Wolf News Roundup 7/21/2020
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
July 21, 2020
Writer Cally Carswell, writing for 5280 Denver’s Mile High Magazine, takes a look the origin of the Colorado wolf reintroduction proposal, interviewing advocates associated with the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund. Mike Phillips of the Turner Endangered Species Fund explains his key role in pushing for the ballot initiative, and the article provides a glimpse into the players bankrolling the initiative.
George Plaven, writing for the Capital Press, takes a detailed look at the problem with livestock depredations in Oregon, and the problem of getting depredations confirmed as wolf kills.
California’s Lassen wolf pack has eight pups, according to state wildlife officials. This pack has a minimum of six adults and yearlings, in addition the pups, and is the only documented wolf pack in the state.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife reports:
"On July 11, a group of livestock producers and ranch staff discovered multiple injured calves while gathering cattle in a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in Stevens County. WDFW staff investigated eight total injured calves the day they were reported. This incident occurred within the Wedge pack territory.
The investigations of seven of the eight injured calves revealed bite wounds and lacerations consistent with wolf depredation. The injuries to three of the calves were estimated to have occurred 1-2 days prior to the investigation; wounds on another calf were estimated to be 2-3 days old; wounds on another calf were estimated to be 3-4 days old; and injuries to the two remaining calves were estimated to have occurred 5-7 days prior to the investigation. Based on the estimated ages of the injuries, WDFW staff considered these depredations as four separate events.
When range riders observe a group of cattle that are bedded and appear to be relaxed and calm, riders do not make them stand, attempt to move them, or harass them; as such, injured calves are not always readily discernible and easily observed. The livestock producers removed the most severely injured calves from the range back to the ranch headquarters for medical attention and monitoring.
An additional injured calf was reported to and investigated by WDFW staff on July 13, and was confirmed as a wolf depredation.
The combination of bite wounds and lacerations with associated swelling consistent with hemorrhaging on all of the calves and recent wolf locations in the area provide evidence consistent with confirmed wolf depredations.
The affected livestock producer had the following proactive, nonlethal deterrents in place at the time of the depredation: removing or treating sick or injured livestock when discovered, carcass sanitation, calving away from areas occupied by wolves, delaying the turnout of livestock until wild ungulates are born, human presence around livestock, and using range riders.
This livestock producer used Cattle Producers of Washington range riders for six full days and eight partial days from May 21 through mid-June mainly on an 800- acre private pasture. Range riders transitioned with the livestock to larger summer grazing allotments. Following the depredation confirmed on June 17, range riding and livestock monitoring efforts were intensified. Range riding has been occurring four days a week, with the largest gap in coverage being two days. In addition to this increase in range riding, the producer, family members, or ranch staff have checked the cattle on the grazing allotment near the Wedge territory on a daily basis since the depredation confirmed on June 17.
WDFW has documented nine depredation incidents since May 11, 2020 attributed to the Wedge pack. WDFW staff are discussing how to most effectively address this situation; Director Susewind will also assess this situation and consider what action to take.
The Eastern Arizona Counties Organization (ECO) has made a contribution of $35,000 to support the Range Rider Program managed by the Interagency Field Team (IFT) of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Project.
Created in 1993, the ECO includes Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee and Navajo counties. The ECO counties have developed a leading role in natural resources and public lands management issues in eastern Arizona, including forest and watershed restoration, travel management and public land access, threatened and endangered species management, rural economic development, and recreation issues.
"The Arizona Game and Fish Department and its conservation partners are grateful to the ECO for their support of the Range Rider Program," said Jim deVos, AZGFD assistant director for wildlife management. "One of the key activities the department is engaged in is reducing depredations on livestock in the wolf recovery area. This monetary contribution will go a long way toward increasing staff availability to livestock producers and the IFT to haze wolves from areas with active depredation activities."
"ECO is pleased to provide this funding to AZGFD and the IFT," said Jason Whiting, ECO chair. "Over the past two years, the number of depredations has increased as the wolf population increased, and this is impacting the region's ranchers. Wolf depredations usually peak in early summer and continue into the fall, so this funding for the Range Rider Program will be put on the ground now."
AZGFD’s deVos notes that Mexican wolf recovery has seen growth over the last decade, with the 2019 wolf count being 163, nearly a 24% increase from the prior year.
According to the Arizona Game & Fish Department: "During the month of June, there were 21 confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock and two livestock injured by wolves.
There were five nuisance incidents investigated in June. From January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020, there have been a total of 75 depredation incidents in New Mexico and a total of 27 depredation incidents in Arizona."
Check out the links below for more details on these stories.