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 Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 12/21/2007

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 12/14/07 to12/21/07

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

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

Nothing new to report.

Control

On the 16th, MT WS confirmed that 2 sheep were killed by a wolf in the Blacktail area east of Dillon, MT. Tracks indicated that probably only 1 wolf was involved. The wolf had killed the 2 sheep in their nightpen. WS set traps to collar/release, to help determine whether this wolf is alone or part of an unknown pack in the area.

MT WS confirmed a calf was killed by wolves on private property in the Big Sheep Creek area, southwest of Dillon, MT on the 20th. The incident occurred the morning of the 19th. The 500 lb calf was injured by the wolves and was brought inside a barn but died overnight. A SOS permit was issued to the landowner for 1 wolf.

Two pygmy goats were reported killed by wolves in the Bitterroot Valley, southwest of Hamilton, MT on the 20th. MT WS investigated and found wolf tracks although neither of the goats appeared to have been fed on by the wolves. However, a neighbor's Saint Bernard had also visited the site and did feed on and drag around one of the goats, further complicating the situation. Bite marks on the necks of the goats indicated a canid attack, but due to the complication of the dog it was difficult to discern for sure whether the wolves or dog was responsible. Therefore, WS wrote this incident up as a probable wolf depredation. No other livestock reside on the property. The wolf pack in this area is uncollared but trapping to collar is infeasible due to the amount of residents and dogs in the area.

On the 16th, an ID WS aircrew found 8 members (4 gray/4 black) of the Buffalo Ridge pack in the open. This pack was implicated in a confirmed livestock depredation on a calf about 10 days earlier. The aircrew was able to shoot and kill one gray wolf as the pack was heading into the timber. The wolf was on a finger ridge on the Thompson Creek Drainage in the Salmon/Challis National Forest near Clayton, ID.

Research

The early winter predation study in Yellowstone National Park fell back into its typical pattern of nearly all elk. Kills were about 40% calves, 40% bulls, and 20% old cows. Interestingly, the composition of ungulates preyed upon varies quite a bit year-to-year and is probably related to relative vulnerability due to environmental variables [drought, forage quality, snow depth, time of year, etc.).

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Smith [NPS] spoke at a general Park Service orientation meeting with Yellowstone snowmobilers and guides at Old Faithful in YNP on the 18th. About 200 people attended.

On the 20th, the Montana Fish and Game Commission tentatively approved plans by MFWP to seek further public comment regarding establishing a Fall quota-type wolf hunting season in Montana that would stabilize the Montana portion wolf population around current levels (about 400 wolves). The hunt concepts will be presented at several Regional MFWP meetings around Montana during the next few months to solicit public review and comment. Public hunting could not occur as long as wolves are listed but the Service will likely publish the final delisting proposal in late February 2008.

The draft Idaho Wolf Management 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.

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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