Archive for the ‘wolf poaching’ Tag

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.”


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$15,000 Reward Offered Over Illegal Killing of Oregon Mother Wolf   6 comments

For Immediate Release, October 14, 2016

Contact: Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, aweiss@biologicaldiversity.org

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity today added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting and killing an endangered wolf earlier this month in south-central Oregon. The wolf — a female known as OR-28, who recently had a pup — was found dead Oct. 6.

OR-28 courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also offering a $5,000 reward in the case.

“The illegal killing of wolf OR-28 is heartbreaking. She was a pioneering animal, one of the first wolves to make the journey from northeastern to western Oregon,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf organizer. “OR-28 was also a first-time mother, who leaves behind her mate and single pup to fend for themselves. This was a cowardly crime. I hope the perpetrator is caught quickly.”

Because she lived in the western two-thirds of Oregon, OR-28 was protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. Poaching a protected species is punishable by a heavy fine and jail time. In 2015 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported six wolf deaths due to illegal shootings, ingesting poison, or from suspicious but unknown causes. This is the highest number of illegal and suspicious wolf mortalities recorded in Oregon in a single year. Only one of the 2015 wolf deaths resulted in a conviction.

Anyone with information about this case can call the Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131 or the Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888. Callers may remain anonymous.

News of OR-28’s death comes on the heels of a statewide poll that found that the vast majority of Oregonians — from both rural and urban areas — oppose hunting as a way to manage wolves and believe wildlife officials wrongly removed state protections from wolves last November. The poll also revealed that most Oregonians believe nonlethal methods should be the primary focus in reducing conflicts between wolves and livestock.

“Oregonians love wolves and want them protected. The poaching of OR-28 is a disgusting crime that shouldn’t go unpunished,” Weiss said. “Someone out there almost certainly knows who did this, and I really hope they’ll step forward and help secure justice for this wolf.”


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My October Surprise – A Wolf Poaching   5 comments

October 5, 2016  Source

October in Wyoming has the best weather. It can be raining, snowing, sunshine, or all of the above at once. Blustery one day, then in the 60s the next, Indian Summer seems to come and go until suddenly, one day, it’s winter.

I’m packing up for a work trip to California for several months, but before I leave I want to ‘say goodbye’ to my beloved valley and the mountains that envelope it. Today there are snow flurries off and on, low clouds obscuring the horizon. I’ve got a place in mind to hike to. It’s one of my special, or sacred, spots—an Indian Sheep Eater bighorn sheep trap. I especially like this place because not only is it high up above a cliff edge with a magnificent view of the Absarokas, but also the ‘trap’ is formed from two large boulders running into a ‘V’ shape. The acme of this formation is littered with ancient logs, hundreds of years old, preventing the sheep from squeezing out that end. Native peoples used a system of logs fanning out from the boulders to guide the sheep into the trap. Their dogs helped herd the animals, and possibly people were hidden along the trap line to scare the sheep in the proper direction. Medicine men assisted with the hunt, and I’ve read that male bighorn sheep horns and skulls have been found high up in trees, probably as part of their rituals.

Bighorn sheep

The last two years, October was the first month of the gray wolf hunt in Wyoming. Wyoming wolves were delisted in 2012. A ‘trophy’ zone outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks allowed an October through December hunt, while in the rest of the state (85%) wolves were labeled as ‘predators’. Along with several other species like coyotes, raccoons, and feral domestic cats, predators can be shot or trapped year-round, without a second thought. Since my valley lies adjacent to the Park in the Trophy zone, we had lots of hunters looking to kill a wolf. Koda, my ninety-pound Golden Retriever, was forced to be humiliated into wearing an orange vest for those three months.

Koda catches a whiff

But this year the winds have changed for the wolf. The hunt was suspended just a week before the season was to begin. Environmental groups took Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to court over their flawed delisting plan. And on the 23rd of September, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Wyoming’s plan was not sufficient to support a hunt and the wolves were back on the Endangered Species list again. Money for wolf tags was refunded (at $15 a wolf tag, hunters paid a pittance), and the wolves have a stay for at least another year.

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So on this blustery day, I drove down the valley to a trailhead. This fall, Koda doesn’t have to dress up. I’m on an outing with a purpose—to say ‘goodbye’ to my valley for the next few months. When I return, winter will have seriously set in and the deep snows will make it more difficult to get to this place. I prepare a small gift of some herbs and flowers held in a small deer hide bag—an offering that preserves my presence in this place while I’m gone, and honors the spirit of my beloved valley.

It’s a Saturday and the parking area is uncharacteristically full. I usually avoid the weekends, but since I’m leaving in a few days, this is my opportunity. The cars belong to hunters, yet on all my hiking in the valley, and even up this trail, I have never seen another person. People just don’t hike in grizzly bear country; so I still have the trail all to myself.

The first mile follows the stream, and then opens to a large confluence where two drainages meet in an open meadow. The narrow right-hand arroyo is what I want. I move up the dry canyon. To my left, the topography is a gentle slope that divides the two drainages. Yet to my right are the steep rocky cliffs that house a mesa high above. I look for an arch formed of broken slabs of limestone near the top of the bluff.

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That’s my sign to start climbing the steep sides up near the escarpment edge. Once I get to its flanks, I feel my way like a blind woman along the outcroppings. Then, suddenly, a narrow gap appears, barely wide enough to slip sideways through. I crawl upwards about thirty feet, where I emerge onto an unexpected plateau. It’s a trail known only to wildlife. And in front of me are the two house-size boulders, funneling down into the trap. There’s a strange, numinous beauty to this spot that I love so much. I place my offering on the ground, silently intoning my intentions, and then settle onto the rims to enjoy the view. The gully below ascends into a large meadow, eventually bordering wooded hillsides. I can clearly see the ridge that separates this ravine from the one beyond, colored in the gold and reds of the turning aspens.

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Time is standing still for me. I have nowhere to go. I snap a few photos and enjoy these last moments before leaving for California. Two figures appear on the ridge. They are dressed in bright orange, and although their origin is not in my view, I know they are coming from an area the locals call ‘Dry Lake’. I look at my watch. They’re deer hunters. I know this because October is open deer season in my valley. That’s the busiest time in this area, with hunters from in and out-of-state looking for a buck to fill their freezer. It’s 2:30 p.m., and a strange time to be hunting. From my vantage point, I haven’t seen any wildlife, and wouldn’t expect to at mid-day. They come over the ridge and appear to be leaving, walking down the drainage. There is no way they can see me, as I’m high up on a rib of rock obscured by trees.

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They sit down for a break and I pull out my binoculars. Yes, they are definitely hunters because I see their rifles. They rest for about ten minutes, and then continue on their route towards the parking area.

After they leave, I scramble down the terrace and take an alternate route back to my car. When I arrive back at the parking lot, I see the two hunters are already back too, and they are parked next to me. And I notice two other things: first they are unusually silent. They are not speaking to each other, nor do they look at me. Wyomingites are friendly folks, and hunters and outdoors people enjoy exchanging information and small talk. Yet these two fellows clearly do not want to engage me.

I also observe they are a father/son pair. I rarely see a father hunting with his son, so their mannerisms and facial features imprint in my mind more than they normally would. The young man appears to be about thirteen, yet he is tall and gangly for his age. The father is balding, about fiftyish. It’s three p.m. They silently load up their gear, then drive off.

In fifteen minutes I’m back at my house, packing to leave for California in a few days. By mid-January, I return home to a landscape blanketed with snow. Attached to my door is a business card. It’s from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senior Special Agent, Office of Law Enforcement.

           “Please give me a call—hoping you can help with some information”

When I call Officer Rippeto, he tells me there was a wolf poaching the day that I was parked at the trailhead.

“The Warden rode up on horseback on Sunday morning. He found the dead wolf by Dry Lake. He figured it was shot on Saturday.”

I asked how he knew I was there that day.

“A Forest Service ranger drove up on Saturday and took down descriptions of all the vehicles parked in the lot. That’s routine. The warden recognized your car and told me where you lived. I’d like to come up and take a statement from you.”

I ask if the wolf was collared. Apparently, the wolf was a yearling and had no collar.  I tell Office Rippeto that I’d snapped some photos from my view spot. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of those hunters. But I do have a time stamp on my pictures, which were taken immediately before they came into view. And I relay my description of them.

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Yet the one thing I did not notice was what their vehicle looked like (people in Wyoming always identify others by their vehicle) nor did I check to see if their license plate indicated they were locals. Being that it was general deer hunting season, these two people could have been from anywhere. And deer hunting up here is not a limited tag quota. It’s statewide.

Last I spoke with Officer David Rippeto, he still hadn’t found the wolf poachers. I cannot be certain that this father and son were the culprits, but I suspect they were. Rippeto too was suspicious of their conduct, and the fact that they quit their hunt at an hour when they should be about to begin hunting.

I think about what kind of example that father taught his son. He taught him that poaching was acceptable behavior. And he also gave him the clear message that wolves are not welcome here in Wyoming.

_______________

Update: October 2016. Wolves are still on the Endangered Species list in Wyoming. Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife recently brought the case to court. We have not yet heard the decision of the Federal Appeals court.

 Wyoming continues to refuse to acknowledge that listing wolves as predators in 85% of the state is an antiquated and egregious view of wolves, a relic of the 19th century, when predators were exterminated for the benefit of the livestock industry.

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BE A VOICE FOR ALASKA’S ARCHIPELAGO WOLVES   Leave a comment

From intheshadowofthewolf on July 23, 2015

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Please send off these tweets to your following at your leisure over the weekend for added support. This imperiled species needs our help urgently with as many voices as we can muster! Thank you.

**Tweetstorm**  #Wolves  #StandForWolves  Please be a voice for Archipelago Wolves: https://t.co/eEorYSwIug PLS RT

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/U22

Alaska’s #Wolves face catastrophe, Alexander Archipelago Wolves population plummeted 60% in 1 yr. Be their voice:  goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/zce29

**Tweetstorm**  #Wolves #SaveWolves #StandForWolves Be a voice for the imperiled Archipelago Wolves:  http://t.co/oPeXzNcwgc

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/cbroy

Demand #Alaska call off the hunting & trapping season 4  imperiled Archipelago #Wolves PLS join tweetstorm 7/27: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/23g6x

Archipelago #wolves should be protected under #ESA as an #EndangeredSpecies. Help make this happen! Tweetstorm: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/otA39

The time to save Alaska’s #wolves is now! Be a voice for Archipelago Wolves. Please join tweetstorm 7/27 #SaveWolves Help out: goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/nz7ma

Alaska’s Prince of Wales #Wolves are nearing #Extinction. Demand emergency protection! #StandForWolves  goo.gl/R5FfLq

Tweet this: 💙http://ctt.ec/90TJj

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