Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/20/02

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/21 to 9/27, 2002

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- See http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges.

Nez Perce biologists radio-collared 1 pup in the newly reformed Moyer pack. This pack was formed when wolf 197 paired with a female wolf thought to have been from the original Moyer pack. The field season for the seasonal trapping crew will end at the beginning of next week. Although it was a difficult field season the crew performed very well and put in a tremendous effort. Great Job!!

On the 21st, Asher, TESF, and Tevin Chilton, Forest Service, captured a 54 pound gray female pup from the Red Shale pack, formerly Gates Park and on the 22nd a 52 pound black female pup. Great Job Val.!! Both were fit with padded radio collars and released on site. These are the first radio collared animals in this pack that became established last year and is located in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. A big THANKS to the personnel from the Lewis and Clark National Forest, Choteau Ranger District. These people were instrumental in helping Val pack in supplies and equipment and assisting with the trapping as they did last year. Please NOTE: Because of their valuable assistance and cooperation, and nagging of Val, we are changing the name of the pack to Red Shale. This was requested last year as well but we were unable to change it before publication of the annual report. I have to admit it has a better ring to it. Thanks again.

A new pack was recently discovered in NW Montana, the Lazy Creek pack near Olney, Montana. On the 22nd and 23rd, Meier capture the 80 pound alpha male and the 76 pound alpha female. It appears that they have at least one pup. Great Job Tom.!!

Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!!

Control

A calf was killed by wolves on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois, WY on the 14th and another on the 23rd. On the 26th, as traps were being set, two more calves were found that had been killed by wolves. It appears, from the ongoing monitoring, that the Washakie pack has split into two separate groups and the radio collared wolves are being located away from where the calves were killed. Traps are being set near the carcasses in an effort to place a radio collar in the second group of wolves. When that is accomplished 2-3 wolves will be lethally removed from that group.

WS investigated and confirmed that a calf was killed by wolves in the Red Lodge area on the 23rd No action could be taken at that time due to the number of cattle being moved through the area. On the 30th, whether permitting, an effort will be made to dart and collar several members of that pack. WS also went into the Wineglass Mtn. area and confirmed that wolves had killed a calf. Trapping to radio collar and release on site is ongoing.

On the 26th, WS investigated a possible wolf killed calf in the Taylor Peak territory. The kill was called a probable. Babcock and Jaffe, trapping to put radio collars in the pack for a research project (see last weekly), will trap near the carcass and radio collar any wolves they catch and release on site.

On the 12th, WS made an attempt to shoot the alpha male of the Jureano pack because of repeated livestock depredations. The attempt was unsuccessful because he stayed in heavy timber. Last week another calf was killed on the Diamond Moose allotment by the Jureano pack, and another calf was killed this week. Control is ongoing.

Research

Graduate student John Oakleaf [as of September 23, the Service’s field project leader for the Mexican wolf recovery program] will defend his M.S. thesis at the University of Idaho on Oct 3rd. John did an outstanding project that looked at wolf habitat suitability throughout Montana, Idaho and Wyoming using wolf location data and GIS analysis. John also conducted the research on causes of cattle death on a remote grazing allotment in central Idaho. Both of those efforts will/have been submitted for peer review publication. Congratulations John- you did outstanding work and welcome to the Service!

A hybrid Mexican wolf litter was suspected born this spring and the pair and their pups were brought into captivity. Subsequent analysis showed the once captive but now free-roaming Mexican wolf was bred by a dog. Her mate was apparently injured during the breeding season and somehow she bred with a dog. The pups were euthanized after DNA confirmation of dog hybridization. The female is in captivity. This is the first time gray wolf hybrids have been confirmed born in the wild in North America. This has happened in Europe a few times and historical records in N. America suggest it may have happened in the past. Despite decades of intensive wolf research and almost unlimited potential for hybridization to occur in N. America, it is apparently an extremely rare and isolated event. Hybridization between wild wolves and dogs is, somewhat surprisingly, virtually unknown in the wild and apparently has no impact on wolf population viability or genetics in North America.

http://www.montana.edu/ecology/staff/garrott/index.htm for more information.

Information and education and law enforcement

The Green Mountain pup was located on the 21st with the radio collar in mortality mode. The pup was retrieved by Meier on the 26th and is under investigation.

Cheri Ramos, the Nez Perce Tribe's Office Assistant, has taken another job with the Nez Perce Tribe's Fisheries Program. Cheri was a valuable team member and did a great job for the project over the past two years. She will be missed and we wish her the best in her new job.

The IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group announces the launch of CANID NEWS,an online journal on the biology and conservation of the Canidae. Canid News is a new electronic, peer-reviewed, scientific journal devoted to the rapid dissemination of current research on all members of the family Canidae (wolves, dogs, jackals and foxes).

The journal can be accessed at http://canids.org/canidnews/ and will be mirrored on two additional servers: http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/sgs/sgs.htm andhttp://www.carnivoreconservation.org Canid News seeks papers that are novel and written in a way thatis accessible to an audience that includes an array of disciplines (conservation biologists, ecologists, wildlife managers, government officers, canid enthusiasts, etc.) concerned with an array of issues (e.g. biology, conservation, livestock losses, animal welfare, methodology). We encourage papers that make use of the unique opportunities of an e-journal: color illustrations, photographs, links to video clips, downloadables, and other novel inventions that may encourage reader interaction.

The International Wolf Center has produced an exciting new Wolves and Humans  informational series to help foster wolf/human coexistence.

http://www.wolf.org/wolf/learn/mgt/basics/wolves_humans.asp one is about identifying wolves;

http://www.wolf.org/wolf/learn/mgt/basics/W&H_was_that_a_wolf.pdf and the other contains tips for avoiding conflicts with wolves.

http://www.wolf.org/wolf/learn/mgt/basics/W&H_avoiding%20_conflict.pdf

The International Wolf Center encourages the reproduction of these informational  sheets for your personal use, or for distribution to any audience.

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

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