Till next season… – The Wood River Wolf Project finished its fifth season this month, having lost just 4 sheep out of 27,305 that move through the million-acre project area—a 99.99% success rate! We’ll have a full review from project manager Suzanne Stone early next week, but also check out last Friday’s write-up in the Idaho Mountain Express. To celebrate the end of the season, our field crew was invited for the first time to participate in the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Sun Valley that honors the culture and heritage of raising sheep. It was an honor to take part and shows how Defenders’ efforts are slowly gaining acceptance in the community.
Don’t shoot red wolves! – Defenders took action this week with the Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups to protect red wolves in North Carolina. The state had previously agreed to allow night hunting of coyotes in areas where wolves also live, and at least one endangered red wolf has died as a result. Red wolves are small and can be very hard to distinguish from coyotes at any time of day, let alone at night. Here’s what Defenders senior staff attorney Jason Rylander had to say:
“With fewer than 100 red wolves in the wild, we cannot afford to lose a single one to accidental shooting. Spotlight hunting of coyotes is a new and unnecessary threat to the conservation of red wolves.”
Read more in The Mountaineer.
What’s next for Washington? – Over the weekend, the Seattle Times reported on the ongoing controversy in Washington surrounding the removal of the Wedge Pack. While there’s little agreement about how to resolve future conflicts, it’s clear that no one is happy with the current direction in which wolf management is heading. Many ranchers have been reluctant to adopt proactive strategies to prevent livestock losses, while the state has been quick to blame wolves based on shoddy evidence. Our best hope is to find ways to work directly with ranchers to help provide them with the tools they need to coexist with wolves on the landscape.
First hundred wolves killed across Northern Rockies – At least 121 wolves have been killed so far this hunting season across three states: Idaho hunters have removed 65 since the end of August; Montana hunters have taken 25; Wyoming hunters have killed 23 in the trophy game area, another 2 were lost to other causes and 8 have been killed in the unregulated predator zone. With rifle season just starting in many states, those numbers are likely to rise sharply over the next couple months. Read more in the Missoulian.