August 19, 1996
Wolf trackers are finally beginning to discover some of the expected litters of wolf pups born to the central Idaho wolves in April. So far four litters have been discovered; so we now have at least four packs of wolves due to the wolf reintroductions to central Idaho. These are the first documented litters of wolf pups in Idaho in 80 years.
The packs are (these names are based on nearby locations):
THE SELWAY PACK. This consists of wolves B5M and B10F and pups. They were located on the upper reaches of the Selway River in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness. This country was often the location of wolf sightings prior to the reintroductions. For example, in 1992 (when my spouse was fire lookout on Coolwater Mountain), she learned that the Hells Half Acre Mountain lookout in the upper Selway had observed a wolf in the area for several days.
B5 was named "Moonstar Shadow" by Idaho school children. He is a 4-year old black and gray wolf. B10 was named "Libre". She is a black wolf.
THE LANDMARK PACK. Wolves B6F and B8M have been together for about a year now in the SW portion of the Frank Church Wilderness -- Bear Valley Creek, Elk Creek, Sulphur Creek, etc.. They now have pups. Landmark is a crossroads a few miles west of the wilderness boundary.
B6 was named "Bee-Yah" and B8 was named "Keea" by Idaho school children. B6 is dark gray and black. B8 is a six-year-old gray male.
THE CHAMBERLAIN PACK. Wolves B9 and B16 and their pups inhabit one of the most remote places in the contiguous United States -- the Chamberlain Basin in the Frank Church Wilderness.
School chilren named B9, a gray male, "Hinton" due to his capture near Hinton, Alberta. B16 the female received no name. She is a 5-year old wolf. I am not sure of her color.
THE BIG HOLE PACK. This is my name because the Wolf Education and Research Center just gave me this information. Wolves B7M and B11F, who paired last winter near the Idaho/Montana border at Blue Joint Meadows, denned a few miles inside Montana in the Big Hole Mountains/Valley region.
Wolf B11F or "Blackfire" as she was named by Meridian, Idaho school children is kind of famous as the most observed of the Idaho wolves. B11 disappeared for long periods in 1995, only to turn up in Montana's Big Hole Valley. Later she traveled frequently back and forth to the central Idaho mountains using the well-inhabited Salmon River Valley as the passage-way. Many local residents saw her near highways and even swimming the Salmon River.
OTHER PAIRS. The other wolves that have paired (some of which probably have pups are: B15F and a non reintroduced male. They have been together in Kelly Creek, north of Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness near the Montana border for about a year now. B23F and B27M. This pair inhabits Stanley Basin just NE of Idaho's famous Sawtooth Mountains. B25F and B32M. They were located just west of Salmon, Idaho, on Salmon River Mountain. B28M and B30F. They were located in the Bear Valley area about 15 miles NW of Stanley Basin. Bear Valley has long been a favorite place for wolves, both before and after the reintroductions. B28M and B30F. This pair was also the Bear Valley Creek area. B29 and B37. This pair remained as they have been for months near Yellowjacket Creek on the Salmon National Forest near the east boundary of the Frank Church Wilderness. B34 and B35This pair is regarded as too young to have mated this year. B34 was not located in recent tracking flights. B31 and B33 are a possible pair. They were located together in Blue Joint Meadows just inside Montana.
OTHER WOLVES. Like a number of other wolves discussed above, B19 was located in Bear Valley Creek. B14 was located in the Chamberlain Basin of the Frank Church Wilderness. B20 and B24 were located north of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. It is possible they killed some sheep in the area, but the ADC was unable to trap them and they moved out of the area. B36 was located a few miles west of Landmark in west central Idaho.
WOLVES NOT LOCATED. B18, B22, and B34 were not located recently. B2 has not been located since April. B2, a 6-year old male, named "Chat Chaaht" or "older brother" in Nez Perce, has disappeared for long periods in the past. He was last located in April deep in the Frank Church in the Chamberlain Basin. B3 was last radio-tracked in March 1995 in the Bitterroot Mountains near Darby, Montana.
CAUSE OF DEATH DETERMINED. B26 was found dead in late spring near Deadwood Reservoir in west central Idaho. It appears that no. 26 starved to death. Other dead Idaho wolves are B13, B4, and B21. B13 was shot in late January 1995 by an unknown person on Gene Hussey's ranch. B4 was killed by a mountain lion last winter near Drummond, Montana. B21 was accidentally drowned when caught in a trap on Brad Little's ranch near Cascade, Idaho (western Idaho). The federal Animal Damage Control set traps for no. 21 after it apparently attacked several calves. No. 21 dragged the leg-hold trap into a nearby stream and drowned.
My information came from the Nez Perce Tribal Wolf Recovery Team and the Wolf Education and Research Center at Winchester, Idaho. WERC can be contacted at their new email address at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 1996 Ralph Maughan
PO Box 8264; Pocatello, ID 83209
Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.