Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/27/01

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/20-4/30, 2001

Monitoring

It appears that most packs have localized and have denned but there are a few that are still being investigated to make that determination. This will be an ongoing process followed by pup counts where and when possible.

As of 4/27 the 5 released (3/28) Boulder wolves were together southeast of Libby Dam. Their new location is not far from the Little Wolf pack territory. Monitoring of the Boulder 5 will continue. The number of wolves in the Boulder pack south of Avon is now down to 5 with the dispersal of a radio collared yearling male to the Ovando area. Although the alpha male’s radio collar was not transmitting, he was seen from the air with 3 other wolves. A check of the den site showed where the female has been traveling in the snow down to water.

Please report wolf sightings!! Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it has helped located several potential new packs. When we are this close to reaching the 30 breeding pair recovery goal, each wolf pack becomes very important.

Control

About 30 sheep have been confirmed killed by the Gravelly pack on private land next to the Blacktail Game range southeast of Dillon, MT. The radio collared black yearling male was located near the sheep but alone on several occasions. WS is tracking the radioed wolf in order to locate the remainder of the pack and any possible den site. Once the den site is found, the alpha female, pups and alpha male will be captured and placed in the acclimation pen along with other pack members, if they can be captured. On the 27th another yearling male was darted and placed in the acclimation pen on the Flying D Ranch. The first radio collared male was still in the area but no other wolves were located. No additional sheep have been killed.

A lone depredating wolf near Pinedale, WY killed a calf in the same general vicinity as previous depredations. On 4/25 a permit was issued to 2 landowners who have had depredations and the opportunity to shoot the wolf on sight on their private property. WS is also trying to shoot that wolf as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

A reported wolf depredation in the Thompson River drainage on the 20th was investigated by Wildlife Service. The calf was not killed by or fed on by wolves.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

Jimenez participated in the Jackson elk herd cooperative management meeting in Jackson, WY on the 24th. WY Game and Fish, Grand Teton National Park and the Forest Service were represented.

Smith gave a presentation to about 15 students from Southern Idaho University, Twin Falls. He will also be making a presentation at an art show in Troy, Ohio next week.

On the 23rd the Tribe, FWS and WS met with Custer County Commissioners and some concerned citizens in Challis, Idaho. A presentation was made by the Tribe on the 24th to the McCall Optimists. The Tribe and WS also did a presentation for the Young Idaho Cattleman Association on the 28th in Challis, Idaho.

Because of the administration change and a backlog of personnel actions related to the large number of new fire positions in the western U.S., the two seasonal wolf jobs will not be filled until mid to late May at the earliest. Final applicants will be interviewed and notified ASAP, but with 85 applicants, competition will be intense.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a news release that confirmed illegal poisoning as the cause of death of 2 Idaho gray wolves. Necropsies confirmed that Idaho wolf #37 (found on Salmon-Challis National Forest) and B-96 (found about 20 miles north of Fairfield, ID and had also been shot) were killed by baits poisoned with Compound 1080. Possibly 2 other wolves from the Moyer Basin may have also been poisoned. Compound 1080 is a highly toxic substance that is illegal to possess. Service Special Agent Paul Weyland cautioned anyone in the out of doors "If you see a carcass, pile of meat, or a pile of dead birds or smaller mammals, please contact a law enforcement office immediately. We are very concerned for the safety of dogs and children, as well as wildlife that may be harmed by this illegal practice." FWS Service agents can be contacted at (208)378-5333 [Boise, ID], (208)523-0855 [Idaho Falls, ID], (307)261-6365 [Lander, WY], (406)582-0336 [Bozeman, MT] or (406)329-3000 [Missoula, MT].

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. The 2000 annual report was completed and all hard copies were mailed this week. The report is available at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt00/

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