Wolf News Roundup 2/07/2020
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 7, 2020
Mandating radio collars
Legislation introduced in the Washington state legislature this week seeks to maximize nonlethal methods of dealing with problem wolves by doing a better job of tracking wolf packs that have been in conflict.
"We've invested a lot of time and money in our nonlethal methods," said Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda. "But we need the right strategy in place with active communication in order for it to work. We need to be less reactionary and more proactive.
"Ultimately, my bill is about focusing on the problem wolf packs, knowing where they are and having that information communicated to those who need to know," said Kretz. "If we want nonlethal solutions to work, we have to know where the wolves are."
His proposal, House Bill 2906, directs the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to prioritize the use of radio collars as a tool to monitor wolves that have been in conflict with livestock and humans.
His bill states:
"The department must radio collar at least two wolves in every pack in conflict. The department is encouraged, but not required, to radio collar at least one wolf in every pack in the state that has been confirmed by the department."
"There's a lot of talk about nonlethal measures, but how can we have an effective nonlethal plan when we don't know where the wolves are?" said Kretz. "There used to be a functioning system where certain wolf locations were known and that information could be relayed to range riders or ranchers. But nonlethal and lethal measures only work when the department has a strategy in place and communicates with ranchers. Right now, they don't and they aren't."
Kretz's bill has significant bipartisan support with half of the twelve representatives signing onto the bill being Democrats.
Range riders working under a $352,000 contract from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to deter wolves from cattle in northeastern Washington are now facing charges. The state has filed theft charges against two of the range riders, alleging that while their time sheets showed they were on the job, their phone records indicate they were more than 100 miles away.
Environmental groups charge that wolves killed cattle while the range riders were away, leading to a decision by state officials to kill more wolves. Read the details of the allegations in an article by Eli Francovich from The Spokesman Review.
California wolf dead
OR-54, a female dispersing wolf approximately 3-4 years old, was found dead in Shasta County, California on February 5, 2020.
OR-54 was born into Oregon's Rogue Pack most likely in 2016. She was the fourth Rogue Pack wolf known to have spent time in California. OR-54 weighed 83 pounds when collared by ODFW biologists in October 2017. On January 24, 2018, she crossed the state line into eastern Siskiyou County. Since then, she spent much of her time in California, although she made two trips back to Oregon. She covered more than 7,646 miles after leaving the Rogue Pack. OR-54 traveled widely in northeastern California, through portions of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama counties. In late September 2019, she crossed to the south side of Interstate 80 and briefly entered Nevada before returning to California and crossing back to the north side of the highway the following day. Her travels represent the southernmost known wolf locations in the state since wolves returned to California in 2011.
Gray wolves are covered under both the Federal Endangered Species Act as well as the California Endangered Species Act. CDFW takes very seriously any threats to this recovering wolf population. We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding OR-54ís death. We remind the public that killing a wolf is a potential crime and subject to serious penalties including imprisonment.
Check out the links below for details on these stories.