with more current and even conflicting information would offer it for discussion. MT seems to be using Mark Hebblewhite at U of Montana more, so maybe as his papers come out I, or others, will offer those regardless of the findings.

      I and others have in the past referenced work of Dr. Valarius Geist, arguable the pre-eminent ungulate scientist in all of North America. Those who post here regularly “dis” his views and work, possibly because of his tangential affiliation with RMEF, or maybe it is the conclusions he reaches regarding both elk and wolves. He has something like forty plus years dealing with them in Canada, and he is one hell of an observer and recorder. More recently he has chosen to address the wolf-tapeworm issue (I don’t agree with his view on that, but it doesn’t mean his views of caution are worthless, as some here suggest ad nauseum).

      I and others have also referenced Dr. Mech, probably the best known and longest working wolf expert in maybe the world, and certainly North America. I have quoted from his recent writings, and statements in his declaration in the first MT delisting suit, only to have some here summarily dismiss his observations and findings when it conflicts with their views, or take his past comments out of context and otherwise make accusations that his views are dated and assert that he was retired (he is not) and irrelevant. As far as I know he continues to do high quality research in the NRM and Great Lakes, and teach, continuing to add to the needed data on of wolves, and their distribution, numbers and impacts on the landscape

      And, please take note here, I want to clarify again that the issue surrounding the VonHoldt (student of Robert Wayne at UCLA at the time) study is not my criticism. It is a criticism expressed by some scientists directly involved in the first MT delisting suit, regarding of the use of computer simulations and limited genetic testing, by the plaintiffs. This was a choice of the DOW plaintiff lawyers that, from what I was told, kind of pissed off the scientists on both sides as well as the authors. The apparent misapplication was the foundation for much of Judge Molloy’s injunction ruling on lack of connectivity and perceived genetic consequences without proof of connectivity.

  24. JB Says:

    “If their were introduced into your neighborhood a pack of wild dogs that covered the neighborhood every alley hunting not only your favorite pet….”

    Indeed, that would be troubling! Thankfully, it bears no resemblance to the truth.

    One thing we don’t need more of on this blog is hyperbole.

  25. pointswest Says:

    I have been working for a company whose office is in a high rise in downtown LA and people here are very interested in the wolf and grizzly controversies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. We talked about them all the time. Several years ago, I worked in conservative (and poorly educated) Phoenix, Arizona and no one was interested. In fact, such subjects were offensive to the All-American dirt bike champions of Phoenix.

    People here in LA could not be more different. They are, in general, very sympathetic to wolves and grizzlies and they have little to no sympathy for the local rednecks that shoot and kill these predators. Since I grew up in Ashton, I always felt it my duty to defend locals somewhat. California has, in general, a much more educated, liberal, and open minded society than does Arizona, but there is also this “green” movement here. It is mosty among the gen-X’rs and gen-Yrs but everyone here is interested in ecology, nature, and anything “green.” Many companies, mine included, will help you by a hybrid car or will give you CFL light bulbs for your house. We were encouraged to limit our flying and/or driving by using net meetings, etc.

    Since there are 40 million California residents to Arizona’s 4.5 million, I think trends here in California are probably those to watch.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Pointswest, I think you have a good point, but I think even California’s huge population will have a hard time fighting the ranching and hunting lobby. By the way, have people you worked with ever talked about what it would be like if grizzlies or wolves returned to California? I can’t even find much on the internet on that. I wonder if California could support many of either one.

    • pointswest Says:

      Are you kidding…it is a Grizzly Bear (Brown Bear) that is on the California state flag…

      The Great Central Valley of California was covered with Grizzlies. There were so many that there were industies here that would “harvest” them and render them down for thier oil (similar to the whale oil industry).

      Other than my bringing it up, I have never heard any talk of returning the California Brown Bear to its former glory. Most believe it is extinct but, like wolves, there is no barrier to create subspciation (I think I said that correctly) and the California Brown Bear is/was genetically identicle to the Yellowstone grizzly.

      Governor Schwartzneger, who has a home in Sun Valley, Idaho, bought a scupture of a Grizzly and put it outside his Capitol office.

      http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/local/Governor_Buys_Grizzly_Statue_for_Capitol_20090407

      It is a Grizzly bear. Maybe he was up to something.

    • Kristin, Northern CA Says:

      This does not have anything to do with the main story, sorry. I was reading “California Grizzly” by Storer and Tevis, and googled this subject and there are two kinda interesting articles on it:
      http://www.counterpunch.org/palmer1109.html
      http://www.fseee.org/component/content/article/200018

      “If Idaho works, this might happen. If it doesn’t, this won’t,” so this Carroll guy studied this years ago and by now we know that Idaho thing isn’t happening, so it’s impossible I guess.

    • pointswest Says:

      I found this California Grizzly website. It looks new. I just signed up and am their 5th member. I think grizzly reintroduction to California sounds like a great idea.

      http://www.californiagrizzly.org/

    • pointswest Says:

      Idaho should probably get their bears from Yellowstone and something tells me no one is going to give them away.

      I read (10 minutes ago) that experts belive the most genetically similar bears to those extinct in California are in BC. Since BC probably has plenty of bears, they might let California have some.

      I wonder if any of the California bears genes have survived in zoos.

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      I have read that the California grizzlies were more like the ones in BC as well. I think it would be great if grizzlies and wolves could survive in the most populated state in the union. It sure would give Wyoming no right to complain.

    • Linda Hunter Says:

      I signed up too. Every year when we drive from Washington to Baja down highway five in California I picture bears living there again. California needs some more wildlife. That place looks like it has been used hard and put back dirty. A few bears would take care of a few of the problems I see. Some of those gorgeous hills could use some grazing control for sure. . wolves and bears!

    • pointswest Says:

      I am a little suspect of this subspeciation notion in some animals. I know it exists, for example, in the Tule Elk and in the Roosevelt Elk but there needs to be a good barrier for true subspeciation to occur. Some of what we believed is subspeciation may turn out to be epigenetics as we learn more about it.

      I do not see any barriers between BC grizzlies and Yellowstone grizzles, for example. Like the wolves, they could wander up and down the great plains from northern Canada to Texas and could wander east and west though the Rockies or Cascades on a regular basis since grizzlies can summer in even high mountains. I cannot imagine how subspeciation could have occurred.

      They main reason it is believed the California grizzly is a subspecies is the size of skulls that humans have preserved of California grizzlies. I can easily explain this away. There were so many grizzlies here during the gold rush years and there were so many killed (there was a grizzly oil industry) that by pure statistics, the chances of humans killing an exceptionally large grizzly and preserving its skull is much higher. Humans tended to save/preserve large grizzly skulls with big teeth but since there were so many more dead grizzlies to choose from, the average size of a skull chosen for preservation is going to be larger. It does not necessarily follow that grizzlies in California were a subspecies. In fact, as familiar as I am with the geography of the West, it makes no sense at all. Individual males can wander all over the West. The only barriers might be the very dry deserts just west of the Sierra Nevada and a steep canyon here or there but the genes could easily move around these scattered obstacles. Nearly everywhere else, in the West, they could survive for, at least, part of the year and have plenty of time to cross over into another population.
      I know the average size of bears is larger in Alaska. There may be a spectrum of genes over thousands of miles but not from southern BC to Northern California and not from Alberta to Yellowstone. As we learn more about epigenetics, we may find that some size differences may be attributable to environmental factors rather than subspeciation.

  26. Nancy Says:

    JB Says:
    June 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM
    “But for the new presence of wolves would many of these elk go into winter with higher fat reserves; would more cows be pregnant, and would there be more successful pregnancies, with higher calf birth weights? Would more mature elk survive over the winter period…I believe the answer to those questions is an unqualified yes to each.”

    Gotta ask, does anyone know what the numbers of elk, moose and deer were at 100 years ago, when bear, lion, wolves and coyotes roamed (freely) in areas like MT, ID and WY ?

    • Elk275 Says:

      One hundred years ago, 1910, there were very few elks left in Montana, Wyoming or Idaho, because of relentless subsistence hunting. The country was being open up to homesteading and when the cupboards were empty if it could be eaten it was shot This went on until the end of the 30’s and the start of World War Two. Small farms were lost to the bank or the county then the parcels were consolidated into larger economic operations. After the war modern wildlife management began.

      It was the newly empowered state fish and game departments with the support of the local rod and gun clubs and other interested sportsman’s organizations that started the rebuilding of the ungulate populations. A hint: I have never read of wildlife watchers or wolf lovers types accomplishing what sportsman’s groups accomplished . They are johnny come lately’s and the introduced wolf populations have a prey base because of concerned sportsman/women.

    • pointswest Says:

      There were no elk left in New Mexico at the turn of the century. If I remember the story correctly, it was some sportsman club (hunters) that paid for a small heard from Yellowstone Park and transplanted them back to New Mexico.

    • JB Says:

      And it wasn’t just elk; bison had been eliminated, for the most part, by the 1880s, which happens to be about the same time wolf bounties were started. So first we eliminated (or nearly eliminated) large native ungulates and replaced them with cattle, and then moved on to large predators.

      Elk’s assessment of the contribution of sport hunting is pretty much dead on. However, I would add that the hunters and “wolf-lovers” of those early generations were one in the same, though it took them some time to realize the value of predators. And before this gets turned into yet another thread on the value of sport hunting, for once, let’s all remember were on the same team: more elk = the opportunity for more wolves.

  27. jon Says:

    Thank you to the sportsmen for bringing the wolves food supply back.

    • pointswest Says:

      I mentioned it not only to give hunter credit but also to point out that the elk in New Mexico are not some subspecies of elk. They have probably interbred with elk from Colorado but there is not some mysterious subspecies boundry between Yellowstone and New Mexico.

      I have killed two elk in New Mexco. I got a bull south of Quamado in southwest New Mexico and another bull very near the Colorado bordner south of Durango, Colorado. Both were in muzzleloader hunts.

      New Mexico, especially near Quamado, is very different habbitat from the Yellowstone country. An important food source for elk is pinion nuts that do not grow near Yellowstone. They also need country with enough elevation so as not to be too hot in summer and that might have standing water somewhere. Since there are stock tanks fed by windmills everywhere, water is seldom a problem and so ranchers have extended the elks former range.

      I really used to enjoy bathing on hot days in some of the larger stock tanks.

  28. buckaroo Says:

    jon Says:
    June 28, 2010 at 6:29 PM
    Thanks for that link JB. What I find funny is if you ask any hunter about ys and the elk and the moose, most of them will tell you the elk and moose are basically all gone because of the wolves. I have seen numerous hunters comment that the wolves killed all of the moose off.

    Elk numbers are down by nearly half in Yellowstone since wolves were introduced a decade ago. But hunting and drought are the real culprits, says Michigan Tech scientist John Vucetich.

    I would like to see one shred of tangible evidence that wolves are the sole cause for the decline in elk and moose in ys.

    i made no claim that they were the SOLE cause, simply pointing out that adding one more VERY efficient keystone predator to an area that already had a host of big game predators has had a detrimental effect not only for the prey species , but the preditors as well……
    Many of us are seeing the same thing
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/mar/27/elk-reproduction-woes-tied-to-wolves/
    and another
    http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=3646

    JB Says:
    June 28, 2010 at 2:27 PM
    “If their were introduced into your neighborhood a pack of wild dogs that covered the neighborhood every alley hunting not only your favorite pet….”

    Indeed, that would be troubling! Thankfully, it bears no resemblance to the truth.

    One thing we don’t need more of on this blog is hyperbole.

    Really ??, was montana, idaho or wyoming asked if they had any interest in reintroducing the wolves into their area?? was any research done prior to their reintroduction, any environmental impact study preformed. or did someone just forget what it was to be a good neighbor and release the wolves BEFORE a management plan was in place. and now that they are released, why is no one trying to discover why the other predator species showing signs of being in trouble ??
    as i stated before, wolves at any cost is a cost to high, And to many keystone predators in an area are detrimental to all wildlife.

    • buckaroo Says:

      oops, this was what i meant to post in the second position….
      http://www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/PDF/13-CauseSpecific%20Mortality%20of….pdf

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      The study Buckaroo posted is important, and although it has been posted before on this forum, please take time to read it.

      It is likely to more typical of what can be expected of predators and elk throughout the Rocky Mountain area than what takes place in national parks where there is no hunting, or the Wyoming elk feedlots where, of course, the elk are fed, resulting in artificially high winter concentrations of elk

    • Ralph Maughan Says:

      In Scott Creel’s study that Buckaroo posted http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=3646, he finds predators take malnourished elk. No surprise there, but he says it is because they spend so much time looking for predators, the elk don’t eat.

      Are there reasonable alternatives to his hypothesis. I can think of one big one. There isn’t very much winter range in the upper Gallatin, and what there is is not in good condition and the elk are crowded out by burgeoning subdivisions, snowmobiles, ATVs, too many cattle, etc.

      Fortunately the National Wildlife Federation has recently bought out a number of livestock grazing allotments. I understand more are too come. This should help both ungulates and fisheries.

      If elk were malnourished because of too much looking for predators, they would simply abandon many places in Yellowstone Park. Instead you see them grazing near wolf dens.

    • JEFF E Says:

      Bucky,
      If you would do a bare minimum of research you could answer all of your questions in your last paragraph quite easily and move on to more relevant issues…

    • WM Says:

      Ralph,

      At the risk of appearing to rely too much on Scott Creel and affiliated researchers, the work of his which you/buckaroo cite (2006) has been updated several times with new published studies from then to now (2010).

      It is no surpise that wolves take weakened elk, but to some it is surprising that wolves CREATE the weakened elk and surpress successful pregnancies.

      Certainly the lack of good winter range is a problem in the Gallatin, but for whatever reason some elk choose not to migrate out in search of better winter range. Maybe the reasons are as you suggest, too many humans on ATV or snowmobiles, and cows.

      The current findings seem to suggest an additive effect on mortality and reproduction in the presence of wolves- ability of rutted bulls to survive, and ultimately lower reproductive success of females. From the study:

      “These findings are largely congruent with predictions
      suggested by previous research. Increased vigilance at
      the cost of time spent grazing (Winnie and Creel 2007)
      would be hypothesized to reduce intake rates……
      Habitat shifts from grassy meadows to forest in responses
      to wolves may decrease predation risk (Creel et
      al. 2005) but also increase the proportion of browse in
      the diet (Christianson and Creel 2008) and would be
      hypothesized to increase the nitrogen content of the diet
      … Sex differences in the strength of antipredator
      responses … may explain
      why adult females are killed less often than expected by
      wolves and males are killed more often than expected
      (Creel and Winnie 2005). Adult males, having exhausted
      their body resources prior to winter, during the rut, may
      have nutrient budgets that do not allow them to mount
      strong antipredator responses (Winnie and Creel 2007),
      yet females can draw down body reserves during winter
      to pay for the costs of antipredator behavior, perhaps at
      the expense of reproduction (Creel and Christianson
      2008).

      [Source: Christianson D & Creel S (2010). A nutritionally mediated risk effect of wolves on elk. Ecology 91:1184-1191]

      I will suggest it makes little difference whether the elk are in a NP or elsewhere, for these wolf caused weakened elk responses to be observed, and there is some transferrabiility of the findings in this research within the NRM. But, stay tuned, things will no doubt change as more data is gathered. And, we should look to others to feel free to critique the Creel et al., findings to date.

      And good for the National Wildlife Federation, a true conservation group actually doing something on the ground to help. I have long been a supporter.

  29. Leia Says:

    I am really neutral when it comes to this tender topic, but I must say something:
    Even if they are stupid enough to kill all of those wolves for the death of one lamb, they could at least find the proper way to do so. Not gas the young creatures in their own den and let them slowly suffocate(sorry I cant spell that word)
    I mean, we treat dogs that have killed children better than we treat those wolves. I have seen a doberman pinster that had killed his owners child be killed in a more humane way than these pups, who didnt even take part in the killing of that one lamb. And no body seems to fret that much about coyotes, which are much more of a threat to people than wolves. Coyotes not only kill many more people and pets than wolves, but they are also a much bigger threat to livestock and the offspring of bears, foxes, wolves, bobcats, and even other coyotes. (and no, I dont hate coyotes, just pointing out facts.)
    I’m sorry for the rant, but when a bear, eagle, lynx, or coyote kills a sheep, it goes silent. But when a wolf is accused of killing one lamb, every one dog piles on the story of the “pesky demons killing an innocent fluffy lamb”. It makes me sick


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