Wolf News Roundup 3/20/2017
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
March 20, 2017
Washington’s wolf population grew by 28 percent last year, with a minimum population of 115 wolves in 20 packs, with 10 breeding pairs. With the increased wolf population, state wildlife officials have suggested that managers begin to count "probable" wolf depredations (instead of only "confirmed" depredations) when it comes to considering controlling the animals. Current state policy allows for lethal removal of wolves only after four confirmed depredations, and probable depredations are not considered.
Animal damage control officials in Oregon are pulling M-44 sodium cyanide devices designed to kill coyotes after a wolf was unintentionally killed in the northeastern portion of the state. Oregon has eight breeding pairs of wolves, and has moved into Phase 3 of its wolf management plan, which moves the state away from conservation toward more management of wolves in the state.
The Pacific Legal Foundation, representing the California Cattleman’s Association and California Farm Bureau, has filed a lawsuit contesting the state of California’s listing of the gray wolf as an endangered species in the state. Filed in California Superior Court in January, the lawsuit challenges the commission’s listing of the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.
The listing took effect on January 1, 2017, a little over a year after a divided commission approved it on a controversial 3-1 vote. The lawsuit challenges the gray wolf listing as illegal on three grounds:
1) The listing is based on flimsy evidence. The listing process was triggered by a single wolf crossing the Oregon border in 2011 — and that wolf has since wandered out of California. Never before has a listing been initiated by a single animal’s occasional wanderings into the state. This is why the state Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended against listing.
2) Regulators undercounted the gray wolf’s numbers. In violation of the California ESA, the omission looked only at the wolf’s numbers in California, ignoring healthy wolf populations elsewhere. Indeed, the wolf’s overall status has improved to the point that the federal government is moving toward removing the species from its own "endangered" list.
3) The gray wolf is not covered by the law. The California ESA is limited to native species and subspecies. Yet the gray wolves addressed by this listing are originally from Canada; they represent a subspecies that was never historically present in California. Last week, environmental groups filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit. The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Cascadia Wildlands and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, are represented by Earthjustice.
The Arizona Livestock Loss Board has instituted a four-step process for obtaining reimbursement for wolf depredation of commercial cattle. Click on the link below to learn about the process.
For information about all these stories, please see the links below.