December 7, 2019

Roaming Elk at Point Reyes Bedevil Ranchers in California 

Tule elk in a refuge have been dying off while a thriving herd outside it has encroached on pastures, rekindling a dispute over the management of the creatures.
Source: Roaming Elk at Point Reyes Bedevil Ranchers in California – NYTimes.com

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RMEF Seeks Intervener Status in Idaho Wolf Management Case

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation filed to intervene in a lawsuit by animal rights groups seeking to thwart the management of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hired a hunter in late 2013 that successfully removed two packs of wolves. He since departed the central Idaho area where predation is having a severe effect on dwindling elk herds.

“This was a legal management activity that is part of a long-standing cooperative relationship between Idaho Fish and Game and the National Forest Service,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “The judge in the case also denied two preliminary injunction requests by the same groups to stop the effort.”

“The wilderness is a special place, but it is different from a national park,” said Virgil Moore, IDFG director. “Backcountry hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are treasured opportunities, and Fish and Game has actively managed wildlife in central Idaho since before the area was designated wilderness.”

IDFG has an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to use each other’s facilities when carrying out missions.

Moore also said aerial surveys in the wilderness area indicate elk populations dropped 43 percent since 2002 and wolf populations are too high in relation to elk numbers.

RMEF has a rich history in leading wildlife research efforts around the country including lifetime grants of more than $725,000 to advance the science of wolves, wolf interactions with elk and other wildlife, and overall wolf management. In just the past two years, RMEF granted more than $210,000 directly to the state wildlife agencies in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

“There are those who believe the wolf deserves special treatment above and beyond all other wildlife. Wolves need to remain subject to effective state management like elk, deer, bears and lions in order to ensure balance and that there is sufficient habitat for the survival of all species,” added Allen.

RMEF is also an intervener in lawsuits brought by animal rights groups regarding wolf management in Wyoming and in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin while also active in a second Wyoming suit.

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RMEF Opposes Lawsuit over Idaho Wolf Management

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Idaho Fish and Game Department (IDFG) in opposition to a lawsuit aimed at stopping the management of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

“There is nothing illegal about this management activity,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “It clearly falls within the guidelines of Idaho’s federally-approved wolf management plan.”

IDFG hired a hunter in late 2013 to track and kill wolves from two packs in central Idaho after determining wolf predation is a major factor preventing ailing elk populations in the area from recovering.

“The wilderness is a special place, but it is different from a national park,” said Virgil Moore, IDFG director. “Backcountry hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are treasured opportunities, and Fish and Game has actively managed wildlife in central Idaho since before the area was designated wilderness.”

Moore stated aerial surveys in the Frank Church Wilderness indicate elk populations dropped 43 percent since 2002 and wolf populations are too high in relation to elk numbers. He also said there are at least six documented packs in the Middle Fork Salmon zone and several more across the wilderness area.

“Wolf hunting and trapping by sportsmen in the Middle Fork zones have not been sufficiently effective in reducing elk predation. Even if successful, this action will in no way come near to eliminating wolves,” added Moore. “That is not, and never will be, our goal.”

Last year IDFG managers estimated Idaho’s wolf population at 683, an 11 percent drop from 2012, but more than 300 percent above the original minimum recovery goal of 150 established in the mid-1990s. The highest total was in 2009, when it estimated 859 wolves were in the state.

“There is a small fraction of people that believe the wolf deserves special rules and designations above and beyond all other wildlife. Wolves need to remain under state management like elk, deer, bears and lions in order to ensure balance and that there is sufficient habitat for the survival of all species,” added Allen.

RMEF also remains committed to learning more about wolves through research efforts. Since 1989, RMEF invested nearly $664,000 in research grants to advance scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species, and overall wolf management. The total includes more than $200,000 in science grants in just the past five years. Most of the contributions paid for independent research by leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribes.

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RMEF Grant to Help Wolf Management in Wyoming

*Editor’s Note* This editor acknowledges the money and effort the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation puts into wildlife and habitat programs in the United States. It is this editor’s opinion that doling out money to any fish and game department for the purpose of, “better implement management techniques” for wolves is idealistic and ineffective. This editor also understands the politics involved with today’s wildlife management and can only hope that one day game management can return to a rational form of scientific implementation.

So long as wolves are treated as a game species and “managed” accordingly, most all other wildlife species will suffer. How long will it take, if ever, before this fact is realized?

MISSOULA, Mont.–A $50,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will assist the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) with its wolf management plan.

The funding will expand WGFD’s knowledge of predator-prey interactions between wolves and elk. It will also expand the radio collar program to help managers better understand the home range, territory size, pack size and other biological traits and actions of the wolf so they can better implement management techniques.

“It is vital that state agencies have a firm grasp on predator populations in order to properly implement science-based management practices,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant will help WGFD gain more knowledge to better understand its wolf population so it can better implement its approved wolf management plan.”

“Our partnership with the RMEF is extremely valuable to us and this grant shows how this relationship continues to develop great opportunities for conservation,” said Tom Ryder, Wildlife Assistant Division Chief for WGFD. “This grant will help the Department execute its adaptive wolf management plan by helping to increase our knowledge of wolf/elk interactions, wolf home range, and pack and territory size. Each of these biological components is important for the management plan and to our shared constituents.”

In keeping with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, RMEF supports state-regulated hunting and trapping as the preferred tools of wolf management. RMEF staunchly supports management to balance and control wolf populations.

“We maintain our longstanding commitment to and support of the goal of state management which is to sustain all wildlife species on balance with the available habitat and the local communities where so many of us live,” added Allen.

RMEF also remains committed to learning more about wolves through research efforts. Since 1989, RMEF invested nearly $664,000 in research grants to advance scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species, and overall wolf management. The total includes $174,079 in Wyoming-specific research projects and more than $200,000 in science grants in just the past five years. Most of the contributions paid for independent research by leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribes.

“Part of RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk and other wildlife,” said Allen. “This grant helps managers do just that in Wyoming by helping them know how many wolves are out there, where they travel and what effect they have on elk, deer and other ungulates.”

RMEF will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally, $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states.

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