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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 11/16/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 11/09/07 to11/16/07

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2007 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2006] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm. The 2008 report will be available by March 1, 2008.

Monitoring

Numerous reports of wolf activity have been coming in from hunters on both sides of the ID/MT border near the Continental Divide near Lemhi Pass (west of Dillon). The Black Canyon pack was removed from this area in 2006. Bradley (MFWP) was hunting in this area the week of the 5th and cut tracks of 6 wolves in the Frying Pan Creek area and on the Continental Divide near Lemhi Pass. Although this new group may have started from a remnant of the Black Canyon pack it will be given a new name.

Holyan [NPT] continues to coordinate with the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development division regarding the GPS collared wolf from Canada now located in ID. The collar was supposed to have blown off 10/31/07, but subsequent locations indicated that as of at least 11/7 the collar was still mobile. Locations, with large error polygons, from 11/8 - 11/11 suggest that the collar may have detached. A few more stationary fixes are needed before IDFG or NPT attempts a retrieval.

Holyan [NPT] conducted monitoring flights on 11/12 and 11/13. B148/B181 was detected on mortality mode in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and USFWS Law Enforcement has been notified. These wolves have adjacent frequencies and due to frequency drift we have not been able to determine which wolf is actually present; the signal is emanating from a remote area and may be very difficult to investigate and/or retrieve, though collar retrieval would provide exact wolf identification. B309, Carey Dome pack, was located on the N side of the Salmon River outside of the pack's usual home range. A sighting of 7 gray wolves was obtained for the Blue Bunch pack (this matches our estimate from field work during the summer). Mack [NPT] also conducted a monitoring flight this week.

B195, captured and radio-collared as a pup in the Castle Peak, ID pack on 1/24/04 and last located in central Idaho in April 2004, was confirmed to be in Yellowstone National Park. Doug Smith [NPS] reports he was probably first seen this spring. He spent the summer with the Slough Creek pack, but after their alpha male was hit by a car a new alpha male came in and apparently kicked him out. He appears to be alone right now but still hanging around Slough Creek territory. The straight-line distance between his natal pack in ID and Slough Creek in YNP is just over 200 miles- not that far for a dispersing wolf. But, this is the first known non-GYA wolf [besides a uncollared wolf shot just south of the Park in 1992- which was just confirmed to have come from NW MT- by the newest DNA analysis] to disperse into YNP. The Park is so full of wolves it is rare there is any room for a newcomer to squeeze in.

Control

A calf was confirmed killed, likely by a single wolf, on private land in the Medicine Lodge area southwest of Dillon, MT on the 10th. The calf was being treated for pneumonia, but seemed to be recovering before it was killed. MFWP and MT WS discussed options for collaring, as no known collared wolves are in this area, but it had been several days since the wolf had been there and it was not a great location to trap. The cattle were moved out of the pasture where the depredation occurred, about 15 miles to the south.

On the 9th, Jimenez [WY FWS] met with a ranch/outfitting family whose private land is near a state elk feed-ground that has been seeing 3-4 wolves repeatedly near Hoback Junction, WY. The wolves seem a little bold and interested in their dogs, so rubber bullet training and munitions were provided.

Research

The annual Yellowstone National Park winter predation study began on November 15. Winter study started but there is not much snow in the Park and the winter range looks poor due to the very dry summer [again]. That could have interesting effects on elk and bison and wolf predation rates.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Papers are now being accepted for the 2008 North American Wolf Conference April 8-10th, 2008with a field trip on Friday, April 11th, to Yellowstone National Park. The conference is returning to Chico Hot Springs & Resort, in Pray, Montana. http://www.chicohotsprings.com For lodging reservations, please visit the website or call 1-800-468-9232. Please submit a single-spaced abstract (up to 500 words) with your full contact information, affiliations and authors by e-mail to Suzanne Stone at: sstone@defenders.org by February 15, 2008. If possible, please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and conference websites.

Smith [NPS] attended ACE training (Aviation Centered Education) in Boise, ID to meet the requirements of using helicopters for winter wolf capture. The course was put on by AMD (Aviation Management Dirctorate).

On the 16th, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved the 2007 Wyoming Wolf Management Plan. The plan becomes effective when all the conditions in the authorizing 2007 Wyoming wolf management law (new 10j modifications finalized, WY/FWS lawsuit dismissed, and delisting rule published before Feb 28) are met.

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


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