Archive for the ‘Wildlife and nature’ Category

France implements new six-year Wolf Plan   7 comments

January 3, 2018 by 

Starting this month, France implements their new National Action Plan 2018-2023 for wolves and livestock owners. The plan focuses on the support for herd protection measures, regulation of the wolf population, and providing of information and training to a target audience. The return of the wolf is a hot debated topic in France. Farmers demand more killing of wolves, while NGOs want to limit the shootings. Effective herd management, including protective measures such as electric fences and guard dogs, provide a likely solution to this problem. The European Wilderness Society is currently finalising the first edition of an international Best Practice Handbook on herd management in Europe. This handbook can provide local livestock owners with detailed Best practice examples from 7 different European Countries on effective protection measures. Besides France, a common strategy for coexistence with wolves and sheepherding has been developed in Germany.

Please also read: Shepherds, hunters, farmers and NGOs agree on common wolf strategy

A closer look

The first priority of the French Wolf Plan is a balance between the ecological and pastoral stakes. It considers a number of 500 wolves for a viable wolf population in France. Also, it stresses that effective defense of herds is necessary, with electric fences and guard dogs, or by shooting if wolf attacks on protected herds continue. Besides a clear support for herd protection measures and compensation of losses, implementation of population ‘control’ by annual killing is also part of the plan. Furthermore, it focuses on education and training to increase knowledge on the wolf’s behaviour and risks for livestock owners.

See hear why the Forest and hunting Departments of Switzerland welcome the return of the wolves.

 Supporting livestock owners

Important is the continued support for herd protection, as the Wolf Plan states. Studies proved that herd management is more effective than killing wolves. By developing a financial scheme, the plan will provide assistance to livestock owners for implementation of protection measures. It aims to advice and support the owners on implementation of protection and adaptations to new developments. Furthermore, the plan will establish a ‘guard dog network’, to facilitate guard dogs that are effective against predation, but not aggressive towards third parties. Additionally, the government will create a ‘technical support brigade’ to implement protection for newly attacked herds.

Financial support

The plan even supports the livestock owners and shepherds by financing pastoral huts, access to water and electricity, and better accommodation conditions. Compensation for losses due to a wolf attack are only paid when livestock owners have proper herd protection measures in place. Validation of protection measures and wolf presence are therefore essential.

Allowed killing of wolves

Following scientists’ advice, the plan allows hunters to kill 10-12% of the wolf population each year. According to the latest estimate, there are approximately 400 wolves in France. The quota of wolves that people can kill in 2018 is therefore 40. NGOs tried to stop the wolf hunts, which they claim as ‘political killing’. Earlier this year, the government allowed killing of 3 young wolves. Farmers who protect their animals gain the right to fire a gun as a defensive measure. Warning shots or scaring the animal is not mandatory. Also for herds that suffered from attacks at least three times in the last 12 months, it is now easier to gain defensive shooting rights. However, the plan does not allow killing of wolves from September to December.

Sharing information and knowledge

The Wolf Plan updates the existing communication strategy, to focus more on local involvement and provision of information. It targets all relevant stakeholders and the general public. The plan will develop new training curricula for farming schools to increase awareness and acceptance towards the wolf. Through the support of various studies, the Wolf Plan tries to improve the recognition towards shepherds, and the coexistence of wolf and livestock. It will assess the current vulnerable territories and the impact of wolves on the ecosystem.

The French Wolf Plan also states that cross-border and international collaboration should be strengthened to achieve shared ecological objectives. This also supports the exchange of knowledge and experiences regarding the coexistence between wolves and livestock farming.

What can we expect?

The Wolf Plan has ambitious targets to help livestock owners with financial, technical, and informative support to protect their animals. With this plan, the French government is showing the willingness to support both farmers and the wolf. It is now up to the French farmers to show equal willingness for coexistence. For the wolves, it looks like 1 in 10 will have to fear for it’s life every year. It remains unclear what the Wolf Plan recommends when wolf numbers exceed 500 individuals in France. At least according to the European Commission, the wolf remains a protected species, despite continued requests for legal hunting in Europe. It is often a misconception that hunting protects sheeps. On the contrary, hunting can often increase the depredation since killing a wolf in a wolf pack can cause the wolf pack to break up creating 5 and sometimes more individual wolves. Studies show, that individual wolves are much more inclined to attack livestock than wolf packs. Also the wolf plan ignores the many positive side effects of the return of the wolves to the rejuvenation of the forests and the natural education of the pressure on forests by deer and wild boar.

Find the French National Action Plan 2018-2023 for the wolf here:

VIDEO:  https://issuu.com/europeanwildernesssociety/docs/plan_detaille_pna_loup_2018-2022_ve


Source

 

WOLVES   2 comments

October 29, 2010 by Australian reporter Kirsty Bennett

VIDEOLINK – FOUND ON ORIGINAL ARTICLE http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s3045575.htm#  (not able to embed video)

From feature films to fairy tales wolves haven’t got the best reputation.

And they’re not too popular with farmers in some parts of the US either.

For years the wolves were hunted and killed but now they’re protected.

Kirsty checked out why that’s got some farmers pretty angry.

KIRSTY BENNETT, REPORTER: Wolves get a pretty bad rap. They’re either a scary superhero like Wolverine or appear as an evil werewolf character in the movies. In Australia, this is the closest we get to seeing wolves. But over in the US and Canada, these animals have roamed in the wild for a long time.

This is one place wolves can call home. It’s the Wild West in America – a state called Idaho. Thousands of Gray Wolves used to hang around here but by the 1930s most of them were killed by hunters. Almost 70 years later, packs of wolves from Canada were brought back to the area to rebuild the population. Now, around sixteen hundred wolves live here and in two of the neighbouring states. They can’t be hunted either because they’re a protected species. And that doesn’t please some of the locals, who don’t think they belong.

Ron’s family has lived on this range for more than a hundred years. His feeling towards wolves is pretty obvious, he doesn’t like them.

RON GILLETTE: What are these wolves going to eat? We’re in a wildlife disaster right now they’re killing near everything. What are they going to do eat our livestock and then start eating humans?

KIRSTY: Ron would normally be out hunting wolves by now. But the US Federal Court has put the animals back on the protected list, so they can’t be touched for the time being. It’s a frustrating situation for farmers like Luke too. He’s had to lock up his dogs and cattle behind huge fences to protect them.

LUKE MORGAN, RANCHER: Now we spend a lot of nights and days worrying about how many livestock is actually getting killed by them. It’ll put a lot of ranchers out of business, which is hard on the whole economic deal.

KIRSTY: So for some, wolves are public enemy number one. But for others, they’re great mates!

NANCY TAYLOR, “WOLF PEOPLE”: Give mummy a kiss. Give mummy kisses. Good boy!

KIRSTY: Nancy has been breeding wolves in captivity for about seventeen years. And she reckons their bad reputation is unfair.

NANCY TAYLOR: They make him out to be a monster, a snarling evil creature which he isn’t.

KIRSTY: Here, wolves look pretty similar to your pet dog. And they’re not really much different. Many scientists reckon that domestic dogs evolved from wolves. Over tens of thousands of years people have used selective breeding to get dogs for their own use.

So if that’s the case, all dogs, including this little fur-ball are pretty close relatives! Hundreds of years ago, before white people moved in, Idaho was also home to the Nez Perce Indians who feel a strong connection to the wolf. Tribal leaders are joining the battle to protect the animal.

This bloke reckons you can’t sacrifice a species just because it’s convenient. For the time being it sounds like the wolves are a bit safer than they have been in any fairytale.

COMMENTS (57)

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  • SIX EM RODICK :

    24 Nov 2010 5:46:49pm

    as Dan said, but HIGHER fences


  • SWIFTCLAWS :

    24 Nov 2010 10:01:38am

    I seriously hate the way wolves are treated in fairy tales, they have a right to live in this world.


  • DAN :

    17 Nov 2010 1:28:50pm

    Just put up fences! Simple!

    I like wolves and I think they should continue to be protected.


  • SHAMISE :

    11 Nov 2010 10:56:50am

    Wolves are awesome like dogs they dont do anything to cattle.


  • TOP RIDER :

    11 Nov 2010 10:54:57am

    I reckon that wolves shouldn’t be hunted they have a right to live on the world


  • PITTYGIRL :

    11 Nov 2010 10:54:41am

    I think wolves do nothing to hurt livestock as long as they make secure fences


  • BOB :

    11 Nov 2010 10:53:38am

    I think that wolves should be kill because they are killing the sheep and cattle


  • MR PUFFY :

    11 Nov 2010 10:44:28am

    I think that wolves should be protected so at least one animal doesn’t get extinct


  • PLUTO :

    11 Nov 2010 10:43:00am

    I love wolves
    They should stay in America and be protected. Farmers shouldn’t shoot them.
    Wolves are wicked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • CALLUM AND DANIEL :

    11 Nov 2010 10:38:30am

    We both think that Wolves should be killed and be protected


  • THE FANTASTIC CABBAGE :

    11 Nov 2010 10:36:26am

    The wolves should stay because the Nev Perce Indians feel a strong connection to them and they were they before the white yanks


  • LARICK97 :

    09 Nov 2010 10:50:19am

    I think they should be protected creatures because they were on land before the white people


  • EBONY03 :

    09 Nov 2010 10:50:03am

    I think the wolves should be on the protected list because it was their land first .


  • PETER GRIFFEN :

    09 Nov 2010 10:48:03am

    I think wolves should be controlled not kill them but just stop them breeding as fast but i dont think they should be killed as long as they don’t hassel the farmers to much.


  • NED :

    09 Nov 2010 10:45:54am

    I think that wolves shouldn’t be able to roam free. People should fence a big bushland area off and put them all in there. Shooting wolves should not be aloud because it is cruel.


  • KAVISH1100 :

    08 Nov 2010 4:49:31pm

    I like wolves because they are not that dangerous if you want to pet them but if you try to harm them, they will attack back.


  • JESSIE MACNEY :

    02 Nov 2010 6:39:03pm

    I absolutely agree with all wolf supporters! Wolves should definately have the rights to not be hunted! Imagine if you were a wolf and you got hunted because you were a pest to some silly old farmer. Now that is just plain unfair!!!WOLVES MUST NOT BE HUNTED!!!!


  • I LOVE ANIMALS :

    02 Nov 2010 5:57:53pm

    Wolves are amazing creatures they don’t deserve to be killed to save livestock.


  • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

    02 Nov 2010 5:19:47pm

    I thnk that it was a very touching story…. *Sniff* SAVE THE WOLVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • THALIA :

    02 Nov 2010 4:16:34pm

    I think wolves should roam free. They can just eat the sick livestock so that the farmers don’t need to spend mutch money on curing them…


  • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

    02 Nov 2010 3:55:22pm

    I love wolves!!! DO NOT KILL WOLVES!!!


  • ANIMALS :

    01 Nov 2010 11:51:53pm

    I really think every single wildlife including wolves should be let free from captivity and I think every animal has the right to have freedom and to roam around the place. They can be free to survive and no one is allowed to hurt them. They are really rare now because harmful hunters killed them which is really bad so START SAVING WOLVES AND WILDLIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • MEG ,12 :

    01 Nov 2010 9:37:43pm

    Wolves are native animals to the area, it could ruin eco systems to take them away.

    P.S. Wolverine was named after the animal wolverine not the wolf


  • YOONGY :

    01 Nov 2010 7:29:29pm

    I reckon wolves should be around, have u farmers thought about how much u did to those animals and wolves just to plant trees?! And ITS LIFE part of the food chain – cant they eat wat we grow as well i mean we eat them?


  • LUV 4 WOLVES :

    01 Nov 2010 7:06:15pm

    These people should be more sensitive. In the end, the wolves, as said, are just dogs. Do we kill dogs because they eat some cattle? No! (well, not domestic dogs) Wolves are wonderful animals. To harm or kill them is absolutely downright horrid and is a horrible crime. Save the wolves! Save the wolves!

    *This comment was from a 10-20 yr old girl who has a great heart for wolves*


  • CHRISY101 :

    01 Nov 2010 6:56:21pm

    Wolves are just like dogs but not as well trained.


  • IZZY :

    01 Nov 2010 6:55:19pm

    Like totally wolves are soo scary!


    • YYYYYYYYYJ :

      05 Nov 2010 8:55:14pm

      I agree!


  • 2-3B AND 2K :

    01 Nov 2010 10:34:01am

    Wolves and Dogs are related to eachother.
    We find this very interesting.
    What do you think.


    • THE GREAT CABBAGE :

      02 Nov 2010 5:23:59pm

      Wolves ARE dogs!!!


  • GINNY :

    31 Oct 2010 8:41:17pm

    C’mon! Wolves kill livestock! It costs a lot of money and the poor farmers!


  • ADALITA :

    28 Oct 2010 8:00:06pm

    I think that it is good that they are re-breeding the wolves because it is their natural habitat. There should be no discrimination against the wolves because they would think ‘We were here before them why should we get discriminated?’
    I think it is good the way the lady cares about the wolves and how they are supposed to live.


  • SOUNDHOUND :

    28 Oct 2010 6:38:37pm

    I think wolves are great animals and should not be hunted


  • PHILLIP AND MR. CHICKEN :

    28 Oct 2010 3:09:36pm

    I like wolves and I think people should stop killing them coz there are only 116 left and they r the bomb


  • BULLBUG :

    28 Oct 2010 3:08:46pm

    I think that we should look after the wolves. Because wolves are the best.


  • BLABLABLA6671 :

    27 Oct 2010 5:59:19pm

    It’s so cruel people want to kill an animal. there so FLUFFY!!!!!!!


    • CZCVZMNVMN :

      01 Nov 2010 8:49:41pm

      They shouldn’t kill wolves because they take too much space wolves are something like dogs that round up cattle and i do agree that they’re FLUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • GREEN_MUNKI :

    27 Oct 2010 5:57:55pm

    Yeah, I have a friend who loves wolves and I didn’t really know what she was on about before i watched this BTN story. Now i look at them and think ‘Wow, who would ever be cruel enough to want to kill this amazing creature just for fun.’ Seriously, though wolves are AWSOME!


  • LUKE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:44:18pm

    The werewolf looks weird


  • RONNIE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:37:55pm

    I think anybody who thinks they should go is mean. They have a right and anyway, they’re too fluffy to die!!


  • CHARLIE HIGHGATE :

    27 Oct 2010 4:22:37pm

    I think wolves should be let free out of captivity and not be able to get hunted down.


  • KATE :

    27 Oct 2010 1:06:41pm

    I think the wolves shouldnt be killed because the farmers livestock are being killed. I also think the farmers should be given a fence where wolves shouldnt be able to come in


  • BELLABANJO :

    27 Oct 2010 10:38:59am

    I don’t know why people would want to shoot an adorable little animal because of crops. if you were the animal that needed something to eat wouldn’t you go to farms as well??? think about it…


  • NATALIE :

    26 Oct 2010 9:09:50pm

    white wolves are so adorable and cute they look like huskies


    • LOL :

      05 Nov 2010 8:59:56pm

      the white wolf was so cuteeeee!!
      I want one!


  • BRIDGET W.P.S. :

    26 Oct 2010 6:28:20pm

    I am glad that the wolves are protected and hope they will STAY protected.


    • MIKE :

      28 Oct 2010 8:35:56pm

      I am also glad but they don’t need to stay protected for more then 6 months people need hunting for meat


  • LOL :

    26 Oct 2010 6:27:47pm

    I think that the farmers shouldnt be hunting the wolves because they are soo CUTE and other stuff.
    I LOVE WOLVES


  • MIKE P :

    26 Oct 2010 6:08:15pm

    They are so cute, I love Wolves


  • LOOPY LU :

    26 Oct 2010 5:25:58pm

    Just because wolves are being wolves (as they should) does not mean they should die. Farmers just need to make an effort to put high fencing on their land. These beautiful animals cannot be killed- that is just cruel.


  • SOPHIE :

    26 Oct 2010 4:19:06pm

    I think that wolves should be protected by law because they are animals and they have their rights as well as us. If farmers livestock are killed well than that’s their fault for not locking them up. Anyone else agree?


  • SHANNY :

    26 Oct 2010 10:57:22am

    I love wolves too


    • WOLVES 88 :

      26 Oct 2010 4:08:12pm

      I know. they are so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Just like cats!


    • AUDY :

      27 Oct 2010 8:23:57pm

      I SO AGREE WTTH U


      • BLABLABLA :

        28 Oct 2010 6:37:14pm

        WOLVES HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ALIVE!! IF WE KILLL OFF ALL WOLVES THEN THE FOOD CHAIN WILL GO OUT OF WACK!!!


      • WOLVES333 :

        31 Oct 2010 8:24:46am

        same here


      • MYNANEISEMILYIRULESOMUCH :

        03 Nov 2010 7:13:24pm

        =] wolves + chiwawas.related.weird.[=
        o.m.g wolves are soooo cute and….
        FLUFFY!

        yay got quiz right me cool.

        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I happened  to come across this old Australian article regarding wolves and I found it quite interesting! Especially the comments. To think this was written only 6 years ago! Times have changed, reached rock bottom only to start climbing slowly again. What pleases me most regarding this article and it’s comments is that the majority is pro-wolf! I’d appreciate my reader’s input through comments.

Thanks in advance!


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Robinson gives talk on Gray Wolf recovery   Leave a comment

October 18, 2016 By Bill Charland, For the Sun-News

Micheal Robinson (Photo: Courtesy Photo)

SILVER CITY — Michael Robinson may have been preaching to the choir at Silver City’s Unitarian Universalist Church last Sunday, judging from the warm applause that greeted his presentation on the Mexican Gray Wolf. But as an advocate for restoring the wolf to the Gila Wilderness, he was probably due a welco
me reception. Robinson represents The Center for Biological Diversity, an activist organization that goes to bat for many species hovering on the brink of extinction.

The Gray Wolf is a special case among vanishing species, Robinson said in a phone interview. “Some 41 animal and plant species are well-documented as having become extinct since 1985. But wolves are unique in that their extinction was intentional.”

In his presentation, Robinson showed photos of federal trappers early in the 20th century who were employed full time to hunt down and kill wolves that had lived in harmony with Native American populations for centuries but threatened the livestock industry of European settlers. Theodore Roosevelt called the wolf “the beast of waste and destruction.”

The Mexican Gray Wolf or “Desert Wolf” of the Southwest was pursued even south of the border, until a growing environmental movement gave rise to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 under President Richard Nixon. Now the federal Fish and Wildlife Service received new marching orders. Instead of tracking down the Mexican Gray Wolf to destroy it, the agency was charged with finding any remnants in Mexico, for a breeding program to bring it back to life.

In 1998, a small pack of Mexican Gray Wolves, bred in captivity, was introduced to the Gila Wilderness of western New Mexico and the Apache National Forest of eastern Arizona. Today there are 97 wolves in the United States, about half in New Mexico, with another 25 or so in Mexico. It’s a precarious population with only six breeding pairs. And the wolves have been consistently under attack from certain ranchers who have felt under duress from their presence (albeit on public lands, Robinson notes) and by Congressman Steve Pearce and Governor Susana Martinez who have represented the livestock industry in legislation. Both have tangled with The Center for Biological Diversity.

Robinson believes that taking up the cause of the Mexican Gray Wolf involves more than making amends for its destruction by our government a century ago. “It’s also a matter of ecological balance,” he said. “Biologists call it the ‘trophic cascade.’ That is, if you remove a predator such as wolves from the top of a food chain, it has consequences all the way down through lower species.”

He cites the case of elk — 90 percent of the wolves’ diet — which have become sedentary around stream beds, consuming plant life and supplanting beavers. “You want elk to be roaming,” added Robinson, “and that requires wolves.” Wolves also contain coyotes. And, he said, in the absence of wolves and other natural predators, over-grazing of cattle denuded the grasslands surrounding Silver City, which contributed to the flood that left us the Big Ditch.

Robinson is the author of a book on the history of wolves in the United States, “Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West” (University Press of Colorado, 2005).


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Who killed wolf OR-28? Reward now stands at $20,000   10 comments

October 19,2016 by KVAL

Information needed in illegal killing of gray wolf (Photo courtesy OSP)

EUGENE, Ore. – The Humane Society added another $5,000 in reward money for information on who killed wolf OR-28.

The wolf was found dead October 6.

The announcement brings to $20,000 the reward in the case.

“The illegal killing of this young mother wolf is tragic, as every individual wolf is essential to the future of Oregon’s small and vulnerable population,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Wolves are one of the most misunderstood and persecuted species in North America, with special interest trophy hunting and trapping groups vying to strip them of protections. Wolves are a keystone species, and killing a breeding female can disrupt pack structure, which may lead to increased conflicts with livestock.”

An AKWA is an “area of known wolf activity.” “Within Areas of Known Wolf Activity certain preventative measures are recommended to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts,” the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says. “Assistance with these proactive non-lethal measures is available from ODFW and the ODA Compensation Plan. Though not required, non-lethal measures are important to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts. Should depredations continue and lethal control become necessary, ODFW’s ability to lethally remove depredating wolves will be dependent on the extent that non-lethal measures have been used.”

Wolves west of Highway 395 are on the Endangered Species Act. | More on wolves in Oregon

“We are grateful to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon State Police for their dedication in pursuing those responsible for the death of this mother wolf, who had an important role to play in the future of Oregon’s iconic wolves,” Beckstead said.

The 3-year-old female gray wolf known as OR-28 was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon.

The wolf’s carcass was sent to USFWS’s National Forensics Laboratory for a necropsy.

OR-28 recently paired with 8-year-old male OR-3 and had her first litter of pups, Beckstead said.

“Poaching is an egregious crime against wildlife, and is particularly reprehensible when it involves an imperiled species struggling to make a comeback,”: Ben Callison, president of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. “By depriving this young mother wolf of her life, poachers have committed a crime against an individual animal, her pack, her species and the public. The reckless and callous crime of poaching—whether against wolves or any other species—cannot be tolerated. In addition, we must protect far more habitat, such as the Trust’s 3,621-acre Greenwood Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Lakeview, Oregon, where wolves and other wildlife have a safe and permanent place to roam and raise their young.”


Source

 

Will reintroduced lynx hunt Britain’s sheep?   3 comments

October 29, 2015 Source

Farmers are concerned that the reintroduced predator will kill livestock, but research from other countries shows these fears are unfounded

 

 

He Watched Helplessly As A Wild Wolf Approached His Dog. Then Something Incredible Happened.   22 comments

Despite their incredible beauty and obvious similarities to our domestic companions, just about everyone knows that wolves are not to be messed with in any way.

But in 2003, Alaskan wildlife photographer Nick Jans and his labrador encountered a wolf in their backyard – and began a relationship that would defy logic and transform an entire community.

Jans was on the back porch of his Juneau home with his dog when a wild wolf appeared. With all the excitement, his dog slipped away, racing out to meet the stranger.

wolf-meets-dog-1

Nick Jans

Nick was stunned to see the two start to play together. He managed to capture this photo of them during the encounter.

wolf-meets-dog-5

Nick Jans

The wolf stayed in the area, and in the years since, Nick has devoted much of his time to documenting him, naming him Romeo.

wolf-meets-dog-3

Arnie Hanger

Romeo became a Juneau fixture, known for playing with local dogs at nearby Mendenhall Glacier Park.

wolf-meets-dog-4

Nick Jans

Residents were unsure at first, but they soon realized that Romeo just wanted to play.

wolf-meets-dog-2

Nick Jans

Romeo didn’t just play with other dogs. He played with humans, too. “The wolf would bring out toys that he’d stashed,” Nick said in an interview. “One was a Styrofoam float. Romeo would pick it up and bring it to [my friend] Harry to throw. He clearly understood the same sort of behaviors that we see in dogs.”

wolf-meets-dog-6

Nick Jans

“The amazing thing was Romeo’s understanding. It wasn’t just our understanding and tolerance. It was the combination of his and ours and the dogs’. We were these three species working out how to get along harmoniously. And we did.”

wolf-meets-dog-7

Dave Willson

Romeo remained around the outskirts of Juneau for six years, becoming an ambassador to the wild and a powerful symbol in the community.

wolf-meets-dog-8

Nick Jans

After Romeo’s passing in 2010, the residents of Juneau held a memorial for the wolf and had this special plaque made in his honor.

romeo-wolf-plaque

Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire

It’s so inspiring to see three different species learn to live peacefully together in harmony. It just goes to show how wonderful the world can be.

Share this amazing story with your friends, and check out Nick’s account of this unbelievable tale, A Wolf Named Romeo.

SOURCE

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Documents indicate B.C. wolf cull linked to forest industry concerns   2 comments

October 25, 2015

Vancouver Source

Miley Cyrus and her brother Braison travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of British Columbia in late September, 2015, to join local wildlife conservationists from Pacific Wild on a research trip. The pop star is a vocal opponent of BC's wolf cull, which started last January and has drawn international condemnation from environmentalists. The B.C. government has defended it as necessary to save dwindling caribou populations, but briefing notes prepared for meetings between B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and industry representatives in 2014 suggest the government was prompted by the forest industry to launch the wolf cull because of fears a federal recovery plan for caribou would demand more logging areas be set aside. (April Bencze/Pacific Wild)

Miley Cyrus and her brother Braison travelled to the Great Bear Rainforest on the central coast of British Columbia in late September, 2015, to join local wildlife conservationists from Pacific Wild on a research trip. The pop star is a vocal opponent of BC’s wolf cull, which started last January and has drawn international condemnation from environmentalists. The B.C. government has defended it as necessary to save dwindling caribou populations, but briefing notes prepared for meetings between B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and industry representatives in 2014 suggest the government was prompted by the forest industry to launch the wolf cull because of fears a federal recovery plan for caribou would demand more logging areas be set aside. (April Bencze/Pacific Wild)

British Columbia’s government has been meeting with the forest industry to develop plans to save endangered caribou, and the province appears to have launched its controversial wolf cull program to avoid putting further restrictions on logging.

The wolf kill, which started last January, has drawn international condemnation from environmentalists, but the B.C. government has defended it as necessary to save dwindling caribou populations. Mountain caribou, which need old-growth forest to survive, are listed under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA), and the province is required to take action to save them.

But briefing notes prepared for meetings between B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak and industry representatives in 2014 suggest the government was prompted by the forest industry to launch the wolf cull because of fears a federal recovery plan for caribou would demand more logging areas be set aside.

“Tolko [Industries Ltd.] is concerned about potential impacts of the federal recovery strategy for the woodland caribou,” says one of the notes, released in response to a Freedom of Information application. Ottawa’s recovery strategy states that caribou need large tracts of “undisturbed habitat rich in mature to old-growth coniferous forest.” It is up to the province to decide how much forest land to set aside. Environmentalists have long complained that B.C. has not made enough old-growth forest off limits to logging.

At the time of Ms. Polak’s meetings, the B.C. government’s mountain caribou recovery implementation program, known as MCRIP, had already set aside some forest land, established a captive breeding program for caribou and limited recreational snowmobile access in caribou areas. But a proposed wolf cull had not yet been launched.

“Actions within the MCRIP have largely been implemented with the exception of effectively managing wolf populations. Industry has criticized government for failing to effectively implement this recovery action, and will be very reluctant to forgo additional harvesting opportunities to meet any additional habitat targets imposed by the federal recovery strategy,” states a briefing note from April, 2014.

B.C.’s wolf cull began several months later.

The briefing notes also show that the forest industry and government were interested “in aligning strategies with respect to dealing with the federal government” on the caribou issue.

One entry states that the province’s caribou plan “had been ‘tested’ with numerous high-level stakeholders, including the Council of Forest Industries,” which represents forestry companies in B.C., before it was posted for public comment.

Wilderness Committee director Gwen Barlee, who filed the FOI application that pried the documents loose, said she is alarmed by how closely the government and the forest industry appear to have been working.

“Are we having the B.C. government write recovery strategies for species at risk, or are we having logging companies writing recovery strategies for species at risk?” she asked.

“A recovery strategy is supposed to be a document created by science,” Ms. Barlee said. “Obviously, the recovery strategies are becoming polluted with the economic interests of logging companies … and that is not supposed to be the case.”

Sean Nixon, a lawyer with Ecojustice, also found the government briefing notes disturbing.

“This looks like the forest industry in B.C. is either directing the government’s policy on species at risk where that might affect timber harvesting, or at a minimum the provincial government is running the policy by the forest industry to make sure that it’s okay with them. Either is troubling,” he said.

If a provincial government does not “effectively protect” any endangered species listed under SARA, Ottawa can impose regulations on provincial land. Given B.C.’s approach so far, which seems more concerned about logging interests than the needs of caribou, the federal government may have to do just that.

Follow on Twitter: @markhumeglobe

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Tracking British Columbia’s secretive sea wolf   1 comment

October 1, 2015

Source

Two wolves run on the beach, exploring the tidal zone for meals.

Two wolves run on the beach, exploring the tidal zone for meals. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

When we hear the word “wolf” nearly every one of us will think of wolves in a forest. Perhaps in our mind’s eye, we see a pack of wolves chasing down an elk or bison in Yellowstone, or monitoring a herd of caribou in Alaska, looking for the weakest link. But what we likely don’t think of is a wolf standing in an estuary stream catching salmon, or strolling along a beach poking through washed-up kelp for barnacles and other morsels to eat.

Yet that is exactly what happens among a very specific population of wolves living on the coastal islands of British Columbia. These wolves don’t hunt deer, in fact many may go their whole lives without ever seeing a deer. Instead, they rely on what the tide brings in. Fish roe, crustaceans, seals and washed-up whales are common meals for these wolves, which have been named sea wolves for their reliance on the ocean for food.

They are entirely unique and with behaviors that have scientists fascinated, but they are also heavily persecuted by humans. Between this and a future threatened by climate change, the outlook for these wolves is tenuous at best.

PHOTOS TO INSPIRE: 6 animals with strong family bonds

Photographers Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier recently went on assignment for National Geographic, spending weeks in the field crouched in a blind to photograph the intimate lives of these secretive wolves. We spoke with them about their experience, as well as what the average person can do to help preserve a highly unique and little-understood population.

Coastal rain wolves live on the outer Islands of the BC coast. Wolves on these Islands live on a very diverse selection of food including deer, chitons in the intertidal zone.

Coastal rain wolves live on the outer Islands of the BC coast. Wolves on these Islands live on a very diverse selection of food including deer, chitons in the intertidal zone. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

MNN: You spent weeks on the ground, waiting for sightings of a pack of wolves. What was it like the very first time you laid eyes on them?

CM and PN: We arrived on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia where we knew a couple of wolves had been sighted. We used our zodiac (small raft) to circumnavigate the island — a journey that took about 1.5 hours, until we sighted paw prints on the sand. The trick for us was to predict the patterns, trails and times the wolves were patrolling certain beaches, and to try to be there before them.

The first time we saw them it was a total fluke. We landed the zodiac on a beach and as Paul and Oren went up a stream to check things out, I stayed with the zodiac and was utterly surprised when one of the wolves came trotting out of the bushes. A small, slender female, she was completely calm and she just kept trotting my way until she was just 30 feet away.

At the same time, Paul and Oren rounded the corner of the stream and came into the open beach. Now the wolf was in between us. Instead of panicking, she just sat on her haunches, did a long, lazy stretch and then just went back the same way she had come from.

It was a comedy of errors, in which the wolf played its part and we, as photographers, fumbled and made mistakes and ended up with only mediocre pictures of a perfectly lovely encounter.

You had the unique opportunity to watch wild wolf pups hang out with their family. What was it like to witness the family structure of the wolves?

What we found was a pack of five pups being watched by a single adult female, presumably their mother. When pups are young, the entire pack helps take care of them. All the members bring food to the mother, who has to stay with the young pups. On this occasion, the pack must have been out hunting and when night fell and we had to leave, they still had not returned.

The next morning, when we returned to the beach, the pups were gone, so presumably the pack returned and they all moved on to another den site.

A mother and pups on the beach is a rare sight for anyone, and these photographers put in their dues to be able to witness it.

A mother and pups on the beach is a rare sight for anyone, and these photographers put in their dues to be able to witness it. (Photo: Cristina Mittermeier)

You two spent weeks in a tiny blind, waiting for opportunities to photograph the wolves. What do you do to stay, you know, sane?

Working in the blind gave me a whole new level of respect and admiration for photographers who specialize in wildlife. We spent a total of 28 days working from this blind, and it was hard.

The first few days were fun and busy as we selected the site and slowly and carefully set out to build the blind. One has to work slowly and early in the morning as not to disturb things. We laid a tarp on the ground to keep ourselves dry.

Unfortunately, the material crinkled and made noise every time we moved, so we had to remain really still. This meant stiff muscles and boredom. To pass the time we rnd a lot of time together. It teaches you a lot about a partner, when you have to be jammed in a small space and unable to move or talk for long periods of time. I have to say I enjoy Paul’s company very much.

Three wolf pups play with a piece of kelp.

Three wolf pups play with a piece of kelp. (Photo: Cristina Mittermeier)

Why these wolves? What sets them apart so much from other wolves as an extra concern for conservation?

The wolves of British Columbia are very different from any other wolves we have ever encountered. Unlike the gray wolves of the BC interior or the much larger timber wolves, rain wolves or sea wolves as they are known are small and dainty.

Unlike any other wolves, these ones don’t mind swimming between islands, sometimes for long distances but what truly sets them apart is the fact that over 70 percent of their diet is marine. They patrol the beach during low tide and eat mussels, clams and other marine life.

They are also very adept at hunting for salmon as the fish make their way up forest streams. Most impressively, they are able to hunt seals and sea lions.

These wolves are specialists in the meals that are available along a coastline.

These wolves are specialists in the meals that are available along a coastline. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

Which is the most pressing concern to the future of these coastal island wolves?

Very little is known about them and preliminary DNA studies by scientist Chris Darimont from the University of Victoria indicate they might be a distinct race or even a subspecies.

For us, the real driver, however, is the fact that these fascinating animals are not protected by provincial or federal laws and people are not only allowed, but encouraged to kill them.

They are so curious and their habit of patrolling the beach exposes them to the danger of shooters who can spot them from boats.

The coastal island wolves are used to getting their feet wet for a meal.

The coastal island wolves are used to getting their feet wet for a meal. (Photo: Paul Nicklen)

What can the average reader do right this minute to help protect coastal wolves?

One of our partner organizations, Pacific Wild, a small NGO based in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, is doing a lot of work to make authorities more aware of the ecological and indeed, the cultural importance of these animals.

The recent approval of a plan to slaughter 400 wolves in central BC makes it even more imperative to encourage the drafting of some laws that offer some protection.

Pacific Wild has gathered almost 200,000 signatures in a petition to the Premier of BC, Christy Clark to protect rain wolves. Supporting such a petition, opposing the wanton slaughter of wildlife, and educating themselves about the impacts of recreational hunting of apex predators is the best things people can do.

***

Find out more about Nicklen and Mittermeier’s conservation work at SeaLegacy, a nonprofit working to document the planet’s fragile marine ecosystems and inspire advocacy for their protection.

By: Jaymi Heimbuch

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Hunters Say Trophy Hunting Helps Animals. Here’s Why They Are Wrong.   2 comments

October 05, 2015 Source

Ever since the death of Cecil the lion, the world’s been looking at trophy hunting a bit more closely. While many people have condemned the practice as cruel, ardent big game hunters have stood up to defend it, arguing that it’s a selfless act of conservation and that both animals and local people benefit from the hobby.

But with wildlife populations in Africa continuing to plummet — and with iconic species at risk of disappearing in our lifetime — these defenses don’t hold up. Here’s why.

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“The money goes to local communities.”

Big game hunters say they help support local communities and conservation efforts by paying for big game hunts. However, while hunters pay roughly $200 million each year for big game hunts in Africa, only around 3 percent of those funds go to local communities, and the amount dedicated to conservation efforts is nearly negligible. The overwhelming majority of hunting fees ends up lining the pockets of middlemen, large companies and local governments.

“Hunting helps wild populations.”

Big game hunters argue that killing can help a species by removing older animals from the population, or say that they trust governments to set sustainable hunting quotas.

Unfortunately, in practice these arguments don’t hold up. For one, some governments are more interested in how much a dead lion can bring them than in establishing sustainable hunting limits. For example, there are around 20,000 to 35,000 wild lions left in Africa, depending on whom you ask, and big game hunters legally kill around 600 each year. That’s an annual population loss of 2 to 3 percent, which is entirely unsustainable, even if you don’t add in deaths due to poaching and livestock protection.

And while nature likes to pick off the weakest members of a population, big game hunters target the largest, strongest members of a population. For lions, that means the male pride leader; for elephants, the oldest elephant with the biggest tusks. Killing these animals, who play a crucial role in their societies, puts the rest of their families at risk.

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For example, killing a male lion with an impressive mane leaves his fellow pride leaders open to challenges from other males. If a new male does come in, they could kill an entire generation of cubs, which means that the permit for one lion hunt leads to the death of several animals.

And the loss of older elephants means leaving male or female youngsters without guidance — which can actually lead to so-called teenage delinquents who are more likely to have negative interactions with humans, and therefore be killed.

The loss of any animal also means the loss of any offspring they could have parented, a knock to conservation that goes far beyond taking just one animal out of the population. And while some proponents of big game hunting advocate for only killing animals who have already contributed their genes to the population, most animals will continue to propagate until they die.

Of course, the biggest rebuttal to the hunting-helps-populations argument is in the numbers. Lions have lost 95 percent of their population since the 1940s. The African elephant population has dropped from several million at the turn of the century to roughly 500,000 today. During the past century hunting has been the primary — if not only — method of conservation, but the perilously low numbers of these animals proves that hunting is ineffective as a conservation method.

And even with these reduced populations, trophy hunters still kill around 105,000 animals in Africa every year, including 600 elephants and 800 leopards, at a time when every individual is crucial to the survival of the species.

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“Canned hunting helps repopulate animals.”

Some hunters tout canned hunting — an unsportsmanlike practice in which lions and other animals are bred in captivity then released into pens where they can’t escape so hunters can shoot them — as a sustainable alternative, arguing that canned hunting incentivizes captive breeding, which can be used to repopulate wild populations.

But animals bred at canned hunting facilities are completely unsuitable for release. Taken away from their mothers at just a few days old and raised by humans, the lions are incapable of surviving on their own. Many of them are inbred, which means breeding with wild lions could weaken the species’ gene pool. And releasing a captive-bred lion into wild lions’ territory could lead to fighting, upsetting the delicate balance — and the safety — of existing prides.

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“Hunting helps protect locals.”

Local communities often find themselves at odds with African wildlife. Elephants destroy crops; lions and other predators can target people or livestock. These animals are often killed — and tourism hunting is often encouraged — in the name of protecting humans from African wildlife.

But as human lands continue to increase, animals continue to be pushed into smaller and smaller territories. In many cases these negative interactions are the result of animals simply trying to survive. Iconic African wildlife is at risk of disappearing, and the solution is to learn to live with animals, not keep killing them.

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“It’s an industry that Africa couldn’t do without.”

While trophy hunting does bring in some capital to African countries, it makes up as little as 1.8 percent of tourism revenues. The majority of tourists come to see Africa’s wildlife, not kill it. And if big game hunting continues to deplete that wildlife, it could take down the other 98 percent of Africa’s tourism income.

An individual animal, particularly if it’s a member of the more iconic species, is worth far more to a country alive over the course of his lifetime than dead. Need proof? Look at Botswana. Beginning in January 2014, the country banned almost all hunting after comparing the conservation cost of big game hunting with the income generated from photo tourism: The photo tourism season is longer, makes better use of animals and employs significantly more locals. In the first year of the ban, the country brought in around $344 million from nonlethal tourism.

Of course, changes can take getting used to, but in an age when iconic species are at risk of being lost forever, killing any individual animal for sheer pleasure — especially in the name of conservation — is highly counterproductive.

To find out more, watch Blood Lions on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

The views expressed here are The Dodo’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MSNBC.

By Ameena Schelling – Email: ameena@thedodo.com – Twitter: @amschelling

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Walking With Wolves and Other Wild Things   1 comment

September 14, 2015 Source

A walk along a trail in the early morning  woods on a fine fall like day deep in the Tennessee Mountains. With some amazing companions.

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Snoozing in the sunshine seemed to be the rule of the day. For both the wolves and the bobcat by an old fence line.

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Scenes from along the trail.

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