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Endangered Species Updates
May 19, 2005

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued the following news release on May 19, 2005

Elizabeth Slown, 505-248-6909
Victoria Fox, 505-248-6455

Information Sought in Suspicious Wolf Death

On Monday, May 9th, 2005 between 6 and 7 a.m., a Mexican wolf was found dead alongside Highway 60 East of Vernon, Arizona.  A preliminary investigation indicates the wolf had been feeding on a road-killed elk on the shoulder of the road.

The Service would like to hear from any individuals who may have seen suspicious activities, saw a vehicle parked beside Hwy 60 during the timeframe or actually saw the wolf.  A reward of up to $10,000 is offered for information leading to the apprehension of the individual or individuals responsible for the wolf's death.

Individuals with information that may be helpful in solving this crime should call the Service's law enforcement office at 928-333-5245 or the Arizona Department of Game and Fish's Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700.  Callers will remain anonymous.

Killing a Mexican Gray Wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act and can invoke criminal penalties up to $50,000 and / or up to one year in jail or civil penalties of up to $25,000.

The wolf has been identified as the Iris Pack Alpha Male 798.  Its remains have been sent to the Service's forensic laboratory to confirm the cause of death.  The results are pending.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. 


From: Sharon Beck [mailto:h2o4catl@alicel.com]
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2005 7:53 AM
Subject: Fw: Wisconsin gray wolf population up 14 percent
Wisconsin gray wolf population up 14 percent
The Associated Press

WAUSAU — A new estimate shows Wisconsin’s gray wolf population may have grown to as many as 455 animals.  That far exceeds the goal set by state game managers and raises concerns about more conflicts between the predators and humans.

“We are glad the wolf population is doing well,” Adrian Wydeven, coordinator of the wolf program for the state Department of Natural Resources, said Wednesday. “We are concerned there are some wolves in packs spreading into some areas where they are causing more problems.”




The latest estimate indicates the wolf population grew 14 percent in a year and is nearly 100 over the DNR’s management goal for the species.  The DNR said that in 2004, wolves killed livestock on 22 farms, compared with 14 farms in 2003 and eight in 2002. Last year, 24 problem wolves were legally killed, compared with 17 in 2003. The agency has permits to kill up to 34 this year.

“I think we have lost some public support already because of the growth of the population,” Wydeven said in a telephone interview from Park Falls. “I believe there has been some erosion of tolerance. There is some risk that illegal killing (of wolves) could increase.”
   For example, a pair of collared wolves in northeastern Wisconsin were illegally killed, he said. “That is kind of unusual. Normally, an illegal kill will hit only one member of a pack.”

Based on late winter surveys, 425 to 455 wolves now roam in 108 packs mainly in the northern and central forest regions, the DNR said. 
   A year ago, the DNR estimated there were 373 to 410 wolves, also in 108 packs.

Eric Koens, who has a herd of about 100 beef cattle in Rusk County and is a director with the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, said big problems loom because northern Wisconsin keeps losing wolf habitat to development at the same time the wolf population is growing.
   “You see them all over. They are like stray dogs,” he said. “People cannot even let their dog out to take a leak at night. They are attacked and killed. It is a sad situation.”

The DNR’s original wolf recovery plan in 1989 called for a self-sustaining population of 80 wolves and that’s all the state needs, Koens said.
   The DNR bases the estimate on aerial surveys that track 35 packs with radio-collared wolves, snow track surveys done by DNR trackers and volunteers over thousands of miles and reports of wolf sightings by the general public.   The estimate does not include the wolf pups that would have been born in April.

Wydeven said Wisconsin’s habitat could support at least 100 to 200 more wolves, but the public’s tolerance probably wouldn’t allow it.
   Dave Withers of Iron River, chairman of the wolf committee of the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, said many people believe the DNR’s population estimate is too conservative, and public support for wolves is eroding.   “There will be more people illegally killing wolves than there were before to protect their livestock and their hunting dogs,” Withers said. “There is a general feeling among a lot of the residents in the areas where wolves live that they just don’t like wolves.” 





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