Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/8/06

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/01 to 9/08/2006

 

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2006 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2005] 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.

Monitoring

We are compiling our annual mid-year wolf population estimate and should have it soon.

Isaac Babcock and Brandon Muller [NPT] captured and collared the possible breeding female of the Eldorado pack. They also attempted to obtain another pup count on this pack; they observed only 1 gray pup, but heard 3 howling. Earlier in the year litter size was estimated at 3-4. This crew also got a pup count of 3 grays on the Giant Cedar group, officially making this a documented pack. Isaac also improved upon his earlier pup count at the Bimerick Meadows pack- he observed 7 gray pups this time.

Jim Holyan [NTP] drove and hiked in 3 different areas of suspected wolf activity; Smith Ridge/Isabella Ck. and Pot Mt./Skull Ck., both on the north side of the North Fork of the Clearwater River, and Paradise/Scurvy/Gorman/Toboggan on the south side. For the hundreds of miles of roads and trails covered he found 2 wolf footprints. He also coordinated with the ranch foreman for Little Valley Ranch, located SE of Donnelly, ID, to provide information about the resident Gold Fork pack and give suggestions about avoiding further depredations.

The NPT wolf project would like to thank volunteer Brandon Muller for his hard work and generous assistance over the course of the field season. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Russ Morgan [Oregon Dept. Wildlife] reported that he and John Stephenson [FWS] are continuing to follow up on two reports of wolves in extreme NE Oregon. After two weeks of field investigation they found evidence that suggested the presence of at least one wolf in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. They are continuing their investigations in that area. They are also continuing to follow up on a month-old Wallowa County sighting of a black wolf [which included video footage].

Control

On the 2nd, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a lamb on Pearl Creek on the Payette National Forest NE of McCall. Traps were set with the intention of lethally removing up to 2 un-collared wolves. If B-157, the alpha male of the Jungle Creek Pack was captured, he would get a new collar and be released. On the 4th, a gray, sub-adult female wolf was trapped but was dead when WS arrived to check the traps. The trapped found a wound in the throat area of the wolf and investigated further and discovered that the wounds were consistent with wolf bites. This is the first time (as far as we know) that a wolf apparently killed another wolf that was in a trap in Idaho. The skull of the wolf was salvaged and was turned over to IDFG.

ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a calf in Copper Basin on the 2nd. On the 3rd, a fixed-winged aerial control flight took place and B-197, the Copper Basin alpha male, was spotted coming out of the cattle. The decision was made to lethally remove him. His carcass was turned over to IDFG for educational purposes. On the 4th, another aerial hunting flight was performed and B-227 was spotted near the cattle and she was shot. Her carcass was also delivered to IDFG. The control action in Copper Basin was concluded unless another depredation occurs.

On the 2nd, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed 3 sheep and injured 2 more near Josephine Lake, NE of McCall, ID on an allotment. Traps were set with the intention of collaring the first wolf captured and lethally removing one wolf. This band of sheep was attacked again of the 7th and WS is attempting to determine if wolves were responsible.

On the 2nd, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Steel Mountain Pack killed 3 sheep on private land near Pine. Traps were set with the intention of lethally removing 3 wolves. Unfortunately, the traps were pulled when a forest fire threatened the area. When the fire subsides, control efforts will resume.

ID WS investigated a complaint that wolves killed a calf on an allotment Summit Creek between the Little Lost and Pahsimeroi Rivers on the 4th [between Salmon and Leadore, ID]. WS called it a "probable" depredation. Traps were set with the intention of collaring and releasing one wolf. Traps were pulled on the 8th, nothing returned to the vicinity.

On the 7th, ID WS investigated a report that wolves had killed a sheep near Leadore, ID. ID WS determined that the predator responsible was a black bear.

On the 8th, ID WS investigated a report that wolves had killed a calf near Sheridan Lake on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. There was not enough evidence to confirm the depredation, but WS did determine that it was "probable" that wolves were responsible.

On the 2nd, WY USFWS investigated [WY WS requested FWS assistance] and confirmed that wolves had killed a calf on a grazing allotment in Grand Teton National Park, WY. No control is warranted since livestock are being removed from the allotment next week anyway.

On the 2nd, another calf was confirmed killed by a wolf[s] near Farson, WY. Lethal control to remove all wolves in that area is ongoing.

On the 2nd, 2 more calves were confirmed killed by wolves on private land west of Cody, WY. Two pups were shot from the ground by WS/FWS on the 8th, to reduce the pack’s overall food demand. Both had severe mange. An adult seen did not appear infested. In the past leaving a couple of adults with a bunch of pups only resulted in the adults having to hunt harder and was suspected to have contributed to additional depredations. Three adults and 4 pups remain but with such severe mange it appears unlikely the remaining pups can survive.

On the 6th, USFWS investigated [WY WS requested FWS assistance] investigated a suspected wolf depredation on a calf on a remote allotment near Dubois, WY. A grizzly bear was feeding on the carcass. FWS determined the calf was not killed by wolves and provided the skinned out hide to WY F&G- who determined that the calf was killed by a bear. Thanks for great agency cooperation and communication.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 6th, Sime, Asher, and Trapp [MFWP] met with USDA WS researchers Dr. John Shivik and graduate student Nathan Lance to explore ideas and the potential to test turbo fladry [flags hung off of an electric hot wire rather than string] as a barrier to wolves in a field setting in Montana.

On the 6th, ID WS (Mark Collinge and Todd Grimm) met with IDFG (Brad Compton, Terry Mansfield, Steve Nadeau and Jim Unsworth), Jim Caswell from OSC and John Chatburn from Idaho Department of Ag. to discuss depredation control strategies and coordination.

On the 5th Lucid [IDFG] gave a presentation summarizing wolf issues in IDFG's southwest region to the new commissioner of the region, Bob Barowsky, along with about 40 IDFG personnel from the southwest region. On the 8th he gave a presentation on wolf management and biology to 30 BSU students as part of a project WILD workshop at IDFG headquarters in Boise, ID.

Steve Nadeau [IDFG] gave a wolf presentation to about 15 Legislators and legislative candidates in Idaho Falls and Pocatello on September 7.

On the 5th/6th, Doug Smith [NPS] rode into the Silver Tip Ranch/Lodge and gave a presentation to a dozen people. Smith’s presentation was part of an annual two-day informational meeting at the Ranch.

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