Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 6/2/00

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 5/29-6-2, 2000

Monitoring

Denning packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are beginning to move pups around and some pups are being seen above ground and at new dens/rendezvous sites. See the 1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.

Trapping crews captured and collared the alpha female of the Whitefish pack (now white colored) and recaptured a subadult. They pulled their traps and will focus their efforts on the east side of the Whitefish divide. There is some indication that the Whitefish pack may have split into two separate packs and there may be some denning activity on the east side.

Contact with the Judas wolf from the Twin Peaks pack that was left near a ranch close to Clayton, ID was lost over month ago. This week that wolf was found dead near Baker, OR, possibly a road kill. The carcass is being examined to determine cause of death. It is unknown whether the wolf dispersed to that area or may have been transported there and dumped. It is certainly possible that it could have dispersed that far. There are no live wolves that we know of in OR.

 

Please report wolf sightings but especially reports in localized areas or reports of wolves "barking" when people are near to help us locate any new wolf dens. Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it has helped located several potential new packs.

Control

The relocated sub-adult female from the Chief Joseph pack that was relocated to the south end of Yellowstone National Park on May 25th was back with the Chief Joe pack on the 30th. The alpha male returned within 2 days. The straight line distance was about 55 miles.

Capture of the remaining 2 Sheep Mountain wolves and the Chief Joe alpha female and her pups will be attempted as weather, wolf vulnerability, and location of the Chief Joe pups is determined. The alpha female (or other adult pack members) and her pups will be moved to their 1997-99 den site within Yellowstone National Park, where they will hopefully raise the pups away from livestock. The Sheep Mountain wolves will be placed in a pen with their 4 pack mates that were captured last week.

Research

Cattle (more than 200 calves) have been radio-eartagged in central Idaho to complete the second year of the cattle mortality study on remote USDA Forest Service allotments. A female has denned in the old Jureano pack territory so wolves will be present on the allotment again this summer.

Information and education and law enforcement

Joe Fontaine received an "On the Spot Award" from Region 1 for his assistance this spring on an elk relocation project. Joe was on a 3-week detail to the Arid Lands National Wildlife Refuge this spring to help relocate about 150 elk, the large single elk capture program ever conducted in Washington. Joe planned and implemented elk capture and relocation efforts, interacted with media for accurate news coverage, and coordinated efforts between a wide variety of state, federal, and tribal cooperators. Congratulations Joe for a job well done!

Doug Smith gave an interview for Discovery Online Canada. On the 30th, Doug gave a presentation to 55 Park employees at Grant Village as part of the Park’s summer orientation program.

Bangs will be on leave from the 5th until the 14th. Joe Fontaine will be acting in his absence. You can contact Joe at 406-449-5225 x206.

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