Wolf Alpha Female, © Bill Keeting

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Why Colorado needs wolvesBarry Noon knows a thing or two about wildlife. He’s a professor of ecology and conservation biology at Colorado State University, and for decades he’s been studying how land and wildlife management practices affect the health of our planet’s native ecosystems. So when he says that wolves can benefit Colorado by restoring nature’s balance, we should take his word for it.

Here’s what Noon and his colleague Kevin Crooks wrote about wolves in a guest column published this week in the Ft. Collins Coloradoan:

“The decline of top predators — species that hunt, kill and consume other animals — can initiate cascading effects that ripple throughout the food web. If wolves were re-established in Colorado, they would consume deer and elk, and the abundance of these species may decline in some areas. Not surprisingly, many hunters oppose the reintroduction of wolves for this reason. However, overabundant deer and elk populations are susceptible to disease outbreaks and have significant negative impacts on the environment. High levels of browsing on streamside plants, for example, can adversely impact many wildlife species, including birds, mammals and fish. Deer and elk populations can be controlled by hunting, but the size, age and health of animals consumed by wolves may show little resemblance to those harvested by hunters.”

The timing is perfect for a conversation about the potential benefits of restoring wolves. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it will host a public hearing in Denver on Oct. 17 to take public comment on its proposal to delist gray wolves. If finalized, the current proposal could make it nearly impossible for wolves to return to Colorado where there is excellent unoccupied wolf habitat. We’ll need your help to convince the Fish and Wildlife Service that it’s too soon to give up on wolves in Colorado!

SAC wolf trainingNo shutdown in Sac-town – Speaking of hearings, Defenders outreach team didn’t let the federal government shutdown deter our dedicated wolf advocates in California. Even though the official public hearings scheduled for this week in Sacramento and Albuquerque were postponed, we held trainings nonetheless to prepare our activists. Nearly 100 people turned out Wednesday to learn how to deliver effective testimony and to share outreach ideas with fellow wolf supporters. That kind of enthusiasm bodes very well for the future of wolves in California, where wolves deserve a chance to recover. Great job, everyone!

We’re hoping for a similar turnout this afternoon in Albuquerque to support Mexican gray wolf recovery across the Southwest.

New pack, new landowners to help in OregonHere’s a special field update from our wolf conservationist Suzanne Stone…

Monitoring cameras documented three pups by the pair, though there could be more.

Monitoring cameras documented three pups by the pair, though there could be more.

This summer, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) confirmed the seventh known wolf pack in the state. The new Mt Emily pack appears to be sharing a border with the Umatilla River pack and may have family ties between the two packs. Most of the packs’ range is on private timberland bordered by small farms and homesteads with few commercial cattle or sheep operations in the area. A few conflicts have occurred so far this year resulting in the loss of a goat and possibly a lamb.

On Monday, accompanied by an ODFW wolf biologist, we explored the area wolf range.  There are a range of options from carcass removal to lighting, night penning and more that would help reduce conflicts with wolves and livestock.  Most importantly, ODFW is working on community-level awareness about wolves and predation risks, yet they have avoided using the alarmist tactics that other states have adopted.  The Umatilla tribal wildlife program is also helping ODFW address residents’ concerns and provide common sense information to help people adapt to living with wolves.  Hopefully other states will take advantage of the opportunities to learn from Oregon’s successful example.

Proposed management changes in Washington – Today, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering controversial changes to its wolf management plan, less than two years after the plan was approved by a diverse group of stakeholders and adopted by the state wildlife commission. The changes would make it easier for pet and livestock owners to kill wolves attacking their animals and loosen the guidelines for paying compensation for those losses. While these changes may seem reasonable, the net effect will be to diminish protections for wolves while the population is still far from recovered. With only about 50 wolves in Washington, there’s no reason the state should already be making it easier to kill wolves. Instead, the wildlife commission ought to continue educating residents about better ways to safely coexist with wolves by promoting nonlethal deterrents and other livestock protection strategies. Our new Washington outreach representative John Rosapepe will report back next week on the results of today’s meeting.

12 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up”

  1. Sheryl Opsahl

    Stop killing these beautiful animals. This is their planet too. Just despicable

  2. Marcy Sperling

    There had to be a way to protect wolves that is amicable to conservation and the ranchers. Delisting.any wolf species wld be a disaster

  3. Carrie Shepard

    The wolves are apex predators, necessary for a healthy top to bottom ecosystem.
    There is no way that the presence of wolves in the ecosystem can in any way harm the indelicate, self-contained, self-absorbed non-ecosystem of the hunters. Will we ever have the political will to fight the NRA?

  4. belen ordoñez


  5. Karen Rivelli

    Every living soul on this Earth has a right to life whether it be human or animal, when the federal or state officials start acting like “God” then you have to wonder where did their morals go…..It’s a shame when we have scientific data stating the facts and it’s still be ignored by the very ones that first initially put this law into place. Where or what has changed and who really says you can spend my tax dollars any which way you want to without our voice. We will be heard one way or another – let’s make it easy and not take the road to destruction.

  6. Sully

    This is the thing I dont ubderstand..we are killing wolves because they invade our territory and cause us hardship. But yet, we take OVER their habitat, their land, their food and YET THEY DONT KILL US! How many reported wolf attacks on humans? Pretty sure it’s none (a healthy wolf.) How many wolves have been killed?? LISTEN PEOPLE, DO NOT MESS WITH MOTHER NATURE, SHE WILL FIND A WAY TO BALANCE THINGS OUT…LEAVE THE WOLVES ALONE!


    Wolves are apex predators needed in the native ranges to balance the other species in their environment to better assist the other animals, such as fish, birds and flora and fauna.

  8. Mary Young

    I am in 100 percent agreement with Mr. Noon and his comments on the positive affects of wolves on our environment. These are not new facts. There were many studies done recently, as well as years ago by Aldo Leapold and others. Yellowstone National Park proves this by the incredible surge in vegetation, plants, trees and wildlife since the reintroduction of wolves. Perhaps there may be slightly fewer elk and deer for the hunters…..but seems to me, it would increase the challenge of hunting and increase the satisfaction of the kill for the hunters.

  9. Michael Guest

    There’s no need to hunt any more wolves. In order for them to survive, they must stay protected everywhere. Take action now before it’s too late.

  10. Margie Pappas

    There is something EVIL that has settled over the USA. Why is it that the agencies that are responsible for protecting the environment and wildlife, including wolves, bison, and our wonderful mustangs, are failing to steward these creatures? Why is it that our citizens are not protesting LOUDLY? Get it together before your souls are lost forever.

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