Archive for the ‘Wolves / Vargar’ Category

UW Study: DNR Under-Reported Wolf Poaching   3 comments

February 7, 2017 by Rich Kremer

Dawn Villella/AP Photo

Researchers Suggest Illegal Poaching Threatens State Management Of Wolves

A new study suggests the Department of Natural Resources has been underestimating the number of wolves killed illegally for years.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers re-investigated the causes of death, as reported by the DNR, of nearly 1,000 wolves between 1979 and 2012.

The study, published in the scientific Journal of Mammology, suggests that the most common cause of death was poaching and that the DNR systematically under-reported illegal killings. For example, the researchers studied x-rays of wolves the DNR reported as killed by cars and found that 37 percent were embedded with metal fragments consistent with gunshot wounds.

“There were scientific errors that were not random errors but scientific errors in a systematic direction,” said UW-Madison Professor Adrian Treves, who led the study. “They were almost always in a direction of underestimating poaching.”

Another finding of the study suggests that wolves without government radio collars were at a much greater risk of being killed illegally during the 33 year period. Treves said he would like to see the DNR re-examine its methods for determining causes of wolf mortality because illegal poaching is a threat not only to wolves but to management efforts by the DNR and tribal governments.

“Moving forward we suggest some improvements such as doing these post-mortems on a random sample of the wolves and also careful study of the non-radio collared wolves because we found big discrepancies between the risk and rates of death of the non-radio collared wolves compared to the radio-collared ones,” said Treves.

A statement from DNR Communications Director Jim Dick said their goal when collecting data on dead wolves isn’t to find cause of death but to “determine population and such things as pack territories. Wolf mortality numbers are based on actual dead animals detected.”

The statement also claims that the DNR “did not commission, fund or participate.” in the study. Treves disagrees saying funding did come from them and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study acknowledges two grants received from the Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR.


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CONGRESS UNLEASHES WAR ON WOLVES   7 comments

January 18, 2017

Senators from Midwest and Wyoming introduce bill to strip protections from endangered gray wolves

NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

“This “War on Wolves Act” would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place.”

Marjorie Mulhall
Sr. Legislative Counsel, Earthjustice

Washington, D.C. —Senators from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming yesterday introduced the “War on Wolves Act,” a companion bill to legislation introduced last week in the House that would strip federal protections from wolves and allow trophy hunting and trapping of the species in four states. If the legislation passes both chambers and gets signed by the president, it would hand the fate of wolves in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming over to states whose management wolf plans two federal courts ruled inadequate to securing the species at legally required population levels in absence of Endangered Species Act protections.

In Wyoming, this would allow the state to resume a hostile management program that allowed for unlimited shoot-on-sight killing of wolves across 85 percent of the state. The legislation would further strip citizens of the right to challenge these lethal programs in court. The appeals process of two federal court decisions that restored federal protections to wolves in those four states are still underway. Decisions on those cases are expected any day.

The following is a statement from Marjorie Mulhall, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice:

“A new congress has resurfaced an old vendetta against imperiled wolves. If this legislation is signed into law, wolves in Wyoming will be subjected to unregulated killing across the vast majority of the state, and even on the borders of Yellowstone National Park numerous legal loopholes will authorize widespread wolf killing. Americans widely hailed the return of wolves to the Northern Rockies two decades ago as a triumph of the Endangered Species Act, but now this ‘War on Wolves Act’ would allow for the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped out the species in the first place. Politicians should not meddle in the science-based listing status of a particular species at any stage, but now is an especially bad time as these cases are still playing out in the courts. We urge those who support the protection of wolves to call their senators and representatives and tell them to vote down this lethal legislation.”

READ THE LEGISLATION:

EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER COMMENT:

Tim Preso, Earthjustice attorney who leads on the Wyoming wolf case, based in Bozeman, Montana: (406) 586-9699 ext. 1924, tpreso@earthjustice.org


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Another bill aims to take wolves off endangered list   10 comments

January 10, 2017

A gray wolf moves through forested country in winter. Credit: MacNeil Lyons, National Park Service

The new Congress wasted little time in efforts to once again remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.

A bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; Sean Duffy, R-Wisconsin; and Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, would overrule a federal court action and remove federal protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and mountain west.

That already happened once, but a judge’s decision in late 2014 restored federal protections after wolves spent about three years under state control.

The members of Congress, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, say wolves have recovered enough in those areas to remove protections. But wolf supporters say the wolf hasn’t recovered over enough of its original range to remove protections in the few states where it is thriving, like Minnesota and Wisconsin. Wolf supporters say state hunting and trapping allowed before the 2014 court order threatened to put the animals back on the brink of extinction.

Similar bills have passed the House in recent years but failed to clear the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House. With Republicans in control of the House, Senate and soon the White House, the bill’s chances are considered much better.

“In Wisconsin, we cherish our wildlife and work diligently to conserve our natural resources, but the Endangered Species Act has allowed courts to misuse judicial oversight to stop science-based wildlife management from moving forward to delist the gray wolf,” Duffy said in a statement. “Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock from gray wolves, and we will protect Wisconsin farmers from activist judges.”


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When politicians protest that the law is being followed   2 comments

December 23, 2016 by Berit Helberg

OPINIONS

It boils in certain circles, after Vidar Helgesen Tuesday put his foot down. Over 70,000 people are overjoyed. Not as many people are cranky, miserable, hateful and unable to see that democracy and legislation for once worked. 47 wolves were meant to be shot this winter, meant the Predator Agency – most of them near the Swedish border, not for having taken large numbers of sheep – but now this years winter hunt has been stopped. Results: Only 15 wolves to be killed this year. Four wolf families (Slettås, Kynna, Osdalen and Letjenna) may live.

How can I say “over 70,000” people? Because – it is so far over seventy thousand who signed the campaign to stop the wolf hunt. A corresponding signing action has not even reached 8000! Reactions in “every camp” is obvious: It cheered within protective side and hated at the haters while one side thank Climate and Environment Minister Vidar Helgesen and the other malign him and thinks he’s bought and paid for. Predictions of a bloody summer and wolves eating children have already been mentioned, as well as SGT method – shoot, dig and be silent. When they do not get their way, they resort to poaching. It should perhaps be a little daunting to read this and to remind them that the law still applies when it does not suit them. It’s that simple.

Those who have won, is not really the pro-wolf groups, just as the haters have lost. And yes – I call them haters, it can not be explained any better when you see the statements and incitements which has spread in certain groups now. It feels of course as a victory for me, considering all the hours of volunteer work, all translations, articles, all free work to give the voiceless a voice, and you can add to this the dozens of active people who have worked like maniacs to turn wolf management into a humane, fair result. In fact the outcome could not have been different, if Vidar Helgesen does the job he is set to do: Namely to use Norwegian laws so that they are followed. They are there for a reason! So really, there is no reason to thank Vidar Helgesen so incredibly intense, he has done the job he is set to do. In our country the Predator Agency first makes a decision, then the complaints shall be dealt with and finally there is the climate and environment minister who is the last in the row to put his foot down. Or up. And that is precisely what has happened now. Because the Predator Agency has not done its job. It is in fact no news to anyone that there is a Bern Convention they must follow, although it came as a shock now. So Vedum can’t whine about the fact that democracy and law works against his wishes, and the leader of Predator Agency hopefully retires from the position – sooner rather than later. And the haters can’t say that this is anarchy – they should google such terms so they know what they are writing about. At the same time they should google wolfpack hunting and see what actually is being avoided by letting the four wolf families live. It’s that simple.

One does not kill wolves in wolf zone, by license. So we can hope that the number of wolves excluded will be expanded at the next predator settlement. So far over 10 wolves have been shot outside the wolf zone, which the haters apparantly has forgotten. They have also forgotten that the four families who will live, has hardly taken any sheep – but since it is not only the sheep that are the problem, but also hunters and forest owners, who likely would have shot far more wolves than originally proposed. It’s that simple.

Now right-wing politicians cry out in protest in Hedmark Court. And perhaps the best thing that could happen for the party is to get rid of rogue members with kindergarten mentality that does not think that it’s okay to follow Norwegian law. For the law applies even if it goes against one’s own desires. It’s that simple.


Source / roughly translated from Norwegian with Google Translate

Norway reverses course on wolf ‘slaughter’   6 comments

December 20, 2016

Norway reverses course on wolf 'slaughter'

Environmental groups hailed Tuesday’s decision. Photo: Andy Astbury/Iris

Norway’s climate and environment minister, Vidar Helgesen, on Tuesday announced that the government has drastically reduced the hunting quota for wolves, following accusations of sanctioning a “mass slaughter” of the predators.
Helgesen said that the Justice Ministry concluded that “there is no legal basis” for allowing hunters to target four wolf packs in Hedmark.
The ministry has therefore cut the hunting quota from 47 to 15 wolves.
The government had announced in September that the 47 wolves could be hunted in a move that was hailed by farmers but decried by environmental groups outraged that such a large proportion of the 65-68 registered wolves in Norway would be fair game for hunters.
“This is pure mass slaughter,” Nina Jensen, the head of the Norwegian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), said at the time. “We haven’t seen anything like this in almost 100 years, when the policy at the time was to exterminate all the big predators.”
On Tuesday, Jensen took to Twitter to personally thank Helgesen for “standing up for nature”.
The course reversal came just days before the hunting season was scheduled to begin on January 2nd. Nearly 300 hunters had planned hunts for the four wolf packs that have now been spared.
Of the 15 wolves hunters are still allowed to take, six have already been shot.
The Norwegian wolf population currently has seven packs with one reproductive couple, which is “above the national population target” since each pack can be expected to deliver a new litter every year, the Norwegian environmental agency said.
Wolves are listed as “critically endangered” on the 2015 Norwegian list of endangered animals.

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Madrid to double farmers’ compensation fund for wolf attacks   5 comments

December 14, 2016

Madrid’s regional government is to double its compensation fund for farmers who lose animals to wolves after a steep increase in fatal attacks in the last year.

Wolves, hunted to the brink of over the past seven decades, have begun to reappear in the region in recent years.

Their return has been most keenly noticed by farmers, whose sheep, goats, cows and horses are increasingly falling prey to the 20 or so wolves thought to roam the autonomous community of Madrid. The region, which covers 3,000 sq miles at the centre of , contains mountains, valleys, hills, forests, pastures and farmland, as well as the capital city.

An Iberian in Chapineria, south-west of Madrid. There are thought to be 20 or so wolves roaming the community of Madrid. Photograph: Paul Hanna/Reuters

 

Wolf attacks have risen from under 20 in 2012 and 2013 to 91 in 2015 and 209 in 2016. There were also four attacks in 2016 attributed to vultures.

The regional government has announced it will raise its compensation budget from €60,000 (£51,000) this year to €120,000 in 2017. Claims for the past 12 months already total almost €90,000. Compensation payments are up to €500 per sheep or goat and €1,000 per cow or horse.

According to the government’s environment department, there are estimated to be three wolf packs in the region, whose numbers are growing year by year.

“The community of Madrid has to reconcile two things: it needs to protect wolves – which cannot be hunted or captured in the region – but it also needs to protect farmers’ interests,” said a government spokesman.

“We’re paying farmers for the loss or injury of their animals but we’re also talking to farmers and ecologists about things like electric fences, using mastiffs to protect livestock and restoring pens to make animals less vulnerable to attack.”

Another problem, the spokesman said, was that wolves in surrounding areas did not respect manmade boundaries and frequently staged sorties into the Madrid region.

“The number of attacks has risen considerably because there are wolves in neighbouring communities such as Castilla y León and Castilla-La Mancha and they don’t understand borders – they come in, hunt and leave,” he said.

Also among the options is using GPS technology to track the animals and get a better idea of their habits and movements.

There are thought to be more than 2,000 wolves in Spain, the largest population in western Europe.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 28 Nov 2016.

Source

 

Court rules Michigan wolf hunt law unconstitutional   9 comments


, Detroit Free Press4:24 p.m. EST November 24, 2016


LANSING — Michigan’s 2014 wolf hunt law is unconstitutional, the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in an opinion released Wednesday.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the court said the law providing for a Michigan wolf hunt violates the “title-object clause” of Michigan’s constitution, which says “no law shall embrace more than one object,” and that object “shall be expressed in its title.”

The court said a provision of the law allowing for free hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses for qualified members of the military is unconnected to the law’s object of providing for scientific management of game, fish and wildlife habitat. The entire law must be struck down, because it isn’t clear the law would have been approved if that provision had not been included, the court said.

The ruling in favor of the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected overturns an earlier ruling by the Michigan Court of Claims.

In 2011, the federal government removed the gray wolf from its endangered species list in Michigan, but the group that challenged the law says there are fewer than 650 gray wolves left in Michigan and they should not be hunted.

After earlier failed efforts to add wolves to the definition of “game” in Michigan, the Michigan Legislature in 2014 adopted a voter initiative backed by Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, which gave the Michigan Natural Resources Commission joint responsibility, with the Legislature, to name new game animals. The law, which took effect in March 2015, included a $1 million appropriation, making it immune from being challenged through another referendum.

White wolf by Jim Cunning

Two wolf hunt laws that were on the ballot in 2014 were rejected by voters.

Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected challenged the law, alleging misrepresentations were made by petition circulators and violations of the state constitution. But the Michigan Court of Claims rejected those arguments.
In the new Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, the panel says that Keeping Michigan Wolves Protected essentially viewed the law as “a Trojan Horse, within which the ability to hunt wolves was cleverly hidden.”
The court said that “however accurate the plaintiff may be in its assessment of why (the law) came into being, our analysis is not about policy,” but “based on an analysis of the dictates of Michigan’s constitution.”

Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, said the law “was a blatant power grab by politicians to take away voting rights from Michigan citizens,” and “we are delighted the court has rejected the Legislature’s outrageous attempt to subvert the will of the people.”

She said the ruling “restores the people’s decision, in two statewide votes, overwhelmingly rejecting the trophy hunting and commercial trapping of the state’s small population of wolves.”

A spokesperson for the group that pushed for the law, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The court’s panel consisted of Judges Donald Owens, Joel Hoekstra and Jane Beckering.

 

 

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.


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Featured image by John E Marriott 

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