Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/07/00

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/1-4/7, 2000

Monitoring

Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are generally in their normal home ranges and should be checking out denning sites in the next few weeks. See the 1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.

Male wolf #55 (Yellowstone) and an uncollared black wolf were located near the Turner Ranch just south of Gallatin Gateway this week.

Wolf pairs have bred and some females could begin to den as early as next week. Please continue to report wolf sightings to help us locate any new wolf dens.

Control

The "judas" wolf from the defunct Twin Peaks pack that was left at the Broken Wing Ranch remains near the ranch and has been digging up and feeding at the bone pit; the wolf continues to remain alone. Traps that were set for other pack members were pulled on the 4th because they would probably just catch that individual again. The radioed wolf will continue to be monitored and it and other pack members will be removed if any more conflicts with livestock occur.

Bangs assisted Wildlife Services and the Nez Perce Tribe catch 5 depredating members of the Snow Peaks pack on the 5th. The alpha female (very pregnant), alpha male, two-year old male and sub-adult male were located to Lolo Pass, that night even though Tribal biologists did not arrive by in Challis until 4 a.m. the next morning. A sub-adult female was radio and released on site. There may be up to 5 other pack members still in the area.

A report of sheep being killed way south of Stanley, Idaho appeared to be caused by some wolf/hybrids that escaped from a neighbor.

Research

Research on the relationship of elk and wolves on elk feeding grounds in Wyoming ended this week. Jimenez is preparing data analysis and will present the tentative information at the Chico Wolf meeting next week. The final report will be prepared by this summer.

Information and education and law enforcement

A young black wolf (yearling or older) that was found dead near a feed ground in Wyoming last month was apparently killed by a massive blow to the back. LE investigation concluded it was likely killed by an elk kick. The number of wolves in the Gros Ventre and Teton packs remained unchanged which could indicate it was a dispersing unmarked wolf from a wolf pack to the north.

A dead wolf found near Manhattan, MT, last week turned out to have reincarnated. It was identified as the same wolf (#187) that was killed by a vehicle strike on 02/17/00 but the carcass was picked up the same day by persons unknown before officials could retrieve the carcass. The incident is under investigation.

On April, 4 Boyd spoke to 20 biologists from the Caribou and Targee National Forest in Idaho Falls.

On April, 5 Fontaine.spoke to 20 USFWS Ecoteam biologists in Missoula.

On April 6, Fontaine spoke to 20 MDFWP and USFS biologists at Seely Lake.

On April 7, Fontaine spoke to 16 USFS biologists at a Limits of Acceptable Change meeting.

The Annual Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Conference is scheduled for Chico Hot Springs, April 11-13. Juan Carlos Blanco will talk on Wolf Recolonization in Spain for the banquet. Wolf management issues from around the United States will be presented. The tentative agenda is attached.

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