RMEF funding wolf programs
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
September 18, 2013
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is providing grants to state wildlife agencies in several Rocky Mountain states for their wolf research and management efforts. Wyoming and Idaho each received $50,000 grants, while Montana received a $25,000 grant.
In addition to the $25,000 provided to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for wolf management in that state, RMEF also provided $25,000 for the USDA Wildlife Services program in Montana, including collaring and activities associated with Montana’s wolf management plan. RMEF also awarded a $15,000 grant to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in 2012 for radio collaring efforts, removing problem wolves and improving state management of wolf populations.
Here's a RMEF press release on the recent Wyoming contribution:
A $50,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will assist the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) with its wolf management plan.
The funding will expand WGFD’s knowledge of predator-prey interactions between wolves and elk. It will also expand the radio collar program to help managers better understand the home range, territory size, pack size and other biological traits and actions of the wolf so they can better implement management techniques.
"It is vital that state agencies have a firm grasp on predator populations in order to properly implement science-based management practices," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "This grant will help WGFD gain more knowledge to better understand its wolf population so it can better implement its approved wolf management plan."
"Our partnership with the RMEF is extremely valuable to us and this grant shows how this relationship continues to develop great opportunities for conservation," said Tom Ryder, Wildlife Assistant Division Chief for WGFD. "This grant will help the Department execute its adaptive wolf management plan by helping to increase our knowledge of wolf/elk interactions, wolf home range, and pack and territory size. Each of these biological components is important for the management plan and to our shared constituents."
In keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as the preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF staunchly supports management to balance and control wolf populations.
"We maintain our longstanding commitment to and support of the goal of state management which is to sustain all wildlife species on balance with the available habitat and the local communities where so many of us live," added Allen.
RMEF also remains committed to learning more about wolves through research efforts. Since 1989, RMEF invested nearly $664,000 in research grants to advance scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species, and overall wolf management. The total includes $174,079 in Wyoming-specific research projects and more than $200,000 in science grants in just the past five years. Most of the contributions paid for independent research by leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribes.
"Part of RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk and other wildlife," said Allen. "This grant helps managers do just that in Wyoming by helping them know how many wolves are out there, where they travel and what effect they have on elk, deer and other ungulates."
RMEF will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states.
Federal wolf manager Mike Jimenez of Jackson Hole, Wyoming has written a fantastic article for the Fall 2013 issue of International Wolf Magazine. In the piece, Jimenez provides specific examples of what it's like to manage wolves on the ground, all the while under pressure from wolf advocates and those who seek wolf control. Jimenez credits local tolerance of wolves, and active agency management efforts, with the success of the wolf recovery program, and concludes that "it's important to honor our original commitments to minimize wolf depredations and use hunting as a management tool to control wolf population size and distribution."