Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 10/13/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 10/3-10/13, 1998

 

Monitoring

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

Service biologist Kris Higgins left to take a job with the Hornocker Institute working on a black bear project in New Mexico. She did a great job this summer. Congratulations on her new position.

The Nez Perce Tribe has ended their field season and terminated their seasonal employees. They did an outstanding job this summer.

The NW Montana field crew is attempting to trap wolves in Glacier National Park.

Control

Since September an unmarked wolf-like canid has been reported near Kemmerer, WY. In early October a miniature donkey was injured and later died. On October 4, the owner of the donkey reported seeing a black wolf in his field carrying something off. WS investigated and found that 2 lambs had been killed and 2 others were suspected of being killed. Black hair was in the fence and 4 1/2 x 4" tracks were in the area. WS attempted to shoot it from the ground because it had been seen fairly regularly but were unsuccessful. On the 7th, it was shot from fixed-wing aircraft. It was a 97lb. young (est. 2 yrs) black unmarked male. Tissue samples will be sent for analysis. Its behavior, staying in one spot, small feet, not successfully killing a 60lb donkey, all indicate it might not be a wild wolf. We should be able to find out for sure from its DNA within a month.

A ranch north of Yellowstone reported their sheep guard dog was killed by wolves near their house on the 9th. The incident was not confirmed by agency biologists but telemetry indicated that the Chief Joseph pack was there when the dog was killed. The rancher did not request control but was provided a receiver. The pack moved away from the ranch but this area is within their territory.

 

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. PLEASE REPORT WOLF SIGHTINGS ASAP. THANKS!!

A draft paper about wolf restoration in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming is being developed for possible publication in this winter's Wildlife Society Bulletin. The article will review the status of wolf recovery in the northern Rocky Mountains from the first reintroductions in 1995 through Oct. 1998.

 

 

The Service's two wolf positions in Helena, MT have closed. Because of the large volume of applications for the GS-9 Wildlife Biologists job(157), selections will likely not be made until November 1998. The GS-7 technician job just closed so applications will probably not be processed until November. All applicants should ultimately receive a letter from OPM stating 1-they did not make the minimum qualifications or 2. they qualified but did not rank high enough for their names to be forwarded to selecting officials, or 3) they qualified and are they still interested and available for the positions so their name can be forwarded to selecting officials. Competition will likely be intense for the tech. job and over 100 applicants are expected. Good luck to everyone that applied.

There has been no decision in the Diamond G's request for the Wyoming Court to order the removal of wolves on the ranch.

The Tenth Annual Wolf Working Group Meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 20-22. 1999 at Chico Hot Springs. Ideas for oral presentations should be submitted to Joe Fontaine. This year abstracts will be required and they will be published and distributed at the Conference. Abstracts should be submitted by Feb 1, 1999.

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.

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