Congressman DeFazio Requests Wolf Protection Zone Outside Yellowstone National Park: Longtime wolf advocate, Congressman Peter DeFazio, this week sent a letter toSecretary of the Interior Sally Jewell urging the Department to create a buffer zone outside of Yellowstone National Park to protect wolves that wander outside the park’s boundaries. While wolves are protected within Yellowstone, they are open to being killed when they exit the park because Idaho and Montana were given the control to manage wolves outside the park in 2011. As expected, since 2011, numerous wolves have been killed just outside Yellowstone’s borders. National Park Service reports that as of March 1, 2013, 12 Yellowstone wolves had been legally killed just outside the park’s borders. Defazio’s proposed buffer zone would give this population of wolves the additional protection they need. And, it would seem that such a buffer zone is in the best interest of the states’ economies since so many tourists travel far and wide to see wolves in national parks. For example, a 2006 study by University of Montana researchers found that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park brings an estimated $35 million in annual tourist revenue to the region.
Great News for Wolves in Washington! Last week we told you that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting proposals for hunting-related regulations for the 2015-2017 seasons. One of the categories that were seeking proposals on was wolves. But, this week WDFW took wolves off their list of species to be considered for the 2015-2017 hunting season! Wolves are still recovering and protected in the state and should not be hunted. A big thank you to all who submitted comments to WDFW!
Update On Idaho’s Wolf Control Board: You may have heard that earlier this month Gov. Otter’s wolf control board was established. The wolf control board will rely exclusively on lethal control, with the stated intention of driving Idaho’s current population of 659 wolves down as low as 150 wolves statewide. The board is expected to receive $400,000 from taxpayers annually for up to five years for a total of $2 million dollars. As of right now, non-lethal methods of preventing livestock losses to wolves like fencing and range riders will not be considered by the board. Defenders will continue to work with elected officials and those involved with the wolf control board to recommend that they use non-lethal controls to prevent livestock losses to wolves. In many cases, non-lethal tools are more cost effective and sustainable in the long term. For example, for $400,000 Idaho could purchase more than 117 miles of turbofladry — a barrier that scares wolves away from livestock pastures. That much turbofladry would help protect about 117 different calving grounds or sheep night corrals per year.
Washington’s Residents Want Wolves Protected: Today, the return of wolves to Washington is one of the most powerful success stories of endangered species’ recovery under the Endangered Species Act. And, according to a new survey released at the end of May by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the wolves’ return is supported by a majority of Washingtonians. Sixty-four percent of Washingtonians said they support wolf recovery in the state, and nearly three out of every four Washington residents – 70 percent – support maintaining sustainable predator populations statewide. That’s because the majority of Washingtonians appreciate that wolves contribute to the overall health of the areas they inhabit, and most residents cite this as the primary reason for their continued support of wolf recovery statewide. Wolves prey on elk, deer and other grazers and, by targeting diseased and injured members of prey populations, wolves help sustain healthy herds. By keeping herd populations in balance and moving across the landscape, wolves also enhance the health and diversity of the plants other wildlife need to thrive. Today there are roughly 53 wolves living in Washington.
Update on Pups Rescued from Alaska Fire: Earlier this year, we told you about five wolf pups that were rescued from the Funny River fire on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. During the fire, firefighters said they heard the cries of wolf pups, and wildlife biologists came to rescue the abandon pups shortly after. After the fire, the pups were taken to the Alaska Zoo to be temporarily cared for. We wanted to share a very sweet picture with you, taken by Ian M Dutton, of two of the wolf pups sitting contently in their zoo caretaker’s lap. According to news that surfaced this week, at the end of the month, the wolves will head to Minnesota where they will find their permanent home in the Apple Valley Zoo.