Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week August 22 - August 28, 2000
Monitoring flights for Montana and Idaho have been limited due to intense smoke from the fires and
increased air traffic for fire suppression. Most fieldwork has been postponed due to extreme fire
danger. At least 27 counties in western Montana have been closed to use of public lands, state and
Federal. See the 1999 annual report http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualrpt99/ for a map of those pack locations
and home ranges.
Firefighters on the 18,000 acre Monture Creek fire saw 2 wolves near the fire line watching ongoing
activities. One of the wolves was radio collared with an apparently non-functioning collar. Firefighters
on the fire near Bunker Creek also indicated that there were 3 radio collared wolves watching the fire
vehicles going up and down Bunker Creek Rd. The 3 wolves are members of the Spotted Bear pack. Normally
the road is closed year round but was opened to suppress the fire.
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)
A wolf from the Spotted Bear pack recently harassed horses at nearby resort causing them to break through
their electric fence. No damage was done. A wolf was also seen in the Spotted Bear Ranger Station
compound and could possibly be the same wolf. Meier conducted a monitoring flight and discovered a radio
collared yearling close to the area but there was no indication that it was the wolf frequenting the sites.
He will try to do some aversive conditioning if the opportunity arises.
The caretaker for a Ninemile ranch reported that the Ninemile pack was within 20 yards of the house during
the evenings of August 23rd and 24th. He was able to scare the wolves away only a short distance from the
house. He counted 8 adult wolves and 5 pups. The house was built on the original Ninemile packs
rendezvous site and the pack visits the area from time to time. He has several small children and was
worried about their safety. There have been no other incidents at this time.
The draft of the Research Protocol for less-than-lethal munitions (LTLM) was completed this week. The
Service's goal is to use LTLM to haze/aversively condition nuisance wolves from undesirable situations
before the wolves become chronic offenders. This may reduce the need to control wolves in some situations.
Nothing new to report.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
The confirmed wolf attacks on humans in Alaska and on Vancouver Island this year has generated concern
among wolf managers, biologists, and the public. It appears that habituation by humans feeding wolves
was a prime component in these recent problems. A group of biologists has initiated a wolf working group
to investigate and address these concerns by 1) compiling a database on wolf-human encounters, and 2)
drafting a wolf safety brochure similar in scope to the excellent informational pamphlets published by
MT Dep. of Fish, Wildlife & Parks for bears and mountain lions. If you have information to offer this
wolf working group please address email to: email@example.com.
Dr. Diane Boyd will no longer be with the wolf recovery program because she will be the new Executive
Director of the Teller Wildlife Refuge near Corvallis, MT. She is looking forward to the new challenges
and we wish her good luck with her new job.
Wyoming Wolf Project Leader Mike Jimenez received a special achievement award from the Service for his
efforts at promoting working relationships among other agencies and the public to advance wolf recovery
and management in Wyoming.
A farewell party was held for Carter Niemeyer (who has accepted the position as Idaho Wolf Recovery
Coordinator and who will be moving to Boise in early September) and Diane Boyd who is leaving the Service
to take a position in the private sector. Carter and Diane's efforts on behalf of wolf restoration have
made a difference and are appreciated.
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 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. A meeting in Twin Falls, Idaho was attended by 4 people.
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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