Category Archives: Coexisting with carnivores, coyotes, wolves…

Researcher found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of dump sites on nearby farms…

Dumping cattle carcasses is illegal in Michigan and Wisconsin. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that leaving carcasses in the woods, especially in wolf range, will attract wild carnivores. It’s just plain and simple common sense practice to dispose of livestock properly. Properly disposing of dead livestock also helps prevent the spread of diseases.

It can also be a lesson well learned as in the following story told to me a couple years ago by a woman living in wolf range. I was talking with a woman that lives in the country with a resident wolf pack nearby. I asked her if she had seen any signs of them lately, and she said she hasn’t seen them, but knows they are nearby. Then, she told me her tragic story. They had two dogs, one young and one older, and recently lost the older dog because of a mistake they made. She told me that they dumped their food scraps in a pit in the woods down behind their house; That one day she came out to the garage to find the young dog cowering in the corner. Then, she heard the older dog let out a screech from the pit out behind the house. She ran to the pit, looked down into the woods, and there was no sight of the older dog. They looked but never found a trace of him. They did find wolf tracks though. I asked them if they reported the incident to the DNR and she said no because it was their fault. She said they stopped dumping food scraps in the pit in the woods behind their house. They understand their mistake and tragically too late for their older dog. They live in wolf range and are also farmers. They also respect wolves and understand their place in the ecosystem.

Recently…Research In Upper Peninsula Finds Dumped Livestock Is Changing Predatory Behavior

A study led by Tyler Petroelje, a wildlife researcher and doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, tracked the feeding behaviors of eight wolves from two packs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This research was part of a broader predator-prey study that investigated a variety of factors that affect deer populations in the region. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, the study suggested that dumping cow carcasses alters wolf behavior.

In the North Woods of Wisconsin and Michigan, a wolf’s natural diet typically consists of deer and beaver, Petroelje explained. But he found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of cattle carcasses from dump sites on nearby farm

The following is recommendations for disposing of dead livestock from Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Disposing of livestock carcasses is an important part of animal agriculture. Wisconsin law says that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.

Rendering, burial, burning and landfilling have been the typical means of disposal, but these are becoming less and less practical. Burial and burning create biosecurity hazards and threats to water and air quality. Rendering remains the best choice to protect the environment, public health, and animal health, but it is becoming more expensive and less available.

Cattle carcasses in particular are becoming more difficult and expensive to send to rendering because of federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal feed and pet foods, now prohibits using parts from cattle 30 months or older in any food for animals unless the spinal cord and brain are first removed.

We recommend composting carcasses to overcome these problems. Remember that composting is an active process.

Putting a carcass in the woods or on the back 40 to rot and/or be eaten by scavengers is not composting and:

• Risks disease transmission to your livestock and your neighbors’, and to wildlife.

• May contaminate water sources – including your well and your neighbors’ wells.

• Invites vermin and pests, including coyotes, that may transmit disease and prey on your livestock.

• Alienates neighbors and generally casts farmers in a bad light.

• Is illegal.

Can we learn how to coexist with our fellow sentient-beings that share our planet before it’s too late? 

Man’s destructive track record on wildlife, over the last ten thousand years, makes me think humans are not essential for the survival of the planet. Humans have caused the extinction of thousands of essential sentient-beings. Simply put, wolves are free sentient-beings. I’m not going to measure their right to exist compared to “if they help humans or not.”  Why do humans put less value on the lives of animals living in the wild? Wolves are highly social & intelligent sentient-beings, and have the right to live wild & free. Mankind, as a species, must change their way of thinking-from human domination of the planet to- peacefully coexistence with sentient-beings that share our world. 

Join the campaign to end “Wolf Hounding” in Wisconsin. 

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet: 
 Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting? WODCW’s Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet

 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.” ~Rachel Tilseth

Photo of wolf by John E Marriott

Wisconsin’s wolf management policy is down-right-hostile

Wolf recovery in Wisconsin began in the late 1970s, and after almost forty years, is still ruled by aggressive hunting conservation policies of; kill-them-to-conserve-them. 

“Increasing human tolerance of large carnivores may be the best way to save these species from extinction,” said co-researcher William Ripple…Also, more large protected areas are urgently needed for large carnivore conservation.”

Just how bad is it?  

Six of the world’s large carnivores have lost more than 90% of their historic range, according to a study, BBC News.  The research, published in Royal Society Open Science, was carried out by Christopher Wolf and William Ripple of Oregon State University. Range Contractions of the World’s Large Carnivores

Victor, a tiger freed from a poacher’s snare by WCS and government response team specialists, is released back into the wild. Photo by John Goodrich, WCS. Siberian Tiger Project
The researchers say re-wilding programmes will be most successful in regions with low human population density, little livestock, and limited agriculture. Additionally, regions with large networks of protected areas and favourable human attitudes toward carnivores are better suited for such schemes.”Increasing human tolerance of large carnivores may be the best way to save these species from extinction,” said co-researcher William Ripple.

“Also, more large protected areas are urgently needed for large carnivore conservation.”

When policy is favourable, carnivores may naturally return to parts of their historic ranges. BBC News

Wisconsin’s political-atmosphere regarding favourable policy is lacking; even down-right-hostile in its management of wolves. 

In Wisconsin, there are 925 wild wolves sharing the landscape with people in the northern & central forest areas.  Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBA) continues to push for a trophy hunting of wolves. In 2015 WBA worked at Loosening regulations for bear hunters using dogs in pursuit of bear. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods.  

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. In 2017 $99, 400.00 was paid for hounds killed in pursuit of bear, 2016 training & Hunting season, according to the Wisconsin annual wolf depredations payout summary. Did the Wisconsin wolf depredation program reimburse bear hunters who knowingly ran their hunting dogs through WDNR wolf caution areas

Considering the decades of conflict between bear hunters and wolves; is this becoming harassment of an endangered species.  Isn’t this illegal? 

Delisting of Wisconsin’s wild wolf means certain death for this iconic predator, as Wisconsin is the only state that allows hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wolf hounding fact sheet.

Conservation of large carnivores over the last century has been one of: kill-them-to-conserve ethic. An example of this conservation policy Wisconsin law, 2011 Wisconsin Act 169; “If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. In regulating wolf hunting and trapping, the department may limit the number of wolf hunters and trappers and the number of wolves that may be taken by issuing wolf harvesting licenses.”

Action Alert! Anti-Wolf Riders in House Bill Funding Dept of Interior. We need to make our voices heard and let our politicians know that this bill, along with these anti-wolf riders, is not acceptable. Coexistence, not killing, should be the goal of wolf recovery. Our wolves deserve a better fate than the death sentences our legislators are proposing.

Wisconsin’s large carnivores are being aggressively managed through hunting policies that are impacting black bears. In a research paper “Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore” Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin. This consumption of human food subsidies, baiting, is negatively impacting the black bear population in Wisconsin. An estimated four million gallons of bait is dropped in Wisconsin’s forests by bear hunters starting in April through mid September. 

The researchers found that: “Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. Long-term supplementation can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity. Further, Wisconsin, humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. Researcers’ findings emphasize the need to understand what effects conservation and management strategies that feature human subsidies can have on wildlife, particularly how they alter behavior, population sizes, and demographic parameters.” 

Wisconsin, humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting…

Is it possible to move conservation policy from a killing to conserve to a compassionate ethic? There’s a movement towards compassionate conservation that I hope Wisconsin can adopt. Compassionate conservation policy developed by Born Free Foundation “​Guiding principles; First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice, and an acknowledgement that invasive interventions may harm individuals, populations, and ecosystems. Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild and in captivity Valuing all wildlife as worthy of conservation effort, whether native or introduced, whether common or rare, and regardless of perceived usefulness to humans.” 2017 Compassionate Conservation Convention is Being held in Sydney, Australia on November 20-24, 2017.

Wolf recovery in Wisconsin began in the late 1970s, and after almost forty years, is still ruled by aggressive hunting conservation policies of; kill-them-to-conserve-them.  Isn’t it time for Wisconsin’s wolf management plan to move forward into a new age; that supports increasing human tolerance of large carnivores. 

Trophic Cascades are powerful indirect interactions that can control entire ecosystems. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density and/or behavior of their prey and thereby enhance survival of the next lower trophic level.

Featured image from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 

You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times before being attacked by an animal predator.

Source: Coyote concerns ‘There is a need to co-exist with wildlife,’ says geographer
April 12, 2016
You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times before being attacked by an animal predator.
With odds like that, why are people so worried about the presence of coyotes? Dr. Alistair Bath, Department of Geography, has studied coyote/human interactions, particularly in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and on the island portion of our province He will participate in an information session this week about coyotes in St. John’s.
Here, he speaks with Gazette contributor Meaghan Whelan about coyotes in the province.
MW: Are coyotes common in Newfoundland?
AB: Coyotes first appeared in this province on the West Coast in the mid-1980s, so they are still relatively new here. Right now there is limited data available on how many exist, although we do know they are now everywhere on the island. It’s not unusual to see coyotes in urban areas.
“If we learn from other jurisdictions across North America, we should learn to co-exist with wildlife, including coyotes.” — Dr. Alistair Bath

They are naturally expanding their range and are found throughout North America. In many cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, there are coyote populations in the thousands. In places on the mainland where residents have built a tolerance and acceptance for wildlife, coyotes have been spotted in city parks and they’re not seen as a threat towards people.
MW: Should people be concerned about coyotes in their neighbourhood?
AB: Coyotes are wild animals. Not long ago there was a coyote spotted in St. John’s and schools were locked down. People are very much afraid of this new carnivore to the island, but the reality is that the risk to people is extremely low. There has only been one fatality in North America, in Nova Scotia in 2009. The media coverage and the fact that it happened so close to home likely contributes to the high fear levels in Atlantic Canada. You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times than to be attacked by a predator—and that’s not just coyotes, that includes any predator: coyotes, wolves, bears, etc.  Click HERE to read more

Dr. Alistair Bath studies what it means to co-exist with animals, such as this captive socialized wolf at Wolf Trust U.K.