Gray wolves returning to California?


This 2013 video from the USA is called Lone Gray Wolf OR-7 On The Move to California.

From eNature Blog in the USA:

Are Gray Wolves About To Return To California?

Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2014 by eNature

Wolves were once common along much of the West Coast, ranging from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state through Oregon to Southern California.

Decades of hunting and other extermination programs, many intended to protect livestock, drove wolves out of West Coast states in the early 1900’s. Until recently, the last wild wolf in California was recorded in 1924, when it was shot in Lassen County. Those in Washington were eliminated in the 1930’s and in Oregon in 1946, where the last wolf was killed for a bounty.

In the wake of successful wolf recovery efforts in the northern Rocky Mountains and near the Great Lakes, the animals have begun to return to their traditional ranges on the West Coast, with viable populations now established in Washington and Oregon, and recent signs of wolves in Northern California.

Washington

Reliable reports of wolves returning to Washington arose in 2005. The state now has five wolf packs in central and eastern portions of the state, made up of three breeding pairs and at least 27 individuals. Naturalists have identified several additional wild areas in Washington that wolves could occupy, particularly on the Olympic Peninsula.

Oregon

Wolves began returning to Oregon in 1999, and the first pack, the Imnaha, was first observed in 2008. Four confirmed packs are now in eastern Oregon, made up of one breeding pair and at least 29 wolves.

And there’s room for more wolves in the state. Naturalists have identified several other wild areas in Oregon that wolves could occupy, including extensive habitat in the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountains.

California

After an 85 year absence, a gray wolf was observed in California in December 2011. The 2 ½-year-old male, known as OR-7 or Journey, had traveled more than 700 miles from the northeastern corner of Oregon, arriving in California’s Siskiyou County.

Journey could be the first of many California wolves. Wolves were once common in in most areas of the state and there is plenty of sparsely populated potential wolf habitat in Northern California and the Sierra Nevada.

And there’s a lot more to Journey’s story since we first posted it in 2012.

This last May a remote camera in the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest, near the California-Oregon border, captured photographs of Journey along with a female wolf who appeared to be traveling with him. Wildlife biologists believed the wolves had paired and mated. And if the pair had cubs, the wolves would be the first known to have bred in the Oregon Cascades in a century.

Then on June 2, biologists found and photographed two wolf pups they believed to have been sired by Journey. They took fecal samples for DNA testing in order to make decisive confirmation, the results of which are still pending.

The birth of these wolf pups so close to the California border makes it quite likely that wolves will return on a long-term basis to the state. Anticipating such an occurrence, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-1 on June 3, 2014 to protect wolves that may find themselves in California under the state Endangered Species Act.

So we’ll see what happens over the next few years.

For now, wildlife biologists, who originally had not planned to replace OR-7’s tracking collar when its three-year batteries finally died, have decided to replace the collar in order to keep track of what they hope may be a new pack of wolves. And it’s pretty clear that Journey’s journey, and that of his offspring, is far from over.

Wolf Recovery Is Generally Good News For Ecosystems

The return of wolves is good news for the ecosystems that they repopulate, since wolves and other predators play a vital role in regulating populations of prey species such as deer and elk. And regulating those populations benefits a number of other species.

For instance, wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park has made elk herds more mobile. This increased mobility as reduced the elks’ consumption of stream-side vegetation, which has significantly benefited beaver and songbird populations.

As for people, wolf reintroduction and recovery continues to be somewhat controversial. But it seems that QR-7 and his peers aren’t too concerned about our policies and politics— they just want a great place to live.

Sort of like all those humans who have migrated to California!

More details on the wanderings of OR-7, the wolf known as Journey, are here.

Grizzly bear ‘highway’ discovery in Canada


This video from the USA is called Grizzly Bears and Wolves of Yellowstone (Full Documentary).

From The Star in Canada:

Grizzly bear ‘highway’ found on West Coast

First Nations researchers find centuries-old paw prints that show bears are very predictable in both the times of day they’re active and the routes they take

By: , Star Reporter,

Published on Fri Jul 25 2014

First Nations researchers have discovered what they believe is a grizzly-bear highway of sorts: centuries-old paw prints worn deep into the mossy floor of the Pacific Coast rain forest.

“I suspect that these grizzly bear paths have been here as long as grizzly bears have been here,” said William Housty, director of Coastwatch, a scientific initiative led by the Heiltsuk First Nation.

The Heiltsuk people have been in the area for 9,000 years and Housty believes the grizzly bear roadways along the waterways go back generations.

“Grizzly bears are very similar to humans in the way that they nurture their young, and raise them to know the territory around them,” Housty said in an email from the woods.

Heiltsuk people have shared and maintained the same roadways over generations, creating a lasting connection between the Heiltsuk and grizzly bears, Housty said.

The society set up to stop the logging that threatened to clear cut the area and hurt salmon spawning spots along the Koeye River in the late 1990s.

Healthy salmon stock means the grizzly and black bears, wolves, mink, marten and bald eagles have a food supply.

When the logging stopped, the bear populations rebounded, he said.

Grizzly bears can weigh 363 kilograms (800 lbs.) and stand 2.4 meters (eight feet) on their hind legs, but Housty insists the grizzly bear study isn’t dangerous, as long as it’s done with respect and good sense.

“We do spend a lot of time in the wild, on foot with these bears, and have never once had a negative encounter with any of them,” Housty says.

“We have the greatest respect for the bears, and always make sure to let them know when we are in the area, and there seems to be a mutual respect from them as well. Never have we ever carried a fire arm when doing this study, however we did carry bear spray. But overall, I do not consider the study to be dangerous.”

He’s one of three technicians working on the study, but there are also youth and family camp programs operating in the same study area, meaning there can be from 40 to 60 people in the Koeye watershed at one time during the summer months.

He said his group are currently working with the neighbouring Kitasoo, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations, as well as with academic institutions such as the University of Victoria and Raincoast Conservation Society to take a more regional approach to this study.

In the study, individual grizzly bears were identified through DNA analysis of hair samples, obtained by putting salmon-scented bait inside wire snares to catch the grizzly hair.

As they got to know the grizzly bears, Housty said it became clear they have routines, much like humans.

“There are certain areas where grizzlies go to feed on salmon and berries, and if you spend enough time, you can pinpoint an exact time when they go to feed at the same time every day — usually at dusk and dawn,” Housty said. “They also do the same when it comes to berries. They work in cycles, and move to and fro within the watershed chasing berries and trickles of salmon that are coming in. It is very easy to predict when bears will be out and about.”

Mexican wolves born in wild for first time in decades


This video from the USA says about itself:

24 April 2013

An account of the Mexican Wolf, or lobo, at Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY.

From Associated Press:

Mexico Reports Litter Of Mexican Gray Wolves Born In Wild For First Time In Decades

07/18/2014 12:59 pm EDT

MEXICO CITY — The first known litter of Mexican gray wolves has been born in the wild as part of a three-year effort to re-introduce the subspecies to a habitat where it disappeared three decades ago, Mexican officials reported Thursday.

Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas said the wolf pups were sighted in June by a team of researchers in the western Sierra Madre mountains.

“This first litter represents an important step in the recovery program, because these will be individuals that have never had contact with human beings, as wolves bred in captivity inevitably do,” the commission said in a statement.

It said the pups appeared to be doing well.

Mexico began reintroducing wolves in 2011, and the parents of this litter had been released in December with hopes they would reproduce. Authorities seldom reveal the exact location of breeding pairs in recovery programs, to protect endangered species.

The commission did not respond to requests about how many wolves now live in the wild in Mexico.

The Mexican gray wolf was almost wiped out in the U.S. Southwest by the same factors that eliminated it in Mexico: hunting, trapping and poisoning.

The last five survivors in the U.S. were captured between 1977 and 1980, and then bred in captivity. The first wolves were re-introduced into the wild in the Southwest starting in 1998, mainly in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Mexican gray wolf remains an endangered species in the United States and Mexico.

But a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual survey released in January showed there are at least 83 of the endangered predators in Arizona and New Mexico, marking the fourth year in a row the population has increased.

Save North Carolina’s red wolves


From eNature.com in the USA:

Save the Red Wolf Sign Our Petition To End Illegal Poaching Of An American Icon! Take action today!

Red wolf

They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.

Please sign our petition encouraging measures to protect our few remaining Red Wolves!

Dear Friend,

Red wolves once roamed across the southeastern United States. Today, they are making their last stand in the scrub forests of eastern North Carolina. Just 90-110 wild Red wolves remain in North Carolina – the only place they exist in the wild.

You can help protect our remaining Red Wolves by signing this petition!

Red wolf

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast — roaming from Virginia to Florida and all the way to east Texas. By 1970, however, they’d been driven to the brink of extinction by decades of persecution and systematic efforts to eliminate wolves from the American landscape. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured for a captive breeding program.

However, there is hope….

Red wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings that have kept the population from expanding. And now, rather than taking steps to curtail activities that harm red wolves, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has done little and the poaching continues.

Will you sign our petition urging action to protect our remaining Red wolves from this illegal poaching?

Please urge Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe and other decision-makers to protect our remaining Red wolves and continue the very succesful reintroduction program in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

So please sign this petition. Director Ashe and others need to know we ALL believe that these wolves deserve protection.

Thank you for your help– it really can help make a difference! While it may seem like “inside baseball”, reaching out to Director Ashe as we are with this petition is the BEST way to ensure he knows that we care about Red wolves and their fate in the wild.

Sincerely,

Robin McVey

Robin McVey
Public Editor, eNature.com

Wolves back in Denmark


This video from 2013 is called Danish wolf is back.

From Wildlife Extra:

First wolf family heard in Denmark for 200 years

April 2014: It is suspected by a group of wolf enthusiasts in Denmark that the country probably has its first resident wolf family for over 200 years, reports Rewilding Europe. Ulvetracking Danmark has gone to great lengths to register the sounds of the Danish wolves, recorded in Jutland in January. Holly Root-Gutteridge, an English wolf expert and PhD student at Nottingham Trent University, believes that these howls stem from an entire wolf family. This means that these could be the first wolf pups born in the wild of Denmark for well since the early 19th century.

“This is the biggest fauna sensation we have had for many years,” said Mogens Trolle, zoologist in the Nature Science Museum at the University of Copenhagen.

“There’s at least two adults there,” said Root-Gutteridge. “One with a nice deep howl, which is almost a baseline to the chorus, is probably the male and father of the pups, as it’s rare to have unrelated males in the same pack. There are possibly three adults, but I need more analysis of the recording to be sure. There are also pups on there. Considering the recording was made in January, they might be wolves that are eight to 10 months of age, with not quite fully developed howls.”

Listen to the two recordings in Jutland by clicking this link and scrolling down.

That possibility is strengthened by the fact that two different sets of wolf tracks were found on 30 January 2013 in the same area in Jutland where the howls were recorded. Once the world’s most widely distributed mammal, the grey wolf declined across Europe as a result of relentless persecution over centuries. Ultimately, by the 1970s, it was confined to only a few areas in the south and the northeast of the continent. However, with increasing public acceptance and legal protection, combined with an increase in wild ungulate numbers, the wolf has been able to begin to regain more and more of its former territory.

Petitioning The Danish Government. The Danish Government: Please protect Danish Wolves: here.

Wolves near the Dutch-German border: here.

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How Yellowstone wolves help other wildlife


This video about the USA says about itself:

How Wolves Change Rivers

13 Feb 2014

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.

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Wolves learning from humans, new research


This video says about itself:

In the Valley of the Wolves – Nature Full Documentary HD 2013

Nature Documentary: In the Valley of the Wolves
Narrated by F. Murray Abraham

In 1995, the first gray wolves were transported from Alberta, Canada to Yellowstone National Park, to repopulate the sprawling landscape with the species, absent for more than 70 years. The following year, a second wave of wolves was brought to the park from British Columbia, Canada; five of them were released together, and they were named the Druid Peak pack.

Since the arrival of those first immigrants, wolves have thrived in Yellowstone — and none more dramatically than the Druids. The epic history of the Druids, one of more than a dozen packs now occupying the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone, is documented in NATURE’s In the Valley of the Wolves, was produced and shot in High Definition by Emmy-award winning filmmaker Bob Landis. On the Web site for In the Valley of the Wolves, you’ll learn how the successful reintroduction of Yellowstone’s apex predator has changed the entire ecosystem of the park, and about the threats that these majestic animals continue to face on their road to recovery.

The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a species of canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. It is the largest member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg (95–99 lb), and females 36–38.5 kg (79–85 lb). It is similar in general appearance and proportions to a German shepherd, or sled dog, but has a larger head, narrower chest, longer legs, straighter tail and bigger paws. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in colour, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur.

Within the genus Canis, the gray wolf represents a more specialised and progressive form than its smaller cousins (the coyote and golden jackal), as demonstrated by its morphological adaptations to hunting large prey, its more gregarious nature and its highly advanced expressive behavior. It is a social animal, travelling in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair, accompanied by the pair’s adult offspring. The gray wolf is typically an apex predator throughout its range, with only humans and tigers posing a serious threat to it. It feeds primarily on large ungulates, though it also eats smaller animals, livestock, carrion, and garbage.

The gray wolf is one of the world’s most well researched animals, with probably more books written about it than any other wildlife species. It has a long history of association with humans, having been despised and hunted in most agricultural communities due to its attacks on livestock, while conversely being respected by some Native American tribes. It is the sole ancestor of the dog, which was first domesticated in the Middle East. Although the fear of wolves is prevalent in many human societies, the majority of recorded attacks on people have been attributed to animals suffering from rabies. Non-rabid wolves have attacked and killed people, mainly children, but this is unusual, as wolves are relatively few, live away from people, and have been taught to fear humans by hunters and shepherds. Hunting and trapping has reduced the species’ range to about one third of its original range, though its still relatively widespread range and stable population means that the species is not threatened at a global level, and is therefore classified by the IUCN as Least Concern.

From Wildlife Extra:

Study shows pre-existing capacity of wolves to learn from humans

Domestication of dogs may have been built on this predisposition

December 2013: Wolves can learn from observing humans and pack members where food is hidden and recognise when humans only pretend to hide food, reports a study for the first time in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. These findings imply that when our ancestors started to domesticate dogs, they could have built on a pre-existing ability of wolves to learn from others, not necessarily pack members.

A paper published recently in the journal Science suggested that humans domesticated dogs about 18,000 ago, possibly from a European population of grey wolves that is now extinct. But it remains unknown how much the ability of dogs to communicate with people derives from pre-existing social skills of their wolf ancestors, rather than from novel traits that arose during domestication.

In a recent study, Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi from the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, investigated if wolves and dogs could observe a familiar ‘demonstrator’ – a human or a specially trained dog – to learn where to look for food within a meadow. The subjects were 11 North American grey wolves and 14 mutts, all between 5 and 7 months old, born in captivity, bottle-fed, and hand-raised in packs at the Wolf Science Center of Game Park, Ernstbrunn, Austria.

The wolves and dogs were two to four times more likely to find the snack after watching a human or dog demonstrator hide it, implying they had learnt from the demonstration instead of only relying on their sense of smell. Moreover, they rarely looked for the food when the human demonstrator had only pretended to hide it.

The wolves were less likely to follow dog demonstrators to hidden food. This does not necessarily mean that they were not paying attention to dog demonstrators: on the contrary, the wolves may have been perceptive enough to notice that the demonstrator dogs did not find the food reward particularly tasty themselves, and so simply did not bother to look for it.

Wolf inbreeding could end world’s longest predator-prey study: here.

GenomeWeb News – Dog domestication from a still-to-be-determined group of wild wolf ancestors likely occurred through a series of dynamic processes that began before the advent of widespread agriculture by humans, according to a new PLOS Genetics study.

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