Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wolf Investigator Incident Report
Catron County Wolf Interaction Investigator 01-18-11 Reference; Case Number AP-222
New Mexico Game and Fish wolf biologist’s Ellen Heilhecke and Mischa Larisch instructing Wildlife Services Sterling Simpson to change a confirmed wolf livestock depredation to probable.
On 01-15-11 Rancher George Geisler found a dead steer on his ranch, Wildlife Services investigated and confirmed the cause of death as a confirmed wolf depredation.
On 01-16-11, Rancher George Geisler founds a dead heifer dead and eaten up. On 01-18-11, I drove to meet Wildlife Services Sterling Simpson and Armando Orona to investigate the cause of death of the Heifer Case Number AP-222. The carcass was disarticulated with the right rear lower leg remaining plus the spinal column, ribs and a portion of skin. Large leg bones were bitten into.
The hair was clipped from the right lower leg. There were numerous bit sites exposed. Canine spreads were documented at; 40.85mm, 40.06mm, 43.47mm, 41.05mm, 42.72mm, and a diameter of 4.15mm, and 5.07mm. The bite sites had corresponding hemorrhage. After the investigation Mr. Simpson stated that the cause of death was a confirmed wolf depredation, Mr. Orona and I concurred.
At approximately 1255, New Mexico Game and Fish wolf biologist Mischa Larisch called WS Sterling Simpson on his cell phone. They talked a few minutes then the conversation ended. Mr. Simpson seemed upset. Mr. Orona asked Mr. Simpson what Mischa wanted. Mr. Simpson stated; Mischa was relaying a message from New Mexico Game and Fish wolf biologist Ellen Heilhecke that if he found the heifer a confirmed wolf depredation to change it to a probable wolf depredation because there were feral dogs in the area last year where the heifer was killed. Mr. Simpson also stated that those dogs running lose were not on this ranch where the heifer was killed and the problem was taken care of and there are no feral dogs out there.
I said Ellen is trying to protect the wolves at the rancher’s expense, what kind of science is this? There was agreement. I told Mr. Simpson that he should save the skin with the bite sites and corresponding hemorrhage, and the leg bone in case his findings are challenged by Ellen and Mischa. Mr. Simpson stated he would and he will also keep the dried hide because he may have to soak it to soften it up and look at it to. Mr. Simpson was adamant about his confirmation as was Mr. Orona.
At approximately 1435 I called rancher George Geisler and talked to him about feral dogs on his ranch. Mr. Geisler stated last year, march 2010 his neighbor who lived about five miles away had a neighbor that let his dogs run loose and the problem was eliminated. They were not feral dogs but neighbor’s dogs. Mr. Geisler also stated that he has never seen any sign of feral dogs of free running dogs on his ranch.
Wolf depredation compensation by USDA Farm Services Agency under ELAP pays compensation of 65% market value on a Confirmed wolf livestock depredation. There is no compensation paid for a Probable wolf livestock depredation.
Intervention by New Mexico Game and Fish wolf biologist’s Ellen Heilhecke and Mischa Larisch to influence and change investigative findings by Wildlife Services investigators from confirmed to probable is unacceptable and there is a need for accountability.
Jess Carey, Catron County Wolf Investigator