24 August 2012 Wolf Weekly Wrap-up Posted by: John Motsinger | 3 comments | Share: Washington’s Wedge Pack under fire – In case you missed our alert on Tuesday, Defenders raised the red flag this week on unwarranted attempts to remove a wolf pack in Washington. The Wedge Pack, one of the state’s newest, has been implicated in several livestock depredations based on shoddy evidence. Our own wolf expert Suzanne Stone and two other seasoned livestock investigators reviewed the depredation reports and failed to find any conclusive evidence that wolves were responsible. But the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has moved forward nonetheless, issuing a kill order for up to four wolves in the pack. A female wolf was already killed earlier this month in response to livestock depredations and the rest of the pack could soon follow. That’s why we asked our wolf supporters to contact Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office, as well as senior wildlife officials in Washington to put a stop to this unjustified action. With only seven or eight confirmed packs in the state, wolf recovery has only just begun. Further, the Wedge Pack connects important wolf habitat in Canada with the rest of the lower 48, ensuring a healthy, sustainable wolf population on both sides of the border. But even more significant is the potential threat this management style poses for wolves in Washington. Killing an entire pack based on limited evidence sets a terrible precedent. Instead, the state should be prioritizing nonlethal deterrents and better animal husbandry practices that allow people and wildlife to coexist. Here’s a copy of the letter seven conservation groups sent today to Phil Anderson, director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, asking the state to withdraw its sharpshooters from the field. See this report from King 5 News in Seattle when the pack was first discovered in July: No happy ending for Wyoming wolves – Apparently we aren’t the only ones bracing ourselves for the imminent delisting of Wyoming wolves. A New York Times editorial this week said the great success story of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies may not have such a happy ending: “But whether this story has a happy ending will depend on the federal government’s willingness to monitor, and revise if necessary, wolf management plans it has agreed to in Idaho and Montana and is about to strike with Wyoming.” Be sure to check Defenders blog regularly next week for the latest updates on the pending delisting in Wyoming. The pictures below are a good reminder of what’s at stake. The Delta pack resides primarily within Yellowstone National Park but frequently travels beyond park boundaries in search of food. These wolves could be targeted by hunters this fall in Wyoming’s “trophy game” area as soon as they step outside Yellowstone. PausePlayPlayPrev|Next Members of Yellowstone's Delta Pack on Sept. 15, 2011 Delta pack finds a snack Pups at den site at Bridger Lake - June 6, 2010 Delta pups on June 22, 2011 Hunting show ignores conservation concerns – We didn’t expect much from a program that aired recently on the Sportsman Channel about wolf hunting in Montana, even though it promised to tackle the wolf hunting controversy head on. As this review in the New York Times points out, the show turned out to be a one-sided conversation between hunters and other hunters, completely ignoring any of the legitimate concerns that many conservationists have about killing a recently imperiled species by the hundreds. “So it would have been a great service if the Sportsman Channel and Mr. Newberg had tried to portray some of the arguments for hunting wolves in a way that nonhunters would understand. But this is clearly a show for hunters — never mind other views. As Mr. Newberg sees it, wolves kill elk and livestock, there cannot be unlimited numbers of wolves, and hunting is the way to keep numbers down: case closed. There are no wildlife biologists on the show, no one to discuss how to decide what size wolf populations should be or how many elk wolves kill. There is no discussion of any sort, just Mr. Newberg’s claims and then Mr. Newberg hunting.” See if you agree. John Motsinger, Communications Associate John Motsinger is a Communications Associate at Defenders of Wildlife. He handles press coverage for critters in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.