Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/20/04

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 2/14-2/20, 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 in Wyoming. On the afternoon of the 13th, the Yellowstone Delta pack was located on a bison carcass in the southern part of Yellowstone National Park. One was netted and 5 darted. Hawkins & Powers and Jimenez did their usual great job and now hold the unofficial ‘record’ for fewest darts used per capture, 5 darts for 6 wolves. On the 14th, Washakie pack was located toward Thermopolis, WY far outside their traditional home range and 5 of the 7 pack members were radio-collared. On the 16th, the Greybull River pack which had no radioed members was seen during a WY G&F ungulate survey and a capture effort was successfully pulled together resulting in 3 of 7 packs members being collared.

Attempts are still being made to radio-collar wolves and capture efforts in SW Montana continued this week. MT FW&P are tagging elk for the predator prey relationship studies in the Madison Valley and Asher and Fontaine tapped into this studies to cooperate in wolf capture efforts. On the 16th, 2 grey males, a yearling and suspected 2-3 year, from the Chief Joe pack were radio-collared. One of them had fairly extensive mange and he was found on mortality mode the next day and capture & mange related hypothermia is suspected. An attempt to try for Sentinel pack was postponed after the landowner preferred that we not collar wolves on their property. We always respect landowner wishes regarding access.

Sheep Mountain wolf #333 was located on mortality mode near Dome Mtn. on the 15th.

Control

WS western district supervisor Glazier provided less-than-lethal munitions training and munitions [cracker shells and rubber bullets] to a remote landowner near Ringling, MT on the 20th. The landowner had a radioed wolf [likely a disperser from Yellowstone] walk through his front yard/pasture a couple of days before and he took some video of it before running it off. Asher provide some less-than-lethal munitions training to a landowner in the Boulder River area [SE of Livingston, MT] who had some wolves chase a few of his cattle before he ran the wolves off. She also provided a radio receiver and wolf frequencies to a rancher who lost sheep in the Paradise Valley earlier this winter.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

The FWS Director Steve Williams met with the WY Governor and members of the WY Legislature again this week. 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 this year. The Wyoming legislature did not move the modified wolf legislation that Service indicated was necessary to proceed with delisting forward this week. The WY house did move legislation out of committee that would make WY state law consistent with its state wolf plan. At this time it appears unlikely that any delisting proposal for the gray wolf Western Distinct Population Segment could move forward this year.

More proof comes in that Bangs is losing his mind. He completely forgot about flying to Boise, ID early AM on Monday for a Regional wolf coordination meeting on the afternoon of the 17th. Opps! Fortunately they were able to patch him in via conf. call with the FWS field office and R-1 representatives who did remember to travel to Boise for the meeting.

Wolves made several national news stories this week. NPR Radio Morning Edition had wolves featured in news stories Thursday and Friday morning. ABC Nightly news had a 2 minute piece on wolves Tuesday night. Both stories featured Dr. Douglas ‘Hollywood’ Smith and the amazing ecological changes that are being documented in Yellowstone National Park as well as the unique wolf viewing opportunities in the Lamar Valley. As usual, great job Doug.

Bangs and Smith conducted TV and U.S. and Canadian radio and print interviews on the 17th regarding the death of wolf #41. She was the former alpha female of the Sunlight Basin pack who was shot on Feb 12th because of chronic livestock depredations. She was the last of the original wolves that were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park. She was brought down as a pup in 1996, left the Druid pack in 1999 and formed the Sunlight Basin pack. She was alpha until the past year or so. There are still a couple of wolves in Idaho from the reintroduction B-2 [just discovered on mortality mode] and B-7 and B-11 relocated from the Big Hole Valley several years ago- its surprising that the only two remaining reintroduced wolves are an ‘old married couple’. They have been the alpha pair of the new pack near Lolo on the MT/ID border for many years.

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 to Alaska in March. Tom has done an excellent job and will be sorely missed. Good luck in Alaska Tom!

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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf Jobs will be advertised this spring- The Service intends to advertise for 4 GS-7 seasonal wolf biologist positions [Cody and Jackson, WY and Kalispell and Missoula, MT] for this summer’s field season. These will be our typical field biologist jobs that include locating wolves and wolf dens, wolf capture and radio-tracking, assisting Wildlife Services as requested, and interacting with the public and other agencies. Lots of travel and remote back-country work may be required. Successful competition for these types of positions is usually very difficult without previous large carnivore experience. Information about these seasonal positions- that normally run from April/May through September/October- will be accessible through USA Jobs in about a month. Please do not call this office about any additional information about these jobs until we announce they are being advertised and where and how to apply. Thank you.

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