Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/01/04

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 2/01-2/13, 2004

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- See the 2002 annual wolf report at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies. The 2003 annual interagency report is in final preparation and should be completed and distributed in March.

The NPS and FWS in Wyoming are wrapping up their routine winter wolf capture efforts. On the 12th, 4 members of the Geode pack were collared. On the morning of the 13th, 2 Cougar Creek wolves [including the alpha female which was recollared] were collared. Two GPS collars were deployed in the Park. Attempts are still being made to capture wolves in Wyoming outside the Park. Capture efforts in SW Montana to the west of Yellowstone National Park will begin next week.

Control

Two members of the Sunlight Basin pack killed a newborn calf on private land on the 6th. Female wolf #41- the last? of the original reintroduced wolves and the pack’s former alpha female was responsible. She is no longer alpha, has manage, and is limping, and is no longer closely associated with the pack. She was accompanied by another uncollared wolf with mange and only 2 sets of tracks were documented coming and going from the kill site. She and the other wolf are hanging out in the area where the calf was killed and she was actually located from the air on the fresh calf carcass. The rancher temporarily confined his 25 cow/calf pair to reduce the potential for continued problems but that can only be very short term solution. WS was authorized to kill both of them ASAP, as she was involved in several other cattle depredations over the past couple of years. Her chronic pattern of depredation, the wolves’ poor condition, and the dispersed nature of livestock throughout this area negate the potential for long-term success of any non-lethal tools. On the 12th, she was shot from the ground by WS. She had a lame front foot and severe mange. Further control is on hold unless there are further depredations.

Research

The cooperative research program investigating the relationship between wolves on WY winter elk feed grounds continues. Cow/ratios appear up again this year and herd sizes remain similar to past years in NW WY. Wolves [Teton pack] are killing elk on and between the Gros Ventre feed grounds but elk use on the feed grounds appears similar to past years. A bison in very poor condition was ‘finished off’ by wolves near one feed ground, one of the very few bison killed by these wolves. The 2003 progress report is being completed and should be available by March 2004.

The final manuscript "Restoration and conflict management of the gray wolf in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming" by Bangs et al. was completed and sent in for publication in the Transactions of the 69th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference that will be held March 17-20, 2004 in Spokane, WA.

Information and education and law enforcement

The FWS Director Steve Williams met with the WY Governor and members of the WY Legislature during the week of the 9th. They discussed what changes are necessary in WY state law and state wolf plan for the Service to be able to proceed with a delisting proposal.

Tom Meier, the FWS lead wolf biologist for NW MT, in Kalispell, MT was selected for the wildlife biologist supervisory position in Denali National Park in Alaska. Congratulations to Tom but woe to us and the NRM wolf recovery program. He will report sometime in March. Tom has done an excellent job and will be sorely missed. Good luck in Alaska Tom!

A National Wildlife Federation wolf course is now up and running. It can be accessed at NWF's Wildlife University webpage (www.nwf.org/wildlifeuniversity), as part of the Endangered

Species Series. It includes audio lecture on wolf biology by Dr. L. David Mech, video clips, a ‘debate’ on wolf reclassification and potential delisting by Pat Parenteau, Vermont School of Law and Wolf Recovery Coordinator Bangs, and lots of good basic wolf information. It’s a very well done website and worth a look to learn about wolves and wolf issues.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

NEZ PERCE TRIBE

GRAY WOLF RECOVERY PROJECT

The Nez Perce Tribe is seeking volunteers to assist on the Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery Project for the 2004 field season. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable field experience while working in the rugged and beautiful backcountry of Idaho.

Work Environment: Work is conducted throughout the state of Idaho and SW Montana, including front-country (road accessible) and backcountry (remote and Wilderness) areas. This is a physically demanding position; extreme climate and terrain will be encountered. Volunteers may be required to carry up to 80 lbs. for varying distances over trail and cross-country conditions. Accommodations vary from cabins to backcountry houses to tent camping depending upon the locations of wolves and logistics. Travel is mostly by 4-wheel drive, ATV, fixed-wing aircraft, and foot.

Work Schedule: Typically 10 days on/4 days off, though work may extend beyond the 10 days depending upon conditions, Project needs, and logistics.

Duration: Expected approximately late May through September, but may be shorter depending upon access, workload, volunteer availability, and Project funding. Preference will be given to qualified applicants able to commit for extended periods of time.

Compensation: Includes transportation and $15.00/day while on duty. Some housing (travel trailers, USFS accommodations, and bunkhouse-style quarters) is available for non-duty days. Volunteers are covered under the Tribal Workmen's Compensation program.

Primary Duties: 1) assist in locating, via ground and aerial telemetry, potential breeding packs/pairs of wolves to determine reproductive status, 2) assist in obtaining accurate counts of wolf pups at home sites, 3) assist in documenting locations of wolf home sites, 4) assist in collecting scientific data on the ecology of wolves in Idaho, 5) assist in capturing, processing/handling, and radio-collaring wolves, and 6) other duties as assigned.

Qualifications: 1) documented experience backpacking and camping for extended periods of time in remote settings, 2) proficiency with orienteering (use of map and compass for navigating) required, 3) good physical condition, 4) must hold valid driver's license and be insurable under the Tribe's insurance policy, 5) must be willing to comply with the Tribe's drug and alcohol policy, 6) possess the ability to get along with others in backcountry settings for 10-day + time periods, 7) possess the ability to communicate verbally with interested and affected publics, 8) completion of, or enrollment in college/university Wildlife, or related, curriculum preferred, 9) radio-telemetry experience preferred, 10) capture, immobilizing, and handling/processing experience with wild animals preferred, and 11) experience flying in fixed-wing and helicopters preferred.

Application Period: Applications will be accepted from March 1, 2004 until March 31, 2004. Applications must be received at Gray Wolf Recovery Project office no later March 31, 2004. Applications received before March 1, 2004 and after March 31, 2004 will not be considered- no exceptions.

How to Apply: Submit a cover letter expressing interest in the Project, and resume detailing educational and employment backgrounds, along with the name and contact information of 3 work-related references. Send application materials to:

Nez Perce Tribe Gray Wolf Recovery Project
Attn: Volunteer Program
P.O. Box 1922
McCall, ID 83638
Telephone: (208) 634-1061
Fax: (208) 634-3231

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