Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 10/22/99

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 10/09-10/22, 1999

Monitoring

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

WS helped Service biologists look for wolves in the Lincoln, MT area. A couple of wolves that appeared to have at least one pup with them killed a sheep herding dog in that area several weeks ago. Trapping was conducted until the 22nd. Big game hunting season opens on the 24th so trapping for this year is over.

Wolves continue to disperse in the Yellowstone area. Famous female #9 out of the Rose Creek pack is still missing and may have gone north. A missing male from Soda Butte was found near Gardiner, another was located south of Cook City. A male from Crystal pack was south of Lake. Wolf #92 out of the Nez Perce pack and a Soda Butte female are still missing. A special flight will be conducted to search for missing animals in the next few days.

 

WOLF SIGHTINGS

Hunters will be taking to the field in mass this weekend in hopes of a successful hunt. An increase of people in the field often equates to an increase in wolf sightings but people often don’t know who to contact. We have a number of signs requesting sighting information and sighting cards that are available for agencies. Please turn in all sightings, it is extremely important if were are going to locate newly forming packs. For signs or cards contact Joe Fontaine at 406 449-5225 ext 206.  

Research

Nothing new to report.

Control

A calf was reportedly killed on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois, WY on the 19th. WS investigated and confirmed the 500-600 lb. calf was killed by wolves. Traps were set in the area of the depredation and calling and shooting will be attempted for the next week. Calves are being shipped off the ranch at this time but cows will not be removed until early next month.

In Idaho there were 47 reports of wolf-caused damage. Seventeen turned out to have no wolf involvement. There were 56 sheep and 10 cattle losses confirmed in 1999 so far. Another 10 sheep and 6 cattle and 1 horse were possible depredations. In NW Montana WS confirmed 14 sheep and 8 cattle killed by wolves, 4 cattle injured and 1 dog killed. As a result 2 control actions were conducted resulting in 4 wolves being relocated and 9 killed. In the GYA WS confirmed that wolves killed 3 dogs, 1 foal and 3 calves. Two control actions were conducted and 4 wolves were killed.

The Service received a considerable number of phone and e-mail comments and complaints about the Sheep Mountain control action. Many people believed the Service did not try hard enough to resolve this issue prior to authorizing lethal control. Many people were "outraged" that the 3 young of the year were mistaken for adults and removed.

Information and education and law enforcement

Dave Parsons, the Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator, took advantage of the Service’s early-out retirement program and retired on September 30. He was going to come back to continue running the recovery program, as a rehired retiree, which means that half of his salary would be paid from his retirement benefits and half from project funds. However, Region 2 made the decision that they would advertise and refill the position instead. Dave did an outstanding job for the recovery program and his team’s, efforts resulted in Mexican wolves being put back into the wilds of the southwest United States after an absence of nearly 50 years. Dave’s dedication and leadership will be missed. Thanks for a job well done and best of luck- Dave.

Copies of the 1998 Yellowstone National Park Annual Wolf Progress Report can be obtained by contacting the Park at 307-344-2243.

Kerry Murphy gave a talk to about 40 members of the Agenda 2000, a group interested in management and resource issues in Yellowstone National Park.

The Service's weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at besides the regular distribution.

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