July 18, 2014

Five Mexican Wolf Pups Born in Mexico! This week the Mexican wildlife agency CONANP announced the first litter of Mexican gray wolf pups born in the wild in Mexico in over 30 years! These five pups are the offspring of a pair of wolves released in December. What a wonderful progress for this population of highly endangered wolves! By the late 1980’s the Mexican gray wolf was extinct in the wild, with just a few left living in zoos. All of the Mexican gray wolves alive in the world today are descendants of just 7 wolves who began a captive breeding program. The first releases of captive bred lobos occurred in 1998 in the U.S. in Arizona. In 2011, releases in Mexico began. Although the Mexican wolf reintroduction program still needs a course correction – a recovery plan, more wolf releases and the establishment of additional populations in the U.S. – this news from Mexico is a wonderful reminder of the species’ will to survive, and it inspires all wolf advocates everywhere.

Here’s a video that shows proof of the pups:

Buy Stamps to Save Wolves in Montana: A few weeks ago, we told you about the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Commission’s innovative Wolf Management Stamp that may provide a new opportunity for wildlife supporters to help fund wolf conservation in Montana. Until now, hunting and fishing dollars have been the main source of funding for FWP, making these groups believe they are the primary “stakeholders” in the decision-making process regarding wolf management. The stamp proposal is still being finalized, so now is our chance to tell FWP that you support this great opportunity! When you submit your comments (due July 25th), make sure to tell FWP that you support the proposal only if ALL proceeds from the stamp go towards non-lethal wolf conservation and that an accurate reporting of funds spent is made available to the public. FWP needs to know that wolf supporters will support this stamp, but only if all stamp proceeds fund non-lethal wolf conservation in the state.

Noble Wolf, © Larry GambonCan the Death of An Individual Wolf Predict the Pack’s Future Behavior? According to new research from Alaska’s Denali National Park, the death of an individual wolf can affect whether the wolf’s pack maintains its structure or breaks up. Researchers, who assessed over 70 wolf packs in Denali, found that 77 percent of the time, if a pack broke up, it was preceded by the death of a breeding adult. Packs were even more likely to disband if the pack lost a breeding female or if the pack size was very small. This research clearly shows that killing one wolf can have cascading impacts over the entire wolf pack. While the death of an individual wolf affected the wolf’s pack, this study didn’t find these deaths to have an impact on the long-term growth rate of the Denali wolf population at large. That’s probably because the death of breeders in Denali was only 3-7 percent of the population, much smaller than in other parts of the country.

Ranchers and Defenders’ Coexistence Experts Brainstorm: This week Defenders’ coexistence experts traveled to Missoula for the Society of Conservation Biology’s annual conference. Defenders staff partnered with conservation biologists, a County Commissioner, a representative from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other conservation organizations, to lead a session on developing non-lethal solutions for wildlife-human conflict across the country. Discussion ranged from wolves to grizzly bears: how can we employ strategies on the ground to keep animals safe, while also benefiting homeowners and livestock producers? The discussion started off by acknowledging that sustainable solutions are only workable if they are tailored to the community’s needs. Ranchers and Defenders’ Coexistence Experts BrainstormFolks at the session also said that while they believed their communities had the tools needed to prevent conflict between wildlife and people/property – things like fladry, guard dogs, fencing and range riding programs – one of the biggest barriers now is getting these tools to become socially-accepted wildlife management practices. Participants felt that too often killing wildlife is the default choice for managers or property owners looking to end conflict on their lands. Meetings like this one are critical for developing new partnerships and brainstorming opportunities as we work to change the paradigm for wildlife management in the West. A quote from rancher Jim Stone who participated in the discussion summarizes this seminar best: “”What do you get when you cross a rancher with a Defenders’ scientist? …. Opportunity.” Defenders will continue to embrace chances like this to partner with local stakeholders.

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