Idaho Wolf Update
May 6, 2001

Monitoring

The project is gearing up for another busy field season slated to begin 15 May. Tribal field crews will be out on the ground again this year documenting reproductive success of documented packs and newly suspected mated pairs. Reproductive status will be determined for the 14 existing documented collared packs and 6 new suspected wolf pairs. Field crews will also spend time attempting to document the presence of suspected uncollared groups of wolves across the state.

The Recovery Projcet has initiated annual spring breeding pair surveys. Monitoring flights will focus on identifying denning areas of breeding females. To date 10 wolf packs and pairs are suspected to be denning. Seven documented wolf packs are suspected to be denning including Chamberlain Basin, Jureano Mountain, Landmark, Orphan, Thunder Mountain, Wildhorse, and Wolf Fang. Three wolf pairs are suspected to be denning for the first time including B78, B50, and B59. Additional monitoring is required to determine the denning status of the remaining 7 documented wolf packs and 3 suspected wolf pairs.

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 male White Cloud wolf) and B81 (a relocated 2-year-old male Jureano Mountain wolf) were located together in the Fish Creek drainage in Montana during the previous flight. During the most recent flight in late April, these two wolves were in the same general area, but not together. These two wolves have been located in the same general area for most of the winter, however, the previous flight was the only 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. We suspect this pack is denning in their usual home range.

Wolf Fang. We suspect this pack is denning in their usual home range.

Thunder Mountain. We suspect this pack is denning in their usual home range.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B45 continues to use areas within her usual range just north of McCall, Idaho. She was most recently located in the Steamboat Summit area. B45 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. Although we suspect B45 has been paired for the past two years, she did not produce pups last year, and is not showing any signs of denning again this spring. Additional monitoring will be required to determine her breeding 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. We suspect she is denning.

Boise National Forest

Orphan. We suspect this pack is denning in their usual home range.

Lone/Paired Wolves. B78, a 3-year-old female Kelly Creek pack dispersing wolf, continues to be located in the Middle and South Fork drainages of the Payette River. We suspect B78 is traveling with another wolf. B78 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. We suspect B78 is denning.

Salmon-Challis National Forest

Landmark. The Landmark pack continues to use 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. Collared members of the Moyer Basin Pack recently traveled south of their usual home range. Members of this pack were last located between Lion Creek and Bayhorse Creek drainages south of Challis, Idaho. This is the same area frequented by the remaining Stanley Basin pack members. We are not sure how many of the Moyer pack traveled south with the collared wolves. Moyer Basin and Stanley Basin wolves are in close proximity to livestock. Project personnel are monitoring the situation closely, working with livestock producers to discourage wolf presence around livestock. Frequent monitoring and placement of a RAG device will hopefully deter the wolves. 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 located in the Sawtooth Valley. 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 suspect this pack is denning.

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 continue to frequent areas between Lion Creek and Birch Creek drainages along the western face of the main Salmon River. Wolf B100 was last located in the Big Hole country of northwest Montana. This wolf was not located on the last monitoring flight. 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 most recently located in the upper reaches of tributaries to the Lemhi River, east of Salmon, Idaho. B80 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. Additional monitoring efforts will be required to determine the breeding status of 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. Their 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

Project personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, and the Nez Perce Tribe met with Custer County Commissioners and interested public on 23 April in Challis, Idaho.

Project Biologist Isaac Babcock with the Nez Perce Tribe made a presentation to the McCall Rotary Club on 24 April.

Project Personnel from U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services and the Nez Perce Tribe made a presentation to University of Idaho members of the Young Idaho Cattle Association in Clayton Idaho on 28 April.

Project Personnel from the Nez Perce Tribe participated in the Forest Service's annual operators meeting in Fairfield, Idaho on 2 May.

Project Personnel from the Nez Perce Tribe met with the Idaho Conservation League, and the Wood River Land Trust in Hailey, Idaho on 3 May.

Management & Control

Wolves continue to frequent cattle operations in the East Fork of the Salmon River, upper Salmon, 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 and upper 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.

Remaining members of the Stanley Basin pack have been frequenting the dead animal pit at the Challis landfill site. Project personnel are concerned about these wolves frequenting this area in close proximity to the town of Challis. The project is monitoring the wolves closely, using various methods to discourage wolf use of this area. Rick Williamson of Wildlife Services, has done an outstanding job working with concerned people in the area, monitoring wolves, attempting to capture and collar visiting wolves, and deploying a remote monitoring and a RAG device to help discourage the wolves from frequenting the landfill. Thanks Rick for all your help.




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