January 20, 2016 – Folkbladet
Vargstammen är fortfarande för liten, skriver debattören TT
När myndigheter fattar beslut om jakt på en hotad art måste det ske restriktivt och med bakgrund av vetenskapliga underlag, skriver Johanna Sandahl, ordförande för Naturskyddsföreningen i ett debattsvar.
Ynqwe (C), Berg (M), Tysklind (L) och Oscarsson (KD) skriver i Folkbladet 14/1 att de är oroliga för att regeringen ”överväger att återgå till den tidigare ordningen för överprövning av beslut om skydds- och licensjakt”.
Det som skribenterna syftar på är att miljöorganisationer tidigare kunde överklaga Naturvårdsverkets beslut om jakt på varg. I fjol infördes dock ett överklagandeförbud för miljöorganisationerna. Detta förbud har nu upphört att gälla.
Men det är inte den svenska regeringen, utan Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen, som den 18 december 2015 slagit fast att miljöorganisationer återigen ska få överklaga domar om jakt.
Domstolen skriver i sitt beslut att överklagandeförbudet står i strid med EU-rätten. I och med domstolens beslut gäller överklagandeförbudet inte längre. Miljöorganisationer har därmed återfått rätten att pröva storskalig jakt efter varg och andra hotade djur i domstol.
Möjligheten att få till stånd domstolsprövning av myndigheters beslut är en grundbult i alla rättssamhällen och en fundamental del i skyddet för demokratin.
Det är också en självklar princip i en demokrati att domstolarna ska vara fristående. Regeringen varken kan eller får påverka domstolarnas beslut.
Som medlem i EU ska Sverige följa EU:s regler. Vi tycker det är bra att naturskyddet i EU är starkt.
De regler som skyddar svenska vargar skyddar också delfiner i Medelhavet, skogar på kontinenten och våra flyttfåglar när de flyger över Medelhavsländerna.
Vargen har en viktig roll i naturen. Därför behövs en livskraftig vargstam. Vi anser att det i dag samlade vetenskapliga underlaget, som inkluderar vargstammens genetiska situation, visar att vargen i Sverige för närvarande inte har gynnsam bevarandestatus.
Den vargstam som lever i vårt land är fortfarande för liten, alltför geografiskt och genetiskt isolerad, och därmed sårbar för att tåla omfattande avskjutningar.
Vi är inte emot all jakt på varg, men när myndigheterna fattar beslut om jakt på en hotad art måste det ske restriktivt och mot bakgrund av vetenskapliga underlag.
Jakt på hotade arter behöver också kunna prövas i domstol, varför vi välkomnar att Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen tydliggjort att det nu återigen är möjligt.
För att få en hållbar rovdjursförvaltning är det viktigt att se framåt och finna lösningar som fungerar. Ett konkret förslag vore att se till att tamdjursägare får förbättrat stöd för förebyggande rovdjursavvisande stängsel; ett förslag som både Naturskyddsföreningen och Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund driver.
Ett annat förslag är att starta upp den tidigare vargkommittén, där både partier och intresseorganisationer ingick, och som lyckades enas om långtgående förslag i vargfrågan.
Vi tror det kunde vara en god utgångspunkt för en konstruktiv och lösningsorienterad dialog framåt.
January 5, 2016 – Source
Matthew Simmons and Dr. Lorin Lindner at Lockwood Animal Rescue Center with Wiley, a wolfdog they saved from being euthanized. (Photo: Jennifer Dallas)
About 90 minutes north of Los Angeles at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC), healing magic happens every day. Nestled on acres of scenic land inside theLos Padres National Forest, LARC’s Warriors and Wolves program offers combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder the chance to bond withwolves and wolfdogs that have been rescued from abusive situations or abandoned because their wild roots make them poor pets. Together they heal and gain a sense of belonging — and a second chance at life.
“Combat veterans have been paid to be predators, much like wolves,” says LARC co-founder and Navy veteran Matthew Simmons. “Many come home with this inner war inside them. They don’t know if they’re an infantryman or a husband. And my wolves don’t know if they’re a wolf or a dog. That inner turmoil they’re both suffering bonds them together and they form a partnership that helps them both.”
A LARC veteran bonds with wolfdog Cochise who was relinquished by his owner for being a problem pet. (Photo: Sarah Varley)
Life after trauma
Simmons is intimately familiar with the horrors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After serving in the Navy, including a stint in Desert Storm, he returned home and launched a computer company. He felt focused and successful, but the harrowing memories of combat lay buried, waiting to surface. He began waking at night soaked in sweat and felt strangely agitated after business meetings.
As his sleeplessness and emotional turbulence grew, Simmons consulted a psychiatrist who prescribed sleeping pills. He was soon popping a few at a time and washing them down with wine. “By this point I’d sold my computer company and was in turmoil, drinking too much and taking too many pills,” he says.
Desperate to stop his downward slide, Simmons visited another psychiatrist who diagnosed him with PTSD and suggested getting immediate help through the Veterans Administration (VA). PTSD can develop after traumatic events, including combat, and may cause nightmares, flashbacks, detachment, angry outbursts, addiction and sometimes suicide.
“I didn’t know what PTSD was, nor did I necessarily think I had it,” Simmons says. “I was a big tough guy.”
But he heeded the advice and connected with the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles where he soon found himself volunteering to care for abandoned parrots and other exotic birds living on-site in the Serenity Park Sanctuary. Run by licensed clinical psychologist Lorin Lindner, the eco-therapy program helps traumatized veterans and traumatized birds recover together.
The experience changed his life. “That’s where I met the three animals I believe have kept me safe, sane and sober,” Simmons says.
The first two were Maggie and Ruby, feral parrots from San Francisco that had barely survived a brutal raccoon attack. “I watched them physically heal, and whether I was cognizant of it or not, I watched them forgive and let go,” Simmons says. Gaining their trust and nursing them back to health helped him release his own emotional wounds.
His third guardian “animal” was Dr. Lindner, now his wife.
Lindner and Simmons pictured at Lockwood Animal Rescue Center with a rescue horse Megan and Huey, a good-natured wolfdog found abandoned on the streets of Houston. (Photo: Jennifer Dallas)
Eco-therapy for the soul
In 2007, the couple bought a remote property outside Los Angeles in Frazier Park, known for its panoramic mountain views and pristine beauty. They started LARC, a privately funded non-profit, and began rescuing abused horses. At the same time, they learned about captive wolves and high-content wolfdogs (wolves with dog heritage) also in need of forever homes. Many are bred as exotic pets, only to be relinquished to shelters or permanently chained outside for exhibiting natural “wild” and “aggressive” wolf behaviors rooted in their DNA. Wolfdogs aren’t eligible for adoption at shelters so are usually euthanized.
After saving a wolfdog named Wiley minutes before he was to be destroyed, Simmons started taking him on visits to the VA. He was amazed at Wiley’s positive impact on everyone there. “The doctors acted different, the guys in my support group acted different, the security guard acted different, and so did I,” he says. “Absolutely everything changed.”
The couple decided to launch the Warriors and Wolves program at LARC, patterned after Lindner’s successful parrot program, to help veterans with PTSD who needed additional help. “These guys usually have a drug and alcohol problem,” Simmons says. “They’re disenfranchised from their families, often homeless, and many are suicidal.”
The couple also continued rescuing wolfdogs, including 29 that had spent their lives chained in a small enclosure at a roadside wolf attraction near Anchorage, Alaska. Former game show host and long-time animal activist Bob Barker donated $100,000 to fund the rescue.
The cornerstone of Warriors and Wolves is the idea that nature can heal a broken spirit. Veterans — who are either employed by LARC or volunteer — go on nature hikes and participate in stream-bed restoration, but the heart of their work is caring for the wolves and wolfdogs, who, like them, are outsiders and often misunderstood.
Veteran volunteers cut up raw meat for LARC’s wolves and wolfdogs. Meat is obtained from the Landfill Diversion Program — mostly overstock and sell-by-date cuts that would otherwise be tossed by grocery stores. (Photo: Matthew Simmons)
Most quickly bond with one specific wolf or wolfdog. “The animal selects the veteran, and it’s a unique selection to that veteran,” Simmons says. “They usually have similar trauma and similar physical ailments. There’s no way they could know that. Some sort of cross-species communication goes on between them.”
Most remarkable is the special solace and healing they find together — a bond that lasts for life. And it’s not just with their soulmate animal; veterans are also accepted into the wolf pack where they learn about family and trust.
Many of the veterans go on to good jobs, often working with animals. Those who need more time can transition to the New England Wolf Advocacy and Rescue Center (NEWARC) in New Hampshire, which Simmons and Lindner started in 2013. Veterans live and work there for six months to a year, earning a good salary and continuing to heal. Many are able to reconnect with wives and children they pushed away during their PTSD battles and repair damaged relationships.
“Our program heals veterans who would otherwise probably die,” says Simmons. “And the wolves get to live out their lives and maybe share it in a special way with another sentient being who’s also suffered. It’s magical and special.”
Like many wolfdogs, Willow Girl was turned over to a shelter by her owners and slated to be euthanized. She now lives freely in a 3-acre natural habitat enclosure at LARC. (Photo: Renae Smith)
By Sidney Stevens
November 6, 2015
Source D.C. Chieftain
Hearing set about county effort to halt release
Mexican Wolf at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge Wolf facility. Courtesy photo
Protecting livestock and human lives are among the reasons some are opposed to the release of Mexican Wolves in Socorro County.
Helping the wolves fight off extinction is the reason others support the federal governments’ intention to release the wolves despite opposition from local and state officials.
There seems to be no middle ground heading into a public hearing and possible vote by the Socorro county Board of Commissioners to bar the release of the wolves as part of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.
“It seems to be an inflammatory effort to get the federal government to back off its decision to release the wolves into Socorro County,” said Michael Robinson, of the Center of Biological Diversity, about the proposed ordinance the commissioners could vote on at their meeting Tuesday.
A commissioner from a neighboring county doesn’t quite see the issue the same way.
“It’s easy to be for the release when it’s not happening at your back door,” said Catron County Commissioner Anita Hand.
Socorro County Commissioner Martha Salas will be among officials making a decision after residents are given the opportunity to make their opinions known at the 10 a.m. meeting.
County Manager Deliliah Walsh said the ordinance is on the agenda to be voted on.
But it’s possible they could table it, Walsh said.
Should the commissioners approve the ordinance, it would go in effect 60 days after the vote, Walsh said.
The feedback Salas has received so far has been overwhelmingly against the release.
She recently attended a chapter meeting at the Alamo Navajo Reservation where reservation leaders voted against allowing the release in the county.
“They say the presence of the wolves has already pushed bears and cougars more toward the reservation,” Salas said. “Now they fear the wolves are going to be coming to the reservation.”
Robinson said the proposed release point in the San Mateos is far from the reservation, but acknowledged wolves could roam a good distance if their food source was scarce. He said the wolves generally stayed confined if food sources were plentiful.
Catron County Attacks
Hand cites attack on livestock as a primary reason she is opposed to the release. So far in 2015, she said there have been 36 confirmed wolf kills on livestock, with four other possible kills.
The county also records two cows being injured in wolf attacks, as well as 5 pets.
Hand also cited 10 sightings of wolves by county residents, including five up close in which a wolf charged two adults, a wolf followed a 12-year old on horseback and one that came within 30 feet of a 2 ½-year old.
“Imagine seeing a cat with no head, a dog ripped apart or calves chewed up,” Hand said.
New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce, who represents Socorro County, cites the attacks in Catron County as a reason for his opposition to the wolf recovery program. He said he would continue to back efforts to defund the program in Congress.
“Most of Catron County is federal land,” Pearce said. “They have a small tax base. They depend heavily on the cattle industry.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Public Affairs Specialist Jeff Humphrey said the organization understands concerns about the potential for attacks on livestock or people.
“Human safety remains of utmost concern to the Service,” Humphrey said. We advise the public to always take the necessary steps and precautions to remain safe when in nature. We have not documented any cases of Mexican wolf attacks on a person.”
Robinson and Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chairwoman of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, agreed with Humphrey that attacks on humans were rare and even said that attacks on livestock were not as common as portrayed.
Ray, who lives in the San Mateos, saw wolves near her home.
“And they ran away as soon as they saw me,” Ray said.
She said the pack has since been relocated to Arizona.
Robinson cited federal statistics kept each year in wolf recovery program in the Blue Range recovery area. The statistics showed the most livestock kills in a year by the wolves was 36 in 2007. A total of 30 kills were recorded in 2014.
The statistics can be found at:
and also reveals action by the Fish and Wildlife Services in response to attacks.
“Cattle is not really on their menu,” Ray said.
Elk is among the main sources of food for the wolves, Robinson and Ray said.
Ray and Humphrey both emphasize that rules are now set up to allow residents to “take” or kill wolves in case of such attacks. or if they feel they are in danger. Ray said residents can obtain permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do so.
“The Endangered Species Act, as well as our regulations for the MWEPA, allow for the take (including injuring or killing) of a Mexican wolf in self-defense or the defense of others,” Humphrey said. “Our regulations also provide for opportunistic harassment and intentional harassment of Mexican wolves. The regulations also allow for the take of a Mexican wolf under various circumstances to protect pet dogs and livestock.”
The ordinance, however, makes the Socorro Sheriff’s Office the agency the public should use in dealing with wolf interactions if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are not available. County Attorney Adren Nance said the ordinance does not give the Sheriff’s Office new authority, but recognizes the authority the Sheriff’s Office already has.
The Socorro County Sheriff’s Office serves as animal control in the county.
Needed for survival
Ray feels the wolf relief program is necessary because “we destroyed the species.”
Both Robinson and Humphrey said the release was necessary to introduce diversity into genes of the Mexican wolves already in the wild. Robinson said inbreeding has made the wolves more vulnerable to disease and lowered their reproduction rate, cutting their chances of survival.
“The wild population does not have adequate gene diversity, which compromises the health of individual wolves (inbreeding) and the overall health of the population,” Humphrey said. “We can improve the gene diversity of the wild population by releasing wolves from captivity with genes not already represented in the wild population. In other words, our releases from captivity at this time will be aimed at improving the genetic situation rather than increasing the size of the population, which is growing naturally without the aid of initial releases.”
Supporters of the wolf release program question whether Socorro County has the authority to enforce the ordinance on federal land.
Nance acknowledges that case law conflicts on whether the ordinance would be enforceable.
“But it would address the release on private land and would prevent a ranch owner such as Ted Turner from doing so, ” Nance said.
Turner owns the Armendaris Ranch in southern New Mexico that is home to several wildlife research projects. Endangered species have been released on the ranch.
The U.S. Department of the Interior granted permission for the release of the wolves into the state a couple of weeks ago despite a decision by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in September to refuse the request by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to do so.
“I don’t like the federal government going against the wishes of the state of New Mexico, ” Pearce said. “Why don’t they release the wolves in Central Park? Wolves used to roam there too.”
Release not determined
Even with permission from DOI, the release of the wolves by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may not come for quite some time, Humphrey said.
“For 2016, our process is a bit more complicated, and potentially delayed, because we are still working with the Forest Service and the public to identify new initial release sites in the recently expanded Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA),” Humphrey said.
The number of wolves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to release into areas of Arizona and New Mexico has not been determined. The delay in the release has caused the service to shelve its previous plan.
“Last spring, we’d requested permits for up to 10 pups (for cross-fostering) and a pair of adults and their progeny,” Humphrey said. “The window/season for such releases has passed, so these releases aren’t imminent.”
The Mexican wolf population has grown for several years in a row, reaching its highest population size to date as of the 2014 end of year count, at a minimum of 110 wolves.
“We wil conduct our 2015 annual count in January 2016,” Humphrey said
At the 2014 end of year count, the wolves were approximately equally spread between the two states, with Arizona having several more than New Mexico.
Currently, the location of the population can best be tracked using the “Occupied Range” map, available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/TADC.cfm . People can click on the map for a larger version of it. This map also indicates the most recent aerial locations of the radio-collared wolves.
By Scott Turner El Defensor Chieftain managing editor email@example.com
September 9, 2015
Last week I was in Kathmandu setting up genetic analysis methods for the Himalayan Wolf Project.
The project, which aims to provide a scientific basis for national and international conservation of the Himalayan wolf, is led by Geraldine Werhahn who is a researcher with the University of Oxford’s WildCru. RZSS Wildgenes is partnering with the project by providing design of genetic protocols and training to the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, a laboratory in the capital Kathmandu.
Geraldine has just returned from a two month expedition to the remote Humla Valley where she surveyed the wolves and collected their scats for analysis. In future, surveys will be expanded across the region where wolves are now predominantly confined to remote high valleys. Wolves are threatened by hunting both for protection against livestock loss and for the wildlife trade as their paws are popular talismans.
The survey team on the move through wolf habitat.
Helen and the CMDN team at work testing the new protocols designed by the RZSS WildGenes lab team in the Kathmandu lab.
Discussing some initial results.
Masala chai break with Kathmandu sky line.
Whilst Geraldine has been spending long days at altitude (over 4000m) looking for samples, the WildGenes team has been busy at the lab at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo developing genetic protocols for analysis of the samples. We did this with the help of the keepers from RZSS Highland Wildlife Park who collected scats from our very own grey wolves so that we could test-run the methods.
Once we had the protocols up and running, I could travel to Kathmandu to transfer them to the team at the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal who will conduct the bulk of the analysis. We are aiming to use genetic profiling to understand how many wolves there are, what sex they are and how evolutionarily different they are from Eurasian grey wolf.
Dr Helen Senn
RZSS Research Scientist
What it’s all about: The elusive Himalayan wolf.
Together we’ve been watching the challenges faced by local wolf and wolfdog sanctuary, In Harmony With Nature, as they faced the potential for losing their property over the past year following an illness of a benefactor and other difficulties. You helped us share the story, raise funds, and work to make a paw-sitive difference for these amazing animals and local educational resource. THANK YOU for your support!!
Gavin, Volunteer with the Artist Heroes project
This refuge has been in a veritable Schrodinger’s Box for quite a while – and we will soon get to peek inside. Your continued support over the next couple of weeks could mean the difference between a bright future for these animals – or an uncertain and potentially devastating one.
The property was lost at action to the bank – they outbid the individual who entered the auction to save the property. Now, the property is with a company that will be selling it – and the sanctuary has the option to work with them. There are many potential positive outcomes, but in a likely scenario In Harmony will need to have the cash to purchase the property.
If you haven’t pledged yet, or would consider making an additional pledge, please log in today. Your contribution could make all the difference.
How does this benefit you and our greater community? Come join our Picnic With Wolves on December 5th for a tour, or simply think about the potential for local youth to have a wolf and wolfdog tour or service project to learn about a unique aspect of responsible pet ownership and breeding; a group tour or service event for your social group, work group, or team; and most importantly the service to these animals that is unique, specialized, and in great demand. There are scores of wolfdogs on waiting lists for rescues – and only a few specialized agencies able to care for them. Let’s not lose this one, that is located in our local community and has the potential not only to impact the animals, but to provide a wonderful engagement opportunity for us all.
You can learn more about the refuge at IHWN.org.