Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/28/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/21 to 1/28, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2004 annual wolf report [covering all 2003] can be viewed 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 preparing the latest annual report that will cover all 2004 and hope it is completed and distributed by March 1, 2005.

On the 21st IDFG found evidence of an uncollared pack in Wildhorse Canyon (west of Council ID. There were tracks of 2-4 wolves traveling up and down the canyon and a kill (cow elk). All of the sign appeared to be about a week or so old.

During the week of the 17th, Laudon [MTFWP] met with Spotted Bear Ranger District staff for introductions and to arrange for effective data sharing and coordination. He also conducted a monitoring flight for NWMT and all packs appear to be in their normal home ranges. Kent also received a report of a black bear being killed and dug out of the den by wolves in the Ninemile Valley. Nothing has been verified at this time.

Wolf capture and radio-collaring continues in Yellowstone National Park. On Friday Jan. 21st, six wolves were collared: 3 in Biscuit Basin Pack and 3 in Cougar creek pack. The Biscuit Basin wolves were the worst shape of any handled in the past 10 yrs. They were very skinny [poor condition] & 2 had thermal burns from a hot spring. Cougar Creek wolves were in excellent condition. On Sunday Jan. 23rd , 4 more wolves were caught: 2 in Druid Peak [including the alpha male] and 2 in the Gibbon Meadow pack; all were in excellent condition. On the 25th, 3 members of the Nez Perce pack [only fair condition] and a Geode pack member [good condition] were radioed. Six more wolves were collared on the 27th. Two in Geode Creek pack (alpha male who had dispersed from the Delta pack and was found out via a pit tag) and a pup. Four wolves were collared in the Slough Creek pack including the alpha male and beta male. They were very large, all weighing more than 120 lbs. The majority of radio-collaring has now been completed in the Park for this year.

On the 24th, Bradley {MTFWP] located the Battlefield pack: #502F was between Rock Creek and Swamp Creek, in the Bighole Valley. She saw 1 black and 8 gray wolves. The black was radio-collared [unknown freq but it is being searched for among missing radioed wolves] and appears to be satelliting the 8 gray wolves and was observed being chased off. Once pack member #376F, a radioed young adult female, was not heard.

Control

Bradley MTFWP retrieved the two Dillon, MT wolves that were killed because of multiple livestock depredations on the 21st. They were an adult black male (4-5 years), ~100 lbs. and a yearling (going on 2 years) gray female, ~90 lbs. Liz also reported the dog they attacked last week was a yellow lab and it appeared healthy with no visible wounds.

On the 24th, WS reported that a border collie herding dog was killed SSE of Dell, MT over the weekend of the 22nd. It was one of two herding dogs on private property and was killed at night within 20yds of the house. No control is planned as this time. WS conducted a telemetry flight to see if the Freezeout pack was in this general area and managed to spot 2 uncollared gray wolves 6 miles away. One of them had a bob-tail. No radioed wolves were in the vicinity.

On the 26th, WS killed a new member of the Lone Bear pack, that was formerly #349 of the Druid pack. It was a radioed-collared black yearling male that had joined the Lone Bear group this winter. He was last located in the Park on Nov. 27, 2004.

Research

"Livestock guarding dogs and wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains of the United States" by Bangs, Jimenez, Niemeyer, Meier, Asher, Fontaine, Collinge, Handegard, Krischke, Smith, and Mack was published in Carnivore Damage Prevention Newsletter No. 8/Jan. 2005 pg 32-39. This was the first issue about Livestock Guarding Dogs. You can download the CDPNews from http://www.kora.unibe.ch/pdf/cdpnews/cdpnews008.pdf or for those with a slow internet connection on http://www.kora.unibe.ch/en/proj/cdpnews/index.html as a web-edition. They are also looking for additional articles for the upcoming issue, also about LGDs that will be published in early spring.

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 7, 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 is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ or at the Federal Register. By the time it becomes effective on February 7, 2005 we and our partners will have done more outreach so that residents in Montana, and Idaho will know exactly what extra management flexibility they can employ to deal with problem wolves.

The International Wolf Center in Ely, MN is pleased to announce their fourth international wolf conference - Frontiers of Wolf Recovery: Southwestern U.S. and the World. The conference will be held October 1-4, 2005 in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO in the shadow of Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods. Proposals for papers are due March 15, 2005. Contact http://www.wolf.org/wolves/wolfconference/presentationcall.asp mailto:info@wolf.orgfor more information.

On the 26th, Bangs did an over-the-phone interview with OFFICEROUTLOOK, a series on the business value of technology and management practices. The target audience is business decision-makers. It is on their website at http://www.officeroutlook.com/RADIO/Gray_Wolf.htm

On the 28th, MTFWP Wolf Coordinator Sime gave a presentation to about 20 people from the International Wolf Center that were visiting Yellowstone National Park to watch wolves.

On the 25th, Bangs and Fontaine had their ‘obituary’ photo taken. A MT reporter is profiling them and Niemeyer in an upcoming story about the passing of the tired, bitter, and very old federal guard and the ushering in of a new era of younger, brighter, and more energetic state wolf managers in Montana and Idaho. Various agency folks were interviewed for the article.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at 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