Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From:   Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/24/98

Subject:   Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/20-24, 1998

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

Monitoring

Females are denning. All packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in the normal home ranges. Monitoring is being intensified in NW Montana to located den sites. The Boulder pack (1 adult male and 2 yearlings) is doing fine but will not den. There have been no conflicts to date.

The young female wolf released from the pen at Running Creek in central Idaho is out. She was travelling up and down the Selway River but at last location was back near Running Creek. As of 4/24 only 5 of the 13 breeding pairs in central Idaho had denned, but more are expected to den soon.

The Service has hired 6 seasonal field biologists on board and they should be trained and in the field within a few of weeks. We continue to BEG, PLEAD, WHINE, and REQUEST wolf sightings in NW Montana. Call Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 x 206. There will be a major effort to locate and radio-collar wolf packs this summer. PLEASE HELP!!

The seasonal wolf jobs with the Nez Perce Tribe have closed and selections should be made soon.

Control

The Lemhi County Sheriff's office reported a possible wolf depredation on a calf near Leadore, ID on 4/8. Wildlife Services investigated and determined wolves were not involved.

On 4/21PM or 4/22AM, two dogs were killed by a wolf on a ranch south of Yellowstone National Park. Another dog is missing and may have also been killed. Radio locations on the 4/18 and 4/23 suggest that the Washakie pack (6 wolves) whose home range includes that area was not responsible. The ranch manager has been seeing an unmarked black wolf in the area and that animal was reported seen in the general area of the depredations on 4/20. Tracks at the depredation site indicate one animal. Options, including trapping and radio-collaring are being considered. Pet/working dog depredations are typically much more emotional than livestock depredations and our sympathies go out to the dogs' owners.

Research

Nothing new to report.

I&E

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 coming from throughout North America. Hope to see you there.

On 4/22, Fontaine talked with about 15 people from the Northern Plains Council in Absorkee, MT.

Nez Perce and Service biologists gave presentations in Challis (4/13), Salmon (4/14), Emmmett (4/17) Idaho to discuss the new Section 10 lethal take permits with affected grazing allotment permittees. Because there are 6 or more breeding pairs in each of the experimental population areas, the rules allow federal livestock grazing permittees to obtain a permit to shoot wolves in the act of attacking biting and grasping livestock on their lease. The 45 day permits could be issued after Wildlife Services has confirmed wolf depredations and has concluded their control efforts but believes other depredations may occur.

The May issue of National Geographic has a great article on wolf restoration.

The 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 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV