Wolves on the Move in Oregon! Wolves in Oregon are continuing to spread to more areas throughout the state. This week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife designated a new area in Grant and Umatilla Counties as one of “known wolf activity” after spotting repeat wolf tracks there. For those wolf history buffs, you may remember that Grant County is where the first wolf – adult female B45 from Idaho – was discovered near John Day, Oregon in 1999, but captured and returned to Idaho that same year. ODFW’s designation alerts local residents to the possibility that there could be wolves nearby and encourages them to utilize non-lethal tools to prevent any potential conflict between wolves and livestock. Wolves throughout Oregon are protected under the state Endangered Species Act and protected by the federal Endangered Species Act in the western portion of the state.
Another Mexican Gray Wolf Found Dead in Arizona – Poaching Likely: Arizona Game and Fish Department announced last week that a Mexican gray wolf was found dead earlier in November in the eastern part of the state. This wolf was the alpha male of the Rim Pack and officials have started an investigation to determine the cause of death of this animal. This news comes on top of another two Mexican wolf deaths reported earlier in November. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also investigating the cause of these deaths. At the official count at the end of 2013, there were only 83 Mexican gray wolves in the wild making this one of the most endangered wolf populations in the world. Defenders continues to advocate that to move forward, this imperiled population of wolves not only needs more breeding pairs and more room, they desperately need an updated science-based recovery plan and at least two additional core populations established in suitable habitat. This terrible news makes ramping up recovery efforts like those outlined above even more essential for this struggling population. We are hopeful for a big population boost in the 2014 annual count, which we should see in early 2015.
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We’re Almost There! Combatting Anti-Wolf Propaganda in Washington: If you haven’t seen them, they’ll give you quite a shock. That’s what a series of anti-wolf billboards being run in Spokane, Washington are designed to do – incite fear by spreading lies about wolves! It’s all just a bunch of huffing and puffing, and we’re going to make sure that the folks in Spokane know it! Like most other wildlife, wolves typically have an innate fear of humans and tend to keep their distance. Anyone who has gone wolf-watching knows how difficult it can be to get close to these wary creatures! Thanks to your support, we are going to be able to run a counter media blitz to stop this outlandish spread of lies and misinformation. Already you’ve helped us raise 82 percent of our total goal – that’s amazing! Thank you for all you do to support our work to protect gray wolves.
Public Comment Period Open on Rule Designating the Red Wolf as a State-Listed Threatened Species and Setting New Rules on Coyote Hunting in Red Wolf Reintroduction Area: The public has a chance to comment on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s proposed rule which would for the first time designate the red wolf as a state-listed threatened species. The rule also prescribes when coyote hunting would be permitted in red wolf reintroduction areas in northeastern North Carolina. Defenders recently settled a legal case with the state that prohibited nighttime hunting of coyotes in these counties. This new rule would enable daytime coyote hunting in the recovery area from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset on private property with a special permit. As many reading this blog likely already know, red wolves are often mistaken for coyotes and are accidentally shot. In fact, gunshot is the leading cause of death for these imperiled wolves, with 51 since 2008 dying from confirmed or suspected gunshot. In addition to submitting written comments, if you are local in North Carolina, you can attend any of the three public hearings that will be held through January in Columbia, Edenton and New Bern counties. Comments can be submitted online or by letter to N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1701.