The Shasta Pack

California’s seven gray wolves are missing, according to reports by the San Francisco Chronicle. California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Pete Figura said the wolves, known as the Shasta Pack, could have migrated to a new region with more prey, but that it was unusual for the pack hunters to abandon their breeding grounds.
We’re reasonably confident that last year they did not use the same area as a pack as they did the year before, and we don’t know why,” Figura said. “Why they were not detected anywhere else this past summer we don’t have a clear explanation for.”
The Shasta Pack, which were the first wolf pack to live in California for nearly a century, have not been seen since May 2016. The pack was being monitored in southeastern Siskiyou County, by the CDFW and according to Figura, fresh wold tracks were spotted in late January this year, about 10 miles from the pack’s home in Siskiyou County. He said they’ve collected some scat and are currently awaiting DNA analysis to determine if it belongs to them.
“It could have been a member of the Shasta Pack or a completely different animal. We don’t know at this time,” Figura said.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s West Coast Wolf organizer Amaroq Weiss said she hoped the wolves moved on to different territory instead of being poached. Weiss said wolves in the northern Rockies had been poached in 2010, and a study found that poaching was responsible for 24 percent of wolf mortality within that region. The following year she said three family members were convicted of killing two wolves of the Lookout Pack in Washington state.
“Their poaching activities were uncovered when they tried to ship bloody wolf skins by mail to British Columbia, Canada to be tanned. They claimed to be shipping rugs but a mail clerk became suspicious when he noticed blood seeping from the package,” Weiss said. “I have no specific information to indicate the Shasta pack has been poached, however, I also have no information establishing that these wolves are still alive. (Like Figura said) it is odd that the pack has not been seen anywhere in the region of where they had previously set up a territory, den site and rendezvous sites.”
Weiss said she’s asked around and checked in with numerous people who know ranchers in the general area but no one has reported any sightings of the Shasta Pack. She said another possible outcome would be that the wolves had fallen victim to snares or poison bait traps that were used by ranchers to protect against coyotes.
“California has so few wolves. Those wolves face dire threats like intentional poaching and accidental poisoning or snaring highlights precisely why full state endangered species protections for these magnificent animals must remain in place,” Weiss said.

The Shasta Pack is believed to have killed and eaten a calf in November 2015, the first reported case of livestock predation by wolves since their return to California. That was also the last time the entire pack was known to be together. Figura said he has no evidence to suggest the wolves were killed in retaliation. Source

Feature image Shasta Pack


Wine and Wolves in Malibu – Apex Protection Project and “Medicine of The Wolf” Screening and fundraiser

Taking place on Monday October 10, 2016 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm EST at Malibu Wines, 31740 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265  Register Today click HERE
Join Director of “Medicine of the Wolf” Julia Huffman and Co-founders of Apex Protection Project, Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell along with the Apex Ambassador Pack, Taboo, Kona, Thor and Loki, at Malibu Wines for an exciting and informative evening on Wolves and Wolfdogs. Meet the Apex Pack face to face and enjoy the first Malibu screening of the award-winning and eye-opening documentary “Medicine of The Wolf” followed by a Q&A with Director Juila Huffman, Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell, outside under the stars with great wine and delicious food.   *Since this event is being hosted at a winery the event is 21 and over.

Click HERE for tickets $35

Medicine of the Film Trailer and website click HERE


About the film

In this beautiful and important documentary, filmmaker Julia Huffman travels to Minnesota and into wolf country to pursue the deep intrinsic value of perhaps the most unjustly maligned animal on the face of the planet. Medicine of the Wolf centers on the remarkable, world-renowned environmentalist and National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg, who has photographed and studied wolves for 45 years—longer than anyone in history. As our guide, Brandenburg enables us to see the world of the wolf as we have never seen it before. 

In the photograph: (left to right) Paula Ficara, Steve Wastell and Julia Huffman 

About Apex Protection Project 

In April 2010, Founders Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell discovered a place that would change the course of their lives; a young wolfdog rescue just getting its start in Los Angeles County. With a lifelong love of wildlife, particularly wolves, they found themselves volunteering as much time as possible to the growth and development of the small rescue, eventually leaving their former careers behind to become two of the first full-time staff members. Over the past seven years, they’ve helped rescue and rehabilitate over 50 wolves and wolfdogs, developed educational events and programs, and been active advocates for captive bred wolves and wolfdogs, as well as wolves in the wild. The goal of Apex Protection Project is to continue the quest of protecting wolves and wolfdogs through educational experiences, rescue, and advocacy with the dream of future generations living in a world where the wolf is protected and respected. Photography: Paula and Steve with their wolfdog Taboo, their first rescue.  Apex Protection Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Art for Wolves exhibit at the NerdMelt Showroom in Hollywood Friday April 29, 2016 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM


Answer the call of the wild without trekking into the woods as NerdMelt  presents Art for Wolves. This exhibition features wolf-inspired works from Mike Judge, Martin Starr, Amanda Crew, Thank You X, David Flury, Rony Alwin and more. Proceeds benefit Wolf Connection, an youth empowerment program and a wolfdog rescue center and sanctuary.
7522 Sunset Blvd

Los Angeles CA 90046

(323) 851-7223

View Website
*Click blue highlight letters to view source details 

Mendocino county California makes the decision to sever ties with USDA in favor of nonlethal methods of carnivore control.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle – Science

Mendocino County dumps federal killings of livestock predators

By Peter Fimrite April 26, 2016

Wildlife advocates scored a major victory Tuesday when Mendocino County agreed to terminate its contract with the federal agency that helps ranchers kill predators such as mountain lions and coyotes that feast on livestock. 

Troy Mcwilliams, with daughter Mikayala McWilliams, 10, tends to a non-lethal predator deterrent at the Hopland Research & Extension Center in Hopland, CA, which does research on non-lethal predator management on April 21, 2016. Mcwilliams is a 3rd generation worker on the property who has been working there for 15 years and lives on the property with his wife and 3 children.

 Photo: Brian L. Frank, Special To The Chronicle

Environmental groups have long crusaded against what they characterize as indiscriminate killing of wildlife by an agency whose philosophy amounts to “the only good predator is a dead predator.” The decision by Mendocino County supervisors to sever ties with the division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture marks a rare instance of a California county opting to consider nonlethal methods of carnivore control.

Environmentalists had accused the county of violating the California Environmental Quality Act by hiring the Agriculture Department division known as Wildlife Services. Six environmental and animal protection groups claimed in a lawsuit that the county failed to consider nonlethal methods of animal control and should have done an environmental study on the effect that killing predators would have on the ecosystem before signing a contract with Wildlife Services.
“We’re thrilled,” said Jessica Blome, senior staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “This is the first lawsuit in the country that attacks Wildlife Services based on its relationships with local governments.”
Todd Smith of Oakland’s Thomas Law Group, which represented Mendocino County, said the Board of Supervisors had agreed to set aside the contract while conducting an environmental study.
“The county is happy to undertake this analysis so the members of this community can understand the benefits and the impacts associated with the wildlife management program,” Smith said. “The program has been effective for almost 30 years, so the county was a little surprised (by the lawsuit). That said, the county wants to comply with the law. In the end, the analysis will drive what the program looks like in the future.”
The issue has exacerbated tensions between ranchers and conservationists. Livestock owners in the far northern part of the state have threatened to use the “three S’s” — shoot, shovel and shut up — when confronted with environmentalists’ efforts to protect wolves, coyotes and other “vermin.”
Ranchers’ concerns
There are as many as 700,000 coyotes in the state, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Mountain lions are also abundant, and both predators kill a lot of livestock, which are commodities that contribute to the state and local economy, said the California Cattlemen’s Association.
The recent discovery of a wolf pack in Siskiyou County has turned the issue of predator control into a major area of concern among ranchers.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which oversees the wildlife management program, told The Chronicle last year that agency trappers use nonlethal techniques when appropriate.
Some 47,000 animals were nevertheless killed by Wildlife Services trappers in California in 2014, while 2.7 million animals were done away with nationwide, including wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, beavers, foxes and other animals deemed pests, federal records show.
In Mendocino County, federal wildlife specialists working under a $144,000 contract used traps, snares, poison and other devices to kill hundreds of coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats and other wildlife last year, according to the plaintiffs in the case.
Paul Trouette, president of the nonprofit Mendocino County Blacktail Deer Association and a former county Fish and Game commissioner, said guardian dogs, fencing and other nonlethal methods aren’t always appropriate in the county because of the rugged terrain. Many predators climb fences, he said, and coyotes and cougars have been known to run sheep and other prey into them for easy kills.
“I think we have a perfect program right now. These guys who make a living can’t be out there shaking noisemakers all night” to scare away predators, Trouette said.
He argued that Wildlife Services trappers are the best available experts on predation, the spread of wildlife diseases and protection of livestock.
“Who is going to handle all the sick animals and the rabies or other diseases and provide technical assistance to ranchers if they get rid of the professionals?” he asked. “The county doesn’t have any programs set up for that. It’s going to be a nightmare.”
Environmentalists skeptical
Wildlife advocates say the current system is both immoral and unnecessary.
“What we’re really talking about is the legitimacy of our federal government using American tax dollars to kill wildlife and ecologically valuable predators in huge numbers every year to benefit a tiny minority of ranchers and the agricultural industry,” said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, a wildlife advocacy organization that was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “That’s the crux of this case.”
The county must now complete an environmental report that evaluates nonlethal predator control methods before it can enter into a contract with Wildlife Services in the future. Blome said the settlement could serve as a precedent for wildlife management programs in California and around the country.
“It’s a monumental achievement that we plan to use as a model,” she said. “We’ll go county by county if we have to, to force these counties to evaluate whether lethal control is necessary.”
Wildlife advocates are pushing for government support for a variety of nonlethal management techniques, including the use of guardian dogs, fencing, hazing of carnivores using lighting and flag techniques, night corrals and the placing of sheep in lambing sheds at night.
Fox cited research suggesting ways in which the killing of native predators harms the ecosystem. Coyotes, for instance, provide poison-free rodent control, while mountain lions can keep populations of other carnivores down.
In addition, wildlife advocates said, killing predators can make things worse — such as when trappers kill an alpha pair of coyotes. That ruins the pack structure, leaving coyote pups and young adults on their own. The result is a lot of coyotes that don’t have hunting skills going after the easiest prey they can find, which is livestock.
There is an example in the Bay Area of how a kill-as-a-last-resort predator control program can work. In Marin County, a nonlethal control program was adopted in 2000. It essentially used the money once paid to federal trappers to help ranchers build fences, night corrals and lambing sheds and purchase guardian dogs.
Financial assistance key
At the time, coyotes were killing hundreds of lambs and ewes every year in Marin County. Most sheep ranchers in Marin purchased guardian dogs, which naturally bond with sheep and goats and aggressively protect them. Ranchers credit the dogs with reducing predation.
County financial assistance was crucial, according to many ranchers, given that a guard dog can cost $1,000 or more. The program also helped pay for fences, electrification, noisemakers, lights and motion sensors — all at one-third the cost of predator control under the Wildlife Services program, according to county agricultural officials.
“It’s very easy to convince people that nonlethal predator control works when you look at the research that has been done,” Blome said. “Without exception, every rancher that has converted to nonlethal predator control is an advocate of it.”


Letter to the Editor: Regulations needed to aide gray wolves recovery in California.


The California Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering new regulations to ban nighttime hunting and lethal trapping in California’s gray wolf habitat. These regulations are an essential step in establishing a strong wolf recovery and management plan for California.

Mistaken killings of returning gray wolves pose a very real threat to the Shasta pack family and gray wolf recovery in California overall. Documented cases throughout the United States show that wolves are frequently killed by hunters targeting coyotes during night hunts and by lethal traps and snares set for coyotes and other animals.
While wolf recovery and management in California will be a long-term effort involving many stakeholders, the most immediate risks to the species can be addressed right now. The commission’s adoption of a ban against nighttime hunting and lethal trapping in wolf habitat would greatly reduce the likelihood of Endangered Species Act violations caused by mistaken killings.
~Erin  Hauge, Sacramenta, California 


Photograph: A trail camera shot dated Aug. 9, 2015, shows five gray wolf pups in Northern California. (Credit: CDFW)

You are invited to join Apex Protection Project for a benefit at Pitfire Pizza North Hollywood tomorrow from 5pm-9pm.

A story of love and dedication 

Paula Ficara and Steve Wastell have worked with wolves and wolfdogs in the rescue industry for almost 7 years. They’ve helped rescue and rehabilitate over 50 wolves and wolfdogs, developed educational events and programs, and been active advocates for captive bred wolves and wolfdogs, as well as wolves in the wild.


Donate now button click here
Exposure, education and Rescue 

Today they run Apex Protection Project, 501c3 non-profit dedicated to continuing the quest of protecting wolves and wolfdogs through educational experiences, rescue, and advocacy with the dream that future generations living in a world where the wolf and all species are highly valued, protected and respected for the balance they bring to the ecosystem, and for the gifts they offer to humanity. More information on the program click here.

You are invited 
The benefit at Pitfire Pizza North Hollywood tomorrow from 5pm-9pm is in an effort to raise funds for the Apex Medical Fund and to help fund their trip to the Sedona Film Festival to speak on the panel with filmmaker Julia Huffman at her screening of revolutionary documentary Medicine of the Wolf where we’ll be bringing all four wolf ambassadors.


The future 

Apex Protection Project is looking for property in the Malibu area to open their permanent sanctuary.


If you can’t make the benefit and still want to help support:

>>>>Donate button here<<<<

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~Anatole France


Project Coyote Action Alert: Petition to the California Fish and Game Commission to ban lethal trapping and night-hunting in the wolf recovery zone. 


Dear Friend of Wildlife,

Snares, lethal traps, night-hunting. These are just some of the deadly dangers that wolves face as they attempt to return to their native home of California. 

Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity have taken swift action to protect wolves by petitioning the California Fish and Game Commission to ban lethal trapping and night-hunting in the wolf recovery zone. Your voice in support of this petition is needed now! 

We have also jointly petitioned the Commission to comply with state law regarding its trapping program. If implemented, it could mean the end of commercial trapping in the state. Read more here.

Our petitions will be considered by the Commission at the upcoming Santa Rosa Commission meeting on Thursday, April 14 and we need your support! You can help by taking any or all of the three simple actions below:
1.  Submit comments to the Commission (click “Take Action Now” button below).

2.  Join us at the upcoming Fish and Game Commission meeting where these issues will be considered. More information and agenda here (public testimony may be limited to 2 min.):

: California Fish and Game Commission mtg. 

When: Thursday, April 14th, 8am

Where: Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, 2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95405 

More infohere

3.  Help keep these issues in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper(s). Use the talking points below and our tips and tools for writing LTE’s

In June 2014, the Commission listed wolves under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), providing wolves recolonizing their historic range in California with the extra protections needed for recovery (wolves in California are also still listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act though those protections are tenuous as the Fish and Wildlife Service debates delisting wolves from the ESA).
While these regulatory mechanisms render both the intentional and accidental taking of gray wolves in California illegal, specific regulations are necessary to protect wolves in the state from one of the greatest threats to their recovery: the accidental killing of gray wolves mistaken for other species, particularly coyotes, in night-time hunting and lethal trapping currently permitted in occupied and potential wolf territory. Read our joint letter to the Commission on this issue here. 

Thank you for speaking out for wildlife and we hope to see you at the Commission meeting on April 14th! Please share this action alert!