Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/04/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/28 to 2/05, 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.

A member of the Biscuit Basin pack was found dead in Yellowstone National Park on the 2nd. It was in very poor condition when collared last week and was apparently killed by a neighboring pack, possibly Cougar Creek.

IDFG personnel have located several wolf packs including the Jureano, Moyer, and Morgan creek packs from the air while conducting elk counts over the last week. No uncollared packs have been seen yet this winter. The Morgan Creek pack was seen on consecutive days during aerial elk surveys. Biologists observed 9 blacks and a gray SW of Challis, and the following day saw them 13.5 miles north in the Morgan Creek drainage feeding on a kill.

Control

On the 31st, another mangey subadult was shot by a private landowner under a shoot-on-sight permit in the Mill Creek pack. This makes the third and last subadult killed under that SOS permit. Control on that pack has ended unless there are additional depredations. A local landowner reported wolf tracks were seen near his cattle which are now calving. If the pack depredates again we will attempt to remove them all.

Research

On the 31st, Smith et al captured and radio-collared 3 members of the Yellowstone Delta pack. A total of 33 wolves have been radioed in the Park this winter.

Information and education and law enforcement

NEW 10J EXPERIMENTAL POPULATION RULE EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 7- On January 3rd, the Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton announced that a new 10j rule would become effective Feb 7, 2005. Once effective the new rule will immediately 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 to develop cooperative agreements and Memorandum of Understandings with the Service or DOI. The rule is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ or at the Federal Register. We sent out a news release on the 3rd. IDFG and MTFWP staff also prepared a press release, website updates, and brochures for public information in regards to the new 10j rule.

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  or  info@wolf.org for more information.

The oral argument for State of Wyoming et al. vs United States Department of the Interior, et al. Civil No. 04CV0123J took place in Cheyenne, WY on Friday Feb 4th. The case involves the Service not approving Wyoming’s state wolf law and subsequent wolf management plan as adequate to conserve Wyoming’s portion of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population. A decision is pending.

On the 31st the United States District Court for the District of Oregon issued its ruling on the Defenders of Wildlife et al. vs Secretary of the Interior et al. Civil No. 03-1348- JO. The District Court judge ruled against the Service’s position regarding the April 2003 nation-wide wolf reclassification and the establishment of three gray wolf Distinct Population Segments. At this time the only thing we know for sure is that this ruling does not affect the nonessential experimental population areas. Dept. of Justice attorneys are reviewing the ruling to see what it does mean to wolves and wolf mgt in the lower 48 states and what the Service’s response maybe. Numerous media interviews were conducted.

A MTFWP wardens took a call from a trapper on the 31st, who just snared a wolf on Lemhi Pass, MT. The trapper brought the wolf carcass to the MTFWP office in Dillon, MT. Service LE was notified and it is under investigation. The coyote trapper reportedly incidentally snared a 90 lb. 2 year-old nonbreeding female wolf in Horse Prairie, SW MT. The trapper reportedly used proper breakaway snares that should have released the wolf. It was believed to be a member of the unradioed Black Canyon pack.

On the 28th, Bradley (MTFWP) met with FS personnel, forest permittees, and members of Backcountry Horsemen of Montana in Wise River.

Trapp (MTFWP) spoke to a group of 40 educators at a teacher's workshop in Great Falls, MT, on Jan 28. He spoke to a group of 20 hunter education instructors in Red Lodge, MT, on 3 Feb.

On the 4th Niemeyer met in Boise, ID with Matt Miller, a writer doing a story for Bugle magazine (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation publication) on wolf management and relationship of wolves to ungulates and ungulate management. The story comes out in the July issue of Bugle.

The US Fish and Wild Life Service’s link to Bangs’ audio interview for Officeroutlook on the Gray Wolf listed last week was wrong. It is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/wk01282005.htm see http://www.officeroutlook.com/RADIO/Gray_Wolf.htm

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed 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