Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

 

From:  Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 3/16/98

Subject:  Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 3/9-16, 1998

!Annual Wolf Working Group Meeting in Chico Hot Springs April 28-30!

Monitoring

Current summary of wolf numbers in each recovery area. NW Montana may have up to 8-10 breeding pairs, or about 80-90 wolves. Central Idaho up to 13 breeding pairs, about 70-75 wolves. Yellowstone area up to 9 breeding pairs, about 80-90 wolves.

Last week, Yellowstone National Park and Wildlife Services recollared a lone female wolf (#16) near Gardiner, MT. Both adults and 3 pups (2M & 1F) from the Crystal Pack were also collared. The male weighed 141 pounds and the female 116 pounds. Yellowstone wolf packs remain localized within their normal home ranges. The only radio-collared member of the Washakie pack, the adult female, has not been located during the last several flights so radio contact with the pack may have been lost. Attempts will be made to collar additional wolves, including the Washakie Pack if it can be located, when the New Zealand helicopter net-gunning crew returns to the Park this week.

There are 8 packs and 5 pairs that were together during the pair bonding and breeding season in central Idaho. Wolves are staying in their traditional home ranges on Forest Service lands in central Idaho. Attempts will be made to dart and collar wolves in 3 packs west of Salmon, Idaho next week. The two wolves being held in the pen at Running Creek will be released on site the 20th or 21st.

We continue to BEG, PLEAD, WHINE, and request wolf sightings in NW Montana. Please help us locate and confirm wolf breeding pairs this coming summer. It appears that there are at least 6-7 packs going into this breeding season and may be several others. We will have a 6- person field crew, plus Fontaine and Bangs, this summer to locate, radio-collar, and monitor wolves. The Service seasonals should start work on April 13. There will be a very intensive effort to document wolf numbers in NW Montana this year. Please help if you can, we need to focus our efforts in areas where we suspect new packs have formed.

 

Control

The correct confirmed total wolf-caused livestock loss figures are: NW Montana (1987 thru 1997) 51 cattle and 42 sheep, 5 dogs and $30,820 in private compensation paid: Idaho (1995-1997)- 5 cattle and 53 sheep, 4 dogs and $8,946 paid: Yellowstone area (1995-1997)-5 cattle and 80 sheep, 1 dog, and $17,719 paid. These data do not include probable/possible losses and should be considered minimum loss figures. This information as well as the success of wolf control efforts, relocation and removal will be written up and hopefully published this year.

Research

Nothing new to report.

I&E

Fontaine gave a talk to about 500 people at the National Wildlife Rehabilitator Conf. east of Seattle, WA on March 12. On March 10 he gave a presentation to about 30 people at the Service's Olympia, WA Field Office.

The Annual Wolf Working Group Meeting is scheduled for April 28-30th at Chico Hot Springs, Emigrant, MT. Looks like a great agenda with representatives from throughout North America. For information, call Suzanne Laverty (208)321-0751 at the Wolf Recovery Foundation, who is coordinating the meeting.

Bangs reviewed the final drafts of two short articles he helped write. One was about Mongolian wolves and the other was about wolf control in the northern Rocky Mountains. Both will appear in the May issue of International Wolf Magazine.

Timm Kaminski is no longer the wolf biologist in Idaho for the Nez Perce Tribe. Curt Mack will act as the wolf biologist until the Tribe makes a decision on future staffing in Idaho.

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

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