Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Weeks of Oct 7 - Oct 28, 1996

Monitoring

The wolves in Yellowstone (12 in the Rose Creek pen and those that are free-ranging) are still doing great.

The Soda Butte pack (3 adults and 2 pups) released on October 7, remain near Heart Lake within 20 miles the Trail Creek pen site. The Leopold, Rose, Crystal, and Druid packs are still in the Lamar Valley area. The Chief Joseph pair was S. of Mammoth in the Swan Lake Flats. Wolf #27 (Nye female) took a trip to Red Lodge but is still usually at Reeves pond(near Nye). The new formed pair (male #15 from the Nez Perce pen [Soda Butte]and the free-ranging yearling female #26) remain near the west thumb of Yellowstone Lake. The Lone Star male and yearling Nez Perce female remain in the Park's SE corner. The female from the Druid Peak pack (last located SE of Livingston, MT) and the Nez Perce alpha male (last located by Quake Lake), have not been located in several weeks. Overall, this year's management actions to move wolves back into the Park have been very successful. Several new pairs have formed and nearly all wild wolves are in the Park most of the time.

Efforts in Idaho focused on putting people in the field to talk to hunters and other people that are outdoors during the general elk and deer hunting season that began October 10th. So far public contacts indicate that outfitters and hunters are enjoying the chance to be in "wolf" country. It appears that at least 3 but no more than 5 pairs produced pups in 1996. Work this winter and snowfall should sort out amount of reproduction that occurred in Idaho this summer.

The 4 pups left in the Sawtooth area of NW Montana appear to be doing fine. Reports indicate that a pack of about 9 is NE of Whitefish, MT but it is unknown if the newly radio-collared wolf is staying with them. Hopefully, monitoring this winter will help establish pack sizes and numbers. At this time it appears (partly because of the Sawtooth control action) there were not 10 successful breeding pairs in NW Montana in 1996 so the 3-year countdown for downlisting may not begin until at least 1997. We may find some previously undocumented packs in 1997 that had reproduced in 1996 (pups usually stay with pack 1-2 years) so there is still some chance that 1996 could count as the first year of 10 breeding pairs.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

The pair of wolves in the Big Hole, MT area (released in 1995) killed a calf on about the 2nd. ADC and the Nez Perce Tribe darted and moved the female to Fish Lake in Idaho on the 8th. Within a week the female had found her way back (about 90 miles) to the Wisdom area and rejoined the male. The pair will be captured this winter and moved. We hope that moving them both and deeper snow may prevent them from coming back to the Wisdom area.

Research

The Service, Park, ADC, and Tribe are writing or presenting papers at the Nov.14-16 Albany, NY, Defenders of Wildlife, Wild Wolf Conference. The Wildlife Society published an article "Reintroducing the gray wolf to central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park" Wildl. Soc. Bull 24(3)402-413 that Bangs was requested to prepare. Reprints will be distributed as soon as they are received.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Bangs (USFWS) and Bishop (YNP) gave programs to about 70 people at the annual meeting of Interpretative Naturalists that was held the 24th in Billings, MT. Earlier about 1,000 participants attended a presentation by Wild Sentry, which included a socialized wolf.

Bangs was in Denver, October the 21st and 22nd. He attended a meeting of Service representatives from each Region and Dr. Mech from NBS to discuss development of a Service National Strategy for gray wolf restoration. There will be agency and public extensive review of the draft policy which we hope to have published by April 15, 1997. All cooperators, states and the public will be involved.

A wolf recovery "thank you" party/fund raiser, book signing (book by Mike Phillips and Doug Smith), and gala showing of the National Wildlife Foundation/Turner Broadcasting film about wolf reintroduction (shown nationally on TBS, Nov. 3, 9:00 PM EST) will be held at the Gallatin Gateway Hotel on November 1. Call Yellowstone National Park (307)3448853, tickets still available.

"The Famous Friends of the Wolf", Cookbook is being distributed. It was coordinated by the Wolf Research and Education Center and looks great with many famous personalities and great photographs.

The weekly wolf report can now be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at www.r6.fws.gov/wolf.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 or Internet - ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV






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