Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/28/03

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 2/21 to 2/28, 2003

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS-  See 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.

The SW MT crew attempted to dart the Chief Joe pack and others on the 28th. Chief Joe were in the open near an elk kill but the winds were too high to attempt capture. Rats! Additional attempts will be made, radio contact with this pack was lost last spring.

The Nez Perce Tribe hired Isaac Babcock and Jon Trapp to conduct winter searches for suspected uncollared packs. Jon searched the upper reaches of the middle fork of the Boise River and found 2-4 wolves are using the area but it is unsure if they were a breeding pair this past year or not.

Issac Babcock trapped in the Big Creek with help from Jim and Holly Akenson. Radio contact with the Chamberlain Basin pack was lost a year ago but nothing has been captured yet.

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

Wildlife Service’s removed all 4 members of the Red Lodge pack near Red Lodge, MT on the 24th. Three of the 4 had mange but mainly just on their tails. The pack had been involved in numerous cattle depredations since last spring.

Wolves in the Ninemile were thought to have killed 7 kid goats on private land on the 24th. Wildlife Service’s investigated but there was no sign, (blood, hair, bone, or a struggle), to indicate there was even a depredation. No action will be taken

Research

Yellowstone National Park’s late winter wolf predation study training for volunteers was conducted on the 28th. The 30-day intensive study of wolf predation begins on March 1.

A wolf was reportedly killed near Weston, ID, a few miles north of the Utah border. LE is investigating.

Tom Meier et al. finished the 2002 annual interagency wolf report. The report will be distributed both in the mail and online as soon as possible.

Jimenez completed the 2002 Progress Report on wolf/elk interactions on state managed feed grounds in Wyoming. The 11 page report covering the past three years of field can be obtained at mike_jimenez@fws.gov .

Information and education and law enforcement

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling on the last of the litigation against the wolf recovery program on 02/25/03. The case involved the Diamond G Ranch, Inc, a Wyoming Corporation v. Gale Norton, Sec. Interior and USFWS. The case was an appeal of a U.S. District Court for Wyoming ruling that the wolf recovery program did not violate the Fifth Amendments takings provisions or the regulations promulgated under the Endangered Species Act. The Appeals Court affirmed the District Court ruling which dismissed the Diamond G’s takings claims and the ESA claims. This is another big legal win for the DOJ, FWS, and wolf recovery program.

Fontaine finished a 2 week detail on the 21st in Washington D.C. working on the Service’s Partners and Coastal Program. While he was there he gave a presentation to the D.C. Fish and Wildlife Service office the week of the 17th. About 25 Service employees attended.

On the 27th Bangs, talked to about 75 students at a MSU Environmental issues class. He also visited with Dr. Creel, MSU, on enhanced attempts to place more radio-collars in the wolf packs along the west side of Yellowstone Park to assist with the ongoing research on wolf and elk interactions and relationships.

The Wyoming legislature passed a state wolf management bill on the 27th. The bill classifies wolves as both predators and trophy game depending upon the number of wolf packs in Wyoming. The Service will work closely with the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Department to finalize the state’s wolf management plan to address some lingering Service concerns.

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. Abstracts are due by March 15, 2003.

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