Trump legalizes cruel baby bear, wolf poaching


This 14 June 2020 video says about itself:

Trump Admin Reverses Obama-Era Ban on ‘Barbaric’ Hunting Methods | NowThis

The Trump admin just reversed an Obama-era ban on brutal hunting tactics that endanger bear cubs and wolf pups.

Under new rules, hunters can lure out hibernating grizzly bears to kill them using doughnuts soaked in bacon grease and use spotlights to blind bears and wolves & hunt them in their dens. These hunting methods were banned as barbaric under Obama in 2015 over protests from many Alaska officials and the big-game hunting lobby.

How wolves help willow trees recover


This July 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

How wolves saved Yellowstone national park

Truly remarkable story of why wolves are so important to an ecosystem.

From Oregon State University in the USA:

Reintroduction of wolves tied to return of tall willows in Yellowstone National Park

May 28, 2020

The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park is tied to the recovery of tall willows in the park, according to a new Oregon State University-led study.

Wolves were reintroduced to the park in 1995. The new study shows their predation on elk is a major reason for an increase in the height of willows in northern Yellowstone, said Luke Painter, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and lead author on the study.

There’s been a debate among scientists over the degree to which willows may have recovered from decades of suppression by elk following the restoration of wolves and subsequent reductions in elk numbers, Painter said.

“Our results demonstrate that the reduction of elk browsing over the last two decades in northern Yellowstone has allowed willows to grow taller in many places, despite a warming and drying climate,” Painter said, adding that willows aren’t recovering in some areas due to continued browsing by increased numbers of bison.

Following wolf restoration in the 1990s, elk numbers decreased, and some researchers reported willows growing taller with reductions in elk browsing, evidence of a shift toward willow recovery.

The new study compared data from three time periods: 1988-1993, when elk densities were high and most willows very short; 2001-04, when willows may have begun to recover; and 2016-18.

The researchers confirmed that willows have indeed increased in height and cover in response to a reduction in browsing by elk.

The study is published in the journal Ecosphere.

Elk numbers in northern Yellowstone have declined from a high of nearly 20,000 in 1995 — the year wolves were restored to the park — to 4,149 counted over two days in March 2019 by biologists with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

Painter and co-author Michael Tercek of Walking Shadow Ecology in Montana found a strong contrast between sites along streams compared to wet meadows. Willows in meadow sites did not increase in height, but willows in stream sites increased significantly, exceeding 200 centimeters, or 6 feet — a height accessible to elk — in the summers of 2001-04 and in the spring of 2016.

They also found a significant change in willow thickets at least 200 centimeters in height along streams, with thickets occupying about 80% of willow patches in some sites, but as little as 22% in others. Tall willow thickets are an important habitat feature and an indicator of willow recovery, Painter said.

Thus, passive restoration through the return of predators has begun to reverse the loss of willows, something active culling of elk in the past was unable to accomplish, he said.

“Wolves didn’t do it all by themselves,” Painter said. “Other predators and hunters also affected elk, but this would not have happened without the wolves.

“This does not mean a wider expanse of willow habitat has been restored as existed in the early days of the park when beavers created large wetland expanses. This may eventually happen as beavers return but could take a long time to develop.”

This is the latest OSU study led by Painter that examines the effects of wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone on trees. In 2018, he published a study that showed that aspen is recovering in areas around the park, as well as inside the park boundary.

Painter teaches ecology and conservation in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Forestry.

Wolves feed blueberries to pups, new research


This 12 February 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

First-ever footage of wolves eating blueberries in Northern Minnesota

The first-ever footage of wolves eating blueberries in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem! We tried for 2 years to get this footage of wolves eating berries and finally got it this past summer! As far as we know, this is the only footage that exists of wild wolves eating blueberries. Though, we know of a few clips of wolves eating other kinds of berries or fruits.

By Jake Buehler, 11 February 2020:

Wolves regurgitate blueberries for their pups to eat

Fruit may be more important to the animals’ diet than previously thought

Gray wolves are known to snack on blueberries, but the animals do more than fill their own bellies. A new, serendipitous observation shows an adult wolf regurgitating the berries for its pups to eat, the first time anyone has documented this behavior.

Wolves have a well-earned reputation as skillful hunters with a taste for large, hoofed ungulates like deer and moose. But scientists are increasingly recognizing that these predators have an exceptionally varied diet, partaking in everything from beavers and fish to fruit.

In 2017, biologist Austin Homkes of Northern Michigan University in Marquette got a sense of just how important this mixed diet could be for wolves. A cluster of signals from a GPS collar on a wolf led Homkes to a meadow just outside Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park. Homkes, who was studying the animals’ predatory and dietary habits, thought he was headed for a spot where the wolf had killed a meal. But it turned out to be a rendezvous site, with adult wolves bringing food to their no longer den-bound pups.

Homkes watched from a distance as several pups gathered around an adult wolf, licking up at its mouth. This behavior stimulates adult wolves to throw up a recent meal. Sure enough, the adult began vomiting, and the pups eagerly ate what accumulated on the ground. After the wolves left, Homkes got closer and saw that the regurgitated piles were purely of partially chewed blueberries, he and colleagues report February 11 in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

“It’s a pretty big part of wolf ecology that was right under our noses that we didn’t see,” Homkes says.

Until now, he and his colleagues thought pups in the region just casually munched on berries while hanging around rendezvous sites, which often contain blueberry plants. The fruit may be an underappreciated food source for the pups, the researchers think.

Conservation biologist Robert Mysłajek of the University of Warsaw says the discovery is an “interesting complement” to our knowledge of the species. “Such observations should be especially important for wildlife managers, who often focus only on wolf-ungulate interactions, forgetting about other food items consumed by wolves,” Mysłajek says.

The findings are generating plenty of questions. Homkes is curious about the nutritional value of blueberries for the mostly carnivorous wolves, and the consequences of a bad berry year. “What happens when blueberries are not available if a pack is used to relying on them?” he wonders.

White wolves in Canadian Arctic, video


This 19 August 2019 video, recorded in Canada, says about itself:

The Wolf Queen and Cubs | Kingdom of the White Wolf

The high Arctic is the realm of the Arctic wolf. On Ellesmere Island, these wolves‘ line is unbroken, reaching back ten thousand years.

About Kingdom of the White Wolf:

Watch photographer Ronan Donovan as he tracks and observes Arctic wolves. The three-hour special airs on August 25 starting at 8/9c on Nat Geo WILD.

Wolves, cougars, elk in Yellowstone, USA


This video says about itself:

Fearless predator – Cougar attack bears, deer and jaguar

Puma (mountain lion, cougar) is a predator of the Puma [genus] of the cat family. It lives in North and South America.

From the S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University in the USA:

Fearing cougars more than wolves, Yellowstone elk manage threats from both predators

August 2, 2019

Wolves are charismatic, conspicuous, and easy to single out as the top predator affecting populations of elk, deer, and other prey animals. However, a new study has found that the secretive cougar is actually the main predator influencing the movement of elk across the winter range of northern Yellowstone National Park.

The study highlights that where prey live with more than one predator species, attention to one predator that ignores the role of another may lead to misunderstandings about the impact of predators on prey populations and ecosystems. It also offers new insight into how prey can use differences in hunting behavior among predators to maintain safety from all predators simultaneously.

Utah State University researchers Michel Kohl and Dan MacNulty co-led the study, published in Ecology Letters, with Toni Ruth (Hornocker Wildlife Institute and Wildlife Conservation Society), Matt Metz (University of Montana), Dan Stahler, Doug Smith, and P.J. White (Yellowstone National Park). Their work was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Utah State University as part of Kohl’s doctoral research. The study was based on long-term data from the Park’s wolf and elk monitoring programs and Ruth’s cougar research, which is detailed in a forthcoming book from the University Press of Colorado.

The team revisited global positioning system (GPS) data from 27 radio-collared elk that had been collected in 2001-2004 when numbers of wolves and cougars were highest. Kohl and MacNulty combined the elk GPS data with information on the daily activity patterns of GPS-collared cougars and wolves and the locations of cougar- and wolf-killed elk to test if elk avoided these predators by selecting for ‘vacant hunting domains’, places and times where and when neither predator was likely to kill elk.

“Cougars hunted mainly in forested, rugged areas at night, whereas wolves hunted mainly in grassy, flat areas during morning and at dusk” said Kohl, lead author of the paper and now an assistant professor at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia in Athens. “Elk sidestepped both cougars and wolves by selecting for areas outside these high-risk domains, namely forested, rugged areas during daylight when cougars were resting, and grassy, flat areas at night when wolves were snoozing.”

Recognizing that cougars and wolves hunted in different places and at different times allowed the researchers to see how elk could simultaneously minimize threats from both predators. “Had we ignored the fact that these predators were on different schedules, we would have concluded, incorrectly, that avoiding one predator necessarily increased exposure to the other,” said MacNulty, who is an associate professor in USU’s Department of Wildland Resources and Ecology Center. “Movement out of the grassy, flat areas and into the forested, rugged areas to avoid wolves did not result in greater risk from cougars and vice versa because these predators were active at different times of the day.”

Despite the compatibility of elk spatial responses to cougars and wolves, Ruth, who is now executive director of the Salmon Valley Stewardship in Salmon, Idaho, cautioned that “some adult elk still end up on the cougar and wolf menu, with those in poor condition during winter being most at risk.”

Nevertheless, “the findings help explain why we observe wolves, cougars, and elk all coexisting and thriving on the Yellowstone landscape” said Stahler, who leads the current study of cougars in the Park. He notes that the ability of elk to coexist with wolves and cougars is consistent with their “long, shared evolutionary history”.

More surprising, however, was that cougars, not wolves, exerted the most pressure on elk habitat selection. “Wolves are often the presumed or blamed predator for any change in a prey population, numerical or behavioral,” said Smith, who leads the Park’s wolf program. “Our research shows that this is not necessarily true, and that other large predators in addition to wolves need to be considered.”

“Despite the fact that most prey species live in habitats with multiple predators, the majority of research on predator-prey interactions focuses on a single predator species,” added Betsy von Holle, program director for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology. “The novelty of this research is the simultaneous study of multiple predator species, revealing the complexity of predator avoidance behavior by the prey.”

Yellowstone, USA wolves hunting, video


This 30 July 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

After a long winter, the wolves of Yellowstone go after weaker prey.

RNA — the short-lived transcripts of genes — from the “Tumat puppy”, a wolf of the Pleistocene era has been isolated, and its sequence analyzed in a new study by Oliver Smith of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues publishing on July 30 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. The results establish the possibility of examining a range of RNA transcripts from ancient organisms, a possibility previously thought to be extremely unlikely because of the short lifespan of RNA: here.

Wolves eating fish, unique video


This 4 July 2019 video from Minnesota in the USA says about itself:

Wolves Catching and Eating Fish: First-Ever Video | Nat Geo Wild

Groundbreaking research in Voyageurs National Park, MN, reveals that the region’s wolves developed a diverse diet that includes fish and fruit.

Dutch young wolves born, after 200 years


This 2016 video from Arctic Canada says about itself:

Babysitting Cute Wolf Pups | Snow Wolf Family And Me | BBC

With the adults gone Gordon tries to get a closer look at the wolf pups and see if he can spot any differences between them.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that three young wolves were born in the Veluwe region in April this year.

This camera trap video shows them.

They are the first wolf cubs born in the Netherlands since about 200 years ago, when the species was exterminated.

Their parents probably came from Germany last year.