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 9 through August 13, 2010
Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
2009 Annual Report
The 2009 Interagency Annual Wolf (Canis lupus) Report for the NRM DPS in 2009 can be viewed on-line at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . The Idaho and Montana state sections of the annual wolf report are also available on-line at the websites for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/management/wolf/default.html and Idaho Department of Fish and Game http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves. The annual wolf report is composed of five Sections: 1) Montana; 2) Wyoming; 3) Idaho; 4) USFWS overview of dispersal, funding, litigation, and relevant publications; and 5) Tables and Figures of wolf population statistics and wolf depredations.
Information about Oregon wolves can be viewed at: www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves
Wyoming: Oral arguments were heard in federal court in Cheyenne, WY on January 29 to address the state of Wyoming’s request that the USFWS accept the Wyoming Wolf Management Plan. A decision from Judge Allen Johnson is pending.
Northern Rocky Mountains: The U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued an order on August 5, 2010, in Defenders of Wildlife et al. v. Salazar, CV 09-77-M-DWM and Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. Salazar, CV 09-82-M-DWM, which vacated the delisting of the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the gray wolf. In compliance with this order, wolves are again considered endangered throughout the NRM DPS except where they are classified as experimental populations (southern Montana, Idaho south of Interstate 90, and all of Wyoming).
Wyoming: At least 24 wolf packs have denned in Wyoming in 2010. We anticipate more breeding pairs will be identified this summer as additional den/rendezvous sites are located and reproduction is confirmed. Reproducing packs in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park (YNP), and Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) include:
Wyoming (outside national parks): 14 packs produced pups (Absaroka, Beartooth, Chagrin River, East Fork, Elk Fork Creek, Greybull River, Green River, Hoodoo, Lava Mountain, Pacific Creek, Pinnacle Peak, South Fork, Sunlight, Owl Creek, and Wiggins Fork), plus 2 packs that are suspected to have denned (Rim and Washakie).
GTNP: 1 pack produced pups (Phantom Springs), plus 1 pack that is suspected to have denned (Huckleberry).
YNP: 9 packs produced pups out of 13 documented packs. Yellowstone wolf packs are transitioning from lower elevation den and rendezvous areas to higher elevations where prey are tracking greener forage. Monitoring of packs that had litters suggests higher pup survival relative to the last two summers where disease and strife were a significant mortality factor. The Bechler Pack was located in their traditional den area with 12 pups, suggesting two breeding females in this pack. The pack has not been tracked since May 2009 when the only collared wolf died.
Figure 1. Wolf population growth in Wyoming (outside YNP) 2000-2009.
Table 1. Total wolf mortality in Wyoming (outside YNP) from 2003-2010.
Washington: The Diamond Pack in NE WA had 6 pups this year and is currently using habitat just inside Idaho. Paul Frame radio-collared a yearling female in the pack in June with a GPS/ARGOS collar; he also caught three other yearlings in the pack and they were ear-tagged. The GPS battery on the male's collar had died, but the VHF still functioned. The pack has been using about 250 square miles, including a small portion in Idaho.
We have been unable to locate the breeding female in the Lookout Pack in the North Cascades. She was pregnant and seen at a densite, so is thought to have had pups, which would have been 3-4 weeks old at the time she disappeared. We are continuing to track the male, and it is unknown what the status is of other members of the pack (2-yr old male and yearlings). The male has been seen periodically, but no other members of the pack were with him at those times.
Frame is following up on leads in northeastern Washington, including remote camera photos of wolves near the Canadian border. A single animal was also photographed in north central Washington, in Okanogan County, west of Highway 97, by a private film crew and then, what is likely the same animal, was photographed on a remote camera in the same vicinity. Earlier in the year, we also had tracks and scat from the Hozomeen area, near the Canadian border, in the North Cascades.
Oregon: A healthy 2-year old male wolf was captured and radio-collared on August 4, 2010 from the Wenaha Pack (Northeast Oregon). This is Oregon’s second documented wolf pack and while it has been monitored for several years, the addition of the collar will help ODFW to determine home range area, pack size, pup production, and if the pack is shared with Washington (it is close to the Oregon-Washington border). Efforts will now be made to capture an additional wolf from this pack and fit with a GPS collar. A full description of events concerning wolves in Oregon can be viewed at: www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves
Wyoming: We continue to manage wolf population growth and wolf distribution to minimize chronic loss of livestock from wolves and promote wolf conservation by maintaining the Wyoming wolf population well above recovery objectives.
Fremont County: On 8/26/10, WGFD confirmed a calf was injured by wolves on private property SE of Dubois, WY. The calf was later euthanized due to the extent of its injuries.
Table 2. Confirmed livestock depredations and control actions in WY from 2003 - 2010.
*One foal was killed by wolves (recorded as confirmed), 2 horses were chased by wolves and injured when they were run through a fence (recorded as 1 confirmed and 1 probable), and 1 horse was chased by wolves and broke its leg when it was run over a cattle guard (recorded as probable). All 3 injured horses had to be euthanized.
Oregon: ODFW continues to regularly monitor the Imnaha Pack (Northeast Oregon) and a minimum count of four pups. A range rider has been employed using funds from the federal wolf-livestock demonstration project to help prevent wolf depredations by this pack. To date, no further depredations (since June 3) by this pack have been documented or suspected. An agreement is currently being negotiated between an area rancher and Defenders of Wildlife to extend the rider through the entire grazing season.
The YNP summer predation study is nearing completion, with another year of good data on summer predation rates and prey selection for Northern Range wolves using downloadable Lotek GPS collars.
Law Enforcement and Related Activities
Last week, an uncollared yearling male wolf suspected to be a member of the border pack Cougar Creek II, was killed on HWY 191 in YNP by a motorcyclist in the northwest corner of the park.
Outreach and Education
Washington: WDFW Wolf Plan - we are continuing to analyze the comments received during the public review of the draft EIS/plan. We received input from nearly 65,000 individuals.
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.