July 31, 2014

Lone wolf plays with dogs.  A wildlife photographer has spent six years chronicling the annual escapades of a lone wolf in Alaska.

Each winter Romeo the black wolf descends from the hills of Alaska's Tongass National Forest to play with domesticated dogs on their winter walks.

For the past six years, wildlife photographer John Hyde has been following the friendly animal. And gaining the huge wolf's trust has allowed him to take these intimate photos.

"I have been following Romeo ever since I heard there was a lone wolf patrolling the surrounding area," revealed the 56-year-old from Juneau, Alaska. "Stories of his arrival in the area began in 2003 when a pregnant female wolf was found dead about one-quarter mile from a nearby glacier visitor's centre.

"Six months later, Romeo's first howl could be heard, and then first regular sightings of Romeo occurred."

Determined to find the lone wanderer, John set about studying his movements in 2004 in a bid to photograph the animal.

"Wolves are common throughout Alaska, but the opportunity to develop the trust of one and to spend extended time with the same animal is something that doesn't happen often," he said. "In fact I have never heard of anything like it before.

"Wolves are seen rarely because they avoid humans. "Initially I came across its track, after which I spent many hours exploring the area and learning as much as I could about him.

"After a while I could find him often enough to make decent photos."

The Tongass National Forest is the largest unit in the national forest system, almost 17 million acres and is home to brown bears, bald eagles, Sitka black-tail deer, porcupines and wolves.


Watch Baby Bullwinkle Take His First Wobbly Steps Just Minutes After Being Born

 Last Sunday, a mama moose gave birth to twins in the backyard of a home in Anchorage, Alaska.

Victoria Hickey and Sarah Lochner captured the video, which shows the mother moose taking care of a newborn calf while the moose gives birth to its twin.

Within a couple minutes, the calves are clean and trying to stand. By the end of the video, they’re already trying to take their first steps.

If the mother seems like a pro at giving birth, it’s because she’s done it before a number of times. According to the man speaking off camera, the moose has returned to the same yard for the last six years to birth her calves. (Source)

Female moose, or cows, give birth to one or two babies in the springtime after an eight-month gestational period. The nutrient-rich milk provided by the mother help the calves grow quickly and they are often weaned off the milk within six months.


Man Crosses Country to save Dog

 Scott Clare adopted 14-month-old Buck-O after his wife passed away. His new companion makes him laugh and smile every day, so when Buck-O was discovered to have a rare heart condition, there wasn’t any question in Scott’s mind of what he had to do.

Buck-O was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called tricuspid (heart) valve dysplasia. The irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) caused by the defect result in high heart rates that would put Buck-O's life at risk.

"My choices were to spend a lot of money or hang on to him until he has a horrible death and I wasn't gonna do that," told RTV 6 News.

The only option was to take Buck-O in for a surgery that had never been done on a dog before. So Scott drove Buck-O 2,300 miles away from California to Cincinnati, Ohio and after a lengthy and costly surgery, Buck-O made it through. So far Buck-O is doing well and will be going in for weekly check-ups. But Scott knows it was worth while. “He’s just a crack-up, he’s a lot of fun,” Scott said.


July 30, 2014

Dog Has "Worst" Matted Fur, Couldn't Walk: SPCA

A dog found in an abandoned Long Island home was brought in to an animal shelter with fur so thick and matted that the dog was barely able to walk, and authorities are searching for the person responsible for the animal's neglect.

The Shih Tzu-type dog, weighing about 11 pounds and estimated to be about 5 or 6 years old, was turned in to the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter on July 17, SPCA officials say.

The man who brought the dog in said he found it in a house he knew to be abandoned, on South 7th Street in Lindenhurst. Neighbors in the area told authorities that the last tenants had moved out nearly a year ago.

Shelter officials said it was the worst case of matting they'd ever seen on a dog, which has been nicknamed Ziggy. Nearly 4 pounds of knotted fur were shaved off, and the dog's overgrown nails were clipped.

Ziggy will also have to go through extensive physical therapy to learn how to walk correctly again, officials say. The NY Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Farmingdale is providing the service pro bono.

Anyone with information on the neglect of the dog is asked to contact the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722.


Victory: State Fish and Game Department will not kill wolves in Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during 2015-16 winter

Faced with a legal challenge by conservationists and an imminent hearing before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (“IDFG”) has abandoned its plan to resume a professional wolf-killing program in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness during the coming winter.

In a sworn statement submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on July 24, 2014, IDFG Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould stated that IDFG “will not conduct any agency control actions for wolves within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness before November 1, 2015.” IDFG had previously advised the court that the program could resume as early as December 1, 2014.

A professional hunter-trapper hired by IDFG killed nine wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness last winter and state officials in February announced plans to kill 60 percent of the wolves in the Middle Fork section of the wilderness over a period of several years in an effort to inflate wilderness elk populations for the benefit of commercial outfitters and recreational hunters.

“As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act this September, we are relieved that the Frank Church Wilderness will be managed as a wild place, rather than an elk farm, for at least the coming year,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso, who is representing conservationists challenging the wilderness wolf-killing program. “Now we must make sure that wilderness values prevail for the long term.”

Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups—Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity—in the lawsuit challenging the wolf-killing program. The conservationists argue that the U.S. Forest Service, which is charged by Congress with managing and protecting the Frank Church Wilderness, violated the Wilderness Act and other laws by allowing and assisting the state wolf-killing program in the largest forest wilderness in the lower-48 states.

In a separate sworn statement filed with the Ninth Circuit on July 24, the Forest Service committed to providing the conservationists with notice by August 5, 2015 of any plans by IDFG to resume professional wolf-killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the 2015–16 winter, as well as “a final determination by the Forest Service as to whether it concurs with or objects to such plans.”

“IDFG’s announcement now gives the Forest Service the chance to play out its mission—its obligation to protect our irreplaceable Frank Church Wilderness for the American people and for all its wildlife against an effort to turn it into a mere elk farming operation on infertile soil,” said Maughan, a retired Idaho State University professor who was a member of the citizens’ group that drew up the boundaries of the Frank Church Wilderness 35 years ago.

“We are pleased to see this truce in Idaho’s wolf reduction efforts in the Frank Church for a full year,” said Suzanne Stone, Defenders’ regional representative who has worked nearly three decades to restore wolves in Idaho. “The Frank Church is both the largest forested wilderness area and a core habitat for gray wolves in the western United States. Wolves belong here as they have made the ‘Frank’ truly wild again. Ensuring healthy wolf populations here is critical for the recovery of wolves throughout the entire northwestern region.”

“It is hard to imagine a decision more inconsistent with wilderness protection than to allow the hired killing of wolves,” added Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “Today, some relief for wild places flows from the news that IDFG will not continue that odious operation this year. Next we will see whether the Forest Service will take action to protect the Frank Church Wilderness from such atrocities in the future.”

"It’s time for the Forest Service to stand with the vast majority of the American people by taking the necessary steps to protect wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness for the long-term, not just the next 15 months,” stated George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “Wolves are the epitome of wildness. Their protection is key to preserving the area’s wilderness character.”

“We’re glad Idaho’s wolves are rightly getting a reprieve from the state’s ill-conceived predator-killing plan, at least for a year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re also happy to see the Forest Service agree to be more transparent about any future decision to allow Idaho to kill wolves in the Frank Church.”


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had scheduled an August 25, 2014 court hearing to address the conservationists’ request for an injunction to prevent IDFG from resuming its program of professional wolf killing in the Frank Church Wilderness during the coming winter. IDFG commenced the program in December 2013 without public notice but abruptly suspended the program on January 28, 2014 amidst emergency injunction proceedings before the Ninth Circuit. Since then, the conservationists have continued to press their case for an injunction before the Ninth Circuit, which led to the scheduled August 25 court hearing.

Because IDFG has abandoned the 2014–15 professional wolf-killing program in the wilderness, the conservationists have agreed to forego the scheduled court hearing, but they renewed their call for the Forest Service to fulfill its legal duty to protect the Frank Church Wilderness.