Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/24/03

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 1/17 to 1/24, 2003

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- See http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of scientific studies.

Wildlife Services net-gunned and radio-collared a black adult female near Red Lodge on the 23rd. She was with two smaller gray wolves and near livestock. She and one of the others had mange over 2/3rds of their tails. This pack was involved in livestock depredations in 2002 and if involved in other depredations will probably be lethally removed. Wildlife Services removed snares with stops that had been set earlier to radio-collar a pack member. A big Thanks! and Well Done! to Wildlife Services.

The two collared Teton pack wolves that were part of a split-off Teton group of 6 near Pinedale [2 without collars were shot because of depredations], WY were located back in the Gros Ventre Valley on the 22nd. Elk feeding has not begun yet but there are thousands of elk in the area waiting for hay and the rest of the Teton pack is there too. It appears their little walkabout is over for now.

Winter wolf helicopter capture efforts to radio-collar wolves were conducted in central Idaho. Four wolves were collared under very difficult conditions. Three were re-captures and 1 was a new animal. Pack sizes were small and few if any pups were seen. Scott Mountain was seen with 3 wolves, Orphan had 3, Thunder Mountain had 3, and Gold Fork had 5. Capture operations have moved to the Challis. With 6 collars on mortality in Idaho this fall and several other collars missing it appears that illegal killing could be involved in recent pack disruptions and small pack sizes. Extra wolf monitoring in Idaho is being conducted to try to figure this out.

Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office. We thank everyone for their cooperation.

 

Control

Fontaine and Asher met with landowners in the Paradise Valley where sheep had been killed by members of the Mill Creek pack. The landowner whose sheep were killed still has a shoot on sight permit. Asher removed fladry from the fence on the 11th, and the sheep are being night-pastured in smaller enclosure. Defenders is working with the landowner to provide more secure fencing. On the 17th, Wildlife Services trapped and radio-collared a yearling female wolf from the subgroup and it is now being tracked to see how many wolves are in the group. Good job Wildlife Services and thanks! The alpha female was the only radioed member of the Mill Creek pack and she was consistently located high the in mountains.

Research

Tom Meier et al. are working on compiling and summarizing data for the 2002 annual interagency wolf report.

Bangs and Meier completed short articles for International Wolf Magazine on wolf delisting and Tom’s "personal" wolf encounter, respectively. They should appear in the May 2003 issue.

Jimenez provided rubber bullet training and munitions to a landowner near Lander, WY who sighted wolves near his property. The landowner was pleased that he could do something if they came back. Four wolves have been reported in that area and Wildlife Services is attempting to neck snare with stops to radio-collar a member of the group.

Information and education and law enforcement

Jimenez participated in a hour long radio talk show [KOVE] out of Lander this week.

Bangs [by phone after his flight was canceled], Niemeyer and Regional office staff from Portland and Denver participated in an internal Service meeting in Boise, ID the 21 and 22nd, about coordination during development of the wolf delisting proposal this spring.

Bangs will introduce 2 wolf movies for the International Film Festival organization at the Roxy Theater in Missoula on the evening of the 24th. The NWF’s "Wolf" and the Wildlife Alliances’ "Cost of Freedom" will be shown. Bangs will give a short presentation and then answer questions.

Niemeyer will attend a Jan 25th meeting in Lewistown, ID on the Clearwater Elk Herd "Summit." The elk herd has been declining sharply for several years and many agency experts [Forest Service, ID Fish and Game, University] are participating in the day-long conference hosted by ID Senator Crapo looking at potential causes and solutions.

National Geographic Explorer and CNN both aired recent footage of wolf captures in Yellowstone and discussed achieving the wolf recovery goal for the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population and impending delisting. Several news and radio stories have also aired. The NGE website is also supposedly carrying a similar story online.

The CENTRAL ROCKIES WOLF PROJECT is pleased to announce that registration has begun for the WORLD WOLF CONGRESS 2003 - BRIDGING SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY, to be held at the Banff Centre (Banff, Canada) from September 25-28, 2003. Please visit www.worldwolfcongress.ca for complete information.

Call for papers: Papers are now being accepted for the 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference, April 8 - 10, 2003 at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT. The theme this year is wolf/ungulate relationships. Please submit a one page single spaced abstract which includes your full contact information, affiliations, and authors, by email to Joseph Fontaine at Joseph_Fontaine@fws.gov Please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and on the website. We can also scan images sent by mail. Registration for the conference will begin November 1, 2002 and you may contact Suzanne Laverty at SLaverty@defenders.org for details. The registration website is http://keysecure.com/forwolves.org/confer2003.html

The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov. This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.

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