Wolves on the Radio!

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(Sketch by George Bumann)

Have you heard of the radio show, Animals Matter? If not, check it out! This awesome show airs monthly on KSKQ from Ashland, Oregon. If you don’t live nearby, don’t worry. You can access the show online.

For today’s show, host Lin Bernhardt interviews me about my book, Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History, and about wolves in general. Next month, Lin will talk with writer Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise, and in March she will discuss Wildlife Services in Oregon, with guest Scott Beckstead, Oregon State Director of the Humane Society. Should be fascinating shows!

Here is what Animals Matter is about:

ANIMALS MATTER
Topics related to pets, wildlife, livestock and other animals are explored in this lively half-hour program. Look for interviews covering climate change and the effects of a warming planet on wildlife and species extinction, middle schoolers talking about factory farming, and in-depth looks at local organizations working to save animals from abuse and abandonment. Animals Matter airs the fourth Wednesday of the month at 1 PM.

And here is the link:

KSKQ Weekly Schedule

(KSKQ posts links on their website and FB page to Soundcloud, where shows are archived)

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Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, The Oregon Wolf that Made History

Available here!

Working Circle-Helping Both Ranchers and Wolves

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(featured photo: Mark Coats with his horse, Flax. Photo by Beckie Elgin)

With over seventy years of combined experience in dealing with wolf-livestock issues, the recently created Working Circle offers hope to the age-old conflict between ranchers and predators. The group, founded by the California Wolf Center, offers bi-annual workshops in Northern California and Southern Oregon, as well as on-sight visits to local ranches.

My article in The Ag-Mag, How to Protect Livestock from Wolves, explores the efforts of the Working Circle. Mark Coats, a livestock operator from Dorris, California and integral part of the Working Circle, invited me to his ranch to research the story and see in person how he implements predator awareness training, yet another tool in the bag of non-lethal measures. Mark’s adorable dog, Budger, is key to this training, as you’ll learn in the article.

I’m honored to have my story published in The Ag-Mag. This publication is making huge steps in bridging the gap between livestock producers and those that consume their products. There is a wealth of information in these quarterly publications that we can all learn from. The Ag-Mag is available online or in print. You can subscribe, or find the free magazine at many co-ops and farm stores.

Read full article here!

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Budger!

 

Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Inkwater Press, or a signed copy through me.  Portion of the proceeds go to Oregon Wild to help support wolf recovery. You can choose AmazonSmile for your purchase and pick out a charitable organization that will benefit from the sale. 

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2016 Wolf Year in Review

The Imnaha wolf pack’s alpha male after being refitted with a working GPS collar on May 19, 2011. Photo courtesy of ODFW. More information. Download high resolution image.

Greetings, and Happy New Year! Once again I’ve compiled wolf related news highlights for the previous year. 2016 saw a lot of activity for wolves, both good and bad. 2017 stands to be especially interesting as we enter into a time where the rights of wildlife and the environment are even more at risk. Feel free to add to this list in the comment section, there are many items I missed. And please share with others!

January: 

Although not directly related to wolves, the Ammon Bundy and associates takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, had much of the same sour flavor of the wolf wars. Old-fashioned ranching interests and controversy over public land use went head to head with the preservation of wild lands and wildlife, as well as with a large public population that participates in non-consumptive use of the Refuge. You know the rest of this story. The armed interlopers occupied the Refuge for six weeks, then were acquitted in October after a month long trial. Ammon and his brother Ryan were then sent to Nevada to face charges for a similar event in 2014 at their family ranch. The trial is to begin Feb. 6, 2017. I hope for a more just outcome.

We hear reports that a mistake was made in the collaring of four wolves living in the Frank Church Wilderness area of Idaho. The Fish and Game helicopter crews were supposed to be collaring elk. Expressing concern that the collaring was done to track wolves for lethal removal, three environmental groups sued to stop the activity. The Forest Service issued a notice of non-compliance against the Fish and Game department that specified certain requirements be met before they can fly into the area again.

Finland, despite widespread protests, instituted a wolf cull. By November of 2016, 55 of the country’s 290 wolves had been killed. At least 23 additional wolves died due to human causes including poaching and automobiles. Government officials stated the reason for the cull was to increase tolerance for wolves and to reduce poaching.

February: 

Protestors gathered on the steps of the Idaho statehouse to stand up against the aerial killing of wolves in the Lolo zone. At least twenty wolves had been killed so far. 72 were shot in 2015. The Idaho Fish and Game department reported a cost of $5,500 per wolf killed.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released its annual wolf count with a number of 110 wolves, a 36% increase over the previous year. Eleven breeding pairs were reported with 33 pups born in 2015 that were known to survive through December 31. There were nine confirmed incidents of livestock depredations. $174,428 in grants was distributed for nonlethal measures and to compensate livestock owners who lost animals to wolves. ODFW reported seven wolf mortalities in 2015, including the Sled Springs breeding pair that were found dead in August, cause still undetermined. Three wolves were shot illegally and a Baker City man was fined $2,000 and had to give up his rifle after pleading guilty to the shooting of one of the wolves.

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Sketch by Jane Elgin

March: 

Once again, wolves wandered into my home state of Iowa, only to be shot. Two wolves were killed, one in Osceola county and one in Van Buren county. And once again, the hunters that killed them were let off the hook with the excuse that they thought they were shooting coyotes.

On March 15, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 4040 officially removing the gray wolf from the state’s endangered species list. She is quoted as saying, “I support wolves. I also recognize challenges arise in rural landscapes where wolves exist. Minimizing divisions between well-meaning Oregonians and providing the social space for wolves demands compromise and collaboration.” Environmental groups including Oregon Wild, Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands have been involved in lawsuits to stop the delisting of Oregon’s wolves. Updates on this effort were reported throughout the year. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio also spoke out against the signing of the bill. 

Washington state reported their annual count of ninety wolves, 18 packs, and eight breeding pairs by the end of 2015. This is a 32% increase from 2014. A minimum of seven wolves died from human causes, including three that were legally killed on the Spokane Tribe reservation.

The final day of March brought sad news to wolf advocates. ODFW released that they had authorized the lethal removal of four wolves of the Imnaha pack, including the renown OR-4, father of OR-7 and many other wolves, and his current mate, OR-39 (also known as Limpy) and their two yearling pups. Reason cited was five livestock depredations  in the proceeding three weeks. This eulogy written by Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild says it all. And here is my post from that day.

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OR 4 in May, 2011. ODFW photo.

April: 

In Montana, the Rosebud pack was eliminated by Wildlife Services after being implicated in the death of two heifers. Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Department authorized the killing of the six wolves.

Wyoming wolves are still protected under Federal guidelines after the state lost their right to manage their wolves in September of 2014. However, packs of wolves are still being lethally removed for livestock depredations, including the Dell Creek pack 25 miles southeast of Jackson. This report from the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Program states there are 382 wolves in Wyoming with 48 packs. Over $330, 000 was paid in compensation for wolf related damage in 2015.

In a perfect example of how zoos and sanctuaries strive to improve the lives of wild wolves, two captive bred and born Mexican wolf pups from the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri were successfully integrated with a wild litter in New Mexico. Shortly after this, two pups from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois were placed with the Elk Horn pack of Arizona. Soon to follow was a third reintroduction of two pups into another Arizona pack. Follow up evidence has shown that at least some of the pups have survived and are living wild in their natural habitat.

May:

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Red wolf. Photo from Endangered Wolf Center

A single red wolf pup is born at Zoo Knoxville. The male pup weighed one pound at birth and is doing well. There are only 50 to 75 remaining red wolves living in a five-county area in eastern North Carolina. The wild red wolf population is in danger as North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission requested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end the reintroduction program. About 200 red wolves survive in zoos and rehab centers, in hopes that a reintroduction program will again be implemented.

In British Columbia, the fight to stop the wolf cull continues. Tommy Knowles with Wildlife Defense League, reports that 163 wolves have been killed by the government in the South Peace and South Selkirk regions. Reason cited, to protect the endangered caribou in the area. Knowles and others believe the decrease in the caribou population is due to logging, mining and other human activity. In Knowles words, “...the wolf cull was initially put forward by the forestry industry as a way to shift blame for the decline in caribou and avoid restrictions on logging activity.”

 

Denali’s wolves are dying as they are lured from the safety of the park and shot or trapped. In May, an emergency order stopped further hunting of wolves near the park after a study found there were only 2.8 wolves per 1,000 square miles, the lowest density since 1986 when it was first tabulated. Most if not all of the wolves biologist Gordon Haber spent decades studying have been killed by hunters. Haber, who fought for a safe boundary zone around Denali, died in an airplane accident in 2009.

June: 

OR-33 earned the infamous distinction of being the first wolf to kill livestock in southern Oregon since wolves have returned here after an absence of over sixty years. The black wolf, probably from the last litter of OR-4 and B300 (also known as Sophie), snuck into the the hills just across the freeway from Ashland, Oregon and killed a sheep and a goat. Another goat died in a probable wolf depredation attributed to OR-33. John Stephenson of the US Fish and Wildlife Service promptly strung fladry around the facility where the livestock deaths occurred. This served to keep the wolf away, as far as I’ve heard.

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ODFW photo of Imnaha pups. Most likely OR-33 is the black wolf seen here. Taken 7/23/13.

Idaho Dept. Fish and Game released news that a litter of wolves were taken from a den and killed in the Panhandle National Forest. The wolf pups were only a few weeks old at the time of their death.

Center for Biological Diversity released a shocking report on the number of animals killed by Wildlife Services in 2015. They determined that Texas, Oregon, Minnesota and California were the states where Wildlife Services killed the most black bears, mountain lions, wolves and bobcats. A total of 3.2 million animals were killed across the nation. This interactive map details where the lethal removals occurred.

July:

If you are fascinated with Yellowstone wolves, as many of us are, you must read this

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Doug Smith and Kim Bean at YNP, 2012

edition of Yellowstone Science. It’s all about wolves and what has the have taught us in the twenty plus years since their reintroduction. Douglas Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist and guest editor of the journal, writes in the introduction, “Most people rate wolves among the most controversial wildlife to live with; a colleague from India rates them as more controversial than tigers—a species that occasionally kills people.

 

OR-7, known as Journey, and his mysterious mate produced another litter of pups this year. Two pups (below) were captured on trail cameras set by USFWS. Journey’s older brother OR-3 paired with OR-28 to produce pups. They were named the Silver Lake wolves, not yet a pack according to ODFW guidelines. Check out the new and very informative Pacific Wolf Family website for more photos and details on wolves in the area.

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Three Mexican wolves are poached in July, one in Arizona and two in New Mexico.

The third annual Speak for Wolves event was held at Yellowstone National Park from July 15-17. The 2017 dates are July 27-29 at West Yellowstone. 2016-logo

 

 

 

August:

Washington was in the news frequently during the month of August. Early in the month a wolf was spotted on Mt. Spokane, the first one in over seventy years. The rest of the news was not so positive. After several confirmed livestock deaths, the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife ordered the lethal removal of all eleven members of the Profanity Peak pack in the northeastern part of the state. Seven wolves were killed before the actions were called off in October. Members of the Washington Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) including Wolf Haven and Conservation Northwest and others received an onslaught of criticism for their decision to agree to the lethal removal of the Profanity Peak pack. It was later revealed that the state spent $119,500 to kill these seven wolves.

Wolf numbers in the Great Lake states continue to remain stable or slightly rise as Federal protections prevent hunting and trapping. Minnesota reported 2,278 wolves, Wisconsin 880 and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan houses 630 wolves. Collette Adkins with the Center for Biological Diversity is quoted as saying, “Wolf hunting and trapping caused a 25 percent drop in Minnesota’s wolf population, and even with federal protection, the population has not rebounded. This survey shows that there’s no need to hunt wolves to manage their numbers because pressures like disease, road mortality, illegal killings and depredation control (federal trapping) continue to strain the wolf population.”

September:

Ethiopian wolves are the rarest canid in the world and the most endangered carnivore in Africa. Besides the typical reasons for their demise, including loss of habitat and hunting, these wolves are dying from rabies. Researchers discovered that the wolves would ingest a rabies vaccine if it was hidden in goat meat. The results have been very successful. Over 86% of the wolves that ate the vaccine were found to have protection against rabies.

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Photo from Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme website

In another distant regions, for the first time in over forty years, a pack of rare Himalayan wolves were seen roaming the Manang district of Nepal. These animals are so unique, with white markings around the throat, chest and belly, wooly fur, stumpy legs, and a long muzzle, that it’s been suggested they be awarded their own species name, Canis himalayensis. Check out the link for a photo of these lovely wolves.

October: 

Bad news in Oregon as ODFW reports that OR-28, the breeding female of the Silver Lake wolves, is found dead, apparently poached. Three year old OR-28, a disperser from NE Oregon, had given birth to at least one pup in April of this year. A reward was offered for arrest of the poacher, with $5,000 from the USFWS, $10,000 from the Center for Biological Diversity and $5,000 from the Humane Society. The reward has yet to be claimed.

OR-7 and his Rogue pack, who for so long had not been incriminated in any livestock deaths, are highly suspected of killing three calves in the Wood River Valley of Klamath County, Oregon. ODFW writes in their depredation account, “The Rogue Pack is known to frequent this general area at this time of year.” The livestock in the pastures closest to the National Forest are relocated to California in November, ending the problem, at least until next year.

A wolf from Washington’s Huckleberry pack traveled over 700 miles to Montana were he was shot for preying on sheep. Marc Cooke of Wolves of the Rockies said in protest to the lethal removal, “It’s a sad story that this wolf makes it through the killing fields of Idaho and then gets whacked in Montana. This is a known wolf behavior, and how are we ever going to get a corridor down into Colorado up through the Yaak to improve genetic diversity if they’re so quick on the trigger?”

While Wisconsin hunters killed 4,643 black bears in their state, wolves harvested 40 of the bear hunters’ dogs. Claims that Wisconsin’s high wolf population (estimated at 900) contributed to the record number of dog losses were countered by in 2012 only seven dogs were killed, and the wolf population was nearly the same.

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Wolf near the Wisconsin Dells, AP photo

 

 

November: 

Lassen County, California has become the territory of two new wolves. DNA studies show that the male is from Journey’s Rogue pack, however, the female is not related to any known Oregon wolves. Did she travel all the way from Idaho? Wherever she is from, her presence will likely increase genetic diversity among wolves in the Pacific Northwest. Wolves in the Golden State remain protected under both Federal and state laws.

In east-central Arizona, a wild Mexican wolf was captured by the USFWS and taken into custody for livestock depredation. This decreases the number of Mexican wolves in their natural habitat to only 97.

The Working Circle holds workshops in rural California and Oregon to discuss wolf-livestock issues. Speakers include Timm Kaminsky, Joe Engelhart and Carter Niemeyer. On-site visits to local ranchers were also offered in an effort to work one-on-one with livestock producers in finding non-lethal ways to keep their animals safe from wolves.

December: 

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Druid pack, NPS photo by Doug Smith

It is reported that the last wolf of the famous Druid pack in Yellowstone Park is killed by a hunter outside of the park. 778M was an unusually large and aggressive male, one watched and admired by visitors to the park. This enigmatic wolf survived for over nine years before being shot.

California releases their controversial gray wolf management plan. Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for Center for Biological Diversity, says, “Because California is only in the early stages of wolf recovery, we need to give these animals a chance to become established in sustainable numbers rather than prematurely rushing to end protections that are vital to their survival. But we support the plan’s initial emphasis on restoring wolves to the Golden State and reliance on nonlethal methods to reduce loss of livestock.

In Michigan, governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows wolf hunting in the state if the Federal government drops their protections of the species.

A rare red wolf is found shot in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge of North Carolina. Federal authorities offer a $2,500 reward for information on the poaching.

This PDF is dismal reading, but the US Humane Society has compiled numbers of wolves killed by hunters and trappers since delisting in 2011. http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/wildlife/wolf-kill-statistics.pdf

I’d like to end on a positive note. In an action that surprised many, the National Park Service released a draft plan to release 20 to 30 wolves on Isle Royale National Park over a three year period. This would greatly boost the current population of only two wolves. Inbreeding has contributed to the decrease of wolves on the island. The article linked here is quite thorough and includes a 36 minute video on the situation.

Thank you for reading this post! If you haven’t heard about my new book yet, please check it out. Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History, can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, or if you’d like a signed copy, through me. Online reviews are much appreciated! 

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Wolves in Print

Tracks observed November 2006 in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit, northeast Oregon. The single track shows the size of a wolf's hind foot, which without claws is usually 3.4-4.2" long and 2.8-3.8" wide.  Photo courtesy of ODFW. Download high resolution image.

Winter. What a wonderful time to stay in, nestled beneath a warm blanket in front of a crackling fire, and enjoy the world of wolves through books. Here are a few ideas, some old, some new. My own book, Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History, is now available on Amazon and other venues. And the bibliography in “Journey” lists nearly thirty wolf books for your reading pleasure!

It’s not too late to order for Christmas. Hot links for each book take to you a purchasing option, without having to leave the couch!

A very wolfy book, this one for a younger audience, is A Friend for Lakota, by Jim and Jamie Dutcher. This book was released this fall and is a wonderful tool for helping children understand not only conservation but also how it feels to be the underdog. Filled with the Dutcher’s amazing wolf photos, A Friend for Lakota is recommended for ages 4 through 8.

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A new favorite of mine, published in 2013, with a second printing in 2015, is Wild Wolves We Have Known. I met Richard P. Thiel, a well-known Wisconsin wolf biologist, when he came to southern Oregon to talk about wolves last month. Richard, along with Allison C. Thiel and Marianne Strozewski, collected essays from several wolf biologists, including Doug Smith, Diane Boyd, and Lu Carbyn, and compiled them to create this book. The stories are about the favorite wolves of the writers, and many unforgettable tales are shared. The International Wolf Center (link above) has a better price than Amazon.

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Have you read Carter Niemeyer’s books yet? Wolfer was written in 2012, and begins the story of Niemeyer’s decades of work with wolves, including the Yellowstone and central Idaho reintroductions. Wolf Land was released in March of this year, and is a great sequel to the first memoir. Both books are full of wolf lore, written through Carter’s unique perspective as a man who has traveled in the front line of the wolf wars and has emerged to be one of the species most popular supporters.

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Rick Lamplugh’s book, In the Temple of Wolves, released in 2013, is a series of essays on wolves and other wildlife in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone. Readers learn of the Park’s history of eradicating predators and how things shifted after wolves were reintroduced in 1995 and 1996. We learn about the individual wolves and packs in Yellowstone, as well as the people involved in their lives. A wonderful read, one I’d highly suggest.

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Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History, is finding its way beneath many Christmas trees this year. I’ve had the honor of signing books, in person or through PayPal orders, for folks who are gifting Journey to relatives and friends, or keeping for themselves. During a book reading this week at Ashland, Oregon’s Northwest Nature Shop, I met many people who like me, are fascinated with the tale of this tenacious wolf. Talking about wolves and sharing my book with them was a memorable experience. More readings are being planned and I’ll post them as they are confirmed. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Inkwater Press, or if you’d like a signed copy, through me. Reviews to any of the online sites are much appreciated. Several book stores and wolf sanctuaries are now stocking Journey. If you know of a venue that might want to carry it, please let them or me know. Hardcover and Kindle versions coming soon, as well as a Teacher’s Guide. Thank you so much for your support of this project!

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Book Release! Journey: The Amazing Story Of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History

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buy-now-buttonPrice $20.95 and includes shipping

Use the PayPal button above to order an author autographed copy of Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History

I’m beyond excited to announce the official release of my book, Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History!

Most of you know the story of this famous wolf. Journey left his homeland in northeast Oregon in the fall of 2011. He traveled south, becoming the first wild wolf in western Oregon for over sixty years. Journey then headed into California where he made headline news as the first Canis lupus to enter the Golden State for nearly a century. By now a household name, Journey returned to southern Oregon where he met up with a black female wolf. Since then they’ve produced three litters of pups.

I felt compelled to write about this tenacious and important canine. He inspired me, as he did so many others. I decided to create a book for a middle-grade audience, but one that would also appeal to readers of all ages. This allowed me some freedom in the writing style and also enabled me to write a book that would be educational for young people. This summer I found a terrific publisher, Inkwater Press in Portland. The people at Inkwater are dedicated to the environment and are especially fond of wolves. They took Journey under their wings and did a beautiful job editing and designing the book. They will continue to help the cause by promoting the book and organizing readings and other events.

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Sketch by sculptor George Bumann. His work and those of others are featured in the book

The book tells the story of Journey through his eyes as well as through the people who studied him, saw him, and campaigned for his safety. Readers will learn about the history of wolves in our country, the Yellowstone and Idaho reintroduction, and the role of wolves in the environment. There are many photos, sketches and maps. A bibliography, index and  detailed source notes are included. My hope is that you will find this a well-balanced book, with up-to-date factual information, evocative illustrations, as well as a compelling story.

Journey is available through Inkwater, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Powell’s. If you would like an autographed copy please contact me through my blog and I’ll be glad to send one off you to. Amazon is still showing the book as “temporarily out of stock” but it is not taking long for them to ship the book out. Amazon reviews are really helpful if you have a moment to write one! A hardcover book will be available soon, and in January a Kindle version will be out. I’m working on a teacher’s guide as well.

The goal of this project is to first of all to help increase understanding of wolves and the need to protect them, but I also see if as a gift to all of you, a tremendous thank you for caring about these animals and for speaking up for them. Through the years I’ve been interacting with “wolf people” I’ve come to respect and admire their tenacity and devotion. Along this vein, a portion of the proceedings of Journey will go to Oregon Wild, a non-profit that does so much to help wolves.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the book. Please let me know!

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Me with Akela, a wolf at the zoo my father directed in Iowa

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Demanding the Good

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Minan wolf pack. Eagle Cap Wilderness. ODFW photo.

Today, when many of us fear for the future of wildlife, the environment, as well as human beings, gratitude can be a tough thing to feel. But it’s there, well within our reach. A hike in the forest, on a beach, in the desert or a city park, can reignite a simple but profound acknowledgment that the air still surrounds us and the earth is still below our feet.

Farther out, there remain places of indescribable beauty where we can witness mammals, birds, fish, and all forms of nature continuing the cycle of life as if there did not exist concrete and skyscrapers and pipelines and greed. These are the places of rejuvenation and of hope. These are the holdouts to an authentic, unaffected world.

These natural places are there not because of anything we’ve done, but they remain intact because people have fought selflessly to prevent their destruction. Since the election, I’ve read some strong and encouraging statements from individuals and non-profits. They speak of the renewed urgency to stand up to protect public lands and the creatures that live on them. They speak of coming together to counter what could be the most environmentally negligent tenure so far. As the website for Center for Biological Diversity says, “The Fight is On. Help Us.”

Rachel Carson knew what we were up against. In her words, {Have we} “….fallen into a mesmerized state that makes us accept as inevitable that which is inferior or detrimental, as though having lost the will or the vision to demand that which is good?”

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Sketch by Helen Patti Hill

On this day of gratitude, I am so thankful for the individuals and groups that have not lost the will to demand the good. They, and we can all be a part of this, will do everything possible to preserve what remains of our natural world and to stand up for the rights and safety of all forms of life, human and non. Thank you for caring, and for not giving up.

 

(Special thanks to Oregon Wild, Pacific Wolf Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity, KS Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Wolves of the Rockies, Living with Wolves, International Wolf Center, Defenders of Wildlife)

 

Coming next week! The official release of Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History. 

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Seeking Solutions to the War on Wildlife

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Trail-cam photo of coyote by Randy and Pam Comeleo

Pam and Randy Comeleo are devoted to the cause of protecting wildlife. Over the years, they have spent countless hours sharing ideas about non-lethal measures with officials and the public in Benton County, Oregon, where the Comeleos live. They and a group of concerned neighbors have promoted discussions with Oregon State University about alternatives to trapping coyotes with neck snares on the OSU Sheep Center. Randy and Pam have interacted with Wildlife Services, fighting through the web of red tape to obtain ten years of data on wildlife killed in Benton County. The results are staggering-over 738 wild animals, including coyote, bobcat and beavers, have been killed by Wildlife Services in Benton County in the last decade.

The Comeleos’ latest effort involves organizing events led by John A. Shivik, PhD. Shivik is a federal and university researcher on the topic of non-lethal management. His book The Predator Paradox, explores the biological and social aspects of conflicts between humans and wildlife. The public talk will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2016 from 7-8:30 PM at the Benton County Public Library in Corvallis. Shivik is also doing a seminar at OSU with Fisheries and Wildlife Department students and faculty. And local farmers will be involved in a private on-site, hands-on discussion with John Shivik on how to protect their livestock without killing predators.

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ODFW photo

Around the same time, there are workshops scheduled in Southern Oregon and Northern California to help livestock owners curtail problems with wolves. The talks are hosted by the Working Circle Collaborative and we will hear advice from Timothy Kaminsky, Joe Engelhard and Carter Niemeyer. I attended a version of this talk last spring and it was terrific. These workshops are timely, considering the arrival of more wolves into California as well as recent depredations in the Wood River Valley and outside of Ashland.

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I promise, it’s coming soon… the online book launch of Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History. Watch here, on FaceBook and Twitter for updates. 

 

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Journey: Five Years Ago

 

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Facebook reminded me of a post from five years ago today. It was a Medford Mail Tribune article by Mark Freeman about a young male wolf that had just entered northeastern Douglas county, the first wolf in western Oregon in 65 years.

A few months later, the first photo (above) of this wolf, known as OR-7, was shared around the world. Around this time, Oregon Wild sponsored a naming contest and the wandering wolf became affectionately known as Journey. He entered California right around Christmas of 2011, and the rest is history.

I am still so impressed with the tenacity of OR-7. He traveled over 4,000 air miles in his efforts to find a mate and a new home. He led the way for other wolves in their dispersal into southern Oregon and northern California. Journey has truly been an ambassador for his species. The recent livestock depredations that may be attributed to his pack are certainly cause for concern, but they do not erase the value of this wolf and all he has done. With all the issues and controversy in the world today, it feels right to acknowledge the successes that abound, and the story of Journey is one of them.

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Sketch by Hannah Hartsell

(click below to read entire article)

Migrating wolf enters southwest Oregon

Tuesday
Posted Nov 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM
Updated Nov 1, 2011 at 2:40 AM

A young wolf migrating out of a northeast Oregon pack this fall has reached northeastern Douglas County, becoming the first confirmed wolf in Western Oregon in 65 years.

By MARK FREEMAN
A young wolf migrating out of a northeast Oregon pack this fall has reached northeastern Douglas County, becoming the first confirmed wolf in Western Oregon in 65 years.
The 2-year-old male, labeled OR-7, has a transmitter collar on it that showed it crossed Highway 97 and moved across the Cascade crest and into the Umpqua River drainage, where he was last located late Thursday, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The animal set out from his original Imnaha Pack of Wallowa County on Sept. 10, wandering southwest as far as Lake County last week before turning due west and crossing the Cascades, said Russ Morgan, the ODFW’s wolf program coordinator.

“It’s the first one in modern times to go in that direction, and he’s really traveling,” Morgan said. “He could turn around and go back. He could go to California or Idaho. There’s no way to predict it.”

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Official online book launch coming soon! Watch for details!

 

Embracing the Return of the Wolf-Don’t Miss This Event!

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The wolves of Southern Oregon have certainly been making headlines lately, and this event, sponsored by KS Wild, will be a chance to learn about and discuss what is going on down here. The guest speaker will be Richard P. Thiel, a wolf biologist from Wisconsin. Thiel has studied wolves since the 1960s and has published numerous peer reviewed articles and two books on the subject. His decades of work in Wisconsin promise to bring insights to our current wolf situation in Oregon.

We will also hear from Lyndsay Raber with the Pacific Wolf Coalition and Lilia Letsch who will present the new Oregon wolf family tree. I will be on hand to discuss my book, Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf That Made History

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The event will be this Friday, October 21st,  from 6-9 at the Medford Public Library in the large meeting room. Light refreshments will be served and several local conservation organizations will be present. Click here for details. We look forward to seeing you there!

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(Featured image-OR-14, ODFW photo. Sketch by Hannah Hartsell)

Is Journey in Trouble?

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News of the livestock deaths most likely caused by the Rogue pack has traveled fast. Yet, there are still many unanswered questions. I don’t have any inside information to offer, but here is what I know of the facts.

What Happened?

On Monday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released news of three confirmed livestock attacks by wolves in Klamath County. The incidents occurred in the Wood River Valley and all were on private land.

The depredation investigation reports discuss the examinations done on the three calves, which ranged in weight from 300 to 800 pounds. Two were dead and mostly consumed while one was badly injured. The attacks were estimated to have occurred on 10/2, 10/3 and 10/5/16. Wolf tracks were seen around the site and the specific details, which I won’t go into here, indicate that wolves were clearly involved. The ODFW report states “The Rogue Pack is known to frequent this general area this time of year.”

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ODFW photo

Other wolves also spend near the Wood River location, including OR-33 and OR-25. Both are from the Imnaha pack and unfortunately, have previously been involved in livestock deaths, OR-33 just outside of Ashland and OR-25 at a ranch along the Williamson River. However, from what we know, these were isolated incidents and non-lethal actions have helped prevent further problems.

USFWS biologist John Stephenson is quoted as saying it is “very possible” the Rogue pack is responsible for the attacks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who held out hopes that OR-7 and his pack would continue to steer clear of cattle. They had for so long. Journey left northeast Oregon in September of 2011, and thus far, had not been implicated in any livestock deaths. What changed? The growing size of his pack (possibly up to 9 now) and the need for more prey? Perhaps the shift had something to do with Journey’s age. Seven is old for a wild wolf and maybe his hunting skills are ebbing.

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Rogue pack pups. USFWS photo from 7/12/16.

What’s the Good News?

Oregon wolves living west of Highways 395-78-95 are protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act. So, the Rogue family has that on their side, and they also have John Stephenson, who when asked if the attacks would lead to lethal control, said, “That’s not being contemplated at all. We’re trying to stop it from continuing.” Newspapers report that Stephenson put up special fencing (fladry, I assume) and increased human presence in an effort to keep the wolves away. He also plans to keep tabs of the wolves by renewing efforts to capture and collar members of the Rogue pack.

What Can We Do?

The Oregon Wolf Plan, as you may know, is currently under review. Changes made to this plan will affect the future management of wolves statewide. Keep an eye out for future public comment meetings or contact ODFW regarding the importance of providing continued protection for wolves.

These recent depredations, as well as the Profanity Peak pack fiasco in Washington and the lethal removal of the Imnaha pack this spring, are reminders that wolves need large areas of land to roam on, land that is free of the temptations of free-ranging cattle and sheep. The Rogue pack lives near the nearly 9,000 acre Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and if the current efforts to expand the monument succeed, thousands more acres of primarily BLM land would be added to the monument. This land is free of livestock and is just what wolves need to stay out of trouble. While we can’t keep wolves from leaving the monument, at least there would be a safe space for them. KS Wild and Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are two groups working for the expansion. There will be a public hearing in Ashland on October 14, click here for details.

While we’ve witnessed a lot of livestock producers that have failed to protect their livestock and have pushed for lethal control of wolves, from what I’ve read the ranchers in the area of the current issues have been quite proactive and patient regarding wolves. When OR-25 attacked a calf in western Klamath County, the rancher there put forth a lot of effort in hazing to prevent further problems. And the livestock owners outside of Ashland who lost two goats and a lamb to OR-33, from all appearances, chose to support the use of non-lethal measures on their land rather than raise a stink about the losses.

Wolves are a natural predator, bound to necessitate change as they return to lands they have not inhabited for decades. Let’s hope this part of Oregon will continue to support this  return and learn ways to live with Canis lupus.

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ODFW photo Range rider