Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of Nov 4 - Nov 14, 1997
All Yellowstone wolf packs remain localized within their normal home ranges. Four adults and 1 pup are
still in the Nez Perce pen, and the male that escaped is staying close. The plan is to release one wolf
at a time over the next few months until all are released by February. The hope is that the pack will
stay near the pen and by the time the last wolf is released the pack will have made that area their home
and not return to Dillon. If they return to the Dillon area they will probably be killed. The Park is
starting the 30-day winter study which measures wolf kills rates by locating packs daily.
Twenty-three of the reintroduced wolves in central Idaho are in 12 pairs or packs. At least 30-32 pups in
6 breeding pairs were documented this year. They are staying in their traditional home ranges. The general
big game hunting season is over in Idaho and all the wolves appear to be doing fine.
The Service's field crew is done. They received a Service On-the-Spot Award for their hard work this
summer. There are an estimated 6 breeding pairs, or about 65 wolves, in NW Montana. If you can update
these estimates please contact Joe Fontaine so the annual report has it right. The breeding pairs and
estimated pack numbers are: South Camas: 18, Murphy Lake: 7, Whitefish:13, Ninemile: 6, Pleasant Valley:
7, and Yaak: 6. Some other wolf groups that do not meet the definition of a breeding pair include Sawtooth
2, Thompson Falls 2, and Boulder 3 now, but soon 0. There may be packs south of Libby and near Marias Pass,
and possibly in the Garnet Mnts. and by Plains. North of the border in Canada are the Wigwam pack 13, and
the North Camas, Belly River, and Spruce Creek packs, all of unknown status. There are fewer packs this year
than the past 2 years, in part because of wolf control efforts on the Boulder, Sawtooth, and Brown's Meadow
packs, prey declines caused expansion of some pack territories and pushed at least 2 packs entirely into
Canada. Next year there will be another concerted effort to locate and collar wolf packs so wolf numbers
can be more closely monitored. Please help that effort by looking for and reporting wolf observations. The
NW Montana recovery area could hold up the estimated delisting time table if more breeding pairs aren't
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
There was a mistake in last week's weekly on the number of livestock confirmed to have been killed by wolves
this year. The updated and correct (at this time) livestock depredation numbers are: NW Montana 14 cattle
and 30 sheep: Idaho 0 cattle and 28 sheep: Yellowstone area 5 cattle confirmed and 3 possible, and 67 sheep.
In NW Montana 7 wolves were moved and 11 were killed. In Idaho two wolves were moved (not including one that
escaped its pen and was recaptured) and one (a disperser from the Yellowstone area) was legally killed by
a rancher as it attacked his sheep. In the Yellowstone area one wolf was legally shot by a rancher as it
attacked his sheep and agencies moved wolves 9 times (not including 6 wolves that were recaptured after
they escaped the pen) and killed 4 wolves.
Dr. Sam Wasser has been discussing the use of scat sniffing dogs and genetic testing of scats as a method
to estimate wild animal density. The intensive study of winter wolf predation rates has begun in Yellowstone.
Dr. Diane Boyd successfully defended her Phd. dissertation in October and is now making the final touches
on her dissertation. Congratulations Diane!!! Her contribution to wolf recovery in the northern Rocky
Mountains has been immeasurable. Another famous wolf person and one of the oldest living graduate students
at UM, Mike Jimenez, is recovering in a Missoula hospital from problems associated with his appendix
operation last summer. Mike is in the middle of his comp. examines and we wish him well.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
Dr. Smith attended a Wolfstock fund raiser in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bangs gave a program at REI in Seattle
for the Seattle Zoo lecture series on the7th. The talk was sold out and over 280 attended. Earlier that
day Bangs gave a brown bag presentation at the zoo to about 50 employees. Bangs met with about 20 ranchers
at the Big Timber courthouse on the evening of the11th. They were concerned about confusion over wolf/dog
hybrids and wild wolves and how to identify wolves. The talk was arranged by Marc King, Ag. Extension Agent
for Sweetgrass County and he did a great job. Thanks Marc! CNN ran a program on wolves and depredations with
interviews of Smith and Bangs on about the 11th, the message was "With recovery comes the responsibility to
manage them and minimize their impact on local ranchers." The Service has received hundreds of messages
criticizing the Boulder wolf control effort from concerned citizens after the Friends of Animals ran their
interpretation of the issue.
The Nez Perce tribe met with hunters throughout the big game season. Idaho hunters reportedly were in favor
of having wolves back by about a 3 to 1 margin.
Senator Conrad Burns R-MT is hosting a wolf summit in Helena, MT on Friday November 21st from 9-11 AM to
have agencies involved with wolf management to meet with interested parties to discuss wolf management in
Montana. The Senator will moderate the session.
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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