Feds trap and kill two grey wolves near Glyndon, Minn.

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MOORHEAD, Minn. (KFGO) – Federal wildlife biologists confirm that two grey wolves were recently trapped and killed in an area outside their usual habitat near Glyndon, Minn. The wolves are suspected of killing several calves on a ranch between Glyndon and Hawley.

Rancher Jeff Mortenson says since early April, at least five of his calves have been taken by wolves. Experts from the USDA’s Wildlife Services Division, a government agency that traps and kills nuisance wildlife, arrived at Mortenson’s ranch to verify his claims.

“They looked around and verified that it was a wolf kill” Mortenson said. “They ended up getting the female about a week later after the traps were set. And then, actually the next day, they caught the male.”

USDA Wildlife Services District Director John Hart says the wolves were believed to be a mating pair. He says the male weighed 95 pounds; the female weighed 73 pounds. Hart says grey wolf sightings are rare in Clay County because the area is outside the animal’s regular habitat.

Mortenson says the traps were removed from his land on Monday.  He says so far, there have been no signs of additional wolves in the area.

Source: Feds trap and kill two grey wolves near Glyndon, Minn. | News | KFGO-790

Wolves, as readers of fairy tales know, have enduring reputations as big, bad predators.

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Wolves, as readers of fairy tales know, have enduring reputations as big, bad predators. But a growing body of evidence shows that wolf diets can be diverse and extend beyond the big animals that they hunt down.

In Alaska in particular, the studies say, many wolves dine on a daintier dish — salmon.

Two recent studies focusing on coastal areas of Southwest Alaska fill in details about those food choices, quantifying the proportion of salmon in wolf diets in different locations and times of the year.

One study, newly published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, studied wolves in Lake Clark National Park over four years — 22 wolves from nine social groups roaming the park. Researchers examined the chemistry of hair and blood samples, which revealed the chemical fingerprint of food eaten by the animals.

Of the test subjects, five had summer diets that were at least half salmon. The others ate mostly food from land in that season.

Use of salmon varied widely between individuals and groups and between seasons and years, and there was a lot of evidence of diet switching as seasons changed and years progressed, the study said. Estimated proportions of salmon in individual wolves’ diets ranged from 1 percent to 89 percent in different seasons and locations.

The important message is that salmon filled out a diet that might otherwise be unreliable, said Jeff Welker, a biology professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and co-author of the Lake Clark study.

“Salmon provide a way for wolves to buffer themselves with herbivore populations that tend to go up and down,” said Welker, who works at the stable isotope laboratory where the chemical analysis was performed. “Being able to use both these resources as is provided is a pretty good strategy”

Another recent study, which also used isotope analysis of hair samples taken from wolves, found that marine resources accounted for 28 percent to 56 percent of Southwest Alaska wolves’ diets. That study, led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dominique Watts, was published online last year in the Journal of Mammalogy. It analyzed chemical profiles found in samples of hair taken from wolves from 2006 to 2013.

Marine resources eaten by wolves included salmon but also marine mammals, either hunted directly or beached carcasses that are scavenged, Watts said. In the past, he documented wolves’ habit of eating marine-mammal meat and even watched wolves hunt sea otters and seals. Though most of the wolf diet consists of ungulates — caribou and moose in Southwest Alaska — the marine foods are important supplements, he said.

Just as the level of salmon use varies among individual wolves, so do their salmon-eating methods.

In his thousands of hours observing wolves, Watts has seen them fish salmon out of the water bear-style and carrying their catches in their mouths.

“Generally, what I saw is they were running down into the stream and chasing live salmon, just like bears,” he said. He has also seen them carrying salmon carcasses to dens for pups.

Wolves sometimes scavenge on dead salmon, and they appear at times to be able to eat dead fish that are preserved over the winter beneath ice, Welker said.

The knowledge that wolves eat salmon is not new. The fishy diet of wolves in salmon-rich Southeast Alaska and in British Columbia has long been recognized, for example.

Coastal wolves’ use of marine foods, including salmon, shows up in other chemical analyses. A 2014 study by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists documents much higher mercury levels in the livers, kidneys and muscles of coastal Alaska wolves than in their Interior Alaska counterparts, indicating intake of marine foods.

But salmon can be an important food for wolves even far from the coast.

A landmark study published in 2010 showed how wolves in the northwestern portion of Denali National Park subsist on chum and silver salmon. In that part of the park, the usual wolf prey — moose and caribou — are scarce, but the study found that wolves thrived there nonetheless, successfully filling out their diet by pulling fish from the spawning-area waters.

Those findings show how ecosystems fit together even over vast distances, said U.S. Geological Survey biologist Layne Adams, the lead author.

“Wolf-prey relationships in Denali in part depend on or are affected by things that are going on in the Bering Sea,” he said. “Everything is kind of connected, when you think about it.”

The fish-eating behavior extends to wolves beyond Alaska and British Columbia. In Yellowstone National Park, wolves are known to feast on trout. In Japan, isotope analysis has revealed that an extinct species of wolf, the Ezo wolf of Hokkaido, ate salmon and marine mammals.

Sometimes wolves fill out their diet with non-meat sources. They have been known to eat berries, which can be an easily acquired summer food when crops are abundant but ungulate prey numbers low.

Source: Big, bad predator image aside, wolves are happy to grab a salmon out of a stream – Alaska Dispatch News

Wolf researcher plans to sue WSU over free speech | KING5.com

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King 5 was emailed the threats of going Old West that Elected Official Joel Kretz made… yet they didnt  ask him about them…..

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating the first livestock death blamed on wolves in this year’s grazing season.

It was found near the historic range of the Profanity Peak pack, which was monitored by a Washington State University researcher, who is now suing over free speech

A range rider found the dead calf in Ferry County near the Lambert Creek area Monday evening. It’s near the Profanity Peak pack’s range, the wolves killed last summer by WDFW after attacking 15 cattle – 10 confirmed and five probable attacks. A female and three pups survived. No one has confirmed what pack is responsible for the most recent death.

The lethal removal further divided the state over wolf management, as protesters rallied in Olympia and cattle ranchers received death threats in the northeast corner where the majority of wolves live.

“I love these cows and I don’t want to feed them to the wolves. I don’t want to see them tortured,” Kathy McKay said. “At least the locals, none of us need them, none of us want them. We’re fine without them. They’re killers. They’re vicious killers.”

McKay’s parents built the K Diamond K Ranch in 1961. Life was good, she said, until wolves migrated back to Washington after nearly a century of being gone.

The Profanity Peak pack killed 30 times more cattle than the majority of wolf packs studied by WSU carnivore expert Dr. Rob Wielgus.

“In particular we noticed that the Profanity Peak pack last year had completely switched to livestock. They were killing a lot of livestock in that particular location,” he said.

Wielgus monitored the pack last year. He found salt licks were attracting cattle near the den site, aggravating the problem. His wildlife camera video of the Colville National Forest shows cattle and wolves crossing paths.

During the study, Wielgus followed wolves and cattle to track wolf depredations, the term used to refer to injuries or deaths attributed to wolves. He found that 99 percent of ranchers in wolf occupied areas in Washington lose one out of a thousand cattle to wolves. The rancher who lost cattle to the Profanity Peak pack had a 3 percent loss rate – 30 times what Wielgus observed.

WDFW authorized the lethal removal of the pack on August 5. The salt blocks were removed August 8, according to WDFW. Wielgus knew about the salt blocks June 27.

“The livestock were still on the den site. We got video monitoring of wolves trying to chase them away from the den site, but the livestock kept returning because of the salt blocks. Then the livestock started being killed by the wolves,” Wielgus said.

Bill McIrvin, the rancher whose cattle were killed in the incidents, was also at the center of controversy over the lethal removal of the Wedge pack in 2014 after losing cattle.

“Last year, during a period of repeated wolf depredations to livestock by the Profanity Peak wolf pack, the Department became aware that the wolf rendezvous site overlapped with part of the normal grazing path, where livestock were concentrated with the use of salt blocks. Once that overlap was detected, the Department contacted the producer, who removed the salt blocks from the area on August 8. Some livestock continued to use the general area where the salt was, so the producer (and family members, staff, and range rider) increased human presence around the livestock to check on and move livestock as needed,” WDFW Wolf Lead Donny Martorello wrote in a statement.

KING 5 also asked WDFW about steps McIrvin took to prevent conflict.

“For Producer #1, the proactive deterrence measures were 1) turned out calves at weights generally over 200 lbs., 2) met expectation for sanitation, and 3) cows birthed calves outside of occupied wolf territories. Also, after the first wolf depredation, the producers agreed to the use of regular human presence (a reactive deterrence measure) for the remainder of the grazing season. This was accomplished by hiring two additional ranch staff, using a range rider, and increasing presence on the grazing site by the producer and family members,” Martorello said.

Wielgus reports the den site was common knowledge. When Wielgus told the Seattle Times what he knew last summer, he couldn’t believe the response.

“I was labeled a liar and a fraud. I was told by my superiors not to talk to the press so I could not tell the full story,” he said.

Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, argued that ranchers used the same land as years past and didn’t know they’d put salt near wolves.

“When they salted they had no idea a rendezvous site had moved in. They put it on the same bench they’d put it for 45 damn years. It’s the same place. It’s part of the rotation through the grazing season. You keep your cows moving,” he said.

Martorello said the state is aware of Wielgus’ video.

“The Department has seen the video, reportedly made during the conflict with the Profanity Peak pack in 2016. We were made aware of it by WSU graduate students operating the trail cameras. It did not change Department’s assessment of the situation. The majority of the known wolf packs in Washington overlap livestock, and many overlap active grazing allotments. That is one result of wolves recolonizing of Washington state. However, the fact that livestock and wolves overlap and actively use the same landscape doesn’t necessary mean there will be conflict. In fact, experience in Washington and other western states shows that wolves and livestock coexist without conflict about 80 percent of the time,” Martorello said.

For Kretz, Wielgus did more harm than good, further dividing the state over wolf management.

“We all got tired of the death threats. That’s not the way for a scientist to be operating, I don’t think,” he said.

Kretz told WSU he thinks Wielgus’ science is driven by agenda. WSU reviewed the research but that resulted in no evidence of misconduct. Still, Wielgus believes his job is hanging by a thread.

“I was publicly discredited and defamed by the university. The university said I had lied. I did not lie. I simply reported the facts,” he said.

Wielgus plans to sue for six years salary and then leave his teaching position.

At the same time, he’s publishing research he calls one of the most in-depth wolf studies ever. He found wolf attacks on livestock are extremely uncommon, and that the more humans kill wolves, the more wolves kill cattle the following year. Depredations, he says, typically follow lethal removal of wolves due to disarray in the social dynamics of the apex predators.

“My agenda is scientific truth, and that’s what’s gotten me in trouble in this case. I could’ve just shut up,” Wielgus said.

For Wielgus, the answer is simple: keep cows away from wolf dens. He believes many ranchers are working hard to live beside wolves, but are too afraid to speak out in areas where animosity toward the carnivores continues to mount.

“It’s all about the encounter probability. Predators respond to prey on how frequently they encounter them,” he said.

For Kretz, wolf management isn’t so clear. He’s furious that WDFW did not respond fast enough to the calf found dead Monday. It was called in around 6 p.m., he says, and WDFW responded that there were no conflict specialists available to investigate until Tuesday morning.

“The first incident of the year they can’t get somebody there?” he said. “We can’t trust them to have their act together.”

Kretz worried the evidence would deteriorate, making it more difficult to confirm it as a wolf kill.

“They’re not going to work 24-7. That’s impossible to expect from them,” said Western Wildlife Conservation Director Hank Siepp. “We’re trying to educate people that we have a new critter on the landscape and there will be challenges.”

Washington State University sent a letter to Kretz in regards to his concern over Wielgus. It included the following findings:

“Discussion of the data set and its analysis is continuing among Professor Wielgus, Professor Dasgupta, and other WSU researchers. The University believes the best path forward is continued analysis and discussion of the data within the research community, culminating in submission of articles to scientific journals as appropriate. There is no evidence of research misconduct in this matter. Accordingly, the University has not opened a research misconduct investigation.”

Source: Wolf researcher plans to sue WSU over free speech | KING5.com

” Ron Richardson said. “You’re upriver. You’ve got upriver justice.” in Skagit County 

protect washington wolves, protect the wolves, wolves, wolf

We need to Find out about this ” Ron Richardson”. He is threatening Endangered Species! People need to report his bragging to Skagit County Fish and Game. He needs to feel the Pressure from our followers!

New photos show wolves are moving into western Washington, and wildlife officials are investigating to see just how active they are.

New photos show wolves are moving into western Washington, and wildlife officials are investigating to see just how active they are.

The photos were taken by Marvin Kempf between the towns of Marblemount and Rockport, about 100 miles from the closest known wolf packs. For a wolf, though, 100 miles is nothing.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I did see some. I figure there are more coming down,” said Dwayne Patzer, one of many locals with stories about wolves.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as well as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services regularly field calls about wolf sightings. This one is unique because of the quality of the photos.

“It’s too early to confirm whether a pack is present there, but we have confirmed what we believe to be wolf activity in the area,” said FWS Carnivore Lead Gregg Kurz.

Kurz said field crews recently spent 10 days trying to trap and collar the animal with GPS. They spotted the animal in a pasture but weren’t successful at catching it, so they’ve put up cameras in the area.

They’ve found tracks of different sizes, but Kurz says it could still be the same animal.

The nearest packs are the Teanaway wolf pack near Cle Elum and the Lookout pack in the Methow Valley. Last year, some of the Teanaway wolves moved north. This wolf could be related to them – what wildlife experts call a “dispersing animal.” A similar looking black colored wolf was killed on I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass two years ago.

“Dispersing animals are a normal part of wolf movement,” Kurz said. “When wolves reach certain age they like to go out and explore and find their own territories. You can have singles or a pair move off.”

But just like the controversy they’ve brought further east – wolves in the Skagit County area aren’t always welcome news.

“So far they’re not doing any damage, but when they start doing damage, it’s going to be open season,” Ron Richardson said. “You’re upriver. You’ve got upriver justice.”

Richardson doesn’t want the apex predators for neighbors. He calls them a nuisance.

“Just like the bears. They make good rugs,” he said.

It’s not legal to kill a wolf western Washington. They’re endangered and federally protected.

Plus, not everyone wants them gone.

“I’d like to see one or two or a pack, but I don’t want to see too many,” Patzer said. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Wolves are part of the ecosystem. They do keep things in check. It’s a balance.”

If the cameras show more activity, biologists will return for a second effort to trap the wolf so they can collar and monitor its movement.

“Some days they stay a few days, sometimes they move on,” Kurz said.

Source: Photos show new wolf activity in Skagit County | KING5.com

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