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- August 3 through August 7, 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 .
                             
Delisting Litigation Status
On June 2, a lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Missoula (9th Circuit) by a coalition of 13 environmental and animals rights groups. Another separate lawsuit challenging the USFWS delisting criteria was filed shortly after in the 9th Circuit by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.  While the two groups have their own attorneys, both those cases have now been consolidated in the Missoula District Court under Judge Molloy.  Their complaint alleges the NRM wolf population is not recovered and that the delisting violates the federal Endangered Species Act for many legal reasons, including delisting can not occur without an adequate Wyoming regulatory framework in place, which is not currently the case.  A request for a preliminary injunction has not been filed at this time.  In addition, the State of Wyoming, Park County, and the Wyoming Wolf Coalition filed a lawsuit in the 10th Circuit (Cheyenne, Wyoming) challenging USFWS’s rejection of Wyoming’s regulatory framework and the Wyoming state wolf management plan. 

Monitoring
Nothing to report at this time.

Control
On 8/1/09, WGFD and Wildlife Services confirmed a calf killed by wolves in the Upper Green River drainage. At least 7 carcasses from cattle that died from causes other than wolf predation were left in general vicinity where the depredation occurred. On 8/6/09, WGFD investigated 11 additional dead cattle in the same area. Two dead cattle were confirmed as bear kill, but 9 other cattle died from causes other than predation. Carcasses left in the area have become an attractant to wolves and therefore no wolf control will be implemented. The USFWS will meet next week with the livestock producers, WGFD, and Wildlife Services to resolve carcass disposal issues. As specified in the 1994 Final EIS, “The following conditions and criteria will apply in determining the problem status of wolves within the nonessential experimental areas…..Artificial or intentional feeding of wolves must not have occurred. Livestock carcasses not properly disposed of in an area where depredations have occurred will be considered attractants. On Federal lands, removal or resolution of such attractants must accompany any control action. Livestock carrion or carcasses on Federal land, not being used as bait in an authorized control action, must be removed, buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of such that the carcasses will not attract wolves.......”(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. Interim Wolf Control Plan: Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming; The Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to Yellowstone National park and Central Idaho – Final EIS. 1994)

On 8/1/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed a calf killed by wolves south of Hwy 28 near South Pass in the Sweetwater drainage. The area is heavily grazed by sheep and cattle. Wolves in nearby areas in past years have caused numerous cattle and sheep depredations. Wildlife Services flew telemetry flights and made several investigations on the ground to determine that 2 radio collared wolves were in the area. The USFWS requested Wildlife Services to remove both wolves. On 8/6/09, 2 adult wolves were removed and control was completed.

This year, 3 packs of wolves have recolonized parts in Wyoming which are heavily grazed by domestic sheep during summer months.  All 3 packs have killed exceptionally large numbers of sheep:
On 8/3/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed 2 sheep killed on private land in the southern Big Horn Mountains. The land owner saw 2 black wolves walking along the fence line of his pasture. The USFWS issued the landowner a Shoot-on-Site Permit and Wildlife Services will attempt to remove the 2 wolves from the area where these recent depredations occurred. This summer, >2 wolves have killed a total of >70 sheep (owned by 5 different producers) in this general vicinity, but previous control efforts have been unsuccessful.
On 8/3/09, Wildlife Services confirmed 1 sheep killed by wolves on a public grazing allotment north of Pinedale. Since 7/21/09, wolves have killed 1 yearling steer,
>26 sheep (22 ewes and 4 lambs), and injured 1 guard dog in this area. Control efforts are ongoing to remove all wolves involved in the depredations.
On 8/4/09, Idaho Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves from the Dog Creek Pack killed 15 sheep (13 lambs, 2 ewes) and 2 guard dogs on a public grazing allotment in the Hoback drainage in Wyoming. Control efforts are ongoing.

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

Outreach and Education
On 8/5/09, Jimenez (USFWS) spoke about wolves and wolf management at the Northwest Intertribal Agriculture Council Conference in Pocatello, Idaho. The conference was sponsored by the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and approx. 75 people attended.

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