Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 7/12/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 7/5 to 7/12, 2002

Monitoring

See http://WesternGrayWolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm for maps of pack locations and home ranges.

Flights indicate that Swan Lake has at least 11 pups, Leopold has 8, wolf #105 has 5, and 3 were seen in the Delta pack.

Fontaine pulled traps in the Ninemile because of the hot weather. Its suppose to be over 100 for the next few days. He is trying to put another collar or two in the Ninemile pack

A flight on the 10th, saw 10 pups in the Whitefish pack. A group of 4 in a meadow were a little smaller than 6 others seen nearby. That means the pack apparently had a double litter this year.

Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!! If outdoors enthusiasts or AGENCY BIOLOGISTS report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service.

Control

On the 6th, Wildlife Services confirmed that 2 cattle in the Graves pack territory southeast of Eureka, MT had been attacked by wolves on the Forest Service Deep Creek/Grave Creek allotments. The yearling and calf had apparently been wounded over a week ago and had to be euthanized.. The Graves Creek pack moved their pups to the east-side of the Whitefish range several weeks ago and the female is still there, so it is suspected that the depredations may have been caused by another pack using that area or a few Graves Creek wolves coming back there to hunt. Traps are set and any uncollared yearlings or adults that are captured will be killed.

Trapping/shooting control continues in the Dunoir Valley near Dubois, WY. On the 8th a young adult male was captured, radio-collared and released on-site, so the Washakie pack would have 2 radio-collared members. The alpha female is still collared. Trapping will continue and the next 1-2 uncollared wolves that are captured will be killed.

Research

The Idaho wolf recovery team (Service, Wildlife Services, Nez Perce and a private rancher) made about 6 miles of fladry (3"x20" red flags every 15" hanging 3" above ground level- basically a rope with flagging hanging from it) to test as non-lethal technique to protect livestock. Fladry has been commonly used in Europe to temporarily redirect wolf movements for hunting. It has also been tried on an informal case-by-case basis in Canada, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and seems to redirect wolf movements for the short term. The Jureano pack (collared alpha male and subadult female plus others) is back on private land and among cattle. The fladry has been put up and is being tested in a more rigorous scientific study in cooperation with WS Research to see if it can keep the wolves out of cattle on a private ranch that is nearly surrounded by National Forest land. Wolf movement patterns will be measured by RAG box monitors and track surveys in and outside the fencing/fladry. We thank the private landowners for their cooperation.

Work continues on organizing the overall wolf data base. Nearly 410 wolves have been radio-collared and monitored since recovery efforts began in the early 1980's. This information is being analyzed and will be published in the next couple of years. It should contribute to a growing understanding of wolf population dynamics, wolf/livestock and wolf/prey relationships in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Information and education and law enforcement

Dan Stahler was selected as the Wolf Project Biologist for Yellowstone National Park. That position was formerly held by Dr. Kerry Murphy. The Park is fortunate to find someone with Dan’s experience. In the past he has worked on wolves both for the Park and the Mexican wolf recovery program. Dan will begin on July 15th.

Wyoming finished its first round of state wolf management plan meetings. Meetings were held in: Lander July 1; Casper July 2; Sheridan July 3; Rock Springs July 8; Pinedale July 9; Jackson July 10; Cody July 11; and Laramie July 12. For further information call WY G&F at (307)777-4600 or access their web site at gf.state.wy.us . Comments can be submitted at Wolf Plan, 5400 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82006 or at agfwolf@wgf.state.wy.us . So far attendance has been averaging 20-30 folks/meeting. Wyoming hopes to have its state plan completed by March 2003.

Seasonal biologist Rose Jaffe and volunteer Therese Hartman took a MT FW&P wildlife immobilization/safety class in Bozeman, MT on the 8th and 9th. They thought it was excellent.

Doug Smith gave a wolf talk to about 350 visitors at Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park on the 8th. Deb Gurensey gave a presentation to about 25 California 7th graders on the 11th. National Geographic was filming in the Park this week for their upcoming sequel to their early very success Wolves in Yellowstone wolf documentary.

Jimenez gave a presentation at the Buffalo Bill Musuem/Dapier Museum in Cody, WY on the 10th. Over 100 hundred people attended and the AP picked up a great story about wolf recovery.

The International Wolf Center -www.wolf.org -has a web site that contains information on identifying wolves an coyotes and for ways that people can avoid conflicts with wolves- see http://www.wolf.org/wolf/learn/mgt/basics/wolves_humans.asp

The International Wolf Center also has "Gray Wolves Gray Matter: Exploring the social, biological, cultural, and economic issues of wolf survival." It a curriculum for grades 6-12 that was produced in 2001. Contact International Wolf at www.wolf.org or Andrea Strauss at edudir@wolf.org for further information.

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

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