Wolf News Roundup 5/30/2019
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
May 30, 2019
The Idaho Falls Post Register is running a five-part series on living with wolves. The current installment focuses on the unforeseen impacts of wolves. Examples include range cattle spooked by wolves attacking herding dogs, weight loss in livestock, reduced conception rates, and other behavioral issues, including elk movement onto private property to escape wolves.
A new paper tackles the issue of wolf-dog hybridization in Europe. Some scientists recommend removal of these hybrids in order to preserve the genetic integrity of wolves, but others suggest that hybrids be managed for their ecological function, or for increased evolutionary potential. The European paper (linked below) captures the debate among various members of the scientific community involved with wolf management.
Legislation that would have banned wolf hunting in Minnesota failed to reach the desk of that state’s governor, so was not signed into law, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Wolves remain under federal protection in Minnesota. Meanwhile, a dog owner in Duluth beat back two wolves that attacked his dog not far from the city center, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
Life On Range
The Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission has developed a five-part educational series about wolves. Understanding the history, the perspectives of many of impacted people, challenges of raising livestock with wolves, research on wolf and livestock interactions, and management restrictions are all covered in the series. See the link below for all the details.
Listing for Thee Not For Me
Soon after the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife issued a letter supporting the Trump administration’s proposal to remove gray wolves in the Lower 48 states from the list of federally protected species, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a letter "to clarify and correct" the state position, noting that "the State of Oregon and its agencies do not support the delisting of wolves …."
Citing the statewide wolf population of 137, Brown noted that the success of wolf recovery in Oregon "is unquestioned" but "Our collaborative work and its success cannot protect imperiled wildlife beyond our borders in other states. Our commitment to the Oregon way gives me great confidence that wolves are on the path to recovery and do not warrant a listing within Oregon, but their listing under the federal Endangered Species Act affords them some protection across their range."
Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson expressing strong support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s proposed rule to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the lower 48 United States. The letter was signed by 34 bipartisan Members of Congress and will be submitted as an official public comment in the Federal Register. The public comment submission period deadline is July 15, 2019.
"The gray wolf should be considered a success story of the Endangered Species Act," said Newhouse. "Federally delisting the gray wolf will allow Washington state to implement the comprehensive wolf management plan that will give relief to farmers, ranchers, and communities that are affected by growing wolf populations. It is time to listen to the experts and scientists who have determined the gray wolf is no longer endangered or threatened and give power back to the states."
"The delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is something I’ve been working on for a long time," said Peterson. "Scientific research clearly shows that the gray wolf population in this country has recovered, especially in the state of Minnesota. State agencies are better equipped to manage wolf populations and should have been doing so years ago."
Wolf damage to livestock in Germany has risen from zero in 2000 to more than 1,600 animals killed, according to German officials. In response, rules on the killing of wolves are being eased. A Reuters news report notes that while wolves will still have strong protections, wolves causing damage to livestock can be killed, and members of a pack can be shot until livestock attacks end.