Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/22/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/15 to 4/22, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2005 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2004] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, discussions of litigation and funding issues, summaries of scientific studies, and an extensive bibliography and additional informational websites. We will not be mailing hard copies of the report out as we have done in past years, unless we have specific requests.

On the morning of the 16th, Ross [MTFWP] responded to call from a landowner north of Gardiner, MT about a sick-acting wolf in his pasture. The wolf was laying in the pasture and was pinned down with a catch-pole, it appeared very sick and was euthanized. It was taken to the Bozeman, MTFWP Wildlife Lab. Initial investigations suggested it XXX.

Bradley [MTFWP] caught and collared an adult male black wolf (non-breeder) in Bass Creek in the Bitterroot on Saturday morning the 16th. There have been recent reports of up to 4 wolves in this area. Traps were pulled all and this wolf will be monitoring this wolf for the next couple of

days. Bradley thanks volunteers Erin Fairbank and Stephanie Naftal, and Forest Service biologist Dave Lockman for helping with trapping efforts.

John Perringer [WS] who is under a cooperative agreement to the Service to assist in wolf work in WY, caught an adult grey male in the Wood River/Owl Creek area of WY on the 18th. That area is where the old Owl Creek pack used to live before we removed them because of livestock conflicts. The new pack in that area has several members and this radioed male will help to keep track of them.

WY WS reported that a field specialist on the south edge of the Wind River Mtns, saw a pair of wolves on a moose calf kill earlier this week. The female was very pregnant and expecting to den any day. The area is in the middle of a sheep lambing area and the local producers were contacted about the situation. WS set a couple of traps and will radio-collar and release a wolf on site to better monitor this new pair.

Control

The wolf shot by a landowner in the Big Hole Valley of MT was a 2-3 year-old male and it did not appear to have mange. LE investigations are continuing.

On the 19th, wolves killed calf near Meeteetse, WY. The Graybull river pack lives in the area and is thought to be responsible. We are simply monitoring the situation now to see if problems continue.

On the 22nd, WS received two calls about possible depredations in NW MT and is investigating them today. One report was from the Murphy Lake/Graves Creek area near Fortine, MT. A livestock producer said he saw 2 grey wolves leaving the carcass of a calf. A producer near Wolf Prairie reported finding a half-eaten calf carcass and suspected wolves.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and education and law enforcement

The Idaho Wolf Recovery Program's 2004 Progress Report, prepared by the Nez Perce Tribe in cooperation with IDFG, USFWS, and USDA Wildlife Services, is now available on the Tribal website (www.nezperce.org).

The latest issue of Yellowstone Science celebrates the 10th year anniversary of the first wolves being released in the Park. ‘Ten years of Yellowstone Wolves 1995-2005’ is posted at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/publications/yellsciweb/issues.htm.

A report summarizing the current understanding of wolf-ungulate studies in MT is available from Carolyn Sime [MTFWP] at csime@state.mt.us It is dominated by elk, simply because that's what has been researched the most to date.

National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth premieres Wednesday April 20 & 27 on PBS. One of those segments includes a piece about large predators, and includes an interview with Fontaine [FWS] about wolves.

On the 13th, the Montana Legislature debated Bill 461. The Senate Bill mandated that MTFWP maintain at least one radio-collar in each depredating wolf pack. A subsequent House amendment required MTFWP give a radio telemetry receiver to any landowner who requested one, and that all those efforts be solely federally funded. The conference committee dropped the receiver amendment and the collaring bill will be voted on again soon.

The Defenders of Wildlife hosted their annual meeting at Chico Hots Springs, MT on the 19th-21st. Many of the interagency wolf team and others gave presentations about various aspects of wolf biology, wolf management, and other wolf-related issues. Two wolf supporters from France gave a very interesting talk about the recent return of wolves to their country and how conflicts with sheep producers were being addressed. The banquet speaker was Dr. Robert Wayne from UCLA, and he talked about wolf genetics. About 100 people attended.

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