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Biologists investigate wolf sighting near Grand Canyon

Gray wolf in the winter woods. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Gray wolf in the winter woods. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Agencies scramble to make positive ID of large canid

By Bob Berwyn

*More recent stories about wolves at this link.

FRISCO — An endangered gray wolf may have wandered into northern Arizona, perhaps from as far away as Wyoming or Montana, and has been spotted on national forest lands north of the Grand Canyon for about the past three weeks.

Federal and state biologists, as well as wildlife conservation advocates, are trying to figure out if the animal is in fact a wolf by collecting scat and doing a genetic analysis. Continue reading

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Biodiversity: Review panel says feds didn’t use best available science for wolf delisting proposal

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Scientists find flaws in federal plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. Photo courtesy USFWS.

USFWS reopens comment period on controversial proposal

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A federal plan to take gray wolves off the endangered species list hit a snag last week, as an independent review panel raised questions about the scientific rationale for the plan.

Specifically, the reviewers questioned whether U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists used the best available science when they developed the delisting proposal. Part of the criticism hinged on the fact that the agency relied heavily on one single report that may have omitted some key information, and included fundamental flaws about the taxonomy and genetic differentiation of wolves. Continue reading

California may give wolves endangered species status

Gray wolves.

State game commission to vote on listing in October

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — California biologists say that gray wolves in their state qualify for protection under the California Endangered Species Act, even though only one wolf — an immigrant from Oregon — is known to live there now.

Responding to a petition from wildlife conservation advocates, the California Department of Fish and Game last week recommended the endangered species status to the state’s fish and game commission, which will vote on the issue in October.

California is grappling with the issue against an interesting backdrop. A lone wolf that wandered from Oregon continues to roam the wild northeastern quadrant of the state, and wildlife advocates say there’s room for more. At the same time, the federal government is considering removing wolves from the endangered species list on other parts of the country. Continue reading

Wildlife: Feds propose de-listing Great Lakes wolves

A gray wolf molts in early June.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also studying eastern wolf population, recently determined to be a separate species

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to delist wolves in the western Great Lakes region and is taking public comment through early July. In particular, the agency is interested in information on threats and impacts on wolves and their habitat, and any data on the taxonomy of wolves in the region and throughout the eastern United States. Click here to get more information on commenting.

Delisting wolves would put them back under management of state wildlife agencies. Those agencies have made it clear that they would drastically reduce wolf populations. Minnesota’s plan resurrects a version of the old bounty system by paying state-certified predator controllers $150 for each wolf killed. The Wisconsin plan seeks to reduce the state population by half to reach a target of 350 wolves. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Congress challenged on wolf delisting

Western lawmakers use budget battle to advance their anti-wildlife agenda

Gray wolves in the northern Rockies. PHOTO BY THE US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In the big congressional budget battle last month, wolves may have been one of the big losers, as a rider attached to the spending bill by western lawmakers removed Endangered Species Act protections for the carnivores in Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon and Washington, and northern Utah.

It’s the first time that Congress has successfully meddled in the field of conservation biology, but the move won’t go unchallenged. Conservation advocates, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, last week filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Congress on constitutional grounds. The lawsuit claims that Congress violated the separation of powers provision included in the Third Amendment. Get more information on wolf conservation at the Center for Biological Diversity’s wolf web page.

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