2013–what a year for wolves! Much of it was unhappy, but there were positive points as well, including the publication of some fine books and a couple of inspiring gatherings of wolf advocates. I’ve pulled together some highlights for the year. This is not a comprehensive list, but I am only too happy to have you add your own recollections in the comment section. Thanks much to Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild and Wally Sykes for their hard work in compiling wolf news and sharing it with us.
District Court Judge Nels Swandel reopens hunting and trapping along the northern border of Yellowstone National Park, including the units on both sides of Gardiner, after a much fought for buffer zone had been granted. At least 8 Park wolves have been recently killed in these areas, 5 of them wearing collars that aided biologists in their long term and in depth study of Yellowstone wolves.
Minnesota ends its first season of wolf hunting with 413 animals killed. Wisconsin reports 117. Wyoming is 9 short of its quota with 43 dead wolves.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife releases its end of the year wolf count, reporting 53 wolves and 5 breeding pairs.
On January 17 a Mexican gray wolf is released into the wild, the first one in over a year. Only 50 to 60 of these wolves are known to exist in the wild and 4 were found dead in 2012.
On the same day, OR 16, a black wolf from the Walla Walla pack in NE Oregon is shot 70 miles north of Boise, Idaho. He’d dispersed to that state only a month before. This photo of him was taken in Nov. 2012.
Wolves killed by hunters and trappers in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana reaches a whoppping 1,003 since the regional delisting.
In Germany, farmers are eager to kill wolves, saying the predators have preyed on over 360 farm animals in areas near Berlin since 2007.
Sweden authorizes a selective wolf culling to remove 16 wolves, reportedly due to inbreeding of the animals. Sweden has a population of about 270 wolves.
Jim and Jamie Dutcher’s book The Hidden Life of Wolves is released.
The Humane Society and other advocacy groups file a lawsuit to reverse the delisting of Canis lupus in the Great Lakes Region of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Kenneth Salazar steps down from his post as Secretary of the Interior!
A plan, approved by the Alaska Dept of Game in March 2012, is implemented to remove ALL wolves from a vast area 200 miles NW of Fairbanks. 15 wolves were taken in the initial effort, which is being made to boost moose populations. The plan is eventually called off, as smart wolves make a hasty exit from the area.
52 members of Congress send a letter to the US Dept Fish and Wildlife requesting that Canis lupus not be delisted in the parts of the US where Federal protection is still granted.
OR 7, better known as Journey, the rambling wolf who has logged over 3,000 dispersal miles, returns to his home state of Oregon.
It is reported that 4 or ever 5 female wolves now reside on Isle Royale, after previous concerns that only one female remained on the island.
The Wildlife Management Institute writes that wolves have returned to the “Wedge,” the area in the NE corner of Washington state, between the Kettle and Columbia Rivers. This is where the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife erradicated the entire Wedge pack in September of 2012 due to livestock predation. At the end of 2012, Washington had approximately 51 wolves in 9 packs with 5 breeding pairs.
Imnaha pack wolf, OR 5 is trapped and killed in the Idaho panhandle. She was a sister to Journey and the third Oregon wolf killed in Idaho.
The Huff Post British Columbia (Canada) posts an article titled, “BC’s Torturous Wolf Management.” This article explains the BC wolf cull, including their indiscriminate and profuse use of snare traps.
Elsewhere in Canada, the Alberta Wilderness Association discovers that “harvest incentives” (sounds like bounties to me) are greatly increasing the number of wolf deaths in this province.
On April 9, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game releases its annual wolf monitoring report. The Idaho wolf population droppped 11 percent, due to hunting, trapping and lethal control by the IDF&W.
In Montana, the Montana Wolf Management Advisory Council meet to discuss the status of wolves in their state. Advocacy groups speak up, including Wolves of the Rockies and Wolfwatcher.
Executive Director of Predator Defense, Brooks Fahy, is interviewed by Inside Edition on the travesties of trapping.
A draft government rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the lower 48 states is leaked to the press. This begins the long period of comments and editorials about the proposed delisting.
831F, a black female wolf from Yellowstone’s Canyon pack is killed by landowner Bill Hoppe. 13 sheep were presumedly killed on Hoppe’s property, but the Yellowstone wolf was not implicated. She was likely attracted by the pile of carcasses Hoppe hosted on his land.
Michigan governer Rick Snyder signs into law Senate Bill 288, allowing the state to implement hunting of wolves. Opponents of that law had filed more than 250,000 signatures in an effort to have the wolf hunt repealed by a vote in the November 2014 election.
On May 24, after 17 months of negotiation, the ODFW, the Oregon Cattleman’s Association, and the governor’s office reach a land mark settlement on the state’s wolf management plan. Much of the work for the plan is done by Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands, two nonprofits that do much to protect wolves and other species, as well as the environment.
Two pairs of Mexican wolves are released, one in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona, and the other pair in New Mexico.
The controversy continues over the proposed Federal delisting of all wolves in the United States, other than Mexican wolves. Once no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, the fate of wolves would be up to individual states. Advocates worry as so far, states have not proven to manage their wolves based on science.
Five billboards in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming with an image of a large wolf greet visitors coming into Yellowstone Park and elsewhere. The billboards support the protection of wolves and are sponsored by Predator Defense.
PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) files a lawsuit to uncover political motivations behind the proposed wolf delisting.
On June 27th, the Oregon Wolf Settlement bill passes the Senate.
Journey remains in Oregon, roaming from Jackson County east of Ashland, to Southwest Klamath County, just north of the California border.
The Imnaha pack, including Journey’s sire, OR 4, moves out of immediate danger of being killed by ODFW for livestock depredation. According to the new Oregon plan, wolves can only be killed if they have commited 4 confirmed predations within 6 months. These “strikes” fall off after a certain period of time, preventing the premature lethal removal of wolves.
Two more wolf pups are killed by officials for possible livestock predation on the Flat Top Ranch in Idaho, near Carey. John Peavey, owner of the ranch, has reported that wolves have killed 50 sheep on his ranch in the last several months. Six wolves have been exterminated due to his claims.
ODFW boasts that 7 Oregon packs have pups, including 3 from the newly discovered Mnt Emily pack, as shown below.
The first wolf in the Netherlands in over 140 years is found dead alongside a road. It is believed she dispersed there from Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, a rare video of a wolf is taken in a forest near Oslo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suspends the scientific peer review of its proposal to remove wolves from the endangered species list, saying the process did not meet the agency’s standards.
Earth First! releases a manual called Wolf Hunt Sabatoge, providing details (not necessarily legal ones) on how to stop wolf hunts and destroy traps.
The Interior Department opens public comment to review its proposal to expand the range of Mexican wolves. The comment period ends Sept 19.
Federal officials confirm that an animal shot by a hunter near Munfordville in Hart County, Kentucky on March 16 is a gray wolf. Wolves were exterminated from the state in the mid 1800s.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service extends the public comment period on its proposal to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list and its plan to maintain protections for the Mexican gray wolf. The comment period ends Oct. 28, and a series of public hearings have been scheduled: Sept. 20 in Washington, Oct. 2 in Sacramento and Oct. 4 in Albuquerque.
On September 7th, a bow hunter kills the first wolf in the 2013 Montana Archery season. She is a grey female, reportedly weighing about 110 lbs.
The National Rally to Protect America’s Wolves is held in Washington D.C. The event is sponsored by The Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, Adopt A Wolf Pack and Friends of the Clearwater.
The Animal News Hour features several female wolf advocates voicing their concerns over the proposed Federal delisting of wolves.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service decides to halt public hearings on the delisting in Oregon, Colorado, and Montana.
The book, Collared: Politics and Personalites in Oregon’s Wolf Country, by Aimee Lyn Eaton is published by Oregon State University Press.
Montana issues 6,000 wolf permits for only 625 wolves. Permits are $19 for residents, $50 for nonresidents.
The Federal government shuts down, postponing public hearings on the delisting of wolves and shutting down national parks, including Yellowstone.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture allocates $38,000 to help ranchers prevent livestock attacks. The funds will go for nonlethal measures, including range riders, fladry, RAG boxes, etc.
Wolves are found in the mountains 50 miles from Spain, over 70 years since they were last seen there.
The sixth red wolf within a month is found shot in North Carolina. 14 red wolves have died since January 1, 2013. Three were killed by vehicles, one died as a result of non-management related actions, one was undetermined but appears to be the result of suspected illegal take, and nine were confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths. Red wolves are one of the world’s most endangered canids and are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Tom Knudson, journalist for the Sacramento Bee is awarded the 2013 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism for his expose on USDA’s Wildlife Services.
Minnesota opens its second season on wolves, with 2,000 hunters setting out to kill a quota of 100 wolves.
The number of wolves killed since delisting in the Rocky Mountain region of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is now 1,440.
A preliminary study by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife finds there is not a need for a state protection of wolves, partly because no wolf populations are established yet. (see comment below)
Journey spends a few hours in northern Siskiyou County before returning to Oregon. Perhaps he missed the sunshine of the Golden State.
Fewer visitors are seeing wolves in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The 2013 count of 55 wolves is the second lowest documented in the area since counts began in 1986. Wildlife advocates are petitioning for a permant buffer around the park to prevent the killing of wolves as they enter and leave the park.
To end on a happy note, I’d like to share with you the children’s book Running for Home, written by sisters Gail McDiarmid and Marilyn McGee. This is a delightful story, beautifully illustrated, about the return of wolves to Yellowstone. I was fortunate enough to help edit Running for Home. Gail and Marilyn had a graphic designer revamp their book and it looks even better. My copy appeared in my mailbox the day before Christmas. Thank you!
Please add to the list of wonderful wolf books of 2013, this one released in December, Rick Lamplugh’s creative nonfiction work, In the Temple of Wolves: A Winter’s Immersion inWild Yellowstone.
Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in NY sent me this video on the FamilyWolf Walk held in August. What an amazing event! I so wish I’d been there. WCC does a commendable job of sharing the truth about the essential role wolves play in our environment. In their words, “Our nation’s future lies in a well educated public.”