Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 9/10/99

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 9/04-9/10, 1999

 

Monitoring

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

Boyd captured and radio-collared another female pup from what could be the Wigwam pack, east of Eureka, MT. It was around 50 pounds and hopefully will retain its collar so the identity of that pack can be determined. Further trapping in northwestern Montana was put on hold because most of the pups were too small to reliably collar. Trapping will start again around the 15th.

Control

Trapping and placing draw baits for wolves on the Diamond G Ranch in Wyoming ended on the 11th. Many coyotes have been captured and released but no wolves. No fresh wolf sign was discovered despite extensive searches. Attempts to capture a wolf in the area will start again if fresh wolf activity is found. Cattle will be moved off Forest Service allotments onto the ranch pasture starting this weekend.

For the first time the Service used a part of the experimental rule that allows a special take permit to be issued to a private individual to assist in an agency control action. While a rancher on private land could always shoot a wolf actually attacking livestock, this permit will allow a rancher in Wyoming to shoot any 2 wolves seen on that private land. The permit was only issued because of the extraordinary conditions that exist on that ranch: 1)several years of depredations, 2) the presence of a least one wolf that has attacked domestic animals on at least 3 occasions in 1999, 3) no radio-collared wolves in the area, and unsuccessful attempts to capture a wolf for monitoring and control purposes despite repeated attempts by the Service this year, and 4) repeated livestock depredations in 1999 without the Service being able to control the problem animal. The intent of the permit is that if the rancher shoots a wolf near his livestock that it will most likely be the offending individual. The permit is valid on private land only and expires December 31, 1999. It has several other conditions that prevent abuse. It becomes invalid if: 1) a wolf is radio-collared in that area, 2) livestock are removed from that ranch, or 3) 2 wolves are killed, whichever happens first. Removal of individual problem wolves benefits conservation of the species and builds local public tolerance for the vast majority of wolves, which do not attack livestock.

Research

Several abstracts were submitted for consideration to the Beyond 2000: Realities of Global Wolf Restoration, an international conference scheduled for February 23-26 in Duluth, MN. Topics for our submitted presentations include: 1) overview of wolf restoration in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, 2) wolf control, 3) wolves in Yellowstone, 4) wolves in central Idaho, 5) human and wolf interactions in the Ninemile Valley of Montana, and 6) characteristics of dispersing wolves.

Information and education and law enforcement

Nothing new to report.

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 besides the regular distribution.

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