Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks June 2 - June 23, 2000
Denning packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana
beginning to move pups around and some pups are being seen about
ground and at new dens/rendezvous sites. See the 1999 annual
annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/
for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.
A tracking flight west of Cody WY indicated that #9 was
traveling near her suspected 2000 den site with a large
gray wolf. The Sunlight Basin pack is still near their
suspected den. Wolves #153 and #164 were seen near their
den but #164 was limping badly from what appeared to be a
severely injured front leg. Wolves in that area are being
closely monitored by student volunteers from the local community
college in Powell, WY. Jimenez and Special Agent Eicher are
coordinating that effort. The Teton pack continues to travel
widely and was last located near the Pinto Ranch on the edge of
Teton National Park. The Gros Ventre pack continues to stay near
their den site. Den monitoring efforts in Yellowstone park
resulted in 16 pups being counted in the Druid pack.
Trapping crews had no luck on the east side of the Whitefish
divide and have pulled the traps. A wolf was caught in the Boulder
pack but managed to slip out of the trap. Trapping efforts will
resume again the week of the 19th.
Idaho reports that 6 new collars have been placed on wolves and
reproduction has been confirmed in at least 7 packs so far. Three
new packs have been documented, one in the old Jureano pack territory,
B-61 and B-28 just west of Cascade, and old wolf B-2 (missing for
years but recently "found") and B-66 have formed a pack near Cooper
Basin. Neither of the pregnant females relocated from the Whitecloud
and Twinpeak packs this spring have been located despite continued
telemetry searches. It is likely that they and perhaps other additional
breeding pairs will be discovered this summer as field work progresses.
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. Thanks to those who have been forwarding
us reports it has helped located several potential new packs.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
On the 8th an attempt was made to dart the last Sheep Mtn wolf,
which is radio collared. The other non-collared black wolf has not
been observed for about 2-3 weeks and may have left the area although
a wolf matching its description has been seen in Cinnibar basin and
near Highway 89. The radio collared wolf escaped into dense forest
before she could be darted. Another attempt to dart her was made on
the 23rd. She was pushed from the timber but couldn't be darted and
was killed before she could get back into the forest. The aversive
conditioning program will involve the 4 Sheep Mountain pack members,
including the alpha female that are in the pen on the Flying D Ranch.
Aversive conditioning is scheduled to begin mid-July. Another pen was
transported to the Flying D Ranch and will be constructed soon and
will allow the sample size of the study to be doubled.
A local rancher observed pups at the 2000 Chief Joseph den in Cinnibar
Basin. WS, Service and YNP biologists and local ranchers attempted to
locate and move the pups on the 20th but were unsuccessful. They found
only fresh sign from a lone wolf or 2. A telemetry flight that afternoon
located all the radioed wolves near their 1999 den, well within
Yellowstone National Park. A search was made that night near the
2000 den by Boyd, volunteer Daly Sheldon and WS MT State Director
Handegard. They observed a lone uncollared black male which repeatedly
howled and searched the area without response (looking for his buddies).
Efforts to locate pups near the 2000 den site were unsuccessful and it
appears that the entire pack has moved back to their 1999 den site and
out of cattle country. A telemetry flight on the 22nd supported these
observations. The pilot located all 4 radios, saw 3 adults and 8 pups
on top of Specimen Ridge. The move was interesting because it was 15-20
miles, over a 9,000' mountain, and apparently accomplished in less than
24 hours. We just hope they stay there for a while.
On the 13th, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed a
350-pound calf in Pleasant Valley. A radio collared male from
the Little Wolf pack was located near the kill. Traps were set
but nothing was captured. The radioed male was removed by helicopter
gunning on the 16th. The male was killed because this was the second
time that the Little Wolf pack has killed livestock and the male was
located near the kill and continued to remain close. One yearling
from the Little Wolf pack remains radioed.
The training on the use of rubber bullets, bear spray, and gun safety
to be held in Helena on July 26th was postponed until (tentative)
July 7 because of a scheduling conflict with the LE instructors.
Agency representatives that are interested in attending should
contact Ed Bangs 406-449-5225 x204 ASAP.
The 4 Sheep Mtn. wolves in the Nez Perce pens were transported to
the Flying D Ranch on the 8th. The research protocol is being finalized
by WS researcher Dr. John Shivik and WS will initiate the aversive
conditioning research program in mid-July. Material to construct
another pen was transported to the Flying D Ranch.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Carter Niemeyer, Doug Smith and Joe Fontaine gave presentations to
the newly established Montana Wolf Council on the evening of the 13th.
Niemeyer and Fontaine also attended the formal meeting and responded to
questions by the Council on the 14th.
Doug Smith gave a presentation to about 150 people attending the annual
conference of the Wildlife Veterinarian Association on the 7th in Jackson,
Jimenez gave a talk to about 130 people as part of the noon lecture series
at the Draper Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody on the 13th.
Boyd gave a paper on human perceptions of wolf behavior as people become
more accepting of the presence of large predators at the Annual Conference
of the Society of Conservation Biology in Missoula on the 9th. Diane also
led a predator/wolf tour group from the Conference in Glacier National Park
early the week of the 12th.
Tom Meier is in the process of moving to the Kalispell area to conduct/oversee
the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolf management operations in northwest
Montana. He will be operating out of the MT Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Regional Office. This is being done to place a highly experienced Service wolf
biologist closer to wolves in that area. As soon as he is settled, we will
provide his contact numbers and addresses but for now the best way to reach
him is to leave a message at his Helena number 406-449-5225 x219.
Bangs attended basic and supervisor Aviation training in Bozeman on the 16th.
He also briefly met that afternoon with representatives from several conservation
groups headquartered in Bozeman to discuss their concepts of where the Service's
recovery program should be headed over the next 3-4 years before wolves are
recovered and delisted.
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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