Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/18/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/11 to 1/18, 2002

The U.S. Department of the Interior had all of its email shut down by a court order during the first week of December. While the case did not involve the Service, the court order disrupted distribution of the weekly reports and prevented all email communication with the Fish and Wildlife Service. We do not know when we will be back on line. We thank Ralph Maughan, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, and others for distributing the weeklies for us until this situation is corrected.

Monitoring

Routine winter helicopter darting operations in the Greater Yellowstone Area and central Idaho areas will begin as soon as conditions permit but weather so far has prevented any attempts. Wolves will be captured, radio-collared and released on site. In open terrain, such as in the Greater Yellowstone Area and the SE parts of central Idaho, winter helicopter darting can be a more effective and less expensive method of radio-collaring wolves than trapping during the summer months. The Service attempts to keep active collars on 15% to 25% of the wolf population.

This week the Idaho wolf crew darted and radio-collared 7 of 9 wolves in the Whitehawk pack, all 4 uncollared members (alpha B-2 was already collared) of the 5 member Wild Horse pack, 3 Gold Fork wolves and 2 Wolf Fang pack members. Several of these packs were involved in depredations last year. We hope that having a high number of individuals in these packs collared will make the RAG boxes more effective at preventing depredations by them this year.

Weather finally allowed a location flight in NW MT. Five of the Gravelly wolves were found. Two pups were 15 miles north into Canada. Two pups were in the general Yaak area but overlooking the Koocanusa Res. side and the alpha female was 15 miles North of Bonner’s Ferry Idaho. The yearling male and 2 pups weren’t detected. Local FS and others were contacted.

Val Asher (TESF) followed tracks of 3 wolves on the Turner Snowcrest Ranch north of Dillon, MT. None of them are believed to be collared. Wildlife Services is assisting to locate and if possible radio-collar them while they are doing preventive coyote control in that area. Fontaine was helping outfit WS with capture equipment and collars and assist with the operation on the 18th. Although the area was intensively searched from the air, the wolves could not be located. Thanks for the help WS! This area is very close to where sheep were killed by the Gravely pack last spring.

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 by February 2002. Because DOI email is down this site is not active at the current time.

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

Control

Nothing new to report.

 

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

Bangs and MT FW&P biologist Carolyn Sime attended the MT Guides and Outfitters annual meeting in Billings, MT on the 12th. They gave talks on wolves, state wolf planning and the delisting process in a session titled "Demystifying Delisting". About 75 people attended.

On the 16th, Montana released the draft state planning document for wolf management for public review and comment. The draft "Planning Document for Wolf Conservation and Management in Montana" and the Wolf Advisory Council’s "Report to the Governor" are available via MT FW&P’s website at: www.fwp.state.mt.us . To request copies call 406-444-2612. Public scoping comments on wolf management issues and alternatives will begin to be solicited in March 2002.

On the 16th, Bangs, Fontaine and Meier took Office of Aviation Safety mandatory aircraft passenger training with about 20 other Service employees in Lewistown, MT.

The book "Large Mammal Restoration: Ecological and Sociological Challenges in the 21st Century" edited by David S. Maehr, Reed F. Noss and Jeffery L. Larkin was published by Island Press. It has several wolf articles including: Outcomes of hard and soft releases of reintroduced wolves in central Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone Area" (by Steven H. Fritts, Curtis M. Mack, Douglas W. Smith, Kerry M. Murphy, Michael K. Phillips, Michael D. Jimenez, Edward E. Bangs, Joseph A. Fontaine, Carter C. Niemeyer, Wayne G. Brewster, and Timmothy J. Kaminski). Information about this book can be accessed at www.islandpress.org or Island Press, P.O. Box 7, Covelo, CA 95428.

There is a great opportunity opening up with the Mexican Wolf program. The job announcement for the Mexican Wolf Field Coordinator is out. It is a GS 11/12 for in Government and 9/11/12 for non-government applicants. It will be initially stationed in Alpine, AZ. Please look at USA Jobs for details or contact Brian Kelly (505-248-6656) for details. This is a specialized job and will be highly competitive. Please refrain from calling unless you have already looked at the job advertisement (www.usajobs.opm.gov/wfjic/jobs/IZ7956.htm vacancy # FWS2-02-005 and have the minimum qualifications to be competitive for such a position. Thanks.

THE ANNUAL WOLF CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD IN BOISE, ID INSTEAD OF CHICO, MT THIS YEAR, AT THE SUGGESTION OF SEVERAL AGENCY PEOPLE WHO WANTED MORE VARIETY. THE CONF. IS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 23rd to 25th. THE CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS IS OUT SO PLEASE CONTRIBUTE SOME IDEAS!! CONTACT Joe_Fontaine@FWS.GOV. Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 x206 ASAP. Please try to attend- especially those that made suggestions to move the Conf. to a new location each year so more people from their agency/area could attend- you got your wish and the ball is in your court! Joe will be contacting potential speakers to get their commitment in the next month or so.

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