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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 2/02/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 1/26/07 to 2/02/07

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2006 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2005] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, discussions of litigation and funding issues, summaries of scientific studies, an extensive bibliography, and additional informational. Everyone is plugging away on the interagency 2007 annual wolf report [covering all of 2006] should be completed by March 1, 2007. It will follow the same format as last year- the Montana and Idaho state reports, the FWS/NPS report for Wyoming and a summary of other multi-state issues by the FWS, with concluding with tables and maps by both state and recovery area.

Monitoring

On the 26th, Jimenez [FWS] and crew caught and put GPS collars on 2 wolves in the Sunlight pack and 2 wolves from the Absaroka pack east of YNP as the Service contribution to a cooperative elk/wolf study with WYGF.

A coyote trapper caught an adult female gray wolf in a leghold trap in the Bear Creek area South of Ennis, MT on Jan 26th. MFWP personnel responded and collared and release the wolf. It is unknown which pack it is associated with at this time but monitoring will figure that out soon.

A coyote trapper in the Big Hole, MT valley reported a wolf caught in one of his traps on Jan. 30th southeast of Jackson, MT. MFWP Warden Mark Anderson and Bradley [MFWP] responded and collared and processed an adult male wolf. The wolf was in excellent condition and did not appear to have been in the trap for very long. The wolf appeared to have been traveling with 2 other wolves and this is likely the group of 3 that MFWP saw on an elk survey flight in this area a couple weeks ago. Further monitoring will determine whether this is a new group or possibly a remnant of the Black Canyon pack, who have used the southern end of the Big Hole in the past. MFWP thanked the trapper for promptly reporting this incident.

Control

MT WS investigated a horse that was reported injured in the Granite Creek area e. of Florence, MT on the 2nd. The owners thought it might be wolves because there had been wolves frequenting the area (MFWP confirmed tracks there 2 weeks ago). MT WS found no indication that wolves had bitten or attacked the horse but tracking conditions were too poor to determine whether wolves might have chased it into a fence. The owners will be calving soon and they and MFWP are looking into the possibility of hanging fladry around these pastures.

On Jan.30th, ID WS confirmed that members of the Copper Basin Pack attacked and killed a calf on private land near Mackay Reservoir, ID. While in the air, the crew found another calf carcass which was also confirmed as a wolf kill. ID WS and IDFG Officer Cole Wilke retrieved the carcasses of the two wolves that ID WS shot on the 1st. from a helicopter. The gray male’s, B-253, collar was not functioning. The other wolf was an uncollared black yearling female. Both carcasses were turned over to IDFG for educational purposes.

On Jan. 29th, ID WS confirmed that a wolf attacked and injured two livestock guarding dogs on private land South of Riggins, ID. The attack occurred in the North Fork of Shingle Creek. One of the two dogs' injuries may be life threatening, the other has less serious wounds. The wolf responsible for the attack may be associated with the Lick Creek Pack. After consulting with IDFG, ID WS will begin efforts to lethally remove one wolf. The livestock owner was also be presented with the option to use fladry, if he desires, to keep wolves from his sheep and dogs.

On Jan. 31st, ID WS reported that two wolves were taken by M-44 devices that had been placed for coyote depredation control on private land near Riggins, ID. These are the first wolves taken by M-44's in Idaho. No wolf sign was detected previously. The remaining M-44 devices were removed and we are trying to identify practical ways to further reduce the likelihood of any more incidental wolf take. An investigation is ongoing.

On Feb. 2nd, ID WS received a report that five wolves were seen running through cattle on a private ranch near Glenn's Ferry, ID. WS already had traps set on the ranch for coyote control, but they were of a size and type that might capture and hold a wolf. To prevent this from occurring, WS replaced the existing traps with #3, soft-catch traps that should reduce the chances of capturing and holding a wolf.

Research

YNP has captured 23 wolves in 8 packs (Delta, Mollies, Gibbon, Druid, Slough, Oxbow, Leopold, Agate) this winter. All the captured wolves recovered well and they are being closely monitored. Mange was confirmed in the Park for the first time in the Delta Pack. There were also a wolf pup with fever-damaged teeth indicating YNP had more distemper this summer, even though pup survival has been high (60 of 75 pups survived this year).

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

WOLF DELISTING PROPOSED- On the 26th, the DOI/USFWS announced the delisting of the Western Great Lakes wolf population/Distinct Population Segment and its proposal to delist the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population/DPS. Steve Nadeau and new Director Cal Groen [IDFG] gave a press conference to discuss the new delisting proposal and what it means to the state on Jan. 29th to several reporters and news crews. Sime [MFWP] and others were also was kept busy with media interviews. The proposal should be published in the Federal Register on Feb 8th, and public comment will be solicited for 60 days. Open houses and hearings are scheduled for- [Feb 27th] Cheyenne, WY; [28th] Salt Lake City, UT; [March 1st] Helena, MT and [March 6th] Boise, ID; [7th] Pendleton, OR; and [8th] Spokane, WA.

Job Announcement- The Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit is looking for 3 biological technicians for the ID/NPT wolf monitoring research project this coming summer.
Position last 3 months, pays ~$1100/month, and application materials are due March 2nd.
Contact David Ausband, Research Associate, Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit
University of Montana, Natural Science Building - Room 205, Missoula, MT 59812, Phone: 406-243-4329, david.ausband@mso.umt.edu for further information.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.

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


Contact Us:  WesternGrayWolf@fws.gov

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