A new study proves more wolves have been subject to poaching than the DNR reported.

Study by Adrian Treves and other scientists published in the  Journal of Mammalogy: The UW study investigated the deaths of 937 gray wolves from October 1979 to April 2012 — a period that ends before Wisconsin initiated hunting seasons for wolves. Of the 937 wolves that died and whose deaths were investigated, 431 wore radio collars.
The UW researchers said that their analysis showed that the death of radio-collared wolves attributed to human causes was 64%. But the DNR calculated 55% and said an additional 18% of deaths were due to unknown causes, according to a DNR report in 2012.
Said Treves: “That’s a big number. We dug deeper and maybe it’s poaching.”
The researchers re-examined government records of necropsies and X-rays and found in some instances that gunshot wounds were a factor in the cause of death when other causes were cited.
The analysis also showed 52 wolves, or 20% of 256 animals that were X-rayed, revealed evidence of gunshots that did not kill the wolves. These cases were not added to researchers’ own estimates of higher poaching.
But the study said that figure lends credibility to the researchers’ claim that more wolves have been subject to poaching than the DNR reported.
Julie Langenberg, one of the authors of the study and a former DNR veterinarian, re-examined wolf death records.
She found evidence of gunshots that in the initial analysis were either mentioned briefly or not identified. Sometimes it was her own work.
“You are not looking at alternative facts,” Langenberg said of her review of wolf mortality in the study. “You are looking at the same facts, but because you are asking different questions, you are doing a different kind of assessment.”
She said the DNR’s job was to simply determine the cause of death.
Wisconsin officials reported that 528 wolves were killed during the state’s wolf hunting seasons in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
During 2013, 257 wolves were killed — nearly half of all wolves harvested during the three years. Then the wolf population dropped 18% from 809 in 2013 to 660 in 2014.
The hunts were halted in December 2014 by a federal judge who said Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan were violating the Endangered Species Act. This year, Congress, including Republicans and Democrats from Wisconsin, introduced a bill to replace federal protections with state management. Read full article in the Journal Sentinel click HERE

~~~

Featured image by John E Marriott 

Wolves may generate cascading effects through changes in coyote distribution. 

These changes benefit hares and foxes, while also reducing the deer mouse population in some years. Journal of Mammalogy

Article Source: greatlakesecho.org Foxes join #TeamWolf versus #TeamCoyote

By Karen Hopper Usher 

It’s wolves vs coyotes vs foxes, and the effects of this competition are felt on down the food chain to deer mice, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Mammalogy

Read full article click HERE: It’s what scientists call a “mesopredator release,” Flagel said. The mesopredator (medium-sized predator) is released from the conditions that keep it in check, and the effects are felt on down the food chain.

But now the wolves are coming back and there’s evidence of cascading effects caused by their return.

It shows the reversal of the effects of coyote taking over the eastern United States, Flagel said.

“What we’re seeing here is gray wolf recovery can benefit small carnivores and rabbits and hares by changing or redistributing coyotes, and also deer mice decrease in some years,” Flagel said.

This isn’t the first study that has looked at the impacts of wolves on our ecosystems, said David MacFarland, large carnivore specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “But anything that adds to enhanced understanding is beneficial as we’re making management decisions.”

And it’s not just wolves that are coming back in the upper Midwest, MacFarland said. Bears are also more common than they were.

“Large carnivore communities are doing better than they have in the past hundred years,” he said. Meanwhile, large carnivores in other parts of the world are in “significant peril.”
Scientific reaction to the study has so far been positive, Flagel said. He’s been presenting his findings at wildlife conferences.

Flagel’s team was the first do a study like this at such a fine scale, Flagel said, and that’s important because that’s where the wolf, fox and coyote interactions are happening. 

~~~

Featured image by John E Marriott