Wolf News Roundup
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
August 23, 2015
In northeastern Washington, a pack of wolves injured a 90-pound livestock guardian dog that was protecting its sheep flock, and state officials are struggling with the decision whether to classify the incident as a "depredation." The dog had severe injuries to its ears, neck and side. The dog is owned by a livestock producer who lost more than 200 sheep to wolves last year.
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) has photographic evidence of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California. After trail cameras recorded a lone canid in May and July, CDFW deployed additional cameras, one of which took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old and others showing individual adults. Because of the proximity to the original camera locations, it is likely the adult previously photographed in May and July is associated with the group of pups.
"This news is exciting for California," said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. "We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time." CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.
Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were extirpated. Aside from these wolves and the famous wolf OR7 who entered California in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in the state was in 1924. OR7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon. In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.
CDFW is completing a Draft Wolf Management Plan and will release it soon.
Two men driving in South Dakota's Black Hills were able to videotape a wolf roaming in the area, and although they've shared the video with state wildlife officials, they refuse to reveal the exact location where it was filmed.
Isle Royale National Park's declining wolf population got a small boost with the recent confirmation of two wolf pups on the island. (Isle Royale is located in Michigan.) Even with the recent addition, the wolf population still numbers less than a dozen animals in this isolated population.
Wolves in Sweden
Sweden's population of about 400 wolves is subject to annual wolf hunts, with more than 40 wolves killed per year. That program is under scrutiny and criticism of the European Union, and rural residents are dealing with the same conflicts with wolves as residents in the Northern Rockies.
Meanwhile, officials in Switzerland have issued a kill order for one wolf that is blamed for the death of almost 40 sheep. Federal law in that country allows for the killing of any wolf that kills 25 sheep in one month, or 35 sheep in four consecutive months.
To learn more about any of these stories, check out the links below for full articles.