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 

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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

Montana to switch how it counts wolves in the state

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We can only be as successful as our followers will support us to be.

We have all of the current states that we are petitioning to change hunting Regulations, while relocating 23 wolves from Idaho, 6 from Oregon, a possible 38 from Montana, and just received a phone call for 60 more. We need your Support to become the VOICE our Wildlife need. Join us today Please.

Protect The Wolves™ says wolf numbers are declining and the switch will threaten Our Sacred  species’ survival.

HELENA — Montana wildlife officials say the way they count wolves is too expensive and falls far short of an actual population estimate, so they plan to switch to a model that uses information gathered from hunters.

However, wildlife advocates say wolf numbers are declining and the switch could threaten the species’ survival. They worry the data is too unreliable to be used to manage the population.

The change, expected within the next three years after improvements to the model, will be cheaper than the annual wolf counts conducted now and provide a more accurate estimate of the total population, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.

“Back in the late ‘90s, early 2000s, we could count every wolf in the state,” wildlife biologist Bob Inman said. “As populations increased into the 700 to 1,000 range, we physically can’t do that anymore.”

The model, which uses hunter sightings to help map areas occupied by wolves, typically puts wolf numbers much higher than the annual minimum counts.

Ranchers and hunters in the state have contended for years that the wolf population is too high and threatens livestock and elk populations.

Wolf advocates say hunting and trapping has led to a decline in wolf numbers in recent years, and the model could obscure the threat the predators are facing.

“If the numbers that are going in are going to be bad, the numbers going out are going to be bad,” said Marc Cooke of the advocacy group Wolves of the Rockies. “I’m very leery of it.”

He said he distrusts hunters’ reporting because of their anti-wolf bias and that state wildlife officials pay too much deference to those hunters.

“There’s a trust gap being developed between the department and wildlife enthusiasts,” he said.

Congress lifted protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho in 2011, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continued to oversee how those states managed their populations for five years to ensure that hunting and trapping did not drive down the predators’ numbers again. A judge lifted federal protections for wolves in Wyoming in April.

In Montana, six Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf specialists now verify by sight all the wolves they can to make sure there is more than the minimum required 150 individual wolves and 15 breeding pairs. That means scouring wolf territory year-round on the ground and in the air, an expensive job that became even pricier last year when federal funding ended.

The state has relied primarily on those annual minimum counts, but it also has been using the Patch Occupancy Model since 2007. The model uses data from hunter sightings and runs a formula with variables such as territory and pack size to come up with a population estimate.

The estimates from the model are typically much higher than the minimum wolf counts. For example, the model estimated there were 892 wolves in Montana in 2014 — 61 percent higher than the minimum count of 554 that year.

The model’s population estimates for 2015 and 2016 won’t be available until this summer, Inman said. The annual minimum counts for those years were 536 wolves in 2015 and 477 in 2014.

“In 2016, we didn’t have federal funding and we didn’t direct the specialists to count every wolf,” Inman said. “I’m sure there will be people who will look at that number, and only that number, and think that things are going in the wrong direction, but it’s not the case.”

The minimum counts will still be conducted over the next couple of years while improvements are made to the model at the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Montana.

Cooke said the state agency needs to conduct more outreach and public education to explain what they’re doing, instead of just thrusting it on the public.

Source: Montana to switch how it counts wolves in the state

Washington Slaughtered 11 of State’s 90 Endangered Gray Wolves 

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Join Protect The Wolves™ Pack today to help be the voice that is working hard to stop actions like this 365 days a year. The Wildlife do not get a Day off… Neither do we!

The 11 wolves, known as the Profanity Peak pack, made up about one-eighth of the gray wolves believed to be roaming the state. Diamond M Ranch is now responsible for costing taxpayers approximately a Quarter of a Million dollars… yes that is $250,000 for the slaughter of 2 packs. Video documented salt blocks near the Profanity Peak Rendezvous Den location., where the salt blocks attracted cattle for more than a Month. Washington State Rep… also a Cattle Rancher Joel Kretz issued demands on WSU to publicly deny statements made by Dr. Robert Wielgus, which at the demands of special Interest cattle Ranchers they did just that. Now almost a year later the truth is finally out with the Video Footage. McIvrin needs to loose his grazing allotment.

Now with a letter by another Rancher also an elected official Donald Dashiell, Washington States Donny Martorello has allowed special interest groups to speed up the slaughter of more wildlife. Martorello needs to be removed from his Job and get an individual in their that takes his mandates under the Public Trust Seriously…. That would also require the removal of James Unsworth, Martorellos supervisor. How long will we the public stand for the mismanagement of our resources? You can help make a Difference by Joining Protect The WOlves™ Pack today….

Source: Washington to Kill 11 of State’s 90 Endangered Gray Wolves for Preying on Cows – NBC News

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