Wisconsin wolf population shows unexpected growth

Folks thought it was reaching a natural carrying capacity-

Wisconsin wolf population surges. By Lee Bergquist and Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

I thought it was leveling off, but then population growth or decline of relatively small populations of any animal are subject to random events like favorable weather.

Posted in Wisconsin wolves, Wolves. Tags: , . Comments Off on Wisconsin wolf population shows unexpected growth

Wolves were delisted today, May 4

Wolves in Northern Rockies and Great Lakes officially delisted May 4, 2009-

Will delisting be better the second time around?

Today for the second time in the Northern Rockies, wolves were delisted with all management decisions handed over to the states of Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming where delisting  will not take place under Wyoming makes changes in its proposed wolf management.

Wolves were also delisted in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Lawsuits, in the form of 60-day notices (of intent to sue) were filed 30 days ago. As a result an injunction on the delisting could be in order 30 days from now. This happened before, somewhat over a year ago, when Montana’s federal district judge quickly enjoined the delisting. This prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw their entire delisting rule, but to issue a new one about 2 months after Obama took office. The primary difference between the Bush (Kempthorne) delisting and the Obama (Salazar) delisting is that Wyoming was taken out of delisting for failure to produce an acceptable state wolf conservation plan. Critics of the new delisting say the special status for Wyoming is a fatal defect in the delisting and they will argue so in court.

A number of additional groups, including the State of Wyoming, will file against the delisting rule this time around.

In the next 30 days, some wolf supporters fear a state operated wolf bloodbath, especially in Idaho. Others believe Idaho and Montana will want to show they won’t try to wipe the wolves out, and so they will not manage* — kill — very many in the immediate future.

Story in the Associated Press by Matthew Brown.Wolves off list, but legal battles loom.

– – – – —

* When used in the context of wolves by state game agencies, the word “manage” always means to kill.

Salazar’s Wolf Decision Upsets Administration Allies

Salazar’s failure to consult POTUS gives new Administration a headache (as it should)-

Salazar’s Wolf Decision Upsets Administration Allies
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post

It appears that Salazar wasn’t interested in consulting anyone but the Bush Administration personnel and some other agency folks for the “good science” they have already “produced”.
He only consulted governors with less than favorable attitudes on predators, wolves in particular. He had no intention of hearing anything other than what he wanted to hear to make this decision.

Fortunately, not everyone in our halls of governing agree with him. Perhaps due to the fact that they are not ranchers.  He didn’t seem to think that his boss needed to be consulted either, even directly following commitments by Obama himself to uphold the ESA and scientific integrity in speeches within 48 hours of announcing this “Friday night” ruling.

Perhaps the same comments on commitment to scientific integrity made by Obama on stem cell research should be applied to the ESA and wolves.

Great Lakes Wolves Win in Federal Court ! Keep ESA protection !

Good news for wolves keeps rolling out.

The Great Lakes wolves have won reprieve in federal court, preventing the Bush’s Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) attempt to delist:

Court rules against U.S. in Great Lakes wolf case – AP
Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Midwest Wolves Avoid Humans

A Wisconsin study demonstrates a model showing that wolves are least abundant where there are roads or agriculture.  Road density and ag land good predictor of wolf presence (or absence, as is the case).

[Wisconsin] Wolves are lying low JSOnline

Wisconsin wolf population stops growing

537 to 564 wolves at the end of 2007 versus 540 and 577 wolves at the end of 2006. Story in the Chicago Tribune.DNR: Wis. wolf population could be leveling off.” By The Associated Press.

It’s what everyone should expect. Every animal population reaches a peak. Idaho’s wolf population growth slowed greatly in 2007, but the state and the US Fish and Wildlife Service haven’t bothered to mention this critical data. It slowed from 20% to 8.5%.  Wyoming’s wolf population growth slowed similarly, but all the news was about the 34% increase in wolves counted in Montana.

Instead Idaho Fish and Game Commission has started to play number games. You may have read yesterday that there are 1000 wolves in Idaho. They are counting estimated pups just born. This has never been done before and every biologist knows the valid wolf population is that at the end of the year because many pups do not survive. Pup survival rate in Yellowstone has been as low as 30%.

Idaho Fish and Game’s wolf hunt rules issued yesterday are based on a continued 21% growth rate in the wolf population. Here, once again, they are in violation of the delisting rules — wolf population counts at the wrong time of the year.

Only one wolf illegally shot in the recent Wisconsin deer hunt

Department of Natural Resources says only one wolf shot during deer hunt. By Robert Imrie. Associated Press writer in the Appleton Post-Crescent.

It wasn’t even a wolf; it was a hybrid.

It is true the wolves are much better accepted in the Great Lakes States than in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming.

Although the Great Lakes gray wolf is officially recovered, new genetic analysis indicates it is not a pure wolf

~I think this is the most important wolf story in quite a while~

– – – – –

Perhaps the greatest success story in terms of numbers is the recovery of the wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Recovery began, however, before genetic analysis had advanced. Far more is known today, and the recovered wolf in the Great Lakes area is a mixture of the orginal wolves of the Great Lakes area, the Eastern Timber wolf (which seems to be a separate species very closely related to the red wolf) and coyotes.

Nevertheless, I think the restoration is a successful and important program because these large canids are on the ground fulfilling the same ecological function as the wolves of 200 years ago.

Genetic purity is important, nonetheless, and the only restored wolf population that clearly is all wolf are the wolves of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming which came down from Western Canada beginning in the 1980s on their own accord and were also captured and reintroduced to Yellowstone Park and central Idaho in 1995-6.

The story below does not mention this, but what it means is that the most vital wolf population from the standpoint of conserving and restoring endangered speices is the wolves in these three states — the very states which are going to be given a nearlly free hand to kill them once they are delisted as long as each state maintains a token population of about 10-15 packs (how these will be counted is a matter of controversy).

Off Endangered List, but What Animal Is It Now? By Mark Derr. New York Times.

Thiel honored for wolf education in mid-West

Richard Thiel, Wisconsin’s first wolf biologist, received honors in DC for his role with wolf education.

The article also gives a brief description of recovery in the mid-West.

Tomah man honored for work with wolves
The Tomah Journal
By Keith Zukas

Posted in Delisting, Wisconsin wolves, Wolves. Comments Off on Thiel honored for wolf education in mid-West

Worse news still for the protection of wolves in the Northern Rockies

On July 6, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will publish a new proposed rule 10j in the Federal Register, that will make it every easy for state agencies and even private persons to kill wolves even without them being delisted. They won’t have to scientifically prove that wolves are depleting elk herds, essentially they can just everybody in the bar or cafe. They may also be able to shot wolves for simply standing near livestock and not have to provide any evidence that even that was so.

We seem to be in the process of seeing the executive branch of the government reverting to the days when wolves were to be eliminated, made extinct, not recovered. All this has been done by the Bush Administration, by-passing Congress, just like it has done on everything else.

I’ve got to wonder how an Administration with a 25% approval rating gets away with these things?

Here is a news release we issued today. There will be a lot more to follow.

For Immediate Release

July 5, 2007

Contact: Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife (208) 424-9385
Amaroq Weiss, Defenders of Wildlife (541) 552-9653
Ralph Maughan, Wolf Recovery Foundation (208) 417-0906
Chris Anderson, Wolf Education and Research Center (503) 913-2816
Steve Thomas, Sierra Club (307) 672-0425

New Rule Would Lower the Bar on Killing Endangered Wolves in Northern Rockies

BOISE, ID. – A new draft rule from the Bush Administration would once again diminish protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and threaten endangered wolf recovery efforts in the northern Rockies. The new rule would significantly broaden the circumstances under which wolves can be killed allowing the states to kill more than half of the approximately 1,300 wolves in the region today prior to their delisting. The new rule is ardently opposed by wildlife conservation groups in the region.

“The new rule allows state agencies to kill wolves for essentially political reasons,” said Suzanne Stone, northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “This is clearly a back door attempt by the Bush administration to remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves by sidestepping the public delisting process.”

If the rule is finalized, wildlife managers would be permitted to kill wolves that they consider to be a “major cause” of elk and deer declines. Additionally, the new rule would allow private citizens to kill any wolf that they claim is “chasing, molesting or harassing” livestock, pack animals or even dogs used to hunt carnivores – terms that are poorly defined by the draft rule. This action would essentially remove all federal protections for wolves, despite the fact that they are still listed as an endangered species.

“We support a healthy balance between our endangered wolves and our ranching and hunting communities,” said Chris Anderson, executive director of the Idaho-based Wolf Education and Research Center. “However, ranchers are already allowed to shoot wolves that attack their livestock. And hunting concerns are unfounded; all three states have robust elk populations that even exceed state management objectives.”

In Idaho, elk populations are 20 percent above management objectives, and, according to Idaho Fish and Game’s 2006 progress report, “Overall elk populations statewide are near all time highs.” In Wyoming, the state wildlife agency declared that “elk are probably at an all-time high historically.” There are nearly 100,000 elk in Wyoming, which puts the population approximately 17 percent above Game and Fish Commission objectives. In fact, according to Wyoming Fish and Game, the state is increasing the number of hunting tags it will issue this year due to the overabundance of elk. Additionally, two-thirds of the hunting districts in southwestern Montana, all of which support wolves, are currently offering the most liberal hunting opportunities seen in 30 years due to higher elk populations, according to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2005 Interagency Annual Report. Montana wildlife officials just announced that they’re seeking additional ideas from the public to reduce elk herd numbers in the region.

“The new rule would allow the killing of wolves as a first, rather than last, resort, and the government has no basis to do so,” said Steve Thomas, regional representative from the Sierra Club, based in Sheridan, Wyoming. “Clearly, the wolves are not affecting hunting opportunities. This rule would promote the needless killing of wolves that eat elk and deer; the same animals that wolves have been preying upon for thousands of years.”

This latest rule further erodes protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies. When wolves were first reintroduced in 1995, the original rules required wildlife agencies and livestock owners to first exhaust all non-lethal alternatives before killing a problem wolf. Private citizens were allowed to kill a wolf only if it was in the act of attacking livestock.

A 2005 revision by the Bush administration weakened wolf protections by eliminating the requirement that wildlife managers exhaust all non-lethal methods before resorting to killing wolves. It also permitted the killing of wolves that were proven to be “the primary” cause of deer and elk populations falling below state game objectives, but subsequent agency studies have found wolves are not the primary threat to big game populations. Private citizens were permitted to kill wolves in the act of attacking domestic animals, not just on their own property, but also on public lands they are federally permitted to use for grazing.

“Any further erosion of wolf protections, and we’ll be back to the days of shooting wolves on sight,” said Ralph Maughan, president of the Wolf Recovery Foundation. “Today, we’ve learned what an important role wolves play in our natural ecosystems. With this newly realized information, there can be no reasonable justification for returning to the days of mindlessly killing wolves.”


Boulder White Clouds Council • Defenders of Wildlife • Idaho Lands Council • Sierra Club • Western Watersheds Project • Wolf Education and Research Center • Wolf Recovery Foundation

Estimated number of wolves living in Wisconsin is adjusted downwards slightly

Posted in Wisconsin wolves, Wolves. Comments Off on Estimated number of wolves living in Wisconsin is adjusted downwards slightly

Gray wolf population in Wisconsin has ‘taken off’

The wolf population continues to grow in “the badger state.” Story in the Green Bay Gazette. It’s getting close to 600. The state is now taking over management.

Wolves have been treated much more gently in the Great Lakes states than in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, and I think it’s really too bad that three animal rights groups have sued to stop the delisting.

It certainly doesn’t help us in Idaho and Wyoming where wolves have been killed almost from the start for minor livestock depredations (there have been a couple big ones), and where Wyoming wants to basically kill all the wolves outside Yellowstone. Idaho’s new governor wants to kill 4/5 of the Idaho wolf population, which is about the same size as Wisconsin’s. Anti-wolf extremists can point to this lawsuit and say conservationists are never satisfied, when we would be thrilled in Idaho to have the kind of management Wisconsin is planning.

post 1045

Groups sue to keep gray wolf on endangered species list in Great Lakes

post 1032

This is regarding the delisting in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. The parties suing are the Human Society of the United States, the Animal Protection Institute, and Help Our Wolves Live.

Groups sue to keep gray wolf on endangered species list
Minnesota Public Radio (AP)

St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) – Three animal advocacy groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday over its decision to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.


Midwest Wolves Fall Prey to PR Scam. Who Knew Slob Hunters Had PR Agents?

Alan Gregory has a story in Counterpunch today. Midwest Wolves Fall Prey to PR Scam. Who Knew Slob Hunters Had PR Agents?

He is a regular poster at this blog and has it own at: Alan Gregory’s Conservation News.

Wisconsin Ag Connection says rural groups react positively to removing wolf protections

Wisconsin Ag News Headlines. Rural Groups React Positively to Removing Wolf Protections

What an informative article. It says “rural groups” and then speaks of the Safari Club and the Bear Association. Only the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association seems rural to me. It tells us that the wolf herd in Wisconsin is 500 animals. Wolf “herd?”

It also says “2,700 head of cattle killed by predators like wolves and coyotes.” How about separating them out? How many by wolves, how many by coyote? How many by dog, etc.

Finally, how many of the “cattle” were really calves?

Interior Department Announces Delisting of Western Great Lakes Wolves and Proposed Delisting of Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves

As expected, today the Department of Interior announced the proposed delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming because of their failure to come up with an adequate wolf conservation plan.

Flat-out delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes States was announced.

Here is the news release wolfnrs012907.pdf

Update 1-30-2007. Feds to delist wolves. Jackson Hole News and Guide.