From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/10/98

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 3/17-4/10, 1998

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

!The Nez Perce Tribe is now hiring wolf trappers and searching for volunteers to help trap and locate wolves! Contact Curt Mack, Nez Perce Tribe at (208)843-7372 before APRIL 20TH, 1998!

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. Females should start denning and having pups the week of April 20th.

Wolves in all three recovery areas remain in their normal territories. The Big Hole Pair which was travelling up and down the west side of the Bitterroot Valley went back into the central Idaho Wilderness. The wolves that were being kept in the pen at Running Creek in central Idaho were released on March 19th. Unfortunately, the male died during capture. The female was successfully collared and released but has remained in the vicinity of the pen. She is regularly visited by a wolf, suspected to be a non-collared yearling male from the reintroduced pack just to the north of the pen. The adult female and 2 pups from the Washakie pack were radio-collared and released on site on March 26. The pack of an adult female and five 1997 pups is travelling widely within their traditional territory. The female is not expected to den this year.

We continue to BEG, PLEAD, WHINE, and request wolf sightings in NW Montana. Call Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 x 206.

Control

A new-born calf was apparently killed by a wolf in the Thompson River area. No known radio-collared wolves are in the area. Attempts were made to catch and release a wolf but were unsuccessful. A wolf apparently did come back to the carcass but it missed stepping in the trap by less than an inch. Further control will be attempted if other depredations occur.

A new-born calf in the Ninemile Valley, that was born in the evening but gone the next morning amid numerous wolf tracks was suspected to be a depredation. The situation is being monitored and attempts may be made to catch and release a wolf in that area. If other depredations occur control may be required.

Wolves from the Washakie pack are suspected to have injured a dog on private land in the Dubois area. No control will be conducted under the experimental rules unless wolves are repeatedly searching for and killing dogs on private land.

Research

Nothing new to report.

I&E

Bangs spoke at the Bridgerland Audubon Annual Banquet in Logan, Utah on April 7. About 130 people attended. On April 8, Bangs gave a presentation on the overall wolf restoration program at the Annual Northwest Section meeting of The Wildlife Society in Spokane, WA. Curt Mack gave a presentation on wolf recovery in Idaho on the 9th.

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.

Several articles on wolves may appear in national magazines this spring. National Geographic and Geographic World are suppose to have articles soon. National Wildlife also has an article coming out.

The appeal of the wolf experimental program is ongoing. Briefs are being prepared for the court by the various litigants. No change in the current program will occur until the appeal court issues its ruling. Based upon the current briefing schedule for the 10th Circuit, it is unlikely a decision will be issued in 1998.

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