Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, Mt 2/20/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 2/2-2/20/98

 

NOTICE: Attached is the registration form for the 9th Annual Rocky Mountain Interagency Wolf Recovery meeting being held at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana on April 28-30. Make sure you register as soon as possible and also reserve a room, they're going fast.

Monitoring

On February 7 a North Camas pup was located with it's radio collar on mortality mode in Glacier National Park. When biologists went in on the ground to investigate the discovered that the pup had been killed and consumed by other wolves, probably the South Camas pack.. The Spruce Creek pack which is normally north of the border in the Flathead River drainage could not be located. The radio collars in the pack are old and may have quit. Only 2 wolves were observed in the Wigwam pack which is located north of the Whitefish pack territory in Canada. A radio collared female wolf that dispersed from the Whitefish pack has consistently been located north of Murphy Lake. On a previous flight she was observed with a black wolf. Recently a person driving down the road saw 4 wolves in the same area grab a coyote and drag it into the woods after it stopped because of a car on the road. We will continue to monitor this female to determine if this is a newly establishing pack. Last year a possible den was discovered that may have been used in 1997. Locals reported that there were wolves in the area but we were unable to locate them last summer. Prior to hunting season 5 wolves were seen in the Pleasant Valley pack and now there appears to be only 3. On February 19 the Boulder pack alpha female was seen with 3 other wolves. Prior to this flight she was observed with only one other wolf which was probably her offspring.

 

All Yellowstone wolf packs remain localized within their normal home ranges except for the Crystal pack. They returned to the Pelican Valley. During the last monitoring flight biologist located a Leopold pack pup on mortality mode as well as 3 members of the Thorofare pack. Biologists investigated the Leopold pack mortality only to find a chewed up radio collar. It appears that the radio collar was chewed off by other wolves. Biologists then investigated the Thorofare pack only to discover that the alpha male had been killed by the Soda Butte pack which ventured into the area earlier this month. The alpha female was located under an avalanche. She could not be retrieved but could have been killed by the avalanche or the Soda Butte pack and then buried by the slide. The third mortality signal was from a pup but they only found a chewed up radio collar. It is possible that the pup's collar was chewed off by other wolves. Five Thorofare pups were observed from the air which is the count prior to the encounter with the Soda Butte pack.

It appears that there are 8 packs and possibly 5 pairs in the central Idaho experimental area. Wolf B 2 which has not been located for some time was found approximately 300 miles south of his last location in the White Cloud Mountains. Wolves B 7 and 11 were located just outside of Victor, Montana not to far from a cow/calf livestock operation. This is the same pair that were removed from the Big Hole Montana area due to livestock depredations. They are being closely monitored.

Control

Nothing new to report.

Research

Nothing new to report

Outreach

Bangs did an interview for a Canadian TV station (a Dateline type of program) in Bozeman on the 7th and another with National CBC in Helena on the 10th.

Bangs gave a presentation for the Blackfoot Challenge meeting at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest Station on the evening of the 11th. About 45 people attended.

CNN is in YNP filming for a 1 hour wolf special this week.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406) 449-5225 ext. 206 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV