Wolf News Roundup 9/22/2018
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
September 22, 2018
The hunting season for wolves in the trophy game area of northwestern Wyoming opened Sept. 1. According to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, eight wolves have been harvested as of September 21. The agency set a total quota of 58 wolves in the state’s 14 hunt areas for wolves. There have also been 21 wolves killed in Wyoming’s predator zone so far in 2018.
Recovering wolves nationwide
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to force the agency to develop a nationwide comprehensive wolf recovery plan.
The El Paso Sierra Club is leading an effort to return Mexican wolves to the Texas landscape. The group recently collected more than 10,000 letters of support for bringing the predator back to West Texas.
A member of the Bow Valley wolf pack in Banff National Park approached campers in a developed campground, prompting public safety warnings by wildlife officials. The Bow Valley pack has a history of problem wolf behavior, with Canada wildlife officials killing two members of the pack in 2016 after the animals became aggressive towards humans.
Washington’s Old Profanity Peak pack
On September 16, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife marksman shot and killed a juvenile member of a wolf pack currently occupying the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) that has repeatedly preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.
The young wolf, weighing 50 pounds, was one of four pack members spotted that day by a WDFW helicopter crew. Identifying adults and young wolves from the air is difficult this time of year due to the size of the animals.
On Sept. 12, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized "incremental" removal of wolves from the OPT pack, after confirming that one or more pack members killed one calf and injured five others from Sept. 4-7 on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment.
One day after the juvenile wolf was removed, WDFW confirmed that an adult cow was killed by wolves in the same general area. WDFW staff investigating the cow carcass determined that it was likely killed prior to the removal of the wolf. The department is currently working to determine the next option to deter wolf depredation by the OPT pack under the current incremental removal action. This action is consistent with the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and wolf-livestock protocol, which allows the department to take lethal action after confirming three depredations by wolves on livestock within 30 days or four within 10 months.
The series of depredations from Sept. 4-7 met the first criterion, in addition to a requirement in the protocol that non-lethal deterrents were in place, but did not prevent conflict between wolves and livestock. Non-lethal deterrents employed by the livestock producer whose cattle were killed or injured by the OPT pack include:
• Using range riders to keep watch over his herd.
• Calving outside of occupied wolf range
• Delaying turning out cattle until July 10 – a month later than usual – when calving is finished and the calves are larger and less prone to predation.
• Removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd.
• Removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area.