Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 7/24/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 7/20-24, 1998

 

Monitoring

Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in their normal home ranges.

The Washakie pack continues to move throughout the Dubois area. There have been no documented attacks on livestock. Both the Soda Butte and Thorofare packs were just south of Yellowstone Lake again. On Friday the Washakie wolves couldn't be located and it is suspected they moved to the north, because of weather that area couldn't searched. Two of the Nez Perce wolves couldn't be found again. A search will be conducted again- hopefully it will work out like last week when they just showed up back at the den.

In Idaho, nine packs/pairs have produced pups, they are Kelly Creek, Big Hole, Chamberlain, Juraneo, Moyer, Monumental, the B-18 and B-35 pair, the B-36 and uncollared male pair, and Stanley Basin. All Idaho wolves (except B-14 which is currently in NW Montana near Butte and is being monitored there) remain within the Idaho Experimental Population area on National Forest lands. Trapping will be postponed until late August to minimize the chances of accidentally catching pups now that packs have become more mobile. The Tribe has done an absolutely outstanding job of collaring wolves and documenting reproduction this year. Well done and Congratulations!!

The Service continues to look for wolves in northwestern Montana. Currently the pack situation looks like this: Boulder (3 adults and 0 pups), Ninemile (5 adults and 4 pups), North Camas (4 adults and 4 pups), South Camas (6 adults and 2 pups), Murphy Lake (3 adults and 0 pups), Graves Creek (2-4 adults and 1 pup), Pleasant Valley (5 adults and 4 pups), Thompson Falls (2 adults and 0 pups), Whitefish (3 adults and 6 pups), Yaak (wolves no located yet). This preliminary information suggests a minimum of 35-37 adults and 21 pups. More data will be gathered as the summer progresses.

 

Control

A Forest Service grazing permittee on the Salmon National Forest reported finding dead cattle (2 calves and a cow) near Panther Creek and suspected wolves. He contacted the Forest Service on the 23rd. Wildlife Services is investigating.

 

Research

Nothing new to report.

 

 

I&E

On a very sad note- Dr. Bill Gasaway, famous Alaskan wolf biologist, highly respected scientist, and all around honorable person recently died from cancer. Bill was often sought out to provide his expertise and insight on wolf issues in the northern Rocky Mountains. He was always eager to help any way he could. Our sincerest sympathies go out to his family.

Please help with wolf monitoring efforts by reporting suspected wolf observations. Reclassification, and the resulting increased management flexibility that would result from a threatened status depends upon the number of documented breeding pairs.

Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator Parsons attend the Euro-American Conference in Santiago, Spain and presented a paper for Bangs et al. (who was in court) on wolf restoration in the northern Rocky Mountains. Thanks Dave!

The court heard the Diamond G Ranch litigation on July 20 and July 21 in Casper, WY. Most of the issue revolved around missing livestock. The case took longer than expected and was not completed before the Judge's schedule demanded he devote his attention to other matters. The case will continue at a later date, probably in mid to late August. Justice Attorney Ken Kellner and Regional Solicitor Margot Zallen did a great job. Thanks! The Service will attempt to monitor wolves closely until that time. If another depredation is documented the 4 remaining yearlings will be killed.

The Nez Perce Tribe, Service, Idaho Fish and Game, a Congressional aide, and Wildlife Services met with a rancher in the Stanley area this week. The rancher was concerned that since he can not afford to closely monitor his cattle that he would be unable to document wolf-caused losses and be compensated. He wanted to discuss compensation based upon any higher than usual losses. The meeting apparently went very well with both sides listening closely.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf in addition to the regular distribution.

The Service -JOBS- have not been advertised yet (probably in early August) but all those who provided their names will be contacted as soon as the advertisements come out. A notice that wolf jobs would be coming available was just published in The Wildlife Society Bulletin and a flood of names and addresses have been pouring in. Competition will be keen.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV