Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Weeks of Aug 3 - Aug 21, 1998
Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana areas appear to be in their normal
home ranges, although there has been some slight shifts. The Nez Perce group moved to the
Fishing Bridge area, Leopold moved in the vicinity of Gibbins Meadows, Chief Joseph moved
from the NW corner of the Park, to near Lava Creek, west of the Blacktail Plateau. Right
now there are 10 groups of wolves (although not all are "packs" because of no
pups or lack of a breeding pair). Seven groups had 8 litters of pups, a total of at least
42 pups. There are 121 wolves, of which 40 are radioed. Surprisingly, most of these wolves
are still in Yellowstone National Park.
The Washakie pack is assumed to still in the SE corner of Yellowstone National Park. One
(assumed to be alone) of the Washakie wolves was located about 5 miles west of West
Yellowstone, so at least some members of the pack continue to move around. That wolf was not
found on a subsequent flight and was assumed to have gone back inside the Park, since the area
to the west was searched. A report of a black wolf chasing a calf west of the Park, was
immediately investigated. It turned out it was #67, the missing Nez Perce female. She has two
strikes against her and had depredated on cattle in the area before. She will be killed ASAP.
As before the Thorofare and Soda Butte packs also remain near the SE corner of the Park. Some
interesting combinations are bound to come out of all this by this winter.
In Idaho, the wolf packs are staying in their normal territories. Great field work by the tribe
discovered that wolves B-20F and B-31M had pups this year. The new group named the Snow Peak
pack uses an area in the St. Joe area along the Montana/Idaho border. This makes 10 pairs of
wolves from the Idaho Experimental area that have produced pups this year. Two pups from the
Jureano pack died but other pups are believed to be alive. The cause of their death is under
investigation. Two yearlings from the Jureano pack were radio-collared and relocated to Fish
Lake because of recent depredations on cattle. A Jureano pup was radio-collared and released on
The Service monitoring program in Montana also did great work following up on a report of wolf
activity north of Marion, MT. Howling located a pack of several adults and pups. Trapping will
be conducted soon to attempt to radio-pack members. This means that at least 6 packs reproduced
this year in NW Montana. Trapping in Pleasant Valley has gone well and after a couple of nights
2 pups, a male and a female, were collared and released on site.
A Forest Service grazing permittee on the Salmon National Forest reported finding 3 dead calves
east of the Salmon/Challis area. Wildlife Services investigated on 8/13 and it was confirmed
that wolves killed at least one of the calves, probably all three. The Jureano Mountain pack
was in the area. Trapping relocated 2 yearlings and control has ended.
On 8/10 2 wolves in the Ninemile were shot by Wildlife Services. The alpha male and a yearling
female were removed, leaving the alpha female, 2 other adults, and 5 pups. No further control
will be conducted unless further depredations are documented.
Two calves were believed killed by wolves on the Blackfeet Reservation on the 30th and around
the 10th a colt in the same area was suspected of being bitten. Service and Wildlife Services
biologists are assisting the Blackfeet tribal biologists to radio-collar and release wolves in
that area, so more can be learned about any pack that may be present. Any subsequent control
would be at the direction of the Tribe.
Five ewes were killed by a pair of wolves with pups south of Stanley Idaho. If the adult male
is captured he may be held in captivity until the sheep are moved. He is apparently an
A report of possible wolf/livestock conflict in the Island Lake area turned out to be a false
alarm. WS investigated and the calf was limping because of hoof-rot. A flight found no wolves
in the area and no wolf sign was located.
On 8/19 a black wolf reportedly had a calf cornered before a rancher drove her off near Red
Rocks Lake Refuge. A flight was done next morning and female black wolf number #67 from the Nez
Perce area was found north of Red Rocks Lake Refuge in Montana. She was surrounded by cattle
and the pilot reported several birds in the area. Because she already had two strikes against
her for killing livestock, she will be killed ASAP and the area checked for possible
Nothing new to report.
I & E
Please help with wolf monitoring efforts by reporting suspected wolf observations.
Reclassification, and the resulting increased management flexibility that would result from a
threatened status depends upon the number of documented breeding pairs. PLEASE REPORT WOLF
SIGHTINGS ASAP. THANKS!!
Nez Perce Project biologists made presentations at the Challis Stewardship meeting in Challis,
and the Sawtooth Wildlife Council at the Red Fish Lodge in Stanley.
Bangs gave a presentation to about 50 biologists with the Wildlife Division of Montana
Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks in Kalispell on the 11th.
The Service's two wolf biologists positions in Lander, WY are now being advertised.
Applications will be accepted from August 10 until August 28. Over two hundred applications
have been mailed to interested people so competition will be intense. The two Helena, Montana
positions, GS-9 biologists and GS-7 technician will be advertised shortly. Separate
applications must be submitted for each job in WY and eventually those in MT.
Bangs, Fontaine (USFWS), and (USDA, WS) Niemeyer, R. Phillips, and M. Nelson and countless
attorneys will again be in Casper, WY for court on August 25. The Diamond G Ranch case will
hopefully finish being heard.
Bangs will be giving presentations at the Seattle Zoo on the 21st and the National Assoc. of
Zoo Docents on the 22nd. Niemeyer and Bangs will give presentations in Yellowstone on the 28th.
The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://www.r6.fws.gov/wolf
The Service -JOBS- for Montana and Wyoming should be advertised in early August. Hundreds
of poeple have requested information, so competition will be keen. Information will be
mailed to all those who provided their names and postal addresses. A couple hundred people
have inquired about the jobs.
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet-ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
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