Wolf News Roundup 1/13/2019
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 13, 2019
A hunter shot and killed a wolf in northeastern Montana, about 300 miles from where most of the state’s wolves are known to roam, according to the Associated Press. The 70-pound female wolf was killed on the plains near Glasgow by a landowner with a wolf hunting license.
After completing the last scheduled facilitated meeting with stakeholder representatives on Monday, Jan. 8, ODFW staff are working to finalize a revised Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. That Plan will be presented to the Commission at its March 15 meeting in Salem for final adoption.
Last year, Commissioners decided to postpone Wolf Plan revisions and conduct additional facilitated outreach in hopes of getting more consensus from stakeholders. Professional facilitator Deb Nudelman with Kearns and West facilitated five meetings with stakeholders from late August 2018 through early January 2019.
While stakeholders representing ranching, hunting and wolf conservation came to agreement on some topics, there was no consensus on several of the most controversial issues including the number of livestock depredations that leads to consideration of lethal removal of wolves when nonlethal deterrents have not worked. Environmental group stakeholders with Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife announced late last Friday, Jan. 4 that they would not attend the final meeting.
"We were disappointed these groups left the discussion and we did not have the full stakeholder group present at the final meeting," said Derek Broman, ODFW Carnivore Coordinator. "Since the drafting of the original 2005 plan, stakeholders remain very passionate so consensus is challenging to achieve."
The facilitated process was designed to create a space for stakeholders to negotiate and allow for give and take on all sides," he continued. "We thank all stakeholders for their time and attention at the meetings and for the progress made on several issues, and everyone thanks Kearns and West for their professional facilitating of these meetings."
Stakeholder groups were able to find some consensus on wolf collaring priorities, the desire to increase the use of nonlethal techniques and funding enhanced population modeling. But stakeholders remained divided on lethal take of wolves when they are killing livestock, including the number and time frame of confirmed depredations before lethal control of wolves is considered.
ODFW is responsible for investigating livestock depredations and uses a rigorous, evidence-based process to determining if a wolf or wolves was responsible. A certain number of "confirmed" livestock depredations can lead to consideration of lethal removal of wolves by the department or a landowner. Currently, the Plan allows for consideration of lethal removal after two confirmed depredations within no specific time frame, but ODFW typically authorizes lethal removal after three or more confirmed depredations. In practice, ODFW has denied more lethal removal requests for wolves than it has approved.
Since the first Wolf Conservation and Management Plan was approved in 2005, hunting of wolves has been in the Plan as a potential tool to manage wolf populations. Throughout the current review of the Wolf Plan, no proposals have been made by ODFW to begin hunting wolves. If hunting of wolves were to be proposed by staff in the future, it would have to be approved by the Commission in a public rule-making process.
As Oregon moves forward with revision of its wolf management plan, KTVL in Oregon talks with a rancher who has lost five calves and one livestock guardian dog wolves. Check out the links below for the details.
The Stevens County Commission issued a public safety announcement last week, noting: "Recent citizen reports of wolf activity indicate that several packs have come very close to homes in several areas of Stevens County. These reports have been confirmed by our Sheriff Wildlife Specialist. While there are no reports of any dangerous activity or threatening behavior to persons an abundance of caution makes it prudent to raise the awareness for those people especially in the Orin Rice, Seigel Hill Road, Mingo Mountain, Valley Westside and Crystal Falls areas. "To all of our residents, please be aware and be cautious regarding outside pets, livestock and feed that may be a predator attractant." Wolves are a protected species in this region of Washington.
Wisconsin wildlife officials estimate the state is home to at least 905-944 wolves, living in 238 packs, for an average of 3.8 wolves per pack. Occupied wolf range in the state is estimated at about 24,000 square miles. As part of the state’s monitoring program, state officials live captured 36 wolves. The average weight of 13 live-captured adult males was 84 pounds, and the average weight of adult females was 68 pounds. According to the state’s annual wolf monitoring report, Wisconsin has 34 farms classified as chronic depredation farms.
The National Park Service has told researchers involved in the long-running wolf study on Isle Royale that they may not access the island until after the government shutdown is over, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The wolf project is believed to be the longest-running wolf research project in the world, at more than 60 years. Last fall, the Park Service began translocating mainland wolves onto the island to boost the area’s last two surviving (and severely inbred) wolves, and had planned to release additional wolves this winter. Now the monitoring of the population is on hold.