Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 10/29/99

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 10/22-10/29, 1999

 

Monitoring

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

Tom Meier and Kent Laudman, a volunteer who had been working for the Nez Perce Tribe, concluded trapping efforts around Lincoln, MT. Three wolves are still being reported in the general area but none were captured.

Research

Two informative articles about wolves in Montana were just published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, 1999 Vol 63(4). "Species-specific population dynamics of cervids in a multipredator ecosystem" was authored by Kyran Kunkle and Dan Pletscher (page 1082). "Characteristics of dispersal in a colonizing wolf population in the central Rocky Mountains" was authored by Diane Boyd and Dan Pletscher (page 1094).

Control

A sick cow died on the Diamond G Ranch and had been fed on slightly. WS determined the carcass did not have obvious sign of wolf attack, no wolf sign was found near the carcass and little feeding had occurred, but it was possible that a wolf could have been involved primarily because the ranch manager reported he saw wolves near the carcass. An attempt to fly the carcass early in the morning with a fixed-wing aircraft was unsuccessful because of poor weather but ground observations did not locate any wolf activity- only coyotes. Traps were set in the area and will be monitored for a week to see if wolves could be attracted to the carcass.

A 500-600 pound calf was killed by the Sheep Mountain pack on the 25th, the second confirmed depredation by this pack.. Four wolves were removed because of the first confirmed depredation and because of many previous instances of the pack hunting, chasing, and possibly killing livestock. The carcass was located by the rancher and WS confirmed the calf was killed by wolves. The Sheep Mountain pack was located nearby the next day. The calf was killed on private land in the bottom of main Paradise Valley. The Service directed WS to remove 2 uncollared wolves, adult or yearling pack members, if possible. Poor weather was hampered control efforts which are ongoing. The pack now consists of a collared adult female and yearling male, 3 young of the year, and 5 uncollared yearlings and adults. Reducing pack size and the numbers of adults will hopefully reduce the pack’s energy demands and stop further livestock depredations by this pack.

Information and education and law enforcement

Representatives from the Service, Nez Perce Tribe, and National Park Service met in Helena on the 28th and 29th to discuss wolf monitoring and research efforts. The meeting was held as a year- end wrap-up session on those aspects of the recovery program and to focus on next year’s efforts.

Bangs gave a lecture at the University of Montana on the 26th to about 40 students in a wildlife issues class.

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 in addition to the regular distribution.

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