Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of January 25 - January 31, 2003
NEW WEB ADDRESS - See westerngraywolf.fws.gov/
for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, and summaries of
Mill Creek pack female pup #297 was found dead on the 29th. WS collared her last month. LE was notified.
Val Asher investigated and found that a mountain lion [possibly with a kitten] had killed, cached, and
partially consumed her. Her signal was ok on the 28th. Good job Val!
Lone wolf #210 is suspected as being killed by neighboring wolf packs in the Slough Creek area of
Yellowstone National Park. The carcass will be recovered soon. The newly formed Slough Creek and #261
group were both found in the general vicinity when #210 was killed.
Jimenez and Western Air Research found the Nez Perce pack early this week. Good work! Seventeen pack
members were on the northern end of the National Elk Refuge, just outside Jackson, WY. The Nez Perce
pack's home range is normally in the middle of Yellowstone Park but last year they traveled to the northern
range and got into a tiff with the Druid's then traveled to SE Idaho. This year they are near Jackson.
It could signal that the center of the Park in winter, with mainly bison and some elk, doesn't have enough
vulnerable prey to support a large pack.
Tracks of 2 maybe 3 wolves were detected by Wildlife Services near Soda Springs in SE Idaho on the 24th.
No problems had been reported but sheep are common in this area in summer and a wolf was killed a couple
of years ago after a series of depredations.
Helicopter capture efforts in Idaho were completed this past week. Weather, low snow pack, timbered
terrain, and small pack sizes increased difficulties of wolf capture efforts this year. Despite unfavorable
conditions, 14 new collars were placed on 6 different wolf packs, exceeding expectations. Nine wolf packs
were initially targeted for capture efforts. Capture and radio-collaring efforts were conducted on 7 of
these packs, as 2 packs were not accessible. Radio-collaring goals were met for 5 of these 7 wolf packs.
Capture operations were based out of McCall and Challis, Idaho.
A black and 3 gray wolves were sighted on the Flying D Ranch near Bozeman. Several observations of this
uncollared wolf group, including what were believed to be 2 pups, have been made since Thanksgiving. It
appears that a new pack has formed, just southwest of Bozeman. Collaring efforts are being coordinated
with MT FW&P.
Please report any sightings of wolf activity to the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state Fish and
Game Agency, Forest Service, BLM, Tribal, or USDA Wildlife Services office. We thank everyone for their
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
WS confirmed that wolves killed and fed on an adult bull west of Avon, MT on the night of the 27th.
That's the first bull we have had confirmed killed by wolves. The rancher shot one wolf by the carcass
after he had moved it to an adjacent field. He immediately reported it and LE is investigating. WS shot
one of four wolves [uncollared yearling male] feeding on the carcasses the night of the 28th. A telemetry
flight morning of the 29th indicated that the Castle Rock was responsible. Lethal control of 4 more wolves
was authorized because this pack has attacked cattle on several occasions and killing adult cattle indicates
the pack is seriously hunting cattle.
On the 29th, WS confirmed that wolves killed a cow [with calf] N. of Avon, MT and chased several other
cows through a fence. Radio telemetry indicated then Halfway pack was responsible. A radio-collared
former member of the Castle Rock pack recently joined with this pack. Because of chronic cattle harassment,
active hunting of adult cattle, and previous depredations lethal control of the entire pack [estimated 4-5
wolves] was authorized.
A shoot on site permit for 2 wolves near his cattle was authorized for a rancher in the Paradise Valley.
The 7 member Mill Creek pack has killed several sheep and cattle in that area, despite aversive conditioning
and continues to routinely used the pasture where calving will soon occur. In addition WS may conduct
control of up to 2 wolves in addition to trying to get additional radios in the Mill Creek, Sheep Mountain,
and Chief Joe packs. Also see lion kills #297 "Monitoring."
Tom Meier et al. are working on compiling and summarizing data for the 2002 annual interagency wolf report.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Bangs, Fontaine and several MT FW&P's employees, including Chris Smith, Chief of Staff, attended a Jan
20th 6PM meeting hosted by local ranchers in the Avon area west of Helena, MT. Nearly 120 people attended.
Several wolf packs are in that area and several depredtions have been confirmed. Many ranchers were
worried about missing livestock they feel were killed by wolves and reported incidents of "harassed"
cattle. The idea was floated by the meeting's organizer that all the landowners should close their land
(nearly 500,000 acres) to hunting and "encourage" the Service and MT FW&P to delist wolves and then
classify them as predators. The meeting was constructive and a lot of information was exchanged but no
final course of action was agreed upon. See control section above for developments since meeting.
Bangs introduced 2 wolf movies for the International Wildlife Film Festival organization at the Roxy
Theater in Missoula on Friday evening of the 24th. The NWF's "Wolf" and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies'
sponsored the "Cost of Freedom" [a film critical of agency radio-collaring and wolf management] were shown.
About 80 people attended. Bangs gave a short presentation and then answered questions. The meeting was
constructive and many issues were discussed.
Smith and Carolyn Sime & A. Dood [MT FW&P] gave presentations at a MT teachers continuing education course
in the Lamar Valley on the 25th. Twenty-three teachers attended.
State Legislatures in Montana and Wyoming had meetings and hearings about wolf resolutions and proposed
wolf legislation this week. The Service is closely cooperating with the state fish and game agencies as
their states debate the important issue of how wolves will be managed if the Endangered Species Act
protections were to be removed.
Smith traveled to Salt Lake City to give a wolf presentation to the Conservation Alliance's annual meeting
[a large trade show that includes 70 outdoor recreation/sport businesses] on Feb. 1.
Niemeyer met with the Oneida County Commission on January 27 in Malad, Idaho, at their request after
allegations that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was releasing/radio-tracking wolves in the county
during the night time hours in government licensed trucks. Further allegations were that we had a white
airplane with the numbers taped over flying around areas where wolves had been sighted. Several people,
including one of the Commissioners, had engaged in conversation with unknown persons in federally licensed
trucks while those persons had radio-tracking equipment, computers and dog kennels in their vehicles or
their possession. None of this information was verified or accurate, and the rumors were resolved.
Jenny Valdivia and Carter Niemeyer attended the Elk Summit at the Red Lion, Lewiston, Idaho, on Saturday,
January 25. The Summitt was well attended (estimate 150-200 people registered) and participants stayed for
the whole day. Senator Crapo and his staff ran the meeting and did an excellent job of selecting good
speakers, keeping the meeting on track, and keeping on schedule after each speaker. The Senator emphasized
collaboration throughout the meeting. The speakers were excellent-composed of Idaho Fish and Game
biologists, Tribal representatives, University of Idaho, Forest Service managers and Jack Ward Thomas
(retired Forest Service Chief) - each speaking about Clearwater issues including habitat, predator/prey
relationships, fire/vegetation management and future management implications for the Clearwater. The
speakers all emphasized that elk were an issue, but that species diversity in the area dictated that any
management implications would affect fish - sapsuckers to salamanders, so managers had to consider the big
Fontaine traveled to Nashville, TN the 27-30th, to give a presentation to the National Cattlemen's
Association. He was invited to participate on a panel for special pilot project to investigate ways to
be more productive in conflict resolution. Service Director Steve Williams also spoke to the conference
later in the week and the first 2 questions to him involved wolf issues.
Bangs, Jimenez, Smith and others did many interviews for wolf stories, mainly recovery, state wolf
management plans, finding the Nez Perce pack, and delisting including: Scientific American, the AP
Western wire, papers in Denver, Helena, Jackson, and Billings.
An on-line story accompanied the Jan. 20 National Geographic Explorer story about wolf delisting. It can
be accessed at the National Geographic web site. Go to the On T.V. section, and then click United States,
then N.G. Today web stories. Here is the link to that story:
The CENTRAL ROCKIES WOLF PROJECT is pleased to announce that registration has begun for the WORLD WOLF
CONGRESS 2003 - BRIDGING SCIENCE AND COMMUNITY, to be held at the Banff Centre (Banff, Canada) from
September 25-28, 2003. Please visit www.worldwolfcongress.ca
for complete information.
Call for papers: Papers are now being accepted for the 2003 North American Interagency Wolf Conference,
April 8 - 10, 2003 at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT. The theme this year is wolf/ungulate relationships.
Please submit a one page single spaced abstract which includes your full contact information, affiliations,
and authors, by email to Joseph Fontaine at Joseph_Fontaine@fws.gov.
Please submit a digital picture related to your research or topic to include in the agenda and on the
website. We can also scan images sent by mail. Registration for the conference will begin November 1, 2002
and you may contact Suzanne Laverty at SLaverty@defenders.org
for details. The registration secure website is
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at
www.r6.fws.gov/wolf. This report is
government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet - ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
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