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 10 through August 14, 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.
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.
At least 1 adult and 2 pups from the Antelope Pack near Jackson, WY show signs of mange. Last winter when the USFWS radio collared wolves in the area, > 6 adult wolves from the Antelope Pack had noticeable hair loss due to mange. Pups are very vulnerable to mange and other parasites, and often don’t survive mange infestation.
This summer, the USFWS continues to monitor and document reproducing wolf packs in Wyoming (outside YNP). At least 16 packs have produced pups this year. Litter sizes have ranged from 4 pups to a record high of 12-15 pups produced in 2 (possibly 3) litters in the Buffalo Pack.
On 8/11/09, WY Wildlife Services confirmed a 300 lb calf killed by wolves on private property, west of Daniel, WY. A pack of 4-6 wolves has been in the vicinity since last winter. Wildlife Services will attempt to trap and radio collar >1 wolf.
Wolves from the Dog Creek Pack in the Hoback drainage killed 15 sheep and 2 guard dogs on 8/4/09. This week, the sheep producer reported an additional 23 sheep and a third guard dog were killed. Control is ongoing to reduce the size of this depredating pack.
The USFWS responded to 2 complaints involving wolves habituating to human residences and horse corrals but not leaving the area when people have tried to chase them away. Wolves harassed a mule and several horses kept at a USFS cabin in the Upper Green River drainage. Wolves chased the animals and eventually bit the mule on its front leg. Rubber bullets were issued to owner for him to shoot at wolves if they return to the pasture. Rubber bullets were also issued to a local resident north of Jackson when wolves repeatedly came onto private property but wouldn’t leave when the resident tried to scare them away.
Law Enforcement and Related Activities
Nothing to report at this time.
Outreach and Education
USFWS Law Enforcement (Domenici) traveled with 3 wolf officials from Sweden to meet with the USFWS Wyoming wolf program (Jimenez) and the YNP wolf project (Smith). The Swedish wolf recovery effort consists of a small government program with very similar management challenges as our wolf programs in the northern Rocky Mountains. The Swedish government has set an upper limit of 200 wolves as an overall recovery goal for the country. Wolf recovery in the northern regions of the country is not encouraged due to conflicts with domestic ungulates. Swedish biologists monitor population growth, reproductive success, recolonization, and home ranges of wolf packs without the use of radio telemetry.
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.