Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week Mar 11 - Mar 17, 2000
HAPPY ST. PATTY"S DAY
Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are
generally in their normal home ranges.
See the 1999 annual report
for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.
Wolf pairs have bred and we anticipate that several new packs
will form this spring. We have received many wolf observation
reports that are helping us to look for wolf activity in some
new areas and beginning to schedule potential spring/summer
capture efforts. Please continue to report wolf sightings
so that we can focus any aircraft searches for missing
radio-collared wolves or our track surveys in areas of
concentrated wolf activity this winter and spring.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
On about March 11, wolves from the Twin Peaks pack killed
another calf at the Broken-Wing Ranch near Clayton, ID.
WS captured the radio-collared alpha pair from that pack
and they were relocated to the Selway area on the 15th.
The male had a broken front tooth but after a veterinarian
looked at it the decision was made that nothing could really
be done and he was relocated. There are approximately 2-4
wolves left in that area- none of which have functioning radios.
On the 16th another calf was examined and it had also been
attacked by wolves but not killed. The examination indicated
the wounds were made within the past day or so. On the 17th,
another calf was killed. Attempts are being made to collar
and release one of the remaining wolves to better focus control
efforts and remove the remaining pack members. WS also captured
the remaining 2 pups from the now defunct Jureano pack that were
frequenting a dairy near Salmon, ID. Those pups were also released
in the Selway area at the same time but at a different airstrip
as the 2 Twin Peak adults.
Early morning on the 15th, members of the Wolf Creek pack
(2 adults plus 8-9 young of the year) killed a 700 lb. yearling
steer about 100 yds from the rancher's house NW of Marion, MT.
The rancher also stated he saw 2 wolves that night interacting
with his dog. The dog was not injured. The rancher did all the
right things and immediately made calls to WS and the Service,
covered the carcasses and tried to preserve wolf tracks in the area.
WS confirmed it had been killed by wolves and signals from 2 male
pups were located in the area. That night those 2 wolves and
another were seen feeding on the carcass. Traps were set but
nothing was caught. The traps were pulled the next day because
of weather conditions and the radioed wolves left the area. Control
options are being discussed but will likely remove some wolves
from the pack next week when a helicopter and fixed-wing become
Yellowstone National Park captured and radio-collared 45 adult
female elk and 2 yearling female elk this week. The study will
increase efforts to investigate the relationship of wolves to
their primary prey in Yellowstone's northern range.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Boyd and Meier made a trip through NW MT to visit with local
biologists and residents to renew contacts in preparation for
trapping and radio-collaring efforts this winter.
A recent article in Outdoor Life about the Yellowstone wolf
program stated "the ever expanding predators could devastate
big game hunting" - that wolves will "conceivably move into
Arizona" - some biologists suggest hunting be reduced to
"eliminate competition" - and ended on the note of "but it
(via legislation to take wolf control away from the federal
government and give it to the state) may be the only solution
for a federal program that is on its way to disaster." While
Crying Wolf!! is certainly entertaining, in all likelihood it
will be years before any real pattern of elk movements can be
associated with wolves movement and hunting behavior. Research
in NW MT on radiocollared elk and wolves indicated that elk did
move into cover when wolves were present but elk didn't move off
of natural wintering areas because of predators. The studies on
the feed grounds in WY and as well as the new elk radio telemetry
should provide some usually and interesting data.
The Annual Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Conference is scheduled
for Chico Hot Springs, April 11-13. Juan Carlos Blanco will talk
on Wolf Recolonization in Spain for the banquet. Wolf management
issues from around the United States will be presented.
Jimenez will be on leave from the 17th through 25th. Calls can
be forwarded to Helena 406-449-5225 x204 or WY LE at 307-2616365
or 527-7604 or 332-7607 or WY Wildlife Services 307-261-5336.
Dr. Mark Johnson will be teaching a wolf immobilization and
handling course on April 18-20. Interested people should call
NOTE: CORRECTIONS TO PREVIOUS WEEKLY REPORT -
Elk movements between feeding grounds described in last week's
report were mistakenly identified as occurring on the National
Elk Refuge. It should have stated that these elk movements were
on the state of WY elk feed grounds in the Gros Ventre drainage
20-25 miles east of the elk refuge. Also, in the discussion
of the Soda Butte pack reorganization, wolf #126 was mistakenly
identified as wolf #124.
We are seeking experienced volunteers to assist with summer
wolf trapping efforts in NW Montana. We are looking for
volunteers with previous wolf and/or coyote trapping experience.
We can pay a minimum per diem but no salary. We will furnish
field accommodations. If interested, contact Diane Boyd
(406-449-5225 x 207, email@example.com) or Tom Meier
(406-449-5225 x 219, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet - ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
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