Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/10/04

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/03-9/10, 2004

 

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.

Isaac Babcock and Mischa Connine were able to document reproduction in the Big Hole pack. A minimum of 2 black pups are present, along with a substantial number of adults and subadults. Mischa observed 2 white wolves, both with radio-collars, presumably B7 and B11- the founders of this pack. This former, and possibly still, alpha pair were part of the original 15 wolves that were translocated from Canada in 1995. B7's and B11's radio-collars both expired in early 2003, so we were not sure if they were alive. Isaac captured 2 subadults in 2003, but one has apparently dispersed, and the remaining female has wandered extensively this spring and summer, although she did lead crew biologists to this year's pups.

Jim Holyan and Janeen Hetzler attempted to determine the reproductive status of the Five Lakes Butte pack on the Idaho/Montana border west of Superior, Montana. Multiple wolves were heard howling along the North Fork of the Clearwater River, but no definitive evidence of the presence of pups was found. The 2 recently radio-collared wolves seemed not to be associated with a large, main pack, although one of them seemed to confine her movements, usually indicative of attendance at a rendezvous site.

Rick Williamson of Wildlife Services captured and radio-collared a 128 lb. male wolf in Copper Basin. There has been at least one confirmed depredation in this area on a domestic calf. Rick heard multiple wolves howling, so further effort will be needed here to determine the reproductive status of this group of wolves. Copper Basin was formerly occupied by the Wildhorse pack, which was founded by B2 and B66 (a disperser from the Stanley Basin pack). The wolves currently in the area may be the descendants of this pair.

Paul Frame captured and radio collared a 58 pound male pup from the Murphy Lake pack in NW Montana on the 8th. Paul will cease trapping efforts on the 10th and take the weekend off. Jack Bucklin has been searching for the Blanchard Crk wolves but has had no success. He did get a tip on the location of the Fish Crk pack and will start searching for the pack on the 10th.

 

Control

On the 4th, WS confirmed that suspected members of the Lone Bear pack in the Paradise Valley killed 3 ewes and a lamb on private property. Wolf #283 a 3-yr-old female was located nearby on a telemetry flight shortly after the depredation. WS was authorized to remove her and if possible collar another wolf in the pack, since it will only have one collared member left.

On the 2nd of Sept, a sheep producer just moved their livestock into the higher mountain pastures north of Pinedale, WY. They reported wolf-caused losses by a group of wolves. WY FWS biologists were taken into the site by WS into the site in an attempt to collar members of this pack but got snowed out. They did howl for two nights and picked up nothing and WS investigation indicted there was only 1 sheep reportedly killed by ‘wolves’. We suspect this could be remnants of the ‘missing’ 17 member Daniel pack, that had all its radioed pack members mysteriously die last winter. They had used this area last summer and were involved in sheep depredations in this same general area.

Wildlife Services lethally controlled 3 radio-collared members of the Hazard Lake pack north of McCall, Idaho, including alpha male B105. One radio-collared wolf, B183, and the uncollared alpha female remain to care for the pack's pups.

Research

Information and education and law enforcement

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