Wolf News Roundup 5/29/2018
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
May 29, 2018
Is it a wolf?
The Great Falls Tribune has posted photos and an article about a wolf-like animal shot and killed in northcentral Montana recently. Photos of the animal have gone viral, along with wild speculation about what the animal actually is.
According to the 2017 Montana Gray Wolf Program Annual Report, population estimates suggest there are approximately 900 wolves in Montana. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Montana has far exceeded wolf recovery goals. Montana’s wolf population has remained relatively stable with an annual wolf harvest that averages about 225 animals per year. During the 2017-2018 wolf season, 255 wolves were harvested: 65 percent hunting, 35 percent trapping. Approximately, $380,000 was generated for wolf conservation and management by wolf license sales.
Livestock depredation by wolves during 2017 was approximately 25 percent of what it was in 2009, when it was at a peak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed 80 livestock losses to wolves in 2017, which included 49 cattle, 12 sheep, and 19 goats during 2017. One dog was also killed by wolves. This total was up compared to 53 livestock losses during 2016. During 2017 the Montana Livestock Loss Board paid $64,133 for livestock Wildlife Services confirmed as probable or certain wolf kills.
$2,300 fine for killing wolf
U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Acting Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region, announced that Craig Thiessen pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal misdemeanor wildlife violation arising out of the taking of a Mexican gray wolf. Immediately after entering the guilty plea, Thiessen was sentenced to a one-year term of probation and was ordered to pay $2,300 in restitution to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.
In announcing the guilty plea and sentence, U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson said, "Mexican wolves were listed as an endangered species in 1976, prompting recovery efforts to save the species from extinction. The Justice Department is committed to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our other law enforcement partners to protect the Mexican gray wolf and other vulnerable species so they remain on our planet for future generations."
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works closely with our partners to protect imperiled species both at home and abroad," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Phillip Land of the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region. "This defendant knowingly took a Mexican gray wolf, the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. The defendant's guilty plea should serve as a deterrent to those who choose to knowingly harass and take wildlife unlawfully. We will continue to work with the Department of Justice and others to bring these offenders to justice."
During yesterday’s proceedings, Thiessen, 46, of Catron County, N.M., entered a guilty plea to an information charging him with the taking of threatened wildlife. In entering the guilty plea, Thiessen admitted that in Feb. 2015, in Catron County, N.M., he intentionally captured a Mexican gray wolf in a trap on his grazing allotment in the Gila National Forest and hit the wolf with a shovel. Thiessen admitted knowing that the animal was a Mexican gray wolf because it bore a tracking collar, which is affixed to all Mexican gray wolves in the area.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement of the Southwest Region, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Balla of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
Prince of Wales Island
Alaska and federal officials continue to struggle with setting the proper deer and wolf harvest levels on Prince of Wales Island, according to the Juneau Empire. The wolf population had dropped to 84 in 2014, but rebounded to 231 in 2016. Subsistence hunters had hoped to reduce the wolf population to increase the deer population available for hunters.
WA rancher rethinks grazing with wolves
The Capital Press reports that a northeastern Washington rancher is debating whether to continue to use his national forest grazing allotment now that his herd’s grazing season has begun with wolves killing one of his calves.
WA wolf depredations
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife reports that one or more wolves from the Togo pack killed a beef calf last week, marking up the third such kill by the pack in seven months. State policy allows lethal control of problem wolves only once wolves kill livestock three times in 30 days, or four times in 10 months.
Wall Street funds Wolves
Yahoo Finance reports that a one-evening fundraising event raised $1.4 million to benefit wolves, mainly from Wall Street big wigs.
Check out the links below for more on these stories.