Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Gray Wolf Collar Found in the Falls River Near Ashton, Idaho

July 14, 2005


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents have confirmed that a gray wolf radio telemetry collar was found submerged in the Falls River beneath a bridge on Highway 294 east of Ashton, Idaho. The radio collar appears to have been cut, and was found by Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists while surveying wolf activity near the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.

The radio collar belonged to a yearling female wolf, F-476, originally collared by Yellowstone National Park personnel in the Little Firehole Meadows, west of Old Faithful on January 21, 2005. The wolf was a member of the newly-formed Biscuit Basin Pack. F-476 dispersed from the Biscuit Basin Pack in March and was last known to be inside Yellowstone National Park on April 6, 2005. Because other members of the Biscuit Basin Pack have been documented east of Ashton, it is believed F-476 may have rejoined the pack.

Investigators believe the wolf was killed in late April or May of this year. It is possible that the radio collar was deliberately thrown from the bridge by persons involved in illegally killing the animal in an attempt to destroy evidence. Scott Bragonier, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent, said, "The condition and location of the radio telemetry collar suggests illegal activity. We strongly urge citizens with knowledge about this activity to come forward with information. Callers may remain anonymous."

Persons with information may call the Idaho Citizens against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999, or the Service's Law Enforcement Office at (208) 523-0855.

The killing of an animal protected under the endangered Species Act is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and one year in jail. A reward of up to $2,500.00 may be paid for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegal activity with an endangered or threatened species.

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