Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 3/21/2007
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/17/08 to 3/21/08

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2007] 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

While doing coyote work in the Gravelly's this week WS darted and collared 2 wolves. One was in the Wall Creek area a gray adult female on 3/17, the second one a gray adult male on 3/18 in the Upper Ruby. We will monitor to see if they are associated with a pack.

Holyan completed 2 legs of his monitoring flights, dodging weather all the way. The 2 wolves (B315 with 2 other gray wolves, and B290) recently re-discovered by Russ Morgan of ODFW were located, as were B327 (GPS collar in Gold Fork/Orphan territories; Corral Ck. Reservoir area), Blue Bunch, Lick Ck., Bear Pete, White Bird Ck., and Florence (first time ever located on south side of Salmon River; visual 9 wolves).

MFWP Holder, Smucker, and Bradley set up fladry around a pasture in the Hall, MT area where there has been recent wolf activity and reports of wolves passing through and stirring up the cattle.

Control

On March 19, WS was working in the area south of Big Timber, MT and confirmed 2 dead sheep on private land. Wolf tracks leaving the pasture were followed and 3 wolves were seen just uphill from the sheep pasture. WS had been authorized to remove 2 of wolves from the Moccasin Lake pack after a calf was confirmed killed on the 15th on private land. On the 16th, 4 wolves had run cattle through a fence in the same pasture as where the calf was killed. WS killed two wolves on the 19th and will try to remove the last 2 wolves. The owner of the sheep was issued a permit for up to two wolves on their private land. The other permit is still valid. Because of the amount of private land and livestock in this area, FWP will be working with landowners to try and find more long term solutions and decrease risk of loss when wolves settle back in the area (which is likely to be within a year).

Montana FWP euthanized a mangy wolf in Paradise valley on March 19th who had been hanging around buildings, calving pastures and a sheep operation. A previous pack member had been euthanized in the same area in November 2007 due to mange and individuals in the pack had shown sign of mange since 2004. This was the last known member of the Chief Joseph pack. We would like to thank all the landowners that worked with us, granted access to their properties and reported sightings.

Research

Winter study in Yellowstone National Park is in progress. Kill rates are up due to deeper snow, with some bison being killed by wolves as a result. In contrast to other years, there has not been much of an over-winter drop in wolf numbers, but data are preliminary.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Mark Collinge presented a paper at the 23rd Vertebrate Pest Conference in San Diego titled "Relative risks of predation on livestock posed by individual wolves, black bears, mountain lions and coyotes in Idaho". Comparing estimates of numbers of livestock killed with the estimated populations of these 4 species suggests that individual wolves may be anywhere from 5 to over 150 times more likely to kill livestock than individual mountain lions, black bears or coyotes in Idaho.

The carcass of female B309 was retrieved via helicopter on 3/14/08 during NPT/IDFG bighorn sheep capture efforts. It was transferred to USFWS Law Enforcement Special Agent Kabasa on 3/21/08.

On the 19th, Sime (MFWP) gave a presentation to the Granite County Watershed Committee about the Montana wolf program. Also presenting were George Edwards (Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program Coordinator - Montana's program to reimburse livestock owners for wolf-caused losses), and Janelle Holden (Keystone Conservation and a Board member for the Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program Board). Brad Radke (another Board member also attended, but did not present). Edwards and Holden introduced the new Montana program and discussed some collaborative field projects between watershed / livestock groups, Keystone Conservation, and FWP. About 45 people attended.

On the 21st, Bradley (MFWP) gave a presentation to the annual meeting of the Bitterroot Outfitters & Guides at Hamilton, MT. About 30 people attended.

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

Last updated: March 11, 2010