Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week April 14 - April 20, 2001
The alpha female of the Druid pack reportedly denned April 4 and most other females have since
gone into dens. The Taylor Peak female was laying by what look to be a freshly excavated den
on the 7th. The Washakie wolf was located by the old den on the 9th. Packs in the Sunlight Basin
are also near last year's dens. Flights are being conducted to monitor and locate other packs that
have apparently denned. This year seems a little earlier than past years but maybe the wolves are
just adjusting to being farther south. The average den date for NW MT was around April 21 but
it appears that most will have denned prior to that date this year. A flight in the Ninemile Valley
indicated the alpha female was near a historic den site and separated from other pack members.
The Boulder alpha male and a yearling were not located and the other radioed yearling was in its
normal home range but alone.
Five members of the Gros Ventre pack including the old light-colored male killed an elk near the
road in the Gros Ventre drainage. The alpha female was absent and is presumed to be denning.
They were observed for much of the day on the 17th. Attempts will be made this summer to trap
near the den and reestablish radio contact with this pack. A group of 3 unradioed wolves
continue to be reported near Togowtee Pass.
The 5 recently released (3/28) Boulder wolves had regrouped (the male separated initially) and
had stayed a few miles north of their release site along the west shore of Koocanusa Res. until
the 10th. On the 14th, the male was by himself again north of Libby dam and the 4 females were a
mile into Canada and about a mile west of Koocanusa Res. The "East Kootenai" pack containing
a yearling female wolf originally from the Graves Creek Pack, was also located on the West
side/end of Lake Koocanusa in Canada some 40 km north of the border.
The Nez Perce Tribe is monitoring 14 documented packs in Idaho as well as search for the 3-6
possible but undocumented packs and a possible 6-7 new breeding pairs. The Tribe will have a
full plate this summer to confirm whether those wolf groups successfully raise young in 2001.
Please report wolf sightings!! Thanks to those who have been forwarding us reports it has helped
located several potential new packs. When we are this close to reaching the 30 breeding pair
recovery goal, each wolf pack becomes very important.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
On the morning of the 14th, members of the Gravely pack attacked sheep on private land next to
the Blacktail Game range northeast of Dillon, MT. Wildlife Services confirmed 8 ewes were
killed and another 7 may have been wounded. Lambing will start in the next week. A herder
reported that 5 wolves came near the sheep again over the weekend but were driven off. On the
18th, WS caught, radioed and released an unmarked gray adult male, assumed to be the alpha.
We are tracking the radioed wolf and figure out how many wolves there are and what to do to
prevent further problems.
Right now we are monitoring the Chief Joe pack after harassing them and scent marking their
2000 den site in the Paradise Valley area. Chief Joe moved back into the Park on the 10th and all
the radioed pack members were still by their old den site. On the 15th fresh dirt was seen near
their old den in the Park and the female has localized in that area. More recent information
indicates she has denned in the Park near the pack's historic den. So maybe it (harassment)
worked! A special thanks to the Turner Endangered Species Fund biologists for keeping on top
of this one - looks like their diligent efforts paid off.
On the 17th, WS trapped and euthanized the lone wolf that had been killing sheep and cattle along
the East Front west of Augusta, MT since last year. The unmarked black adult male had an old
injury to his mouth and had lost a canine and other teeth. The pelt was rubbed but the skull will
be saved for educational purposes. Good job WS!
A lone depredating wolf near Pinedale, WY killed a calf in the same general vicinity as previous
depredations. WS is flying the area and shoot that wolf as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Wolves continue to frequent cattle operations along the East Fork of the Salmon River and Big
Creek drainages. Project personnel continue to work with livestock producers. RAG boxes
continue to be deployed around calving operations. WS deserve special recognition for
monitoring wolves and maintaining RAG boxes in that area.
Nothing new to report.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Because of the administration change and a backlog of personnel actions related to the large
number of new fire positions in the western U.S., the two seasonal wolf jobs will not be filled
until mid to late May at the earliest. Final applicants will be interviewed and notified ASAP, but
with 85 applicants, competition will be intense.
Bangs gave a presentation to about 50 people at the Helena Rotary lunch on the 18th.
Smith and Jimenez participated in a live radio talk show of out Cody, WY on the 19th, mainly
discussing wolf and elk relationships.
On April 19th, the Great Falls Tribune ran a front page story about the release of the Interagecny
Annual Wolf Report and the fact that the wolf population is reaching recovery level (30 breeding
pair) and delisting is probably only 3 years away.
On the 20th, Smith traveled to Wolf Park in Indiana to participate in a series of wolf meetings.
The Wolf Park was Smith's first job with wolves (1973) even though they are all captive
CONGRATULATIONS - The Nez Perce Tribe was the recipient of the National Wildlife
Federations's 2000 Conservation Achievement Award for their work on wolf and salmon
recovery. Nez Perce Tribal representatives traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the
awards ceremony. The Nez Perce said "It is honored to receive such a esteemed award and to be
recognized for the Tirbe's dedicated efforts to recover culturally significant endangered wildlife."
On the 11th, Niemeyer and Mack attended a meeting of the Idaho Legislative Wolf Oversight
Committee as they discussed final edits to the draft Idaho state wolf management plan.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a news release that confirmed illegal poisoning as
the cause of death of 2 Idaho gray wolves. Necropsies confirmed that Idaho wolves #37
(found on Salmon-Challis National Forest) and B-96 (found about 20 miles north of Fairfield,
ID and had also been shot) were killed by baits poisoned with Compound 1080. Possibly 2 other
wolves from the Moyer Basin may have also been poisoned. Compound 1080 is a highly toxic
substance that is illegal to possess. Service Special Agent Paul Weyland cautioned anyone in the
out of doors "If you see a carcass, pile of meat, or pile dead birds or smaller mammals, please
contact a law enforcement office immediately. We are very concerned for the safety of dogs and
children, as well as wildlife that may be harmed by this illegal practice." FWS Service agents can
be contacted at (208)378-5333 [Boise, ID], (208)523-0855 [Idaho Falls, ID], (307)261-6365
[Lander, WY], (406)582-0336 [Bozeman, MT] or (406)329-3000 [Missoula, MT].
The 2000 annual report was completed and all hard copies were mailed this week. The report is available at
http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt00/ later in the week.
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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