Feds investigate possible wolf killing near Kremmling

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Federal scientists are trying to determine whether this animal, shot April 29 near Kremmling, is a grray wolf. Photo via the Colorado Mule Deer Association Facebook page.

Three other dispersing wolves have died in Colorado

Staff Report

FRISCO — Without DNA testing, state and federal wildlife officials can’t say for sure, but it appears that yet another wandering wolf from the northern Rockies may have been shot and killed, this near Kremmling, Colorado.

The April 29 shooting was immediately reported to the CPW office in Hot Sulphur Springs by the coyote hunter, who said he mistook the 90-pound animal for a coyote. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is testing the remains to positively identify the animal. Continue reading

Feds say Northern Rockies wolf population remains strong

Heavy snow has pushed elk out of the high country, so the Colorado Division of Wildlife will try to divert them from important livestock feeding areas in the Yampa Valley. PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PAKR SERVICE.

A pack of wolves surrounds an ungulate in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Wildlife advocates unhappy with state-sanctioned hunts

Staff Report

FRISCO — Wolves in the northern Rockies are more than holding their own, even in the face of increasing hunting pressure in some states.

As of December 31, 2014, there were at least at least 1,657 wolves in 282 packs (including 85 breeding pairs) in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released its annual wolf recovery report this week. Continue reading

Some lawmakers back alternate wolf conservation plan

Bipartisan letter from House members supports push to reclassify entire gray wolf population as threatened

Wolves surrounding a bison in Yellowstone National Park. PHOTO COURTESY DOUG SMITH/NPS.

Wolves surrounding a bison in Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy Doug Smith/NPS.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A proposal to restructure the lawsuit-plagued recovery efforts for gray wolves may be gaining political traction, as 79 members of the U.S. House recently signed on to a letter supporting the plan to reclassify all wolves in the U.S. as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

Conservation advocates see their request as a reasonable alternative to taking wolves completely off the endangered species list. A “threatened” status would enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue restoration efforts where needed, while giving states more flexibility in managing the predators. Continue reading

Wildlife: Oregon wolf population growing slowly

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State reports suggests non-lethal wolf control is working

Staff Report

FRISCO — Every now and then, the dizzying cycle of lawsuits, appeals and proposed legislation on wolves is punctuated by a bit of good news. Last week, for example, federal biologists announced that the population of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest grew during the past year, and now, Oregon wildlife officials also say the predators are increasing in their state.

According to the annual Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife annual wolf report, the state’s population has increased by 13 wolves since the end of 2013. The biologists estimate there are now more than 70 wolves roaming in the wilds of Oregon. The state wildlife agency confirmed nine wolf packs and six new pairs, with a total of eight breeding pairs. Continue reading

Feds put Wyoming, Great Lakes wolves back on endangered species list

Heavy snow has pushed elk out of the high country, so the Colorado Division of Wildlife will try to divert them from important livestock feeding areas in the Yampa Valley. PHOTO COURTESY THE NATIONAL PAKR SERVICE.

Wolves chase down an elk in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Responding to lawsuits, USFWS acknowledges that state protections are inadequate

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Wild wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes once again are protected under the Endangered Species Act, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a Federal Register notice explaining that Wyoming’s management plan is not adequate to protect the predators.

Of course the agency needed a push from the federal courts to acknowledge the reality of the Wyoming’s anti-wolf policies. Similarly, a federal court also said the agency can’t delist wolves in the western Great Lakes because protections can’t be removed in part of a species’ range when it has not recovered overall. Continue reading

Republican lawmakers declare war on wolves

Proposed legislation undermines Endangered Species Act

Gray wolves a. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Gray wolves. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Politicians are once again meddling with wolf conservation in a process that never ends well for the animals. Last week, Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin, Wyoming and Minnesota introduced House legislation that would remove federal protection from gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states.

Already under political pressure, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012. Federal judges overturned both decisions for failing to follow the best science and for prematurely turning management over to state fish and game agencies hostile to wolves. Continue reading

Feds confirm identity of illegally killed Utah wolf

Grand Canyon wolf

A gray wolf that wandered at least 450 miles from the northern Rockies is now living near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Photo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department.

DNA test shows the wolf was the same one seen wandering around the Grand Canyon

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal biologists say they’re now 100 percent sure that a wolf killed in late December in Utah was the same one that had previously been spotted wandering around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said University of Idaho geneticists matched DNA samples of the dead Utah wolf with samples taken from the wolf near the Grand Canyon. Continue reading

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