Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hunters Prepare for Wolf Hunt, But All Is Not Lost

In just a few hours, hunters across the Gem State will be able to legally kill wolves again. This year’s hunt has received far less attention nationally and even globally than the first hunt back in 2009. Still, thousands of permits have been sold including many in eastern Idaho.
In 2009, Idaho was under the nation’s spotlight as the debate over wolves hit a feverish pitch. 4,000 wolf tags were sold the first day. This year, a little more than 6,000 tags have been sold for the hunt which starts Tuesday. That’s one fifth of the total amount sold in 2009.
According to the Idaho Fish and Game, the purpose of the hunt is to reduce the amount of wolves to a more manageable number. 

Area elk hunters say they have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of elk in Idaho. They blame the wolves for the reduction and that’s why they feel like the wolf hunt is so important.
“The wolves have been a big devastation on the elk herds, the cattle and a lot of the other dogs and stuff,” said Ed Golden, an area hunter. “We need to control them. The wolves, just like any predator.  I don’t hate them but they need to be controlled just like coyotes, bears and mountain lions.”

In 2009, less than one percent of the hunters were successful during the wolf hunt. That’s why wildlife managers made drastic changes for this year. The biggest being the removal of many of the quotas across the state.  
“Wolves are very smart, “continued Ed. “If you see them out in the woods while you are hunting, you are very lucky. Once you see one or maybe you get a chance to shoot one, you won’t see him again. He’ll be gone. They are very intelligent. They just don’t stick around.”

Ed says he has there are plenty of wolves in eastern Idaho. He’s even seen them near the two and a half mile road area. Along with the hunt, Fish and Game officials will continue to use other ways of monitoring the wolf population. This includes a ten week trapping session which starts in December.
The wolf hunt runs through the end of March.



Howl-In, Phone-In for Wolves, Tues. Aug. 30 in New York City

August 29, 2011
photo by John Hyde
The New York City office of Friends of Animals is staging a Howl-in, Phone-In to protest a wolf extermination scheme set to begin in Idaho on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, and in Montana on September 3rd.
The Howl-In, Phone-In is taking place at the entrance to Central Park at Columbus Circle on Tuesday, August 30—from 12:00-2:00PM. We’ll be placing calls, and mailing postcards, to the three governors—demanding the slaughter be canceled immediately, and pressing a tourism boycott of those states.
Friends of Animals’ president, Priscilla Feral, says, “What’s about to happen to gray wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming—who are a vital part of the ecosystem—is vile. Governors of these states are subjecting wolves to pogroms from the Middle Ages.”
Because gray wolves were taken off the Endangered Species List in the Northern Rockies—through a rider placed in the 2011 federal budget bill—they unfortunately face state-sponsored slaughter in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. It’s estimated that only 1,500 gray wolves remain in those three states.
Friends of Animals has announced an economic and travel boycott of these three states—including Yellowstone National Park, which exists in all three—until wolves are no longer persecuted.
What: Howl-In, Phone-In for Wolves
When: 12:00 PM-2:00 PM

Where: Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park—59th St between Central Park South & Broadway in Manhattan
Why: Protest the state-sponsored wolf-killing in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Questions? Please contact Edita Birnkrant, New York Director of Friends of Animals
Email or Phone: (212) 247-8120


Numbers key to debate on state's wolf management plan

By Scott Sandsberry
Yakima Herald-Republic

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- As expected, many of the public commenters who jammed an Ellensburg hotel conference room for Monday's wolf management hearing sounded less than excited about the prospect of having a growing number of wolves in their midst.
As it turned out, so did some of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission members to whom they were appealing.
"I still have a hard time understanding that we have seven times the population and perhaps a third to a fourth the habitat as Montana, yet we have the same (wolf recovery) objectives they do," said commission vice-chairman Gary Douvia of Kettle Falls. "I have a hard time understanding how we're going to be successful with those odds."
Some commissioners seemed focused on the fact that the scientific modeling data collected from Idaho and Montana considered the presence of sheep, but not cattle -- a far bigger industry in Washington, and a possible target for depredation should the wild prey base not keep pace with the growing number of wolves.
"It surprises me," Douvia said, "that we have sheep-predictability numbers but we don't have cattle, seeing as how we've got 50,000 to 60,000 sheep (in Washington) and more than a million cattle."
"Why don't you add cattle and rerun the model?," Bainbridge Island commissioner Conrad Mahnken asked Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives.
Nate Pamplin, the assistant director for the state's wildlife program in the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that would be "an interesting modeling exercise," but wouldn't be helpful since cattle-producing operations in Idaho and Montana were small enough so as not to be a significant variable.
"How do you know," Mahnken retorted, "if you don't run the model?"
The commission's grilling of Fish and Wildlife staffers took up much of Monday's meeting, clearly disappointing many of the nearly 100 people who crowded the room in hopes of getting their three minutes each.
There will be two more public hearings before the wildlife commission is expected to act on a final version in December.
Although one woman at the meeting wore a T-shirt that read, "Little Red Riding Hood Lied," the vast majority of the four dozen commenters argued that the proposed plan's standard of 15 successful breeding pairs was too high and would impact wolves' prey populations, particularly deer and elk, popular targets for hunters. Those concerns echoed that of commissioner Chuck Perry of Moses Lake, who noted, "We're going to have a hard time maintaining our prey base."
The 15 pairs required in the plan could represent anywhere from 97 to 361 wolves. It is unknown how many wolves make up Washington's five existing packs. Before the Teanaway pack was discovered earlier this year, state officials estimated the population of three packs at about 25 wolves.
According to the plan, that 15-pair number will have to be maintained for three consecutive years before the state could begin the process of delisting wolves and take advantage of other "management tools," such as hunting.
"Failure to eliminate the three-year period," warned Lee Davis of Kittitas Field and Stream, "will double the wolf population."
Active management can't come soon enough for people like Ellensburg cattle rancher Sam Kayser. Two of his employees got one of the first public looks at the Teanaway pack back in mid-July, barely two months after remote camera photographs and DNA evidence had confirmed their presence.
The crew members were moving cattle in a large grazing allotment Kayser leases on private land in a relatively densely populated area of the Teanaway, a rural, hilly area north of Cle Elum, when they saw a doe race across the road in front of them.
"They said they'd never seen a deer running so fast, so their antenna went up a little bit," Kayser said. "And then three wolves came galloping across. They said there's no mistaking those wolves for a coyote -- these were big and they were scary looking. And they were in no hurry: They were just going to wear (the deer) down."
Teanaway Valley property owner Bill Holmes said he's seen the wolves "hunting in my backyard."
Holmes compared the three-year minimum wait before delisting wolves to having to put all of his belongings on a picnic table, knowing that gangs of criminals were eying them.
"Only we've got to wait until there are 10 more gangs looking at them before we can do anything about it," he said.
Kayser said he had presumed the first sighting in this part of the state would probably be in the Alpine Wilderness, far from human residences.
"This is down where people live, about a quarter-mile from 30 to 40 houses," Kayser said. "This is not what anybody counted on."
Don Jackson, a rancher in the Blue Mountains, said he'd lived there for several decades with no wolves and now, he said, he suddenly finds himself in prime wolf territory.
"I'm not encroaching on the wolf's habitat," he said. "He's encroaching on mine."

* Material from The Associated Press and the Yakima Herald-Republic archives was included in this report. 


Image of the Day

Monday, August 29, 2011

Come See... Here Be Wolves

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Image of the Day

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Image of the Day

colchester-zoo-2011-132 by Aspex Design
colchester-zoo-2011-132, a photo by Aspex Design on Flickr.

A sanctuary with something to howl about

Saturday, August 27, 2011
View full sizeWolf Haven International, outside Tenino, Wash.
The gravestones carry the names: Kiowa. Napanee. Kooskia. Jimmy.

Jimmy? Who would name a wolf Jimmy?

"That wasn't a wolf. Jimmy was one of our coyotes," Kim Young said during a tour of the animal cemetery at Wolf Haven, where she works.

Since 1982, the Washington sanctuary in rural Thurston County, south of Olympia, has been the life home for more than 160 wolves, plus a handful of foxes, coyotes and wolf hybrids. All were either born in captivity or had a situation where life at Wolf Haven was a last best option.

And for nearly 30 years, a stream of visitors has been coming to see the wolves of Wolf Haven.

Most leave with the same impression: The wolves look much smaller than they had imagined.

Tours of Wolf Haven are usually led by one of about 70 volunteers who help keep the 82-acre preserve open. Dane Yates had driven to Tenino, where Wolf Haven is located, from his home in Poulsbo, nearly 100 miles to the north, to conduct an afternoon tour.

He met attendees outside the gate of the wolf enclosure, gave a few tips about how to act around wolves, then led the group inside.

Wolves are kept in compatible pairs, inside fenced enclosures of about two-thirds of an acre. These wolves do not breed (males are sterilized) and cannot be released into the wild.

Wolf Haven also has breeding and prerelease programs for federally protected red wolves and Mexican gray wolves, but those wolves are kept out of public view.

Predators of a pest

Visitors do get to see others of both species, along with the more common gray wolves that are making a comeback in the lower 48 states.

Red wolves are rusty in color, almost terra cotta. Wolf Haven's pair on exhibit hid in vegetation in the back of the enclosure until Ruby came to the front to look us over with curiosity. Red wolves are making a comeback along the coast of North Carolina, where appreciative farmers are learning that 300 wolves eat a lot of nutria, a nonnative pest.

Mexican wolves are mottled, with Lorenzo and Noel showing mixes of gray, black, tan and white fur. This subspecies was extirpated long ago from the American Southwest, but the prerelease program at Wolf Haven has helped its reintroduction into the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico.

Gray wolves have a variety of colors, from the white of Pahana to the black of Caedus. This subspecies survived in Minnesota and across Canada and Alaska before an aggressive reintroduction effort brought it back to northern states of the West and Great Lakes.

The gray wolf has a way of bringing out emotions in people, either for or against. Washington is working on a wolf reintroduction plan, while Oregon is learning how to manage wolves that have moved in from Idaho.

It's time to howl

It's safe to say that most of Wolf Haven's 12,000 annual visitors are cheering for the comeback. And on four Saturday evenings of summer, they go beyond cheering by howling.

Wolf Haven's famous Howl-Ins are completed for the season, but keep them in mind for next year. They bring as many as 250 guests for an evening visit to the sanctuary. While people are discouraged from howling during a regular tour, they are positively encouraged to howl at the howl-in site, which is away from the closure. Grownups seem to enjoy it as much as kids, and sometimes the wolves join in.

No visit to Wolf Haven is complete without a stroll on the prairie, where the cemetery takes up but a small part.

Western Washington used to have 150,000 acres of prairie but less than 3 percent remains, so 55 acres at Wolf Haven offer rare public access. The prairie is covered with dozens of Mima mounds, rounded humps of gravel about six feet high most likely left over from the last ice age. The grass-covered mounds have abundant wildflowers, including the federally listed golden paintbrush.

The path through the prairies leads to the Grandfather Tree, an amazing Douglas fir that is not only old and big but also looks like an octopus. Several of its massive branches join the main trunk in reaching for the sky.

The last wild wolf to roam this area must have given a good howl when it saw this tree.

If you go: Wolf Haven is at 3111 Offut Lake Road S.E., three miles north of Tenino, Wash., off Old Highway 99. Take exit 88A from Interstate 5 and follow signs to Tenino. The sanctuary is open daily from April-September (except closed on Tuesdays) and on weekends the rest of the year (except closed in February and winter holidays). Admission is $9. Visiting the prairie is free. Info at 360-264-4695, wolfhaven.org.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Are Hunters Good Wildlife Stewards When It Comes To Wolves? Not According To This Study

A new study likely to be controversial in some quarters suggests that hunters are not especially good wildlife stewards when the wildlife in question are wolves.
While hunters long have been seen as conservation advocates for a wide range of species, when it comes to wolves the study by two University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers would seem to indicate that the only good wolf is a dead wolf in the hunter's mind.
“Hunters were some of the least tolerant of wolves among our respondents, and the closer you got to wolf range the less tolerant they were,” said Adrian Treves, a professor in the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Professor Treves and a colleague, Kerry Martin, took up a research project beginning in 2001 to survey hunters and non-hunters on attitudes toward wolves. Over the course of six years they interviewed 2,320 residents of Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming and were able to draw a picture of perceptions when it came to wolves. (Their findings appear in the August issue of the peer-reviewed journal Society and Natural Resources.)
That portrait is timely now as gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List in some Western states earlier this year, and are poised for delisting in parts of Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and other Midwest areas.

Questions the two professors asked the respondents touched a number of issues, ranging from acceptance of management policy and tolerance of the carnivores to willingness to kill a wolf illegally, adherence to hunt regulations, and expected financial support of conservation.
One issue the two noted in trying to explain the perceived intolerance of hunters was that hunters often view wolves as competition for deer and other game. And they added that opening a wolf hunt may not immediately shift that perception to viewing wolves as another game species to be conserved.

Another conclusion Professors Treves and Martin reached was that "the evidence simply isn’t there to indicate that hunting wolves would affect depredations of domestic animals."
"No depredation data were reported following a hunt in Idaho and Montana conducted during a window of time in 2009 when the animals were not federally protected. And though wolves have been hunted legally in Alaska for decades, the scarcity of domestic animals and difference in landscape make it nearly impossible to draw conclusions that would apply to the lower 48," said a press release that accompanied news of their study.

Another finding, which Professor Treves found surprising, was the "level of support expressed for a regulated wolf hunt among non-hunters and those living outside wolf range. In Wisconsin, for example, he said, “You find a surprising amount of support for a public regulated harvest of wolves even in places like Madison, Fond du Lac, or Sister Bay.”
But these endorsements tend to be conditional, he cautioned, and the conditions vary. For example, many people support the idea of a “sustainable” hunt – though “sustainable” was undefined in this context – or hunting as a way to reduce attacks on livestock and other conflicts between wolves and humans.

“To me that says that people see hunting as a tool for enabling coexistence,” Professor Treves said.
A "risk map" Professor Treves and others published in June shows that wolf attacks on livestock in Wisconsin are highly localized and attributable to a relatively small number of packs. The majority of packs do not cause problems despite living in close proximity to humans, which raises significant questions about the efficacy of a general hunt to alleviate perceived problems.
“The assumption that hunting and reducing the number of animals will reduce livestock losses would be proven false if hunters are targeting the wrong animals, such as animals in wilderness areas,” he said, adding that it will be important to understand hunter motivations. “Wolves in wilderness areas don’t kill livestock, it’s the wolves on the edge in agricultural areas. Do hunters want to hunt in farmland? I’m not sure.”
The uncertainty of how hunting would affect wolf populations could also become a legal issue, says UW-Madison law professor Stephanie Tai, citing a precedent of legal challenges of federal delisting decisions.
“People have challenged delistings for a number of reasons, and some of those have been successful,” she said. “Often, successful lawsuits bring up factors the (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service may not have considered, which could include the effect of allowing hunting.”
The challenge, according to Professor Treves, is to balance human needs with the need to conserve wolves as an essential component of ecosystems.

In a viewpoint piece published in the August issue of the journal BioScience, Professor Treves and Jeremy Bruskotter, an environment and natural resources professor at Ohio State University, presented some possible scenarios for the future of wolf management in the United States. Those scenarios include reclassifying the wolves as threatened, which would permit lethal control under certain circumstances, or enacting specific federal protections outside the Endangered Species Act, such as those currently in place for bald eagles, wild horses, and migratory birds.

The two advocate geographically tailored approaches that will permit local-level control within a federal framework to strike a balance between wolves and humans. Sound long-term management can include a public regulated hunt, they say, but it will unquestionably require compromise.
“A public regulated harvest is a collaboration between hunters and the state, which requires give and take. I think the next few years in Wisconsin will reveal how well that collaboration works,” said Professor Treves.


Mexican wolf found dead in eastern Arizona

A field team tracking the comings and goings of Mexican wolf packs in eastern Arizona has recovered a dead female wolf.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says a Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team made the discovery Aug. 22 during routine pack monitoring activities.

The field team was alerted when a signal went off from a collar attached to the female wolf’s neck.

The wolf was recovered by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent and Game and Fish personnel the following day in the pack’s traditional territory on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

A preliminary exam by Mexican wolf project personnel failed to reveal an obvious cause of death. The wolf was sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Oregon for a complete necropsy.


Image of the Day

Untitled by photosbydaniel90
Untitled, a photo by photosbydaniel90 on Flickr.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Court denies stay of wolf hunts in two states

A gray wolf and its nursing pups are pictured in Yellowstone National Park in this undated photograph obtained on May 4, 2011. REUTERS/National Park Service/Handout
SALMON, Idaho | Fri Aug 26, 2011 
(Reuters) - An appeals court has refused to block wolf hunts planned in Idaho and Montana while conservation groups press a legal case against an unprecedented act of Congress that lifted federal protection of the animals.

More than 1,500 wolves in Idaho and Montana were removed from the U.S. endangered species list, giving the two states largely unfettered control over the animals, in legislation attached to a stopgap budget bill Congress approved in April.

The delisting came amid a legal battle between environmentalists and the U.S. government over whether wolves, which were hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction decades ago, had successfully recovered in the Northern Rockies.

Environmental groups sought to overturn the congressional action, which marked the first time an animal has been delisted through legislation rather than a process of scientific review established under the Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists argued that Congress overstepped its authority in doing so.

A federal judge earlier this month sided with the Obama administration, which argued Congress had the authority to carve out an exception to the Endangered Species Act for a particular animal, like the gray wolf.
WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies and others sought to restore federal safeguards to wolves by petitioning the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On August 13, those groups asked the court to stay wolf hunting and trapping planned in Idaho and Montana until the case was decided on its merits.

Idaho plans to reduce its wolf population from about 1,000 to no fewer than 150 in a hunting seasons that open on Tuesday and by trapping. Montana has set a hunting quota of 220 wolves out of a population of 566 in a season that starts in September.

In denying environmentalists' request to temporarily halt the hunts, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit agreed with the administration -- joined by the two states and hunting and farm groups -- that the hunts would not jeopardize recovery of the iconic animal.

"We are discouraged we didn't win a stay of execution for wolves, but we are cautiously optimistic that we will win our lawsuit to protect wolves from future persecution," John Horning, WildEarth Guardians executive director, said in a statement.

Wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in the mid-1990s over the objections of ranchers and hunters. They blame wolves for preying on livestock and reducing herds of big-game animals like elk.
Wolves killed 148 cows in Idaho in 2010 out of the state's 2.2 million head of cattle, according to government figures. A recent survey by Idaho wildlife managers shows elk populations exceed or meet biologists' objectives in the vast majority of the state's hunting areas.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)


Wolf deal could impinge on rights of landowners--but what about the rights of the wolves?

By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
August 26, 2011

A proposed wolf plan that would allow livestock owners to kill wolves on a neighbor’s land could impinge upon private property rights, State Rep. Keith Gingery said Wednesday.

As such, it needs to be re-evaluated, Gingery said at a wolf hearing hosted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The meeting at Center for the Arts was one of several statewide to gather public comment on the proposed Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan.

The proposed plan would classify wolves as predators throughout most of the state and for most of the year in southern Teton County. State predator laws, which currently cover coyotes, jackrabbits, porcupines, raccoons, red foxes, skunks and stray cats, allow stockmen to kill them on others’ property.

County commissioners would first have to give permission, but a landowner’s consent is required only for the use of firearms, not traps, snares or other devices.

The statutes say, “Whenever predatory animals become a menace to livestock owned or controlled by any resident of Wyoming and the owner or lessee of any real estate in the vicinity where the livestock is ranged or pastured refuses permission to the owner of the livestock, his agents or employees, to enter upon the real estate for the purpose of destroying such predatory animals, entry may be obtained ... [by filing] a written application with the board of county commissioners of the county where the real estate is located, applying for permission to eradicate predatory animals.

“... After giving the owner or lessee an opportunity of a hearing, the county commissioners may grant such permission, but the person receiving the permission shall not use firearms in destroying such animals without first obtaining permission from the owner or lessee of the real estate,” the statutes continue.

In Teton County, which would become a predator zone south of Highway 22 for most of the year, the statutes could present problems, Gingery said.

“I think we’re going to have some difficulties in our particular community,” he said. “You’re taking away someone’s private property right.”

Also, there are a number of conservation easements in the southern part of county, some of which don’t allow hunting, Gingery said.

Gingery has mostly expressed support for a deal between Gov. Matt Mead’s office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that would require the state to manage for 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park. Under Mead’s deal, officials would create a trophy game management area in the northwest corner of the state that would expand south during the winter to allow wolves to disperse into Idaho.

Wolves would be hunted in the trophy game area according to season and only by those obtaining a license. In the rest of the state, wolves would be considered predators where they could be killed at any time, by any means, without a license.

Gingery and others have said they would support trophy game status for wolves in Teton County year-round.

About 100 people attended the meeting. Wolf supporters said they would prefer trophy game management statewide, while others said conservation groups and wolf supporters need to give the deal a chance to work.


New Images from Wolf Conservation Center

Ambassador Wolves

The WCC is home to Atka an Ambassador Arctic Gray wolf that helps us fulfill our education mission, as well as two new pups Zephyr and Alawa who are just starting to learn the ropes. Zephyr (“light or west wind”) – a beautiful black male with a prominent nose and a feisty personality, and Alawa (“sweetpea” in Algonquin, and pronounced “ah-lay-ewa”) – his gentle brown and gray sister, were born on April 20 and arrived at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY on May 27! They join Atka, the WCC's renowned, elegant white wolf, to make up the Ambassador Pack – the wolves on view as part of the WCC's numerous public programs – and are the first ambassador pups to join the education and conservation nonprofit in over 9 years!






Image of the Day

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Image of the Day

Female Gray Wolf by BKP2010
Female Gray Wolf, a photo by BKP2010 on Flickr.

Bitterroot man shoots 2 wolves on property

PERRY BACKUS/Ravalli Republic
  Julie Schram covers one of two wolves killed within 300 yards of her home after they were spotted threatening goats and sheep on the family ranch northwest of Hamilton.
HAMILTON - For the second time in five weeks, a sheep rancher shot and killed wolves threatening his livestock within 300 yards of his home just northwest of Hamilton.
Julie Schram said her husband, Dave, knew something was wrong early Monday morning when the couple's older Australian shepherd refused to go outside.
"He just went stiff and wouldn't go out the door," she said. "Dave knew that something was going on."
From a window, Schram spotted a black wolf standing a few feet away from a large pile of rocks where 10 goats and some sheep had taken refuge.

"The goats were all standing together facing the wolf and the sheep were on top of the hill," she said. "They were obviously scared."
Schram's husband grabbed his .22-250 rifle and ran to the nearby corral.
"The spooky thing for me is the black wolf looked right at him and then continued on with what it was doing," Schram said. "If it had been a coyote, it would have been long gone. It didn't show any fear."
Schram's husband killed the black wolf with a single shot. He then spotted a lighter-colored wolf about 50 feet farther away. When it turned broadside to him, he shot and killed it, too.

The black wolf was male. The lighter-colored wolf was a female. Both appeared to be yearlings.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Joe Jaquith investigated the incident and said it appeared to be a legitimate shooting.
"The landowner acted according to the law," Jaquith said. "As far as I'm concerned, the investigation is pretty much done."
The two wolves will be turned over to a FWP wolf biologist.
"My guess is they were a couple of siblings out hitting the ground and just getting started," Jaquith said.
The Schrams own 120 acres off Mill Creek Road. For the most part, the property is surrounded by subdivisions and small farms.
Jaquith said it would be possible for wolves to get to the Schram property from the mountains to the west through adjoining pasture lands.

Since wolves are the relative newcomer in the local predator world, Jaquith said people are still learning about how they will operate in places like the Bitterroot.
"I'm a lot better at predicting what a black bear is going to do," he said. "Wolves seem more akin to mountain lions. Lions turn up where they turn up. It seems like wolves are doing the same thing."
Jaquith said wardens receive reports of wolves showing up in different locations up and down the west side of the Bitterroot. They don't receive as many reports from the east side.

Schram was surprised that wolves were so near the valley floor this time of year.
"We expect that a bit more when there is snow in the high country," she said. "Our cows are summering on the Skalkaho/Sleeping Child range. That's where I would expect to find wolves this time of year. So far, we've not seen anything there."
The government trapper who investigated the first shooting was surprised too that the family was having trouble with wolves.
In the first case, an 80-pound female wolf was shot and killed.

"It's been five weeks to the day since that first one," Schram said. "At that time, the government trapper told us that he would understand it if we were having trouble with neighborhood dogs, but not wolves.
"He said this isn't wolf territory. He said this doesn't make sense. This place is almost the valley floor."
Since that first incident, Schram said she's heard people say that her family should expect issues with wolves because of where they live.
"We are surrounded by houses," she said. "They said that I should expect it because I live in the trees. I have a handful of trees on the whole 120 acres."


Three new wolves spotted in Umatilla County

Tue Aug 23, 2011




Two wolves from the new Walla Walla pack and at least one new wolf in northern Umatilla County were seen on trail camera footage taken in August.
The individual wolf was seen on a trail camera Aug. 18 in the Mt. Emily Unit, where wolf activity has been suspected. Tracks in the area suggest the animal may have been traveling with at least one other wolf. ODFW will be monitoring this area for more activity.
Two wolves from the new Walla Walla pack were seen on trail camera footage taken Aug. 11, also in Umatilla County. The Walla Walla pack was first confirmed by track evidence in January 2011. This pack’s range is not yet clear and may partly be in Washington State.
Finally, a yearling wolf from the Wenaha pack was seen Aug. 5 on a trail camera in Wallowa County. The wolf is seen with its ear tags, which ODFW put on last August when the wolf was just a pup. These ear tags help wildlife managers identify the animals.

Trail cameras photograph Oregon wolf pack

A wolf is shown in Blue Mountains in eastern Umatilla County, Ore. 

Trail cameras have captured candid photos of some new wolves roaming in northeastern Oregon's Umatilla County. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday two of the images, taken this month, are the first photos of members of the new Walla Walla pack that seems to be forming in the border area between Washington and Oregon.

The Asssociated Press
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday two of the images, taken this month, are the first photos of members of the new Walla Walla pack that seems to be forming at the Washington-Oregon border.
Department spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy said biologists have been seeing tracks since last winter, but these are the first photos to confirm the wolves are in Umatilla County. It is not known yet whether the group is breeding and just what its range is.
Another photo shows last year's pup from the Wenaha pack grown up as a yearling. It was taken in Wallowa County. The black wolf is shown glowering at the camera. It has green tags in both ears.
At this point, there are no radio-tracking collars on the Walla Walla or Wenaha packs.
Only the Imnaha pack, which has been blamed for several livestock kills, can be tracked with radio collars. One of those wolves returned to Wheeler County, Ore., one to Idaho and one to Washington, though the signal from that wolf has not been picked up in a while, Dennehy said.
Oregon biologists keep close tabs on the wolves to minimize attacks on livestock and track their numbers and breeding success. Under the Oregon Wolf Plan, four breeding pairs must produce pups for three consecutive years before the animals can be taken off the state endangered-species list.


2 wolf pups shot near Hamilton were likely orphaned, biologist says

HAMILTON - Two wolves shot and killed northwest of Hamilton Monday were 4-month-old pups, which may have been orphaned five weeks ago when a female wolf was killed at the same location.
"The female that was killed had nursed pups," said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf biologist Liz Bradley. "I'm fairly certain that they were her pups."
A wolf shot in May on the outskirts of Hamilton may have been the breeding male. It was in the process of attacking dogs tied within 35 yards of a home.
"They were probably a new pair that established this spring and had pups," Bradley said. "I don't know if there are any left. ... We've seen this happen before in the Bitterroot. A new pair of wolves will try to squeeze in someplace that is not a good place for wolves to make a living."
Bradley hopes people in the area will let her know if they spot any other wolves. Bradley's phone number is (406) 865-0017.
"I would be interested in hearing from the public about any sightings," she said. "I had a recent report of a gray and a black wolf. There have not been any other reports."
The pups weighed about 35 pounds.
Yearling wolves are closer to full size. A yearling male will weigh about 85 pounds and a female about 75 pounds.
"They will stand as tall as an adult," she said.
The pups were old enough to be weaned and to eat solid food. They may have survived by scavenging or eating small animals like squirrels.
"They were not big enough yet to kill a deer or an elk," Bradley said. "They were not going down a good path by already harassing sheep and goats."
The two wolves were shot by a landowner who spotted them about 300 yards from his home. The wolves were standing near a group of sheep and goats that had retreated atop a pile of rocks in the pasture.
The female wolf was shot after the rancher spotted her eating a newly killed lamb.
Both shootings were determined to be justified by FWP wardens.


Wolves Backdrop as Salazar Speaks in Grand Teton

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar planned to highlight the economic benefit of national parks and tourism Tuesday at two appearances in Grand Teton National Park, but wolves were on the minds of some who planned to attend.

Salazar's visit to Jackson Hole comes just a day before a scheduled public meeting there on a tentative deal to remove wolves from endangered species protection in Wyoming.

The deal between Wyoming and the Interior Department would allow people to shoot wolves in much of the state year-round without a license. It still must be approved by state lawmakers.

One environmentalist suggested tourism and the future of wolves aren't really separate issues considering how the deal would let people shoot wolves on sight in Jackson Hole during part of the year.

"That could be a huge blow to our tourism industry, and it doesn't help the hunting industry here, either, where the guides could be charging a significant amount for wolf hunts," said Trevor Stevenson, executive director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

The plan agreed to by Wyoming and Interior officials earlier this month would classify wolves as trophy game subject to regulated hunting in northwest Wyoming and as predators that could be shot on sight elsewhere in the state. Non-Wyoming residents would need a guide to hunt wolves in the trophy game zone.

A "flex zone" in which wolves would be classified as trophy game part of the year and as predators that could be shot on sight the rest of the time would cover southern Jackson Hole.

If approved, the plan would remove wolves from endangered species protection in Wyoming. The state would then join Idaho and Montana in taking over wolf management from the federal government for the first time since the animals were reintroduced to the Yellowstone ecosystem in the mid-1990s.

The Teton County Commission last month asked Gov. Matt Mead to reconsider the flex zone, saying Teton County's economy was too dependent on wildlife — wolves included — to allow unregulated wolf shooting even part of the year.

The letter came late in negotiations, and state officials said changing the year-round boundary of the trophy game zone was never on the table.

A state legislator said his first priority will be to see that the overall plan gets implemented and not derailed by something like disagreement over the flex zone.

"I'd hate to see everything come apart across the state over this," Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, said Tuesday.

Mead spokesman Renny McKay said the governor's office was invited to hear Salazar speak but didn't get enough advance notice for the governor to go or send a representative.

He said Mead isn't looking to change the state's deal with the Interior Department at this point and remains optimistic the plan will win approval from the Wyoming Legislature and Congress.

"It's a finished plan, and it's out for public review now," McKay said.

Wednesday's public meeting in Jackson is one of eight planned around the state between Tuesday and the end of August. Other meetings on Wyoming's tentative wolf deal were scheduled in Casper, Pinedale, Sheridan, Cody, Rock Springs, Cheyenne and Lander.

Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said Salazar's public appearances were planned only within the last few days and grew from plans for a low-key, personal visit to Wyoming.

Salazar was scheduled to speak to Grand Teton employees and then at an event for park concessionaires, congressional staff, local officials, environmentalists and other invited guests.


Wolves are part of attraction of Teanaway River

The trail to Esmeralda Basin follows an old mining road and gives visitors a great hike spectacular alpine vistas and possibly a glimpse of the Teanaway wolf pack.
Seabury Blair Jr.  |  Kitsap Sun
The trail to Esmeralda Basin follows an old mining road and gives visitors a great hike spectacular alpine vistas and possibly a glimpse of the Teanaway wolf pack. Seabury Blair Jr. | Kitsap Sun
Now there's another reason to head for the high Cascade Mountains whose snows spawn the splendid Teanaway River.
Used to be the biggest draws were the spectacular alpine vistas and kaleidoscopic wildflower meadows, and that's still a great reason to take a day hike or backpack in the Teanaway. But now, hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and hunters have another reason to visit: to hear and perhaps see one of only four wolf packs in the state.

The Teanaway Pack, only verified by the Department of Fish and Wildlife last month, is cruising the Teanaway country north of Cle Elum in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The department has photos of the wolves and is tracking one via a radio collar.
The trip to the Teanaway can be a long day or weekend outing for hikers and backcountry equestrians from our neck of the woods. Give yourself about 3 hours, 30 minutes to get to trailheads leading to the Esmeralda Basin and Fortune Creek Pass.
Another popular wildflower hike along Stafford Creek is nearby, where a hiker last month spotted one of the wolves of the Teanaway Pack. Although officials only confirmed the pack's existence in July, hunters have reported sightings and tracks in the area for at least two years.

In fact, one of the photos of a Teanaway wolf was taken last winter near the "ghost town" of Liberty. That historic gold mining community is a couple miles off Highway 97, the Swauk Pass highway.
You'll have to drive a lot farther to find the rest of wolf country in this state. There's the Lookout Pack, in eastern Okanogan County, and the Salmo and Diamond packs in Pend Oreille County.
The Teanaway Pack has at least four adult members. DFW biologists believe there are also pups in the pack. The department estimates a total of 25-30 wolves now den in this state.

The rocky Wenatchee Mountains guard the eastern skyline of Esmeralda Basin.
Seabury Blair Jr.  |  Kitsap Sun
The rocky Wenatchee Mountains guard the eastern skyline of Esmeralda Basin. Seabury Blair Jr. | Kitsap Sun 

One of the nicest introductions to hiking or riding in the area is the Esmeralda Basin Trail 1394, an abandoned mining road that leads to expansive wildflower meadows. It's a good hike for families with younger children, although they are certain to complain at that steep quarter-mile section at the start of the trail.
The trailhead itself is scenic, surrounded by 7,000-foot peaks and its own cascading waterfall. The trail climbs about 250 feet in the first 0.2 miles, then enters the basin itself and the grade eases.
At 0.4 miles from the trailhead, you'll arrive at a junction with a steep trail heading toward Longs Pass and Ingalls Lake. Stay left, here, and continue across several crystal streams and wildflower meadows.
At 0.8 miles, you'll wander into the basin's most spectacular wildflower shows, where the variety of alpine blossoms includes a pink stalk of flowers that look like miniature elephant's heads. The name? Elephant's Head Lousewort.

The trail continues for another 1.3 miles before it enters the forest and begins climbing steeply once again towards Fortune Creek Pass. This makes a good turnaround spot for families, with a round-trip hike of about 4.3 miles.
Hikers seeking more exercise can follow the trail another 1.5 miles and 1,350 vertical feet up the Esmeralda Basin Trail to 5,960-foot high Fortune Creek Pass, where you can look into the vast Alpine Lakes Wilderness. That would make a round-trip hike of 7.1 miles.

Esmeralda Peaks rise above the basin to the west.
Seabury Blair Jr.  |  Kitsap Sun
Esmeralda Peaks rise above the basin to the west. Seabury Blair Jr. | Kitsap Sun 

For an even tougher workout, turn right at the junction with the Ingalls Way Trail, 0.4 miles from the Esmeralda Basin Trailhead. The path begins a steep switchback climb up a rocky ridge of the Wenatchee Mountains and at 2.4 miles, you'll find a junction with the Ingalls Way Trail.
Stay left for the lake and continue on a climbing traverse to Ingalls Pass, 3.9 miles from the trailhead, where you'll enter the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and begin a descending traverse and eventually climb to Ingalls Lake, 6,463 feet above sea level. This is a strenuous 10.8-mile round-trip hike, gaining and losing 2,600 vertical feet.


The quickest route — assuming you don't go when the Washington Department of Transportation isn't blasting or working on I-90 — is to follow I-90 to the Cle Elum Exit 85, then follow Highway 970 east for 6.6 miles to the Teanaway Road.
Turn left on the Teanaway Road and follow it for 23.6 miles to the Esmeralda Basin Trailhead. The pavement ends after 13 miles, at the Twentynine Pines Campground. Follow Forest Road 9737 to the Trailhead.


You'll find a number of bed-and-breakfast spots and motels in Cle Elum and plenty of camping along the Teanaway River past the crowded Twentynine Pines Campground. One of the nicest is Beverly Campground, about 6 miles below the trailhead, with tent sites along the river.
A Northwest Forest Pass ($5 day; $30 annual) is required at the trailhead. Closest dealer is Teanaway Mercantile, 6.7 miles up the Teanaway Road.
For trail and road information, call the Cle Elum Ranger District, 509-852-1100, or visit www.fs.usda.gov/okawen.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Swedish wolves suffer from poaching, halt to hunts ordered

Stockholm - More than half of all Swedish wolf deaths are the result of illegal poaching, with two-thirds of the poaching going undetected and without the mistreatment in the last ten years, the wolves’ population could be four times greater, a new study shows. 
The threat of poaching during the last decade has taken its toll on the Scandinavian wolf, Canis lupis, and because of the illegal activity, current wolf populations are struggling for survival. “Many have speculated that poaching levels are high for many threatened species of carnivores,” said Chris Carbone of the Zoological Society of London, BBC reports. “This study presents an important step in trying to quantify this hidden threat,” he added. Results of the study are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B
The study predicted each year’s Swedish wolf population based on previous year counts, using radio-tracked wolves and the ‘footprint count’, used for the last decade in Sweden for estimating wolf numbers. Taken into account were confirmed wolf mortality cases such as road kills, disease, and those found killed, but when comparing actual numbers of wild wolves to expected numbers based on their models, they found the population was being overestimated. One of the team members, Guillaume Chapron, said undetected poaching, or cryptic poaching, is the factor for differences in numbers. He called the poaching issue the “tip of the iceberg.” 
The team of researchers were based at Grimso Wildlife Research Station and stated that the wolves would have numbered 1,000 in 2009, four times the reported number, had it not been for the poaching. The Swedish wolf became extinct in Sweden in the 1970s, but a small population of wolves from Finland moved in to the empty space, recolonizing the species. Around 250 wolves have descended from the Finnish population, but in addition to the poaching, face other challenges. 
The current population is suffering the effects of high inbreeding and face skeletal defects and reproductive issues. Last year, Sweden allowed wolf hunting for the first time in more than four decades, with licensed hunts last year and this year. The move brought a legal action threat from the European Union, who claimed the hunts violated an EU directive. 
As such, the Swedish government has instituted a “temporary halt” to the hunts, to “ensure that Sweden does not lose the right to decide on its own wolf population, said Andreas Carlgren, Sweden’s Environment Minister, International Business Times reports. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation was critical of the licensed wolf hunts, and along with other groups, filed a formal complaint last year, stating that, while Sweden was once a pioneer in environmental protection, the hunts were “eroding its biodiversity policy,” according to its website. 

Ravalli County commissioners to write policy for wolf control

HAMILTON - In response to a citizen-called meeting about gray wolves in the Bitterroot Valley, Ravalli County commissioners adopted a resolution Friday to begin gathering data on the species.
The resolution, which was adopted unanimously, states that the information commissioners gather will be used in "quantifying the impacts of the governmental placement of wolves and developing a policy for large predator control in Ravalli County."
While the resolution doesn't specifically say how the commissioners will go about collecting data, Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher - who penned the resolution - said it is the first step.
"The next process is to develop how we do that," he said.
Kanenwisher said a majority of the information commissioners will gather is state and federal agency data, but he is still interested in personal stories of wolf encounters.
The resolution gives an Oct. 19 deadline to finish with data gathering, after which the commissioners will create a document that states wolves' impact on the valley to the best of their knowledge, as well as what they believe is the best course of action.
The resolution points to citizens claiming adverse economic, environmental, social and cultural effects of wolves in the valley and that "a de facto state of emergency may exist."
Kanenwisher said the information and policies that come out of the process will be used as part of "coordination" with other government agencies, a conservative political strategy that asserts local government has an equal position at the negotiating table with federal and state agencies.
Commissioner Greg Chilcott said he wants the board to strongly define what type of information they are looking for in this process.
"We're looking for factual, solid data," Chilcott said. "We're going to need a community to step up and provide actual data to make this valid."
Commissioner Suzy Foss said she believes wolves were an issue in Ravalli County long before she was elected last November.
"We're here to serve everybody," Foss said. "This has been a public process and all we're doing is moving forward."
Commissioner Ron Stoltz said citizens are the ones who brought the issue to the commissioners' table and it's their job to find the facts.
"I think this is the next logical step, to find the facts," Stoltz said. "I think this is a way to start, and we need to start now."
A number of the 15 citizens who spoke at Friday's meeting thanked the commissioners during the public comment period for their action on the matter.
"If we can resolve it on the local level, that would be outstanding," said Bob Sherman.
Keith Kubista, of the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, thanked commissioners "for recognizing the negative impacts to the human environment that were told to you last week."
Others in the crowd of fewer than 20 people voiced their concerns with the resolution.
Char Jones told commissioners that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is set up to do this type of research and is paid to do it with taxpayer dollars.
"We need to utilize that," Jones said. "That is where the research is going to come from."
Marc Cooke of the National Wolf Watcher Coalition said wolves are being unfairly blamed and will be slaughtered because of it.
"You're just trying to incite fear in people," Cooke told commissioners. "This is nothing more than a witch hunt."
As of yet, no additional commissioner meetings regarding wolves have been scheduled.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Please Sign This Petition to Stop the Slaughter of Wolves

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Let's Watch Some Wolves

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Image of the Day

Cottage 249-20110726 by Roger's Eye
Cottage 249-20110726, a photo by Roger's Eye on Flickr.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Image of the Day

After EU Threat, Sweden Halts Hunting of Endangered Wolves

August 17, 2011
After a threat of legal action from the European Union, Swedish Environmental Minister Andreas Carlgren says the government has decided to put a halt to its licensed wolf hunts.

The "temporary halt" was to "ensure that Sweden does not lose the right to decide on its own wolf population," Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told a news conference.
Swedish wolves actually went extinct in the 1970s, though they recolonized from Finland 10 years later.
Today, all of the roughly 250 Swedish wolves have descended from those few founding individuals. Thus, the population is highly inbred, suffering from skeletal abnormalities and reproduction problems.
A new study, reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that illegal poaching accounts for over half of all deaths of Swedish wolves. Of that, researchers suggest that over two-thirds of poaching goes undetected.

The study predicts that without the last decade of poaching, wolves would have numbered around a thousand by 2009, four times the number reported that year.
While illegal poaching is a great concern, last year, Sweden allowed wolf hunting for the first time in 45 years.
Sweden has held two licensed wolf hunts, one in 2010 and one 2011. This year's ended with 19 out of the quota of 20 wolves shot.
This caught the attention of EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potecnik, who claimed that it was a violation of an EU directive.
Though Carlgren argues that the commission's interpretation is "rigid" and does not allow flexibility for local conditions, the nation has agreed to stop the hunting. However, the Swedish Government has stated that it will look into controlled hunting of "problem wolves."
Sweden has long defended the practice in order to secure public support for a viable wolf population in the Nordic nation among groups like hunters, farmers, and reindeer herders.
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation welcomed the government's announcement, but added that it needed to study the proposals in greater detail.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

TAKE REFUGE: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Posted: 16 Aug 2011
Red wolves have returned to North Carolina's wilds.
Eastern North Carolina is home to a rich diversity of wildlife that rivals any other region in the United States, and the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
is one of the best places to experience it.
The 150,000-acre refuge was established in 1984 to protect the area’s unique swampy pocosin (sandy or peaty)
wetlands and surrounding habitat. It is part of the North Carolina Coastal Plain Refuge Complex, which includes the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
. The Alligator National Wildlife Refuge manager also oversees Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
, Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
The small streams and tributaries from the Alligator River and dense vegetation provide ideal habitat for deer, black bears, frogs, alligators, shorebirds and other critters. There is plenty of wildlife to go searching for, and the refuge hosts a number of programs specifically designed to educate visitors and provide the opportunity to experience wildlife up close.

What To Do

One of the premier events held on the refuge (and the surrounding areas) is Wings Over Water
. This annual six-day event—held from Nov. 8-13, is highlighted by alligator searches, teaching sessions by wildlife photography experts, and canoe rides including a stop at the famous pirate Blackbeard’s hangout on Ocracoke Island.  Thousands of visitors come out to enjoy the festival.
The Sandy Ridge Trail ambles through cypress swamp and runs alongside the paddling trail. Hikers can often watch kayakers and canoers glide by.
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding areas are also the only places in the world where the endangered red wolf lives in the wild. An epic success story, red wolves were declared extinct in the wild in 1980. But in 1987, four captive bred wolves were released into Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Since their return, more than 100 wolves now roam the area, and recent studies confirm that the wolves’ return has helped strengthen the ecosystem.
Black bears forage throughout the refuge.
The refuge hosts Red Wolf Howling Safaris (guided tours where visitors have the chance to hear wolf packs howling in the wild) from April through December–attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.  You can register until Aug. 31 for one of the weekly scheduled summer tours or wait for special events like the Wings Over Water festival, which also includes a “wolf howl”.
Eastern North Carolina also has one of the biggest concentrations of black bears in the country. A special tour provides information about black bears and their habitat followed by an excursion to spot a bear or two on the refuge. But don’t worry, the tour guides will get you back in time for a wolf howling session.
Two hiking trails meander through the wetlands and forest. A kiosk provides info about the refuge and its wildlife at the start of the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail, which has access ramps for wheelchairs and walkers. The trail ends at a massive boardwalk overlooking freshwater marshlands, where waterfowl and shorebirds gather.
The dedicated staff has made this a paradise for nature enthusiast and the refuges natural beauty makes it one of the top destinations for wildlife observers in the country.
The Sandy Ridge Trail ambles through cypress swamp and runs alongside the paddling trail. Hikers can often watch kayakers and canoers glide by. Lucky observers might even spot an alligator swimming in the streams.
American Alligator
The refuge stands out for its long list of special events, interactive activities
, and opportunities for natural observation. Other attractions include a car tour route, overlooks for photography and 15 miles of paddling trails. The dedicated staff has made this a paradise for nature enthusiast and the refuges natural beauty makes it one of the top destinations for wildlife observers in the country.
Go experience all that this amazing place has to offer and TAKE REFUGE at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare and Hyde counties in North Carolina.

source: Defenders of Wildlife newsletter

Image of the Day

Iberian Wolf by Truus & Zoo
Iberian Wolf, a photo by Truus & Zoo on Flickr.

Swedish wolves threatened by under-reported poaching

Running wolf (Credit: Jon Arnemo) Swedish wolves went extinct in the 1970s, but recolonised from Finland 10 years later.
Illegal poaching accounts for over half of all deaths of Swedish wolves, suggests a new study.
Basing their estimates on long-term wolf counts, the researchers reveal that two-thirds of poaching goes undetected.
The study suggests that without the past decade of persecution Swedish wolves would be four times more abundant than they are today.
The study's findings are reported in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
European wolf (Credit: G.Chapron/Grimso)
"Many have speculated that poaching levels are high for many threatened species of carnivores," said Chris Carbone from the Zoological Society of London.
"This study presents an important step in trying to quantify this hidden threat," he added.
The new study predicts the size of the wolf Swedish population each year based on counts from the previous year.
These counts are based on radio-tracked wolves and the more traditional 'footprint count', used in Sweden for over 10 years to estimate wolf numbers.

Counting canines
  The researchers' estimates took account of confirmed cases of wolf mortality - such as when a wolf is killed on the road, dies from disease or is found killed.
However, when the team, based at Grimso Wildlife Research Station in Sweden, compared the expected numbers produced by their models to the actual number of wolves in the wild, they found they were over estimating the size of the population.
Conservation biologist Guillaume Chapron, and one of the team, suspects that 'cryptic poaching', poaching that goes undetected, accounts for this difference.
The poaching we see is the "tip of the iceberg," he said.
The researchers predict that without the last decade of poaching, wolves would have numbered around a thousand by 2009, four times the number reported that year.
Wolves are known to kill the dogs that many Swedes use to hunt moose, and despite up to four year prison sentence if caught poaching, a few people do not hestitate to take a shot at a wolf.

Founding fins
  Poaching is not the only threat to the Swedish wolf.
These large carnivores went extinct in Sweden in the 1970s, and the population has since re-established itself after a handful of migratory Finnish wolves took over the empty territories.
Today, all 250 or so Swedish wolves have descended from these few founding individuals.
And so the population is highly inbred and suffers from skeletal abnormalities and problems reproducing.
Further reducing the number of wolves by poaching leaves this population very vulnerable to further inbreeding, explained Dr Chapron.