Wolf Monitor, Current News, Sightings, Legal Action, Wolf Pack Maps, Photos     By News Reporter Cat Urbigkit • Pinedale Online!

 Wolf News

Welcome to Wolf Watch!        |     Books by Cat Urbigkit
Wyoming news reporter Cat Urbigkit lives in the heart of wolf country, near Big Piney, Wyoming, a few hundred miles south of Yellowstone National Park. As a news reporter, rancher, researcher and Wyoming resident, she has followed the wolf issue for many years and written many articles on the topic, as well as an upcoming book on the history of wolves in Wyoming.
   The goal of this website is to present up-to-date, accurate information about what is happening with wolves, focusing on wolves in the Rocky Mountains, but referring to wolf happenings outside our region when there is some local relevance. Rather than an agenda-driven advocacy site, this is the place to be for the facts about wolves, with a strong focus on what’s happening on the ground.
   We invite those living in areas inhabited by wolves to contact Cat with news tips, photographs, or other information. We also invite those who want to support this endeavor to sign on as sponsors, and for our readers to support those sponsors.

2015 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2014 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2013 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2012 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2011 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2010 Wolf Watch Story Archive
2009 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2008 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2007/2006 Watch Wolf Story Archive

7/11/16: Wolf Depredation Update
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services have been busy with chronic wolf depredation problems in western Wyoming. This update has reports of depredations near Thermopolis, Cody, Lander, Bondurant, Dubois, and the Greys River. There are at least 382 wolves in about 48 packs inhabited the state, including Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.? Wyoming has exceeded recovery goals for the Northern Rocky Mountains for 13 consecutive years, yet delisting from the Endangered Species Act remains entangled in the federal courts. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages for wolf population growth and wolf distribution to minimize chronic loss of livestock from wolves and promote wolf conservation by maintaining the Wyoming wolf population well above recovery objectives... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/15/16: Wolf News Update
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A federal judge has halted the release of Mexican wolves in New Mexico until the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service receives permission from state officials for such releases. A female wolf from the five-member Bow Valley wolf pack was killed by wildlife officials in Canada’s Banff National Park last week after the wolf demonstrated increasingly bold behavior. Bold behavior toward humans prompted Parks Canada wildlife officials to issue warnings for the public to use caution around wolves in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/8/16: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Here are several stories from around the area about wolf news. Wolves are killing cattle in Jackson Hole. A wolf pack in Banff, Canada is boldly following people and stealing food in campgrounds. In Idaho, environmental groups are suing the USDA for the agency’s wolf killing in the state.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/8/16: Western Wyoming wolf problems
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) With the recent retirement of Mike Jimenez of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, responsibilities for dealing with wolves that repeatedly prey on livestock has transferred to Tyler Abbott of the agency’s Cheyenne office. Abbott has had his hands full since taking over the program a few weeks ago, with wolves in three areas of western Wyoming causing chronic problems. There have been numerous problem areas around the state where wolves are preying on cattle, horses and sheep. Livestock producers experiencing problems with wolves in western Wyoming can contact FWS’s Tyler Abbott at 307-286-7242, or Rod Merrill of USDA Wildlife Services at 307-320-5109...... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/12/16: Michigan wolf population maintains
(By Michigan DNR) Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife division officials said the size of the state’s wolf population has not changed significantly since the last survey was conducted in 2014. DNR wildlife researchers estimate there was a minimum of 618 wolves in the Upper Peninsula this winter. The 2014 minimum population estimate was 636 wolves...... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/12/16: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Idaho’s harvest of wolves in the 2015-2016 hunting/trapping season includes 137 killed through hunting, and 122 through trapping, similar to last year’s take. Montana's recent harvest included 137 wolves killed through hunting, and 73 through trapping. Wolves in Idaho and Montana were removed from federal protection in May 2011..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/30/16: Wolf hunting reduces sightings
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Visitors to national parks are half as likely to see wolves in their natural habitat when wolf hunting is permitted just outside park boundaries. That’s the main finding of a paper co-authored by the University of Washington appearing April 28 in the journal PLOS ONE. Its authors examined wolf harvest and sightings data from two national parks — Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska and Yellowstone National Park that straddles Wyoming, Montana and Idaho — and found visitors were twice as likely to see a wolf when hunting wasn’t permitted adjacent to the parks. It’s up to the reader to interpret whether the decrease in potential wolf viewing inside the park because of hunting that occurs outside the park is a positive or negative for humans and/or wolves. Perhaps the question can be framed in this way: Is the purpose of the park’s wolf population to have a complete ecosystem, or to provide for human entertainment?..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/30/16: Washington considers wolf compensation
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Capital Press reports that Washington wildlife officials are contemplating a policy on lethal control of depredating wolves. One idea is to provide higher compensation for ranchers who exhaust non-lethal preventative measures. That compensation could be as high as five times the market value of confirmed cattle killed by wolves...... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/2/16: Nine wolves killed
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Responding to repeated livestock depredations on cattle on private property in the Bondurant area in recent weeks, federal wildlife officials have killed nine wolves in the area, including three on Thursday. The Dell Creek wolf pack has now been reduced from an estimated 16 animals to seven, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a kill order on the remaining animals in the pack as cattle producers are now in their calving season in the area. A second wolf pack, the 9-member Rim pack, roams the same area. There are more than 1,700 wolves in the Northern Rockies..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/2/16: Minimum of 1,700 Wolves in Northern Rockies
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has released its annual report for the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population – a population that has expanded to include at least 1,700 wolves in 282 packs in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. From this core population area, the wolf population has continued to expand in Oregon, Washington, and California, for a total wolf population of about 1,900 animals in 316 packs with 114 breeding pairs..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/25/16: Wolves killing feedground elk
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A photo of lined-up dead elk on a Bondurant-area is making its way around social media. The 19 dead elk are the result of "surplus killing" behavior by wolves, in which the wolves kill more animals than are consumed. According to Buckrail, Wyoming Game & Fish Department personnel suspect the 9-member Rim pack is responsible for the elk kills.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/18/16: Removing Wolf Packs Reduces Depredations
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A new paper by wolf managers in the Northern Rocky Mountains found that "full pack removal was the most effective management response to reduce future livestock depredations in a local area." Researchers associated with the new paper suggested that depredation management is most appropriately studied at the wolf pack-level, or local scale. The new paper, "Effects of Wolf Removal on Livestock Depredation Recurrence and Wolf Recovery in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming," was published in the Journal of Wildlife Management by authors associated with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Montana, and USDA Wildlife Services. The researchers studied nearly 1,000 depredations by 156 known wolf packs in the tri-state area, comparing the management response to depredations: no removal, partial pack removal, and full pack removal. The median time between recurrent depredations was 19 days following no removal, 64 days following partial pack removal, and 730 days following full pack removal... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/18/16: Wolf Problems in France
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Australian famers must deal with wild dog attacks on their sheep flocks, but a farm publication in that country notes that at least it's not as bad as French shepherds suffering wolf depredations on their flocks. Australian farmers use guns and poison to kill depredating dogs, while French shepherds would face jail time for killing a wolf preying on their flocks. Matthew Cawood of Farm Weekly reports that France's 300 wolves killed or mauled 10,000 sheep last year.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/18/16: Feds plan grizzly delisting, WYO proposes plan
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has once again proposed removing the grizzly bear population in the Yellowstone region from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. In response to the successful recovery of one of the nation’s most iconic animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today proposed to remove the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The restoration of the grizzly bear in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho during the last three decades stands as one of America’s great conservation successes—a testament to the value of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the strong partnerships it drives. The Yellowstone grizzly bear population has rebounded from as few as 136 bears in 1975 to an estimated 700 or more today.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/18/16: Should wolves be released on Isle Royale?
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The National Park Service is moving forward with an environmental planning process to address the wolf population in Isle Royale National Park. The island's wolf population has dropped to just two animals. According the NPS, "The average wolf population on the island over the past 65 years has been about 22, but there have been as many as 50 wolves on the island and as few as three. Over the past five years the population has declined steeply, which has given rise to the need to determine whether the NPS should bring additional wolves to the island. There were three wolves documented on the island as of March 2015 and only two wolves have been confirmed as of February 2016. At this time, natural recovery of the population is unlikely." The NPS is considering four alternatives, including no action... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/18/16: Dell Creek Wolf Pack Targeted
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Media outlets report that federal officials have killed five wolves from the Dell Creek pack in the Hoback, leaving the pack with 11 members. Lethal control was ordered after the pack repeatedly preyed on livestock on private ranchlands in the basin, killing five head of beef cattle. In addition, the wolves have killed about 50 elk on nearby elk feedgrounds managed by state wildlife officials.. (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/17/16: Oregon Wolves Delisted
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Oregon has enacted a law that removes wolves from state endangered species protection and protects the decision from environmental litigation. State wildlife officials are now moving forward with a management plan for wolves in the region. Wolves occurring in the western two-thirds of the state remain under federal protection. State officials note that the minimum Oregon wolf population is now 110 wolves, a 36 percent increase over the 2014 population. The population includes 11 breeding pairs of wolves... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/27/16: Wolf News
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Union-Bulletin reports that a group of University of Washington researchers have published a paper indicating that killing wolves reduces livestock losses – the opposite of an earlier study published by another group University of Washington researchers that alleged killing wolves actually increases livestock attacks.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/18/16: Wolf Depredation dispute continues
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) On Feb. 26, 2016, the U.S. House passed the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, along with an amendment that would delist wolves in Wyoming and in the western Great Lakes States. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. In other wolf news, DNA tests confirm that the wolf killed in a coyote snare in Utah last November was indeed a wolf. The wolf was killed in November near Utah's border with Wyoming.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/18/16: WG&F Elk & Wolf Update
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) South Pinedale Game Warden Jordan Kraft euthanized a bull elk that had been attacked by wolves and after performing a necropsy determined that the bull elk was susceptible to predation due to an archery wound on a front shoulder. Big Piney Game Warden Adam Hymas has been monitoring elk distribution around feedgrounds and native winter range to minimize damage to stored crops and prevent livestock commingling issues. Wolves have been killing elk on a regular basis at the McNeel Feedground near Bondurant, causing damage issues. The wolf problems have been relayed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/8/16: Wolf howling dialects
(By University of Cambridge-UK) The largest ever study of howling in the ‘canid’ family of species – which includes wolves, jackals and domestic dogs – has shown that the various species and subspecies have distinguishing repertoires of howling, or "vocal fingerprints": different types of howls are used with varying regularity depending on the canid species. Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyze howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types based on pitch and fluctuation, and then matching up patterns of howling. They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used – from flat to highly modulated – corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, as well as to the subspecies of wolf. They are currently working on research in Yellowstone National Park using multiple recording devices and triangulation technology to try and pick up howl sounds and location. From this, they might be able to tell whether certain calls relate to distance communication or pack warnings. The research was conducted by a team of scientists from the UK, US, Spain and India, and is published in the journal Behavioural Processes.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/5/16: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) This is an update on wolf news from Wisconsin, Washington and on delisting. A U.S. senator from Wisconsin has introduced an amendment to delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming. It is attempt provided by congressional members to try to move delisting forward. Wisconsin's effort to transplant elk in the west-central portion of the state has been hampered by predation from a local wolf pack. A pack of wolves in Washington state surrounded a pair of dogs near a family’s rural home, but residents were able to scare them away by firing shots.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/25/16: Idaho Wolf Management
(By Virgil Moore, Director, Idaho Fish & Game) When Idaho Fish and Game took over wolf management in 2011, the wolf population had grown unchecked for more than a decade after reaching federal recovery levels of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves eleven years earlier. This was due to repeated lawsuits that stalled delisting and delayed transfer of wolves to state management. As a result, wolf conflicts with livestock and elk populations were rampant in most parts of Idaho north of the Snake River and livestock producers and hunters grew increasingly frustrated. After five years of state management of wolves in Idaho, we're seeing positive results. Livestock depredations by wolves are down by almost 50 percent (59 in 2015). Idaho's elk herds are rebounding too, but there are still some places in Idaho where predation impacts are unacceptable. Conflicts are decreasing because regulated wolf hunting and trapping seasons are helping us balance predator and prey populations. The bottom line is Idaho has a healthy, sustainable wolf population that is over seven times higher than the federal recovery goal. Idaho Fish and Game has proven we can responsibly manage wolves, provide regulated hunting and trapping opportunity, and reduce conflict. … (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/23/16: Dealing with stock-killing wolves
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A Montana wildlife official has noted that aggressively dealing with wolves that kill livestock works better than delaying action, according to a report in the Seattle Times. Montana biologist Liz Bradley noted that killing livestock is a learned behavior, so removing more wolves earlier is better than "picking away" at a stock-killing pack. In the end, fewer wolves will have to be removed.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/23/16: Wolf delisting moves in U.S. Senate
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A bill that would remove federal protections for wolf populations in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes states was met with a nod of approval from the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee this week. Wolf delisting was proposed by U.S. Senator John Barrasso as an amendment to the Sportsmen's Act, legislation addressing recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting. The bill, with Barrassso's successful amendment, can now be scheduled for consideration by the full Senate.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/3/16: Wolves in Poland
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Poland is home to a population of 1,500 wolves. Wolf advocates want to release wolves into Scotland. The two countries have big differences: Poland raises pork, and Scotland raises sheep. Poland sees wolves as a way to control the 200,000 wild boar that inhabit the countryside. Read the story to learn the views of a Polish wildlife biologist as he considers whether Scotland could handle wolves.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

12/30/15: Ranching with wolves in California
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Northern California ranchers are starting to learn what it's like to live with wolves. A pack moved into Siskiyou County last summer and produced five pubs, earning the group the name Shasta Pack. Now the state has recorded its first "probable" wolf kill of a beef calf. State wildlife officials have drafted a conservation plan for wolves in California. The plan includes various management options, and is open for public comment to Feb. 15th.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

12/17/15: Wolf protections remain
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Congressional rider on the federal spending bill that would have removed wolves from federal protection in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes states was dropped from the bill prior to its approval. That means that wolves will remain under federal protection..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

12/15/15: Yellowstone wolves
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Yellowstone National Park officials report that in December, 2014, the park harbored at least 104 wolves in 11 packs, including nine breeding pairs, according to the park’s annual wolf report. Researchers monitoring wolf-prey relationships indicate that wolves still prefer elk, but predation in bison and mule deer appear to be increasing within the park. Park officials also noted that there were 7 instances in 2014 when wolf behavior was considered habituated or when wolves closely approached humans, involving four different wolves..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

11/30/15: Scientists call for wolf delisting
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A leading group of wolf scientists are calling for wolves in the Great Lakes states to be removed from federal protection, and managed by the states. The letter comes nine months after another group of scientists and wolf advocates penned a letter with the opposite viewpoint.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

11/30/15: Wolf killed in northern Utah
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Utah media outlets are reporting that an 89-pound female wolf was found dead in a snare set for coyotes in November, in an area near Utah's border with Wyoming.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2015 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2014 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2013 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2012 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2011 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2010 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2009 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2008 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2007/2006 Wolf Watch Story Archive


GENERAL INFO

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