Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 1/04/2008

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/28/07 to1/04/08

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2006] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm. The 2008 report will be available by March 1, 2008.

Monitoring

On Dec. 27th MFWP and MT WS re-collared a wolf in Paradise Valley, MT that had been incidentally caught in a coyote trap. This was the missing 283F in the Donohue pack, now a member of the 8-mile pack. The old collar was no longer working and she had been missing since June of 2005.

MFWP responded to a call of a mangy black wolf with a collar in the Paradise Valley, MT [N. of YNP] on Jan. 4th. The wolf had been sleeping in a hay barn as tracks and a bed were found but no wolf was present nor were any missing collared wolves heard. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Apparently visitor to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado took of some photos of large canid tracks [5" x 4 1/2", wolf size] in late Dec. There is absolutely no way of knowing if they were made by a long-distance lone dispersing wild wolf [which is possible] or are simply an escaped/released captive wolf or wolf dog hybrid [which is much more likely]. However, this is the peak of wolf dispersal & lone wolves can travel that far. But they also use huge areas +1500 miles and if they don't find mates they keep moving. Other than of general public interest, hype, and speculation- such reports should NEVER be assumed to be wild wolves. Even if it turns out that a wild wolf was involved, these types of long distance dispersal events have no relationship to potential pack formation or wolf recovery. The situation will continue to be monitored to see if anything develops.

Control

On Dec. 29th, MT WS confirmed that 3 weaner calves were killed by wolves on private property in the Big Hole Valley northwest of Wisdom, MT. The Mussigbrod pack was believed involved and MFWP authorized MT WS to kill 3 wolves from this pack. On the morning the 31st, WS shot 3 wolves on private property near where the depredation occurred. Three wolves are believed to remain in this pack. Another calf was confirmed killed by these wolves on Jan. 2nd on the same ranch where the 3 calves were killed on the 29th. Tracks of 3 wolves were present and are believed to be the remaining 3 wolves in the Mussigbrod pack. Prior to the 29th, the Mussigbrod pack was implicated in 6 other calf depredations between 2006 and 2007. Few wild prey inhabit the west Big Hole during the winter, as most elk migrate out of the valley and into Idaho or the East Fork of the Bitterroot, making the potential for further conflict between wolves and livestock very high. Two other wolf packs inhabit the East Fork of the Bitterroot, making it unlikely that the Mussigbrod pack will shift their territory to the west. Due to their past depredation history and potential for further problems, MFWP has authorized MT WS to remove the remaining 3 wolves from this pack. A fifth calf was confirmed killed by wolves on the same ranch on Jan. 4th. Efforts are ongoing to remove the remaining 3 wolves from the Mussigbrod pack. A SOS (Shoot on Sight) permit was issued to the landowner for 3 wolves.

A lion hunter in the Bitterroot Valley, MT reported that a lion hound (unknown breed- black curr?) was killed by wolves in McCoy Creek, southwest of Darby on Jan. 1st. The dog was trailing a lion and didn't return. Very little remains were found of the dog. The Trapper Peak pack is known to frequently use this area.

On Dec. 31st, ID WS confirmed that members of the Buffalo Ridge pack killed another calf on private land near Clayton. ID. This is the same property where this pack killed a calf in early December and WS lethally removed 2 wolves at that time. Efforts are underway to remove 2 more wolves.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Nothing new to report.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at 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

Last updated: March 11, 2010