Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/06/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/31/04-1/06, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2003 annual wolf report is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies. We are hoping the 2005 annual report [covering all 2004] will be completed and distributed by March 1, 2005.

Control

Two more wolves from the Owl Creek pack were removed on the 31st, because they attacked a horse. The most recent control action leaves 2 pack members. If further depredations are caused by these remaining wolves they too will be killed. The Owl Creek pack was involved in repeated livestock depredations this past summer.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

NEW 10J EXPERIMENTAL POPULATION RULE PUBLISHED- On the 3rd, the Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton announced that a new 10j rule would become effective Feb 5, 2005. The new rule will allow increased mgt. flexibility in the experimental population areas of states with Service-approved wolf management plans. The rule will also allow the States and Tribes to lead nearly all wolf mgt. activities if they wish. The rule can be viewed at mountain-prairie.fws.gov or at the Federal Register. By the time it becomes effective on February 5, 2005 we and our partners will have done extensive outreach so that residents in Montana, and Idaho will know exactly what extra management flexibility they can employ to deal with problem wolves because of this new rule.

The State of Montana welcomed the announcement of the final 10j rule and thanks USFWS and Interior for the enhanced flexibility and the opportunity to begin implementing the state's management plan. FWP (Sime) and USFWS (Bangs) will be working out the details of the

cooperative agreement for the 10j area over the next month. The existing cooperative agreement for the 4d area will be updated and rolled into the same overall Memorandum of Understanding.

On the evening of January 5, the USFWS, Wildlife Services, the Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Department of Fish and Game conducted a joint training session in Boise, Idaho, to review problems encountered during the past field season and work toward better communications and improve field techniques when handling wolves. Rick Williamson (WS) and Mark Drew (DVM-IDFG) provided training and recommendations on professional, humane handling of wolves in the field, data collection and field reports. Niemeyer provided a summary of information contained in the new 10(j) rule that will go into affect on February 5 in Idaho.

Sime, Smith will be attending the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association annual convention on Jan.7. Smith will be presenting information from Yellowstone and Sime will discuss transition issues, the new 10j rule, and Montana's wolf program.

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