Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/7/00

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/24-1/7, 2000

Monitoring

Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are generally in their normal home ranges. There are 3 new "groups" (pairs actually) of wolves that have shown up east of the Park. This is good news since the wolf population is down from the 1999 population estimate. In 1999 early estimates indicated about 160 wolves in the GYA and central Idaho assuming that each pack had a litter of at least 5 pups. However, it appears that wolf pup mortality was very high in YNP and with the loss of a few adults from mortality or dispersal, the estimate is 115-120 wolves in 8 packs. This is approximately the same as the 1998 population level. Central Idaho has 12 packs of which 10 produced at least 2 pups. The population estimate is approximately 144 wolves. Wolves are dispersing and we anticipate a sharp increase in new wolf pack formation. Please report wolf sightings so that we can focus aircraft searches or our track surveys this winter. This is the only way we will be able to find newly establishing pairs that can be counted toward the recovery goal. All sightings are important whether you believe it to be a wolf or not.

The Spotted Bear pack in NW Montana was last located near their release site at the Spotted Bear Ranger Station. All the wolves were together except a male pup that was 10 miles upstream, where the pack had just left. It will probably join the pack later.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Livestock Depredations and Management

On December 26 a single wolf killed a dog in the Dunoir Valley near Dubois, Wyoming. This is the second dog that was killed at this ranch in 1999. Wildlife Service is attempting to catch the wolf which we assume to be one of the Washakie wolves. If the wolf is caught, it will be radio collared and released on site to mark the Washakie pack and determine their status.

Information and education and law enforcement

A Predator Management meeting is being held at the Holiday Inn in Billings, Montana on January 8th from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. There will speakers there from Montana Dept. of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. National Park Service, Montana Stockgrowers, Montana Outfitters and Guides, Montana Wildlife Federation, University of Montana, Defenders of Wildlife and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The conference is open to the public with an open microphone session in the afternoon.

Jimenez gave a presentation to about 25 sled drivers for the annual National Elk Wildlife Refuge in Jackson, WY on the 10th.

Jimenez gave a presentation to about 20 students at the Teton Science School in Moose, WY on the 15th.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf in addition to the regular distribution.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV