Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week Oct 9 - Oct 15, 1999
Packs in the Yellowstone, central Idaho, and NW Montana are in
their normal home ranges.
Wolf #14, the alpha from the Soda Butte pack, is traveling with
former Druid/Crystal male #104 and one other Soda Butte member
in what could possibly be the new (hopefully breeding) Soda Butte
pack near Heart Lake. Other pack members were not located with
the new group and may have dispersed. Three wolves are believed
to have dispersed from other packs. They are the famous but now
old #9, the alpha female that started the Rose Creek pack, former
Chief Joseph wolf #115 which has been located near Taylor s Fork
near Big Sky Resort, and #92 a male from the Nez Perce pack.
This time of year marks the increase in dispersal and pair formation
and is probably just the beginning of what we expect will be a
high level of dispersal throughout Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
Tom Meier and Kent Laudan, a volunteer who had been working for
the Nez Perce Tribe, searched for wolf activity and began trapping
to radio-collar a wolf in the area around Lincoln, MT. A pair of
wolves and possibly a pup was filmed in that area about a month ago
about the time a sheep herding dog was killed.
A young wolf was reportedly seen being struck by a train near
Murphy Lake. Boyd picked up the carcass for examination.
The probable alpha male of the Sheep Mountain pack (#165) was
killed at the direction of the Service on Oct 10th. The
decision was made after it appeared that he had been nearby
or involved in previous depredations and cattle chasing behavior
on a regular basis while other adults in the pack were often
elsewhere. He was in good shape and weighed 120 pounds and
had just eaten over 10 pounds of fresh deer meat. That morning
he was located near Daily Lake where horses had been chased and
about 1 mile north of at least 3 other pack members. He was
traveling alone when killed a few hours later. The alpha
female and another adult radio-collared male, and, we assume,
other pack members, were about 15 miles away when the control
action was conducted. The pack remains intact with about a
dozen members, including the alpha female and an adult male.
Hopefully this latest control action will end livestock hunting
behavior by this pack. USDA Wildlife Services did a professional
and humane job removing this wolf and closely coordinated the
control action with the other involved agencies. We thank them
for their efforts.
A producer who just pulled his cattle out of the Gravelly Range
near Alder, MT reported a 600lb calf died and was consumed
within a day or so. The hide was completely gone and the ribs
chewed off. No sign of a predator was evident and the cause of
death is unknown. The carcass was just bones so Wildlife Services
was simply notified rather than asked to respond. This area has
been frequented by several dispersing wolves in the past and
agency biologists will keep an eye on the situation.
The Diamond Moose Grazing Allotment calf (cattle) mortality
study is winding down this year. Thirteen calves were documented
lost from both radio transmitters and those found during routine
livestock management activities. Six were probable or confirmed
wolf depredations. Numbers of missing livestock will be determined
when producers can complete the fall roundup. It has been a very
mild fall so far and livestock have not been pushed down by snow
yet. Since there were fewer losses than expected and only 3
wolves remain in the area, 2 pups and 1 yearling, because of
agency control, the study doesn t appear that it will produce
enough data for a Master s thesis. Student John Oakleaf will
use other data sets from wolf monitoring in Idaho and Montana
to supplement the calf study information for his thesis project.
The field monitoring project will continue as planned next year
and about 230 calves will be radio-tagged. Two university
technicians, and hopefully some volunteers, will conduct most
of the field work. This year volunteers from the Salmon area
made the study a success and their help and hard work is deeply
appreciated. A special thanks to Jim Wiley, Jack Ellis, Sally
Foss, Jim Morehead, Jim Smith, and Bill Rector.
I & E
Harvard University announced eight High Honors Awards during
the "Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian
Nations," awards ceremony held in Palm Springs, CA on October 6.
This meeting was with the 56th Annual Session of the National
Congress of American Indians. Congratulations!! to the Nez Perce
Tribe for winning an award for their Idaho Gray Wolf Recovery
Program. The tribe received a monetary award so they could
share their success story with other tribes, a framed print by
late Crow Indian painter Earl Bliss, and a certificate from
Fontaine traveled to the Service's National Conservation
Training Center in West Virginia to give a presentation at
their monthly lecture series. About 70 people were there.
While there he did an interview with NPR and recorded an oral
summation of the wolf recovery program for the historian.
On 10/12 a conference call was held with R-1 and R-6 about
classification of occupied wolf range outside the experimental
population areas. The issue of how to use and confirm reports
of wolf activity remains complex.
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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