Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks July 29 - August 14, 2000
Denning packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are
moving pups to rendezvous sites. See the 1999 annual report
http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of
those pack locations and home ranges.
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
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
In Wyoming a freshly killed cow was located near the old #9 den
site and #9 was nearby. The carcass was being fed on by a female
grizzly with 2 cubs. As the plane circled the bear became nervous
and moved away from the carcass, and #9 rushed in to feed. The bear
then rushed back to defend the carcass. This went on for several
minutes but finally the bear moved off (probably because it was
the animal most disturbed by the circling aircraft) and #9 claimed
the carcass. WS investigation indicated it was a confirmed grizzly
kill, but this does indicate that a host of scavengers and predators
are in competition for carrion and kills. A similar situation
occurred on an allotment near the Gros Ventre pack rendezvous site,
which confirmed grizzly kills were usually also visited by wolves.
The reverse has also been documented. Grizzly bears commonly take
wolf kills away from entire packs. This situation complicates
identification of the cause of livestock losses and emphasizes
the need for quickly finding and investigating carcasses to
accurately determine cause of death.
Volunteers monitoring wolves in Wyoming located a late-born calf
and cow surrounded by coyotes, near where coyotes killed a calf
earlier this summer. The rancher was notified and he moved the
calf from the area. He really appreciated the help of the volunteers.
On August 6, WS confirmed that 2 lambs were killed near Lincoln
by members of the Alice Creek Pack. An effort was made to capture,
radio collar and release at least one member of the pack on site.
The herd was moved to new pasture on the 7th away from the site of
the depredation. This was part of their scheduled move for the herd.
WS removed their traps on the 9th because of high temperatures and
fire danger. There have been no additional depredations. If there
are no additional depredations and fire restrictions are lifted we
will try in early September to radio collar a few pack members to
better monitor the pack.
On August 7th WS confirmed that up to 4 wolves scattered 1 band of
sheep and attacked a guard dog associated with another band of sheep
in the Gravely Range. Two black wolves were involved in the attack
and may be members of the Wall Creek pack. The herder was able to
scare the wolves away from the guard dog and the sheep. Several
lambs broke their legs and the guard dog was injured but survived
thanks to the herder and the studded leather collar it was wearing.
Because of the number and distribution of sheep, the number of guard
dogs being used, and the remoteness and difficult access into the area,
trapping is not considered to be an effective control measure. Therefore,
a take permit was furnished to 2 permittees grazing sheep in the area.
The permit allows them to kill 1 wolf in the act of killing livestock.
Such take must be reported within 24 hrs or as reasonably possible given
the access limitations. If this happens then the other permittee will
be notified and no additional wolves will be taken at that time. If
additional conflicts occur then another permit may be issued. There
have been no additional conflicts at this time.
Nothing new to report.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
On the 4th, Bangs visited the MT FW&P Wall Creek Game Range near
Ennis, MT and met with Fred King, the manager, A. Dood, MT FW&P
Endangered Species biologist, and outdoor writer Jim Zumbo to
discuss wolves and state big game management.
Boyd gave a talk to about 20 people for the Nature Conservancy
on the evening of the 3rd near Choteau, MT.
Bangs took part in "Wolves in the Southern Rocky Mountains:
Population and habitat viability assessment" August 8-11.
The meeting was hosted by the Defenders of Wildlife, Turner
Endangered Species Fund and the Conservation Breeding Specialist
Group. About 25 people attended and discussed potential wolf
recovery in that area and the Service's proposal to reclassify
the gray wolf.
National Wolf Reclassification Proposed
The Service announced a proposal to change the status of the gray
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 keeping the experimental population areas
as they are, 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 be unlikely (30 states). The proposed rules for
managing wolves listed as threatened in the NW U.S. are discussed in
detail in the proposal. They are very similar to what is currently
allowed in the Yellowstone and central Idaho experimental population
areas. The proposal can be accessed at http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf.
There will be a 120 day public comment period. 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, use the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, or phone
612-713-7337. A final decision is likely in July 2001. All
comments on the proposal should be sent to email@example.com.
National Reclassification Meetings
Public meetings on the wolf reclassification proposal are being
scheduled. Meetings will be held in Denver (8/15-Holiday Inn at
Hampton) and Grand Junction (8/16-Holiday Inn), CO; Salt Lake City
(8/17-Hilton Salt Lake City Center), UT; Helena (8/31-Cavanaughs
Colonial Inn-Best Western), Kalispell (9/6-West Coast Inn),
Missoula (9/7-Best Western Grant Creek Inn), and Bozeman
(9/14-Windgate Inn), MT; and Casper, (9/12-Casper Events Center)
WY. Additional meetings will be held in Spokane (8/15-West Coast
Grand Hotel) and Everett (8/17-Holiday Inn and Conference Center),
WA: Idaho Falls (8/22-West Coast Idaho Falls Hotel), and Boise
(8/24-The Grove Hotel), ID; Portland (8/29-Shilo Inn Portland
Airport) and LaGrange (8/31-Blue Mountain Conference Center), OR.
The informational meetings will be held from 1-3PM and 6-8PM.
The same presentation will be given every half-hour. Questions
will be answered but oral public comment will not be recorded.
When 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 and all comments will be incorporated
into the final decision.
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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