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.

Source

Top predators like wolves, bears, lions and tigers have declined dramatically around the world over the past century   Leave a comment

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Conservationists widen toolkit for predator management

Source:Berkeley News
By Brett Israel, 12/13/16

Top predators like wolves, bears, lions and tigers have declined dramatically around the world over the past century. One major driver of these declines is retaliatory killing by people following predator attacks on domestic livestock. This lethal approach to predator management is increasingly controversial not only because of ethical concerns, but also the role predators can play in healthy ecosystems. A new UC Berkeley study shows that many non-lethal methods of predator control can be highly effective in protecting livestock from predators and in turn, saving predators from people.
A tiger drags a cow at Jennie Miller’s study site in India

The Berkeley study examined 66 published, peer-reviewed research papers that measured how four categories of lethal and non-lethal mitigation techniques — preventive livestock husbandry, predator deterrents, predator removal, and indirect management of land or wild prey…

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Posted 19 December, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in News/Nyheter

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.

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Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet   Leave a comment

Posted 28 November, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in Animals, Dogs / Hundar, Photography

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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 

Cougar Stories   8 comments

I’ve become fascinated by cougars. Maybe because they are elusive, secretive, more akin to a ghost than an animal of flesh and blood. Which of course, begs the question: How do you get people to care about and protect an animal that they never see, nor probably will never see in their lifetime?

mom-and-kitten

Mom and six month old kitten

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park can be almost guaranteed, if they are persistent and patient, to view wolves and bears, elk, bison, and bighorn sheep. But only the rare individual will have the opportunity to see a cougar in the Park. They’ve been spotted at Calcite Springs, hanging on the basalt walls and occasionally through a scope from the Hellroaring overlook. Usually the Park sightings are called in by wolf watchers. Once radioed around, tourists hear about it through the airwaves, then flock to those locations. Sometimes the cat might be hanging out, either on a kill or just sunning himself, for hours.

In all my winter tracking I’ve done, I’ve never seen a cougar. In fact, the people I know who have seen cougars, it’s usually from the car when a cat suddenly runs across the road at dusk.

I sat down with Jim Halfpenny for an interview about cougar tracking stories. Jim is a famous tracker who lives in Gardiner, Mt. As a Mammalogist and expert tracker, he has worked all over the West and Canada. His puma tracking includes the deserts of Arizona and Utah as well as the mountains of the Greater Yellowstone.

Jim used to live and work in Colorado. His interest in cougars began in 1982 when the Forest Service called him in to investigate a bear-killed horse within the small town of Nederland CO.  Jim told them “this is not a bear that mauled the horse. It’s a cougar” The Forest Service thought the kill was made by a bear because there were five claw marks on the horse’s neck. If you look at a cat paw, there are four claws and a dew claw high up, like on a dog.  On a cougar print, the dew claw doesn’t show and it’s not bone attached, it’s tendon attached. But Jim knew that dew claw, called ‘the killer claw’, would show on a kill because it wraps around it’s prey. Thus the five marks.  Jim asked himself “What is a cougar doing in a town?” and so began a research project.

cougar print

Cougar print has only four paws showing. Dew Claw doesn’t show

Cougar print

Big cat print

I asked Jim if he had tracked cougars without dogs and still seen them. “Oh, many times. I’ve hardly ever used dogs. He told me several of those stories but two stand out.

“I got a phone call from a woman when I lived in Boulder. There was some snow on the ground but it was thin, only about 2 inches. I followed the tracks, and soon I was about 50 yards from the back of this cougar. He looked up and his face said ‘Who are you, what are you doing following me?’

That cougar took a few strides and disappeared but I observed he was cutting a big letter ‘C’; so I cut across the ‘C’, and began following his tracks till they suddenly disappeared. I looked around. No tracks. And then I looked up and there he was, in the tree, looking at me. I got some good photographs of him in that tree.  I’ve got more photographs in the wild than anybody not using dogs or set cameras.”

img_0002

Puma uses his vomeronasal organ on the roof of mouth to pick up smells better

Halfpenny told me another great story from the Boulder era. “I got a phone call from a woman who said she watched a cougar kill a deer from her window. It was three in afternoon went I got there. I found that deer and chained it to a tree. Then I did a necropsy on it and saw it was pregnant. I walked one hundred steps off the carcass and sat down. Pretty soon that cougar returns. He’s knows I’m there, and begins trying to pull that deer away to a hidden spot. And he’s pulling for all he’s worth, but that deer is chained to the tree. The cougar looks like ‘What! I don’t understand this. I just killed the thing, and I can’t move it!’

“I watched that cat way into the night, filmed and photographed her. After dark, in came mature kittens. Our crew took turns watching from Friday 3pm to Monday 3pm. Over that time we had foxes, coyotes, domestic dogs and the cougar. It was as if all these animals were waiting on the edges to come in. There were multiple cycles of this.”

cougar 9.03

Cougar caught on camera

Most of us will never see a cougar in our lifetime, even if they are living right around us. I intend to write more about cougars with the hope that people will know them and feel the urge to protect them.


Source – The Human Footprint

 

 

 

Posted 25 November, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in News/Nyheter

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