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.

wolves and rancher fairy tales, protect the wolves, wolves in alaska

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

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

These false estimates “have obscured the magnitude of poaching as the major threat to endangered wolf populations.

Wolf Poaching is not something happening

only in distant regions

 

Three sentence summary: Poaching is not something happening only in distant regions, it is the most common cause of wolf mortality in every population where it has been measured accurately. During the period U.S. wolves were listed under the ESA, the relative importance of poaching was systematically and substantially under-estimated while the relative importance of legal causes of mortality was systematically over-estimated. We correct the algebraic errors and errors of inference that led to these biased estimates.

Last year, Treves and others notified experts on Northern Rocky Mountain wolves that the assumption was flawed and in the ensuing year, the current team of authors investigated red wolves and Mexican wolves to confirm the same phenomenon applied. We now believe our finding applies to all studies of marked animals in which a perfectly reported cause of death occurs alongside imperfectly reported ones. Moreover, for populations with cryptic poaching – in which poachers conceal evidence – the biasing effect of the false assumption will be amplified.

Why does the article state that one error is a mathematical fact? Isn’t this a dispute over interpretation of data? We identified an error that is simply algebraic and an error of estimation that are separate issues. The algebraic mismeasurement is the over-estimation of the risk of legal killing. This should always be calculated as a proportion of all dead animals, not as a proportion of known fates because known fates over-represent legal causes of death by a known amount (Figures 1a,b below). We also identified an error of inference about the other causes of death. After one corrects the calculation of risk of legal causes of death as above, then one has to confront what might have happened to the unknown fates.

These unknown fates have been ignored traditionally, which discards useful information. We therefore presented a method to estimate what happened to those unknown fates. In the case of marked wolves, we show that poaching in particular has been under-estimated because cryptic poaching has not been accounted for properly. We presented two methods to account for cryptic poaching and one method that ignores cryptic poaching

 

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