Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Weeks of Nov 14 - Dec 1, 1997

Monitoring

All Yellowstone wolves remain localized within their normal home range except for wolves 29 and 37. Both wolves are from the Nez Perce pen and were placed there along with several others because of livestock depredations near Dillon, Montana. On November 20 Park biologists discovered that wolf 37 was out of the pen. They were later located just west of West Yellowstone. Inclement weather hampered attempts to find the wolves until November 26 when wolf 37 was located in the same sheep herd where depredations had previously taken place. Wildlife Services trappers were contacted and wolf 37 was killed within 200 yards of the herders wagon. Wolf 29 could not be found on November 26 or 28. On 12/1 wolf 29 was located in Hayden Valley in the Park.

Wolves in Idaho are still being monitored on a regular basis. There are 10 radio collared wolves, possibly 3-5 pairs, north of the Salmon River that produced at least 1 litter of 5 pups in 1997. Up to 22 radio collared wolves remain south of the Salmon River. Nine pairs occur in this area including 5 pairs that produced 25-27 pups in 1997. Two of the pairs also produced pups in 1996.

Wolves in Montana are still being monitored on a regular basis. The number of wolf observations being reported in Montana has increased as the number of hunters afield has increased. If you have any wolf sighting information please turn that information into our office as soon as possible. This information if valuable in finding new establishing packs in Montana.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

Nothing new to report.

Research

A second research meeting will be held by the Nez Perce Tribe around mid-January in Moscow, Idaho. A draft agenda is being provided to cooperators during the first week of December. Details for the meeting will be provided at a later date.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

On November 21 Bangs and Paul Gertler, Geographic Assistant Regional Director, represented the Service at Senator Burn's wolf summit. In attendance were Montana Congressman Rick Hill, representatives from the Montana Stockgrowers, Montana Woolgrowers, attorney for the Farm Bureau Federation, USDA Wildlife Services, MDFWP Director Pat Graham, Hank Fisher Defenders of Wildlife and several ranchers that have had livestock killed by wolves. The purpose of the meeting was to improve understanding of the issues, facilitate communication and look at ways to resolve some of the conflicts. Livestock producers indicated that they were unhappy with the program and wanted ways to make it more workable. Most said they had no complaints with the agency people. The major complaints expressed were:

Livestock being killed by wolves that the ranchers were unaware of.
The recovery goal was too high and that the state would have to maintain the minimum level even after delisting.
Several ranchers suggested they be allowed more flexibility to take care of their own problems by allowing them to shoot wolves near their livestock. These concerns were addressed by the Service or Defenders of Wildlife.

On November 19 Fontaine did a brown bag seminar to interested students and faculty members at the University of California, Davis followed by another presentation at 5:30 pm to the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society. Additional presentations were made the following day at a student job seminar and to the local chapter of the Audubon Society. Between presentations Fontaine met with graduate students to discuss the wolf recovery program and future job possibilities. In all approximately 160 people were made aware of the wolf recovery program and job possibilities with the Service.

** Note **
A mistake was made on the last weekly report. The biological tech. job with Yellowstone National Park is a temporary NOT a permanent position.

It was recently brought to our attention that there is some confusion about Sawtooth wolves in Montana versus the Sawtooth wolves in Idaho. This was brought about by the recent film by photographer Jim Dutcher. Jim Dutcher filmed a captive pack of wolves in central Idaho named the Sawtooth pack because of the proximity to the Sawtooth Mountains. These wolves were raised in captivity and have never been in the wild nor will they be released into the wild. The wolves were recently moved to another enclosure near Winchester, Idaho where they can be viewed by the public in conjunction with information about wolves and wolf recovery. This outreach program is co- sponsored by the Wolf Education and Research Center and the Nez Perce Tribe.

The wild and naturally occurring Sawtooth wolf pack is located just west of Augusta, Montana and was named because of the proximity to Sawtooth Peak. Several Sawtooth pack adult wolves were killed last year due to livestock depredations and 10 pups were relocated to an acclimation pen in Yellowstone National Park. After their release several of the Sawtooth yearlings traveled outside the Park and were killed because they killed livestock. These are the wolves being referred to in our weekly report and media articles not the captive Sawtooh pack in Winchester, Idaho.

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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