Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks Apr 7 - Apr 21, 2000
Core packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana
are generally in their normal home ranges and should be checking
out denning sites in the next few weeks. See the 1999 annual
report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a
map of those pack locations and home ranges.
Most alpha females from established packs have denned. At this
early date it appears that there may be fewer potential breeding
pairs going into this summer than last year. It appears unlikley
that 30 breeding pairs will successfully produce pups in 2000,
meaning the three-year count down toward delisting will not begin
until 2001 at earliest. It appears as if the number of wolves
and breeding pairs in all three recovery may be entering a phase
of increase much slower than occurred during the years immediately
In the greater Yellowstone area it appears that 9 groups may have
denned. Leopold, Rose, Druid (maybe multiple litters), Nez Perce,
Gros Ventre, Sunlight Basin, famous #9, and possibly 147 west of
Cody, and a pair that has been hanging out west of Gardiner have
apparently localized. Unfortunately the alpha female form the
Soda Butte pack was found dead near a moose kill and it is
suspected she was killed by a moose before her pups were born.
Females in Sheep Mountain, Crystal, and the Teton packs do not
appear to have bred. Further monitoring throughout the summer
will shed more light on these initial observations.
In central Idaho, the White Cloud, Twin Peak packs which
comprised 2 of the 10 confirmed breeding pairs in Idaho in
1999 are gone (see control). Early indications are that 8
radioed and possibly 4 unradioed groups could den, about the
same number of potential dens suspected in Idaho in spring 1999.
Because of rugged and remote terrain it will take much of the
summer to confirm these early observations.
In NW Montana the Spotted Bear pack (the relocated former Bass
Creek female and her 999 pups and the relocated 1998 Pleasant
Valley male) has denned. In addition it appears that 7 other
packs could have denned. It will take several addition flights
and some ground observations to confirm the potential number of
breeding pairs. The absence of radio-collars in several packs
(Boulder, Whitefish, Wigwam) is hindering monitoring efforts.
Please report wolf sightings but especially reports in localized
areas or reports of wolves "barking" when people are near to help
us locate any new wolf dens.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
The "judas" wolf from the defunct Twin Peaks pack that was left
at the Broken Wing Ranch remains near the ranch and has been
digging up and feeding at the bone pit remains alone. It will
continue to be monitored.
The remaining members of the White Cloud pack killed more calves
on April 8 and 2 subadult pack members were shot on April 13.
On April 20, 2 wolves, including the relocated alpha male who
made it back some 100 miles in 19 days, were shot. The remaining
2 pack members will be shot at first opportunity.
Investigation of a reported wolf depredation on the Blackfeet
Reservation near the Canadian border was investigated by WS and
Tribal personnel. Coyote depredation was confirmed.
Nothing new to report.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Niemeyer gave a talk to about 20 people in Lewiston, MT on
Fontaine talked with the Spotted Bear Ranger District, Limits
of Acceptable Change group on April 8 in Kalispell, MT.
Jimenez met with students and faculty at Northwest College in
Powell, WY to discuss students help in monitoring wolf packs
west of Cody, WY on April 14. On April 25 he talked with the
Jackson Ranger District grazing meeting in Jackson, WY.
The Annual Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Conference held at Chico
Hot Springs, April 11-13 was attended by about 120 people. Only
about 1/2 were from resource management agencies. Juan Carlos
Blanco gave a very informative talk about Wolf Recolonization
in Spain for the Conference banquet. People seem to have the
same relationship with wolves about everywhere. Idaho USDA
Wildlife Services got a special award for their effects to
resolve wolf/livestock conflict in Idaho. WS employee Rick
Williamson got a special achievement award form the Nez Perce
Tribe for his efforts. The annual Alpha Award went to -
soon to retire - Service biologists Roy Heberger from Boise, ID.
Congrats to all the Idaho crew for a job well done under some
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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