Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wolf Poachers in Washington, and Wolf Watchers in Alaska

With the recent poaching death(s) of the new Lookout Wolfpack members being reported from the Twisp area, I thought it would be encouraging to post what has been on the Alaska birding yahoo group recently....
For those who had not read the recent information on the tragedy facing our first official Wolfpack I am enclosing the link to Conservation Northwest.


From some of the information in this link I have enclosed, it seems this situation is hopefully an exception and not the rule. The Lookout Wolfpack was discovered in 2008, this is only 2009.
A cause for concern.

The posting below, to me at least brings some solace, over the heartbreaking news that has been released over our own Lookout Wolfpack.

posted 3/29/09 AKBirding@yahoogroups.com
Today Bob Sartor and I went to the hawkwatch (near Eureka) from
11 AM to 4:30 PM.

Highlight: We were watching the resident pair of Golden Eagles sitting near the top of a mountain. We had voyeuristic hopes of seeing more copulation. As the eagles were sitting, I noticed a wolf enter the scene as it stalked the eagles. Finally the wolf rushed the eagles, the eagles took off but did not seem intimidated as they immediately turned and dove several times attacking their attacker.

The eagles flew away and then we noticed a lighter colored, smaller wolf coming to join the first one. The smaller wolf squatted (a female) and urinated on the eagle perch. I checked the time on my watch and returned to watching the wolves. The wolves walked and ran along the spine of the mountain. A half a mile or so from the eagle perch, the wolves spotted a pair of ravens and both canines stalked the ravens. See part two on my next post.

Sun 3/29/09 8:35 PM
To: AKBirding@yahoogroups.com
The ravens were too quick for the wolves and flew off.

We believe the ravens had animal parts in that area as the wolves lingered, sniffed and pawed the area; whereas they spent little time at the eagle perch.

As the wolves were leaving, the larger, darker wolf lifted his leg and urinated. We assumed this was a mated pair. The female squatted and also marked this area. The male ran down the slope approximately 1500 vertical feet, he plunged through the deep snow at least once, and at the end of the run laid in the snow (to cool off?) and looked back toward the female. The female trotted 500 ft downslope toward the male then she stopped, sniffed and rolled in the snow with relish; she repeated this 5 more times - sniffing and rolling. The female than followed the male, placing her feet in nearly the exact footprints of the male's (we could see his tracks in the snow). They briefly chased each other playfully back and forth and then went out of sight over a low ridge. I checked my watch again; we had observed the wolf pair continously for just over 1 hour! This was another first for us at the hawkwatch!

Paul Fritz,
Palmer, AK

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