Media stories about wolves have become more negative

JB’s research shows wolf stories are most negative in places where they are just beginning to colonize-

Our own JB (Jeremy T. Bruskotter) and colleagues have just had their article “Attitudes Toward Wolves in the United States and Canada: A Content Analysis of the Print News Media, 1999-2008” published in the refereed Journal, Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

Here is a n news story about it stressing the Montana angle, although the data was gathered from all over. Wolf Story Time: Researchers Measure Views in MT News. Public News Service.

“Bruskotter notes there are some who argue that the views contained in news stories mirror public opinion, but he points out that separate public opinion research doesn’t support that claim. He believes no matter what the views portrayed in the news coverage, they affect public opinion.”

Here is a brief summary of the study’s findings (beyond those reported in the article above).  The summary is written by JB.

The state of Idaho is managing wolves without any authority

The 2006 Memorandum of Agreement has EXPIRED.

The State of Idaho and Wildlife Services have been operating outside of the law since relisting has occurred. It appears that the State of Idaho has no management authority over wolves now that they have been re-listed under the ESA. This is evidenced by the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Secretary of Interior and the State of Idaho dated January 5, 2006 which hands over lead management authority over wolves to the State of Idaho. This agreement has expired. In addition, wolves have been relisted, and there is no valid section 10j MOA existing, at least which has been made public, which grants the State of Idaho management authority over wolves.

Update late 9/28. By Ralph Maughan. Today I called Ed Bangs about this. We had a brief conversation. He said that yes the MOA had expired, but the whole thing had been taken care of. He asked me to call Brian Kelly of USFWS in Boise for the “whole spiel.”  Brian Ertz called Kelly’s office a number of times, but Kelly did not answer, nor call back. So we are yet to gain any information.

Update 9/29.  By Ken Cole

I spoke to Brian Kelly, the new state State Supervisor Of Idaho USFWS Office, today about the issue at hand and he confirmed that there is no MOA but that the 2005 10(j) rule covers them and designates Idaho management authority. From the language I found on page 1291 of the 2005 10(j) rule I don’t see anything which does this. Essentially this says that an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI allows the state to manage wolves but the MOA has expired.

Response 3–3: The completion of an MOA with the Secretary of the DOI which is consistent with this rule allows a State or Tribe to take the lead in wolf management, to become ‘‘designated agent(s),’’ and to implement all parts of its approved wolf management plan that are consistent with this rule. This includes issuing written authorization for take, and making all decisions regarding implementation of the State or Tribal plan consistent with this rule. Under the MOA process, the Service will annually review the States’ and Tribes’ implementation of their plans to ensure compliance with this rule and to ensure the wolf population remains above recovery levels. States and Tribes also can become ‘‘designated agent(s)’’ and implement all or selected portions of this rule by entering into a cooperative agreement with the Service.

Furthermore, Section 6 of the ESA indicates that the DOI may enter in to a cooperative agreement with the states but management authority rests with, in this case, the USFWS otherwise.

Simply having an approved management plan is not adequate to grant a state lead management authority, an MOA is required.

From the ID Wolf 10j MOA FINAL_10506:


This agreement is effective through March 2010, unless terminated or wolves are delisted. This agreement may be terminated by either party after 90 days written notice in accordance with the 10(j) rule.

From our reading of the Endangered Species Act, it appears that such an agreement is required before the states can participate in management of an experimental, non-essential endangered species and, without such an agreement, the State of Idaho has no authority to manage wolves now that they are back on the Endangered Species list as section 10(j) animals.

Since relisting has occurred, there have been at least 4 instances whereby the IDFG has issued control orders, without apparent management authority, which have resulted in the death of at least 6 wolves.  There may have been many more because it is hard to get these numbers since the IDFG does not release information about its wolf management very often and hasn’t done so since June of this year.

Recently Governor Otter announced that he would hand back authority to manage wolves back to the USFWS if there wasn’t a new agreement by October 7 of this year. But, is it his to hand back?

Is the State of Idaho and the US Fish and Wildlife Service aware of this? Well, during the last meeting of the IDFG commissioners the subject of the expired MOA came up.  This shows that they are well aware of this lack of authority but there seems to be no attempt at clarifying any interim agreement while a new MOA is being negotiated. In the meantime the IDFG seems to be shooting from the hip and issuing control orders without legal authority.

It should be of concern when the government acts arbitrarily and it should be of concern to reasonable people who believe in the rule of law.

There were wolves in Montana before the reintroduction

Latest “shocker” from anti-wolf is no shock at all-

The anti-wolf folks are always coming up with new charges, which generally just show they haven’t been paying attention.

The latest is that there were wolves in Montana prior to the reintroduction in Idaho and Yellowstone!!!!

This is true, but it is not some hidden conspiracy. The fact has been discussed in numerous books and articles, and USFWS duly reported the number of Montana wolves and location of these wolves each year in its annual reports.

Here are the figures taken from their annual reports:

1979 = 2 wolves; 1980 = 1; 1981 = 2; 1982 = 8; 1983 = 6 1984 = 6; 1985 = 13; 1986 =15; 1987 = 10; 1988 = 14; 1989 = 12; 1990 = 33; 1991 = 29 1992= 41; 1993 = 55; 1994 = 48;   reintroduction 1995 = 66

Oddly enough after reintroduction, the numbers stagnated for quite a while. For example, there were only 64 wolves in 2000.

It’s reasonable to assume that without reintroduction, wolves would have naturally reestablished themselves in most of Montana, but migration would have been slow with a lot of wolves up north before they made it to Yellowstone and Wyoming. Because these wolves were fully “endangered,” rules governing them would have been a lot more strict than with those that were finally reintroduced in 1995.

Tests offer no proof of a wolf pack living in Colorado.

No wolf DNA found in suspected wolf scat.

The claims that a wolf pack has been living on a large ranch have been seen with skepticism by some.  It appears evidence, other than sightings of an individual, indicates that there is no pack present.

It doesn’t help that every wolf that ventures to the southern part of Wyoming is killed either.

Tests offer no proof of a wolf pack living in Colorado.
The Denver Post.

Wolf pups slain after packs kill livestock

More on the recent killing of pups in Wyoming

The USFWS is effectively keeping wolves from dispersing into Colorado and Utah with its heavy-handed approach.

Wolf pups slain after packs kill livestock.
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole News & Guide

Biologist Studies Wolves’ Possible Return to Colorado

Recent Colorado wolf sightings still not confirmed.

This is an interesting story about the possible return of wolves to Colorado. I’ve heard great skepticism about the earlier reports of evidence of breeding on or near the large ranch in northwest Colorado but it may be possible that there is an individual wolf present there. Results of the evidence is still pending.

Biologist Studies Wolves’ Possible Return to Colorado.

Mangy Druid wolf shot south of Butte, MT

Druid 690F shot by rancher south of Butte-

She was sick and beaten up by attacks from other wolves. She was trying for some livestock.

Butte, of course, is quite a distance from Yellowstone Park.

Yellowstone Park wolf killed near Butte. By Nick Gevock. Montana Standard

Wolves Reported on Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula

A group of up to three wolves may be living on the Lower Peninsula

For many years there have been lone wolves reported on the Lower Peninsula but this is the first confirmation of more than one. The wolves may have crossed the frozen lake near Mackinac Bridge to get there from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where wolves are well established.

DNRE, USDA Confirm Wolf Tracks in Cheboygan County
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Vampires and werewolves. Would Forks want some real wolves?

Now is the time to speak up on Washington State’s wolf management plan-

Forks on the Olympic Pennisula, until recently best known for logging, is the home of Twilght, romantic vampires. Has anyone not seen this? Yes, people over 40.

To get you up-to-date, here is a video from the Seattle Times.

The Olympic Penninsula could probably support one or two wolf packs. They aren’t going to migrate there, but the Washington wolf plan could put them there so that all the wolves that migrate into Washington State from Canada and Idaho don’t pile up in NE Washington.

There are 5 meetings left on the plan. The next one is Monday, Nov. 2 in Seattle. There is even a meeting in Sequim, not far from Forks.

Be brave! 😉

Mon., Nov. 2 Seattle REI store
222 Yale AVE N
Wed., Nov.4 Mount Vernon Cottontree Inn Convention Center
2300 Market ST
Thu., Nov. 5 Sequim Guy Cole Convention Center
Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake AVE
Mon., Nov. 9 Omak Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex
Hwy 97 South
Tue., Nov. 10 Wenatchee Chelan County PUD Auditorium
327 N Wenatchee Ave.


Washington State wolf plan out for public review*

Plan contemplates a possible large state wolf population-

Plan contemplates floor of 15 breeding pairs. Wolves to be distributed all around the state. AP

The preferred alternative sounds like an advanced plan with a much better distribution pattern of wolves than we find in Idaho, and especially better than Montana or Wyoming. Currently the state has two wolf packs. One, near Twisp, falls fully under protection of the Endangered Species Act and consists of wolves that migrated in, not from the Rockies, but from the B.C. Coastal ranges.

Here is the plan. 4.5mb pdf

– – – – – –

*Whoever wrote the headline in the PI story didn’t seem to sense the real story in the story.

Oregon Cattle Association whines over lost lambs, but gets little sympathy from the Oregonian

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association wants to shoot wolves on sight-

Wolves: Ranchers deserve to protect their property. By Bill Moore, guest opinion. Oregonian. Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

The howls over wolves. By The Oregonian Editorial Board

– – – –

Why the Cattle Association is worried about sheep is hard to say. As usual they fail to mention that the 23 lost lambs will be paid for. This “oversight” serves to make the financial loss appear much larger than it will be. Bill Moore also didn’t mention that the Oregon State wolf plan was adopted after much deliberation by a panel that included ranchers.

Once again for the sake of comparison. In Oregon, annual sheep and lamb losses to predators in the most recent NASS annual report were

Coyotes = 5,700
Cougar = 1,200
Dogs = 700
Eagles = 200
Bears = 100

Wolf sightings renew Colorado debate

Wolf sightings renew Colorado debate. By Charlie Meyers.  Denver Post Outdoors Editor.

Oregon Cattlemen’s wolf bill is dead

Bill to shoot Oregon wolves has died in Oregon legislature-

Wolf bill dead. Written by Ed Merriman. Baker City Herald

The Farm Bureau guy said, ““I understand they have a full plate, with the state economy in trouble, but if something isn’t done about the wolf attacks, this could possibly throw Baker County’s economy in a tailspin,” Browne said. [emphasis mine].

Must be a very fragile economy!

Officials hunt for pair of wolves south of Casper

Let’s hope they don’t find them and the wolves make it to the legal safety of Colorado-

Officials hunt for pair of wolves south of Casper. Casper Star Tribune.

Long-Wandering Wolf Found Dead in NW Colorado

Wolf 341F from just north of YNP didn’t find a mate in Colorado. Did she find a bullet?

The cause of death hasn’t been established yet, or at least released to the public. We have done several stories on her long wandering.

Long-Wandering Wolf Found Dead. Thousand-mile trek ends in death for lone wolf. By David Frey. New West.

Idaho, Cody wolves ‘pair’

Will genes from Idaho and the Yellowstone area finally begin to mix?

Former Idaho wolf B271M has been wandering around the Yellowstone area for over two years now. He had little success finding a mate in the Park, but has paired with a radio-collared female in Sunlight Basin to Yellowstone Park’s east.

So far there has been no genetic evidence that wolves from Idaho or NW Montana have produced offspring with the wolves that were reintroduced to Wyoming.

The Idaho wolf orginally came from a pack on the western edge of the Sawtooth Mountains of south central Idaho.

Story: Idaho, Cody wolves ‘pair’. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole Daily.

Montana wolf that made it to Colorado is back in Wyoming

Things too lonely in Colorado?

Wandering wolf back in Wyoming. by David Frey, Aspen Daily News Correspondent. Monday, March 23, 2009

– – – – –
3/24. This article was premature. Now she is back in Colorado

– – – –

Historical update written 2011.  This wolf was eventually poisoned with illegal 1080  in western Colorado.

Wyoming Legislature opts against new wolf rules

Can Delisting Occur Without Wyoming?

Legislature opts against new wolf rules.Casper Star-Tribune Online – Wyoming

The Wyoming legislature has decided not to change its wolf management plan which has not been accepted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For delisting to occur, among other things, Wyoming must submit an acceptable plan to the USFWS.

One other requirement is that wolves be able to exchange genes between metapopulations and no wolves from outside the Greater Yellowstone population have contributed to the GYE. Currently Idaho wolf B271 resides to the east of Yellowstone Park. Another wolf residing in SE Idaho (part of the GYE), incorrectly reported to be from NW Montana, actually came from the Paradise Valley which is part of the GYE.

With Idaho’s plans to kill 26 “chronic” wolf packs and its “Lolo Plan” to kill wolves in a futile effort to help elk there combined with Wyoming maintaining its stance on dual status it appears that delisting is a long way off.

Wolf sightings rise near Casper, Wyoming

Some good news from central Wyoming-

Wolf sightings rise near Casper. By Wes Smalling Casper Star Tribune.

This is deep in Wyoming’s “kill-them-all zone,” but with the wolf relisted, they can’t do it.

Idaho wolf update Sept. 13– Sept. 26, 2008

As most of you are aware, this is produced by Idaho Fish and Game Dept. There is more actual news in this one, including a new population estimate that shows Idaho’s wolf population up slightly compared to last year’s “end of the year” — official — report.

In this report and others, it is becoming clear the department is concerned about the connectivity of the Idaho wolf population to the Greater Yellowstone, the key to Judge Molloy’s injunction on the delisting. Idaho Fish and Game may be gearing up to let wolves flourish along the Idaho-Montana border, not just between Salmon, Idaho and Missoula, Montana and north, as they have, but although the Continental Divide (Idaho/Montana border) from Salmon to the Park area. In the past the wolves in this area have suffered heavy “control.”

The research component is interesting, and the our organization, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, is putting considerable financial resources into it.

In the report below, the boldface was added by me.

Ralph Maughan

– – – – – – – – –

To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Weeks of Sept. 13– Sept. 26, 2008.

New: FWS – Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Status (WY, MT, ID): The U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, July 18, 2008, that immediately reinstated temporary Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS pending final resolution of the case. This includes all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of

Read the rest of this entry »

Good wolf news from Boundary County, Idaho

There is now a large wolf pack near Sandpoint, Idaho, right up against the B.C. border. Hopefully they will expand and restore some of wolf popuation around Creston, Rossland and Nelson, B.C. where bad provincial policies have eliminated wolves.

Story. Boundary County residents glimpse pack of 14 wolves. By Gwen Albers. Hagadone News Network

Note: Hagadone is a far right-winger; probably not too pleased with wolves in Boundary County.

DNA tests confirm captured canids in Washington are wolves

The good news has now been confirmed.

DNA tests confirm wild gray wolves in Okanogan Co.. Associated Press (as printed in Idaho Statesman).

Update: there are 6 pups. So a North Cascades pack of 8 wolves!

Update: there are photos in this story. Long-absent wolves denning in Washington. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return?

Wildlife managers are excited by more evidence of a wolf pack in Washington on the west side of Highway 97 ~ still federally protected.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return? Seattle Times

Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch

Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch. AP.

This is on Ted Turner’s huge Vermejo Ranch. A wolf could migrate from Yellowstone this far south.

State of Washington prepares to return of wolves

Washington prepares for wolves’ return. The state won’t introduce the animals, but wants to be ready when they arrive. By John Trumbo. Tri-City Herald.

One good thing about this plan is that as the wolf population builds up in NE Washington (where they are expected to enter the state), after 5 packs the wolves would be trapped to distribute them across the entire state.

Update. Here is an AP story on Washington state wolves that goes beyond ranchers as the source of information. Washington State Prepares for Return of Wolves. AP

In fact, Kim Holt, our Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer, is one of the volunteers sitting on this state wolf committee.

Federal wolf recovery project leader for Wyoming, Mike Jimenez, to be out of job March 28.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. End of the Trail. By Chris Merrill.

– – – – —

Related. Rocky Barker’s blog, “Letters from the West,” has a story about Jemenez coupled with discussion that wolves were moving southward into Idaho and NW Montana prior to the wolf reintroduction. Note that Barker does not say wolf reintroduction in Idaho was, therefore unneeded. He correctly says it was going nowhere because of poisonings and shootings of the in-migrating wolves.

Wolves will be delisted in Eastern Oregon too, but protection continues under state plan

The delisting of the wolf is scheduled to go into effect March28. The boundaries of the delisted zone are “generous,” wiping out federal protection in Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington and Northern Utah as well as Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

A radio-collared wolf from Idaho’s Timberline pack dispersed into the NE Oregon Wallowas last winter. This wolf and all others in the entirely of Oregon will continue to be protected because Oregon has a fairly strong state wolf plan.

Meanwhile the wolf is being watched closely, and there is evidence of more single wolves and a least one group in the state.

Wolves get federal delisting in Eastern Oregon. Wallowa Chiefton.

Earlier story. Radio-Collared Gray Wolf from Idaho is Verified In Northeast Oregon. Jan. 24, 2008.

Later story. Wolf actions elsewhere won’t affect Oregon rules. Wyoming, Montana and Idaho have ended endangered status. Statesman-News. This story describes the Oregon state wolf plan.

Posted in Delisting, Oregon wolves, Wolf dispersal, Wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on Wolves will be delisted in Eastern Oregon too, but protection continues under state plan

Little sign of wolves in Lower Michigan

Michigan has a fairly large recovered wolf population (over 500 wolves), but essentially all live in the UP, that part of the state which, geographically speaking, is upper Wisconsin. Despite reports of wolves in Lower Michigan, the Michigan DNR finds them so scattered they are stopping intensive monitoring for wolves in that part of the state.

DNR: Broad wolf search ends. But officials will continue case-by-case efforts. Bu Sheri McWhirter. Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Radio-Collared Gray Wolf from Idaho is Verified In Northeast Oregon

Here is some great news!

Update: Video of the Oregon wolf on YouTube.

Update: Here is the story from a local newspaper. Biologist sees wolf in Wallowas. Baker City Herald. By Jayson Jacoby.

Update: Here is the story in the Oregonian. Idaho wolf spotted in northeast Oregon. The radio-collared female is the first live wolf seen in Oregon since March 1999. Friday, January 25, 2008. By Richard Cockle. The Oregonian Staff


Original news release Jan. 24, 2008

Contact: ODFW:
Russ Morgan: 541-963-2138
Michelle Dennehy: 503-947-6022
FWS: Phil Carroll: 503-231-6179

A female gray wolf from Idaho’s Timberline Pack has been positively located in Oregon, using radio signals from her tracking collar. The wolf, a two- to three-year-old female identified as B-300F, has been wearing the collar since she was captured northeast of Boise by Idaho biologists in August 2006. She’s now traveling in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest near the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area, between Medical Springs and Wallowa. Biologists have observed evidence of wolves in this area over the past six months.

Aerial searches for signals from wolf tracking collars, specifically those which have been reported as missing from Idaho, helped the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife located the wolf. A signal was picked up January 17, but the location of the animal was not confirmed. A ground search the next day turned up tracks which appeared to be of a wolf.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wolf tracks found in Rocky Mountain National Park

Wolf tracks found in RMNP. By Pamela Dickman. Longmont Times-Call.

Recall that about a month ago there was a sighting of what was thought to be a wolf in the Park. These tracks are NOT really proof of a

NPR: Government Revisits Contested Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

On National Public Radio, this is mostly audio, Government Revisits Contested [Mexican] Wolf Recovery Plan. By Ted Robbins.

For those who like it by ear, this is an overview of the current controversy, government efforts for a better plan, and the incipient failure of the Mexican wolf restoration.

Posted in Mexican wolves, politics, Wolf dispersal, Wolves, Wolves and Livestock. Comments Off on NPR: Government Revisits Contested Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

Possible wolf sighting in Rocky Mountain National Park called “credible” by officials

This may be very good news. Of course, much better new would be two large “canids.”

Colorado does have wolf management guidelines in place. Rocky Mountain National Park is overfull of elk, so many the Park Service wants to start shooting them.

Story in the Estes Park Trail-Gazettte. By John Cordsen.

Pair of wolves moves into Eastern Oregon

At least it looks like a pair of wolves, rather than a single wolf has moved into Oregon. The tracks of the pair (and there could be more) have been repeatedly seen in the canyon and high peak country of the Wallowa Mountains.

Story in the Baker, Oregon (Baker City Herald). newspaper. Local wolves not all lone. By Jayson Jacoby.

When the wolf is delisted, slated for late February, any wolves in Eastern Oregon will lose their federal protection because the USFWS was careful to draw the delisting lines to more sure good wolf habitat adjacent to Idaho in other states would not be protected. Fortunately, Oregon does have a state wolf protection plan in place.

More on the Idaho wolf that went to Yellowstone

It turns out to be true, but the identification of the particular wolf was wrong. Ed Bangs just sent this info out. The boldface is mine:

“Correction- The frequency for the collared Idaho wolf in Yellowstone NP thought to be B195 is actually coming from Idaho wolf B271M. The two wolves had frequencies close to one another and B271 was mistaken for B195. Turns out B195 has a bob-tail and this one doesn’t so the mistake was eventually discovered by Niemeyer [former FWS and now IDFG]. B271 is currently with a dispersing female from Slough Creek Pack on the northern range of YNP- possibly the beginning of a new pack. B271’s story is amazing. B271’s father is highly likely R241M (who dispersed to ID from YNP; heli-darted 10/13/01 near Dome Mtn.). His mother is likely B189F (origin unknown). B271 was trapped in rubber-jawed McBride #7 by IDFG near the Steel Mt. pack den site (Lost Man Ck.; Boise NF) on 5/3/06. He was estimated as ~ 1 yr. old at that time; so if born in 2005 he belonged to a litter of 4-7 pups. He was aerially located 10 times prior to disappearing from ID following the 12/19/06 flight. His ear tags are both 413. Wow- the son returns to his father’s homeland.

See earlier story I wrote on this. A First. Idaho Wolf goes to Yellowstone Park, joins Sloughs. Nov. 16. 2007

A first: Idaho wolf migrates to Yellowstone Park. Joins Sloughs

It is said all the time that Yellowstone Park is a source of wolves — wolves don’t migrate into the Park, only out of it. This has been demonstrated to be true . . . almost.

Last spring Dr. Doug Smith spotted a new wolf in the Slough Creek Pack. After a while, and I’m not sure when, they noticed that while he had a radio collar, it didn’t seem to work. Eventually they noticed he had blue ear tags (given to wolves collared in Idaho). Finally they discovered the collar did work and was close to the frequency of Idaho wolf B195M, who originated in the central Idaho White Cloud Mountains (Lynne’s Stone’s country). They made the call apparently, and decided he is that wolf from Idaho.

Folks might recall that last summer the Slough Creek Pack got a new alpha male, when the old alpha male was hit by a car in the Park. The aggressive new Slough alpha, wolf 590M (who came from the nearby Agate Creek pack) seems to have forced B195M out of the pack.

Dan Stahler told me today that B195M now seems to be “associating” with a Slough female (527F) who has left the pack.

– – – –

Several wolves from Wyoming (not from the Park, however)have dispersed to central Idaho; and one is known to have come from Idaho to Wyoming. He joined in the formation of the Greybull Pack. B195M, however, seems to be the very first wolf from anywhere outside the near vicinity of Yellowstone Park to enter and find a place with a pack.

There is concern that the wolf populations, especially the Yellowstone Park wolf population, and maybe others if there is a big state sanctioned wolf slaughter could lose its fine genetic diversity. Interstate migrations might mitigate this. Of course, the migrants have to breed and the pups survive and breed for this to happen.

A paper or two is currently underway to investigate if there has been identifiable genetic exchange between the 3 wolf population segments — central Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

New documentary out, “Wolves in Paradise”

Paradise Valley, Montana, that is.

Story:  By Martin J. Kidston. Helena Independent Record

Animal killed in western Mass. may be state’s first wolf, officials say

Animal killed in western Mass. may be state’s first wolf, officials say. By The Patriot Ledger. GateHouse News Service.

It might have been a wolf or a hybrid. If a wolf, it might have been a released pet. That’s what they are now saying about the Vermont canid shot a year ago and turned out to be a wolf. It was probably a pet.

I wouldn’t be too quick to believe that, given their strong incentive to hope these are not wild wolves.

“Canid” shot a year ago in Vermont was a wolf, genetic tests say

One of the most viewed articles on this blog has been the post of a year ago about what seemed to be a wolf, the first in over 100 years, shot in Vermont. Story from Oct. 2006.

Finally, genetic tests are in and indicate it was a wolf.

Genetic test confirms wolf shot in Vermont. By Peter Hirschfeld. Times Argus Staff

Wolves back in Washington

Officials are reporting the presence of a wolf in Washington. This from the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A calf in northeastern Washington was killed by a wolf, proving the endangered species is once again within the borders of Washington after being killed off decades ago, wildlife officials said Friday.

Wildlife copes with threat of [Castle Rock] fire

No doubt similiar situations are taking place all over the burning parts of Idaho (the Castle Rock fire is not nearly as large as the East Zone fire complex, east of McCall, for example).

No doubt many wolf packs have moved too, out of the necessity of avoiding the flames and to follow the elk and deer. We will probably hear more about that in the future with the wolves killing a few more sheep and cattle than usual, with headlines as big as those about the fires.

Story: Wildlife Copes, By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer

Castle Rock Fire on YouTube (great time lapse video).

Posted in Grazing and livestock, Idaho wolves, Wildfires, Wildlife Habitat, Wolf dispersal, Wolves. Comments Off on Wildlife copes with threat of [Castle Rock] fire

Feds ask public for input to aid recovery of Mexican Gray Wolves

FWS intends to modify the Mexican Gray wolf recovery rules given the disappointing recovery thus far. As many wolves died so far this year as pups born.

Feds ask for input on gray wolves program

55 or less remain in Arizona and New Mexico, far fewer than the 102 hoped for by 2006. FWS has killed or otherwise removed 53 wolves since 1998 given the restrictive rules of the recovery plan – which among other things contain the wolves in the ‘Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area’.

In 2006, Center for Biological Diversity filed suit when FWS failed to respond to the Center’s legal petition to alter the rules.

Here is the Center’s full press release.

And here is a blog post on the Huffington Post by Glenn Hurowitz that grants kudos to New Mexico’s Governor, and Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Richardson for his call to end federal policy which kills Mexican gray wolves.

Addition Aug. 10. From the Albuquerque Tribune. Commentary: It’s time to confront policies that harm Mexican gray wolf numbers. By Melissa Hailey.
“Stymied by political interference, the [Mexican] wolf recovery program has been a marked failure. If federal managers continue to swap science for politics when it comes to wolf management, both the lobos and the will of the American people may be lost forever.”

Wolves in Illinois?

 POST 990

There is no doubt wolves do venture down from Wisconsin to Illinois. They don’t last because of poor habitat, especially because of all the people and agriculture. Dead wolves have have found in Illinois and even crossed the state and made it through most of Indiana, almost to Ohio.

Story in the Rockford Register Star. Wolves among us? By Doug Goodman

An American icon in the crosshairs? Bush’s delisting plans harmful to wolf recovery in Oregon

Few animals stir up as much emotion and heated debate as gray wolves. In many ways these majestic predators are the symbol of American wilderness, of wild places that have not yet been clear-cut or paved over. They were once common throughout Western America, including Oregon, but a misguided policy of using tax dollars to fund extermination programs drove them to the brink of extinction.Today gray wolves represent the beginning of a great American conservation success story. Because of the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act, and the hard work of countless biologists, landowners and concerned citizens, wolves are making a strong comeback.But in February, the Bush administration announced plans to remove western gray wolves from the endangered species list and hand over management to state governments. The proposal comes as a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means wolf populations are rebounding, at least in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — there are still no confirmed wolf packs here in Oregon. But it also means the feds will hand the keys over to states like Idaho, which could spell disaster for Idaho’s wolves and wolf recovery in Oregon.This is from a guest opinion in the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal. Read the full story. (Link has been moved or deleted by Statesman Journal)

Interpack wolf conflict accounts for 44% of wolf deaths on Park northern range.

The northern range Yellowstone wolf packs are increasing fighting and killing each other according to this article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.  If you compare the 2005 and 2006 statistics on Park wolves, you may be astonished to see that the natural death and out-migration of adult wolves from the Park has been close to 50% a year.

The more scattered packs of the Park’s interior do not suffer from this rivalry.

As Ed Bang’s says in a quote and I predicted 2 years ago, the Park wolf population has peaked and will likely never again reach the high number counted at the end of 2004.

Read  YNP wolves in mortal combat. By Cory Hatch

IDFG Wolf Management Powerpoint

Here we have the slides from an IDFG  powerpoint presentation given by Steve Nadeau – IDFG’s large carnivore manager.  The presentation lays out data regarding wolf numbers, distribution throughout the state, and some basic tidbits which may help to better understand how Idaho intends to manage wolves. The presentation illustrates the intention to split up the state into management ‘Zones’ based on biological and ‘sociological’ concerns which will justify the establishment of “No Tolerance” zones. 

“Adaptive Management”, a technique we’ve seen to a larger degree with federal agencies – used to fuzzy the definitive lines of legal mandate, will be used to employ “focused aggressive but overall conservative” management of wolves.  Trapping will be used if needed to meet harvest objectives. 

Extra security planned for Spokane meeting on wolves

This story is from the Spokane Spokesman Review.  Was there extra security at the other delisting meetings.

Link to “Extra Security Planned.”  By James Hagengruber.

Note: the Spokesman Review  is a link unfriendly newspaper. Hope the link above continues to work, at least for a while.

The long life of one wolf [B7M] embodies the story of wolf recovery in Idaho

On Jan. 17, I posted my story on the death of Idaho wolf B7M.

Today Rocky Barker at the Idaho Statesman wrote a long feature article tying this very long-lived wolf (the oldest yet?) into the Idaho wolf recovery story. It is an amazing story! The long life of one wolf embodies the story of wolf recovery in Idaho. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Wyoming Wolf dispute could extend for years

This article is from the Casper Star Tribune. By Jared Miller.

Giving the standoff between the USFWS and Wyoming, the current wolf situation with the federal government continuing to do all the wolf management in most of NW Wyoming, and Wyoming yelling about wolves and the federal government, could go on indefinitely.

Wyoming’s political oligarchy will only benefit from its current stance.

Quoting from the Star-Tribune, “Vance Welsh, owner of an auto body shop in Afton, said state leaders were right to reject the federal offer. When it comes to wolves, Wyoming needs to stick to its guns, he said. ‘I think that the governor is doing the right thing,’ said Welsh, who has several outfitter friends and follows the issue closely. ‘We’ve been lied to enough from the feds, and there is no need in accepting whatever they decided they want to have shoved down our throats.’ ”

Folks like this are Governor Freuenthal’s ace-in-hole. He can play the big bad federal government issue for as many years as he wants to remain in office.

In fact, Wyoming got already got most of what it wanted — the delisting proposal in fact eliminates all wolf protection in Wyoming outside of a portion of NW Wyoming, where most, but not all of the wolves are, greatly reducing the likelihood they will migrate down to Eastern Idaho, nothern Utah, and Colorado.

Utah wolves are in line to lose protection in the delisting

Technically there aren’t any wolves in Utah, although there really are probably a few in northern Utah. Nevertheless, Northern Utah was included in the Northern Rockies wolf delisting.

So was Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. All these places would highly likely to see wolf in-migration.

I can see only one reason for this — it’s to prevent the recolonization of any adjacent Western States by wolves.

Article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah wolves are in line to lose protection. But technically there aren’t any. By Joe Baird

136 wolves at year’s end in Yellowstone Park.

Wolf population figures are in for 2006 for Yellowstone Park. Ten breeding pairs, 136 wolves, and 13 packs were identified after intensive observations.

It is fascinating to compare this year’s figures with the past.

The wolf population in the Park peaked in 2003 with 174 wolves. At the end of 2004 the population was essentially the same, 171 wolves, but after very high wolf pup mortality in 2005, the Park wolf population dropped 30% to 118 wolves, the first real decrease in the history of the wolf recovery program in the Park.

In 2006, there was excellent pup survival. Seven-five pups were born and 60 survived until Jan. 1, 2007. The total wolf population grew by just 18 wolves to 136. About 45% of the Park’s wolf population is pups!

The reason for the slow regrowth of the wolf population is mostly out-migration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ancient Idaho wolf B7M hit by vehicle north of Salmon, Idaho. Was he the last of the reintroduced wolves?

All of the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone Park in 1995 and 1996 are now long dead.

Their counterparts who were released in Idaho, however, either by luck or the excellence of Idaho as wolf country have continued to show up. Wolf B7M, introduced from Alberta and released on the Middle Fork of Salmon River in January 1995, was recently found dead, hit by a vehicle, on a road about 15 miles north of Salmon, Idaho.

B7M was a 60 pound yearling when he came to Idaho. He soon joined with another reintroduced wolf, B11F, named “Blackfire” by Idaho school children, to form a bond that lasted ten years and established one of Idaho’s old wolf packs — the Big Hole Pack which inhabits the state border country of Idaho and Montana just to the south of Lolo Pass.

These wolves did get in a minor bit of livestock trouble early on and were briefly taken from the wild and penned in Yellowstone Park and later in an enclosure near the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho at Running Creek. They were sometimes called the “Running Creek Pair.”

The pair were both visually sighted in the summer of 2005, apparently still leading the pack they created. It is possible that Blackfire lives on still.

If you use a search engine to search my old web site, you will find many articles about B7 and B11.

Update. Jan. 19. Ed Bangs has reported that B7M was at least 13 3/4 years old. He might have been 14 3/4 years. B7 might possibly have been the oldest wild wolf on record.

Howls and prints indicate return of wolves to Washington State

“Although there’s no evidence a wolf pack is living in the state [the state of Washington], experts say it’s just a matter of time. To prepare for the return, the state has formed a panel of 18 hunters, ranchers, environmentalists and biologists to help write a wolf management plan.” Rest of the story in the Times-News.

Nevertheless, wolf prints are now being seen frequently in NE Washington, and howling is heard.

The Wolf Recovery Foundation is pleased to announce that Kim Holt, a member of our Board of Directors, was appointed to the new Washington state wolf panel.

Washington State wolf plan working group is selected

In anticipation that wolves from Idaho and/or British Columbia will disperse to Washington state, “Eighteen citizens have been selected as members of a working group to guide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in developing a plan for conservation and management of gray wolves that are expected to make their way to” the state.

Here is the news release. I should note with pride that Kim Holt, the Wolf Recovery Foundation’s secretary/treasurer is one of the 18 folks selected.

Here is the entire news release.

The working group members are:
§ Daryl Asmussen of Tonasket, cattle rancher
§ John Blankenship of Tenino, Wolf Haven International executive director
§ Duane Cocking of Newman Lake, sportsman
§ Jeff Dawson of Colville, cattle rancher
§ Paula J. DelGiudice of Seattle, sportswoman, National Wildlife Federation Western Natural Resource Center director
§ Gerry Ring Erickson of Shelton, former Defenders of Wildlife Washington state field representative
§ Jack Field of Ellensburg, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice-president
§ George Halekas of Deer Park, retired Forest Service biologist
§ Kim Holt of Snohomish, Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer
§ Derrick Knowles of Spokane, Conservation Northwest outreach coordinator
§ Colleen McShane of Seattle, consulting ecologist
§ Ken Oliver of Newport, Pend Oreille County Commissioner
§ Tommy Petrie, Jr. of Newport, Pend Oreille County Sportsmen’s Club president
§ John Stuhlmiller of Lacey, Washington Farm Bureau assistant director of government relations
§ Arthur Swannack of Lamont, Washington Sheep Producers president
§ Bob Tuck of Selah, consulting biologist, former Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner
§ Greta M. Wiegand of Seattle, retiree, outdoor recreationist
§ Georg Ziegltrum of Olympia, Washington Forest Protection Association wildlife biologist

“This is a diverse group of people representing a wide range of interests that could be affected by future resident wolf populations in Washington,” said Jeff Koenings, PhD., director of WDFW. “We selected individuals who have a track record of building consensus.”

A total of 56 people submitted applications or were nominated for the working group.

Although gray wolves were largely eradicated in Washington by the 1930s, sightings have increased since federal wolf-recovery efforts began in Idaho and Montana in the mid-1990s. The success of those efforts has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose removing gray wolf populations from the federal list of endangered species in three states and parts of four other states, including Washington.

“If gray wolves are removed from federal species protection status, Washington and other western states will have primary responsibility for managing their wolf populations,” Koenings said. “We need to prepare for that possibility by developing a conservation and management plan that works for people and wildlife.”

The gray wolf is also designated as a state endangered species in Washington, so the plan must identify population objectives and appropriate conservation and management strategies, as well as addressing wolf management in Washington after the species is removed from the federal list of endangered species.

The working group will convene next month and will meet approximately every other month over the coming year. A draft plan is scheduled for completion by Dec. 30, and will be followed by a public review period. The final plan is expected by June 30, 2008.

A separate technical advisory group of biologists from state and federal agencies also will be formed to provide information and expertise to the citizen working group.

Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate

Year of the wolf: 2007 could be decisive year in long-running debate.” By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

It should be noted that Turnell, much quoted in the article, does not own the Pitchfork Ranch. He is the ranch manager. I understand the owners are out-of-state. The Pitchfork Ranch is not a typical ranch, but a very large and rich ranch that made its money off of oil. The ranch has wildlife all over it, and keeping wolves in the adjacent mountains is like keeping ants from crossing a line you draw on piece of paper.

There has been a big increase in wolves in the area in recent years, probably due to an overabundance of deer. This is a likely corridor for the introduction of chronic wasting disease into the Greater Yellowstone, and by killing weak deer, the wolves may be the only ones in  Wyoming doing anything on-the-ground to stop the dread disease.

Let the public be part of the Wyoming wolf talks

The sudden aboutface by the federal government on Wyoming’s proposed (and yet to be formally revised) wolf management plan was not the product of Ed Bangs (as some had suggested).

It clearly came from the top, as this editorial in the Casper Star Tribune complains. Wolf conservation groups were not involved. Basically no one was involved except the stockgrowers and the highest levels of political leadership in Wyoming and in the USFWS (and my guess, higher than that).

Editorial. Let the public be part of the Wyoming wolf talks. Casper Star-Tribune Editorial Board

From the editorial (regarding Bangs)

“Another mistake by the state occurred when [Cody’s Wyoming’s state representative Pat] Childers asked top Fish and Wildlife officials to keep their wolf recovery coordinator, Ed Bangs, from speaking publicly about wolves.

Bangs is the expert who has been spearheading wolf reintroduction in the West since it occurred a decade ago. He has a reputation for openness that often irritates his detractors. Still, he shares Wyoming’s desire to see wolves removed from the endangered species list.

Childers indicated more public statements by Bangs could hinder efforts to resolve the conflict, or could inflame controversy and result in disruptive litigation.

‘Some duct tape on Mr. Bangs’ mouth would probably help,’ Childers said.

Mitch King, Fish and Wildlife’s regional director, indicated he would do his best to silence Bangs. If so, he’ll be muzzling one of the few players in the wolf saga who has shown the willingness and spine over the years to conduct an open discussion on this highly controversial issue with the public.”

I think such open indication of coercion of a public servant by the appointed political leadership argues strongly in favor of conservationists winning a lawsuit on the Wyoming wolf plan.

Added later. It’s from New West. “New Wolf Plan May Be Dead On Delivery.” By Brodie Farquhar

Wolves Are Not Dispersing As Fast As Expected from Yellowstone

An interesting article in Science News this morning–wolves are not moving out of the Greater Yellowstone as fast as mathematical models predict.

I don’t know the details of the article, but I suspect the reason is that the area is surrounded by ring of domestic sheep and the wolves shot for killing sheep.

NE Montana mystery canid finally killed after a year

Some folks thought it was a wolf hybrid, some thought a wolf. It has been preying on sheep in NE Montana for over a year. It turned out to be a wolf, way out on the Montana plains.

There is no evidence that other wolves are in the area. The wolf was a bit more reddish than most and had no radio collar or tags. It could have been a disperser from the Greater Yellowstone or somewhere else in Montana.

Not all Montana wolves by any means are derived from the Yellowstone Park reintroduction. The Montana wolf recovery began with the migration of wolves down the spine of the Rockies from Alberta and British Columbia in the 1980s. Later their numbers were augmented by dispersal of reintroduced wolves from Idaho and Greater Yellowstone.

There is an outside chance it was an illegally released wolf or even a disperser from Minnesota.

Story in the Billings Gazette. By Mike Stark.

Posted in Montana wolves, Wolf dispersal, Wolves, Wolves and Livestock. Comments Off on NE Montana mystery canid finally killed after a year

Famous Idaho wolf who went Oregon found long dead

Back 1998 a young female wolf swam the Snake River and crossed into Oregon from Idaho eventually settling in the Blue Mountains in what would be a fruitless search for a mate. However, wolf B45F wore a radio collar broadcasting her location, and after much controversy, she was captured and returned to central Idaho.

Back in Idaho, she always hung out about 2030 miles north of McCall in Western Idaho in the Secesh River, Squaw Meadows, Clochman Saddle, Burgdorf, Carey Dome Country. She was seen from time-to-time in the company of uncollared wolves, but it is not known if she was basically a loner, a pack member, or even the alpha of one of the many packs that have come and gone, and keep coming in the generalsquaw-meadows.jpg area — perhaps the Carey Dome Pack or the Partridge Creek Pack?

Her skeleton was found by a Wildlife Services agent in Squaw Meadows Oct. 16. Grass was growing through it, but her radio collar’s numbers could be deciphered.

Here are some past stories

Idaho Wolf shows up in northeast Oregon. Feb 1999 (with many updates)

Blue Mountain Wolf Captured and Returned to Idaho. Late March 1999

There is at least one wolf currently wandering in NE Oregon, probably more, but recovery has been slow and B45 was an early pioneer.

I took the photo above of Squaw Meadows on June 30 this year. Her skeleton was out there somewhere. Instead I spent my time wandering around Clochman Saddle.

On the hunt for the elusive Adirondack wolf

Biologist John Way suggested this article–“On the hunt for the elusive Adirondack wolf.
It seems that the belief that wolves have, or are about to reinhabit the Adirondacks is not new, nor is debate over what the eastern coyote really is.

90-pound canid (wolf?) shot in Vermont

If this was a wolf, it would be the first true wolf seen in Vermont in over a hundred years. There are wolves to the north in Quebec, but they are not immediately adjacent to Vermont.

It is well known that the “eastern” coyote, which is usually much larger than the “western” coyote, is often a mixture of grey wolf (not dog) and coyote genes. These wolf/coyote hybrids seem well adapted to the New England countryside.

Story in the Boston Globe.

New. Oct. 9. Story with photo of the canid in the Burlington Free Press.

There is at least one wolf in NE Oregon

Earlier I posted about one or more wolf sightings in the Wallowa Mtns. of NE Oregon. Now the presence of one black male wolf has been verified. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife say they are sure it is a wild wolf.

Reporter Michael Milstein of the Oregonian has an article about it today. He used to write for the Billings Gazette in Montana, and he produced numerous wolf stories back in those days. Read Oregonian article.

Posted in Wolf dispersal, Wolves. Comments Off on There is at least one wolf in NE Oregon

Likely wolf found dead in northern Utah coyote trap

An adult male canid, probably a wolf, was found dead in a coyote trap in Box Elder County in northern Utah. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it today. They are doing a DNA test. Wolf biologists have hundreds of blood samples of Yellowstone and Yellowstone area wolves, so they can tell if it is a wolf and if it came down from Wyoming. They might even be able to trace it to a certain wolf pack.

While a dead wolf may seem like bad news, the good news is they continue to make it to Utah. Eventually packs will form. In fact, I think there was a pack in the Bear River Range several years back, but I haven’t heard anything lately.


An article giving more information has appeared.

“Rare wolf pays visit to Utah, dies in trap. Discovery, second in Utah since ’02, revives talk of recolonization.” By Joe Baird. Salt Lake Tribune.

So, it was in the hills north of Tremonton, Utah. That’s not far from where a wolf was shot by a man from Pocatello — shot almost on the Utah/Idaho border several years back. In both cases the route down from Yellowstone is not so clear as it is for a wolf that shows up in the Bear River Range, which is more to the east.
Could be a wolf migrating down from Central Idaho.

Wild wolves again might be at home in Oregon

I got some email and there was a post further down in the blog that there is fairly good evidence that a group or a pack of wolves has formed in Eastern Oregon near or in the Wallowa Mountains. The Wallowas are close to Hells Canyon which is the Oregon-Idaho border. There are wolf packs near Hells Canyon on the Idaho side. While it’s doubtful wolves would cross Hells Canyon in the summer (it may be the hottest place in Idaho at the bottom), they could easily swim the Snake River, at its bottom, in the winter.

The story in in todays Oregonian. Read article.

I have received emails and oral reports of wolves in the Wallowas, mostly near Halfway, OR for several years now.

Elk in the lupine at Little Eagle Meadows in the Wallowa
Mountains, NW of Halfway, OR. Copyright © Ralph Maughan
This is on the south side of the Wallowas

Wolf hit on Interstate 90 near Sturgis, SD was a Yellowstone area wolf

Last April a large wolf-like “canid” was found dead along I-90 east of Sturgis, SD.

Examination of its stomach contents showed it had been subsisting on deer.

Was it a wolf, a wolf hybrid, a pet wolf that had been released? After much laboratory investigation and genetic analysis, it turns out it was a wolf that had left (dispersed) from the Yellowstone ecosystem.

This is a huge distance, but the story is not just a wow!! Equally long dispersals of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone, and wolves in Canada have been documented in recent years.

There are those who say that the wolves reintroduced to Idaho and Yellowstone (from Canada) in 1995-6 were somehow different than the essentially extinct “native” wolves, but these long-range dispersals dispel this argument. For wolves to develop into a different species or sub-species, they have to be isolated so the populations cannot mate with one another. If wolves are dispersing 400 miles now, they certainly did so for thousands of years in the past.

That is why the story is important.