Tag Archives: wolves

Wolves ‘best natural defense’ against chronic wasting disease

Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf

Chronic Wasting Disease is a problem for ungulate species in Montana. Wolves may be one good way to control it . . .

Wolves are the perfect animal to help reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease among elk, deer and moose, wolf advocates told the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission last week during the board’s meeting in Helena.

“And it doesn’t cost us anything,” said Marc Cooke, president of Wolves of the Rockies.

Cooke’s comment Friday was later endorsed by former Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Gary Wolfe, who was once the program leader for the CWD Alliance, which tracks and provides information on the fatal disease.

Read more . . .

Wolf advocates warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service they’re in for a lawsuit

Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf

The USFWS is about to get sued to make them keep a tight eye on the wolf population for another five years . . .

A coalition of wolf advocates has warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they plan to sue if the agency doesn’t extend its supervision of wolf populations in Montana and Idaho another five years.

“When the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing another five years of federal monitoring is warranted,” said Matthew Koehler of Missoula-based Wild West Institute, one of five groups putting FWS on notice. “Given the situation on the ground and the ways state policy is changing, we think the prudent thing to do is keep monitoring wolf populations so they’re not hunted and trapped back to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and Cascadia Wildlands joined Wild West Institute in the notice. By law, groups objecting to a federal agency must give it 60 days advance warning to offer time to craft a solution before going to court.

Read more . . .

‘Coexistence Is Possible: Humans, Wild Animals and Nature’ presentation Jan. 12

Elke Duerr, a frequent visitor to the North Fork, is, among many other things, a filmmaker. She is showing a short video on coexistence of wolves and people at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 12, in the United Way conference room of the Gateway Community Center. Her press release has the details . . .

Coexistence Is Possible:  Humans, Wild Animals and Nature
A look at our relationship to wild animals and the natural world from the perspective of Unity Consciousness

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
— Mahatma Gandhi

If you talk to the animals, they will talk with you, and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them, you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear.
What one fears, one destroys.
— Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Elke Duerr is a bi-national filmmaker, conservationist, interspecies communicator and founder and director of the nonprofit Web of Life Foundation W.O.L.F.  Drawing on her experience with endangered Mexican Gray Wolves and wild American Bison, Elke will present a short video about successful coexistence between wolves and humans at our January meeting.

Elke writes that our human relationship with wild animals and wilderness has historically been one of fear and preference for domesticated animals and tamed nature. She believes that to preserve all life forms on this planet, this story has to be rewritten to one of coexistence with each other with mutual respect. All life forms have roles to play in the ecosystem.  We cannot just take out the ones we do not like, favor one over the other if we want to stay in balance.

Elke will explore with us different ways of coexisting peacefully with wild animal species, and a new story of why we all belong in the web of life. She will tell stories about how to conduct ourselves in a healthy way when we live with large wild animals as our neighbors, understanding who wild animals really are, and how old stories and myths have shaped our current relationships based on fear of them and what each one of us can contribute to change those stories.

Elke is currently editing a video project about our last endangered wild bison entitled “Bison Nation” and getting ready to publish a children’s book with teachers’ guide and curriculum concerning our successful coexistence with wolves.  She loves to present her work with endangered wolves and bison and their role in the ecosystem in public and private schools and is now scheduling presentations in the larger community.  To learn more about Elke’s work, visit weboflifefoundation.net.

Please join us at 7 pm on Monday, January 12, in the United Way conference room of the Gateway Community Center, Highway 2 West, Kalispell.

Montana’s wolves not ‘transplants’

Steve Gniadek recently submitted the following letter to the Flathead Beacon . . .

The article on the proposed wolf management stamp (Beacon, Aug 20) was succinct and generally accurate.  However, one important omission contributed to what I referred to in my comments at the hearing as a raging ignorance among some segments of the public.  The article states correctly that “wolves were introduced back into Yellowstone National Park and the central Idaho wilderness in 1995 and 1996 . . .”.   By omitting the fact that wolves naturally recolonized Northwest Montana, readers may conclude that wolves in this area are from those reintroductions.  In reality, after an absence of 50 years, wolves from Canadian populations began expanding into Northwest Montana more than 30 years ago.  They were not relocated here.

Right before the 2010 election I attended a forum on wolves at Flathead Valley Community College sponsored by Montanans for Multiple Use.  A biologist from the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department was scheduled to appear on the panel, but was prohibited from participating due to legal wrangling over the wolf hunt.  Thus, there was no one on the panel who could provide an objective view of wolf biology and management, and ignorance ran rampant.  Panelists and audience members repeatedly complained that wolves were transplanted to Montana by the feds, ignoring the fact that wolves in our area came in on their own and were not transplanted.  This was only one of numerous distortions bandied about at the forum.

Present at the forum were most if not all the local Republican candidates, who tried to outdo one another in their support for the misinformation dispensed by the crowd.  In a democracy, we should expect our political representatives to help educate their constituents rather than reinforce ignorance and prejudice.  We should expect the same from our media sources.

Steve Gniadek

Inbred wolves struggle, moose thrive at Isle Royale NP

An interesting interplay between genetic diversity and climate change . . .

During their annual Winter Study at Isle Royale National Park, scientists from Michigan Technological University counted nine wolves organized into one breeding pack and a second small group that is a remnant of a formerly breeding pack.

In the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study’s annual report released today, the researchers say that over the past three years, they have tallied the lowest numbers of wolves ever: nine in 2011-12, eight in 2012-13 and nine in 2013-14. During the same period, predation rates — the proportion of the moose population killed by wolves — also dropped to the lowest ever recorded, while the number of moose doubled, to approximately 1,050 moose.

Wolves are the only predators of moose on the remote island national park in northwestern Lake Superior. The moose population has been increasing because wolf predation has been so low.

Read more . . .

‘Stories of Wolves’ screens Feb. 24

Elke Duerr, who took care of the North Fork Hostel while Oliver was away early this year, is also, among many other things, a filmmaker. Her documentary about the Mexican Gray Wolf, “Stories of Wolves”,  is showing at the Crush Lounge on Monday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. The Crush Lounge is located at 124 Central Avenue in Whitefish, on the second floor.

For more information see the Wild Wolf Film web site and the site for the Web of Life Foundation (W.O.L.F.).

Stories of Wolves film poster

Dr. Cristina Eisenberg to give presentation at Montana House, Nov. 23

Those of you familiar with regional conservation issues probably know of Cristine Eisenberg. Dr. Eisenberg is a wolf researcher and expert on keystone predators, working in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. She has lived in northwest Montana since 1997.

Dr. Eisenberg is giving a presentation at Montana House in Apgar Village titled “Saving All the Pieces: Large Carnivores in the Crown of the Continent and Beyond” on November 23, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. Her talk will be followed by a reception and Holiday Open House.

This one is highly recommended. Dr. Eisenberg always does a nice job.

Reservations are required. Call 406-888-5393 or email reservation to 1960mthouse@qwestoffice.net.

Check the Montana House web site for additional information.

Feds delay wolf plan independent review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service messed up the initial stages of an independent scientific review of their plan to remove federal protections for wolves across most of the U.S. Now they have to back up and try again . . .

A federal agency is delaying an independent analysis of a plan to drop legal protections for wolves across most of the nation because of concerns about the selection of experts to conduct the review, an official said Tuesday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June called for removing gray wolves across the Lower 48 states from the endangered species list, with an exception for the struggling Mexican wolf in the Southwest. Agency director Dan Ashe said the wolf had recovered to the point that it could thrive and even enlarge its territory without federal oversight, although some advocates and members of Congress said the move was premature.

Continue reading . . .

Return of wolves means more berries for bears in Yellowstone

This is pretty interesting stuff. A new report suggests that the increased wolf population in Yellowstone National Park, and the consequent reduction in over-grazing by elk, is making a lot more berries available to bears in late summer/early fall . . .

A new study suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century — berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation.

It’s one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes. It was published today by scientists from Oregon State University and Washington State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

The researchers found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.

Continue reading . . .