Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week Feb 5 - Feb 11, 2000

Monitoring

Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are generally in their normal home ranges but many packs have members missing, in all likelihood due to dispersal. On the 9th we observed a large black wolf in the Murphy Lake pack, which had previously contained only gray-colored wolves. The whereabouts of the Boulder pack is still unknown.

Capture efforts in Yellowstone Park ended on the 5th. Three more wolves were captured 2 from the Crystal pack and 1 from Rose Creek. The Service attempted to capture and radiocollar 2 additional pack members of the Teton pack on the 6th. By the time the helicopter arrived the female had led her pups and a possible mate into the trees and the capture operation was unsuccessful. Funds for the attempt were provided by Grand Teton National Park and private donations. A total of 14 wolves were captured and radiocollared in the Yellowstone area this winter. Niemeyer assisted in the operation.

Wolves are dispersing and we anticipate a sharp increase in new wolf pack formation. Please report wolf sightings so that we can focus aircraft searches or our track surveys this winter.

Research

Nothing new to report.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

A family west of Cody reported that their 3 dogs disappeared the same night they heard wolves howling on a ridge above their home. They reported the dogs had never really run off before. However, things turned out fine when the dogs came home two days later and were in fine shape.

The Sheep Mountain pack apparently attacked 2 yearling cattle on private land just north of Chico Hot Springs on the night of the 5th. One yearling died a few days after the attack, and the other is still alive. WS investigated on the 7th, and determined that the 600-700 lb yearlings were bitten on the hindquarters and front shoulders, typical attack points for wolves, and numerous wolf tracks were found in the area. The Sheep Mountain pack was located in that area within 24 hours of the attack. The rancher removed the remaining cattle from that area immediately after the attack was discovered. By the 7th, the pack had moved 10-12 miles south and was no longer in the valley bottom. However, the same cattle herd stampeded through wire fences on the 8th and wolves may have been the cause. A wait and see approach will be tried but if the pack depredates again several pack members will be removed.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Boyd and Meier completed the 1999 ANNUAL INTERAGENCY WOLF REPORT. It looks great and has been mailed. Thanks to everyone that helped. It is available electronically at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99. Everyone is encouraged to copy and distribute it widely. IF AFTER FEBRUARY 15, you have not received a copy by mail or if you have been unable to pull it off the web site, then please let us know and we will mail you a copy. Please do not contact us before that date and before you have tried to get it off the web site THANKS!!

Law enforcement recovered the remains of a radiocollared wolf west of Cody, WY on the 5th. The wolf was largely consumed but investigation into its death is continuing. At the site were remains of a bighorn sheep killed by a mountain lion and much lion sign. It is speculated that the wolf was scavenging on the lion-killed sheep carcass when it was killed by the lion.

Boyd gave an evening presentation to the Great Falls Audubon on the 7th and about 40 people attended. Diane will be featured soon on NBC Tom Brokaw's Nightly News spot "Women to Watch"- way to go Diane! NBC shot footage of the Spotted Bear Pack (all 7 wolves) feeding on a moose calf on a frozen lake.

Bangs gave a presentation to the Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society on the 9th in Bend, OR and met with the Oregon Wolf Working Group on the 10th.

The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet- ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV






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