As a result of another depredation of livestock and in accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf management plan, biologists with the Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Animal Damage Control and Forest Service, and Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks moved six additional wolf pups from the Sawtooth pack in the Augusta area on Sunday, September 8. In addition, because of its association with the loss of livestock, a collared 3-year old female wolf from the same pack was killed. Two adults were left at the site with four pups; one of the adults and one of the pups wear radio collars. The six pups captured Sunday will join their four litter mates and two yearling animals from the Nez Perce pack in one of the acclimation pens in Yellowstone National Park. It is hoped that these wolf pups, with the two older yearlings, will form a new pack and reside in the southern part of Yellowstone.
As shown by some of our earlier successes in manipulating wolf packs, interactions among the four pups placed in the pen with the two Nez Perce yearling wolves (a male and female) has been great, said Ralph Morgenweck, Regional Director for the Fish and Wildlife Service. It's difficult to know how Mother Nature will react to some of our ideas, but in this case, it seems to be working, Morgenweck said.
In order to address earlier livestock losses, last week biologists moved four of the fourteen pups and killed one adult wolf, in an attempt to change behavior in the pack and prevent further depredations.
Soon after these management actions had occurred, one or more of the remaining adults killed another calf. As part of the Service s role in managing wolves and after discussions of recent activities with local landowners involved in the losses, biologists believed it was necessary to kill another adult wolf involved in previous depredation and to relocate to the Park as many pups as possible.
If more depredations at this site should occur, additional actions, including relocation and/or lethal control, may be necessary.
Biologists in Yellowstone National Park will provide food and care for the animals while they are in the pen. They are expected to keep the wolves in the acclimation pen in the Park until early next spring, but the actual release date for these animals will depend largely on their general health and behavior as observed by biologists.
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