Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/17/06

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 2/10 to 2/17, 2006

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 calendar year 2005 is being drafted. Everyone is currently working very hard on completing their sections. It should be available by March 1.

On the 17th IDFG received a call that a wolf had been caught by a leg in a bobcat snare in the Pahsimeroi Valley of Idaho. Husseman [IDFG] immediately responded to collar and release it if possible. Unfortunately its lower leg was frost-bitten and the wolf was euthanized.

Control

On the 15th, ID WS received a call from a rancher near Ola who indicated wolves have been hanging around his cattle operation for the last couple of weeks. He's getting nervous because he'll begin calving any day now. He said he had seen 2 wolves near his cattle recently, and they didn't appear to be very afraid of him. He's also seeing wolf tracks regularly around his property. WS provided the rancher cracker shells and gave him guidance on his ability to protect his livestock under the 10j rules. Our fixed-wing aircraft was conducting a coyote aerial hunting mission in this area, and they tried to pick up the signal from the one collared animal from the Packer John pack (nearest pack), but did not pick up any signal.

On the 15th, ID WS received a call from a cattle rancher up in the Pahsimeroi, ID area who'd chased cattle out of his pasture twice that morning, and had shot toward them once. WS clarified what the rancher was legally allowed to do under the current 10j rule, and made a site visit to his property. To date, the wolves have not returned.

On the 17th, ID WS received a call from the cattle producer near the Canadian border where wolves had been documented two weeks ago. He reported that the wolves had returned. WS visited the ranch and found at least one set of fresh wolf tracks. All livestock were accounted for but the rancher is going to move the cattle closer to his home before they calf [very soon]. He has been provided cracker shells, and fladry may be put out in the next few days in an effort to keep wolves from the cattle.

Todd Grimm received a call on the 15th, from the FWS office in Spokane regarding a report they'd received of wolves harassing some llamas on private property near Ponderay (north of Lake Pend Oreille), and he passed the information on to the local WS specialist in northern Idaho for follow-up. The ID WS investigation determined coyotes, not wolves, were involved.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 2nd, the USFWS Director Dale Hall announced the FWS would be publishing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the FR. The Advanced Notice lays out the Service’s current thinking regarding establishing a Northern Rocky Mountain [NRM] Distinct Population Segment [DPS] of gray wolves that would include all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and parts on eastern Washington and Oregon and north central Utah and threats to that wolf population. After an adequate state regulatory framework for wolf management in Wyoming is approved, a proposal to delist wolves in the NRM DPS would be prepared and published for public review and comment. The advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for the Northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves was signed by the Director on January 31, 2006, and was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, February 8, 2006. It can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ANPR_Feb_8_2006.pdf Written comments will be accepted until COB April 10, 2006 to USFWS, Ed Bangs, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.

Doug Smith [NPS] gave a talk to 12 wildlife managers from Eastern Russia, a trip sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and its Siberian Tiger Project on Feb. 11th in Yellowstone Park.

On the 13th Trapp (MFWP) gave a presentation on wolf management to over 120 people at the Billings, MT Kiwanis meeting.

Bradley [MFWP] gave a talk to the Anaconda Sportsman Club on the 15th. About 20 people attended.

On the 14th, Smith [NPS] spoke to 18 Gardiner, MT 9th Grade High School kids.

Bangs was in Corvalis, OR on the 15th giving a seminar at OSU and two talks at the annual meeting of the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society on the 16th. A total of over 200 people attended.

Mack [NTP] gave another presentation to the McCall-Donnelly High School biology class in Idaho.

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