Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week July 10 - July 17, 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.
At the current time there are potentially 12 breeding pairs
in the Yellowstone area, 14 in central Idaho and 7 in NW Montana
for a total of 33 breeding pairs. This could mean that 2000 is
the first year of the 3 year count down towards delisting but
that is unlikely. The "official" count toward the minimum
delisting criteria of 30 breeding pairs is determined on December 31.
Because of wolf losses during the summer due to human-caused
(control, illegal killing, and vehicle accidents) and natural
factors (disease, prey-caused injuries, and accidents) it is
likely the final count will be somewhere between 25 and 30 pairs.
The Service will consider the wolf population recovery target
met when there are a documented minimum of 30 or more breeding
pairs that are fairly evenly distributed throughout western
Montana, Idaho, and northwestern Wyoming for 3 successive years.
Tentative pack counts for each of the recovery areas are as follows:
There are a minimum of about 16 packs or groups of wolves in the
Greater Yellowstone area. At this time they may compose at least
12 breeding pairs (ie an adult male and an adult female that
raise at least 2 pups until Dec. 31). Early observations suggest
that 16 litters were born to 13 separate groups. The 13 packs
that may have pups are- Druid (3 litters-21 pups), Rose (1 litter-5
pups), Leopold (10 pups maybe 2 litters), Chief Joseph, Nez Perce,
Soda Butte, Gros Ventre (5 pups), Sunlight (4 bk pups), #9 (west
Cody)-(denned but no pup count), #115 (Madison Valley), #152 (Gardiner),
#153 (5 bk pups)-(west Cody), uncollared black female (Madison Valley).
Three groups without pups are - Crystal, Sheep Mtn (in captivity to be
released Oct 2000), and Teton Pack (just located in the Green River Area).
In northwestern Montana there are a minimum of about 9 packs or groups
of wolves. Based upon movements of collared females or reliable
observations, 7 have litters. That makes a potential of 7 breeding
pairs in NW Montana. The groups that probably have pups area- Graves Creek,
Whitefish, Murphy Lake, Little Wolf, Ninemile, Spotted Bear, Danaher, and
Boulder. South Camas did not apparently den. Wolves, that probably travel
into Glacier National Park in winter, were spotted just above the border
in Canada at the old Spruce Creek den. Searches for reported
wolf activity continue in the Lincoln, Thompson River, and Libby areas.
In central Idaho there area minimum of about 14 packs that have apparently
produced pups. Field work to confirm reproduction in other packs is ongoing.
The relocated White Cloud female has been located near Lost Trail Pass and
apparently has at least 2 pups with her. Her 2 relocated male pack mates
were last located in the Big Hole, one north of Wisdom, MT and another near
Jackson, MT. The relocated (pregnant) Twin Peaks female has still not been
located despite continuing searches. A member of the Landmark pack that
had been captured several weeks ago as part of the monitoring effort
apparently died from a trap-injury related infection.
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. When we are this
close to 30 breeding pair each wolf pack becomes very important.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
A dead calf that was being fed on by a coyote was located near the
Sunlight Basin den. A WS investigation indicated the calf was killed
Training collars were placed on the 4 Sheep Mountain wolves that are
being held in a large enclosure on a private ranch near Bozeman, MT.
The first training session should begin the week of the 14th. The dog
training collars are made by Pet-Safe, a product specifically endorsed
by the Humane Society of the United States for humane animal training.
The Service has responded to nearly 500 email, fax and letter complaints
from people responding to a Fund for Animals alert. Many appeared simply
misinformed about the program and thanked the Service for responding to
their concerns. Many others still believed that ranchers should be
responsible for their livestock's safety and predation should be just
one of the costs of running that business.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Jimenez talked with 20 students at the Teton Science School on the 6th.
On the 12th he was on a 2 hour radio talk show - KODI - out of Cody. WY.
On the 29th, Dr. Smith gave a presentation to 35 people with the Outdoor
Life writers/editors group. That same day he gave a talk to about 40
people for an elder hostel trip to the Park.
National Wolf Reclassification Proposed
Bangs helped with D.C., House and Senate briefings, East and West coast
news conference calls and a special interest group meeting on the 11th.
On July 11, the Service announced a nation-wide proposal to reclassify
the gray wolf. The proposal will recommend changing the status of wolves
throughout most the lower 48 states. The gray wolf is currently listed as
endangered everywhere but Minnesota and within the experimental population
areas in MT, ID, WY and AZ, NM. The proposal will recommend not changing
anything in the experimental population areas, downlisting the wolf to
threatened status (where they will be managed with more flexible regulations
than is allowed under endangered status), throughout most of their current
or potential range, and removing the gray from the endangered species list
where their presence will always be highly unlikely. The proposed rules
for managing wolves listed as threatened are also be discussed in
detail in the proposal. The complete information and the proposal can be
accessed at http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf
beginning July 11. There will be a 120 day public comment period, including informational
meetings (likely in August) and hearings (likely in October) in various parts of the country.
Anyone wanting to be placed on the Service's mailing list should write to
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Gray Wolf Review, 1 Federal Dr., Fort Snelling,
MN 55111-4056 or use the email@example.com
email address or phone 612-713-7337. A decision is unlikely until a year from now
approximately in August 2001. There was widespread media coverage including most
national newspapers, radio, including NRP, and NBC evening news.
On the 14th, Bangs, Nez Perce biologists, met with representatives on
several conservation groups in Boise, ID to discuss wolf control procedures
and the national reclassification proposal.
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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