HOWL Colorado

State of Alaska responds to wolf pup protocol questions

[large thumbnail url=”montana-extends-public-comment-phase-regarding-wolf-hunts” filename=”news” year=”2009″ month=”12″ day=”09″] [thumbnail icon url=”montana-extends-public-comment-phase-regarding-wolf-hunts” filename=”news” year=”2009″ month=”12″ day=”09″] On December 1, 2009, HOWLColorado posted an article by Maria Ferguson highlighting issues regarding the Wolf Pup Protocol, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game program to place pups orphaned by their wildlife management plans. HOWLColorado, at that time, also contacted Alaskan officials asking for a response.

Tom Schumacher, from the Division of Wildlife Conservation, sent back a response. We will link the pdf of the letter he wrote back, as well as provide the content in this article, as well as content from the email we sent.

Our original email was sent to Karen Blejwas on December 1, 2009.

The following statement was made by Maria Ferguson

Darlene Kobobel also wrote Karen Blejwas and received a reply that her facility didn’t meet their requirements even though it was AZA certified. Blejwas also stated that in the “unlikely event” that there would be any Wolf pups they would continue to seek out homes for them with AZA accredited facilities.

As we knew for a fact that Darlene Kobobel’s Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is AZA accredited, we asked the following questions:

We are interested to know if you a) did respond to the director of that center stating their facility was not suitable. b) the criteria you used to approve (or in this case, decline) specific facilities.

We also asked for a copy of the permit request.

We had concerns regarding point 7 (of the May 2009 Pup Protocol document): In areas of Alaska without enzootic rabies, involved DWC field staff will make a concerted effort to humanely live capture and trasnfer orphaned pups to authorized facilities rather than euthanized them in the field, as long as such efforts will not interfere with their other duties, activities and responsibilities.

Karen Blejwas had written a previous article regarding dealing with young wild animals.

“Dealing with an “orphaned” animal is time consuming and expensive for the state. Dealing with individual animals pulls wildlife managers away from the big picture of managing populations of wildlife, and is not the best use of state resources.”

So we also asked:

[We] understand the article as a whole was dealing with any and all orphaned animals found by the public in Alaska. However, clarity regarding the effort being made by the state to satisfy this written declaration seems to be important – especially in light of the confusing responses which people have received from your office. A clearly phrased question which is blunt and to the point might be: Is it easier to turn down even AZA certified facilities which can host critically endangered animals instead of spending resources, and time, to satisfy the requirements of the protocols? Has any facility been given an application and if so, has any been finalized and approved?

The response from Mr. Schumacher was accompanied by two attachments. The Wolf Pup Protocols, as of May 2009, and the permit request form. Link will be provided to both of these documents at the end of this article.

His response follows. This is a transcript, and ignores some preamble, and it is strongly recommended that you view the full document in PDF format.

Our Zoo Policy guides where DWC places orphaned wildlife. That policy directs us to place Alaskan wildlife only at an AZA accredited zoo with a positive recommendation from its state regulator. In addition to submitting a completed Educational (Live Display) Permit Application (attached), we also require that a receiving facility hold a USDA Class C Exhibitors License and provide a copy of its most recent inspection report. Permit applications are available on our website at: DWC accepts full responsibility for the staff time associated with placing orphaned pups in a manner consistent with our May 2009 protocol (attached), other applicable policies and regulations.

Our Zoo Policy was written in 1988 and is now under revision. When we seek to place orphaned wildlife at a zoo or similar facility, ensuring the welfare of those animals is our highest priority. The revision of our policy will include a review of organizations that provide accreditation or certification for zoos and like facilities and the role those certifications play in ensuring high standards of animal care. We hope to have a new policy in place by spring 2010. Until then, we recognize the differences between AZA accredited and certified facilities are primarily related to public access and education functions rather than standards of animal care. Therefore, until our new Zoo Policy is in place we will consider placing orphaned wolf pups at AZA certified facilities. AZA accredited zoos will continue to have priority because they offer greated public access and use the animals to educate and promote a conservation message.

Supporting Documentation
May 2009 Wolf Pup Protocols (PDF)
Response Letter from Alaskan Division of Wildlife (PDF)
Permit Application Form (Word Doc)

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