Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/03/00

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 10/27-11/03, 2000

Monitoring

Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are moving throughout their homes ranges. See the 1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.

Breeding Pair update- the latest potential numbers of packs with pups indicate that there still maybe more than 30 breeding pairs in the northern Rocky Mountains (estimated max of 435-505 wolves). It is still possible that 2000 could be the first year of the 3-year count down toward delisting but unlikely because the "official" count is made on December 31 and some loss of adults and pups is expected due to illegal mortality, agency control actions, and natural causes.

The tentative counts are as follows: NW Montana (estimated max. 80-100 wolves). -In the Yellowstone Experimental Area (estimated max. of 165-185 wolves).In the central Idaho Experimental Area (estimated max. of 190-220 wolves). We will spend a lot of effort from now until the end of the year to get final updates and pack counts.

Please report wolf sightings!! Signs have been posted at several trailheads asking hunters to report wolf observations. We have copies of these signs for any agency folks willing to post them at trailheads, information centers, offices, or hunter check stations, etc. Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it has helped located several potential new packs. When we are this close to 30 breeding pair, each wolf pack becomes very important.

Control

An adult horse in the Ninemile Valley died after it impaled itself on some irrigation pipe. The owner had reported wolves in that field the previous week There were no wolf bite marks visible but wolves fed on the fresh carcass and were howling as the necrosy was conducted on the warm body. Wolves certainly could have been involved in its death, but there was no direct evidence of depredation so no control or compensation is likely. Traps were set and a 75 pound black yearling wolf was captured, radioed collared and released on site. The pack had already left the area and were in the upper Ninemile Valley. A light and siren device was set up on site. The situation is being monitored.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

NATIONAL WOLF RECLASSIFICATION PROPOSED

The proposal can be accessed at http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf. The 120-day public comment period ends NOVEMBER 13th. Anyone wanting to be placed on the Service's mailing list should write to US Fish and Wildlife Service, Gray Wolf Review, 1 Federal Dr., Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056, use the graywolfmail@fws.gov email address, or phone 612-713-7337. A final decision is likely in July 2001. All comments on the proposal should be sent to graywolfcomments@fws.gov or by mail to: Content Analysis Team, Wolf Comments, 200 East Broadway, P.O. Box 7669, Room 301, Missoula, MT 59807.

National Reclassification Public Hearings

A wolf hearing was held on Oct. 26 in LaGrande, OR. Abo0ut 24 people attended and 13 spoke. A hearing in Orono, Maine was attended by about 150 people and 32 testified. The hearing in Everett, WA was attended by about 35 people and 12 spoke. On Oct 10, 45 people attended a hearing in Madison, WI. About 14 spoke. On Oct. 16 29 people attended a hearing in East Lansing, MI ans 5 spoke. Oct. 17th, 50 people attended a hearing in Marquette, MI and 10 spoke. Oct. 18 in Duluth, MN 95 people attended and 27 spoke. In the midwest comment was divided between those supporting reclassification and those who had concerns if the states could be trusted to conserve wolves. On Halloween night Oct. 31 the Boise hearing was held, about 35 attended and 12 testified. The last hearing was held in Twin Falls. ID on Nov. 2.

Correction- In Denver about 150 attended and 64 gave testimony at the hearing on Oct 26. All speakers indicated they wanted wolves in more places under the ESA, making the Colorado meeting the largest turnout of those held to date.

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