The final pup-date?– Well, this isn’t how we hoped it would turn out, but it appears the lost wolf pup will be leaving the Boise Zoo soon for a permanent captive facility. (Read the full story in the Idaho Mountain Express.) After two weeks of searching the central Idaho wilderness, our wolf team and Idaho Fish and Game were unable to find the rest of the pup’s pack. The remote cameras we placed did not turn up any evidence near the area where he was found, and dense cover has made it nearly impossible to track wolves from above or below.
Several well-established wolf rescue facilities have offered to make a new home for the pup. In the end, the sad saga reminds us all that wild animals, no matter how apparently helpless or irresistibly cute, are best left alone. The out-of-town campers who found the pup can’t be blamed for trying to help, but the result is still one less wolf in the wild.
Thanks again to everyone who pitched in over the last two weeks, including the Sun Valley Animal Center, Idaho Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, Steve Garman with Lighthawk, and our many, many supporters in the community.
Bad to worse at Flat Top ranch — Wildlife Services is after three more wolves in the Wood River Valley after more dead sheep were found this week on the Flat Top Ranch near Carey, Idaho. Ranch owner John Peavey has not yet adopted adequate nonlethal deterrents and continues to leave carcasses out in the field that draw wolves and coyotes to the area. (Read more in the Idaho Mountain Express.) His ewes are spread out in small bands that are unguarded instead of protecting them in lambing sheds, making them an easy target for hungry predators. So far this month, fourteen coyotes and one wolf have been killed to reduce threats to his sheep.
While it may be too late to spare the wolves being blamed for the sheep losses, we’re also concerned that the incident undermines the tremendous success we’ve had to date. For five years, the Wood River Wolf Project has been able to minimize losses, bringing the depredation rate well below the state average. Further, our positive collaboration with wolf advocates, county officials and local ranchers had created much goodwill in the community. We’re hoping Mr. Peavey will take us up on our offer to help him implement a better lambing program to avoid further losses in the future.
The Flat Top incident has also highlighted the serious failing of USDA Wildlife Services. This federal program’s vision is to improve the coexistence of people and wildlife. However, the only actions they have taken in this instance have made the situation worse. They have been flying the area extensively and killing coyotes and now a wolf instead of helping with nonlethal measures to avoid losses.
Great Lakes wolf management — By and large, the Great Lakes states have done a good job of restoring wolves and putting reasonable management plans in place (if only we could say the same about the Northern Rockies). However, both Wisconsin and Minnesota are quickly moving forward with regulations to allow controlled wolf hunts. Minnesota has issued a survey to solicit feedback from the public on their wolf management. Don’t miss your chance to weigh in! Read more about the survey here. Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is holding three public meetings next week to discuss population monitoring, livestock depredation and wolf hunting. See details below:
- Wolf Harvest Rules Meeting – Friday, June 15, open house at 6 p.m., presentations at 7 p.m., James Williams Middle School Auditorium, 915 Acacia Lane, Rhinelander
- Wolf Science Committee Meeting – Friday June 15, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Quality Inn, 668 West Kemp St., Rhinelander (open for public observation)
- Wolf Stakeholders Committee Meeting – Saturday, June 16, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Quality Inn, 668 West Kemp St., Rhinelander (open for public observation)