Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Tag
From: The Salt Lake Tribune
Jan 11,. 2015 by Brett Prettyman
Courtesy | Arizona Game and Fish Department This wolf was photographed Oct. 27 near the north rim of the Grand Canyon. On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife confirmed through DNA analysis of its feces that it is a female gray wolf from the Northern Rockies that must have migrated 450 miles through Colorado and/or Utah to reach Arizona
Repercussions » N. Carolina was forced to change its policy after too many endangered red wolves were killed.
Utah wildlife managers and state attorneys insist Utah’s controversial coyote bounty program does not conflict with the Endangered Species Act.
But at least one other state was forced to change its coyote-culling hunt after too many endangered wolves were killed.
Potential crossover between Utah’s free-wheeling coyote hunt and the federal program for protecting animals threatened with extinction became clear last month after a hunter said he confused an endangered gray wolf for a coyote before he illegally shot and killed it.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources continue to investigate the circumstancesthat left a collared, 3-year-old female wolf dead outside Beaver on Dec. 28.
Utah Assistant Attorney General Martin Bushman said the Endangered Species Act does “provide for instances where the [killing] of animals that look like other species” can happen. But that hasn’t happened in the case of gray wolves.
“Coyotes are not listed as threatened or endangered and the state maintains the authority to regulate the take however it wants to go about it,” Bushman said.
But there is a precedent for groups challenging the open hunting of coyotes in areas where wolves are protected.
Three conservation groups settled a lawsuit last fall after accusing the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission with violating endangered species protections by proposing nighttime hunting with lights and an unlimited take for coyotes.
Just 100 red wolves, a cousin of the gray wolf, live in North Carolina. Smaller than the gray wolf, the red wolf is closer to the size of coyotes.
According to the Animal Welfare Institute, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, 20 red wolves have died from gunshots and hunting is suspected in 18 other wolf deaths since 2008.
Since 2012, the institute reports, five people have admitted they shot wolves thinking the canines were coyotes.
According to the News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, the lawsuit was settled when the wildlife commission agreed to keep coyote hunting illegal at night in five counties. Daytime hunting of coyotes would require a special permit. Furthermore, coyote hunting in the five counties will be suspended if two or more red wolves are shot in the same year on state game lands by people hunting coyotes.
The red wolf population is obviously more threatened by extinction than the gray wolf. U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimated 1,674 gray wolves were living in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming at the end of 2012.
Mike Jimenez, Fish and Wildlife’s northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery coordinator, said gray wolves showing up near Beaver or on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a sign that the effort to restore their population in the West is working.
“Dispersing wolves take on a lot of charisma. People who like wolves get really upset when they are shot, and understandably so,” he said. But, “biologically, it is not a threat to the population.”
The name of the man who shot the wolf has not been released and it is not clear if the hunter was participating in Utah’s $50 coyote bounty program.
Utah lawmakers created the bounty as part of the Mule Deer Preservation Act in 2012.
Hunters who want to collect a bounty must register and follow procedures to collect their money, but there is no license required to shoot coyotes in Utah, where they are an unprotected species.
More than 14,000 coyotes were turned in for the bounty in the first two years of the program.
Nothing in Utah’s online bounty registration process helps hunters tell the difference between a coyote and a wolf. Nor is there information alerting hunters that they need to be aware of the possibility of seeing the endangered species in Utah.
Wildlife managers acknowledge that might change as the number of wolves visiting Utah grows.
From: Wild Hoofbeats
Bronze Warrior, 22 years old
A New Beginning for Older Wild Horses from Adobe Town
In September and October of 2014, 1263 wild horses were removed from Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas by the BLM. This was done due to a lawsuit and pressure and influence exerted by the Rock Springs Grazing Association, a very small but powerful association whose goal is to eradicate wild horses from both private and public lands in Wyoming. Although in the 80s an agreement was reached between the BLM, wild horse advocates and the Rock Springs Grazing Association for how many wild horses would be allowed in the vast checkerboard of private and public lands in the Red Desert of Wyoming, the grazing association contended that the BLM was not keeping the numbers of wild horses in check, so their solution was to pressure the BLM to remove all of them, not only from private lands but also from public lands on 2 million acres, and they forced the BLM to manage the public lands in the Checkerboard Area in one block, as though they were part of private lands, even though this is illegal. The court denied the advocates fighting to represent the wild horses a Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Injunction to stop the roundup, so currently the wild horses removed are in short term holding facilities: about 600 are at Rock Springs, Wyoming, about 500 in Canon City, Colorado and about 100 youngsters are at Axtell, Utah.
Curious wild family in Adobe Town
The wild family runs by me
The wild horses are the victims in this outrageous land grab struggle. Even though there were fewer than the Appropriate Management Level in each of these Herd Management Areas at the time of the roundup, with no opportunity for public comment the horses were removed, and now only 89 wild horses remain in Great Divide Basin, 29 in Salt Wells Creek and approximately 515 in Adobe Town.
I attended as many days of the roundup as I could. It was a very different experience than any roundup I had been to before in Wyoming because they were trying to capture every single horse in the Checkerboard Areas. This resulted in many more deaths than usual – a total of 14, and also resulted in the capture of many more older horses than usual. They spent hours driving single bands over and over again to the trap, when the older stallions knew what was happening and valiantly tried to evade capture.
The lawsuit that we advocates brought against the BLM continues, but the horses have been captured and removed already, and wait for their fate. A small percentage of horses that were captured have been adopted, and this is where my story begins.
The Appaloosa Stallion and pinto mare and foal
Snowfall and his family
One day while I was staying in Rock Springs waiting for the BLM to continue the roundup, I drove into Adobe Town. This area is extremely remote, over 30 miles from the highway on dirt roads. You can drive for many miles and not see a single horse on the roads I traveled, mainly because most of them in this area had already been rounded up. But as I approached Pine Butte and Sand Butte near Eversole Ranch, as I headed up a hill I saw several groups of wild horses peacefully grazing. It is common in some herd areas for family bands that know each other to stay close together at times. It is a wonderful opportunity to study the behavior and family interaction of the horses. I was amazed to see many Appaloosas in these families. I had never seen an Appaloosa in the wild before and the different and varied coat patterns were striking. I first observed a stallion whose coat looked like snow had fallen all over it. He proudly lifted his head and stood his ground as I approached. He had a striking black and white pinto mare with dramatic markings and a small foal. Then I observed a large family with a stunning sorrel stallion, and they were very curious about me, running by and then running toward me to get a closer look. Then I turned and saw an older stallion with bronze highlights glinting off his coat, and an Appaloosa “blanket” over his rump. Despite an enlarged knee, he trotted by with a float in his gait, proudly protecting his family and investigating a new person is his territory. I was enchanted by his pride and by his beautiful family, which included a gorgeous Appaloosa mare whose coat also looked like snow had fallen, and a protective sorrel pinto mare, and two sorrel mares. They moved past me and up onto a ridge, and the stallion paused to look back at me.
Bronze Warrior still has that loft, proud trot
Bronze Warrior and his family
I walked back to my car and pulled out my map. My heart sank as I traced the pattern of the Checkerboard over the area that I was in. These horses did not stand a chance. Their freedom was going to be measured in days, not weeks, not years as it should have been.
Bronze Warrior takes his family up on the ridge
He looks back at me
After seeing the last days of the roundup, I made plans to go to Canon City to see the wild horses that had been removed. Although the BLM referred to all of the wild horses that were removed in this area as being from Salt Wells Creek, many were from Adobe Town. I was determined to find some of the horses I had seen that day. I also called Manda Kalimian, of the Cana Project, formerly Seraphim 12, http://www.seraphim12foundation.org/ and I told her about these horses, and asked if there was any way she could take some of the older horses. Manda immediately said she would work on it, and we corresponded by phone and email about where these wild horses could find a new home. I knew that Manda with her great love for horses and concern about the wild horses and their fate would manage to make something work, and I started to feel hope amidst the great despair I had been feeling these last few months.
Bronze Warrior with other older stallions at Canon City
When I arrived at the corrals at the BLM Canon City facility, the first horses I saw was the bronze Appy stallion, who I named Bronze Warrior. He was peacefully munching hay and quietly observing near the other older stallions in his pen. I was so glad to have found him! In the same pen I also saw the amazing Appaloosa stallion I named Snowfall with the pinto mare, and then was able to find her as well. She was aged at 20 years old, and Bronze warrior at 22 years old, the oldest stallion that had been rounded up.
Snowfall’s pinto mare, 20 years old
Theodore, rounded up the last day in Adobe Town
Close up of Theodore
I found the striking pinto stallion that had been rounded up on the last day of the roundup in Adobe Town at Eversole Ranch when none of the public was there to witness, so that the BLM took close up photos of the horses coming in:
I sent Manda the photos, and this fueled the fire for both of us to find a home for these horses. I also emailed Kathi Fine at Rock Springs to see if I could find some of the mares in Bronze Warrior’s family so that at least two families could be reunited. The stallions have all been gelded at this point, but at least they can be with their mares again.
In the meantime, Manda called me with the wonderful news that she had just gotten off the phone with Susan Watt of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakotahttp://www.wildmustangs.com/ and that Susan was very excited about taking the older horses. She was also enthused about being able to reunite at the sanctuary not one, but two families who had been ripped apart during the roundup. This was such welcome news. I had first met Susan two years ago when I went to interview her and see and tour the sanctuary, and I knew that she would take amazing care of these horses. The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary is an amazing place, and will be perfect for older horses to live out their lives in peace, and as free as possible.
The mares at Rock Springs
Mares at Rock Springs
We developed a plan. Kathi Fine at Rock Springs told me that she had at least two of the mares we were looking for, but since they were short handed none of the wild horses rounded up in the fall would be available for adoption or sale until February. So we decided to take the four in Canon City to the Black Hills Sanctuary this week and to take a second load from Rock Springs to the Sanctuary in February when the horses were ready to go.
I will be sending updates and photographs of the horses’ arrival this week at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, with the reunion of Snowfall and Diamond Girl who have been separated since the roundup. Next month I will be documenting the reunion of Bronze Warrior and his family.
The last days they were free
The beautiful sorrel stallion and his family. I looked for him in Canon City but did not find him – most likely he is in Rock Springs.
From: the Fence Post
Jan, 05, 2015
Wild Family In Great Divide Basin
Colorado Farm Bureau will be looking to improve national wild horse and burro management at next Tuesday’s voting delegate session during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Diego, Cali.
CFB President Don Shawcroft said Colorado ranchers will be calling on the federal government to enforce the already-standing Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
“The most important thing in our recommendation is a clear call on the Bureau of Land Management to follow the act as written and keep those animals within the determined numbers in areas where the animals are managed,” Shawcroft said.
Shawcroft said cattle and sheep ranches that share land with wild horse populations have suffered the most from the lack of monitoring due to competition over grazing resources.
“The biggest problem is that where those animals exist, they are not being managed and the numbers are not being controlled. It’s an issue for those with grazing rights in some areas,” he said.
Jason Vermillion, chair of Colorado’s Young Farmers and Ranchers and an alternate for the state’s voting delegation, said the issue is especially important on the Western Slope where ranchers have felt the greatest impact of the uncontrolled wild horse population. The issue was brought forward by CFB members in Mesa County.
Shawcroft also pointed out that the horses themselves suffer from lack of management and, as a result, lack of protection.
On Dec. 8, the state of Wyoming filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management over wild horse management and called on the agencies to enforce the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said the Bureau of Land Management currently lacks the resources to enforce the act and must be provided more funding to properly manage wild horse populations.
From: Craig Daily Press
Colorado Parks & Wildlife/For the Daily Press
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is investigating three additional incidents of illegally killed bull elk in high-quality hunting units in Moffat County, adding to three high-quality bulls illegally killed in Game Management Unit 10 in early November, near the town of Dinosaur.
#Two bulls were found along Highway 318 late last week, northwest of Maybell. Both were estimated to have been killed before Thanksgiving and were entirely field-dressed. The other was found several miles away on Highway 10N, south of Irish Canyon.
#Thought to have been killed at the end of the Fourth Rifle season, only the front shoulders and backstraps were removed from that bull.
#With the known total of illegally taken elk in this area now at six this year, CPW officials are asking the public for help, reminding of a unique, CPW reward program available to anyone that can provide information about the person or persons responsible for killing the high-quality bulls.
#The incentive program is known as Turn In Poachers, or TIP.
#“Through TIP, if a hunter provides information about poaching incidents involving big game they may be eligible to receive a quality bull elk license in the unit where the tip was turned in if it results in a conviction for the take of an illegal six-point bull elk or willful destruction,”
said District Wildlife Manager Mike Swaro, of Craig.
#Officials say that instead of a license a person may instead opt for a preference point for any big game species of their choice.
#Swaro said that in the latest incident, the elk were taken in Game Management Units 2 and 201, known for producing some of the largest bulls in the state. It may take a hunter up to 20 years to gather enough preference points to hunt in these units, he said.
#“Someone knows who did this, and we ask that they do the right thing and come forward,” added Swaro. “Along with the evidence we were able to gather at the scenes and additional information from the public, we should be able to find who did this in due time.”
#To be eligible for points or a license through the TIP program, any person providing information must be willing to testify in court, in contrast to Operation Game Thief, a tip hotline that affords anonymity to any person providing information about a wildlife crime.
#Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials remind the public that poaching is a serious offense that can lead to felony charges, significant fines, a prison sentence and the permanent loss of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 43 other Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact states.
#“If you saw something or heard something, let us know right away,” Swaro said. “Even if it does not seem like a significant detail, it may be the information we need to find the people responsible. Poachers commit crimes that affect everyone and the public’s help is critical to bring them to justice.”
#To provide information about these incidents, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Meeker office at 970-878-6090 or DWM Swaro at 970-942-8275. To remain anonymous, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648.
#Rewards are available if the information leads to a citation. Please specify which type of reward you are interested in, OGT or TIP.
#For more information about Turn In Poachers, go towww.cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/TurnInPoachers.aspx. For more information about Operation Game Thief, go to www.cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/OGT.aspx.
From: L.A. Times by LOUIS SAHAGUN
Conservation organizations on Wednesday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to complete a long overdue, legally required recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, the lobo of Southwestern lore.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, aims to enforce compliance with rules the agency adopted 38 years ago to guide recovery of the federally endangered species driven to near extinction by wolf extermination campaigns of the 19th and 20th centuries.
It asks the court to declare the agency in violation of the Endangered Species Act, and order it to “prepare and implement a scientifically based, legally valid” final recovery plan within a year of the court’s judgment.
The Mexican gray wolf was reintroduced into a small area of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico in 1998 as part of a strategy to reach a population of 100 wolves, including 18 breeding pairs, by 2006.
Today, the population stands at 83 wolves, and five breeding pairs. They are managed under restrictions that do not permit the mobile, clannish hunters to colonize new territory, increasing the likelihood of inbreeding, according to the lawsuit. The restrictions also allow excessive killing and removal of wolves that take livestock, the lawsuit says.
By the agency’s own assessment in a recent draft environmental impact report, the existing population is “considered small, genetically impoverished, and significantly below estimates of viability appearing in the scientific literature.”
Sherry Barrett, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican gray wolf recovery coordinator, was unavailable for comment.
Plaintiffs including the Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Wolf Center, the Wolf Conservation Center and David R. Parsons, a biologist who served as the agency’s Mexican gray wolf recovery coordinator from 1990 to 1999, accuse the agency of yielding to political pressure from ranchers, hunting groups and state officials in Utah, Arizona and Colorado.
In a letter to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in late 2011, for instance, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert urged that Colorado and Utah be excluded from what he described as “the Mexican gray wolf equation,” on grounds that those states were not “within its core historic range.”
The agency, in 2013, published documents based on recent genetic research showing that the species scientists know as Canis lupus baileyi ranged as far north as Utah and Nebraska.
“Unfortunately, when confronted with views from various interest groups — particularly livestock industry organizations, state wildlife agencies and the less enlightened hunting organizations – the agency takes a head-in-the-sand approach,” Parsons said in an interview. “What seems to be driving things in this case are the politics surrounding the Mexican gray wolf.”
Since 1982, the agency has convened three different scientific teams to prepare a formal recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf.
The most recent effort produced a draft recovery plan in 2012 that recommended establishing two additional Mexican gray wolf populations, one in the Grand Canyon and another in the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. The overall goal was to create three self-sustaining sub populations totaling 750 wolves.
The plan also suggested several areas of suitable habitat for reintroduction efforts including land in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah and southern Colorado.
That plan, however, was never published, and the recovery team that produced it never reconvened to review the proposal’s viability, according to the lawsuit.
“The agency has caved in to demands of the anti-wolf states,” Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “Meanwhile, decades after it decided to reintroduce it into the wilds, the Mexican gray wolf remains on the precipice of extinction.”