Friday, November 21, 2014

Gray Wolf at the Grand Canyon - Naming Contest!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 11, 2015  -  10-year-old Zachary Tanner from Oregon won the naming contest with the beautiful name "Echo." Zachary thought of the name Echo "because she came back to the Grand Canyon like an Echo does." 
    Unfortunately, on December 28, 2014, Echo was shot and killed in southern Utah - apparently mistaken for a coyote by a hunter. Her incredible journey south from the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population ended tragically.
  

 **Naming Contest Now CLOSED**
  Recently, a large, collared canine was spotted in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona; DNA results just came in confirming that the lone animal is a wild gray wolf!

 
     This wolf is the first to roam the Grand Canyon  area since the 1940's!

   Conservationists are now holding a naming contest for the incredible Grand Canyon wolf, just for kids! You must be younger than 18 to enter: http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1340/51/Enter-Now-Grand-Canyon-Wolf-Naming-Contest 

                                                                           

     The female wolf had to travel 450 miles from either Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming to reach the Grand Canyon. Check out the map below to see how far south she had to travel to reach northern Arizona (the occupied wolf range in southern Arizona is a small population of Mexican gray wolves; the Grand Canyon wolf was a gray wolf):
   

     This female wolf traveled an amazing distance to find a mate and start a family, just like Oregon's famous wandering wolf OR-7, affectionately named "Journey" by the public.

          Let's help give this astounding wandering wolf a name!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Montana "Wolf Stamp"

**Public Comment Period Now CLOSED**
Montana is considering having a "Wolf Management Stamp." http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/armRules/pn_0177.html
        This stamp would "be issued to any persons who wish to donate to the department's management of wolves." Any resident or nonresident would be able to purchase one or more stamps for a donation of $20.00 each.
         Most of the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks budget comes from the sale of hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses and tags. This perhaps gives 'consumptive' (hunters, fishermen, trappers) a more skewed influence on the Department and what it can do with those funds, especially when it comes to wolf management. The proposed Wolf Management Stamp provide an additional funding source for wolf conservation and management in Montana. The stamp would give non-consumptive users (wildlife and bird watchers, etc.) the opportunity to contribute to wolf and wildlife management.
        Montana wants to know if you think this stamp is a good idea or if you think there should be any changes. It's important for both residents and nonresidents of Montana to comment, as both will be able to use the stamp.

Please submit your comment here: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/armRules/pn_0177.html
Comments are due Friday, August 22, 2014!

Here's a sample comment for a nonresident:

I live in _________ and visit Montana several times a year/plan to visit Montana in the future; one of the main reasons I go to Montana/plan to visit Montana is to enjoy Montana's rich array of wildlife, especially wolves, in a non-consumptive manner. I believe that the proposed Wolf Conservation Stamp is a good idea, and I know I would buy them to support Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and their efforts to coexist with wolves using methods other than lethal management. 
I would suggest a few changes; in the proposed rule, change the stamp from "wolf management stamp " to "wolf conservation stamp". Make sure that "non-lethal" is specified. These stamps should go exclusively to non-lethal wolf management, as FWP already gets its lethal management funds from consumptive users. Especially, I would like to see money go toward non-lethal proactive measures to prevent wolf/livestock conflict. I approve of the proposal's inclusion of money going towards the purchase and maintenance of wolf habitat; conducting research, education, and outreach; and hiring additional wardens to prevent poaching of wolves and other wildlife.
Thank you for this proposal that gives everyone a say in the management and conservation Montana's amazing wildlife that draws so many people from around the country.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Mexican Gray Wolves Need You

**Public Comment Period Now CLOSED**


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed changes to the management of Mexican gray wolves; some are good changes, but many are bad changes. PLEASE LEARN ABOUT THEM HERE:  http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1278/51/Act-Now-US-Fish-and-Wildlife-Service-Proposes-to-Doom-Mexican-Wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be taking comments from the public.
Even if you don't live in New Mexico or Arizona, you can still help this essential species by leaving your official comment here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-2013-0056-6056



Brief background on "lobos:" Mexican gray wolves, also known as "lobos," are a subspecies of gray wolves. They are smaller and have very distinct, beautiful markings. They are currently the most endangered mammal in North America. Lobos used to range across southwestern North America, but like gray wolves, they were nearly completely exterminated in the United States and Mexico by the mid 1900's until only a handful remained in the wild. Thanks to a captive breeding program, this unique subspecies was saved from extinction, and lobos were reintroduced near the border of New Mexico and Arizona in 1998. Because the current population of lobos began from so few remaining wolves, lobos are continually being released into the wild to make sure the population remains genetically diverse. Even though lobos were reintroduced 16 years ago, there are still less than 90 surviving in the wild as of 2013. These few wild wolves are restricted to a certain recovery zone; if they leave this zone, they are trapped and put back into the zone.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wood River Wolf Project - Idaho Workshop

       This past week I attended the Wood River Wolf Project's workshop in Idaho. The Wood River Wolf Project is an operation that has helped ranchers in the Sun Valley area of Idaho for almost 7 years. They work to help local ranchers protect their livestock from wolves.
                                     
      How does this help wolves? When wolves kill livestock like cows or sheep, the rancher can call Wildlife Services, a division of the Department of Agriculture who is charged with "resolving wildlife conflicts," to have the wolves killed. But the Wood River Wolf Project helps ranchers to prevent their livestock from being killed in the first place. The Wood River Wolf Project has worked with about 100,000 sheep over the last 7 years with less than 30 sheep lost to wolves over the entire period. Not a single wolf has been killed for depredation (preying on livestock) in the area. 
                                                    .         

          The WWWP uses creative tools like range riders, flagging fences, guard dogs, and night lights. At the workshop, we learned a lot about how to deploy these tools in the field so they work properly. We visited one of several ranches (Lava Lake Lamb) that has had great success keeping wolves and livestock apart. We met some sheep and guard dogs. The dogs serve to provide an extra presence with the sheep and to alert people when wolves are near.



       We also heard from a cattle rancher just outside of Yellowstone National Park . The main message we got from these ranchers was that is was more effective for them to prevent livestock loss in the first place than to wait until livestock has already been lost to wolves. Teaching the resident wolf packs to avoid livestock is better than killing wolves after-the-fact. In other words, proactive prevention works better for ranchers than reactive killing. 

        Non-lethal, predator-friendly ranching is better for ranchers and better for wildlife.

       The Wood River Wolf Project is saving wolves by increasing tolerance and protecting livestock. They have proven that wolves and livestock can coexist on the same landscape, and the project is a model for coexisting with wolves - and other predators - across the country and world. 
      

Friday, May 23, 2014

"Man-Eating Super Wolves"

Don't believe everything you see on TV.
 - especially when it's called "Man-Eating Super Wolves" (looking at you, Animal Planet). Facts can be, and have been, completely distorted for cheap entertainment. Most people see these horror shows and think that wolves really are man-eating beasts. It's really sad that such a popular channel is spreading lies and primal fear of wolves. Wolves need our protection, but who would want to protect something they fear? Wolves directly pay the price for this "entertainment."
        We're pretty upset about what Animal Planet showed about wolves for "Monster Week." They claimed that wolves are running out of prey and are starting to hunt and eat humans regularly (a flat-out lie). Here are the facts. In North America, 2 people have been allegedly killed by wolves in last 100 years. Both were "iffy" attacks. Both were in proximity to illegal trash dumps, meaning the wolves were eating human food and had lost their fear of humans. The loss of human life was tragic, but it is not a repeating pattern on the wolves' part. The wolf in Minnesota who bit the young camper had been fed by people at that campsite (it had been habituated to human presence). I have spent a lot of time close to wild wolves in many situations: when pups are near, when food is near, when they're  hungry, and never once have I felt remotely threatened. Wolves avoid humans. They DO NOT see us as food. All wild animals deserve our respect but wolves don't deserve our fear. In contrast, black bears have killed 63 people in the last 100 years, dogs kill 30 people EACH year, and cows kill 20 people EACH year (that's 1000 TIMES more people than wolves). Don't let @AnimalPlanet fool you. Wolves are not monsters
        Now, many people believe that wolves kill humans and you need to be afraid if wolves are near. How should people know any better with these wild distortions being broadcast on TV as fact? This is a huge setback for dispelling the myths surrounding wolves and gaining public acceptance for wolf recovery and presence on the landscape. 
        Animal Planet is selling flat-out lies about wolves and other wildlife just to gain viewership.

        Please contact them and share your outrage and concerns, and ask them never to air "Man Eating Super Wolves" again: 
http://corporate.discovery.com/contact/viewer-relations/
Or call their Ethics Hotline and leave a comment: 571-262-4899
Share your thoughts, but avoid using swear words and use good grammar. They'll take you seriously that way.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wolf Watching in Yellowstone, April 2014

For spring break, I again headed to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to observe wolves in the wild. We saw a total of 11 wolves in three packs: 7 in the Junction Butte Pack, 2 in 755M's group, and 2 in the Lamar Canyon Pack. We were there for about 6 days, and every single day we saw hunting behavior from the wolves. Several times we saw young members of the Junction Butte Pack attempting to hunt some elk. One day, they faced off some elk on the edge of a rocky ledge, then chased one elk down some very treacherous and steep terrain. Then we saw the Lamar Canyon pair chase and test a small group of elk. Several more times we saw the Junction Butte wolves seriously chase some elk; but of all the wolves' kill attempts we witnessed on our trip, we didn't see a single successful hunt. Studies have shown that wolves are only successful about once or twice for every 10 times they attempt a kill. That means they fail 80%-90% of the time. Elk are by no means defenseless against wolves, and many times we saw the elk chasing the wolves. Wolves can be severely injured by their prey. Hunting is a life-or-death event for both predator and prey.
Here are some images from the trip:

These are the two members of the Lamar Canyon Pack, 925M and 926F. 926F is very pregnant, so 925M will have to provide for her and the pups all by himself. Perhaps at this moment he was showing her what he was capable of...but the elk would have none of that!

 889F and 755M. 889F used to be part of the Junction Butte Pack and 755M used to be the alpha male of the Lamar Canyon Pack before 06, his former mate, was shot. While we were there, this pair met up with two young males from the Junction Butte pack. At first, the two males chased 755M because they didn't know him, but eventually they all played together. Interesting inter-pack interaction.
 925M, aka "Big Gray," the current alpha male of the Lamar Canyon Pack.
 926F is the fearless alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack. She stopped to face this bull bison, who barely gave her a second glance. He's about 20 times bigger than her and so had nothing to worry about.
 Six of the seven members of the Junction Butte Pack.
 Coyotes on a bull elk carcass (not killed by wolves, but instead probably died of malnutrition)
 A yearling from the Junction Butte Pack spent quite a long time trying to get at this newborn bison calf, but the mother bison was experienced and the young wolf eventually gave up.
Young Junction Butte wolves frolicking while the alpha female was at the den, perhaps giving birth, and the alpha male attends to her.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Wolves and Livestock: Can They Coexist?

Know what's AWESOME? In the whole state of Washington in all of 2013, only one cow was killed by wolves. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has been helping ranchers with awesome, creative ways to keep their livestock safe without having to kill a single wolf in any of Washington's thirteen wolf packs. Non-lethal methods are often very effective, and wolves and livestock CAN coexist. It does take a lot of effort and it's only fair that livestock owners get some help with nonlethal methods, whether from state or federal wildlife agencies or private organizations. Both are at work in Washington and with great results. Wolves usually view cattle and sheep as sort of alien, not as prey. Often, something happens that causes a wolf to associate livestock with food, such as the carcass of a cow or sheep that died of natural causes being left out in the open. The smell of rotting meat will attract wolves and they will scavenge on the carcass, which may cause them to associate living livestock with food. Only 20% of wolves cause problems with livestock, but those problems are highly publicized. The best way to keep livestock safe is to stop wolves from associating livestock with food in the first place, and there are lots of ways to go about this. Even if wolves do start preying on livestock, it's not too late to get them to stop. Here are some very neat and creative nonlethal deterrents and a handbook on how ranchers can use them: http://www.defenders.org/sites/default/files/publications/livestock_and_wolves.pdf

"Fladry" is a little on the wackier of the non-lethal methods, but it has proven very effective. Fladry is simply red flags along a string. For some reason, something about the fladry trips wolves up and they will not cross the line it makes. Wolves are very intelligent, so in case they do test the boundaries, there's also something called turbofladry, which is fladry with an electric current. So if the wolf tries to touch or step over or under the fladry, it will be met with an unpleasant experience and probably won't try again. Nobody really knows what it is about fladry that deters wolves, but it does. Don't believe it? See for yourself.
This calf in Washington state died of natural causes and this wolf scavenged on it before fladry was erected around the calf (the carcass couldn't be moved). The wolf visited for three days and nights but never once crossed the fladry (though he walked through the barbed wire fence with ease). Eventually he left the area and dispersed to Canada.

Some will argue that killing wolves is the better option to protect livestock, but this is not the case. Killing wolves after wolves kill livestock creates an endless cycle. Killing a wolf or wolf pack after it kills livestock only creates room for more wolves to move in and potentially kill livestock again, so then those wolves will be killed and more wolves will move in...and so on and so forth. Livestock will keep getting killed and the problem won't be solved. But if you teach the resident wolf pack not to harm livestock, then you won't lose livestock in the first place. 
Wolves and livestock can coexist.

If you've ever eaten a steak or worn wool, you're impacting wolves and other predators/wildlife. It doesn't have to be a negative impact, though; please check out http://www.predatorfriendly.org/ to support businesses practicing predator-friendly methods!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Scientists Reject Plan to Delist Wolves

**THE OFFICIAL PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED**

*Delisting of the gray wolf is still being considered; if you want to make your voice heard in an unofficial way, hand-write a letter and mail it to: 
                                               Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240



In June, the Obama administration officially proposed removing gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List EVERYWHERE IN THE UNITED STATES. That means that they wouldn't be federally protected.

The government claimed that this proposal was in line with "the best available science" on the issue. A panel of highly qualified scientists was commissioned to review the proposal. Well, they have, and they have REJECTED the proposal, saying it goes AGAINST the best available science. Please read about their conclusions here: http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/pdf/Final_Review_of_Proposed_rule_regarding_wolves2014.pdf
As a result of this, the public comment period on the delisting is REOPENING for 45 days, starting February 10th and ending March 27th. **NOW CLOSED**
Here's where to submit your comment: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073-43030
Also, please copy your letter and email it to: feedback@ios.doi.gov 
Every comment counts! Here's what you might want your letter to include. Feel free to use the exact words, but read through first (I encourage you to try to use your own reasons in addition)! Remember to be RESPECTFUL, use proper grammar and spelling, and try not to base your whole argument on emotion - use scientific references! Talk about personal experiences with wolves and why they are important to YOU and young people across the nation. Remember that there is a 5000 CHARACTER LIMIT! (If you have any questions or want to run your letter by me, comment on this post or email at kids4wolves@gmail.com!) Thank you! 
Please comment "done" on this post when you've sent the letter so we can get an idea of how many people are writing! If you're willing, paste your whole letter - we'd love to hear what you're saying!

Here's what you could include in your comments:

 I oppose the proposal to remove gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List.
     Wolves are still extinct in most of the states across the nation, yet if this proposal were to go through, wolves would be considered NOT endangered in those states. In the states of Washington and Oregon, only about 50-100 wolves exist, yet these would also be considered a not-endangered - "recovered" - population. Under the Endangered Species Act, species cannot be taken off the endangered species list unless they are recovered - which gray wolves are not! If wolves are removed from the endangered species list, then each state will manage their own wolves. States have a proven history of killing as many wolves as possible, often using inhumane and unscientific methods.There are still many habitats in the U.S. where wolves have the potential to thrive, but have yet to move into those areas; removing protection in places where wolves have yet to recover - specifically the Pacific Northwest, California, the Northeast, and the southern Rocky Mountains - is not scientifically justified. Wolves have sustainable populations in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota; federal protection has already been removed in those areas. The only thing that will be accomplished under this proposal is removing federal protection in states that don't yet have a recovered wolf population. The decision to remove a species from the Endangered Species List is supposed to be based on the best available science (as you claim this proposal is), but the panel of highly qualified scientists you commissioned  to review your proposal have rejected it as NOT reflecting the best available science on this issue. They state that, despite what you say in your proposal, the wolves in the Pacific Northwest may be in fact a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) in need of continued federal protection. Another one of the main reasons behind your proposal is your assertion that gray wolves, Canis Lupus, never occupied the eastern United States; instead, that a new and entirely seperate species, Canis Lycaon, occupied that region. The panel of geneticists and taxonomists reject that assertion as inconclusive and NOT a reason to strip protection for gray wolves across the whole United States. 
 The scientists whose work is referenced in your proposal also voiced their strong disagreements (and I quote): "“Based on a careful review of the rule, we do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of our work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves, or is in accordance with the fundamental purpose of the Endangered Species Act to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.” Please base your decision on the actual best available science, not the best available politics.
     Many young people care deeply about this issue. I am a member of a group called Kids4Wolves. We work to educate ourselves, our peers, and adults about the truth of wolves - both the good and the not so good (but solvable). We also work to get other young people involved in the process, to keep the policy makers honest when they make these decisions. After all, my generation will have to be the ones to live with the benefits or consequences of whatever your generation decides today. Young people in the United States are perhaps the group to be most effected by your decision.  I implore you to reconsider your proposal to remove federal protection for gray wolves across the whole United States.
Thank you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"Frozen" - Disney's Portrayal of Wolves

     Disney recently made a new animated musical movie called "Frozen."

     This movie is wildly popular among all ages (#1 in the country, in fact); probably more than 75% of my friends and classmates have seen it and they all are crazy about it. They've all been trying to convince me to go see it. In passing, one of my friends mentioned that there are wolves in the movie. I looked it up on the internet and this is what I found:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qF7AfwMzrpc
     The vicious wolves, of course, are trying to eat the heroes. My friends say it's no big deal, that people don't even remember the wolf scene; but I think it's solidly reinforcing the Little Red Riding Hood mentality that young (and old) people have of wolves. What do you think is the impression of wolves that people are left with after seeing this? If you didn't know, what would you think about wolves? 

     Wolves do not attack and eat people. The fear of wolves is drilled into our heads starting with fairy tales in our infancy. We don't think to question them, and the idea that wolves are killers is reinforced throughout our lives, from phrases like "thrown to the wolves" to short scenes in movies like Frozen to whole movies like The Grey. Only people who take the time to actually research wolves will know that they are any different than what the media shows them to be. Society will only want to protect something they love, and they won't love something they fear - and they fear wolves. How can anyone be blamed for not knowing that wolves don't kill people? That's all they've been told, and we see wolves demonized at every turn. Why are wolves always the villain? I suppose it's just part of our culture - a part we need to work to change.
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Photo of Jesse at Wolf Haven International.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Killer Wolves?

       This is something I hear, in some form, somewhat frequently (this exact comment was left on the National Wolfwatcher Coalition Facebook page): "I suggest killing every wolf outside of a zoo or very remote areas. If you are offended, please have a loved one take a walk in the woods of Idaho unarmed." 
I have, in fact, "walked in the woods of Idaho (as well as Wyoming, Montana, and Washington wolf country) unarmed," and I have yet to be threatened, much less attacked, by wild wolves. I have spent time with no protection but a backpack or a tent, tracking, hearing and seeing wolves, and have never once felt in danger. But don't take my word for it: Americans take between 16 and 35 million trips to wilderness each year; only 2 people have been killed by healthy wolves in North America in the last 100 years (neither of which were in the lower 48 states). By comparison, cattle kill more than 20 people every year; that's about 1000 times more than wolves. Wolves generally avoid humans.

       All wild animals are dangerous, but wolves aren't any more dangerous than other wildlife. 

Photo of wolf tracks in Washington State. 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sacramento Wolf Hearing

On November 22nd, 2013, I flew to Sacramento, California to attend a hearing concerning the nationwide delisting of gray wolves. Hundreds of people showed up to voice their opinions. A rally was held before the official hearing,Displaying photo 1.JPG and several people spoke about wolves, including myself. Partway through the speeches, some anti-wolf folks starting showing up. They held up signs like "Farmers, NOT Wolves" and "Save the endangered species: homo sapiens." Displaying photo 5.JPG
       They eventually left. They seemed discouraged after predator-friendly rancher K. Hendricks stood in front of them holding a sign that read "Ranchers for Wolves." Read an amazing article by her about coexisting with predators: http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/welcoming-wolves-back-to-california-a-ranchers-perspective/
Displaying photo 3.JPG
       The rally ended, and the hearing was going to start soon. We all lined up outside the hotel where the hearing was to be held. In the parking lot of the hotel, we saw things like this; a van with a photo of children in a cage - a reference to a school bus stop in Catron County, New Mexico, where people felt it necessary for kids to have to wait for the school bus in a cage because they were afraid that the critically endangered Mexican Gray Wolf was going to eat their children (though there has never been a case of a Mexican gray wolf attacking a human). The back of the van read "DELIST KILLER WOLVES." 



Displaying photo 4.JPG
       I would like to point out again that a Mexican wolf has never attacked a human, and there have been just 2 people killed by their larger relatives, gray wolves, in North America in the past 100 years. By comparison, cows kill more than 20 people every year. Another way you could say it is that cows kill 1,000 times more people than wolves do. Anyway, back to the hearing.
       Many people signed up to speak, some just came to listen. I kept a tally of how many people were pro-delisting vs. anti-delisting. Out of the 71 people who had time to testify, 16 of them were pro-delisting (in favor of removing protection for wolves across the US) and 55 were anti-delisting (in favor of keeping wolves on the federal Endangered Species List, keeping them protected). 23% were pro-delisting, 77% were anti-delisting. This is about consistent with the nationwide wolf statistics.
       Of those who testified in support of wolves, there were scientists, professors, and wildlife enthusiasts, as well as several hunters and ranchers, some of whom live in wolf country and support the presence of wolves in the ecosystem. Several ranchers shared their non-lethal methods of coexisting with wolves and other predators. Several politicians sent spokesmen to speak in support of wolves on their behalf. 
       Many of those who testified against wolves were ranchers or hunters from California. Many expressed concerns about the welfare of their livestock should wolves return to the state. Hunters were concerned about game animal populations should the wolf, an apex predator, be restored to California. Both parties said that they were worried that their children wouldn't be safe going outside. These are the usual concerns of folks in wolf country and potential wolf country. While I don't agree with some of these concerns, namely that there is a supposed danger that wolves pose to humans, I respect that people have these concerns and some of them are valid. Wolves may occasionally attack livestock, and they may impact game herds on a local level. Sadly, many people at the hearing seemed to have no respect whatsoever for the people that disagreed with them. I found that very disappointing. It was actually the wolf supporters who were unbelievably rude and disrespectful toward the ranchers, hunters, and anyone else who disagreed with them. Whenever someone said anything at all against wolves, much of the pro-wolf crowd jeered and laughed. At one point, when a rancher said that "we should be able to shoot wolves on our ranch" someone from the crowd said "we should be able to shoot you." 
       No matter how much you may disagree with someone, behavior like that is completely out of line. The people who disagree with you are still people. Just because their opinions are different from yours DOES NOT mean they matter any less or deserve less respect. Even if you disagree with that, I think it will be harder disagree with this: being laughed at and ridiculed will not make someone more willing to change their views. The ranchers themselves were quiet, attentive, mostly respectful when the wolf supporters spoke. I appreciated this and it made me all the more receptive to their point of view. If the anti-wolf crowd sees the wolf supporters as rude and close-minded, will they really want to take us seriously? To see things from our point of view?  I cannot express how sad and ineffective that is. Personal attacks and bullying will not make people more open-minded and tolerant of wolves. That is the goal, after all. Please try not to resort to elementary school level name-calling and laughing.  Calmly and respectfully use facts, statistics, and SCIENCE to prove your point in any argument instead of emotion. Keep an open mind, and maybe they will too.  It will leave them with the impression that we are reasonable people. Thank you!
All in all, despite the disappointing behavior of some participants, we heard from some very inspiring people studying and learning to live with wolves who understood the importance of their presence across the American landscape for generations to come. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wolf Watching - Yellowstone National Park December 2013

In the last few days of 2013, I visited Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. We saw four packs of wolves: the Eightmile (18 wolves), Junction Butte (9 wolves), and Lamar Canyon (2 wolves) packs, and 755M's group (2 wolves). Winter is a bountiful time for wolves. They are built for snow and cold weather. Their prey, elk, are weaker because it's hard to find vegetation under the snow. They also have a lot of trouble running through deep snow - something wolves are great at. Wolves are fat and happy these months. It is much harder during warm months. We witnessed a kill site from the two Lamar Canyon wolves. They brought down a bull elk overnight, and you could observe the battle between the predators and the prey in the snow. Although they lose more than 80% of the time, the predators won this battle, and the carcass fed the wolves as well as magpies, ravens, golden eagles, and bald eagles when we were there; it will surely feed more species like coyotes and foxes (and grizzly and black bears if they weren't hibernating). As it decomposes, it will add nutrients to the soil that will feed plant species. It was amazing to witness the cycle of life firsthand.


Junction Butte Pack.


Howling member of the Junction Butte Pack




Big Gray and Black Female, alphas of the Lamar Canyon Pack.
Big Gray and Black Female, alphas of the Lamar Canyon Pack.