The Nez Perce Tribal Wolf Recovery Team has released another update on the Idaho wolves. This information is current as of late April (Idaho reports tend to come in later than reports on the Yellowstone wolves).
Information on pups is not expected until the tracking flight in late May, and this assumes that the flight will spot pups (which, of course, have no radio collars). It is possible that 1996 litters will escape detection entirely.
The big news is the tremendous concentration of Idaho wolves near the middle of the vast Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness -- one of the most remote places possible. Up to 19 wolves (in two flights) were located in this general area. Many were in Chamberlain Basin near Cold Meadows. From the standpoint of conflict with human activities and/or wolf haters, the center of the wilderness couldn't be a better spot.
Other news is that all of the wolves but one were located north of their reintroduction point this winter -- Dagger Falls on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Wolf B22, which had traveled south of the Sawtooth Mountains, was briefly the lone exception. Of late No. 22 has moved north. It was located 50 miles to the N of the previous point. This time it was near Marsh Creek at the northern end of the Sawtooth mountain range.
Like a month ago, wolves B20, B23 and B32 (not traveling together) were located in the general vicinity of the Lick Creek Mountains, 5 - 15 miles NE and East of Long Valley. The towns of Cascade and McCall are in Long Valley on the west side ofthe state.
Two pairs of wolves were located in the general area of the town of Salmon, Idaho -- B7 and B11 were still in the North Fork of the Salmon River country near the hamlets of North Fork and Gibbonsville,Idaho. B29 and B37 were in the Salmon River Mountains 10 miles NW of Challis near the edge of the big wilderness.
All of the wolves were in Idaho, although B7 and B11 often dip over the border into Montana.
The pair B5 and B10 moved from the Main Fork of the Salmon near Mackay Bar northward about 20 miles into the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness.
Far to the north in Kelly Creek, B15, from last year, remained paired with an unknown wolf.
In sum, the following wolves have paired or may be paired (if you look at past reports, you will see that many of the pairs from 1995 wolves have been intact for some time now):B6/B8; B9/B16; B5/B10; B7/B11; B15/unknown wolf; B29/B37; B24/B27.
There are also two "groups" of wolves (more than two wolves in each) that are using the same general area. It is not clear how they are interacting with one another. These groups are in the middle ofthe Frank Church Wilderness.
All of the paired wolves are from different Canadian packs. In other words, no wolves have reunited with their original packmates despite their close proximity to one another.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan
Not to be reprinted, archived, redistributed, etc., without permission.
© 1996 Ralph Maughan