Have you come across some interesting Wildlife News? Aug. 18, 2010

Note that this replaces the 14th edition. That edition will now move slowly into the depths of the blog.

Western Toad © Ken Cole

Western Toad © Ken Cole

Please don’t post entire articles here, just the link, title and your comments about the article. Most of these violate copyright law. They also take up too much space.

Yellowstone National Park – Summer 2010 Bison Population Estimate Released

Bison Population estimated to be 3900

Yellowstone National Park – Summer 2010 Bison Population Estimate Released.
U.S. National Park Service Press Release

Bootlicking and wiggling out of enforcement

I attended the IDFG Commissioner’s “special meeting” on Monday in Idaho Falls where the commissioners discussed how to proceed now that wolves are again protected by the Endangered Species Act.

After the Commission decided to adopt new rules on placement of traps, which requires trappers to keep traps at least 5 feet away from the center line of established trails and at least 300 feet away from established campgrounds, the subject of wolf management was next.

Robyn Thorson, the regional director for the USFWS, was first up and gave the most incredible bootlicking performance I’ve ever seen. She began by profusely apologizing to the Commission for the failure of their rule to delist wolves to live up to the law and then went on to give emphatic support for Idaho’s management plan and the way that Idaho Fish and Game has been managing wolves. She expressed that the USFWS was “deeply disappointed” that they lost in court.

The commissioners wanted to know if there was any way to ease the burden the present 10(j) rule which requires the use of science to show that wolves are having “unacceptable impacts” on ungulate populations and are a major reason that ungulate populations are not meeting the objectives set by the department. The IDFG wants to more easily kill wolves and extrapolate the existing science that they have conducted to zones adjacent to the Lolo Zones that they are concerned about. They also want to know if they have to conduct new science on other zones.

Thorson reminded them that the current 10(j) rule is once again under litigation and that the forthcoming decision on that case would determine the sideboards with which further decisions are made. She said she couldn’t really comment on whether the burden of science could be eased but said that they “would look at everything with the intent of trying to find a path”.

The commissioners then asked the USFWS to participate in the appeal of Molloy’s decision. She responded that the USFWS had made no decision about whether to appeal the decision.

Wayne Wright expressed disappointment that Idaho had not been involved in the decision about the DPS decision when the reintroduction plan was developed. Thorson stated that they would “not let that happen again” and that they wouldn’t do it without collaboration and open comment. She said that, since they have someone in Boise who works specifically on wolves, they could provide the “listening and sharing of information part” and that she hopes “to remedy any past laws in process”.

Randy Budge asked whether the USFWS felt that wolves were in any jeopardy with Idaho and Montana managing wolves in their respective states and the USFWS managing wolves in Wyoming. Thorson responded that the USFWS did not concur with the ruling of the judge and felt that the delisting rule adequately protected wolves. She also suggested that the quickest way for the Service to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies was for Wyoming to change their management plan so that it met their requirements. She didn’t know why Wyoming doesn’t want to come up with a plan but that they don’t and that’s the way it is.

There is much more and you can watch video from the meeting below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Soda Butte Grizzly Attack Report

Here is the Soda Butte Grizzly Attack Report

Summary:
In the early morning hours of 28 July 2010, an adult female grizzly bear accompanied by 3 yearlings attacked 3 separate people in 3 different tents in the Soda Butte Campground.  The initial attack was inflicted on Mr. Ronald Singer at approximately 0200 hours, who was bitten through his tent on his lower left leg. Mr. Singer punched the bear several times and the bear left.  The second attack was inflicted on Mrs. Deborah Freele at approximately 0215 hours; she was initially bitten on her upper left arm and then bitten on her lower left arm.  She then received a slight bite to her left leg and then the bear left.  The third attack was inflicted on Mr. Kevin Kammer at an unknown time, presumably after the first 2 attacks.  Mr. Kammer was camping by himself, and was killed and partially consumed at his campsite.  All of these attacks occurred in a 27-site campground, of which 24 sites were occupied by people on the night of the attacks.  An unmarked adult female grizzly bear and her 3 yearling offspring (2 females and 1 male) were captured at the site of the fatality within 16-48 hours of the incident.  This adult female was DNA matched to grizzly bear hair found on the victims and was subsequently destroyed.  The yearlings were placed in a zoo facility for permanent removal from the wild.

New Mexico ranchers’ use of technology to track wolves debated

Only 39 Mexican wolves remain in the wild after several poaching incidents.

Conservation groups are asking the USFWS to retrieve telemetry equipment from ranchers and change the frequencies of the radio collars on the wolves so that people with receivers cannot find wolves and kill them. They argue, correctly in my estimation, that the radio frequencies are compromised.

New Mexico ranchers’ use of technology to track wolves debated
El Paso Times