Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week August 15 - August 21, 2000
Monitoring flights for Montana and Idaho have been curtailed
due to intense smoke from the fires and increased air traffic
for fire suppression. Yellowstone is still conducting monitoring
flights but have recently been limited due to smoke and fire
fighting activity. Most field work has been postponed due to
extremely high fire danger.
The Rose Creek pack and the Leopold pack are in their normal
home range. Wolf #18F and #156 F of the Rose Creek pack appear
to be the females with pups and #156 recently dropped her radio
collar. Wolf # 152, in a separate area, appears to have 3 pups
with her. The Nez Perce pack is in Alum Creek and the Chief Joseph
pack is in new territory in the Sphinx Creek drainage in the Madison
Range. The Soda Butte pack has 7 pups and is still at the den site
in the Yellowstone River Delta. The Crystal pack was not located
during the last flight. Five pups and 3 adults were observed in
the Whitefish pack in NW Montana.
See the 1999 annual report
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 important.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
WS looked at a lamb near the town of Lincoln, MT that was attacked
and bitten on the neck. There was not enough evidence to determine
what attacked the lamb but was thought to be a wolf and that the
guard dogs prevented the wolf from killing the lamb. The lamb is
still alive and being doctored by the herders. WS also investigated
the death of a cow near the same area. It appears that the cow died
of natural causes and was being scavenged. There was no sign of any
struggle and the cow died in a small stream. WS was unable to do a
necropsy because of the cows deteriorated condition. It is very
important for producers to contact WS as quickly as possible if
they suspect that an animal has been attacked and killed by a
predator. With hot conditions an animal can decompose very quickly
leaving very little for WS to investigate.
On August 18, WS investigated a calf that was killed in the Bass
Creek area. It was determined to have been killed by coyotes. A
small group of wolves was seen in that area this spring but no
observations have been reported since June.
A dog was recently killed by wolves in the Washakie pack territory
on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois, WY. The rancher said that 2
gray wolves and 1 black wolf were in the area when the dog was killed.
In a separate incident the Gros Ventre pack attacked and injured a
dog in the Gros Ventre River drainage. The dog was injured but is
Wildfires caused all the cattle on the Diamond Moose Allotment
to be removed. This effectively terminated the research on causes
of cattle mortality on remote Forest Service allotments near Salmon, ID.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Dr. Doug Smith gave a presentation to about 20 biologists in
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories during his canoeing vacation
in that area in early August.
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
email@example.com email address, or phone 612-713-7337. A final
decision is likely in July 2001. All comments on the proposal should be
sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Reclassification Meetings
Public meetings on the wolf reclassification proposal were lightly
attended. In Denver 10 people attended; in Grand Junction 8 people
attended; in Salt Lake City 15 people attended; in Everett, WA 14 people
attended; in Spokane 11 people attended. Reports from the Midwest also
indicated the wolf meetings were poorly attended.
Upcoming meetings (1-3PM and 6-8PM) will be held in 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; 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 same slide presentation will
be given every half-hour. Questions will be answered but oral public
comment will not be recorded. 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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