Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week July 14 - July 20, 2001
Idaho tribal biologists have/will investigate about 24 potential wolf dens this summer. To date the Tribe
has investigated 20. So far at least 68 pups have been documented in 14 of those packs, and 6 packs
(mainly new pairs) did not seem to have pups, but monitoring will also continue through aerial relocation
efforts this fall and winter. The Service and Park Service are monitoring about 17 potential dens in the
Greater Yellowstone area. To date a minimum of 67 pups have been seen including 7 pups in the Rose Creek
pack. The Park reports that several litters seem to be only 1-3 pups. So far, only the Gos Ventre pack
appears not to have denned.
In northwestern Montana the Service is checking out about 13 potential dens and radio-collaring and
trapping efforts are continuing. It appears that Murphy Lake did not den this year. However, North Camas,
South Camas, Ninemile (Fontaine howled up at least 3-4 pups on 7/19), Boulder, Whitefish, Grave Creek,
Little Wolf, Spotted Bear, Sun River, Fishtrap, Danaher, and a new pair with pups are in the Fish Creek
area (female disperser B-81 and her mate), just north of the Idaho experimental population area, south of
the Ninemile pack.
With an estimated 400 or so adults and yearlings and as many as an additional 200 pups born this spring
(pup survival lately has typically been between 60% to 80%), the wolf population appears to be doing great.
This appears to be at least the first year, possibly the second year, of the 3-year count down to the
Service proposing to delist wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.
A Wyoming field crew continues to trap on the Diamond G ranch near Dubois, Wyoming. This is a true
cooperative effort with Wildlife Services, volunteers, and the Service all helping to set and check traps
for radio-collaring purposes.
The Service crew is trapping for the Little Wolf pack in northwestern Montana. Pups were heard howling
this week so hopefully new collars can be put on some of the adults soon.
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 and rendezvous sites. Thanks to those who have
been forwarding us reports it has helped located several potential new packs.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
The Grave Creek pack was chasing cattle and the Service started trapping the area last week to either get
another collar in the pack and/or possibly even move them out of that immediate area before something more
serious occurred. On the 13th, a 70lb. yearling female was collared and released. On the 14th, Meier and
volunteer Therese Hartman walked to the rendezvous site and exchanged barks and howls with the pack for an
hour. The pack immediately moved out of that area and by the next day were over 10 miles away in a more
remote area without livestock, near the Stillwater River. Hopefully this will reduce the potential for
further conflicts this summer. Good job Tom and Therese!
Attempts to remove the lone gray wolf (or 2) that killed 31 buck sheep near Humprey, ID several weeks ago
is ongoing. The Service authorized WS to lethally take up to two wolves in the Gravelly area and it now
believed the Idaho wolves may be the same ones, since the 2 areas are so close (wolf movement-wise).
Further investigations are being conducted in Idaho by WS. On the 20th, Montana WS was on its way to
investigate a possible depredation in the Big Hole where disperser B80 and an unknown gray wolf were
Wolf #196 was found with 2 other black wolves and a gray wolf, in the upper portion of Hell-Roaring Creek
(a side drainage near Mill Creek) on the 20th. WS lethally removed him as the Service promised when he
and 2 litter mates were released after previous depredations and being part of the initial investigations
into the feasibility of conducting aversive conditioning research, last winter. His radio-collar will be
retrieved by horseback at a later date.
On the 19th, a young horse was reportedly bitten on the neck by a wolf near Clayton, ID. WS confirmed a
wolf was likely involved. Ground shooting of one wolf and/or trapping and radio-collaring and releasing
on-site are control options.
On the 16th, Fontaine gave less-than-lethal munitions training to about 15 local folks in the Ninemile
Valley, in NW Montana. Permits and ammunition were not issued at that time over an internal legal
discussion if such permits can be issued where wolves are listed as endangered. In coordination with
Service LE agents, the decision was made that as long as wolves in NW Montana were listed as endangered
no such permits to private individuals would be issued. Those types of permits will be issued in NW
Montana and other new areas where wolves are currently listed as endangered, as soon as wolves are
reclassified to threatened status. These permits will continue to be issued in the experimental population
areas on an as needed basis.
Tom Meier quickly reviewed our trapping records and 14 wolves had been caught in rubber-jawed traps, with
no cutting or broken bones, and only 3 have pulled-out. He also checked with trappers in MN who have
recently caught a few wolves with no pullouts and think they work fine. At this time there is no reason
to suspect that the rubber-jawed traps have a pull-out rate that is abnormally high. We investigated using
trap tranquilizer tabs, but after talking with several experts and consulting trappers who have used them,
we are not convinced we should be using them at this time. We will continue to investigate any new tools
or techniques to make our trapping program as safe for wolves as possible.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Bangs was in Washington D.C. this week to participate in a meeting regarding the National Wolf
Reclassification Proposal. The plan was released for public comment a year ago but several issues raised
by the public has slowed a final rule from being published.
On the 10th, Jimenez gave a presentation at the lunch lecture series at the National Western Museum in
Cody, WY. About 80 people attended. On the 17th, Jimenez gave a talk to about 25 board members and
executives of the Nature Conservancy in Cody, WY.
Bangs (FWS) and Shivik (WS) coauthored an article "Managing wolf conflict with livestock in the
northwestern United States" that appeared in Carnivore Damage Prevention News, No 3/July 2001:2-5.
The newsletter is published by A Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe whose editorial office is in
Switzerland. It can be accessed at www.large-carnivores-lcie.org
or www.kora.unibe.ch on email it is free.
You can order the CDP News by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, it has great
sources for the latest thinking on managing wildlife damage. The latest edition had an article on wolves,
compensation in Russia for tigers and leopards, electric fencing for fallow deer, man-eating leopards,
abstracts of 19th vertebrate pest conf., list web sites dealing with wildlife damage issues, and other
stuff. They also solicit for relevant articles.
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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