Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/30/01

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 11/23-11/30, 2001

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Monitoring

The Nez Perce pack of nearly 20 wolves remains in their normal home range but residents near Ashton, ID have been reporting a couple of wolves still in that area. On the 28th, the Gros Ventre (pair) and Teton (12) packs had made kills in the Gros Ventre area. An attempt to set up a darting and radio-collaring operation for pack members was foiled by weather conditions as a strong storm front moved into the area on the 29th.

The alpha male from the Chief Joseph pack was found dead near West Yellowstone early in the week. LE is investigating the mortality. A necropsy is being done to determine the cause of death.

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 should 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’s (WS) attempted to remove up to 2 multiple-depredating wolves by trapping on a ranch near Dubois, WY, that had confirmed depredations this fall. They caught a radio-collared pup that was released on site. The traps were pulled on the 29th because of weather. Two nights of attempting to call and shoot were also unsuccessful and the control action was terminated on December 1.

By request of the Service, WS removed a lone gray wolf by aerial shooting near Kemmerer, WY on the 28th. A gray male wolf from Yellowstone #191, had been involved in several sheep depredations this summer and attacked 2 dogs and killed another this fall. His was still wearing a collar but it was badly chewed and apparently not functioning. He was alone and believed to be the only wolf regularly using the area.

Research

The Yellowstone winter wolf predation study will continue until December 15th. To date kill rates appear relatively low, probably because of the lack of snow and relatively low elk vulnerability.

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 30th, Bangs attended an afternoon lecture at the University of Montana on the Minnesota wolf management planning effort and citizen involvement in this type of controversial wolf program.

 

The 2000 Yellowstone National Park Annual Wolf Report, is available for distribution. It is a nicely done, high quality record of the Park’s wolf program, including many photos and quality graphics. However, the report’s visual appearance was slightly marred by several wolf capture photos that included the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Idaho wolf project leader, Mr. Carter Niemeyer. Despite Carter’s outstanding professional abilities, he is not nearly as photogenic as the Park Service’s charismatic wolf project leader- Dr. Douglas Smith. The report is available at the Yellowstone National Park’s web-site www.nps.gov/yell/publications/index.htm .

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.

"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 co-exist 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.

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 ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV