Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/30/05

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 12/16 to 12/30, 2005

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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. The 2006 annual report that will cover all 2005 is being prepared and should be available by March 1.

On December 20th, Idaho held their wolf coordination meeting at the IDFG headquarters. Officials from the USFWS Boise and Spokane offices, Governor's Office of Species Conservation, Wildlife Services, Nez Perce Tribe and Idaho Fish and Game were present. Transfer of management responsibility and review of the transition process, funding, annual wolf status, Tribal MOA, livestock depredation protocol and other issues were discussed.

Due to poor flying weather, telemetry surveys were not conducted in Idaho for the past two weeks.

Control

On the 23rd, WS received a report that a wolf was acting aggressive near a resort in Sun Valley. The manager of the resort indicated that the incident had occurred a few days earlier and that the animal had approached a guest (within 6 feet) and growled. Due to the fact that it had been several days since the animal had been seen and since it had rained recently, confirming that this was a wolf was not possible. WS told the manager who to contact if the animal came back and assured her that someone would come investigate if/when it happens.

On the 29th, WS investigated a report that a wolf had injured a horse at a ranch near Donnelly, ID. This property is within the Gold Fork Pack's territory. The recent rain had turned the existing snow to ice and no tracks were present. The horse, an older mare, did have a couple of wounds high on one inner thigh. The horse owner thought that the horse may have slipped on the ice while she was running from wolves and was bitten once or twice when she fell before she was able to regain her footing. WS looked at the fence line to see if the wounds may have been caused by a fence but could not come to a conclusion as to how the horse was injured. The horse is expected to recover, but if it doesn't, WS will do a more thorough examination of the wounds.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

WOLF SHOOTING IN GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK- Federal wildlife officials are investigating the shooting of a wolf near Half Moon Lake in Teton National Park. Investigators have determined that the wolf was killed in the early morning hours of Monday, October 17, 2005. Investigators have also determined the exact location of the killing and are working to identify the person responsible. Investigators are investigating all available leads. The investigators believe that several people have knowledge of the killing of this wolf. Anyone having information regarding the killing of this wolf is encouraged to contact Special Agent Roy Brown who heads the Office of law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Lander, Wyoming. Special Agent Brown can be reached at (307) 332-7607. Persons calling with information can remain anonymous and will be eligible for rewards.

On the 20th, Collinge, Grimm and Williamson [ID WS] met with representatives from IDFG, FWS, NPT and OSC to discuss the transition from the Service to IDFG management that is expected soon, 2005 wolf numbers, depredations and what to expect in 2006.

Val Asher [MT FWP] went on a trapline at the invite of a coyote trapper in SW MT who had accidently captured wolves in the past. Great contact and the line was well done.

IDFG and the Nez Perce tribe are finalizing the data for the annual report. IDFG is updating their wolf web-page and will have the latest information on the web-page in early January.

The USFS is accepting comments on their scoping document for IDFGs proposal to incidentally land helicopters to capture wolves in the Frank Church wilderness while conducting big game surveys. The scoping document can be found online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/

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