How Wolves and Humans Are Alike – By Rick Lamplugh

While some people see wolves as vicious killers to eradicate, I see them as essential predators that we have much in common with.




Norway temporarily suspends wolf hunting after court case

Wolf hunting in areas outside of the animal’s designated protected zones has been suspended after the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) sued the state at Oslo District Court.

The WWF’s suit against the Norwegian state asked the court to examine Norwegian laws on control of wolf populations, and to suspend hunting in the counties of Østfold, Oslo, Akershus and Hedmark, while investigations take place, reports news agency NTB.

Oslo District Court announced its decision on Tuesday.

The decision will be put into effect immediately, Christian Hillmann, advisor for the Rovviltnemnda (Wolf Advisory Board) in the relevant region, told NTB.

WWF environmental policy department leader Ingrid Lomelde told the agency that the organization was now looking forward to further examination of the issue by the court.

“Oslo District Court has taken an important decision by stopping the ongoing wolf hunt. We are now looking forward to the case going to court, where judges will decide whether Norwegian wolf administration is in breach of Norwegian law and international obligations,” Lomelde said.

The court itself stressed that suspension of hunting remains temporary for the time being.

Five animals have been shot since the beginning of the season in the four counties in areas outside of zones in which wolves are protected by law (ulvesonen in Norwegian), NTB reports.

WWF’s case is based on its argument that the animal is completely protected and on Norway’s own list of ‘critically endangered’ species, the agency reported as the trial began last week.

The Norwegian state is supported in the trial by the Norwegian Agrarian Association (Norges Bondelag), which has argued that halting wolf hunting would have adverse effects on food production.

The Norwegian Forest Owners Association (Skogeierforbundet) and Association of Hunters and Fishers (Norges Jeger- og Fiskerforbund) also supports the state in the case.

Dreaming of a National Wolf Recovery Plan – by Rick Lamplugh

As hunting and poaching reduce wolf populations, this wildlife advocate tries to stay optimistic by considering a national plan to INCREASE the number of wolves. Indie author Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. His new book, Deep into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur and Controversy, is available signed from Rick at, or unsigned on Amazon: His best seller, In the Temple of Wolves, is available signed at, or unsigned on Amazon at


Brookfield Zoo Wolf Released into Wild Found Healthy in New Mexico

A Mexican wolf pup born this spring at Brookfield Zoo and released into the wild as part of a species recovery program was tracked down in New Mexico and is healthy, the zoo announced this week.

In April, a wolf named Zana gave birth to a litter of five pups at the zoo. Days later, two of the pups – Connie and Dennis – were transferred to the den of the San Mateo wolf pack in New Mexico.

Their move was proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as part of a cross-fostering initiative, where young pups are transferred from their litter in captivity to another litter of similar age in the wild. The program aims to diversify the genetics of the species, which is the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world.

Shortly after the cross-fostering effort began in 2015, a Mexican wolf born at Brookfield Zoo and released into the wild was found dead in western New Mexico. USFWS conducted an investigation but was unable to determine the exact cause of death, spokesperson John Bradley said.

The cross-fostering program has, however, had more positive outcomes.

Last year, two Mexican wolf pups born at Brookfield Zoo – Blaze and Brooke – were released into the wild in Arizona.

“We’ve had a couple definite successes where we’ve had a pup be found and then actually meet up with a female and start breeding,” Bradley said. “That is the real key to success, that they grow up to an age where they can breed and they breed with someone not in their immediately family.”

Last month, USFWS biologists located Connie in New Mexico and fitted her with a GPS radio collar before releasing her back into the wild to join her pack. Like all newborn wolf pups, Connie was too small to be equipped with the collar when she was released from the zoo shortly after birth.

Dennis, Connie’s brother, has not yet been located, but the biologists are hopeful that they will be able to locate and collar him during an upcoming annual census.

“The genetics of this particular animal – the Mexican gray wolf – is very narrow,” said Joan Daniels, curator of mammals at Brookfield Zoo, which participates in the recovery program. “So there’s not a lot of genetic diversity in the population. [Cross-fostering] is used to increase the number of pups in a litter or change out the genetics between two different litters.”

Mexican wolves were once common in the Southwest but were wiped out in the mid-1970s, with only a few of the animals remaining in Mexico. Starting in 1998, 11 Mexican wolves were reintroduced to the wild in Arizona after being bred in captivity.

Although their numbers have grown, there are still only about 300 Mexican wolves in captivity, and another 97 in the wild, according to the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife.

In return for releasing Connie and Dennis, Brookfield Zoo received sibling pups Mateo and Springer from the wild. The zoo says they are thriving in their pack.

“I find them absolutely fascinating,” Daniels said of the wolves. “They are incredible parents, and the ability to see them here at the zoo has been wonderful because we get to experience them rearing their babies and watching them very tenderly take care of the puppies. They’re very protective of them.”

For several days after birth, Mexican wolf pups cannot hear, and their eyes remain closed, Daniels said. In the cross-fostering program, the wolf pups must be transferred to their new pack relatively soon after birth – before they have become too attached to their mothers.

“We let the mom bond and nurse with the puppies for a few days, and then we coordinate the cross-fostering within 10 days of birth,” Daniels said. “If you wait too long, their eyes open and it’s not as successful.”

National Park Service debating wolf reintroduction on Isle Royale – STILL.

– Isle Royale sits like a gem in a cold ring of Lake Superior water, some 15 miles off the shore of Grand Portage, Minnesota. Its isolation has been key to the island’s preservation. It sits today as a national park, not much different from when Norwegian fisherman built the first fish camps on its shores in the mid-1800’s.

A pristine island of some 210 square miles, it was a privilege to visit. To see the young bull moose swimming across a bay on our boat trip in or to come face to face with this cow moose freezing us in our steps on an island trail, was to experience nature unencumbered by man.

Time spent on the island allows you to slow down and think of the world in simpler terms. That is until you consider the very complicated national debate over reintroducing wolves to Isle Royale.

WWF-Norway is suing the State, demands a revised Wolf Management Plan.

“Enough is enough. We have tried everything else. The culling is against the law and must be stopped before it is too late to save a critically endangered species”, said Ingrid Lomelde, Policy Director at WWF-Norway.

The Norwegian management of wolves goes against the constitution, the Biodiversity Act and the Bern Convention and now the courts must decide whether it has to be changed, stated WWF-Norway. The organization has provided a subpoena of the state to the Oslo District Court.

– “The current situation is a catastrophe for the critically endangered wolf – and an embarrassment to Norway as a self-proclaimed environmental champion”, said Lomelde.

No time to wait
In addition to demanding that the Norwegian wolf management must take into consideration national laws and international obligations, WWF-Norway also demands a temporary injunction of this season´s culling in order to stop it immediately.

– “We cannot sit and watch the authorities allow an unlawful culling of one of our most endangered carnivores. That is why we have sent a subpoena to the Oslo District court. To sue the state is a serious step, which could also entail a substantial economic risk to us, but the culling has started and we cannot wait for more wolves to be killed”, said Lomelde.

Five wolves shot
Norwegian carnivore authorities have decided that a total of 50 wolves can be culled this winter. This equals about 90 percent of the wolves that permanently reside in Norway. These 50 wolves live both inside and outside of the politically established wolf zone. Initially it is the wolves outside the zone that can be culled. This culling started October 1 – so far six wolves have been shot. Whether wolves living inside the zone can be culled is an issue to be decided by the Department of Climate and Environment before the end of this year.

– “We cannot wait for the department to decide. The ongoing hunt must be stopped immediately and the whole of the wolf management must be tried before the courts. Every year the same thing happens: the management authorities decide on an extensive culling while WWF and others file complaints. Together with organizations such as Friends of the Earth Norway, NOAH, Foreningen Våre Rovdyr and Sabima we fight the same battle every year. We cannot continue this way, we need a sustainable carnivore management that ensures the long-term survival of the wolf population”, said Lomelde.

Want to support the court case? Read more here.

Legal agreement halts federal killing of predators in Colorado

, jmarmaduke@coloradoan.comPublished 12:00 p.m. MT Nov. 7, 2017 | Updated 2:23 p.m. MT Nov. 7, 2017

A federal program hit pause this week on its involvement in Colorado predator-killing plans

Wildlife Services, a United States Department of Agriculture program, was tasked with killing Colorado mountain lions and black bears as part of two Colorado Parks and Wildlife plans.

But conservationist groups sued over the federal government’s involvement in state plans, and it’s unclear whether CPW can continue to kill predators without Wildlife Services help.

In a legal agreement with the conservationist groups, which was made public on Monday, Wildlife Services agreed to conduct a new environmental analysis of the plans by Aug. 1, 2018, and not kill any bears or mountain lions in the meantime.

The predator control plans are meant to boost dwindling mule deer population in the Piceance Basin and Upper Arkansas River areas.

CPW and Wildlife Services began trapping and killing predators this year in a 500-square-mile area west of Rifle and a 2,370-square-mile area in south-central Colorado. CPW hasn’t shared how many animals have been killed.


The Piceance Basin plan allows wildlife crews to capture up to 15 mountain lions and 25 black bears annually for three years using cage traps, culvert traps, foot snares and hunting dogs, then shoot them, according to CPW documents. The Upper Arkansas plan allows crews to trap and kill an unspecified number of mountain lions over a nine-year period.

CPW spokeswoman Lauren Truitt declined to comment on whether killing will continue without federal involvement, saying CPW hasn’t reviewed statements about the lawsuit. Wildlife Services representatives didn’t return a phone call from the Coloradoan requesting clarification, and Matthew Bishop of the Western Environmental Law Center said he’s unsure whether killing will continue.


Wildlife Services’ new environmental analysis will consider environmental impacts of the predator control plans and their alternatives, Bishop said.

“This agreement represents a sign of good faith moving forward to do the right thing when it comes to Colorado’s wildlife and ecosystems,” he said in a statement. “It’s a big swing to go from deciding to ignore the best available science to halting potentially harmful wildlife killing while improving the science.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including the Western Environmental Law Center, WildEarth Guardians and Center for Biological Diversity, argue predators aren’t to blame for the dwindling mule deer population in Colorado. They point instead to habitat infringement by oil and gas development. 

But CPW research indicates that predation, not oil and gas development, is the major cause of shrinking mule deer population in the two predator control plan areas, officials previously told the Coloradoan.

The state’s mule deer population currently sits at about 80 percent of wildlife managers’ desired population of 560,000.

Wildlife Services has also agreed not to use or fund the use of M-44 sodium cyanide capsules — so-called “cyanide bombs” — on public lands in Colorado. The conservationist groups alleged earlier this year that the traps, meant to protect livestock from predators, kill wildlife and pets indiscriminately, the Associated Press reported.

CPW and U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswomen told the Associated Press the traps haven’t been used on public lands in decades.