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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From:               Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 8/10/2007

Subject:            Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 8/03/07 to 8/10/07

 

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

Samantha Dwinnell, Carly Levell, and Natasha Maier [MFWP] have been surveying the uncollared Ashley pack area in NW MT.  Some sign has been detected and a trapline will be initiated by the end of the week.

Nez Perce Tribe Crew #1 captured and radiocollared two wolves (both subadults) in the Coolwater Ridge pack and was able to verify a minimum of 2+ pups based on howling.  The presumed alpha female's (B163) radiocollar is likely expiring as the signal has been switching from normal to mortality mode and back.  In addition, this crew documented that a wolf it captured the previous hitch belongs to a new pack, tentatively called Spirit Ridge, that has a minimum of 4 pups.

NPT Crew #2 captured and radiocollared 2 wolves (1 adult and 1 pup [35 lbs.]) in the Big Hole pack and was able to verify a minimum of 5 pups (4 black and 1 gray).  The adult male wolf, B337, that was captured here on the previous hitch was discovered dead by MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks on a monitoring flight only a few days after being radiocollared; at this time it is presumed that the animal died of complications from handling/processing. 

NPT Crew #3 attempted to determine the breeding status of the Kelly Ck. pack, but were unsuccessful in locating pups; this pack did not use their "traditional" rendezvous site this year.  This crew captured and radiocollared a pup (35 lbs.) in the Lochsa pack where the lone radiocollared wolf, B232, has apparently dispersed.  A minimum of 4 gray pups is present with this pack.

Mack [NPT] conducted a monitoring flight over the southern portion of the Clearwater region and northern portion of the McCall subregion on 8/10.  Holyan is attempting to schedule monitoring flights for the remainder of the McCall subregion.

July 31-August 5 Nate Borg and Carter Niemeyer [IDFG] put out an extensive trap line (nine miles) for the Scott Mountain wolf pack based on scattered wolf tracks near Scott Mountain Lookout.  A 4700 acre forest fire and hundreds of fire fighters in the area complicated the effort and no wolves were captured.  Efforts to trap in Bear Valley were also thwarted by road closures and a large fire.

August 7-10, Borg and Niemeyer conducted a trapping effort near Bull Trout Lake in an effort to place a GPS collar in the Warm Springs wolf pack.  A juvenile wolf carcass remains (from a year ago) was located in the rendezvous site.  Earlier efforts by S. Nadeau indicated only one or two wolf pups in the Warm Springs pack this year.  Howling efforts supported his conclusions.

On the 9th, the WY FWS crew were trapping east of Togwotee Pass near Dubois, WY, when a lightening-caused forest fire broke out. The fire quickly grew to >40 acres and threatened to close the access road where FWS were trapping wolves and WYG&F biologists were trapping bears.  Traps were sprung and trapping efforts will be placed on hold until the fire is under control.

Control

MT WS confirmed a calf killed by wolves in the North end of the Gravelly Mtns the 8th.  MFWP has had a couple of credible reports of wolves in this area but have not documented any pack activity.  WS set traps in the area to collar and release to try and learn what is there.  No captures were made and traps were pulled on the 9th.

On July 31st, MT WS investigated a heifer on private land in the Madison Valley that had wounds on and around the rectum and confirmed it as wolf caused.  The wounds were estimated to be several days old.  MFWP initiated a control action for one wolf assuming there was one adult left.  On August 3rd, MT WS investigated a dead heifer in the same area as previous depredations.  It too was several days old and was classified as a probable wolf kill  At that point MFWP decided to removal the entire Wedge pack assuming there was 1-2 adults and possibly 5 pups.  WS attempted a control action on the 4th with no luck.  Early on the 5th, the ranch called and had another injured heifer that had to be euthanized and had seen 2 adult wolves in the area and asked for a SOS permit.  A permit for 2 wolves was issued by MFWP. As authorized by MFWP, MT WS removed 5 pups from the Wedge pack on the 8th.  The remaining radio-collared adult was removed on the 9th.

A cattle calf was confirmed killed by wolves on a public allotment the 6th, within the Lydia pack home range SW of Eureka, MT.

ID WS lethally removed four more wolves (including B-321) from the Morris Flat pack from Boise National Forest land on 8/4, 8/6, 8/8 and 8/10.  Three were gray males, one was a gray female.

On the 7th, ID WS investigated the report that wolves had killed a cow on private land along the Gold Fork River, NE of Cascade.  There was not enough evidence to confirm the depredation, but WS did determine that it was probable.

On the 8th, ID WS confirmed that members of the Applejack pack killed a yearling ewe on a Boise National Forest grazing allotment SW of Idaho City.  The only collared animal (B-306) was in the sheep when WS arrived to check on the band.  The herder indicated that the wolves had attacked earlier in the morning.  Traps were set and on the 10th, B-306 was captured near the sheep.  Since the control action instructions allowed only uncollared wolves to be lethally removed, B-306 was released.

On the 9th, ID WS confirmed that an 800 lb. heifer was killed by wolves on private land near Cascade.  B-327 may be responsible for this depredation as he is the only known wolf in the area and this is the same property where he was captured 6 weeks ago.  Right now, traps have been set.  If an uncollared wolf is captured, it will be lethally removed.  IDFG is considering the possibility of removing B-327 if it appears that he is the only wolf responsible for depredations in the area.  So far, five head of cattle have been confirmed as killed by wolves on this ranch since Memorial Day weekend.

After chronic livestock depredations have continued in several areas in Wyoming, FWS requested WY WS to remove wolves in 3 packs:  1) There are ongoing efforts to remove 3 wolves from the Gooseberry Pack;   2) Nine wolves were removed from the Carter Mountain Pack this week after repeated depredations; and   3) A third wolf was removed from the Beartooth Pack after 3 more calves were confirmed as wolf kills. 

Research

Yellowstone Park reports that their summer predation is winding down.  Downloads from GPS collars ended in July.  Twenty-nine kills were found and, so far, appears to be a landscape element to those successful predation events.  Wolf packs are moving around between rendevous sites.  Preliminary counts indicate there are 12 breeding pairs in the Park

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 6th and 9th, Sime and Quentin Kujala [MFWP] (Management Bureau Chief) gave presentations at MFWP Regional Citizens Advisory Committees in Great Falls and Gardiner.  The presentations are meant to introduce MFWP efforts to design public harvest strategies for wolves post delisting.

[See monitoring] During August 7-10, Borg and Niemeyer [IDFG] provided an opportunity for a Boise, ID family (parents, daughter and 2 granddaughters) to accompany wolf biologists on a field operations and learn about wolves through arrangements made by the Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.  In a campsite setting (cooking a courtesy of the Fish and Wildlife Foundation) the family learned about wolf biology, wolf management, and experienced wolf howling, tracks and scats from the Warm Springs wolf pack from close distance.  No wolves were captured or observed but the family seemed happy and appreciative of the opportunity.

Oral arguments in the litigation about the FWS not approving Wyoming’s 2003 wolf management law and plan were heard in Federal District Court in Cheyenne, Wyoming on the 10th.

To prepare for return of wolves, a citizen working group appointed by Washington DFW has been meeting since early this year.  The working group includes representatives from the livestock and timber industries, conservation groups, local government, hunters and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Additional public comment will be taken on the draft plan when it is completed next year.  The eventual wolf-management plan is expected to include gray wolf population objectives, wolf-livestock conflict resolution, wolf-game species interactions, wolf-human interactions and other issues.  The public meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the following locations:  Clarkston, Aug. 14, at the Clarkston Center of Walla Walla Community College, 1470 Bridge St.; Spokane, Aug. 15 at Mount Spokane High School, 6015 E. Mount Spokane Park Drive;Yakima, Aug. 16, at the Ahtanum Youth Park barn facility, 1000 Ahtanum Road (parking fee waived for meeting attendees); Twisp, Aug. 20, at the Methow Valley Community Center, 201 S. Methow Valley Highway; Sequim, Aug. 21, at the Guy Cole Convention Center, Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake Ave; Bellingham, Aug. 22, at Whatcom Community College, 237 West Kellogg St.; Vancouver, Aug. 23, at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way.  Written public comments also will be taken by mail or email through the end of August, as part of the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the wolf plan under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Comments will be taken through Aug. 31, by e-mail to  SEPAdesk@dfw.wa.gov  (include “Wolf Plan Scoping” and commenter name in e-mail subject line) or by surface mail to Wolf Plan Scoping, SEPA Desk-Habitat Division, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA  98501-1091.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at 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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