Gray Wolf Recovery
Weekly Progress Report
Week of July 13 - July 19, 2002
See http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/wolf/annualreports.htm/ for maps of pack locations and home ranges.
A camper along the East Front in NW MT, reported stumbling in the Sun River Pack's den last week. Several wolves, (couple adults, 3-4 yearlings, and at least 2 pups were seen. Matches what we thought should be in the pack. The Sun River pack has no radioed members. This was a great observation and we will follow it up. A report of pups seen in the Therriault Lakes area of NW MT, (E. of Eureka) may be the Wigwam Pack, that historically spends most of its time in the Wigwam drainage, that is mostly in Canada.
Another yearling in the Teton pack had its radio collar chewed off. It is the second one now and that leaves 2 yearlings and 2 adults collared in the pack of about 21 wolves. Five wolves in the Yellowstone Delta pack have chewed off their collars and the two packs are related- must be a family tradition.
Please report wolf sightings in MONTANA, IDAHO, OR WYOMING!! If outdoors enthusiasts or AGENCY BIOLOGISTS report evidence of wolves to you please pass that information along to the Service.
Livestock Depredations & Management (control)
On the 6th, Wildlife Services confirmed that 2 cattle in the Graves pack territory southeast of Eureka, MT had been attacked by wolves on the Forest Service Deep Creek/Grave Creek allotments. This week another carcass was found- it was probably attacked about the same time as the first 2 but it only recently died and was just discovered. The Graves Creek female and pups remain east of the Whitefish range. Trapping to lethally remove 1-2 wolves was unsuccessful and traps were pulled on the 19th. No further control is planned unless additional livestock are attacked.
A wolf-like canid killed a llama between Whitefish and Columbia Falls, MT, the morning of July 18. Eyewitnesses described a light-colored wolf-like canid that looked like photos of a seemingly "tame" wolf reported in the Ferndale, MT area in June. It reportedly was hand-fed a hotdog. It probably was the animal that killed a llama north of Ferndale on June 21. The kill was assumed to be a dog depredation because of the "messy" kill until wolf-sized tracks were discovered nearby. Several subsequent sightings indicated it was slowly traveling moving north. The latest llama kill was investigated by WS trapper North, Meier, and Hartman who set traps around the llama carcass. This is being treated as a depredating released captive or hybrid "wolf" and it will be removed from the wild ASAP. On the 19th, it was reportedly shot by a landowner as it fed on an old dead horse carcass. Meier said it was certainly "wolfy" and matched earlier photos of the wolf-like canid by Ferndale but was a hybrid with brown eyes and a small nose. Wolf-like canids that have been raised around people and are released, always end up dead. They often cause problems before they die. We know of no instance in North America where they have ever became "wild". The most cruel and inhumane thing captive wolf or wolf-hybrid owner can do is release their animal believing it will become a wild animal. Please, if you know of someone who no longer wants their wolf hybrid - make sure they are aware of the harmful image that if released these animals can give wild wolves and urge them to have their "pet" wolf-like canid humanely euthanized.
Trapping/shooting control continues in the Dunoir Valley near Dubois, WY. Trapping will continue for another week and the next 1-2 uncollared wolves that are captured will be killed. Two attempts were made to fly the area and shoot any wolves in then open this week by a WS fixed-wing aircraft but none were vulnerable.
A 45-day permit to shoot up to 2 wolves that are seen in the act of attacking their livestock, was issued to livestock producers who graze sheep on USDA Forest Service allotments in the Gravelly Range in SW Montana. These producers had several sheep killed by wolves earlier this spring on their private property and recently moved their bands onto their Forest Service grazing allotments.
The Idaho wolf recovery team and the Defenders of Wildlife are maintaining several miles of fladry to separate wolves from cattle on a private ranch. Wolf movement patterns will be measured by RAG box monitors and track surveys in and outside the fencing/fladry to test its effectiveness. We thank the private landowners and the Defenders of Wildlife for their cooperation.
Information, Education & Law Enforcement
BANGS ISSUES A CORRECTION AND AN APOLOGY - In late May and early June weekly wolf reports and in an early June newspaper article about cattle grazing in the Gros Ventre drainage near Jackson, WY, Wolf Recovery Coordinator Bangs expressed his concern over the source, experience, and ages of cattle being turned out on a Forest Service grazing allotment in the Gros Ventre drainage and his perceived high potential for wolf depredations. The livestock producer contacted Bangs to set the record straight. Several of Bangs' concerns were misplaced and were not based on accurate information. (SEE the attached letter back to the livestock owner). All the adult cattle had been on open range before and were bought at auctions in the Western U.S., not from feedlots in the mid-West. The producer said his calves may not be as old or heavy as some grazed on Forest Service allotments, but they are clearly within acceptable livestock industry standards. The producer also added that he is using nearly twice as many riders as usual to keep close track of his cattle - which is commendable. While still expressing some concern Bangs thanked to the producer for clarifying the situation. Bangs offered a sincere apology for not checking facts more closely and his misunderstanding of this particular situation. Hopefully, Bangs' concern (that has been greatly reduced through accurate information) will be for not and by this Fall, the number of dead and missing livestock will be negligible. The Service gladly accepted the livestock producer's offer, and shares his desire, to work cooperatively to resolve their respective concerns. To date their have been no confirmed wolf depredations in the Gros Ventre, which indicates Bangs may have been needlessly concerned and he is apparently a better historian than prophet. It appears that the livestock producer is on top of this situation. Hopefully that good news will continue.
On July 12, Meier attended the North Fork Interlocal meeting at Sondreson Hall in the North Fork of the Flathead, He gave an update on wolves to about 75 people.
On July 16-17, Meier, Jaffe and Hartman met with USFS biologists Doug Grupenhof (Trout Creek) and Jennifer Holifield (Canoe Gulch), and independent researcher Jay Mallonee (Libby) to discuss wolf sightings on and around the Kootenai National Forest.
Niemeyer, Mack and Steve Nadeau (the new lead for wolf issues for Idaho Department of Fish and Game), and other people interested in wolf management attended several workshops in McCall, ID on the 17th. The Idaho Rangeland Commission held a workshop at a nearby sheep ranch and about two dozen teachers attended. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission held a workshop on wolf/ungulate relationships and about 10 commissioners and two dozen public attended Invited experts, Drs. Tom Bergerud, Kyran. Kunkle, Dennis Murray, and Jim Hayden presented a summary of their research on wolf/ungulate and elk ecology. Meeting notes are available from Idaho Fish and Game contact [email protected].
The Service is entering into a formal agreement with the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming so the three states and the Service can cooperatively develop a proposal to delist the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains. The Service will fund the States' assistance in that partnership effort. The delisting proposal will be completed by Spring 2003, in anticipation that both the third year of achieving the recovery goal of 30 or more breeding pairs will be documented in December 2002: and that all three states will have completed their states wolf management plans and appropriate state law will be in enacted in all three states. Montana will complete its state plan by December 2002 but Wyoming doesn't expect to complete its state wolf plan and have appropriate state law in place until March 2003, hence any delisting proposal will be delayed until that time. Any delisting proposal would involve extensive media coverage, public involvement, and comment before being finalized.
The International Wolf Center - www.wolf.org - has a web site that contains information on identifying wolves an coyotes and for ways that people can avoid conflicts with wolves - see www.wolf.orgwolf/learn/mgt/basics/wolves_humans.asp
The International Wolf Center also has "Gray Wolves Gray Matter: Exploring the social, biological, cultural, and economic issues of wolf survival." It a curriculum for grades 6-12 that was produced in 2001. Contact International Wolf at www.wolf.org or Andrea Strauss at for further information.
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 -
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