Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/23/01

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 11/17-11/23, 2001

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Monitoring

The Nez Perce pack of nearly 20 wolves remains in their normal home range and residents near Ashton, ID have not been seeing any recent wolf activity.

See the 2000 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt00/ for a map of pack locations and home ranges. The interagency 2001 annual report is being prepared and soon be available in January 2002.

Please report wolf sightings!! If hunters report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service.

Control

At the direction of the Service, Wildlife Service is attempting to remove up to 2 multiple-depredating wolves by trapping on a ranch near Dubois, WY. WS is also attempting to remove up to 2 multiple-depredating wolves by aerial shooting near Kemmerer, WY.

Research

On the 16th, the Service began mailing a set of background materials and questionnaires to a select group of wolf and population viability experts. The questionnaire and related materials request expert professional opinion on the issue of "What constitutes a viable wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountains." The results of the survey will not be compiled until sometime in February 2002. This information will be used to help the recovery program improve wolf population monitoring criteria.

The Yellowstone winter study began on the 15th. The study uses a highly trained and energetic volunteer field crew to locate wolf packs on the northern range every day by air (if possible) or ground to document kill rates. Every kill is visited after the wolves have left and the type of animal, condition, percentage carcass remaining, and other biological data are collected. Dr. Dave Mech, Dr. Doug Smith, Kerry Murphy, and Dan MacNulty recently published an article using some of these data. Their article, "Winter severity and wolf predation on a formerly wolf-free elk herd" (J. Wildl. Manage. 65(4):998-1003) indicated that winter severity influenced wolf/elk relationships more than the naivete of the elk herd to predation by wolves.

Information and education and law enforcement

On the 20th, Bangs gave a presentation to about 20 students at a Wildlife Management Issues class at the Univ. of Montana. That afternoon he met with Dr. Pletscher and his graduate student Liz Bradley to discuss her M.S. project. Ms. Bradley’s thesis will involve analyzing all wolf control and problem wolf relocation data since 1987 in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. She will do comparisons of various aspects of ranches with confirmed conflicts to a nearby ranch without confirmed losses to investigate what factors, if any, may contribute to wolf-caused conflicts. She will also do a critique of the control program’s effectiveness and make recommendations to reduce wolf/livestock conflict.

Do

On the 21st, Jimenez met with Grand Teton National Park biologists to discuss and coordinate this winter’s wolf capture and radio-collaring activities.

The Yellowstone National Park Annual Report for 2000, has been published and is available for distribution. It is a nicely done high quality record of the Park’s wolf program, including many photos and quality graphics.

The Service provides web-links simply to make other sources of wolf-related information available but does not necessarily endorse or substantiate the information they present.

Northwest Territories Wolf Notes is now available at the GNWT’s Dept. of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development main web site at: www.nwtwildlife.rwed.gov.nt.ca or www.nwtwildlife.com/ The newsletter profiles wolf research in the NW Territories, Canada.

The Defenders of Wildlife is sponsoring "CARNIVORES 2002" in Monterey, CA November 17-20, 2002. The Conference will address issues and research on all carnivores, including cats, dogs, bears, mesocarnivores, marine, and avian. For more information see www.defenders.org/carnivores2002. The deadline for abstracts and session suggestions is February 2002. The Carnivores 2000 Conference was very successful and selected proceedings were published in a special edition of the Endangered Species Update, July/August 2001, Vol. 18(4):93-192.

"On Nature’s Terms: Predators and People Co-Existing in Harmony"- a short video produced by Wild Futures was written and directed by John de Graf. The video tells about how biologists, conservationists, ranchers, hunters and homeowners are doing their part to coexist with large predators (bear, cougar, wolf, coyote, bobcat). It is intended to be used as an educational and informational aide. The video can be ordered at WILDFUTURES, 353 Wallace Way, NE Suite 12, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 for $20.00. Contact Sharon Negri snegri@igc.org for further information.

FYI- regarding the potential threat of wolves to people... it is all a matter of perspective.

North America’s Most Dangerous Mammal

(How best to deal with the menace of Bambi)

By Ronald Bailey

What is North America’s most dangerous (non-human) mammal? Grizzly bears? Certainly Lewis and Clark on their way to the Pacific Ocean in 1804 thought so. In the early 1800s, some 50,000 grizzlies roamed the western United States, but their population has now dropped to around 1,000 in the lower 48 states. Bears, grizzly and black, killed 128 people in North America in the 20th century. What about mountain lions? Reports that mountain lions lurk in the hills and pick off women trail bikers certainly chill the blood. There have been 14 deaths in North America as a result of mountain lion attacks in the 20th century. (In contrast wild gray wolves have not been documented to kill a even one human in North America during at least the last 150 years.- Ed added this)

No, there is another creature roaming America’s woods that is far more dangerous than these big predators. The most dangerous mammal in North America is...Bambi. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that white-tailed deer kill around 130 Americans each year simply by causing car accidents. In 1994, these predator deer had a banner year, causing 211 human deaths in car wrecks. (In addition, deer in North America annually kill up to a dozen people by goring or kicking them.- Ed added this)

There are about 1.5 million deer/vehicle collisions annually, resulting in 29,000 human injuries and more than $1 billion in insurance claims in addition to the death toll. Deer also carry the ticks that transmit Lyme disease to about 13,000 people each year. Economic damage to agriculture, timber, and landscaping by deer totals more than $1.2 billion a year. (See rbailey@reason.com for more information)

 

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

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