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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/07/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 11/30/07 to12/07/07

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

Laudon [MFWP] conducted regular monitoring flights on 11/30, 12/5, and 12/6. A wolf that was missing since 6/1/07 from the Elevation Mountain pack (Garnet Range) was located on the Eastern Front west of Choteau. This location is about 73 miles from the Elevation Mountain pack.

MFWP welcomes Kari Holder, who was hired on as a technician and started Dec. 3rd. She will be radio-tracking and snow tracking wolves primarily in the Bitterroot for the month of December to try to improve counts on existing packs and to look for new packs.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 4th, a coyote trapper called and reported 2 wolves in his coyote traps on private land in the Bitterroot Valley, east of Victor, MT. MFWP Bradley, Vore, and Holder responded and collared and released 2 male pups that evening. Other wolves were heard howling nearby. The next day, Holder went back to the capture area to check up on the 2 wolves and found they had both moved away from the capture area. But while tracking, she found a third wolf caught in a different coyote set not far from where the 2 pups were caught. Holder and Vore released the third wolf (a 1-2 year old gray male) from the trap without collaring it, as there are now 3 collars in the Skalkaho pack, with the recent addition of the 2 radio-collared pups.

Mack and Holyan [NPT] had hoped to mount an investigation/recovery for the mortality signal detected 11/13 on the Sleepy Hollow pack wolf (B148/B181) this coming weekend. The exact identity of the wolf is not known as B148 and B181 have adjacent frequencies and from flight to flight the signals overlap. But, a flight on the 7th over the suspected mortality location, no signal was detected, so either the collar's battery expired (collar was put on 5/2/03 or 1/20/04), it malfunctioned, or the wolf is still alive.

Two wolves have been in close to Mammoth, YNP the past week. Both are in poor condition and have a minor case of mange. Park staff had run the wolves off by hand-clapping and shouting earlier in the week, but cracker shells were used on 12/6/07 to haze them away for developed areas and a elk they had killed near a house. Rubber bullets and bean-bag rounds may be used next if they continue to hang around developed areas. The situation is being closely monitored by Park staff.

The USFWS confirmed a new wolf pack south of Jackson, WY between Jackson and the Hoback Junction. A radio collared female wolf dispersed from the Buffalo Pack near Jackson and settled south of town. The new pack will be referred to as the Pinnacle Peak Pack. At this time we think the pack contains 5-6 wolves, but subsequent monitoring will give a better estimate of how many wolves are in the pack and what area the pack uses. The pack was discovered through collaboration with the WYGF Department. and local land owners who reported repeated wolf sightings in the area. Thanks to both WYGF and the local residents for their assistance.

Control

On the 5th, not far from where a coyote trapper had incidently caught 3 wolves, a neighboring landowner reported 2 sets of wolf tracks in his yard. His 2 dogs were outside at the time and clawed through the front porch door screen and broke through the glass door to get inside. A second door from the porch into the main house was also fairly destroyed by the dogs from their trying to claw and bite at it to get the rest of the way inside. The dogs were not injured by wolves but 1 dog was cut up from breaking through the glass and is being treated at the vet. The landowner estimated it would cost $500 - 700 to replace the doors, in addition to the vet bill. He was advised of the 10j rule and MFWP will continue monitoring the Skalkaho pack to make sure they've left the area.

On the 7th, MT WS confirmed a heifer calf killed on private land in the Middle Fork of the Dearborn River west of Bowman’s Corner, MT. WS had also confirmed one calf killed by wolves on the same ranch Nov. 25, 2007. MFWP authorized removal of up to three wolves from the Monitor Mountain pack. Earlier this year, a total of 4 calves had been confirmed killed on the same ranch and 1 calf was reported missing between January and March. In response, an adult wolf was radio-collared so that the pack could be monitored more closely. The livestock owners have been checking their cattle regularly since the first of the year.

On the 1st, ID WS received a call from a rancher who reported he had a wolf hanging around his cattle on his ranch near Medicine Lodge. ID WS investigated and successfully harassed the wolf from the area. So far, it has not returned.

On the 6th, ID WS confirmed that wolves killed a 2-day old calf on private land east of Clayton. Efforts are underway to remove up to 2 wolves.

On the 7th, ID WS investigated a report of wolves chasing cattle on private land east of Emmett, ID. The investigation revealed that the cattle were probably being chased by dogs. No sign of wolf activity was noted in the immediate area.

Not a wild wolf issue but... MURPHY, Idaho - A 180-pound escaped domesticated wolf has been killed in remote southwestern Idaho, ending the week long search for the animal that killed at least one sheep and injured two others. The wolf had an injured leg, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers who had hoped to tranquilize the animal decided their only option was to euthanize it, instead. Idaho has about 800 wild wolves, all protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. But this one had bolted from its pen in Owyhee County near the Snake River on Oct. 29. There's still an investigation into why its owner didn't inform authorities immediately about its escape and whether the captive wolf's ear had an identification tattoo, as is required by state law.

Research

The annual early winter predation study in Yellowstone National Park for Fall 2007 will be completed Dec 15th. Kill rates are at the usual Nov-Dec pattern which is fewer kills/wolf than the March winter study. Kills are mostly bulls, calves, and old cows but these data are preliminary. A fuller account will be tallied at the end of winter study.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 6th, Sime and Smith [MFWP] met with MT WS State Director Steuber and 2 representatives from the MT Department of Livestock to discuss further development of the Montana wolf reimbursement program.

On the 5th , Sime [MFWP] gave two presentations at the University of Montana Western in Dillon about MT wolves and the state program. About 20 people attended.

On the 8th , MFWP will hosted an Elk Summit in Bozeman-- a public discussion on the biological and social challenges of elk management now and in the future.

Public meetings on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s draft wolf population management plan begin Monday, December 3, in Jerome, ID with other meetings to follow in the rest of the state. All the meetings will be in an open-house format. Other meetings are planned for:
-Pocatello: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, in the Wood River Room of the Student Union Building at Idaho State University. -Idaho Falls: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, Fish and Game regional office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls. -Salmon: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at the regional Fish and Game office, 99 Highway 93 North, Salmon. -Challis: 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, December 10, at the Challis Middle School, 700 Main St., Challis. -McCall: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, at the Super 8 Motel, 303 South Third St., McCall. -Lewiston: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, at the Fish and Game office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston. -Coeur d’Alene: 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 12, at the Lake City Senior Center, 1916 Lakewood Drive, Coeur d’Alene. -Boise: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 13, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise. The plan covers how Fish and Game will monitor and manage wolves when they are removed from the endangered species list. Any hunting seasons and limits would be set by the Fish and Game Commission after wolves have been delisted. Delisting could occur as early as February, 2008. The plan is available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/surveys/draftwolf/, or at Fish and Game offices. Written comments will be accepted through December 31 online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/; by mail to: Idaho Fish and Game, Wolf Plan Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707; by fax to 208-334-2148 or 208-334-2114, attention Wolf Plan Comments; or in person at any Fish and Game office or wolf management plan public meeting.

Steve Nadeau and other IDFG staff gave presentations on Idaho Fish and Games Wolf Population Management Plan in Jerome on the 3rd to 70 people; in Pocatello on the 4th to 20 people; in Idaho Falls on the 5th to 40 people; and to 40 people in Salmon on the 6th. The public comment period remains open until December 31 and comments can be made at Idaho Fish and Game’s website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/surveys/draftwolf/

Mack [NPT] presented a wolf biology/ecology program to ~25-30 McCall High School students on the 6th.

On the 6th, Jimenez [WY FWS] gave a talk at the National Elk Refuge to their interpreters and sled drivers for their winter program in Jackson, WY. Approx. 25 people attended.

Papers are now being accepted for the 2008 North American Wolf Conference April 8-10th, 2008, with 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.

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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