Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/30/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/23 to 9/30, 2005

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2005 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2004] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm . 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, an extensive bibliography, and additional informational websites.

Tyler Hollow [NPT] and volunteer Cason Johnson captured and radio-collared a second wolf, possibly the alpha, in the Stolle Meadow pack on the 19th. They were able to observe a minimum of 4 adults, but no pups were found, a gray pup was trapped earlier in the summer. Tyler also monitored B257, the female wolf radio-collared during a control action near Carey Dome (north of McCall, ID). He observed it with 2 other wolves, but no evidence of pups.

Jim Holyan [NPT] and volunteer Janeen Hetzler monitored B256, recently radio-collared near Elk River, ID. Reports from residents and hunters indicate ‘many’ wolves in the area, though this could not be confirmed. B256 was apparently alone when monitored, except for one day when she was with another wolf.

Hetzler also worked on wolf B254, previously radio-collared during a control action north of McCall, ID. The NPT has been attempting to ascertain the pack status of this individual. To date all investigations indicate that she is traveling alone, most recently in the Partridge Ck. pack's territory, although her capture location was just within the Hazard Lake pack's home range.

The field season for the Nez Perce Tribe crews ends in late September. It was a very successful season and the NPT thank all of the volunteers that assisted this season. Your efforts and commitment are most appreciated.

Michael Lucid [IDFG] located a mortality signal on the only radio collared wolf in the Timberline pack during his telemetry flight. The collar alternated between a mortality signal and regular signal. Michael hiked in on it on Friday and located the collar that had been chewed off by other wolves. He is attempting to place another collar in the pack.

Jason Husseman [IDFG] has been checking out reports of wolves in new areas reported by hunters in the Bishop Mt., Big Lost, Middle Creek and Herd Lake areas but has not been able to localize any pack activity. This time of year wolves are very mobile and difficult to pinpoint for very long.

Linda Thurston [IDFG] continues to trap in the Scurvy Mountain area in the North Fork Clearwater River as well as attempting to locate new wolf activity in other areas nearby. Wolf howling and sign in the Kelly Creek country appear to be from the Burdette pack that was collared in Montana earlier this year and has been located in Idaho off and on all summer. This pack appears to be residing in the historic range of the Lupine Pack.

Control

On the 26th, ID WS Ashmead confirmed that wolves killed two yearling sheep on private land 6-7 miles west of Hailey, near Red Elephant Creek. An Akbash guard dog was also missing. WS found 2 different sets of wolf tracks but more wolves may have been involved. The Service authorized WS to remove up to two wolves. If the opportunity presents itself, a wolf will be collared and released to determine how many wolves are involved.

On the 26th, ID WS specialist Hansen examined a dead calf at New Meadows, ID. Coyotes had fed upon the carcass but there was enough left to determine that the animal was not killed by coyotes, wolves, bears, or lions.

ID WS Specialist Dave Thomas confirmed another calf killed on a public grazing allotment by the Chesimia Pack on the 25th. Traps have been set with the intention of removing an additional three adult wolves from this pack. WS had already taken a sub adult male and a female pup earlier this year. To date WS has confirmed two adult cows and a calf killed and another cow and calf that are "probable" wolf kills this year by this pack.

ID WS conducted an aerial control flight on the 29th over Copper Basin. No wolves were taken.

Research

Yellowstone National Park is collecting bone samples to send to an NPS veterinarian to verify whether parvo-virus might have caused the low wolf pup survival in the Park this summer.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Trapp (MFWP) gave a presentation on wolf ecology and management to the new district ranger and other personnel at the Custer National Forest, Beartooth Ranger District on the 27th.

Bangs [FWS] and Smith, Stahler, and McIntrye [NYP] gave presentations to a group with the Yellowstone Park Foundation in Mammoth, WY on the 30th. About 45 people attended.

On the 28th, Jimenez gave the keynote address at the Western International Forest Disease Conference in Jackson, WY. About 100 foresters attended from British Columbia to New Zealand.

Emily Almberg gave a talk in Yellowstone National Park to 30 people who were part of a conference called "business leaders".

Greg Rasmussen from the Painted Dog Project in Zimbabwe visited Yellowstone National Park this week. He saw his first wolves, coyotes, and bison.

Curt Mack [NPT], Niemeyer, Bangs, and Jimenez [FWS], Sime [MFWP] and various other state F&G representatives and biologists from throughout the world will be attending and presenting several papers at the 2005 International Wolf Conference in Colorado Springs, CO from October 1-4. The meeting is held every 5 years and is sponsored by the International Wolf Center.

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