Wyoming Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report
From: USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM
WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- Dec.1 through Dec. 12, 2008
Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
The public comment period for the USFWS proposal to delist wolves in the NRM closed on November 28. The USFWS is currently analyzing comments. Information about the delisting process is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .
In late November, a radio collared female wolf dispersed from SW Montana, just north of Yellowstone National Park. Locations from the GPS satellite collar indicated the wolf dispersed south and was recently traveling through the SW corner of Wyoming. The wolf was originally collared for a University of Montana graduate research project.
Mange: In 2008, >8 wolves from 4 different packs in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have mange-like symptoms (ie: significant hair loss). In 2007, Wyoming (outside YNP) had > 3 packs and Montana had > 3 packs containing wolves infested with mange. The number of packs in Wyoming and Montana with mangy wolves in 2008 will probably similar to 2007. Idaho has not reported any confirmed mange in their wolves.
What is mange? Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious skin disease caused by mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) that burrow into the epidermis of the host animal and create tunnels where females lay eggs. Larvae hatch from eggs, which molt through 2 nymph stages and continue to burrow new tunnels in the epidermis. The 2-week life cycle is completed after the second nymph stage molts to adults. Each stage can add to the tunnel system but most tunneling is done by adult females. Burrowing in the epidermis and allergic responses by the hosts to excretions from the mites causes pruritis (severe itching) which leads to progressive skin damage as the host animal bites, scratches, and rubs the affected area. Infested animals generally suffer from alopecia (loss of hair), hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin), seborrhea (excessive discharge from sebaceous glands causing an oily coat, scales, and surface crust on the skin), scabs, ulcerations, and lesions. Severe cases can affect the animal’s entire body and can lead to emaciation, poor body condition, and death from secondary infections or hypothermia in winter due to hair loss. Mange is spread from infested animals to new hosts by direct contact, contact with areas contaminated with mites (ie: bedding sites or dens), or contact with common rubs used by infested animals.
Mange is fairly common in wolf populations through out the world. Based on other areas that have experienced mange infestations, we predict that mange in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population will be localized in specific areas and not threaten the overall population.
On 12/4/08, Wyoming WS removed 2 wolves on private property west of Cody, WY. Control had been ongoing since wolves had previously killed a steer calf. An adult cow was recently killed and the 2 wolves were shot feeding on the cow.
Nothing to report at this time.
Law Enforcement and Related Activities
On 12/4/08, a radio collared wolf was killed by a legally placed M-44 near Cokeville, WY. The wolf had dispersed south over 150 miles from the Pahaska Pack, west of Cody to the SW corner of the state.
Outreach and Education
On 12/2/08, Jimenez gave a wolf presentation at an annual training program for National Elk Refuge visitor center personnel and winter sleigh ride operators.
On 12/9/08, Doug Smith (NPS) spoke to the winter snow coach drivers in Yellowstone National Park. On 12/10/08, Smith gave a wolf talk to a group of Park interpreters and naturalists. On 12/16/08, Smith will speak to a group of commercial guides working in the Park this winter.
To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.
For additional information, please contact:
Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Ed_Bangs@FWS.GOV