Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

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Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by yourlilemogirl » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:37 pm

Proposals to control population include gassing pups in their dens.

BILLINGS, Mont. — Government agencies are seeking broad new authority to ramp up killings and removals of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, despite two recent court actions that restored the animal's endangered status in every state except Alaska and Minnesota.

Various proposals would gas pups in their dens, surgically sterilize adult wolves and allow "conservation" or "research" hunts to drive down the predators' numbers.

Once poisoned to near-extermination in the lower 48 states, wolves made a remarkable comeback over the last two decades under protection of the Endangered Species Act. But as packs continue to multiply their taste for livestock and big game herds coveted by hunters has stoked a rising backlash.

Wildlife officials say that without public wolf hunting, they need greater latitude to eliminate problem packs. Montana and Idaho held inaugural hunts last year but an August court ruling scuttled their plans for 2010.

"As the wolf populations increase, the depredations increase and the number of wolf removals will increase. It's very logical," said Mark Collinge, Idaho director for Wildlife Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture branch that removes problem wolves, typically by shooting them from aircraft.

"You just have to accept that part of having wolves is having to kill wolves," he said.

But wildlife advocates and animal rights groups contend the response to depredating wolves has become too heavy-handed. They say a string of court decisions in their favor underscores that the species remains at risk.

"The draconian lengths they are poised to take really are a throwback, to when the same agency was gassing wolf pups in their dens almost a century ago and setting poisoned baits and trapping them," said Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity.

At least 1,700 wolves now roam Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. There are more than 4,000 in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. New populations are taking hold in Oregon and Washington, and wolves have been sighted in Colorado, Utah and New England.

Some of the most remote wilderness habitats are becoming saturated with the animals. As a result, packs are pushing into agricultural and residential areas where domestic animals offer an easy meal.

One of the more extreme proposals — burying wolf pups in their dens and then poisoning them with carbon monoxide gas — would be used only infrequently, in cases where the rest of the pack had been killed for preying on livestock, officials said.

More established practices, including shooting wolves from the air and ground, would be expanded.

In Montana and Idaho, officials hope to revive hunting seasons by rebranding them as "conservation hunts" or "research hunts." Also, Montana Democrat U.S. Senator Max Baucus wants ranchers to have more freedom to shoot wolves harassing livestock.

A novel, non-lethal approach to wolf control is being considered in Idaho, according to a Department of Agriculture proposal. After being surgically sterilized, pairs of wolves would be radio-collared and released — "to maintain and defend their territory against other wolf packs that might be more likely to prey on livestock."

Killing marauding wolves is nothing new in some parts of their range: In the Northern Rockies, more than 1,400 have been killed by wildlife agents and ranchers since the first 66 wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid-1990s.

But Wisconsin and Michigan in the past avoided wolf killings, instead relocating plundering animals or taking defensive measures such as fencing in livestock. Under applications pending with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the states want new authority to remove up to 10 percent of their wolves annually, equal to about 110 wolves a year.

Government statistics back up critics' claims that wolves account for a small proportion of livestock losses caused by predators. They kill fewer sheep and cattle than coyotes, bears, mountain lions or even dogs.

Yet where packs get onto ranchlands, the results can be brutal for both wolves and livestock. That was illustrated in a string of recent cattle killings and reprisals outside the small town of Ennis, Mont.

Since late July, at least six ranches near Ennis have suffered cattle killings by a wolf group known as the Horse Creek pack, which lives at the base of the Gravelly mountains.

Within two weeks of the first calf being killed, wolf specialists with Wildlife Services killed two adult members of the Horse Creek pack in hopes of deterring the others.

One was shot on July 29 and the second on Aug. 6 — just a day after U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula, Mont. ordered the region's wolves back onto the endangered species list.

After the attacks continued and several more calves died, state officials on Aug. 12 ordered the entire pack removed. Another calf was found dead on Aug. 13, and two on Aug. 17.

Two more Horse Creek wolves were shot.

On Aug. 18, three more calves turned up dead, bringing the total dead livestock to at least a dozen.

The remaining four members of the pack remained at large late last week. But there was little doubt they would be killed, said Carolyn Sime, Montana's lead wolf biologist

"When we authorize it, we're confident they're going to get it done," she said.

Rancher Jerry pigeon said the Horse Creek pack killed at least three calves worth a combined $2,400 on the Granger ranch, which he manages.

Their carcasses were found on the Beaverhead National Forest, where the calves had been grazing. Others have disappeared without a trace.

"If they take that pack out, we've bought ourselves maybe two or three years until another pack establishes itself," pigeon said. "Eventually another bunch of wolves will move in there and we'll get the same problem all over."
Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39017137/ns ... nvironment

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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Jayness » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:08 pm

Thats terrible, I wish those wolves the best of luck in this terribly unfair game of survival.
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Zethra » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:03 pm

Well, this is both good and bad. It's great to see that the wolf population numbers have increased, however the sad part is that the wolf population has grown out of hand to the point that they need to hunt said wolves to make sure they don't outrun everything.

I hope things eventually become better again, for both the cattle and the wolves sake.

Thank you for posting this article yourlilemogirl.
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Alpha Female » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:09 pm


I agree Zethra, it's great to see the wolves population increasing, but its not so good that they are getting a bit out of hand.
Proposals to control population include gassing pups in their dens.

That just sounds horrible to me, gassing puppies to control the population. I do hope they come up with better solutions then that.

Thanks for sharing this article with us yourlilemogirl.^^
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by yourlilemogirl » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:13 pm

no problem guys(:>
when i saw this it came to me as a double edged sword :(
i was glad that the wolves were able to re-establish themselves after we wiped them out once before, but it saddens me to how they plan on "controlling" their populations. Burring the pups in the den and then gassing them just sounds so inhumane to me :(

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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Zethra » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:04 am

Well, there is a reason for them to control the population of wolves - that is quite a lot of wolves and judging by the amount it would cause more harm then not to the wolves if the population wasn't put under control as such.
Burying the pups in dens, and suffocating them (as said by Alpha Female) doesn't sound to good. However, the burying pups was said to be a last resort on the problem at hand.

Basically, judging by the expansion such "hunting" would need to be used, if the overly (and dangerously) large population would continue to increase without proper "controlling the population' methods - the wolves would possibly run out of food and habitat and die off from that. Which is why such hunts go on, even if it does sound cruel at times.
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Canidae » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:10 pm

Why would they gas the pups instead of simply shooting them?

That makes no sense to me...shooting would be cheaper and more humane, I think.
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Zethra » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:37 pm

Canidae wrote:Why would they gas the pups instead of simply shooting them?

That makes no sense to me...shooting would be cheaper and more humane, I think.
I agree, they could use a better means of keeping things under control. I personally would have thought that they'd do the Shooting - instead of gassing. That actually surprised me.
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Snowstar » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:47 pm

Zethra wrote:Well, there is a reason for them to control the population of wolves - that is quite a lot of wolves and judging by the amount it would cause more harm then not to the wolves if the population wasn't put under control as such.
Burying the pups in dens, and suffocating them (as said by Alpha Female) doesn't sound to good. However, the burying pups was said to be a last resort on the problem at hand.

Basically, judging by the expansion such "hunting" would need to be used, if the overly (and dangerously) large population would continue to increase without proper "controlling the population' methods - the wolves would possibly run out of food and habitat and die off from that. Which is why such hunts go on, even if it does sound cruel at times.
Well, from the proposed "research" hunts idea, it's not hard to believe that the gassing method could be called a 'last resort' action, but in reality used much more than is nessecary.
Also, could it be that the corrent hunting is keeping the wolves just below the point at which they'd starve down? Therefore avoiding a perfectly free population control method- nature. Eventually, they would starve a bit at this rate, but it's taking a while, and numbers are still growing.

(I don't know how to quite more than one post at once...)
In the article, it was said that wolves have been spotted in New England, which I haven't heard about. Might they just be large coyote-wolf hybrids? However, if it is true, then that's great! They haven't lived here for, what? A century or two?
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by yourlilemogirl » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:59 pm

Another thing i didn't really understand is that the article says that only a small proportion of the livestock are taken by wolves than the other animals listed, but then, why do they target the wolf so heatedly and leave the other culprits be? :/
Government statistics back up critics' claims that wolves account for a small proportion of livestock losses caused by predators. They kill fewer sheep and cattle than coyotes, bears, mountain lions or even dogs.
Big Bad Wolf Syndrome at its finest, tsk tsk.

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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Midnight Sky Wolf » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:08 am

:cry: Wolves deserve their right! Pups should not, neither should adult wolves, be treated in that way :!:

There is a special person (Not on WQ) who is behind all of wolf airial hunting in Alaska / Canada!
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by shadowwolf1595 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:18 pm

wolves are awesome
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Re: Endangered or not, wolf killings set to expand

Post by Koa » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:33 pm

shadowwolf1595 wrote:wolves are awesome
Please only post if you have something relevant to add to the discussion; thanks!
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