Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/25/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/18 to 1/25, 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 directly 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. We would also appreciate it if other agency folks would pass the weekly along in their organization by fax or email if they can retrieve it off the web by searching "Yellowstone Wolf."

Monitoring

Routine winter helicopter darting operations in the Greater Yellowstone Area are still on hold waiting for the weather to improve. Helicopter darting in central Idaho is done for now unless more packs make themselves available.

The 6 Gravelly wolf pups were located this week. Five of the Gravelly wolves were found (including the 2 that were in Canada last week) together in the Yaak valley. One was in Canada.. The yearling male and adult female weren’t detected but weather prevented flying into N. Idaho. Local FS and others were contacted.

Attempts to locate and radio-collar the group of 3 uncollared wolves on the Snowcrest Ranch east of Dillon, MT was unsuccessful. Fontaine flew and tried to help WS on the 18th but the group wasn’t found.

The Service is cooperating with the Univ. of Montana, MT FW&P, and a UM wildlife student Ty Smucker to organize a volunteer effort to locate and snow track wolves. Ty was a volunteer with the very successful volunteer tracking program in Wisconsin and offered to help set up and test the potential for such a program in Montana. This type of effort could help locate packs and greatly reduce monitoring costs. Y

 

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

RAG boxes are being set out in an area of central Idaho where wolf depredations have occurred in past years. The Whitehawk pack is right in the area where several producers are calving.

This year the Service will expand the use of shoot-on-sight lethal take permits for depredating wolves. Livestock producers on their private land in the experimental population areas who have had a history of confirmed livestock losses caused by wolves can receive these permits, which are authorized under the experimental population rules. Producers who have had depredations in the past, and the adjacent ranches, may be issued a permit that will allow them to shoot any 1 wolf. Permits will be issued after a ranch has a recent confirmed depredation and the Service has authorized agency lethal control. After 45 days or after a wolf is taken, agency control ends and the permits are suspended until additional depredations are confirmed.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

Meier attended the North Fork Interlocal meeting on the 25th. The meeting is attended by county, Montana state, and federal agency representatives and local residents of the North Fork of the Flathead River, adjacent to Glacier National Park. They discuss resource issues of interest to that area and residents.

Bangs gave a wolf presentation to the Helena Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Assoc. on the evening of the 24th. About 100 people attended.

Jimenez spent some time with a local reporter from Jackson, WY. She is doing a series of articles about the elk/wolf research that Mike and local volunteers are doing on the potential impact of wolf predation on the state elk feed grounds.

On the 26th, Jimenez participated in a "Predatory Animal Management Symposium" in Casper, WY. Mike was on a panel with WY G&F, Wildlife Services, Univ. of WY, and Utah State Univ. titled "Lions, bears, and wolves, where are we today and where are we headed." Over 100 people are expected to attend the Conf.

On the 16th, Montana released it’s draft state wolf management planning document 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.

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. The OPM (non-government applicants) should open next week. Thanks and good luck.

THE ANNUAL WOLF CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD IN BOISE, ID INSTEAD OF CHICO, MT THIS YEAR. THE CONF. IS SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 23rd and 24th. 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. 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://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf in addition to the regular distribution.

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