Additions to the Wolverine’s Range in Idaho

Repost from the old site.

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California (soon to be published).

The wolverine in Idaho is generally considered inhabit three main areas:

The first and southernmost population is in the Sawtooth National Forest (northern part), Challis National Forest, Payette National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho.

Yet another population is the central population in the Lochsa River Drainage in the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in Clearwater National Forest.

A third population is the northern population to the north in the Selkirks along the Canadian border.

The three populations are considered to be separated from each other, although at least the first population is thought to be healthy.

Nevertheless, we continue to get reports of wolverines in other parts of Idaho. A previous post noted a wolverine on a telephone pole along the Snake River Valley in King Hill, Idaho, earlier this year.

A radio-collared wolverine recently traveled from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming across the Blackfoot and Caribou Mountains in the Targhee and Caribou National Forests in Southeastern Idaho, across private lands to the Portneuf Range west of the Portneuf River. This range is about 20 miles east of Pocatello, Idaho, and encompasses part of the Caribou National Forest and the Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation.

The breathtaking Portneuf Range east of Pocatello, Idaho, where the radio-collared wolverine ended up. It promptly turned right around and went back to the Tetons. In the Basin and Range Region.

A grazing allotment on the Blackfoot Mountains in southeastern Idaho. Lance Armstrong, the peripatetic wolverine, crossed this range on his way from the Grand Tetons to the Portneuf Range opposite Pocatello, Idaho. Grazing is thoroughly devastating BLM and Forest Service land in this region. The problem is particularly acute in Southern Idaho, as it is more arid.

All livestock grazing pretty much needs to be banned in at least these areas.Incredibly, livestock grazing is allowed in National Forest wilderness areas. This was one of the only ways that the 1964 Wilderness Act could get passed was to grandfather in these grazing allotments. It’s insane that grazing is allowed in wilderness areas. Grazing is particularly devastating in high-elevation forests of the Sierra Nevada and anywhere in the arid West.

The cow evolved in England and prefers a cool climate with lots of water. In the arid West, cows congregate during the summer in the riparian areas, which they completely devastate. A grand total of 2% of all US beef comes from public lands in the West – most beef comes from feedlots in the Midwest. Public lands grazing is welfare – the allotments are rented out to the ranchers at far below market value, so the taxpayer gets totally screwed.

Not only do we get ripped off on the rental of our lands, but we also get our lands devastated in the process. The whole thing is completely insane. If ranchers can’t make it ranching on private land, they need to get out of the business.

Furthermore, increasingly, public lands ranchers, like everything else in US capitalism, is going corporate. Mom and Pop ranchers are going out and ranching corporations are in. A large number of public lands grazing allotments are now being run by corporations as investment vehicles.

 

The long-ranging wolverine above was finally killed by a trapper just over the Montana border in the Centennial Range. Since the Centennials range into Idaho, we ought to add the Centennial Range in the Targhee National Forest to the wolverine’s range in Idaho.

The spectacular Centennial Range on the border between Idaho and Montana. This is where the long-ranging wolverine named Lance Armstrong was finally killed by a trapper over the border into Montana.

 

Montana still allows trapping of wolverines, which takes about a dozen a year. Studies are showing that even that small take may be too much for wolverines to sustain. However, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission recently voted to set limits on wolverine trapping for the very first time.

Additional searching around the net noted that a wolverine had been shot dead by some boys in the Snake River Canyon in Idaho a few years back. They were worried and they brought it in to the Department of Fish and Game office, but the wardens let them go because they were kids and did not know what they were doing, although the wolverine is protected in Idaho.

The Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. Some teenage boys shot dead a wolverine here about three years ago, but were not charged. Clearly, wolverines do exist in this part of the Colombian Plateau. This is where Evil Knievel tried his ill-fated motorcycle jump across this canyon decades ago.

 

There are various definitions about what constitutes the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. The most parsimonious definition says that it starts at the spectacular Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. It seems to continue west about 30 miles to 1000 Springs (great pics on that page) at Hagerman, where Wikipedia implies that it ends.

So this wolverine was apparently killed in the canyon between Twin Falls and Hagerman. That’s only about 47 miles north of the Nevada border.

Way further afield, in the Seven Devils Mountains of far western Idaho in the Hell’s River Canyon of the Snake River, wolverines exist. As you can see in various places in this large document (page 6 for instance) they are actually doing surveys for their dens.

Included in the appendices is a report called Survey of Wolverine Dens in the Seven Devils Mountains of Hells Canyon.

The gorgeous Seven Devils Range in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. This range borders on Hell’s Canyon and may serve as a steppingstone for wolverines to travel from Idaho across the Snake River to the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon.

 

There are also reports of wolverines in the Wood River Valley area. Part of the Wood River runs about 30 miles north of Twin Falls, but the Wood River Valley refers to private land about 60-70 miles north of Twin Falls. It includes the towns of Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue. We should extend wolverine habitat down from the Sawtooths into the Wood River Valley. There have been recent sightings in the Sun Valley area.

On the webpage for Power County, a county in southeastern Idaho west and southwest of Pocatello, the county claims that wolverines occur there. There are various ranges there, including the Bannock Range, the Sublette Range and the Deep Creek Range.

The spectacular Deep Creek Range in southeastern Idaho. It is about 40 miles long, and is bounded by Arbon Valley on the East and Rockland Valley on the West as it ranges through Power County. Wolverines may well exist here. Another Basin and Range mountain range.

 

The Bannock Range in southeastern Idaho. Both the Bannock and the Deep Creek Ranges are southwest of Pocatello. The Bannocks extend from Pocatello 85 miles south into northern Utah through the Caribou National Forest. Wolverines may well exist in this range. Also located in the Basin and Range region.

 

Photos of all of these beautiful ranges can be seen on Ralph Maughan’s excellent blog. Maughan is a professor of political science at Idaho State University in Pocatello. He’s also really big on wolves.

Incredibly, the Bush Administration removed all protections for all wolves in the United States! The Rocky Mountains population is doing fairly well, but they completely removed the wolves from the endangered species list and handed management of them over to the states, who proceeded to slaughter them as fast as they can!

Web page on myths about wolves. Wolves are hardly dangerous at all to humans. Predators killed 12,100 sheep in Idaho last year. Of those, a little more than 2% were killed by wolves. Domestic dogs killed for more and coyotes killed the most of all. There is nothing to do with coyotes and no way to get rid of them. The more you do predator control against them, the more sheep they kill.

Ranchers claim that wolves are devastating Idaho’s cattle industry. Wolves killed 24 cows in Idaho last year, .03 of all losses. All predators accounted for only 3% of all losses and wolves accounted for less than 1% of all predator losses. Ranchers are reimbursed for all of their losses to wolves anyway.

This is a clear consequence of White Rule in America. White Rule has meant a total corporate takeover of every nook and cranny in this nation, along with utter devastation of our environment and every non-utilitarian form of non-human life in it.

What’s odd is that surveys of Americans, including most Whites, show that they are strong environmentalists. But environmentalism is way down on the list. What’s high on the list? Although most US Whites will tell you that they are not racist, the movement of US Whites towards the Republican Party from 1980-present has been pretty much predicated on race.

It’s coincided with a dramatic decrease in the White % in this country. You tell me that is a coincidence? Forget it! When I was coming of age in the late 1970’s, this was probably an 82% White country. The vast majority of people that I grew up with, went to high school, junior college and even college with, were White. The people I met at my jobs and on college trips were almost all White. It was just a White World.

Since 1980, our White World has gotten darker and darker. Whites have dropped from 82% of the US to about 64% and it’s dropping all the time. This has amazingly coincided with Whites leaving liberalism en masse and voting hard rightwing Republican. The White Republican politics has gotten harder and harder rightwing with time.

During the 1990’s and into the Bush Administration, we are now dealing with quite possibly the most rightwing President this country has ever seen – and it’s all the fault of White people. Why are Whites voting more and more reactionary with time? Because their rule is coming to an end.

This is a predictable political trend for any ruling group which is desperately trying to hold onto power in the face of rising opposition. In truth, ruling groups often opt for dictatorship and often fascism as they desperately try to cling to power.

In summary, occupied wolverine habitat in Idaho should be extended beyond the description at the beginning to the post to Power County, Elmore County, the Snake River Valley, the Blackfoot Mountains, the Centennial Range, the Caribou Range, the Snake River Range, the Big Hole Mountains, the Targhee and Caribou National Forests, the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, the Portneuf Range, the Seven Devils Mountains , the Snake River Canyon and possibly the Bannock and Deep Creek Ranges.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.

Edelman, Frank and Copeland, Jeff. 1999. Wolverine Distribution in the Northwestern United States and a Survey in the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho. Northwest Science 62:181-185.

Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the Wolverine in Idaho as Determined by Mail Questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.

Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .

Wildlife Conservation Society 2004. Wolverine Takes A Road Trip: Scientists Track Male Animal Over a Three-state, 550-mile Walk-about. Science Daily.

13 Comments

Filed under Americas, Animals, Carnivores, Endangered Species, Environmentalism, Idaho, Mammals, Mustelids, Regional, USA, West, Wild, Wildlife, Wolverines

13 responses to “Additions to the Wolverine’s Range in Idaho

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  13. Thremnir Balchin

    Interesting about wolverine movements in Idaho.
    Less interesting is the equating of Republicans/ whites with racism . Racists come in all colors, and are global in habitat. Both Parties here
    in the USA are beholden to Corporate Interests.
    Equally so.

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