Wolf News Roundup 12/16/2018
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 16, 2018
The hunting season for wolves in the trophy game area of northwestern Wyoming opened Sept. 1. According to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, 38 wolves have been harvested as of December 14. The agency set a total quota of 58 wolves in the state’s 14 hunt areas for wolves. The hunting season remains open until Dec. 31 or until hunt-area quotas are reached. Currently, only one hunt area has reached its quota.
There have also been 36 wolves killed in Wyoming’s predator zone so far in 2018.
Michigan Tech researchers report the discovery of high amounts of red wolf ancestry in canids living on Galveston Island in southeast Texas – an area where red wolves have been declared extinct in the wild. Red wolves are native to the southeastern United States, where captive breeding and recovery efforts have focused. The researchers "found that the Galveston Island canids have both red wolf and coyote alleles, likely related to species interbreeding during the 1970s as coyote populations expanded across North America.
"The Galveston Island animals — known as admixed canids — do not share all alleles with contemporary red wolves, but they are genetically closer to red wolves than they are to coyotes.
"This is significant because it means that red wolf genetics persist in the American south nearly 40 years after the species was thought to have become entirely extinct from that region. The population of canids on Galveston Island could represent a reservoir of red wolf genes that could be used to bolster other red wolves."
Focus will now turn to genetic sampling of coyote populations in Louisiana and Texas.
The Detroit News reports that some people are questioning why state officials ordered the killing of three wolves on a remote cattle farm in the Upper Peninsula. The wolves had killed 46 head of cattle on the farm in one year, but state officials maintain that the wolves had become habituated and brazen, posing a threat to human safety.
The UP’s wolves have federal endangered species status, so that wolves may only be killed if they pose "a demonstrable but non-immediate threat to human safety."