Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week of Mar 11 - Mar 17, 1997

Monitoring

Yellowstone is beginning to conduct telemetry flights every day as part of their winter study to determine the food habits and kill rates of wolves in the Park. All wolves continue to remain localized within their normal home ranges. None were located outside expected areas. Female wolf #39 is missing again and perhaps she has headed north again. Only 1 wolf (a yearling male) escaped from the Nez Perce pen. He is hanging around the pen and so on the 18th, 8 of the Sawtooth pups will be released from the pen to join him. The remaining 5 wolves: #27, her 1995 pup, her 1996 pup (see control) and 2 male Sawtooth (brought down from NW Montana last fall) pups will be held in the pen until mid-June when they will be released in the southern part of the Park.

A flight over the Big Hole area of Montana did not locate any radio-collared wolves although tracks of a lone wolf were reported in the area last week. It was suspected that the Big Hole male (that was moved into a pen central Idaho but escaped) had returned. Poor flying conditions have hampered a population-wide flight.

Monitoring and public reports indicate that there may be over 12 potential breeding pairs in NW Montana this spring. Hopefully we will be able to confirm that this summer.

The Service plans to hire 4 seasonal field biologists this summer for 6 months beginning mid-April. Applications must have been postmarked by the 17th. Selections should be made by mid-April andthe work should begin shortly thereafter.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

On the 9th, #27's only wolf pup left in the Nye area, killed two sheep and later attacked another at the same ranch where sheep depredations by #27 occurred last summer. The female pup was captured (darted) by ADC on the 14th and was returned to the Nez Perce pen in Yellowstone to be with her mother. They and 3 other wolves will be released in June in the southern part of the Park.

ADC investigated an incident in which a steer was eventaully euthanized because of injuries that might have been caused by a large predator near Geyser, Montana (east of Great Falls). There have been reports of wolves in this general vicinity for nearly a decede but nothing has been confirmed to date.

Research

The serologic results from the analysis of blood collected from the gray wolf-like canid captured near Big Sandy, WY indicate that the animal had probably not been vaccinated for common canine diseases. The DNA tests for the Big Sandy and Cody wolf-like canids will take several more weeks to complete. It is also quite possible that these tests will not be able to determine the origin of either of these animals.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

The Annual Wolf Working Group Meeting is being held at Chico Hot Springs, MT April 9-10. The program looks great. Wolf experts from throughout the U.S. and Canada will be giving presentations. Contact Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 or Suzanne Laverty (WolfEducation and Research Center) (208)343-2248 for further information.

Yellowstone National Park's project leader for wolf restoration, Mike Phillips, announced that he has accepted a job with Turner Enterprises. He will help restore rare plant and animal species to various Turner properties, including large land holdings in the American West. This is an exciting and significant conservation effort and an outstanding opportunity for Mike. He will be leaving the Yellowstone project in early June. Congratulations Mike, we wish you all the best. THANKS!! for doing such an excellent job in the Park.

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

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






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