Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 7/31/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 7/31, 1998

 

Monitoring

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

The Washakie pack has moved to the north. There is a very interesting relationship that appears to be developing between the three packs in the southern Yellowstone area. Last location had the Thorofare (5 1yr-old), Soda Butte (Ad female, 1 2yr-old and 2 1yr-old), and Washakie pack (4 1yr-old) were lcoated in the SE corner of the Park, a few miles from one another. It appears that Thorofare is always near Soda Butte and now Washakie seems to be hanging around too. It is possible that the unusual age structure of these groups may result in some interesting combinations this breeding season.

In Idaho, the wolf packs are staying in their territories. Private individuals hiked into the Landmark Pack territory and said that Forest Service employees reported howling and that they saw saw tracks from several wolves in the Landmark pack territory.

The Service monitoring program, at final count, indicated that there were only 5 packs (excluding N. Camas which doesn't have a radio) that produced pups in NW Montana this year. This means that, if possible, problem wolves will be dealt with in other ways before being killed.

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 investigated and confirmed that wolves killed 3 yearlings and a cow. A yearling female from the Moyr pack was captured at the carcass and relocated to Fish Lake. Other pack members moved about 10 miles away from the depredation site. No further depredations have been reported.

A 7/24 report from the Ninemile Valley indicated a couple of colts received wire/fence cuts on their faces and a wolf was seen in the area. Wildlife Services responded and found wolf tracks outside the pasture but not inside. WS simply recommended that the rancher complete fencing the pasture and that the colts be locked up at night. No further horse problems have been suspected.

On 7/25 wolves in the Ninemile killed a yearling cattle. Traps were set at the carcass and a wolf was briefly caught but escaped. Trapping is continuing and any captured wolves will be euthanized but adversive conditioning may be used to reduce the chances of even further depredations.

There was a report of possible wolf depredation on the Blackfeet Reservation on the 30th. WS is checking it out.

Research

Nothing new to report.

I&E

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.

Bangs travelled to Pinedale, WY and gave a talk to the Bridger-Teton National Forest Leadership Team on the 28th. Bangs aslo visited the Lander office to visit and check out office space for the new wolf biologists. Great location and staff.

Bangs will be out of the office until August 10. Contact Joe Fontaine.

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- for Montana and Wyoming should be advertised in early August. Hundreds of poeple have requested information, so competition will be keen. Information will be mailed to all those who provided their names and postal addresses. A couple hundred people have inquired about the jobs.

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