Archive for November 2016

Geography in the News: Wolf Controversies   2 comments

Yet another old article featuring the controversy between man and wolf! I’ve been doing some research and came across a couple of older articles and felt the urge to compare the situation “then” with what is happening today.

Posted by Neal Lineback of Geography in the NewsTM on December 14, 2013

Who’s Crying, “Wolf?”

Wolves remain one of the American West’s most controversial species. Hardly a week goes by without a newspaper article describing conflicting issues about wolves across the West. Any discussion of the management of wolf populations and geographic ranges brings criticism from all sides of the issue.

When the wolf was “delisted,” or taken off the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list in 2009, a battle began. The fight is between a coalition of livestock and hunting groups and an alliance of environmental and animal rights groups. The issue is over how to manage the West’s healthy wolf populations and whether states should allow wolves to be hunted once more.

The grey wolf, Canis lupus, is the largest member of the dog family. Wolves likely originated during the Late Pleistocene about 300,000 years ago. While once found in any ecosystem on every continent in the Northern Hemisphere, wolves were hunted to near extinction by the early 20th century.

When European settlers came to North America in the 1500s and 1600s, wolves were living both in the forested areas and on the plains. Early settlers, fueled by a traditional European hatred of the wolf, began eradicating the animal using firearms, traps and poison. Authorities offered bounties to anyone bringing in wolf hides or other parts of dead wolves.

An all-out war against the wolf began when people began to settle the Great Plains in the 1800s. The enormous herds of bison that served as food for the wolves helped keep the pack numbers high in the region. When hunters decimated the bison populations in the mid-1800s, however, the wolves turned to domestic sheep and cattle as prey, bringing greater pressure on their numbers.

During the last half of the 19th century in the western United States, as many as two million wolves were killed. The U.S. government supported complete annihilation of the animal and passed a law in 1919 that called for eradication of wolves on federal lands.

By the time the law was repealed in 1942, another 25,000 wolves had been killed by the government plan. The wolf remained nearly extinct in the American West until the species gained protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974.

When, in the 1980s, a small number of wolves migrated from Canada into Glacier National Park in Montana, talk of reintroducing the animal to the region began. During this time, ecological research was showing that wolves and other predators play critical roles in maintaining the ecosystems to which they belong.

After several years of study, public comment and controversy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided in the early 1990s to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Over the last 20 years, wolf populations have grown and packs have flourished, spreading out from Yellowstone and onto adjacent range land.

Today, ranchers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming find that news disturbing and fear loss of livestock to wolves. Big game hunters are also lobbying for less wolf protection, fearing elk and deer predation by wolves. Many feel that states should allow wolves to be hunted just as bear and mountain lion hunting is allowed. On the other side, environmental and animal rights groups argue on behalf of the wolf, seeing its presence as necessary for the ecosystem and worrying that too many wolves will be killed.

gitn_1038_NGS Wolf

Source: Geography in the NewsTM

Research in three states of the Rocky Mountain West shows that wolf populations have completely recovered and no longer need ESA protection. According to an article by Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Oct 2009), wolves in the modern world require management to minimize conflicts.

This management may include public hunting of wolves or not, but Bangs stresses that it will involve killing wolves to keep their numbers in check. If hunters and ranchers are not allowed to hunt wolves, then controlled kills will be necessary to maintain healthy wolf numbers and control their conflicts with domestic livestock. The management goal is to find the most efficient, least expensive and most socially acceptable methods of dealing with wolves, while also further enhancing wolf conservation.

And that is Geography in the NewsTM .

Sources: GITN 1038 Crying “Wolf”, Apr. 23, 2010; Bangs, Ed, “Wolves, Elk, Science and Human Values,” Bugle, Sept/Oct 2009, pgs. 79-82; http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/04/hunters-or-hunted-wolves-vs-mountain-lions/; and http://www.hpj.com/archives/2005/jan05/jan17/Wolvesthriveadecadeafterrei.CFM

Co-authors are Neal Lineback, Appalachian State University Professor Emeritus of Geography, and Geographer Mandy Lineback Gritzner. University News Director Jane Nicholson serves as technical editor.

Geography in the NewsTM is solely owned and operated by Neal Lineback for the purpose of providing geographic education to readers worldwide.


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Woolly Wolf Seen in Nepal Raises Questions About Its Family Tree   Leave a comment

April 28, 2016 by Carrie Arnold

By analyzing the animal’s DNA, a scientist says the animal is not a subspecies of the gray wolf. Another expert isn’t so sure.

Female Himalayan wolves seem to smile for the camera at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, India.

This story has been updated with more details about the genetics of the Himalayan wolf.

Pausing at a clearing, a sudden streak of black against the carpet of white snow moved in the corner of Madhu Chetri‘s eye.

It was 2004, and Chetri, now a Ph.D. student at Norway’s Hedmark University College, was trekking through the roof of the world: Nepal’s Annapurna Conservation Area.

Looking up, he caught the gaze of a wolf, who regarded him with curiosity.

“I was struck by these golden yellow eyes. They were so bright. I was so excited,” says Chetri, who was exploring the Upper Mustang region as part of his conservation work. (See “12 of Our Favorite Wolf Photos.”)

The area had plenty of feral dogs, but Chetri knew right away that this big, woolly creature was no dog.

It was the Himalayan wolf, which had never before been seen in Nepal.

Searching for Scat

Scientists first identified the Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), thought to be a subspecies of the gray wolf, about 200 years ago.

It was known to live in India and Tibet, but never Nepal.

Not long after Chetri saw his wolf, two studies came out that challenged the idea that the Himalayan wolf was a subspecies. At the DNA level, the studies claimed, the wolf was so different that it deserved its own species name.

Chetri already had a feeling this was the case: The animal he saw was smaller and much leaner than gray wolves, which live in Europe and North America. It also had white patches on its chest and throat, which are not seen in gray wolves.

Himalayan wolves (seen in their natural habitat) are smaller than their gray wolf cousins.

And he’d always wanted to know more about the beautiful canine that had so captivated him ten years earlier.

So Chetri began to search for its most accessible DNA source: poop. He returned to Nepal and looked for wolf scat when weather was the driest and the feces would be best preserved. (Read about the sky caves of Nepal’s Upper Mustang region.)

Lone Wolf

He managed to collect a total of six samples and could extract DNA from five of them. One of his samples was from a feral dog, leaving him with four specimens.

To be consistent with the two previous studies published in 2004 and 2006, Chetri sequenced the specimens’ mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from an animal’s mother.

Photographing the Wild Wolves of Yellowstone

Ronan Donovan describes the challenge of photographing one of Yellowstone National Park’s most elusive and iconic species: wolves.

Working with a group of scientists from India and Nepal, Chetri extracted and sequenced the DNA in the lab. His work confirmed the two earlier studies: The Himalayan wolf was significantly different from any other wolves.

In fact, the genetic data revealed that Himalayan wolves have been distinct from other wolves for at least 800,000 years, according to the results, which were published April 21 in the journal ZooKeys.

Chetri believes that the animal is a unique species, and that people should begin recognizing it as such to make sure the wolf doesn’t disappear from the planet.

“Due to the fact that the species has evolved in isolation without mixing from other wolf and domestic dog lineages and their rarity in the Himalayas and critically endangered status, it is prudent to focus conservation efforts as an evolutionary distinct entity, at the species level,” he says.

The Himalayan wolf is thought to number fewer than 350 individuals.

Not So Fast

Klaus-Peter Koepfli, a conservation biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, says it’s too early to say for sure that the Himalayan wolf is its own species.

“The [mitochondrial DNA] data does indeed indicate that this is distinct from other gray wolf populations,” he says, adding that the the wolf appears isolated from other wolf species, which means they’re not breeding with other wolves.

However, “only with the addition of nuclear DNA [the building-up of differences across the genome], would we really begin to know how distinct this population is.”

“With the evidence we have so far, we are a far ways from declaring this as a distinct species or not.” (See “New Clues on How and When Wolves Became Dogs.”)

Koepfli adds the study is meaningful in that it establishes that these wolves live in the Upper Mustang region. “It provides solid evidence of living wolves in the area. Even if it’s just one individual, it’s important because they’re there,” he says.

“There’s a lot more biodiversity than we thought there was.”

Follow Carrie Arnold on Twitter.



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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)

Comments for this story are closed. No new comments can be added.

  • 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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