Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week of Apr 28 - May 6, 1997

Monitoring

All Yellowstone wolf packs remain localized within their normal home ranges. Female wolf #39 has not been located for over a month and is no longer being actively searched for. The Rose Creek, Druid, and Chief Joseph "threesome" packs each have 2 dens. Seven pups were seen at one of the Rose Creek dens a minimum of 2 pups were at the other. The Leopold, Soda Butte (near Heart Lake), Dubious (this has not been confirmed yet but more flights are planned this week), and Crystal packs, all appear to have a den. The Thorofare pair has still not localized enough to indicate a likely den site. That means the Yellowstone recovery area has 7 breeding pairs (packs) and up to 10 litters this year. Surprisingly, 9 out of 10 potential dens are in the Park. It is unlikely all those litters will survive this summer since several were born to lone females. Six of the Sawtooth yearlings are still hanging around Hebgen Lake with two 2-year olds. The group is seen repeatedly and are becoming a potential nuisance. The other Sawtooth yearling is hanging around the Nez Perce pen and could join the #27 group when they are released.

Female wolf #27, her 2 female pups (1 from 1995 and 1 from 1996), and 2 male Sawtooth pups are being held in the Nez Perce pen. Surprise!, there are 4 new pups in the pen. They will be released this summer. Litter 10 or 11 (not counting the one that died).

The Boulder/Big Sandy, WY "wolf" that was roped after it killed sheep is still being held in the Rose Creek pen and is doing fine. No word has come back on the DNA work but it is very possible that the results will be inconclusive. Its origin may not be known until its behavior in the wild is documented.

Twenty-four of 29 wolves being monitored in central Idaho have paired. There are 6 females that have localized and likely denned, 2 others have possible dens and other pairs might produce pups this spring. South of the Salmon River, 3 wolves have paired with wolves that are not wearing active collars. One of those was observed and it was not wearing a radio-collar (probably a natural dispersing wolf but it is always possible that its collar fell off). The Nez Perce Tribe is locating the wolves more intensively for the next few weeks to better document potential pup production but weather has been a problem. The Tribe is hoping to have their 6-person seasonal crew on board by the end of May.

Monitoring activity on wolves in NW Montana is picking up. The Ninemile pack has appeared to den. At this time there are only 9 confirmed packs that could produce pups this summer. The Belly River pack apparently had the alpha female and another pack member legally killed this spring in Canada. Wolf packs in the Glacier National Park area seem to have shifted their ranges to the north (1 former Park pack is entirely in Canada now), partly in response to declining white-tailed deer and elk populations in the North Fork Drainage. The most recent flight still failed to locate the Thompson Falls male or the lone radio-collared Sawtooth pup. The Service 5-person seasonal crew has prepared equipment and on May 5-7 are taking a tour of NW Montana with Fontaine. They should begin searching for wolves in mid-May and begin trapping shortly thereafter. Hopefully they will be able to better document the breeding status of known wolf packs and find several other suspected packs that may have recently developed.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

A report of wolf damage to calves near Helena was investigated by ADC. It turned out to be coyotes. It has been quiet otherwise.

The Big Hole pair is being held in a pen on a private holding in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. They will be released in late May or early June in the northern part of the Idaho experimental area.

Research

The Nez Perce Tribe rescheduled the May 9 meeting to discuss wolf research in Idaho. The meeting is now scheduled for the week of June 23.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

A wolf-livestock cooperative meeting was hosted by the Nez Perce Tribe in Emmet, Idaho on April 29. Other informational programs will be given to rural communities in central Idaho in the following months.

Bangs met with the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission on the 28th and is preparing Service comments (due May 15) on the Wyoming state wolf management plan.

Bangs and Mack (NPT) will give presentations at the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society annual meeting in Bozeman on May 7.

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






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