Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/16/2008

Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 2/16/08 to 2/22/08

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 around March 1, 2008.

Monitoring

Between Feb. 15-20 IDFG crews, in cooperation with ID Wildlife Services, collared 18 wolves and 71 elk in the Garden Valley Area. The elk were fitted with ARGOS collars and the wolves were fitted with a combination of ARGOS, GPS, and VHF collars. These animals will be part of the IDFG Ungulate Ecology Project, The University of Montana Cooperative/Nez Perce Tribe/IDFG Wolf Monitoring Study, and will be used for routine monitoring and management. Wolves were captured from 4 collared packs (Warm Springs, Calderwood, Timberline, Archie Mountain). Scott Mountain was located and put back on the air. Also, a previously undocumented pair was collared. 16 wolves were newly collared and 2 were re-captures. The Calderwood alpha female was caught and her old collar was replaced. Also, a Timberline wolf with a store on board GPS collar was captured, the GPS collar removed, and was fitted with a new VHF collar.

Two wolves were collared northeast of Idaho Falls during aerial capture efforts near Sand Cr. WMA on east Big Bend Ridge.  Rick Swisher tracked them from that location, approximately 30-35 miles north across Island Park to the Centenial Mtns., past another kill, where we found 7 wolves (4 blacks, 3 grays).  IDFG crews captured 2 grays, one of which was an old alpha male wearing that had been previously collared by MFWP in 2006 and is believed to be a disperser from the Wedge Pack.  These wolves were thought to be from the Bishop Mt. pack that had not been radio collared.  More monitoring efforts will be needed to determine which pack it is and which state they reside in.

Control

On the 17th, ID WS confirmed that wolves from the Buffalo Ridge pack killed 2 calves and  injured another on private land near Clayton.  On the 18th, ID WS confirmed that the wolves killed another calf on the same ranch.  There were four or five sets of wolf tracks at the scene and the telemetry signal of one of the collared wolves from the Buffalo Ridge pack showed that he was still in the immediate area.  WS has already removed 3 members from this pack in the last 3 months after previous depredations on the same property.  Further control efforts are being planned.

On the 21st, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a 105 lb. German shepherd mix dog on private land at the edge of a sub-division in Centerville.  The wolves may have been attracted to some garbage that had been left outside, just a few houses down from where the depredation occurred.  Centerville is a small community NW of Idaho City in the Boise National Forest.

Research

Yellowstone National Park report that on the 14th & 15th they darted and radio-collared 4 and 8 wolves respectively in 5 packs which brought the total for this winter capture season 27 wolves collared in 10 packs.  Only 1 pack remains, Bechler- which is hard to catch.

On the 20th, WY WS took advantage of warm weather to trap and radio collar a wolf in the Sunlight Basin area. The female wolf was fitted with an Argos GPS collar which will record location data for our cooperative Absaroka Elk study west of Cody, WY. Two graduate students from the University of Wyoming  Co-op Research Unit, the WYG&F Department, and the USFWS are collaborating on the study.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement


On the 21st, the Deputy Secretary of the Interior- Lynn Scarlett, Assist. Secretary Fish, Wildlife and Parks- Lyle Laverty, and USFWS Director- Dale Hall announced that the NRM gray wolf was recovered, all threats to it had been resolved, and it would be removed form the list of threatened and endangered species.  The final delisting rule will be published in the Federal Register Feb. 27, 2008 and will take effect 30 days later on March 28, 2008.  The event was widely covered by North America media.

A joint investigation is being conducted by Montana FWP and the USFWS on the circumstances surrounding the shooting of a radio-collared adult male wolf in the West Boulder drainage.  It appears the wolf may have been shot in the 10J experimental population area of Montana.  The initial investigation indicates the wolf was shot while harassing livestock.  The investigation is on going.

NPT received a call and photographs from Jon Hunter (IDFG Conservation Officer) of female wolf B229's carcass, suspected alpha female of the Golden Ck. pack.  Arrangements are being made with USFWS Law Enforcement to retrieve the remains at the earliest possible date. 

Steve Nadeau and Virgil Moore [IDFG] held a press conference in Boise following the delisting announcement.

On the 21st, Jimenez [FWS] gave a talk about wolf management and delisting to a group of graduate students at Teton Science School in Jackson, WY.
JOB- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is advertising for a wolf biologist job (GS-7/9/11) in Alpine, AZ.  The person would work for John Oakleaf [USFWS].  It is primarily a field position; duties include trapping and radio-collaring, wolf monitoring, talking to local ranchers and others, and coordinating the volunteer program.  The position is listed on USA JOBS  DS169212-BM and is open until Feb 27.

JOB- The Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit is hiring summer technicians for wolf research in Idaho. The job announcement is posted at http://www.umt.edu/mcwru/ .

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