Wolf News Roundup 8/29/2018
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
August 29, 2018
Up A Tree
The Capital Press has obtained a taped interview involving an unnamed U.S. Forest Service worker who was put up a tree by a wolf. The researcher was interviewed by a Washington Fish & Wildlife officer, and she described the wolf’s aggressive behavior that led to her eventual rescue by a helicopter crew.
In other news, a northeastern Washington rancher will forego grazing on his national forest allotment next year due to wolf depredation on cattle. Follow the links below to read the Capital Press articles.
The Arizona Game & Fish Department alleges that placing Mexican wolves outside the species historic range will threaten its recovery rather than help it. "Doing so would encourage genetic mixing with northwestern wolves originally from Canada, which threatens the genetic uniqueness of the Mexican wolf," according to the agency.
The latest science clearly shows that Mexican wolf dispersal outside the species’ historical range before it’s recovered will lead to the large wolves of Canadian origin genetically swamping the Mexican wolf," said AZGFD biologist Jim Heffelfinger, who co-authored the study. "Our obligation is to make recovery decisions based on the latest research, solid science and management experience to preserve this unique wolf subspecies under the Endangered Species Act."
Sources prior to the mid-1990s defined the core historical range for Mexican wolves as southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and portions of Mexico. Because data shows that at some point Mexican wolves were on the Mogollon Rim, the recovery boundary now includes a 200-mile expansion from the core historical range to the north into central Arizona and New Mexico.
Historical data shows larger subspecies of wolves roamed northern New Mexico and Arizona along the Utah and Colorado state lines, but each differed from the smaller, distinctive Mexican wolf. Data also illustrates that Mexico is critical for wolf recovery, given that 90 percent of the animal’s historical range and more than 20,000 square miles of high-quality habitat is found south of the border.
Encouraging Mexican wolf recovery north of the current reintroduction area would place Mexican wolves north of where the species historically transitioned into the larger northern wolves.
"Mexican wolves are physically smaller, have smaller pack sizes, less stable packs and higher levels of inbreeding than wolves in the Rocky Mountains," Heffelfinger said. "Directing wolf recovery north of historical range threatens the genetic integrity and recovery of the subspecies and is unnecessary because large tracts of high quality habitat exist within that range."
"Hybridizing with wolves originally from Canada not only threatens the unique characteristics for which the Mexican wolf remains listed, but would undo decades of success returning iconic Mexican wolves to the Southwest," Heffelfinger added.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department have been at the forefront of Mexican wolf recovery for more than 20 years. The latest wolf survey (2017) documented all-time record numbers of Mexican wolves at 114, packs at 22, potential breeding pairs at 26 and adult wolves in the wild at 88.
The study entitled "Perils of recovering the Mexican wolf outside of its historical range" was authored by experts in their respective fields and included biologists and scientists from AZGFD, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, University of Montana, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad de Guadalajara, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad en el Sureste."
Two wolves crossed an ice bridge to a small island between Sweden and Finland, and now the human residents are dealing with a wolf population amongst their summer homes. It’s an age-old controversy, as The Guardian describes in an update on European wolves.
And in northern Spain, there is outrage over the head and tail of a dead wolf being left floating in a public pool. Farmers there have been protesting wolf protections in areas where wolves kill livestock, and where up at an estimated 300 wolf packs roam. Read The Local and the Telegraph for more.
For more information on these stories, check out the links below.