Idaho Wolf Update
March 11, 2001

Monitoring

Crews continue to conduct aerial monitoring flights, respond to reports of wolf sightings, and coordinate information about wolf activity with affected livestock producers.

Following helicopter capture and collaring efforts in mid-February, wolf monitoring flights resumed to their scheduled intervals. An additional emphasis was placed on trying to obtain visual counts during flights to better estimate the numbers of wolves present in each pack. A follow-up flight was made with a helicopter on a number of packs were visuals could not be obtained by fixed wing. It is important to realize that these numbers only indicate wolves visible at the time of the flight. To better assess pack size, additional surveys will be necessary.

North of the Salmon River

Panhandle, Clearwater, and Lolo National Forests

Marble Mountain. The Marble Mountain pack continues to use areas within its home range. This pack was last located in the Marble Creek drainage.

Kelly Creek. The Kelly Creek pack was located in two areas. B15's collar is no longer transmitting, but she was observed by project personnel last summer, alive and well as the alpha female. Wolf 90-13, the natural dispersing alpha male from Glacier National Park, who is now at least 13 years old (!), has been located in the western area of their territory for most of the winter. B42, a 4 year-old female from the Kelly Creek pack was located with 5 wolves within the Kelly Creek drainage near the center of the pack's territory.

Big Hole. The Bighole pack is currently within their normal winter range in the Lolo pass area on the Idaho side. One of the collared sub-adults, B67, was not located.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B64, a relocated White Cloud wolf, was located in the Fish Creek drainage. He was spotted with another wolf. He has spent the past couple years in the upper Lochsa and White Sands Creek.

B81, a relocated Jureano pup from 1999 was also located in the Fish Creek drainage. He was approximately 5 miles from B64 and his partner.

Nez Perce National Forest

Selway. The Selway pack continues to use areas within their usual home range. This pack was last located, in the Bargamin Creek drainage of the Main Salmon River. The helicopter flight could only determine the presence of B99, however she was in a very poor area for obtaining visuals. We suspect other wolves were present but not visible.

South of the Salmon River

Payette National Forest

Chamberlain Basin. The Chamberlain Basin pack continues to move back and forth between the Main Salmon and Big Creek, both ungulate winter range areas. Their pack size is estimated at 7-8 animals.

B50, who produced a second litter within the Chamberlain Basin pack during 2000 has spent most of her winter on the north side of the Main Salmon, adjacent to the Chamberlain Basin pack's territory. Visuals indicate that she is with another adult wolf. No surviving pups from her litter were seen. We hope to continue working on this group to determine if any of her pups have survived and are still travelling with her.

Wolf Fang. The Wolf Fang pack is using the lower reaches of the South Fork of the Salmon and also spending time in the headwaters of Big Creek. During the last monitor flight, a visual of 6-7 wolves was gathered for this pack.

Thunder Mountain. The Thunder Mountain pack has remained in the South Fork of the Salmon for the majority of the winter. Recent visuals indicated 6 wolves in this pack.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B45 continues to use areas within her usual range just north of McCall, Idaho. A recent visual observation during a fixed wing monitoring flight confirmed she was still travelling with another wolf.

Boise National Forest

Orphan. The Orphan pack was located in the south end of their territory. Their pack size remains at 3 animals.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B78, a 3 year-old Kelly Creek pack disperser, continues to be located in the drainage of the Middle Fork of the Payette River drainage. We suspect B78 is traveling with another wolf.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

Landmark. The Landmark pack continues to use wintering areas in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage. This pack was last located in the Little Loon drainage.

Jureano Mountain. The Jureano Mountain pack remains within their usual home range. Recent visual observations have counted up to 8 wolves in this pack. Dispersing Stanley Basin wolf B97 who has been loosely associating with the Jureano Mountain pack was located with the Moyer Basin pack on the most recent monitoring flights. The Moyer Basin pack borders the Jureano Mountain pack to the south.

Moyer Basin. The Moyer Basin Pack has recently been found in two groups within their traditional home range. Radio-collared Moyer Basin wolves have been travelling in a group of 4 wolves during the past few weeks. Recently B97, a Stanley Basin pack disperser who was previously loosely associated with the Jureano Mountain pack, was found with six wolves in the heart of the Moyer Basin pack's territory, believed to be the rest of the Moyer Basin pack. Visual observations obtained through the winter indicate at least 10 wolves are associated with this pack.

Whitehawk. The Whitehawk pack has spent their recent weeks in the East Fork of the Salmon. There are cattle nearby, but so far they have kept out of trouble. Wildlife Services has set up multiple Radio Activated Guard (RAG) Boxes among calving grounds on private property along the East Fork with the hope of detouring wolf activity around the cattle. This pack is made up of 5 wolves, 4 of which are radio- collared.

Wildhorse. The Wildhorse pack, consisting of 5 wolves, continues to use areas within their usual home range.

Stanley Basin. The Stanley Basin pack continues to move far and wide pushing the extremes of their historic home range. They traveled from the Yankee Fork of the Salmon to the North Fork of the Big Wood River. B100 was located apart from the main pack. She was in the Big Lost drainage. B27, the relocated alpha male, remains missing.

Lone/Paired Wolves. Dispersing Thunder Mountain wolf, B58, has been sporadically located in the Copper Basin Area.

B59, a 3 year-old disperser from the Thunder Mountain pack was located in the Squaw Creek, tributary of the main Salmon River drainage. We suspect he is traveling with two other wolves.

B98, a relocated wolf from the Stanley Basin pack, was recently located with 5 wolves on the edge of the Jureano Mountain pack's territory along the main Salmon. B98 has been missing since October of 2000. Future flights will help us to determine more about this group of wolves.

B80, a 1999 Jureano Mountain pup who was relocated into the Selway in March 2000, has been located along the north side of the main Salmon River with another wolf.

Bitterroot and Beaverhead National Forests

White Cloud. White Cloud pack alpha female, wolf B36, was not found during the latest monitoring flight. Pack member B86 has not been located for the past few flights.

Relocated White Cloud pack wolf, B63 remains in the West Fork of the Bitterroot River drainage.

Report Wolf Sightings

As the wolf population continues to expand, an increased number of wolves will be uncollared compounding the difficult task of documenting formation of new packs. The Wolf Recovery Program relies on wolf sighting reports from the public to identify potential areas to survey for new wolf pack activity. Reports we received in the Copper Basin area last winter led to the confirmation of the Wildhorse pack. We would like to thank all those who have taken the time to report observed wolf activity and are hopeful that continued help from the public will result in confirmation of additional wolf packs. The Recovery Program encourages the public to report all sightings of wolves or their sign. Sightings can be reported to Curt Mack by mail at Nez Perce Tribe, P.O. Box 1922, McCall, ID 83638, or by phone at (208) 634-1061, or by email at nptwolf@cyberhighway.net; or Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Rm 368, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 378-5347.

Research

Idaho wolf Researchers and Cooperators from the University of Idaho, Hornocker Wildlife Institute, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nez Perce Tribe, Lemhi County, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game held a coordination meeting in Boise to discuss future coordination, direction and needs.

University of Idaho graduate students Jason Husseman and John Oakleaf, and researchers Jim and Holly Akenson, and Gary Power presented findings of ongoing wolf research in Idaho at the annual Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society meetings in Boise.

Outreach, Information, Education, & Coordination

Project personnel attended the annual Idaho Chapter of the Wildlife Society meetings in Boise.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel met with staff of the Idaho Congressional delegation, the Idaho Cattle Association, and the Office of Species Conservation to discuss U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comments on the State of Idaho's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

Management & Control

There is a growing potential for wolf-livestock conflicts with recent wolf activity around livestock calving areas along the upper Salmon River Corridor. Project personnel are working closely with area livestock producers coordinating information about wolf activity. Radio Activated Guard (RAG) devices have been deployed to attempt to keep wolves out of calving pastures. Remedies are complicated by the transient nature of known wolf activity.




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