Idaho closer to resuming Wolf hunting; conservation groups sue to stop killing of two Wolves in Oregon; removal of Wolves from Endangered List topic of public hearing in Wisconsin; and Rabies reports from Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Gray wolf. Courtesy of National Park Service.

 Idaho 05/03/11 kpax.com: by Dennis Bragg – Now that federal law is changing, Idaho Fish and Game managers are moving closer to laying plans to resume the hunting of gray wolves this fall. It was a month ago that Congress enacted legislation to remove wolves in the both Idaho and Montana off the Endangered Species List, thereby overriding the on-going legal battles over the wolves’ status. That turns management back to the individual states. Idaho Fish and Game biologists are now working on their plans to resume the wolf hunts that were stopped by an order from U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy last summer. Those plans are expected to be similar to the plans Idaho used when wolf hunts were allowed in the fall of 2009. On May 18th, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet in Lewistown for its regular business meeting. But one item on the agenda is an update on the most recent wolf population counts. Right now it’s thought there are more than 700 wolves in the state, or about half of all the wolves in the Northern Rockies. Biologists have said the population of wolves hadn’t changed much between 2008 and 2009, when the first hunt took place, and may actually be lower than 2-years ago. Hunters killed 188-wolves in Idaho in the 2009 hunt.

Oregon 05/03/11 biologicaldiversity.org: Conservation groups today moved to stop the killing of two wolves from the Imnaha Pack in eastern Oregon. They filed suit in federal court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has ordered and plans to carry out the killing of two wolves from the pack in response to a late April wolf kill of a calf. Cascadia Wildlands, Hells Canyon Preservation Council, Center for Biological Diversity and Oregon Wild brought the suit on the basis that the Fish and Wildlife Service has not conducted the necessary environmental review to kill wolves in Oregon and that such killing violates the federal Endangered Species Act, which, at least for the time being, still protects Oregon’s wolves. (For complete press release go to http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/wolves-05-03-2011.html )

Upper Midwest 05/02/11 publicradio.org: by Michael Olson – Adding wolves on the Endangered Species list 35 years ago has had its intended effect. Wolf populations throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest have rebounded after the animals were on the verge of extinction.  The Northland News Center reports the Minnesota wolf population is nearly 3,000. Wisconsin and Michigan are home to 800 and 700 wolves, respectively. “When we started working with wolves in Wisconsin in 1979 there were literally four packs of wolves in the state, total population of 25 animals.”  Dick Thiel was the first ever wolf biologist for the Wisconsin DNR. 35 years ago, things looked grim for the gray wolf. “And the consensus really was, we weren’t sure if these animals would ever become recovered.” A public hearing about the possible de-listing of gray wolves from the Endangered Species List will take place in Ashland, Wisconsin, on May 18th at 6:00 pm in the Great Lakes Visitors Center.

Arkansas 05/03/11 reuters.com: by Suzi Parker – Arkansas is seeing an increase in the number of skunks with rabies, officials say. The state usually has about 32 skunks per year that test positive for rabies. So far this year, the state has already reported 35, according to Susan Weinstein, state public health veterinarian. “We are having very much of an increase this spring,” Weinstein said. “It should calm down after spring weather when skunks are not as active and it is no longer mating season.” The average per county is one to three rabid skunks per county per month. But one western Arkansas county alone – Sebastian County – has reported 20 rabid skunks in the past month, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

South Carolina 05/03/11 wistv.com: by Jason Old – A Fairfield County resident is under the care of a physician after being exposed to a fox that tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said today. “The incident began April 28th near the Ridgeway- Lake Wateree area when the fox was struck by a car the individual was driving,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “The driver stopped and was scratched by the fox while trying to rescue it. The fox later tested positive for rabies.” This is the first confirmed rabid animal in Fairfield County in 2011. Last year, there was one skunk confirmed rabid in the county. In 2010, there were 106 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 27 confirmed cases in animals in the state. For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s Web page at: http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies or contact DHEC’s Fairfield County Environmental Health Office at (803) 635-6481. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web page about rabies can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies.

Texas 05/02/11 mysanantonio.com: by Zeke MacCormack – A skunk recently killed by two dogs in Kendall County has become the second wild animal there to test positive for rabies this year, officials said Monday. The skunk died in the fight on Violet Pass, outside Boerne, on April 20, according to Kendall County Chief Deputy Matt King, who said the dogs — which had rabies vaccinations — have been quarantined.

Wisconsin 05/02/11 wsau.com: Merrill police are looking for a dog that bit a teenage boy in the leg yesterday afternoon. It happened between 1 and 2 p.m. outside of Prairie River middle school. The dog is described as small to medium build and black with lots of white spots.  A woman wearing a blue jacket was walking the dog on a leash. If police can’t find the owner and dog, the boy may have to undergo a series of rabies shots. Anyone with information should call police at 715-536-8311.

 
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