Lawsuit challenges federal plan for Mexican gray wolves

Wildlife advocates say arbitrary caps on population and habitat won’t allow for full recovery of the species

A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Wildlife advocates say a federal plan to cap the Mexican gray wolf population at 300 to 325 animals won’t ensure the long-term survival of the species, and they’re going to court to make sure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopts policies that give endangered Mexican gray wolves a fair shot at recovery in their historic U.S. range.

At issue is a final federal rule issued early this year that would likely prevent the wolves from recolonizing suitable habitat in northern Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah.

“Unfortunately, politics supplants wildlife biology in key parts of the USFWS Mexican gray wolf plan,” said John Mellgren, the Western Environmental Law Center attorney representing the advocacy groups in the lawsuit. “Our goal in this case is to put the science back into the management of Mexican wolves in the U.S.” Continue reading

Environment: House GOP continues anti-wolf crusade

The leader of the new Summit County wolf pack, dubbed "John Denver" by federal biologists. PHOTO COURTESY USFWS.

GOP continues wolf persecution.  Photo via USFWS.

Latest budget amendment would overturn federal court rulings that reinstated protection for wolves

Staff Report

FRISCO — For the second time in five years, anti-environmental Republicans in Congress are trying to make an end run around the Endangered Species Act by stripping federal protection for gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states.

The amendment to a spending bill for the Interior Department is similar to a measure passed in 2011, when Congress removed protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana — the first time that Congress legislatively removed protections for a species. Since the 2011 rider passed, more than 1,900 wolves have been killed in the two states. Continue reading

Feds confirm illegal wolf kill in Colorado

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.

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.

Without continued federal protection, wolves may never return to the southern Rockies

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal biologists have confirmed by DNA analysis that the animal killed by a coyote hunter near Kremmling last month was an endangered gray wolf.

The hunter notified state wildlife managers immediately, claiming that he though the animal was a coyote. The incident is being investigated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the USFWS.

Check out the discussion thread on this the Colorado Mule Deer Association’s Facebook page to get a sense of peoples’ attitudes about wolves in Colorado. Continue reading

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

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