29 May 2010, 11:23am
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Another Wallowa County calf killed by wolves

Capital Press, May 28, 2023 [here]

Joseph area rancher Karl Patton has lost a calf to wolves, federal and state wildlife authorities confirmed today, May 28.

Patton discovered the dead calf late Thursday and a wolf attack was confirmed by federal wolf hunter Marlyn Riggs the same day and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials today.

That brings to three the number of wolf predations confirmed in Wallowa County within three weeks by ODFW, which ranchers thought met the state’s definition of “chronic” depredation. A finding that the kills are chronic would permit the ranchers to shoot wolves found harassing cattle as well as actually attacking.

But rancher Rod Childers, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said ODFW also requires that the kills be on adjacent lands. He said the ranchers are appealing to ODFW officials in Salem for a variance.

Earlier this week, ODFW issued permits to five ranch owners and employees to shoot wolves but only if they are caught in the act of attacking.

Two other calf kills had been confirmed by Riggs and ranchers say they suspect more calves missing earlier are due to wolf activity. Patton earlier had spotted wolves in his pasture.

“We know these wolves will keep killing,” Childers said.

“While everyone is enjoying a three-day holiday, the ranchers of Wallowa County will be out looking for dead calves.”

29 May 2010, 11:22am
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Gray Wolves Rebound, To Neighbors’ Unease

Close Encounters, Animal Killings Worry Wisconsin Town; Federal Government Pushes to Allow Hunting, Trapping

By JOE BARRETT, WSJ Online, May 29, 2023 [here]

HARRISON, Wis. — David Schoone, a farmer in this lush region of northern Wisconsin, says a lone gray wolf sneaked up on his school-age daughter three years ago as she bounced on a trampoline in his backyard.

More recently, Mr. Schoone was chased into his pickup truck by a wolf, and his cousin’s wife had to run from two wolves that descended on her from opposite sides of a shed. This month, he lost two young steer to wolves.

“We gotta watch all the time,” said Mr. Schoone, 43 years old, who carries a loaded rifle when he works in his fields or goes for a walk, even though he can only legally shoot a wolf in the act of attacking a human. “They don’t show any fear of us.”

Gray wolves, which resemble tall, lean huskies and can weigh more than 100 pounds, were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by 1950. Since being placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1974, they have made a dramatic comeback, with some 4,000 in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan and nearly 1,700 in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. … [more]

29 May 2010, 11:21am
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Alaska sues feds over predator control

By MARK THIESSEN, Associated Press, May 28, 2023 [here]

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The state of Alaska sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Friday, seeking a court order allowing it to go ahead with a controversial predator control program.

At issue is the state’s plan to kill wolves to preserve a caribou herd inside the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Unimak Island, beginning as early as Tuesday.

Last week, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced it would begin shooting some wolves on Unimak, the eastern-most island in the Aleutian chain, to protect caribou calving grounds as part of its aerial predator control program.

While the program is in place in at least six locations around Alaska, it would be the first time in recent history that aerial predator control would be used inside a national refuge in Alaska.

The department planned on using two biologists and four pilots to kill wolves.

The feds responded Monday, cautioning the state that killing the wolves without a special use permit would be considered “a trespass on the refuge” and immediately referred to the U.S. attorney.

The state has interpreted that as federal officials blocking the program. The lawsuit, which names U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould, his agency and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, seeks a court order allowing the state to kill seven wolves while the litigation continues. …

Caribou are an important subsistence food for approximately 62 people living on the island, but the animal numbers have been declining. In 2002, there were more than 1,200 caribou. Last year, fewer than 300 were counted. The state has an unofficial estimate of up to 30 wolves.

The state says the killing of wolves is imperative to protect this year’s caribou calves. …

“The actions of Fish and Wildlife have set the stage for the worst possible outcome - the potential disappearance of this caribou herd and a total loss of subsistence opportunity in the area for the foreseeable future,” Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd said in a prepared statement.

“We pushed as hard as we could, recognizing that time was running out fast, but I wasn’t going to put my employees into a situation in which the federal government prosecutes them for carrying out their state responsibilities,” he said.

The lawsuit claims Fish and Wildlife is violating the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and a memorandum of understanding with the state. … [more]

27 May 2010, 12:24pm
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Hundreds show support in Cody for state to manage predator

By Richard Reeder, Cody Enterprise, May 24, 2023 [here]

The wolf impact rally in Cody on Saturday attracted several hundred people to talk about the future of the gray wolf.

The rally in City Park, held on a blustery cool day, was sponsored by the Cody Country Outfitters and Guides, and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife groups. It featured a variety of speakers hoping to educate the public about the need for delisting the predator.

For one of the first times in a public event, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation executive director David Allen shared his group’s views about the wolf issue.

“We were not at the table when we needed to be,” he said. “But now we are all about getting back to our foundation’s roots.

“We won’t wander off point anymore - we are a hunter conservation group,” he added. “And we support sound, science-based management by the state of the wolf.”

Allen said the dispute about wolves isn’t just about the predator, but is an ideological war between hunters and environmental groups.

He said he believes there are strong anti-gun and anti-hunting agendas driving the ongoing legal battles about delisting.

Allen said ultimately sportsmen and hunters will pay for whatever outcome results from the wolf controversy.

“Once this is all over, the environmental groups will walk away and we will have to clean up the mess,” he said. “Hunters and sportsmen have created the wildlife system in the West.” … [more]

27 May 2010, 12:23pm
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Judge dismisses Nevada wild horse roundup lawsuit

By Frank X. Mullen Jr., Reno Gazette Journal, May 25, 2023 [here]

A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by horse activists that sought to halt the roundups of wild horses in Nevada and the stockpiling of the animals in Midwestern facilities.

District Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington, D.C., dismissed the lawsuit against government agencies by In Defense of Animals, Nevada wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and Verdi children’s author Terri Farley on the grounds that the parties did not have standing to take legal action in the matter of holding the horses in a long-term facility and because the roundup in the Calico area of Nevada ended in February.

“We remain confident in the merits of our case and look forward to pursuing this legal issue in the near future,” said William J. Spriggs, lead counsel for Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. “The Bureau of Land Management’s practice of removing horses from the Western range and warehousing them in Midwestern holding facilities is flat out illegal, and the judge’s preliminary ruling in this regard was correct.”

BLM officials said they are withholding comment until they study the decision.

The lawsuit sought to stop a roundup of 2,500 wild horses from the half-million-acre herd management Calico area complex, comprised primarily of publicly owned lands north of Gerlach. … [more]

27 May 2010, 12:05pm
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Fresno judge lifts delta pumping restrictions

By John Ellis, The Fresno Bee, May 26, 2023 [here]

A federal judge in Fresno on Tuesday temporarily lifted Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumping restrictions designed to help endangered salmon, siding with urban and agricultural water users who said the move would not harm the fish.

The order by U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger will be in place until June 15. For west-side agriculture — including farmers and ranchers in the Westlands Water District — that could mean an extra 200,000 acre-feet of water, said Tom Birmingham, Westlands’ general manager.

In real-world terms, he added, it will mean an additional 75,000 acres of farmland could be put back into production — and with it more people put to work.

“I am thrilled with the ruling,” he said.

But in the complicated world of water law, whether the increased water deliveries actually happen is still unclear.

Pumping restrictions designed to protect another threatened fish, the tiny delta smelt, have been on the back burner because they are less restrictive than those covering the salmon. But now that the salmon restrictions have been lifted, “in theory, the smelt restrictions should limit” pumping, said Doug Obegi, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which opposed the water users’ request.

Even Birmingham admitted as much, saying the possibility exists that the smelt pumping restrictions could wipe out every drop of water gained by Tuesday’s ruling. … [more]

27 May 2010, 11:57am
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Backers of dam-removal plan fail at polls

Mallams: ‘Our elected officials aren’t listening’

By MITCH LIES, Capital Press , May 24, 2023 [here]

That combination of political stances on Klamath County commission candidate Dennis Linthicum’s website was a winning combination — particularly the part about opposing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, which calls for removing four dams on the Klamath River.

Opposition to dam removal helped the political newcomer win nearly 63 percent of the vote in the May 18 Klamath County Republican primary to unseat longtime commissioner John Elliott.

Elliott has been a supporter of the dam agreement.

Linthicum now faces Democrat Kirk Oakes in the general election.

Rep. Bill Garrard, R-Klamath Falls, who also opposes the agreement and dam removal, scored a convincing win May 18, securing 64 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for House District 56.

His opponent, wheat farmer Karl Scronce, supports the agreement.

“The people have spoken,” said Tom Mallams, a Klamath County rancher and vocal opponent of dam removal.

Mallams pointed to three recent polls that show more than 65 percent of Klamath County voters oppose the agreement and dam removal. Still, he said, Klamath County commissioners endorsed the plan.

“Our elected officials aren’t listening to people,” Mallams said. “That is what the problem is.”

Scronce agreed that supporting dam removal is an unpopular position.

“I’m sure it played a role (in my defeat),” he said. “It had to have played a role.” … [more]

22 May 2010, 10:37pm
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Wolves take calves from inside barn pen

AG Week, May 17 2010 [here]

FARGO, N.D. — Gary Leonhardt says he’s seen the height of boldness.

Officials have confirmed that two wolves came onto his farm near Waskish, Minn., three miles east of Upper Red Lake. They crawled through a cattle gate and went into his cow barn to kill three of his newborn calves.

“I’ve never seen that before, never heard of it,” Leonhardt says.

Leonhardt is happy with quick responses from federal wildlife officials, who say wolf complaints this year are running about double the normal amount because of an unusually early spring that makes deer harder for the wolves to catch and kill.

Leonhardt hopes get state compensation for the calf loss, a total of about $2,100. He’s a bit worried about the timeliness of the compensation, considering Minnesota’s budget woes.

Leonhardt says the whole things surprised him.

The majority of Leonhardt’s cows are out on pasture now, but he’s still feeding hay on those pastures for another couple of weeks. About 30 of his cows have not yet calved.

At 7:30 p.m. May 10, he put three newborn calves in a calving pen in his barn.

“One of the calves was 3 days old, the other two were a day old,” says Leonhardt, 59. “Their mother was on the other side of the gate. I turned the mothers out to eat and have water for the night. Then I’d turn the calves back out in the morning.”

At 6:30 a.m. May 11, when Leonhardt went to the barn to let them out, all thee calves were dead — gutted or torn in pieces. Tracks told him there were two wolves — one with paw prints 4 inches across and then a smaller wolf had prints 3 inches across.

The cattle gate allowed less than a foot between the bars. He’d left the solid door open on the north side of the structure for air circulation. On the south side of the barn were the mothers and the cows that hadn’t yet calved. … [more]

22 May 2010, 10:34pm
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Wallowa County ranchers report wolf kill No. 4 in 15 days

East Oregonian Publishing Group 5/21/2010 [here]

Todd and Angie Nash, owners of Marr Flat Cattle Co., are the fourth Wallowa County ranchers in 15 days to suffer wolf kills of their livestock. One of their calves was killed sometime Thursday, May 20.

Marlyn Riggs, USDA Wildlife Services wolf hunter, confirmed the wolf kill after inspecting the site where the partially eaten remains of the calf were found about 10 miles east of Wallowa Lake in the Cat’s Back area.

Nash had checked his cattle that morning and then went to a meeting of cattlemen, county commissioners, Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen and Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, to discuss the issue of Oregon Fish and Wildlife officials’ refusal to abide by Wildlife Service findings on wolf kills.

When Nash rechecked the pasture at 1 p.m., he found the kill.

“I saw a cow that I suspected had a dead calf on the morning before the meeting. That’s why I went back up there. I had an inkling,” he said. “When I went back up I saw a couple of golden eagles on the carcass and kicked them off and called Fred Steen and Marlyn Riggs.”

According to Steen and Nash, Riggs was able to identify trauma and bite marks on the carcass and wolf tracks and scat were found nearby.

ODFW Biologist Vic Coggins represented his agency at the site inspection, but could not reveal his determination until after consulting with his superiors. Late Friday, ODFW announced that it had determined the kill was done by a wolf or wolves. “ODFW is considering next steps to avoid more livestock losses,” spokeswoman Michelle Denehy said. “Under Oregon Administrative Rules guiding responses to wolf depredation, the department may issue permits to landowners allowing them to injuriously haze wolves or to shoot wolves “caught in the act” of biting, wounding or killing but not testing or scavenging livestock.”

Steen has taken possession of the remains of the Nash calf as he did with the Makin calf killed May 16. Steen has vowed to treat all wolf predation as a matter of public safety. Although Nash’s calf was killed in a remote location, several ranchers have reported wolves within sight of their homes and say that the wolves simply stand and look at them until they fire a gun in the air or pursue them with a motor vehicle. Several ranchers have said publicly that they no longer allow their children to check the cattle out of fear for their safety.

On May 5, ODFW confirmed Bob Lathrop’s calf was killed by wolves but has refused to confirm that wolves killed the calves of Tom and Lori Schaafsma on May 13 or Kirk and Liz Makin on May 16. ODFW Wolf Program Coordinator Russ Morgan did not examine the kill site in any of the last three cases.

Although this the fourth kill confirmed by Wildlife Services, Nash and other ranchers have been complaining for months that previously pregnant cows pastured on remote locations are found without calves. Other ranchers have reported that they did not call in suspected kills because the carcass did not match ODFW’s classification of a “textbook” wolf kill. … [more]

22 May 2010, 10:21pm
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Orcas sighting near Longview

Tom Paulu, Longview Daily News, 05/22/10 [here]

LONGVIEW — Scott White had stopped for construction on Ocean Beach Highway just west of Longview on Monday and was passing time sitting on the guardrail.

Then, he’s sure, he saw a couple of killer whales surface about 25 feet off the river bank.

“It happened so fast,” White said. “Up they came and took a breather, and then I didn’t see them no more.”

White is positive they were orcas, not the sea lions and seals commonly seen in the Columbia.

“You don’t see a white-and-black seal, and they ain’t 20 feet long,” he said.

White, who was stopped for highway construction near Germany Creek, surmises it was a mother and calf following the spring chinook run up the river.

Experts say that killer whales indeed might appear that far up the Columbia, more than 50 river miles from its mouth.

Brad James, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist in the Vancouver office, said that in the 1980s he saw a pod of killer whales in the Columbia below the Megler-Astoria bridge. Co-workers have seen orcas in the Columbia River Estuary, but James said he hasn’t heard of them as far upstream as Germany Creek, which is well above the river’s salt water zone.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re in there,” said Dyanna Lambourn, a WDFW biologist who works with marine mammals. She said salmon would draw them into the river.

Her office hadn’t received any reports of orcas in the Columbia. … [more]

D.C. Metro Police Escorted SEIU Protesters to Bank Of America Executive’s Home

by Archy Cary May, Big Journalism, May 21 2010 [here]

The family of Greg Baer, Bank of America executive, is located in a jurisdiction protected by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), which responded promptly to a disturbance call from his neighborhood last weekend.

According to Corporal Dan Friz, an MCPD spokesperson in Rockville, Maryland, the department received a disturbance call from one of Baer’s neighbors at 4:10 pm last Sunday. Four MCPD units arrived at Baer’s Greenville Rd. address at 4:15 pm.  At least two Metropolitan Police Department units from the nearby District of Columbia were already at the scene when they arrived.

Why? Because police cars attached to the Washington MPD’s Civil Disturbance Unit had escorted the SEIU [Service Employees International Union] protesters’ buses to Baer’s home. Such cross-jurisdictional escort activity is not uncommon for both departments according to Friz and Metro Police Department spokesperson Officer Eric Frost.  Still, the District police did not inform their colleagues of what was about to happen in one of their Maryland neighborhoods. …

Video: A caravan of SEIU buses receive a Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department escort to a private home in Maryland where the protesters, from all appearances, violate Montgomery County law by engaging in a stationary protest. … [more]

Note: the DC cops as well as many other public employees are members of SEIU. The SEIU sponsored the protests in front of a private citizen’s home because they have a push on to attack Bank of America. The SEIU has another campaign going to ban the American flag from public schools [here]. The ties between SEIU, ACORN, and Obama run deep [here].

20 May 2010, 12:05am
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USSA and Others Seek Great Lakes Wolf Delisting

Black Bear Blog, May 18, 2023 [here]

(Columbus) – Today, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) and other national and state based groups filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove the Western Great Lakes wolves from the Endangered Species List.

The petition incorporates information regarding the wolves’ population status from similar petitions filed by the Departments of Natural Resources in Minnesota and Wisconsin in March and April, 2010. This information includes population numbers of 3,000 wolves now present in Minnesota, 460-500 in Wisconsin and 430 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This is a significant increase in wolf population from the 1970s, when they were placed under Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.

Once removed from ESA list, the wolves would still be protected under the management plans of each state.

“The numbers of wolves throughout the region have clearly recovered and it is time for the states to regain their rightful management authority,” said Rob Sexton, USSA vice president for government affairs. “Though it’s already been a long road, the USSA and our partners remain committed to ensuring that this delisting happens.”

Joining the USSA in filing the petition are the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Dairyland Committee of Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, National Wild Turkey Federation of Wisconsin, Whitetails of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators Inc.

Two previous efforts by FWS to delist the Western Great Lakes gray wolves were reversed as a result of lawsuits filed by anti-hunting groups and some procedural mistakes made by the FWS in the waning days of the Bush Administration.

19 May 2010, 11:57pm
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Endangered Sea Lions Munch Endangered Salmon

At Bonneville Dam, the sea lions continue to munch endangered salmon, despite hazing — and a lethal injection program

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian May 13, 2023 [here]

BONNEVILLE DAM — Despite a flurry of shotgun-fired firecrackers, rubber buckshot and lethal injections that have killed 10 California sea lions this year, the amount of salmon eaten by sea lions at the first dam along the Columbia River is approaching record levels.

That’s the word from Robert Stansell, a fish biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who has monitored the sea lion’s often surprising behavior since he started at Bonneville in 1982.

“These animals do learn over time,” Stansell says. “Every time I think I know something, the next year they throw me a curveball.”

The lethal-take program, requested by Oregon, Washington and Idaho, is the first in the nation to kill marine mammals to save threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead since Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. The Columbia is home to a multibillion-dollar salmon restoration effort.

But it’s not easy to rebalance nature at the base of a mammoth hydropower dam, even with observers on the dam from dawn to dusk to track the sea lion dietary preferences, shotgun-armed hazers on boats and along the dam, and four sea lion traps on shore below the dam’s north powerhouse.

Salmon eaten by California sea lions at the hydropower dam — 140 miles upstream but a prime spot for catching salmon before they swim up the fish ladders — are down this year. But the 73 spotted so far are up from last year and newcomers have spiked, signs opportunistic colleagues may be replacing animals trapped and killed at the dam. … [more]

19 May 2010, 11:55pm
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Recovery of one native species deepens struggle of another

by Paul Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 5, 2023 [here]

The distinctive beep bore bad news for the reintroduction of elk in Wisconsin. Bad, but not unexpected.

The state’s elk biologists had steeled themselves for the day the next mortality signal would sound.

It happened Monday. When Laine Stowell followed the electronic trail to the bank of the West Fork of the Chippewa River, all that was left of the female elk was hair, a few bones and a radio collar.

The elk had fallen prey to gray wolves, probably of the Torch River Pack, reasoned Stowell.

The incident highlights the recovery and burgeoning population of a native predator species long linked to wildness in northern Wisconsin.

It also underscores the challenges facing another native as it struggles to re-establish itself in the Badger State.

The loss was especially noteworthy because it reduced the state’s elk herd to 131 animals - the same place it started last May.

It meant the elk herd, for just the second time in the 15-year effort to re-establish the native animals, would not show annual growth.

Of course, there are still two to three weeks left in what biologists call the “elk year,” before the next round of calves are born and before the herd renews its struggle for growth.

“We could still lose some,” said Stowell, elk biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, his voice indicating such an event was more likely than not.

Only in 2006-’07, when the herd declined by 3%, has an elk year ended in the red.

The herd started in 1995 with 25 elk transferred from Michigan to the Clam Lake area. The project was made possible in large part by funds raised by Wisconsin members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. …

According to DNR estimates, Wisconsin had 702 to 746 wolves during the winter of 2009-’10, an increase of 75 to 100 animals from the previous year.

Wolves have been the leading cause of elk mortality since reintroduction. According to DNR data, 44 of the 143 known elk deaths since 1995 have been due to wolves. … [more]

17 May 2010, 11:13am
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Cattle ranchers again must cope with limited grazing

by Scott Sandsberry, Yakima Herald-Republic, May 16, 2023 [here]

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — For the second straight year, the state has withdrawn its livestock grazing plans on state wildlife lands in eastern Kittitas County.

Facing the loss of its sole range ecologist and ongoing litigation from Western Watersheds Project, an Idaho-based conservation group, the state says there will be no cattle grazing this year on the Whisky Dick and Quilomene wildlife areas.

Opponents of the grazing plan, the primary issue being the use of state wildlife lands for livestock, celebrated the state’s decision. But Kittitas cattle rancher Russ Stingley must continue to graze his cattle on already well-thinned pastures. His only alternative is to sell some of his livestock.

“We’ll possibly have to sell off some cattle — probably 100 or so if we can’t find a home for them,” said Stingley, who has about 500 head. “Depends on if this is a drought year — if they shut off our (irrigation) water earlier than usual, we won’t have much choice.”

Stingley’s grazing permit on the Whisky Dick and Quilomene, part of a regional, multi-partner conservation plan, has been off-again, on-again. … [more]

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