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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 4/15/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 4/06/07 to 4/13/07

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2006] 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. The 1994 EIS on wolf reintroduction is now posted there too.

Monitoring

During an MFWP monitoring flight on Thursday the 12th, MFWP located missing wolf SW67M from the Black Canyon pack who had disappeared from the Horse Prairie area last summer. He was found near the Mt. Haggin game range [SW near Butte, MT]. He appeared to be alone but further monitoring will hopefully determine whether he's paired with a female.

On the 5th, USFWS and WY WS retrieved the carcass of a GPS collared wolf from the Absaroka Pack. The carcass was sent to the USFWS Ashland Forensics Lab to determine the cause of death. After wolves settle in to dens, we'll attempt to capture other wolves and re-deploy the GPS collar in the Absaroka Pack.

Control

MT WS confirmed a wolf-killed calf in the Madison Valley, MT on the 3rd. The ranch manager saw 2 grays & 1 black [which they shot at and missed] (all uncollared) running out of the pasture on the 3rd. Apparently, they have been in the area and among the cattle for awhile. The ranch manager hazed a gray out of the cattle the previous Saturday and saw a gray at 1:30 in the afternoon thinking that it was quite bold. They had been shooting to harass the wolves away from the cattle. The ranch was issued a SOS for one wolf. MT WS set traps and caught and collared a non-lactating gray female wolf on the 10th, and was authorized to remove one wolf from this group. On the morning of the 11th, another calf was confirmed killed last night. MFWP then authorized removal of the entire group of 4 wolves.

A calf was found injured near Philipsburg, MT on the 11th, and was brought to a local vet where it was euthanized. The vet thought wolves may have been responsible and contacted MT WS agent Bart Smith who investigated and confirmed wolf damage. The incident occurred on the edge of the Sapphire pack territory but a lone wolf has also been known to frequent the area where this occurred. Based on the damage and the fact that the calf survived the initial attack, MT WS thought only 1 wolf may have been involved. No radio-collared wolves here heard near the depredation site. MT WS set traps to try to collar and release any wolves that returned to the area. A wolf was trapped on Saturday morning the 14th but pulled out. MT WS pulled the traps for now but will try again if the wolf continues to hang around.

On the 13th AM, a MT rancher shot a wolf harassing his cattle in the Grasshopper Valley, MT. An USFWS LE agent investigated the shooting that same day. The wolf was SW156M who was caught by a coyote trapper in the Big Hole in late January and collared by MFWP. Two other uncollared wolves are in this pack.

On the 9th, ID WS confirmed that wolves had killed 3 calves on a private ranch N. of Carey, ID. On the 13th, ID WS confirmed that wolves had killed a yearling cow on the same property. Shortly after the cow was found, a ID WS fixed winged aircrew spotted a pair of wolves just behind the carcass and removed them. Both wolves were adult males, one was collared (B-270).

On the 15th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a ewe and 2 lambs and injured another ewe on private land in Partridge Creek S. of Riggins. Control efforts will begin on the 16th.

On the 9th, WY WS confirmed a calf had been killed by wolves near Daniel, WY. This area has had repeated depredations over the last several years. USFWS requested WY WS to remove the 3 wolves seen frequenting the area. On the 10th, WS removed 2 males and 1 female wolf.

On the 12th, WY WS investigated a dead calf west of Cody and concluded that it was killed by a bear.

On the 15th, WY WS confirmed a calf killed near Meteetsee, WY. USFWS requested WY WS to remove 2 wolves from the Gooseberry Pack. Two wolves were removed on the 16th, 7 pack members remain.

On the 15th, WY WS confirmed a calf killed by wolves near Big Piney, WY. This ranch and neighboring ranches have had repeated wolf depredations over the years. USFWS requested WS to remove the 3 wolves seen in the area.

Research

On the 11th, Jimenez [USFWS] met with the University of Wyoming and WYG&F in Cody to coordinate the wolf/livestock/elk graduate projects that will begin this summer west of Cody in the Sunlight Basin. On the 12th, Jimenez, Univ. of Wyoming, and WYG&F presented an update to the Wyoming Animal Damage Management Board on the UW graduate projects.

Literature- Frame, P.F., H.D. Cluff, and D.S. Hik. 2007. Response of wolves to experimental disturbance at homesites. J. Wildlife Management 71:316-320.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

During an MFWP monitoring flight on Thursday the 12th, collared wolf SW84F from the Sapphire pack was detected on mortality in Rock Creek. The incident is under investigation.

On the 3rd and 5th, Trapp [MFWP] provided presentations on wolf delisting to the Stillwater County and Sweetgrass County Commissioners, respectively.

The last of the public hearings on the USFWS proposal to delist the wolf population in the NRM will be held in Cody, WY April 19. The open house is 3-5PM and the hearing is 6-8PM. The public comment period on the delisting proposal ends May 9th. See http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov for further information.

Mike Linnell is the new USDA Wildlife Services State Director for Utah. Welcome, and while we don’t know of any wolves in UT at the present time they occasionally show up there. Welcome.

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


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