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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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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Veteran and highly regarded Wolf Biologist Lu Carbyn is at the head of the "environmental line" seeking an end to the $500 per Wolf kill Bounty that is currently in effect in Alberta, Canada....600 or so Wolves "bountied" over the past 5 years in the Province......"If they(Alberta) have a wolf control program, it should not be a broad-scale program"...... "It should be problem-specific, limited in duration and carefully monitored"........“It’s a blanket approach, it’s open for abuse".......... "There’s no way that you can control how the animals were killed, where they come from"....... "You can be bringing in wolf carcasses from, you know, Saskatchewan and you can present them here for sale as bounties"..............Most studied Wolf experts concur with Carbyn and are only in favored of "surgical removal" of Wolves proven to be preying on livestock, not wholesale removal via bounties........................Alberta’s management of wolves was also condemned by Kevin Van Tighem, a former superintendent of Banff National Park who has recently released a book, The Homeward Wolf................ “We need to start managing wolves based on biology, not bigotry"............. “These are all sorts of violent things we are doing to these animals"..........."There’s no question wolves need to be managed"........ “They are predators and can become a real problem, but you need to manage them humanely and based on their biology"............. "The random killing of wolves breaks up packs and causes more problems because they lose their hunting ability"


An international conservation group says Alberta should get rid of bounties on wolves.
Several municipalities and some private hunting groups pay the bounty, but the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says it's not an effective way to control the population.
  • Carolyn Campbell of the Alberta Wilderness Association agrees, arguing the Alberta government has to find a better method.
"It should be leading the scientific management of wolves, not a bunch of private hunting groups or local municipalities that may be well-meaning but are not actually addressing the problem in a modern way."
Campbell says Alberta Fish and Wildlife's own scientists have also said bounties are not effective and the province needs a more scientific method to deal with problem wolves.

Lu Carbyn, a retired wolf biologist and a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, agrees the bounty system used in Alberta is flawed.
“It’s an archaic and old-fashioned way of managing wildlife,” he said.
“It’s a blanket approach, it’s open for abuse. There’s no way that you can control how the animals were killed, where they come from. You can be bringing in wolf carcasses from, you know, Saskatchewan and you can present them here for sale as bounties.”
Carbyn says Alberta should instead use predator control officers to specifically target wolves that are preying on livestock.
Officials in Idaho and Wyoming have had good success going after problem wolves using aerial hunting, he said.
One reason wolves are thriving in Alberta is that the deer and elk populations are also doing well, according to Carbyn.
Ludwig "Lu" Norbert Carbyn (born 19 August 1941) is an internationally recognized expert on wolf biology,[1][2] a research scientist emeritus at the Canadian Wildlife Service, and an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. He has studied wolf ecology and behaviour in Canada since 1970, including pioneering research into the ecological role of wolves as predators in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and great plains as well as the wolf-bison ecosystem of Wood Buffalo National Park. On a Canadian Wildlife Service assignment in Jasper National Park, he became the first human to study wild wolves from within a wolf pack using habituation, a method of gaining insights into the biology of wolves portrayed in fiction by Farley Mowat's popular book and film, Never Cry Wolf.[1]
Carbyn has conducted research on the ecology of various species of canids in Poland, Portugal, and throughout North America, and was the chairman of the successful Canadian Swift Fox Reintroduction program Recovery Team from 1989 to 1993.[3] He has published six books and numerous articles about wolves, including The Buffalo Wolf - Predators, Prey and the Politics of Nature (2003, Smithsonian Books) which was distinguished as "Best of the Year - Wildlife" in 2004 by the Canadian Geographic magazine.[4] In 2013, Carbyn received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to wildlife conservation in Canada.[5]

Global science group criticizes Alberta wolf bounties, says they don't work

Global science group criticizes Alberta wolf bounties, says they don't work

The world's largest network of conservation scientists is calling worlf bounties an archaic and ineffective way of controlling wolf populations.

Photograph by: Gary Kramer , AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

EDMONTON - Alberta programs that offer cash for dead wolves are obsolete and ineffective and the provincial government should take steps to forbid them, says the world's largest network of conservation scientists.

In a letter to Alberta Premier Alison Redford, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature asks the government to "eliminate the archaic and out-dated methods of wolf bounty payments."
But defenders of the program say wolf populations are growing in Alberta and something needs to be done to keep them in check.
Last spring, environmentalists warned that privately-funded bounties for killing wolves are shifting control over Alberta's wildlife management to special interest groups.

They pointed out that at least six municipal districts, as well as two branches of the Alberta Fish and Game Association, were paying wolf bounties of up to $500 per wolf — several times the value of the animal's pelt.

U.S. hunting groups such as the Wild Sheep Foundation have paid out thousands of dollars on wolf bounties through local fish and game clubs.
As of last spring, at least 643 bounties had been paid out in Alberta, they said.

The information about bounties spurred the international union, which advises the United Nations on conservation matters, to write letters to both Redford and Alberta Environment Minister Robin Campbell.
"The bounty payments ... are (an) ineffective method of predator management and would be unacceptable in many countries around the world," said the Feb. 4 letter.

Bounties don't target the specific wolves and wolf packs that attack livestock and reduce big-game populations, said Lu Carbyn, a University of Alberta biologist and member of the union's canid specialist group.
"If you have just trapping and shooting, you're not necessarily killing all the pack — just a portion of them," said Carbyn. "The wolves get smarter, and they're going to do their thing."It makes some inroads into the wolf population, but it won't solve the problem."

Carbyn said U.S. game managers radio-collar one member of a pack — called the Judas wolf — and use that to locate and eliminate an entire pack if it starts causing problems.

Gordon Poirier of the Alberta Fish and Game Association said he's aware of the skepticism over bounty programs, but said the combined take of hunters and trappers in the province don't begin to control burgeoning wolf numbers.

"The wolf population is almost out of control," he said.
Alternative measures, such as sterilizing a pack's alpha male and female, have been blocked in the past by public outcry, he said. He maintains bounty programs are targeted and do work.

He acknowledges the problem is made worse by increasing human encroachment into wolf habitat, but adds that doesn't change anything.
"You have to do something," Poirier said. "They have to be controlled."
In his response, Campbell seems to acknowledge that scientists have a point.

"Government staff have met with several of the municipalities offering wolf bounties and provided them with information indicating that these types of programs are not effective in reducing wolf depredation," he wrote on Jan. 3.

Carbyn said Alberta's current approach goes against internationally agreed-on standards for wildlife management."If they have a wolf control program, it should not be a broad-scale program," he said. "It should be problem-specific, limited in duration and carefully monitored."



Larry Sears said...

The Fish & Game association is correct, the wolf population is out of control in many areas of the province. That has a negative effect on many other species and businesses. A very robust and persistent control program is necessary to keep the population from growing further, let alone reduce it.
Mr. Carbyn, may have the best of intentions, but like Farley Mowat is seriously misguided and naive. After all he is one of the people responsible for reintroducing the Swift Fox which has helped quicken the demise of the Greater Sage Grouse…brilliant! Do we really think we need to be taking advise from those whose ideology blinds them to the unintended consequences of their decisions? They have no economic skin in the game, time for people to wake up and common sense percolate to the surface. Why should we have to relearn all the things our ancestors knew instinctively?

Rick Meril said...

perhaps we should throw out all that we have learned through the years simply because it is convenient to do so to accomplish certain folks misguided short term economic needs...........seems kind of sef serving does it not Larry?

Anonymous said...

UNBIASED study after study after study has been done(continues to be done, and likely will always continue to be done) regarding both wolf and coyote "controls" by humans, and the effects on other game animals and the environment. The conclusion of almost all these studies is that human culls usually create MORE wolves and coyotes, at least initially, by disrupting wolf/coyote society, which encourages MORE breeding by these animals. And this continues as long as human interference does. Wolves and Coyotes(and MOST predatory animals) DO NOT naturally continue to increase to an overpopulated state like deer or other ungulates--through territoriality and social controls of their own numbers, they do not, cannot exceed their natural carrying capacity wherever they live--they are DIRECTLY controlled by the numbers of the prey animals they hunt. Only in certain specific circumstances can predators suppress prey numbers, but even then, only temporarily, because suppressed prey numbers AUTOMATICALLY will lessen predator populations. Wild predators can't supplement their diets by trips to the grocery store. It is ironic that predator control programs often create MORE predators, which seems to justify the need for such controls. whereas if humans were more patient, and just WAITED a few years, a more natural balance WILL BE restored, as has since life on earth began. But humans often aren't patient, and many don't like to share "their" game with ANY wild predators! The only way controls eventually work is if such eradication is continued until certain species(like wolves) are totally wiped out, as in the turn of the 19th century government control programs. Which eradicate a lot of innocent wildlife in the process. Which disrupt entire ecosystems creating unforeseen "cascades" affecting all manner of species negatively! Let's hope we don't regress to THAT selfish ignorance again! These are the HARD lessons learned (over and over and over--ad nauseum) by our selfish European dominated ancestors, that SOME people have learned and realized don't work well, but still too many, alas, have not. LOTS of info on this out there--specifically regarding scientific, unbiased studies done with about any predator you can think of. Human sport hunters need to develop a broader perspective(those that haven't yet--many have), and look beyond just their own success/failure during any particular hunting season. Not only would they--hopefully--learn to respect and share the wild places with wild predators, they'd save themselves a lot of stress and aggravation!....L.B.

Rick Meril said...

L.B...............cogent facts by you on this topic(as always)........While true that a generalist mesopredator like Coyotes can "prey switch" to alternative prey(e.g. rabbits decline, so Coyotes dine on rats and mice)...........there is thousands of years of evidence that the canids, felids, Ursids suite of carnivores never exterminate the prey animals completely...........We human animals are the only creature who can wipe the planet clean of all other life(including our own) when our whims, fancys, greed and religious and political and economic philosophies get whipped into a frenzy by Hitler-like zealots

Anonymous said...

Coyotes are rather an exception to government and public control efforts, in that, not only have they increased in numbers, but EXPANDED their ranges thanks to human interference! Which is only one of many reasons I love those wild canids! Which brings up another point, regarding personal likes/dislikes. Why is it okay for some(I stress SOME) sports hunters to try and dominate the woods, and get to decide just what critters are okay, and which should be(in their narrow opinions) eradicated or "controlled"?? Of course they can always say paying for hunting liscences give them the right, and there is some validity to that in a purely economical sense, but I also VOTE and pay taxes, which go in part to support conservation efforts. But money aside, why is what THEY want in the woods more valid than what I want in the woods? Why is their desire to TAKE something from the woods more valid than MY desire to leave things alone as much as possible? What I refuse to accept from predator haters/eradicators/controllers is that THEIR needs/desires are somehow more valid than MINE. And I want predators around!....L. B.

Rick Meril said...

LB................we have to change the funding process of State Game Agencies.........All Americans have a say, not just hunters, ranchers and farmers...........I run for Office with you to get this done