Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

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- March 23 through April 3, 2009

           
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.

Annual Reports
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Annual Report is available at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .
                             
Status of the NRM wolf delisting rule 
The Final Rule to Establish a Gray Wolf – Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment and Remove it from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species becomes effective May 4, 2009.  It was published in the Federal Register Vol 74, No. 62 pages 15123-15188on April 2, 2009.  The rule, the literature cited, and Questions and Answers about it are posted on the USFWS website at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .  The rule delists wolves in Montana, Idaho, eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north central Utah.  Wolves in Wyoming will remain under the adequate regulatory mechanisms of the ESA.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to manage wolves in all of Wyoming under the provisions of the 1994 nonessential experimental population rules.  Management under the ESA will continue until such time Wyoming develops a regulatory framework that the Service determines meets the purposes of the ESA.  After that happens the Service may initiate the mandatory federal regulatory process [including public review and comment] to turn management over to Wyoming.  

Monitoring
The USFWS monitors wolves in Wyoming and estimates the minimum annual wolf population by combining 3 census techniques: 1) direct observations of wolves, 2) winter track counts, and 3) confirmed reports of wolf sightings from other agencies. Reports of wolf sightings from hunters, state and federal agencies, and outdoor enthusiasts greatly assist our efforts to monitor wolf numbers, distribution, and dispersals. In 2008, we estimated there were at least 178 wolves and at least 30 packs in Wyoming (outside YNP). Our census period ends on 31 December of each year; however, we continue collecting population data for the upcoming year.  So far in 2009, at least 2 additional packs have been identified and 1 possible pack may have formed last summer. Packs identified in 2009 include:

1) West of Cody: Using a remote camera, state agency biologists photographed a pack of >6 wolves in the North Fork drainage.

2) Jackson: State biologists identified a pack of 3-4 wolves while conducting winter elk surveys in the Gros Ventre River drainage.

3) South east of Meeteetse: Photos taken by BLM biologists indicate a new pack may have formed in the Cottonwood/Grass Creek drainage.

Dispersals
Wolves are classic long-distance dispersers that routinely travel hundreds of miles across vast expanses of habitat unsuitable for wolf pack persistence. Long-distance dispersals are common and provide further evidence that genetic connectivity is not a long term wolf conservation issue in the northern Rocky Mountains. In 2008/2009, at least 8 known dispersing wolves traveled to different regions of Wyoming:

Northwest Wyoming
1) Idaho wolf B-271 dispersed as a yearling from the Steele Mountain Pack in 2006. He spent time in YNP last summer and continued dispersing to the Sunlight Basin area, west of Cody. In January 2009, he was fitted with a new radio collar and has paired with a radio collared female wolf.
2) In March 2009, a radio collared female wolf dispersed from Yellowstone National Park and traveled west of Cody, WY.
 
North central Wyoming
3) A single radio collared black wolf dispersed to the Big Horn Mountains and was photographed near Hyattville, north of Ten Sleep, WY in early March 2009.
4) In late March 2009, a single grey wolf was photographed by state agency biologists in the Big Horn Mountains.

Central Wyoming
5) Sometime in late 2008, 2 dispersing wolves settled in an area south of Casper, WY. The 2 wolves were photographed in January 2009.
6) In February 2009, a single wolf was documented west of Wheatland, WY.

South central Wyoming/Northern Colorado
7) A female wolf that dispersed from SW Montana last year, traveled through Wyoming, SE Idaho, NE Utah, N Colorado, and then back to south central Wyoming. She was recently located again in north central Colorado.

Southwest Wyoming
8) This winter, state agency biologists took photos of a single wolf north of Kemmerer, WY. Tracks on the ground indicated there may be a pair of wolves in the area.

Control
Nothing to report at this time.

Research
Nothing to report at this time.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities  
Nothing to report at this time.

Outreach and Education
On 3/25/09, Jimenez spoke to Teton Science High School seniors about conservation genetics and wolf management issues in Wyoming.

Further Information
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
Mike Jimenez (307)733-7096 or (307)330-5631 or  Mike_Jimenez@FWS.GOV    

Last updated: November 8, 2012