Archive for Predators

Idaho, Montana seek OK for hunting of wolves

The Associated Press

State officials sought Tuesday to revive gray wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies, even as they entered talks with environmentalists whose lawsuit restored the endangered status of the animals. On Tuesday, Montana asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to commit by Sept. 10 to the state’s plan for “conservation hunts” beginning this fall.

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War Rages On

Montana’s “Fish, Wildlife & Parks” [FWP] director, Joe Maurier, spoke yesterday to a group of Conservationist and other groups stating that Montana has “a recovered wolf population and we will appeal.” The statement to appeal is a result of the August 5th district court ruling that returned the region’s recovered wolves to the federal endangered species list.

Director Maurier advised attending groups that “Montana will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by Sept. 5,” a 30-day deadline mandate under the current appeals process.

Currently, 525 wolves reside in Montana. The FWP had intentions of reducing Montana’s population to about 450 dogs by years end using a combination of methods, including hunting.

Under the recent ruling though, Montana’s efforts to maintain authority to manage the wolf population has been halted.

“The endgame for Montana is to regain state management and a delisted wolf species,” Bob Lane, FWP’s chief legal counsel stated. “We are committed to come out with state management and we won’t concede that point.”

Lane also said FWP will petition the USFWS to allow for a conservation hunting season; to provide authority to remove wolves in some areas where they are impacting other wildlife populations; to provide for a more aggressive response to livestock depredations; and to down list wolves from “endangered” to “threatened” in the northern portion of Montana.

Gray Wolf Survey

Gray Wolf Survey

A federal judge ruled that gray wolves in Montana and Idaho must be given the same protections under the Federal Endangered Species Act as their cousins in Wyoming. Do you agree or disagree with the courts decision?

Rationale for hunting “Songdogs”?

The summer has brought about an increase of coyote attacks on pets across the nation. Scientists speculate coyotes may be losing their fear of humans and pets because they are exposed to them more often. Many believe that an unlimited supply of food coupled with no natural predators is mainspring for the increase in attacks. Many pet owners across the nation are displaying concern about how to avoid pet entanglements with wild coyotes. Local response officials are stating that pets must be contained and supervised by their owners in efforts of reducing encounters between domestic animals and their wild counterpart.

Reports of 4 roaming cats, in a quiet Florida neighborhood, resulted in their demise and shortly thereafter, 3 more felines were confiscated by coyotes in Massachusetts. Coyotes have been sighted in NYC’s Central Park and a puppy was rescued by a pit bull in Colorado after the puppy was apprehended by a coyote.

Reports of home owners leaving pet food outdoors, as well as unsecured trash in easily accessible locations, tends to draw coyotes into urban landscapes. Avoid potential pet catastrophe’s by ensuring food and food waste are securely contained and out of reach of wild animals.

Federal Court ruling being appealed in Idaho

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission passed a resolution Monday finding fault with the Federal Courts decision to restore protection of Wolves in the states of Idaho & Montana. Idaho F&G says it will “pursue all legal options to restore state authority” over management of the states Wolf population.

The Commission wants Governor Otter to “secure a pact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that establishes Idaho as the lead manager of wolves”. The Commission intends to “seek a [Wolf] hunting season through the Endangered Species Act process” despite the recent ruling and hopes to have it in place before this fall. A combined total of 258 Wolves were harvested last season between the two states. Because the future hunting season is now in question, Idaho has begun returning money to hunters who purchased and did not use their Wolf tags.

Mondays Commission meeting returned a “unanimous” vote in favor of appealing the Federal Courts decision. The case will be brought before the “Ninth Circuit – U. S. Court of Appeals”. The basis of the appeal is that Judge Molloy’s re-listing of Wolves is “contrary to state management of wildlife, the intent and purpose of the Endangered Species Act and the clear biological recovery of wolves”.

The Wolves were re-introduced into the Rocky Mountain region in 1995 with a “recovery goal” of at least 300 Wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there were 1,706 wolves in the region by the end of 2009, including 843 in Idaho.

Wolves are being blamed for eating too many big game species such as Elk & Bison in Idaho, and management efforts could significantly reduce this predation.

In North Central Idaho, the Commission plans to seek permission to reduce the pack by nearly 100 animals in an effort to provide struggling Elk herds a chance at expansion.

Wolf advocates claim the Commissions resolution was predictable but unhelpful to resolving how best to manage and protect the predators. Advocates claim “there seems to be an almost 100 percent focus on winning the conflict as opposed to resolving it.”