Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report

Week of Dec 16 - Dec 23, 1996

Monitoring

Yellowstone

Up to 40 wolves inhabit the Yellowstone area. There are thirty-four wolves in eight groups that contain adults and may produce pups this spring. The remaining wolves include an adult female (R 27) and three pups and two lone adult males. A lone adult female wolf (R 39) has been making journeys into the Crazy and Castle Mountains near Big Timber and White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Her last location was in the west Boulder River drainage and she was headed back towards the Park. The last time R 39 was located she was seen with two gray wolves thought to be pups while R 27 only had one pup with her. It will be very interesting if R 39 has two of R 27's pups with her. Inclement weather has prevented the Park from locating three additional wolf groups south of the Park, including the pair that was near Towgotee Pass, Wyoming.

Idaho

There are currently eight, possibly nine, potential breeding pairs in central Idaho.

The Kelly Creek pair were last observed bedded down near Kid Lake in the Clearwater National Forest. The Selway pack was in upper Bluejoint Creek in the Bitterroot National Forest. A lone male, B 33, was near Elk City. Wolves B 31, 18, 20 or 14 were not located due to the weather. B 14 was last located near Lookout Pass in October and B 20's signal was faint but appeared to be coming from the Bitterroot Valley.

Wolves B 34 and 36 were companions in the Yankee Fork separated in early November and moved on to other unknown areas. Meanwhile B 35 was located in Yankee Fork area.

B 22 was located in Bruce Meadow, Boise National Forest with an apparently uncollared black wolf or a wolf with a non-functioning radio collar. The Landmark pack were near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River area in Rapid River while B 12 was in Loon Creek. The Chamberlin Basin pack was near Whimstick Creek, Payette National Forest. The Bear Valley pack was near Warm Lake. Wolves B 23 and 27 remain near Beaver Creek, Challis National Forest. Wolves B 25, 29, 32, and 37 were in Panther Creek, Salmon National Forest. Wolf B 24 was located near Brundage Mountain possibly traveling with another wolf. Work Plans for the field season are being prepared for the tri-state area. Field biologists will meet in January to review strategies and figure out where assistance could be provided for a more efficient and effective field season. Montana ADC recently confirmed tracks of a single wolf near Helmville and removed 2 M44 devices to prevent a possible mortality. Additional sightings suggest that there may be more wolves north of Nevada Lake Reservoir and east. Several tracks were found north of Avon in the Ophir Creek area. The tracks may be those of the Boulder pack since a wolf pup was struck and killed by a vehicle as it tried to cross the highway just east of Avon.

Livestock Depredations & Management (control)

Two Idaho wolves, resident in the Big Hole Valley were helicopter darted by ADC on 12/18 and placed in an acclimation pen in YNP. The wolves will be released in central Idaho sometime in late January or possibly April when the female may be heavy with pups. The wolves were moved for conservation purposes in accordance with the Final Rule. A prior depredation by these wolves, their potential to breed and produce pups this spring in central Idaho were factors considered prior to their capture and relocation.

Research

YNP biologists completed their study on kill rates and prey selection by wolves and were summarizing the data. During two winter periods of intense monitoring they looked at kill rates and composition of kills including species, sex, age and condition of prey.

Information, Education & Law Enforcement

Smith and Phillips did a presentation on wolves for 80 YNP and TW Services personnel. Bangs was a guest speaker via phone on the Chicago radio program, "Animal Lovers Only," on the 21st.

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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