Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in
their normal home ranges. During January, 2 new pairs were still using the
area just north of Jackson, WY. Volunteers and agency personal are doing a
great job of monitoring these wolves. It is likely that these potential
breeding groups of wolves will stay in the Jackson area. The Soda Butte pack
continues to use the National Elk Refuge. These wolves are routinely seen by
th public. The Crystal Creek pack temporarily moved into the North Fork of
the Shoshone River. Soda Butte wolf #123 was located on the edge of the Rose
Creek pack territory travelling with an unmarked wolf, likely a female. It
appears likely that 10 breeding pairs could be raising young in both the
Yellowstone and central Idaho experimental areas in 1999. Northwestern
Montana hopefully will climb back up to or over the 6 breeding pair mark in 1999.
The December 31, 1998 count of breeding pairs (an adult male and an adult
female that successfully raised at least 2 pups to December 31) indicates that
Northwestern Montana had only 5 breeding pairs in 1998. The Wolf Creek pair
produced young this past spring but they apparently did not survive. This
represents the lowest number of breeding pairs in northwestern Montana since
1992. In 1993 the number of wolves in that area peaked at 88 wolves in 7
packs, but since 1995 has fluctuated between 68 breeding pairs. The large
decline in whitetailed deer (estimated to be 70%) during the winter of 1996/97
continues to negatively impact wolf recovery in Northwestern Montana. In
central Idaho 10 breeding pairs produced pups in 1998 and about 120 wolves are
present. In the Yellowstone area 10 litters were produced by 7 breeding pairs
and about 115 wolves now inhibit the Greater Yellowstone Area. There are more
than 6 breeding pairs in each of the experimental areas. The special rules
allow livestock producers with federal grazing leases in those areas to obtain
permits from the Service in 1999, to take wolves in the act of attacking
livestock after WS has confirmed previous livestock losses caused by wolves.
Twelve wolves from 5 different packs were captured and radiocollared to aid in
wolf monitoring and research in Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately,
in a fluke accident a pup in the Rose Creek pack was struck by a dart that broke
its rear leg and had to be euthanized. Both veterinarians who examined the animal
determined it was too injured to survive in the wild. This was the first of
the 57 wolves captured over the past 4 years in Yellowstone National Park that
sustained severe injuries. Capture related losses to freeranging wolves
typically range between 15%. The Park conducted a thorough review of its
capture procedures to determine if anything could be improved. Capture
operations will resume in February.
On the 20th, WS and Park biologists met with a landowner, just north of
Yellowstone National Park to determine the feasibility of a study on the
effectiveness of guard dogs in reduce wolf depredations on domestic sheep.
The Defenders of Wildlife provided dogs to the ranch after their 2 guard dogs were
suspected to have been killed by the Chief Joseph pack in the last year.
A PredatorPrey Symposium was held in Boise, Idaho on January 5th in
conjunction with the annual meeting of the Idaho Guides and Outfitters.
Bangs, Curt Mack (NPT), Kerry Murphy (YNP), and other wolf biologists and managers from
throughout North America gave presentations. Some outfitters expressed
concern that wolf predation on wild ungulates was already noticeable and if it
continued would drive some of them out of business.
On the 6th, the Nez Perce Tribe, Service, Service LE, and Wildlife Services
conducted a review of wolf recovery efforts in Idaho. Overall the program has
been an outstanding success.
On December 9, Fontaine gave a presentation to sled drivers for the National
Elk Refuge in Jackson. He also delivered a full body mount of a gray wolf and
a coyote for display in the National Wildlife Art Museum in Jackson, WY. On
January14, Fontaine gave a presentation to about 50 children and teachers at
the Elliston School.
Bangs, Dominici (LE) and other individuals involved with grey wolf and red
wolf restoration efforts in North America attended a review of the Mexican Wolf
Program in Albuquerque on January 11. Experiences and ideas were discussed to
aid in the wolf restoration program in the southwestern U.S.
Bangs, Jimenez, and Phillips and Nelson (WS) met with representatives form
Grand Teton National Park and the Park's Livestock Grazing Advisory Board and
other agency personal in Jackson, WY on the 14th. A host of issues were
discussed including wolf control and livestock, monitoring. and public
outreach. On the 15th, they met with National Elk Refuge and Forest Service
representatives to discuss helicopter capture operations, wolf control issues
and overall coordination on wolf related issues. Public interest in the
wolves near Jackson is extremely high in part because the wolves are so visible from
the road and parking lot of the National Wildlife Art Museum. "Anyone for a
skinny decaf latte' while we watch the wolves take down that limping old cow
Representatives of the Nez Perce Tribe travelled to Washington D.C. and gave a
presentation about their involvement in wolf recovery in Idaho to Service
managers. The briefing was very well done and well received.
On the 20th, Wyoming Project Leader Mike Jimenez gave 3 presentations about
wolves in Jackson, WY.
Dr. (soon to be) Mike Jimenez and Brian Cox (MS) are the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service Wyoming Wolf Recovery Office. They are stationed in Lander, WY and
are still getting their phones and computers set up. Hopefully they will be fully
operational in February. Currently they can be reached at (307)3327789.
The newest Service employees, Dr. Diane BoydHeger and Dr. (to be) Tom Meier
will arrive in the Helena, Montana wolf recovery office on February 1, 1999.
They will initially focus their considerable talents on wolf restoration
efforts in Northwestern Montana. They will need your help to locate potential
wolf packs so PLEASE!! record and report wolf observations.
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf