Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week July 22 - July 28, 2000
Denning packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are moving more widely.
See the 1999 annual
annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/
for a map of those pack locations and home ranges.
Boyd conducted a wolf flight on the 22nd and found the missing relocated alpha pair from the
Twin Peaks pack that ere last located in April along the Selway River in central Idaho. B18 and
B35 were about 1 mile apart about 10 miles south of Anaconda, MT. The female was pregnant
when relocated and we suspect, but have not confirmed, she has a litter. Diane also found
relocated wolves B-63 (20 mi SW of Anaconda) and B86 (10 mi SW Wisdom).
The Nez Perce field crew found wolf B-48, a former dispersing Kelly Creek wolf with a mate
and multiple pups in the St. Joe drainage of Idaho (southeast of Coeur D'Alene). Another
potential breeding pair in Idaho. Tribal biologists also confirmed the lone relocated female from
the former White Cloud pack is raising several pups near Lost Trail Pass along the Montana/Idaho
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 documenting each wolf pack becomes very important.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
A guard dog was killed and eaten by the Chief Joe pack in the Tom Miner Basin, MT on the 24th.
The dog's carcass was found within a few hundred yards of the house. The owner heard the
dogs barking the night before, which was not usual. This ranch has lost 4 guard dogs to this pack
so far and this is the second one killed this year. They have 3 Great Pyrenees left. The
Defenders of Wildlife helped the ranch purchase these additional guard dogs, after their first dogs
and some sheep were killed by wolves, but it appears that at least part of the pack's attraction to
this ranch is now the dogs. The wolves seem to feel the urge to intimidate or attack the dogs
when in the vicinity, probably as part of their regular territorial defense swing through "their"
home range. Three of 4 radioed wolves were was located behind the ranch that evening. On the
25th, Bangs, Volunteer Daly Sheldon met Kerry Murphy to try and locate the pack and if possible
harass them out of that area. No radio signals were picked up and the pack was suspected of
going back to their rendezvous site in Yellowstone Park. A flight on the 27th found the alpha
male was back there but the other 3 radioed wolves were back in Tom Miner Basin and near
where the dog was killed. The rancher reported that wolves were coming into the yard every
night, apparently searching for the remaining guard dogs- which were being kept inside. On the
night of the 27th and morning of the 28th biologists from the Service (Sheldon) and the Turner
Endangered Species Fund (Val Asher) camped in the area trying to harass the wolves from the
area using bean-bag shotgun shells if the wolves could be spotlighted or approached closely. The
wolves never got that close but there was howling from may have been pups. The 3 radioed
wolves left that area about 3am and only the yearling female remained in the vicinity. The
situation is being monitored.
The alpha female (#16) of the Sheep Mountain pack died on July 19th. The necropsy indicated
she died from capture related causes. The combination of this individual wolf's sensitivity,
drugging, and particularly overheating during her capture apparently caused the liver and kidney
damage that ultimately killed her. There was no evidence a preexisting condition was just
triggered by capture. A post-capture briefing was conducted to look at better ways such captures
could be conducted in the future to reduce the chances of this type of unfortunate accident from
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Two important personnel change- The Wolf Recovery Program in Idaho has undergone some
recent changes in Service personnel.
Leaving - Roy Heberger the Service's Idaho Wolf Recovery Coordinator retired on July 2. Roy
did an outstanding job for wolves and for local residents in Idaho. Roy was a "people person"
and worked hard at interacting with a wide variety of interest groups to find positive solutions to
difficult problems. During his retirement party on July 14th in Boise, Roy earned the Meritorious
Service Award from the Secretary of the Interior for his work on wolf issues in Idaho. Roy did a
great job and will be missed. Thanks Roy for a job well done!!
Arriving - Roy's replacement has just been announced and should be on board in late August.
USDA Wildlife Services Wolf Specialist Carter Niemeyer was selected to take Roy's place as the
Idaho Wolf Recovery Coordinator and should report for his new duties around September 1.
Carter was the point person for WS on all wolf issues since 1991. He was a core team member
during preparation of the reintroduction EIS, a key field person during the actual reintroduction,
and has represented WS on nearly all wolf issues, including control and aversive conditioning.
In 1997, Carter received the Alpha award for his efforts on behalf of wolf recovery from the Wolf
Recovery Foundation. Carter, will be missed by Wildlife Services but, Welcome to the
US Fish and Wildlife Service!!
National Wolf Reclassification Proposed
On July 11, the Service announced a nation-wide proposal to reclassify the gray wolf. The
proposal recommends changing the status of the grey wolf 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 (about 30 states).
The proposed rules for managing wolves listed as threatened are also be discussed in detail in the
proposal (in the west they are very similar to what is currently allowed in the Yellowstone and
central Idaho experimental population areas). The complete information and the proposal can be
accessed at http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf. 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. The date, time and location of those meetings will be announced shortly.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org email address or phone 612-713-7337. A decision is unlikely until a
year from now approximately in July 2001. All comments on the proposal should be sent to
Public meetings on the wolf reclassification proposal are being scheduled. Meeting will be held
in late August and early September in Denver and Grand Junction , CO; Salt Lake City, UT;
Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, and Bozeman, MT; and Casper, WY. Additional meeting wil be
held in Spokane and Everett, WA: Idaho Falls, and Boise, ID; Portland and LaGrange, OR. The
informational meetings will be held from 1-3PM and 6-8PM. The same presentation will be
given every halfhour. Questions will be answered but oral public comment will not recorded.
Once the schedule is finalized the meeting locations and other information about them will be
widely publicized. Hearings (oral comment recorded) on the proposal, which will be fewer in
number, will be scheduled in October. Public comments can be submitted by mail, email, or
during hearings but all comments will receive the same importance when analyzed this winter.
Tom Meier talked with a class of about 15 people at the Glacier Institute on the 24th. Tom Meier
has a new phone number in Kalispell, MT. Tom is responsible for wolf issues in NW MT
and can be reached at (406)751-4581.
Boyd spent several days visiting with landowners in SW Montana about the wolves that are
beginning to colonize that area.
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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