Wolf news roundup
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
April 1, 2007
Defenders of Wildlife, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club have asked the Alaska Superior Court to shut down the state’s $150-per-wolf bounty program, pointing to the 1984 repeal of Alaska's bounty laws. The environmental groups allege that the state has no current legal authority to implement the bounties.
"The governor is overstepping her legal authority by offering cash payments for each wolf killed by aerial gunners," stated Tom Banks, Defenders of Wildlife's Alaska Associate. "That's a bounty by anyone's standards regardless of what they call it."
Hoping to boost the number of wolves killed this year by permitees, Governor Sarah Palin announced the state would pay $150 for each kill. According to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game news release, the bounty was instituted to "motivate permittees to redouble their efforts and to help offset the high cost of aviation fuel, ADF&G will offer cash payments to those who return biological specimens to the department." The state's press release noted, "Permittees will be paid $150 when they bring in the left forelegs of wolves taken from any of several designated control areas."
The first cloning of wolves has been achieved in South Korea, according to a report by Science Editor Mark Henderson on the UK’s TimesOnline. (www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1572401.ece). The article reports that the two females wolves were born back in October 2005, but DNA tests recently confirmed the claim that the animals were clones.
Apparently some of the research team is associated with Woo Suk Hwang (known for his faked human stem-cell research).
Yellowstone’s late winter wolf predation study [March 1-30] is ongoing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that kill rates by packs are highly variable, but most elk killed so far have poor marrow typical of late winter. At least one bison was killed the past week, and two bison carcasses were fed on, all on the northern range, indicating that bison maybe an important food source to wolves. Several packs have made extraterritorial moves and clashed with resident packs.
FWS noted: “Several hunts have been observed from the air and ground, two hunts by the Leopold pack exceeded two miles [measured by GPS unit] of a wolf chasing an elk at top speed. In both cases the elk outran the wolves. Time elapsed was less than 8 minutes. Bull elk are dropping their antlers and anecdotal data indicates wolves are targeting them.”
Midwest Wolves delisted -The Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment and wolf population delisting rule was finalized on March 10, so FWS turned over wolf management to Midwestern state wildlife agencies.