Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week of Mar 30 - Apr 5, 2002

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's email and web sites are back. Thanks for your patience. Please forward copies of the 2001 annual report and weekly reports to others.

Monitoring

See the 1999, 2000, and 2001 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualreports.htm/ for a map of pack locations and home ranges. The interagency 2001 annual report is available and we should begin mail distribution around April 10th 2002. This year's annual report is excellent, great job Tom Meier!! and thanks to all those who contributed their data.

Wolves should be searching out den sites now and will be denning later this month. Monitoring flights will be conducted to determine the number of location of denning wolves.

B116, yearling from the Goldfork pack in Idaho apparently had his radio chewed off, it was recovered this week.

Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!! If outdoors enthusiasts or AGENCY BIOLOGISTS report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service. This appears to be a record year for wolf dispersal and evidence is mounting that there are several packs and pairs that have formed that do not contain radio-collared members. We find them primarily through public and agency reports - so please help!!

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

On the 31st, the only sheep in the East Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho was killed on private land by the Whitehawk pack. Wildlife Services happened to be in the area and within 15 minutes confirmed it had been killed by wolves. As a result 2 members of the Whitehawk pack were removed. An uncollared sub-adult and a radio-collared adult were shot on April 1. The collared wolf had been located in the area by the RAG boxes and when examined had wool in his stomach. At the same time the pack was harassed with cracker shells and a helicopter in hopes of driving them from the vicinity. Five local ranchers were given permits that would allow a wolf to be shot if it was seen on private land. Once a wolf as taken the permits would be inactive. This permits were first issued in Wyoming in late 1999. This year permits were given to several Montana sheep ranchers after they had confirmed losses. To date no wolves have been taken under these permits.

On April 3 the Whitehawk pack returned and killed a calf on private land in the East Fork of the Salmon River. In response on April 4, 3 other pack members were killed. RAG box monitors indicated these wolves were visiting the area where the calf was killed. On the 5th, a report of another calf was being investigated and if the Whitehawk pack was responsible the remaining 5 pack members (adult pair and 3 yearlings), may be killed.

Despite repeated statements by the Service that it would not be relocating many wolves and that lethal control would go up as wolf populations increase, we have been getting many calls and emails from the public who are very upset that wolves are being killed, especially wolf #224 from the Druid pack in Yellowstone. He was very visible and many people identified with him on an individual basis. This controversy will likely increase as more lethal control is conducted. One of the consequences of having a rapidly expanding wolf population is an increased number of conflicts and increased wolf control. However, given the emotional nature of wolf issues, the controversy is expected as is the potential for litigation.

Research

The Yellowstone National Park winter predation study began on March 1 and ended on March 30. The 30-day study follows wolf packs every day on the ground and by aircraft [weather depending] to measure the predation rate and prey selection of wolves. This work has been conducted Nov.15 - Dec.15 and March 1-30 for the past 5 years. This has been the worst winter weather on record for flying but ground crews are doing their best to keep up.

Asher conducted more rubber bullet training in the Paradise Valley on the 1st and put newer batteries in the RAG box in use there. She also hiked into the area where the Sheep Mountain pack had localized searching for a potential den but none was found and the wolves started moving around again. She did the same for the Chief Joe pack which has been hanging out in Cinibar and Tom Miner Basin. If the packs were cleaning out dens in "bad" locations we would fill the dens with moths balls and disturb the sites to hopefully get the wolves to den in better locations. Last year we successfully caused the Chief Joe pack to den in Yellowstone National Park rather than Cinibar Basin again.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Bangs attended and gave the evening presentation at the MidWest Wolf Stewards meeting at Two Harbors, MN on the 3rd. About 70 people from the mid-west, representing MN, MI, and WI state agencies, Wildlife Services, National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Universities, Stockgrowers, and wolf conservation groups attended.

The Nez Perce Tribe's annual and weekly report can be seen at cmack@nezperce.org.

On the 16th of January, Montana released its draft state wolf management plan for public review and comment. The draft "Planning Document for Wolf Conservation and Management in Montana" and the Wolf Advisory Council's "Report to the Governor" are available via MT FW&P's website at: www.fwp.state.mt.us. To request copies call 406-444-2612.

The Annual Wolf Conference will be held in Boise, ID instead of Chico, MT this year. The Conference is scheduled for April 23rd and 24th at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel 800-233-4611. Contact Joe Fontaine (406)449-5225 x 206.

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 This email address will not work until DOI email is restored.


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