Idaho Wolf Update
April 16, 2001

Monitoring

The Recovery Projcet has initiated annual spring breeding pair surveys. Monitoring flights will focus on identifying denning areas of breeding females. A few wolf packs have been located around potential denning areas, however, additional monitoring is required to determine the denning status of the majority of packs.

Summer field crews will be busy again this year as the number of potential packs continues to increase. In addition to the current 14 documented packs, tribal monitoring crews will be focusing on documenting the reproductive status of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and 3-6 suspected uncollared wolf packs.

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. Additional monitoring efforts will be required to determine the denning status of this pack.

Kelly Creek. Wolf 90-13 continues to use the western portion of their territory, as he has for most of the winter. B42 and B79 were located in the Kelly Creek drainage, east of wolf 90-13. Additional monitoring efforts will be required to determine the denning status of this pack.

Big Hole. The Bighole pack was most recently located within the Lolo Creek drainage of Montana. Dispersing wolf B67 was finally relocated on 5 April. He was located along with relocated White Cloud wolf B63 in the West Fork of the Bitterroot drainage. Additional monitoring efforts will be required to determine the denning status of this pack.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B64 (a relocated 3 year-old maleWhite Cloud wolf) and B81(a relocated 2 year-old male Jureano Mountain wolf) were located together in the Fish Creek drainage in Montana. These two wolves have been located in the same general area for most of the winter, however, this is the first time they have been located together. Wolf B64 was spotted with another uncollared wolf in February. B64 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. We have no indication of denning to date. Tribal field crews will monitor these wolves closely this summer to determine their breeding status.

Nez Perce National Forest

Selway. Selway pack members continues to use areas within their usual home range. This pack was last located, in the upper end of the Selway drainage. This pack has most recently localized their movements in a potential den site area, however, additional monitoring will be required to document the denning status of this pack.

South of the Salmon River

Payette National Forest

Chamberlain Basin. The Chamberlain Basin pack continues to move back and forth between the main Salmon River and Big Creek, both ungulate winter range areas. The Chamberlain basin pack was last located around a potential den site and we suspect this pack is denning.

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. This pack was most recently located within the upper reaches of the Big Creek drainage. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Thunder Mountain. The Thunder Mountain pack has remained in the South Fork of the Salmon for the majority of the winter. This pack was most recently located in the Johnson Creek drainage. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B45 continues to use areas within her usual range just north of McCall, Idaho. She was most recently located north of Burgdorf Hotsprings. Although B45 did not produce pups last year, even though we suspected she had paired, we are anticipating she will produce her first litter this spring. B45 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. Although she has localized her movements recently, additional monitoring will be required to determine her denning status.

B50 continues to concentrate her movements along the north side of the main Salmon River breaks, around the confluence of the South Fork of the Salmon River. B50 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. She and her suspected mate have localized their movements to a small geographic area for most of the winter. Additional monitoring will be required to determine her denning status.

Boise National Forest

Orphan. The Orphan pack was most recently located in the upper South Fork of the Salmon River drainage. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B78, a 3 year-old female Kelly Creek pack dispersing wolf, continues to be located in the drainage of the Middle Fork of the Payette River drainage. We suspect B78 is traveling with another wolf. B78 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. We have no indication of denning to date.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

Landmark. The Landmark pack continues to use wintering areas in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage. We suspect this pack is denning.

Jureano Mountain. The Jureano Mountain pack remains within their usual home range. We suspect this pack is currently denning.

Moyer Basin. The Moyer Basin Pack continues to use traditional areas of their home range. This pack was most recently located within the Hat Creek drainage. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Whitehawk. The Whitehawk pack continues to travel widely between the upper main Salmon River and the East Fork of the Salmon River. This pack has most recently traveled from the East Fork of the Salmon River drainage to the upper Salmon River drainage south of the town of Stanley, Idaho. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Wildhorse. The Wildhorse pack continues to use areas within their usual home range in the Copper Basin area. We have no indication of denning by this pack to date.

Stanley Basin. The Stanley Basin pack continues to move extensively in fragmented groups. The alpha pair for this pack are confirmed dead. B95 and recently collared wolf B105 were last located in the Bayhorse drainage of the main Salmon River. Wolf B100 was last located in the Big Hole country of northwest Montana. We do not anticipate that the fragmented remains of this pack will den this year.

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

B59, a 3 year-old dispersing wolf from the Thunder Mountain pack was most recently located in the Frank Church Wilderness west of Challis, ID. We suspect this wolf is traveling with up to two additional wolves and may be paired. B59 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. Although additional monitoring is required to confirm, early indications are that this wolf has localized around a potential den site.

B80 was last located within the North Fork of the Salmon River. B80 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. She has not been located for the last two monitoring flights. Monitoring efforts will be intensified to relocate this wolf.

Bitterroot and Beaverhead National Forests

White Cloud. Relocated White Cloud wolves, B36 and B86, have not been found for the past several flights. There whereabouts are currently unknown.

Relocated White Cloud pack wolf, B63 remains in the West Fork of the Bitterroot River drainage. He was most recently located with Big Hole dispersing wolf B67. Although, we have not been able to obtain a visual of B63, there is a potential for this wolf to be paired. He has localized his movements for much of the winter, and reports from the public indicate other wolf activity in the West Fork of the Bitterroot River drainage. B63 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. We have no indication of denning to date. Tribal crews will monitor these wolves closely this summer to determine their breeding status.

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

Nothing new to report.

Outreach, Information, Education, & Coordination

Idaho Wolf Recovery Project personnel attended and presented at the annual North American Interagency Wolf Conference in Chico, Montana. Project personnel Rick Williamson with Wildlife Services and Isaac Babcock with the Nez Perce Tribe presented updates on Idaho wolf recovery current progress and future challenges. The conference received praises for one of the all time best annual Chico conferences to date. Our thanks to Suzanne Laverty of Defenders of Wildlife and Joe Fontaine of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for organizing another very successful conference.

The Nez Perce Tribe was a recipient of the National Wildlife Federation's 2000 Conservation Achievement Award for their work on wolf and salmon recover. Nez Perce Tribal representatives traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the awards ceremony. The Nez Perce Tribe is honored to receive such an esteemed award and be recognized for their dedicated efforts to recover culturally significant endangered wildlife.

Tribal representatives met with members of the Idaho congressional delegation, government agencies, and private conservation organizations in DC to discuss and provide updates on wolf recovery issues in Idaho.

Project personnel attended a meeting of the Idaho Legislative Wolf Oversight Committee in Boise. The purpose of the meeting was to incorporate U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's comments into the draft Idaho Wolf Management and Conservation Plan.

Nez Perce Tribal representatives met with Idaho congressional delegation staff in Boise Idaho. The coordination meeting was helpful in continuing positive communication and working relationships between the recovery program, the Idaho congressional delegation, and citizens of Idaho in addressing concerns surrounding wolf recovery.

Management & Control

Wolves continue to frequent cattle operations in the East Fork of the Salmon River and the Big Lost River drainages. Project personnel continue to work with livestock producers to address their concerns. RAG boxes continue to be deployed around calving operations along the East Fork of the Salmon River. No confirmed wolf depredations have been reported since the last control actions in mid March. Wildlife Service's Field Specialist Rick Williamson has done a commendable job spending much time and attention to monitoring wolves, working with affected livestock producers, and maintaining RAG boxes in this area.




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