Monday, June 9, 2014

The Wolf Report #1 (June 11. 2014)

A Lonely Wolf Gets A New Mate, Powerful Friends, and A Little Protection

A wolf known as OR-7 has become quite a celebrity in the American Northwest. The offspring of wolves reintroduced into Idaho back in the mid-90's, OR-7 left his Wallowa Mountains pack and struck out on his own. He was trapped by wildlife biologists and collared. (Hence his name; he is the seventh wolf collared in Oregon.) His first claim to fame was traveling into California in 2012 -- the first wolf to be seen alive in that state since the 1940s. A petition presented by the Center of Biological Diversity and other conservation groups encouraged the state of California to declare the wolf an endangered species, which California's Fish and Game Commission did just last week, to the chagrin of many livestock growers in the state. Now OR-7 has made more history. He has found his mate, a black female, and they have produced their first litter -- the first wolves born in Oregon's Cascade Mountains in more than 70 years. Since the pack's territory is about 60 miles from its northern border, California has good reason to believe that it will once again have its own wolf population before long.

Related articlse: 


After 16 months of deliberation, British Columbia's Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations produced a 56-page Management Plan for the Grey Wolf this past April. Said plan included details on how the province's wolf population, which is estimated to be 8500, could be culled to help the recovery of mountain caribou and to limit conflict with livestock. But a biologist named Bob Hayes, who spent 20 years studying wolves and wrote the book Wolves of the Yukon has gone public with his reservations about the plan. Hayes believes the plan could have benefited from more than just the minimal public involvement that was allowed. He thinks it should explicitly state the province's recognition that wolves have a right to exist, and that the language is too vague on the subject of whether poison would be used to control wolf numbers. (Apart from being a very inhumane way to put an animal to death, poison affects non-target species.) Hayes is dubious about the claim that simply reducing wolf numbers will lead to increased mountain caribou populations, since a number of other factors, such as logging operations in certain forests, have a significant impact on caribou. And he is adamantly opposed to the length of the wolf hunting period, which extends into the denning season. Hayes: "It's ethically wrong to do that. Once an animal is in its den with its pups, it should be protected to raise its pups."

Farmer Kills One Wolf, Second Still on the Loose

A wolf was killed by a landowner on Tuesday, June 10th, in Franklin County, MO., after the landowner spotted it within an enclosed area on his property. More than one sheep was reportedly found slaughtered inside the enclosure. The wolf was identified by its owner, who had kept it, with one other wolf, in a cage. Both wolves had escaped, and the surviving wolf was, possibly, sighted along I-44. How the owner of the wolf had come to have two wolves in his possession, and whether they are hybrids is not known as I write this.

Wolf Stamp -- We Are Not Beggar
In this article published in The Wildlife News on 6.9.14, George Wuerthner argues that buying a wolf stamp approved by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks would amount to funding wrong-headed wolf  "management." Wuerthner argues that in the first place wolves, like other large predators, do not need to be managed, as they are self-regulated by prey abundance and social interactions. The author chastises those conservation groups that back wolf management, which sometimes results in indiscriminate hunting and trapping, while agencies like the MDFWP, in charge of said managemen,t fails to use basic ecological science in making their policies. "I can make a very cogent argument that state wildlife agencies tend to do more harm to wildlife and biodiversity than good," claims Wuerthner. Interestingly, the wolf stamp proposal was adopted by the MDFWP because hunting and fishing license fee revenues are declining. The author urges readers to make sure that funds derived from schemes like the production of a wolf stamp actually benefit wildlife before buying into them, and goes on to explain how citizens already DO contribute to wildlife and wildlife habitats in a variety of ways, putting the lie to the self-serving claim by some hunters and anglers that they are the ones who put their money where their mouths are when it comes to wildlife conservation. Wuerthner concludes that as long as "MDFWP sees wolves as a 'problem' to get rid of or limit [then] almost anything that is funded by a wolf stamp will be a waste of wolf supporters' funds."

A 2008 Belarus stamp featuring a wolf

For $20,000 George R.R. Martin Will Kill You and Save the Wolves

Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin is such an ardent wolf supporter that he has been raising funds for Santa Fe's Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Now Martin is offering to immortalize big donors ($20,000) in an upcoming novel with this sweetener -- that the fictional character representing the donor will die a gruesome death.

WildEarth Guardian board member Nat Cobb is beginning his 2,750 miles bicycle ride for wolves in just a few days (6.13.14). Cobb is already close to reaching his goal of raising $25,000 and hopefully will raise much more as he rides from Banff, Alberta along the Great Divide to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Visit the link before to learn more:

The 3,000 wolves in Romania's Carpathian Mountains are unprotected, with a six-month long hunting season about to begin. Read more and please consider signing the petition to the Romanian Ministry of Environment and Forests at

photo by Tom Brakefield