Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/11/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/4-12/11, 1998

 

Monitoring

Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in their normal home ranges except for the Pleasant Valley pack. During the week of the 4th, the 2 new pairs and the Soda Butte pack continue to be located in or near Grand Teton National Park, just north of Jackson, WY. Time will tell if these wolves breed and/or stay south of Yellowstone National Park. Interest in the Jackson area is high and Grand Teton Park and several volunteers are watching the wolves closely. These wolves have made several kills of elk and have been seen from the highway on several occasions.

The Pleasant Valley pack in NW Montana moved out of their territory into the headwaters of Griffin Creek. Nine wolves were seen from the air. There are 3 wolves in the Little Wolf pack and just 2 wolves were seen in the Murphy Lake area. The 2 wolves in the Murphy Lake pack are north of their normal home range. This is the same area that wolf #57 dispersed from. Although no visual was obtained on the Whitefish pack they should number 7 strong. Only 1 wolf was observed in the Boulder pack, B 14. There were numerous tracks near him that could be from other wolves but the lodgepole thicket was too dense to get a really good look. We will try again next week.

Poor weather conditions continue to hinder flying and radio telemetry relocation efforts. Wolves in central Idaho have only been located a couple of times since late October.

The carcass of a gray unmarked wolf-like canid was discovered about 15 miles west of Powell, WY by an USDA Wildlife Services specialist who was conducting coyote control in that area with M-44 devices. Service law enforcement agents are conducting an investigation to determine cause of death, and where the animal might have originated.

 

Control

Nothing new to report.

 

Research

The winter predation study continues in Yellowstone National Park. This week Doug Smith watched the Druid pack kill a yearling female wolf from the Rose Creek pack. The Druid pack (referred to as the "pack from hell") are certainly a tight family group but aren't the best neighbors. They have probably killed more neighboring wolves (at least 4 adults, 2 litters of pups) than any other wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.

 

Information and education and law enforcement

**Note about the December 4, 1998 weekly. For some reason the weekly had several grammar type errors-sorry. We have had some problems with Service e-mail and attempts to E-mail that weekly failed several times. We think we have worked the bugs out. Please let us know if you have any problems getting or reading this weekly. As always- comments on how to improve this report are appreciated. Please forward it to anyone who you know that may be interested. Thanks!! **

The recent deaths of wolf-like canids near Kalispell, Montana, and Powell, Wyoming are under investigations. Still no word from the forensics lab on the DNA and possible origin of a wolf-like canid that was killed after it repeatedly attacked livestock near Kemmerer, WY.

Fontaine delivered a coyote and a wolf mount to Jackson, WY on the 9th. The full body mounts will be displayed in the Wildlife Art Museum in Jackson. Fontaine also gave a presentation to about 30 people as part of the National Elk Refuge sled-driver's training. About 30,000 winter visitors take sled rides, hear natural history information, and tour the elk feed grounds each winter.

All three recovery areas are preparing their 1998 annual wolf reports. This information should be printed and ready for distribution by February 1, 1999.

PLEASE NOTE: The Tenth Annual Wolf Working Group Meeting has been 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.

Please help with wolf monitoring efforts by reporting suspected wolf observations. If you are out hunting and see wolf sign please us know! 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

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