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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/20/06

Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 11/12/06 to 11/17/06

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 information.

Monitoring
The wolf that was incidentally caught in a coyote trap near Helmville and collared by MFWP on the 9th died later that evening, presumably from stress and poor body condition related to being in the trap for up to five days. MFWP thanked the coyote trapper for reporting the incident, and informed him that there were other wolves in the area and to be careful to try and avoid any further captures. 

Control
On the 17th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed an adult cow on private land SE of Cascade, ID. This is a site where the Orphan Pack depredated last year.  Traps were set.

On the 10th, a calf was confirmed killed in the Big Hole Valley west of Wisdom, MT. The collared Battlefield female was found in close proximity, and the loss occurred in the middle of this pack’s territory. Removal of two wolves was authorized and a shoot-on-sight permit was issued to the landowner. On the 15th, MT WS shot 2 wolves out of the Battlefield pack.  They were on private property close to where the original depredation occurred and were located close to cattle.  Control is now finished and the SOS permit has been cancelled.

On the 18th, Jimenez [NPS] confirmed that a calf was killed by wolves on private land in the Dunoir Valley near Dubois, WY. Cattle are being moved through private land leased for livestock grazing but will soon leave the area to winter near Riverton, WY.  No control action we will be taken at this time but we will monitor the situation closely.

On the 17th, the Conferated Salish and Kootenai Tribe and WS attempted to helicopter dart one of the Hewolf pack members with Department of Livestock helicopter.  Due to heavy timber and only observing the collared female, no wolves were captured or removed. Wolves have moved away from livestock (can't find them) so control has ended.  It was a great effort and coordination with the FWS by the Tribe and WS.  The Hewolf pack killed a calf earlier this summer, had recently wounded another calf, and had repeatedly been caught chasing cattle on tribal land, including through fences.  After an attempt to ground shoot a pack member earlier this week was unsuccessful, the Tribe recommended that a wolf be collared and released on site and another be killed.

Research
The annual 30-day early winter wolf predation study [Nov 15- Dec 15] began in Yellowstone National Park.

Information, Education and Law Enforcement
Mike Jimenez attended the Carnivores Conference in Tampa, Fl. put on by Defenders of Wildlife, November 12-14.  He presented four papers for the interagency group- , “Gray wolf restoration and management”, Managing wolf/livestock conflict in the northern Rocky Mountains, Wolf/elk relationships on Wyoming feed grounds, and Wolf restoration and management in Wyoming.”

On  Friday the 17th , FWS Denver Regional Director Mitch King, Mike Jimenez [FWS], Doug Smith [NPS], and Ken Hamlin [MFWP] spoke to a WYG&F commission meeting in Sundance, WY.  King discussed grizzly bear delisting, Jimenez spoke about wolf recovery in Wyoming, Smith discussed wolf/ungulate research in Yellowstone National Park, and Hamlin discussed elk/wolf studies in Montana.

On the 12th, Carolyn Sime spoke to the Great Falls Chapter of the Audubon Society.  About 20 people were in attendance.

Dr. Polly Wheeler [FWS AK Subsistence Office] acted as the FWS Wolf Recovery Coordinator from Oct. 23-Nov 18 while Bangs [FWS] was in Alaska for the FWS training program job swap. Dr. Wheeler spent time with Mike Jimenez, Carolyn Sime, and Doug Smith to review as much as the field program and see as many perspectives as possible.

The collar from Idaho B-111-M was found and turned in by a deer hunter last week.  B-111 was the alpha male of the O’Hara Point pack that roams the South Fork of the Clearwater and was last located alive on October 4, 2004.  The collar has been turned over to USFWS law enforcement and is currently under investigation.  An adult female gray wolf (untagged) was found killed south of Grangeville, ID on November 19, and her death is also under investigation. The total documented wolf mortality including all causes is 60 so far this year in Idaho. 

IDFG and Nez Perce wolf biologists met on November 16 to review 2006 pack data and begin the writing of the annual report.

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


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