Kathie Lynch on Yellowstone wolves: Cold April in Yellowstone

Kathie Lynch has written her latest Yellowstone wolf report.  It is always a cheer when Kathie writes about this place where wolves can live, wild and free. Wolf watching in April this year sounds very cold, but the wolves love it!

Ralph Maughan

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April 2011 wolf notes by © Kathie Lynch-

In Yellowstone, “spring” break in April is not necessarily synonymous with springtime! Days of granular corn snow flurries (or worse), biting wind and morning temperatures in the teens often ended with the drip, drip, drip of water melting off the edge of receding snow banks. Even though it seemed like winter would never end, the Wicked Witch of the West was doomed.

Of course, as soil and sage replaced the diminishing blanket of snow, the wolves became even harder to spot. Considering that only three packs (Blacktail Plateau, Lamar Canyon, and Agate Creek) are likely possibilities for watching in the Northern Range these days, I felt lucky to see a wolf most days–although my first day was a “one dog day,” and that “dog” was a coyote!

The Blacktail pack provided some excellent viewing for a couple of days as they fed on a bison carcass at Blacktail Lakes. The wolves had to share the treasure with a big, dark grizzly boar who had awakened to a mother lode of winter-killed carcasses. Thanks to the extremely severe winter, the bears will have plenty to eat for a while and won’t have to usurp the wolves’ kills, as they often do.

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Wolves remain on Washington state’s endangered list

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department is firm that wolves remain protected under state law in all of the state-

Wolves are federally delisted in much of Eastern Washington now, but the state’s own endangered species act protects them all throughout the state. Officials recently reminded folks.

The state only has a half dozen to a dozen or so wolves. The original pack discovered now seems heavily chopped apart from illegal killing, but other wolves roam parts of the state, probably in at least one pack. The Lookout Pack, the original pack, was not a reintroduction or part of the Idaho wolves drifting westward. It came out of coastal Canada on its own.

Wolves remain on Washington state’s endangered list. AP in the Seattle Times.

Bob Landis wins a big award

The story of wolf 302M gets Best Animal Behavior film award-

Bob Landis in the Lamar Valley © Ken Cole

Bob Landis in the Lamar Valley © Ken Cole


Rebel, rebel. Black Wolf yields a wild hero. By Erika Frederickson. Missoula Independent.

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Delisting Rider Unconstitutional

This is a space where we’ll post the various documents that wolf advocates will be filing in federal district court of their challenge of the recent wolf delisting rider that was attached to the 2011 budget bill.

Different parties raced to file, with Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians in one camp, the Center for Biological Diversity in another having already filed.  Western Watersheds Project has opted to file its own separate case as well.

It is likely that the cases will be consolidated in the Montana District Court.

We’ll post the filings as they become available.

Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, WildEarth Guardians 

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Center for Biological Diversity

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Interior to Publish Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Delisting Rule

Salazar announces wolves delisted in Rockies and hunting can begin – Idaho Statesman

Wolves will be delisted in the Northern Rockies except Wyoming on Thursday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

The rule would reinstate the 2009 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf in Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah.

Download NR Wolf Delisting Reissuance

Western Watersheds Project expects to file litigation in U.S. District court challenging the delisting rider.

Montana proposes 220-wolf hunting quota for 2011 season

If filled, the quota will result in estimated 25% reduction in state wolf population-

Montana’s wolf hunt is expected to be easier on the state’s wolf population than Idaho’s. With the congressional delisting of the wolf in the Northern Rockies, Montana and Idaho can pretty do what they want in terms of wolf quotas.

State wildlife officials propose 220-wolf quota for 2011 season. By Eve Byron Helena Independent Record.

Also, Obama administration takes wolves off endangered species list. AP.  They are also delisting the Great Lakes population, which is certainly ready. Unfortunately, all three states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan have fallen to tea party governors. Michigan’s seems as bad as Wisconsin’s notorious Scott Walker.

Oregon: USFWS issues kill order for 2 Imnaha Pack wolves

Kill order, called “retribution”-

Because there are not many wolves in Oregon, this is a big deal. The pack has 10-14 members.  There was one other wolf pack known on the Oregon/Washington state border in 2010 — the Wenaha Pack. It might have 6 members.  USFWS has ordered capturing and “euthanizing two un-collared sub-adults from the Imnaha pack.”  That wolf pack has killed some cow calves every once and a while over the last year.

Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild said in a statement, “This kill order randomly targets any two wolves of Oregon’s Imnaha Pack. That is not wildlife management, it is retribution.”

My view is that, of course, it is retribution. After watching and writing about wolf depredations of cattle for over 15 years now, I’d say “wolf control” is almost always retribution of a kind. Wolves rarely kill enough livestock in any place to make the dead calf or sheep an economic issue, but it is always a political issue. Wolves killing livestock are treated with the same gravity as human homicides and political assassinations, reflecting the values of those who rule in western rural areas.

Here is the story in Sneak Cat. USFWS issues kill order for 2 Imnaha Pack wolves. May 3, 2011.

Update on Oregon wolf packs (taken from a news story). “Oregon currently has three wolf packs: the Imnaha (10 wolves at latest count), Wenaha (six wolves) and Walla Walla (three wolves). The Walla Walla pack is new and wildlife managers are still trying to determine their range, which could primarily be in Washington State.”