Wolf News Roundup 12/27/2018
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
December 27, 2018
The hunting season for wolves in the trophy game area of northwestern Wyoming opened Sept. 1. According to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, 43 wolves have been harvested as of December 26. 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 three hunt areas have reached their quotas.
There have also been 36 wolves killed in Wyoming’s predator zone so far in 2018.
Yellowstone National Park has released its yearly wolf report, tallying 97 wolves in 11 packs (including three breeding pairs) at the end of December 2017.
According to the report: "Overall, wolf numbers have fluctuated little from 2009 to 2017 (83-108 wolves) while breeding pairs (defined as an adult male and an adult female with two pups that survive through the end of the year) have typically been two to three times higher than the 2017 count. Pack size in 2017 ranged from 2 to 21, averaging 8.8 in size. Park-wide, 21 pups survived to year end, only 5 in northern Yellowstone and 16 in the interior of the park. Five packs had total litter loss and over half of the park’s recorded pups were in the Wapiti Lake pack."
"Four radio-collared wolves died in 2017: one was killed by other wolves, one kicked and killed by an ungulate, one died of canine distemper virus (CDV), and one died of unknown natural causes (necropsy was delayed due to remoteness and exact cause of death could not be determined). All four were old adults (two were 6.5 and two were 8 years old). The wolf that died after being kicked several times by an ungulate was a female pregnant with five pups (three males, two females) that all died. They were within a week of birth. In addition, staff recorded six uncollared adult wolf deaths; all six were human-caused. Five were harvested during the wolf hunting season in Montana (one old adult, three adults, and one pup) and one was illegally shot inside park boundaries and had to be euthanized by park staff."
Wildlife officials have determined that western Oregon’s Rogue wolf pack continues to kill cattle, with a total of seven confirmed kills in the last two months, in addition to several unconfirmed kills. Wolves in the region are federally protected, and the cattle-killing wolves will not be subject to lethal control.
One rancher had his national forest grazing permit revoked after the misdemeanor charge of killing a Mexican wolf, and one pro-wolf group is paying ranchers to engage in a "temporary" 10-year retirement of their grazing permits. The Sante Fe New Mexican takes a look at issues surrounding Mexican wolves in New Mexico. The article also includes a photograph of a 10-month old wolf that weighs only 25 pounds, according to the newspaper. Click on the link below to read the article.
California wolf dead
California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) was notified by Oregon wildlife officials that OR-59, a male dispersing wolf approximately 1.5 years old, had crossed the state line into Modoc County on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. On Dec. 5, a calf that died from natural causes was scavenged in the area, and evidence at the scene (as well as GPS data) indicate that OR-59 was in the immediate vicinity. On Dec. 9, CDFW was notified by Oregon wildlife officials of a mortality signal for OR-59. CDFW Wildlife Officers responded to the last known location and found OR-59 deceased. This is now under a criminal investigation conducted by wildlife officers from CDFW’s law enforcement division. CDFW takes very seriously any threats to this recovering wolf population, and will investigate fully any possible criminal activity in these deaths. CDFW reminds the public that killing a wolf is a potential crime and subject to serious penalties including imprisonment.