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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Veteran Wildlife Services employee Carter Niemeyer continues to get the truth out about the fact that in all of the years he spent evaluating livestock kills, 95% of the time Wolves were not the cause................As Sean Stevens who heads up OREGON WILD saids of Carter: "I don't think we agree on every single thing but he brings a very rational tone to a conversation that has often been irrational and dominated by misinformation"....... Niemeyer speaks on all things Wolf at 6:30 p.m this Wednesday at Jam on Hawthorne at 2239 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland.......

Retired wolf recovery coordinator Carter Niemeyer to speak in Portland, Oregon
By Richard Cockle, The Oregonian
The muscles of Carter Niemeyer's right shoulder are slightly bigger than his left, from skinning hundreds of animals that Montana ranchers and others thought were killed by gray wolves.
Every predator leaves a signature — and with wolves, it's massive hemorrhaging visible only under the hide from a wolf's powerful jaws, says the retired federal wolf recovery coordinator.
Niemeyer's conclusion: Five percent of the dead animals he's seen in wolf country succumbed to wolf attacks, 95 percent died from other causes."I think wolves are a national treasure," the 65-year-old Niemeyer said Tuesday. "But at times they're going to be a problem, and we have to deal with that, too."
The author of a memoir, "Wolfer," Niemeyer will discuss his quarter-century with state and federal wolf recovery programs on Wednesday night in Portland.
Niemeyer made a bumpy transition from an Iowa-born federal trapper and "hired gun of the livestock industry" as he puts it, to someone now recognized in animal welfare circles as a champion for canis lupus.
When the Clinton administration decided in the mid-1990s to reintroduce 31 wolves into Yellowstone National Park and another 35 into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, it wasn't something Niemeyer could imagine being part of. He'd spent his career until then killing predators, and ultimately he went on to kill 14 problem wolves, too.
But before he was finished, he'd captured and handled more than 300 gray wolves, most of them radio-collared, relocated and released, working for the federal Animal Damage Control, later renamed Wildlife Services; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In the process, he came to view wolves as one of the most feared and persecuted species in human history, and, paradoxically, among the most worshiped.
His memoir is as much a commentary on human psychology as a journal on wolf recovery.
Livestock producers summed up the 6-foot-6 Niemeyer as a wolf lover, while wolf recovery advocates figured he was in the ranchers' hip pocket. Niemeyer, meanwhile, annoyed practically everybody including his bosses by skinning dead livestock down to their hooves to find out what really killed them when wolves were suspected.
He angered ranchers by telling them their cows weren't wolf casualties, canceling any chance of a payout by Defenders of Wildlife, which reimbursed ranchers for livestock killed by wolves. When the killer actually was a wolf, he said so, annoying animal welfare advocates.
"I don't think we agree on every single thing Carter says," said Sean Stevens, executive director of Oregon Wild, a wolf advocacy group that is sponsoring his talk. "But he brings a very rational tone to a conversation that has often been irrational and dominated by misinformation."
"He's a great voice for reason when it comes to wolves," said Jeff Welsch, spokesman for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in Bozeman, Mont., another environmental group. "You hear nonsensical stuff from the far right and far left. Carter is someone who has dealt with wolves for a long time and been down in the trenches."
Niemeyer might have something to say about OR-7. He dislikes the trendy practice of "humanizing" wolves by naming them, such as OR-7′s new name of "Journey." Wolf populations matter, he learned in Biology 101 at Iowa State University, individual wolves don't, he said.
If wolves kill livestock, deal with them, he said. "The rest of the time, I tell people to enjoy them when you have the opportunity to see them and hear them."
Wednesday night
Carter Niemeyer speaks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Jam on Hawthorne at 2239 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland.
It was Niemeyer who collared B-300, one of Oregon's first breeding female gray wolves and the alpha female of the Imnaha pack in Wallowa County. B-300 is the mother of wandering OR-7, arguably the world's most famous gray wolf.


Author rails against 'big, bad wolf' misconceptions

East Oregonian

Carter Niemeyer has handled hundreds of wolves, usually the sedated variety, throughout his long career. But do not mistake the man for a wolf hugger. The 65-year-old Boise resident is a practical man who said he relies on facts and science, not folklore or misinformation.

"I have 25 years working with the wolf recovery effort and as much of that was anthropology," he said Tuesday by phone from Portland. "I like to say we don't really have a wolf problem, we have a people problem, and that gets me into a lot of trouble. I try to stick to fact and science. Because of that, there are organizations that shun me."

Niemeyer is the author of "Wolfer," his memoir of his life as a wildlife biologist, government trapper and original member of the team that trapped Canadian wolves and relocated them to the western United States in 1995. He was scheduled by Oregon Wild, a conservation group interested in wolf reintroduction, to speak Tuesday in Eugene and Wednesday in Portland. The two don't always see eye to eye on policy issues, said Oregon Wild conservation director Steve Pedery. "The unique thing is he doesn't really romanticize these animals at all," Pedery said. "He sees wolves as wolves, not as symbols of anything."

'Canadian' wolves

Correcting misinformation about wolves is part of Niemeyer's life. The work keeps him busy.

Few topics rile anti-wolf audiences more than livestock losses due to wolf attacks, or depredations. Wolves since they reappeared in Oregon around 2009 have killed at least 57 livestock animals, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

That number may seem high, but in context is statistically insignificant, said Niemeyer, who during a stretch of his career investigated wolf depredations across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Sit down and do the math," he said.

Figure about 860,000 sheep and around 6 million beef cows populate those three states. Over 25 years, wolves accounted for an average 70 cattle and 130 sheep each year. That amounts to very small numbers of livestock lost to wolves, particulary measured against losses to disease and other predators, such as cougars and bears.

Ranchers counter that wolves kill many more animals than the state or federal governments will confirm. Criteria set by government agencies make wolf-kill determinations a tough bar to reach. Wolves often destroy the evidence of their predation, or the livestock simply disappears. Ranchers also say the mere presence of wolves causes changes in herd behavior that results in weight loss and decreased market value.

Niemeyer has heard most of the arguments against wolf reintroduction in the West. Opponents claim the Canadian gray wolves caught by Niemeyer and his team or that come down on their own into Idaho, for example, are not the same species of wolf that populated the West until it was largely eradicated by the early 20th century.

Genetically, it's the same species, Niemeyer said. "Initially, the first effort was to tell everyone that wolves, the wolves from Canada are bigger, meaner and more vicious. They run in packs, kill for sport, all of these particular kinds of comments," he said. "These wolves are essentially no different than the wolves that lived here."

The gray wolf presents no greater danger of passing on tapeworm than the family dog, he said, countering another belief in anti-wolf circles. In the last 100 years, wolves have killed two people, one in Canada and one in Alaska. Bear and mountain lions maul or kill many more humans in just one year. "It's illogical to spend my time worrying about wolves attacking me in the woods when there's no history of it," Niemeyer said.

Oregon mentor

One who learned from Niemeyer, Russ Morgan, heads up the wolf management program for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department. He and department wildlife biologist Roblyn Brown, who also works in wolf management, worked with Niemeyer to track a pair of Baker County wolves responsible for killing sheep in 2009. The "Keating pair" were eventually killed.

"I think they're doing an outstanding job," Niemeyer said. "Right now I have all the confidence in the world in ODFW. The problem you have is, just like Idaho and Montana, ... you can have the best desire to do it the correct way, and whatever those management decisions are, they're under the scrutiny of government and the appointed fish and game committee. It goes political."

Political means that vested interests, whether pro- or anti-wolf, often dictate policy decisions outside any basis in science, he said. Outside of Oregon, the livestock and hunting quarters are most influential, he said. Oregon, where the rural eastern part of the state often complains its interests are subsumed to those of the more populous western side, may present a different dynamic, he agreed.

Morgan said he learned capture techniques from Niemeyer, techniques that Niemeyer in some cases developed himself. Morgan described Niemeyer, whose experience with wolves brought him to work for the U.S. Agriculture Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, as a renowned expert on the subject of tracking and capturing wolves. Niemeyer actually caught and collared a female wolf in Idaho that eventually moved to Oregon and became the alpha female of the Imnaha pack in Wallowa County, infamous for its record of livestock kills.

"One of the things that Carter has preached is the ability to catch a wolf is to be in the right area," to learn how a wolf uses the landscape before even attempting its capture, Morgan said.

He dismisses the suggestion that Niemeyer's attitudes towards wolf management policy influence his own. "My association with Carter is really about the technical aspects of wolf management," he said. "I believe that his expertise with wolves right now is really unparalleled."

Ask Niemeyer where he stands on wolves and the answer is direct. He makes no apologies for wolves, knows they must be managed, which means killing them when necessary. He's killed some himself. But the animals are here to stay, he said.

"Wolves have every benefit and right to be on the landscape again," he said. "We need to accept that they belong on the landscape."

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