Conservation Northwest


Conservation Northwest protects and connects old-growth forests and other wild areas from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies, vital to a healthy future for us, our children, and wildlife. Since 1989, Conservation Northwest has worke

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From discovery to recovery ���What���s next for wolves,��� continued Conservation Northwest is looking forward to this proactive, solution-based work. But we are also aware that not everyone is ready to roll up their sleeves and work together. We are expecting efforts in the next state legislative session to prematurely remove federal and state protections for wolves before they are recovered. We also expect proposed legislation to undermine the state���s conservation and management plan for wolves. But we���re also hopeful that we���ll see some positive legislation to support and fund proactive non-lethal strategies to prevent livestock conflicts. Additionally in early 2013, we expect the results of the first-ever scientific status review of wolves in the Pacific Northwest to be published by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The review will help determine whether the wolf population in the Pacific Northwest (the western two-thirds of Washington, western Oregon, and northern California) is distinct and separate from the Rockies population, and worthy of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. See article, page 10. We submitted a joint letter with several other conservation organizations earlier this summer to President Obama asking that he retain protections for our two Cascades packs with coastal wolf heritage. The outcome could result in continued protection and a recovery plan for Pacific Northwest wolves, or it could result in the premature removal of protections for them. The only thing for certain is that the coming year will be filled with both positive and negative developments for wolves. No matter what the future holds, you can count on Conservation Northwest to monitor the situation closely, keep you informed, and apply our scientific and collaborative approach to ensure the best possible outcome for both wolves and people affected by their return. Wolves in the Methow Valley���s Lookout Pack were decimated by illegal killing in 2008. Conservation Northwest remote camera photo Protecting livestock & wolves Range riding in When cattle ranchers John and Jeff Dawson turned their cattle out in the summer of 2011 to graze on their Colville National Forest allotment, they knew that the recently discovered Smackout Pack of wolves might cause them some problems. It was the Dawsons who actually first discovered the pack and reported it to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with good intentions of doing what was right for both their cattle and the wolves. But these wolves turned out to be very wary, and the agency���s efforts to trap and collar them was at first unsuccessful. Having a collar on even one member of a wolf pack gives biologists and ranchers hope that by knowing where the wolves are in relation to cattle, ���incidents��� can be kept to a minimum. With the Smackout Pack avoiding all trapping locations, the Dawsons just had to hope that this pack would not start to consider calves as prey. With cattle spread over 10,000 acres of thickly vegetated forests, the Dawsons didn���t find out the status of their cattle and how they might have faired until fall when the animals were gathered together and brought back to the home ranch. The results that year were not encouraging. A typical loss for about 250 cow/calf pairs in a grazing season would be two to three calves not returning with their mothers. This year, the Dawsons had eight not return home. No carcasses, no proof��� just four times as many lost in a year where wolves were back after 70 years absence. In addition, the entire herd weighed in across the scales at 10 percent lighter than years without wolves. Some research indicates that cattle harassed by wolves over the course of a grazing season spend less time relaxing and grazing and more time agitated, avoiding or watching for wolves, which can result in weight loss to the cattle. Based on the cost of beef and lost calves, the Dawson���s estimated their total loss at about $20,000. Their first grazing season with wolves in the mix didn���t give them much hope. When wolves and cattle overlap Wolves typically hunt by testing, or pushing, a herd of animals to run, and then singling out the weakest, youngest, or oldest animals to kill. As one Alberta rancher put it, ���if a calf or yearling runs when pressed by a wolf pack... they die.��� Yet recent efforts by groups of ranchers in places like Alberta, Montana, and Idaho show a solution. Having a human, especially one on horseback, in and around a rancher���s cattle for the entire grazing season can lower wolf/cattle incidents. It helps calm cattle and disrupts wolves hunting patterns. This 6 Fall 2012

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