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Wyoming news reporter Cat Urbigkit lives in the heart of wolf country, near Big Piney, Wyoming, a few hundred miles south of Yellowstone National Park. As a news reporter, rancher, researcher and Wyoming resident, she has followed the wolf issue for many years and written many articles on the topic, as well as an upcoming book on the history of wolves in Wyoming.
   The goal of this website is to present up-to-date, accurate information about what is happening with wolves, focusing on wolves in the Rocky Mountains, but referring to wolf happenings outside our region when there is some local relevance. Rather than an agenda-driven advocacy site, this is the place to be for the facts about wolves, with a strong focus on what’s happening on the ground.
   We invite those living in areas inhabited by wolves to contact Cat with news tips, photographs, or other information. We also invite those who want to support this endeavor to sign on as sponsors, and for our re aders to support those sponsors.

2015 Wolf Watch Story Archive

12/30/15: Ranching with wolves in California
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Northern California ranchers are starting to learn what it's like to live with wolves. A pack moved into Siskiyou County last summer and produced five pubs, earning the group the name Shasta Pack. Now the state has recorded its first "probable" wolf kill of a beef calf. State wildlife officials have drafted a conservation plan for wolves in California. The plan includes various management options, and is open for public comment to Feb. 15th.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

12/17/15: Wolf protections remain
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Congressional rider on the federal spending bill that would have removed wolves from federal protection in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes states was dropped from the bill prior to its approval. That means that wolves will remain under federal protection..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

12/15/15: Yellowstone wolves
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Yellowstone National Park officials report that in December, 2014, the park harbored at least 104 wolves in 11 packs, including nine breeding pairs, according to the park’s annual wolf report. Researchers monitoring wolf-prey relationships indicate that wolves still prefer elk, but predation in bison and mule deer appear to be increasing within the park. Park officials also noted that there were 7 instances in 2014 when wolf behavior was considered habituated or when wolves closely approached humans, involving four different wolves..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

11/30/15: Scientists call for wolf delisting
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A leading group of wolf scientists are calling for wolves in the Great Lakes states to be removed from federal protection, and managed by the states. The letter comes nine months after another group of scientists and wolf advocates penned a letter with the opposite viewpoint.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

11/30/15: Wolf killed in northern Utah
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Utah media outlets are reporting that an 89-pound female wolf was found dead in a snare set for coyotes in November, in an area near Utah's border with Wyoming.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

11/30/15: Wolf delisting proposed in Senate
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced legislation in November that directs the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules related to the listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The bill serves as the Senate companion to the bipartisan House bill introduced by Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) earlier this year.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

10/27/15: Wolf Control Assessment Released
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) USDA Wildlife Services has released an environmental assessment for Gray Wolf Damage & Conflict Management in Wyoming, and is accepting public comment on the assessment through Nov. 24, 2015. The Wyoming Game & Fish Department and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have requested that WS continue its role as an agent of the State for managing wolf conflicts. The EA examines three possible alternatives. The primary need for action is the need to reduce wolf predation on livestock and domestic animals. Studies indicate that while nonlethal tools are temporarily helpful in some situations, they were generally ineffective, particularly in areas that simply would have too many livestock conflicts for wolf packs to persist and in most circumstances, lethal removal of wolves is usually the only practical approach to resolving incidents of wolf predation on livestock… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

10/18/15: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Support delisting? You're a "right-wing wolf hater" according to the Center for Biological Diversity's most recent fundraising email claiming "Right Wing Gunning for Wyoming's Wolves." The email, adorned with a large red "Donate Now" button, reads: "Wyoming's wildlife-hating fanatics are doubling down on their war on wolves. They're trying to slide through a congressional "rider" -- an amendment attached to a must-pass budget bill -- that would overrule the courts and reinstate a "kill-on-sight" approach. In a throwback to decades past, they want wolves reclassified as vermin, to be shot or trapped the minute they step across the state line, or outside of Yellowstone." The CBD letter fails to acknowledge that once wolves are removed from federal protection, they fall under state management authority, with provisions for regulated harvest. Other wolf news updates are also in this post..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

9/7/15: Farmers kidnap officials in French wolf dispute
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Telegraph (United Kingdom) reports that a group of French farmers have kidnapped two national park officials in the Alps, demanding the officials take action to stop wolves from killing their livestock. According to The Telegraph, "bossnapping" is not unheard of in France, but this is reportedly the first instance an official has been held over a dispute involving wolves. Wolves have reportedly killed 8,500 sheep in France in the last year, as well as six sheep guardian dogs..… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

8/23/15: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Wolf news updates from Washington, California, Black Hills, Isle Royale, and international. Wolves attack livestock guardian dog in Washington – the dog is protecting a herd of sheep that lost more than 200 sheep to wolves last year – state officials are struggling whether to classify the incident as a “depredation.” California has caught five wolf pups on a wildlife camera in northern California. A wolf was photographed in the Black Hills of South Dakota at an undisclosed location. Isle Royale (in Michigan) has evidence of two new pups added to their wolf population. Sweden and Switzerland struggle with wolf depredations on livestock and scrutiny and criticism of their wolf management programs.… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

8/11/15: Western Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Wolf populations in Oregon, Washington and California appear to be increasing with data on confirmed wolf pairs and packs in the western states. Washington state ranchers, as well as some in Idaho, have taken different approaches to managing their livestock in the presence of wolves… (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

7/21/15: Wolf control in Wyoming
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Federal wildlife officials have destroyed 16 wolves in Wyoming in 2015 in response to livestock depredations. Two wolves were killed in the Upper Green River region due to continued livestock depredations on cattle. In May, six wolves were killed in the Gros Ventre due to cattle depredations. In June, a wolf was killed in the Kaycee area after predating on sheep. Half-dozen wolves were killed in two separate control actions in Park County in 2015. So far in 2015, FWS confirmed that 41 domestic sheep and 15 cattle were killed by wolves in the state, in addition to five calves that were injured. FWS has one ongoing control action for wolves that have repeatedly preyed on cattle in the Dubois area.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

7/15/15: Delisting wolves update
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Most recent American news items for wolves have little to do with the animals themselves, and instead focus on disputes over managing the predators... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/10/15: Delisting wolves update
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) One June 9, the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee released its draft bill for FY2016. Included in the legislation is a rider which would require the Secretary of the Interior to delist gray wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan from the list of endangered species. This rider, Section 121 of the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, provides for the delisting of gray wolves and would prohibit that rule from being subjected to future judicial review. Last year, a federal judge ordered that gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region be returned to the list of endangered species..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/10/15: Arizona sues over wolf recovery
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Arizona wildlife officials have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over recovery of Mexican wolves. The lawsuit seeks an updated wolf recovery plan with specific guidelines for when wolves can be removed from federal protection.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

6/10/15: Alta wolf pack kills sheep
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A small flock of domestic sheep on a farm near Alta, Wyoming has been the subject of unwanted attention from federally protected wolves recently, with 16 sheep killed by two wolves. Federal officials are now trying to locate and kill the two wolves involved in repeated livestock depredations.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/29/15: Wolf killed in Colorado
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Federal officials have determined that a coyote hunter shot and killed a gray wolf near Kremmling, Colorado in late April. The animal was shot by a legal coyote hunter, who immediately notified Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which then notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The gray wolf is protected by both the federal government and the State of Colorado as an endangered species.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/17/15: Wolf depredation on cattle in Europe
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) A new report to the European Commission "Exploring Traditional Husbandry Methods to Reduce Wolf Predation on Free-Ranging Cattle in Portugal and Spain" offers a look at the problems faced by livestock producers in this region of the Iberian Peninsula, but does little to suggest viable relief from problems specifically identified by cattle producers. The paper acknowledges that "the economic impact of wolf damages on cattle is high and is becoming more relevant in recent times since cattle numbers are getting proportionally higher among livestock species."... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/17/15: Carnivore Damage News
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Winter 2015 issue of Carnivore Damage Prevention News provides a fascinating look into conflicts between livestock and predators across Europe. Between 7,000 and 10,000 sheep are compensated each year as wolverine kills in Norway. Under Swiss law, young men with "conscience objections" to military service may substitute that military service with "alternative civilian service." For the last five years, that has meant serving as agricultural workers (sheepherders) in areas where wolves cause conflicts with livestock. A study in northwestern Switzerland found that 153 sheep were killed in flocks that did not use livestock guardian dogs, while protected herds suffered a total of 15 losses. .... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/15/15: World wolf news
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) News includes 6 hikers in the Israel-occupied Golan heights attacked and bitten by a wolf; wolves released in Arizona; The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission has denied Ted Turner's request for renewal of a permit to hold Mexican wolves as part of the federal recovery effort for the species. The Turner Endangered Species Fund's Ladder Ranch Wolf Management Facility has held such a permit for 17 years, and this is the first time the application for a permit has been denied..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

5/15/15: Wolf-Dog-Flock Trinity
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Wolf researchers with the CanOvis Project continue to study the relationships between wolves, domestic sheep, and livestock guardian dogs in France. CanOvis has prepared its annual report and findings from the 2014 field season. Every year since 2010, more than half of flocks that are attacked experience it once per season, around a third suffer two to five attacks, with around 10% suffering six to 10 attacks and the rest suffering over 10 attacks. Around 3% of flocks account for some 35% of victims compensated in 2013. Field research is set to continue in 2015..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/20/15: Men accused of poaching wolves in Norway
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Six men went to court in what is called a "landmark case that has gripped the country of Norway. The men were accused of illegally killing wolves in Europe's smallest wolf population. They have pled not guilty to charges of illegal hunting, firearms offenses, and organized crime. Five of the six men were found guilty, with all sentenced to various terms in jail. The ringleader was sentenced to one year and eight months in jail, while the others were ordered to serve between six months and a year. All the men denied the charges, and four of the men have appealed the ruling..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/18/15: Three Wolves on Isle Royale
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Researchers have been able to locate only three wolves on Isle Royale, the remote Minnesota island 15 miles from Lake Superior's northwest shoreline. The Isle Royale wolf-moose research project is the world's longest continuous study of predator-prey, now in its 57th year..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/17/15: Dead Wolf in Illinois
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The Chicago Sun Times reports that for the second time in a few months, a wolf has been found dead in Illinois. The female wolf had been hit by a vehicle on Interstate 55.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/15/15: Spain's Wolf Hunts
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Business news site Bloomberg has published a feature article on wolf hunting in Spain, noting that the economic slump has resulted in a severe price drop in the cost of a wolf hunt. The article notes that nine years ago, hunters paid about $16,000 to kill wolves in Spain, but the cost is now only a quarter of that.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/15/15: Wolves attack sheep in French village
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) French press are reporting that a wolf pack went on a livestock killing spree in a village in the French Alps, killing nearly two dozen sheep just feet from the mayor's house. The Local, an online French news site, quoted the mayor as stressing just how close the wolves had come to prowling the streets of the village, home to about 1,600 people..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/15/15: Biggest Wolf Pack
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) The biggest pack of wolves in the West currently is found in the Gros Ventre country about 30 miles northeast of Jackson, according to a new wolf monitoring report. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the Lava Mountain pack of 12 wolves had a double litter last year, bring the pack's numbers to 24. That's a formidable force on the landscape..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

4/11/15: Wolf Population Tops 1,800
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Federal wolf recovery goals for wolves in the Northern Rockies call for an equitably distributed wolf population containing at least 300 wolves and 30 breeding pairs in three recovery areas within Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. There are now a minimum of 1,800 wolves in more than 300 packs, roaming across five states (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, plus Oregon and Washington), according to a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal funding of more than $3.1 million was expended in 2014 on wolf monitoring, management, control and research, according to the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Program 2014 Interagency Annual Report..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/10/15: Idaho wolf control actions
(By Idaho Department of Fish & Game) Idaho Fish and Game has completed a wolf control action in northern Idaho's Lolo elk zone near the Idaho/Montana border to improve poor elk survival in the area. In February, Idaho Fish and Game requested USDA Wildlife Services conduct a control action consistent with Idaho's predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone, where predation by several species is the major reason elk population numbers are considerably below management objectives. Ongoing wolf and elk research has shown that wolves have become the primary predator impacting calf and cow elk survival in the Lolo, contributing to a continual decline in total elk population. The overall objective is to maintain a smaller, but self-sustaining, population of wolves in the Lolo zone to allow the elk population to increase.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

3/6/15: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Update on wolf news around the country including pending legislation, fundraising by groups to keep "hateful bullies in Congress" from putting more wolves in harms way, attempts to downlist wolves rather than delist, wolf hunting and trapping counts in Montana and Idaho, and snowmobilers being kicked off trails in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota because of a wolf chasing and following snowmobiles on several occasions.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/15/15: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) While the list of co-sponsors to a Congressional bill that would remove federal protections for wolves in the Great Lakes States and Wyoming grows to an impressive bipartisan coalition, wolf advocates are suing in an attempt to stop federal wildlife damage control activities in Idaho. The lawsuit was filed by Western Watersheds Project, Wildearth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater and Project Coyote, against USDA Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary injunction suspending animal damage control activities until Wildlife Services prepares a full environmental impact statement for its activities in Idaho. The case was filed in federal district court in Idaho.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/12/15: State Wolf Management Bill Introduced
(By U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis) U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (WY) and Reid Ribble (WI-08) introduced H.R 884, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.H.R. 884 would simply reinstate two decisions of the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List and allow states to continue their successful population management plans. The Endangered Species Act and the ability of the Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf in the case of future population changes are left entirely intact.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2/11/15: Grand Canyon wolf killed in Utah
(By U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) After an extensive analysis by the University of Idaho, it has been confirmed that the Gray Wolf killed in Utah on December 28, 2014 is the same wolf seen in the Grand Canyon area last year. Geneticists from the university’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary, and Conservation Genetics compared the DNA from the wolf killed in Utah with samples taken from the wolf near the Grand Canyon. The results were conclusive that it is the same wolf, identified by the Service as 914F, which was collared near Cody, Wyoming on January 8, 2014 and spotted in the Grand Canyon area in the fall of last year.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/22/15: Groups seek to downlist wolves
(By Center for Biological Diversity) Animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to reclassify gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act as threatened throughout the contiguous United States, with the exception of the Mexican gray wolf, which remains listed as endangered. If adopted the proposal would continue federal oversight and funding of wolf recovery efforts and encourage development of a national recovery plan for the species, but would also give the Fish and Wildlife Service regulatory flexibility to permit state and local wildlife managers to address specific wolf conflicts...... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/22/15: Wolf News Roundup
(By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!) Congressional members from the Great Lakes region have teamed up with U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis to draft a bill that would have Congress delist wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Since wolves have been granted federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, only to be delisted and then relisted again due to litigation – repeatedly – a congressional fix that would preclude any further legal wrangling is being pushed by states dealing with thriving wolf populations..... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

1/22/15: Killing Wolves to Save Caribou
(By Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (British Columbia) The British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is taking immediate action to save caribou herds under threat from wolf predation in two separate and targeted actions: one in the South Selkirk Mountains and the other in the South Peace. The South Selkirk herd is at high risk of local extinction. The population has declined from 46 caribou in 2009 to 27 in 2012, and to 18 as of March 2014. Evidence points to wolves being the leading cause of mortality. The South Selkirk is a trans-boundary herd, and caribou move freely between B.C., Washington and Idaho. Officials from B.C., Washington and Idaho States, First Nations, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working together on a research project and have collared six of the remaining 18 caribou to help investigate the cause of decline. Wolves have killed two of the remaining caribou (11% of the herd) in the past 10 months. Ministry staff will aim to remove up to 24 wolves by shooting them from a helicopter before snow melt.... (Click on the link above for the complete story.)

2014 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2013 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2012 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2011 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2010 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2009 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2008 Wolf Watch Story Archive

2007/2006 Wolf Watch Story Archive


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