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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/14/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Weeks of 12/07/07 to12/14/07

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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

IDFG has stepped up their aerial monitoring to obtain year-end pack counts. Husseman conducted a flight on 12/11 and got counts for most packs in his region (90 wolves observed in 10 packs or groups, including the Yankee Fork pack, which had been missing for several months). On 12/7, McKee and Lonneker (IDFG) retrieved the carcass of B220 that had been detected on a monitoring flight. The carcass will be sent to Ashland for necropsy. Wolf B213 was also detected on mortality during a flight, and IDFG personnel will be going to the site to investigate. An IDFG Conservation Officer reported he'd received a phone call on 12/8 from a local outfitter who reported hitting a wolf on the highway near the East Fork Salmon River. The outfitter said it appeared the wolf had a broken back. The CO couldn't find a carcass that morning, but returned later during daylight and found evidence in the snow indicating the animal had dragged itself down to the river, where he lost the trail. The CO received a report early the next week of someone seeing a dead wolf in the river.

Control

Correction- Turns out the wolf hybrid killed in Idaho last week actually looked fairly wolf/dog-like and only actually weighed 80lbs on the scales. Lesson- Don’t always take everything in the newspaper as gospel.

The two dogs involved in breaking/chewing through the house door when the owner was gone (2 wolf tracks were reported in the snow in the front yard) were a 11 year old Akita/German Shepherd mix and 7-8 yr. old lab cross/German shepherd. The younger one had to go to the vet for a glass cut but is OK.

MT WS shot 2 male wolf pups on the North end of the Gravelly Mountain’s on the 11th, so that control action is done. It had been temporarily postponed because of the special extended elk hunting season in that area. A group of eight wolves were seen and all had rope tails due to mange. Good job MT WS.

Research

The Yellowstone National Park early winter study wrapped up on the 14th. Data are being compiled.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

On the 12th, Bradley (MFWP) gave a talk to the Professional Wilderness Outfitters Association in Choteau, MT. About 40 people attended. That evening she met with the Blackfoot Challenge Wildlife Committee Landowner Advisory Group at Lake Upsata Lodge in the Blackfoot Valley and gave an update on wolf activities in the Blackfoot and delisting issues.

Bangs [FWS], Bradley and Sime [MFWP] attended an public Elk Summitt in Bozeman, MT on the 8th. The meeting was hosted by MFWP to begin the process of discussing what is to be done about Montana’s largely over-objective elk populations and property damage/forage competition with livestock. Over 300 people attended.

On the 9th and 10th, MFWP (Sime et al) met with the Montana Wolf Advisory Council - the original stakeholder group first convened in 2000. The Council's work formed the basis for Montana's approved 2003 final plan. MFWP was seeking their input on developing a public hunting / trapping season. MFWP has been developing the basic regulatory structure (season dates, bag limit, management unit area boundaries etc.) so that there would be adequate time for consideration of data and public comment. The season would not be implemented until wolves are successfully delisted.

On the 14th, MFWP Sime attended the Montana Stockgrowers Association meeting and gave an update. MT WS State Director Steuber also gave an update. The Chair of the Montana Livestock Loss Reduction and Mitigation Program Board also attended and gave an update -- the Board has been appointed by the MT Govenor, the Board's staff has been hired, and the first meeting is expected in January 2008.

The draft Idaho Wolf Management 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. 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. IDFG staff continue to give presentations on the Wolf Population Management Plan; this week open houses were conducted in Challis, McCall, Lewiston, Coeur d'Alene, and Boise.

On the 12th, Service Director Dale Hall sent a letter to the Director of Wyoming Game and Fish Department stating that Wyoming’s 2007 wolf management plan meets the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. However, that determination was conditional on Wyoming’s 2007 wolf management statute being fully in effect, and the 2007 Plan being legally authorized by Wyoming statutes. Wolf management in Wyoming will remain under the 1994 experimental regulations until the requirements under Wyoming law can be achieved- probably in March 2008.

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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