Idaho Wolf Update
September 11, 2001
The project is in the midst of another busy field season that began 15 May. Tribal field crews are out on the ground again this year documenting reproductive success of documented packs and newly suspected mated pairs. Reproductive status will be determined for the 13 existing documented collared packs and 6 new suspected wolf pairs. Field crews will also spend time attempting to document the presence of suspected uncollared groups of wolves across the state.
To date 16 wolf packs and pairs are confirmed to have denned and produced pups. Established documented packs with confirmed litters include: Big Hole, Chamberlain Basin, Jureano Mountain, Landmark, Marble Mountain, Moyer Basin, Orphan, Selway, Thunder Mountain, Whitehawk Mountain, Wildhorse, and Wolf Fang Mountain. In addition 4 wolf pairs; Gold Fork (B117M), Gospel Hump (B50F), Scott Mountain (B78F and B115M), and Twin Peaks (B59M), produced pups, forming first year packs. Additional monitoring is required to determine the status of the Kelly Creek pack.
North of the Salmon River
Panhandle, Clearwater, and Lolo National Forests
Marble Mountain. The Marble Mountain pack continues to use areas within its home range. This pack was last located in the Outlaw Creek drainage. Multiple pups have been heard howling, with 3 having been visually confirmed.
Kelly Creek. Wolf 90-13 has died, at the suspected age of 13, in the Doris Creek drainage. His remains were located in early June. B42 was located in the Cedar Logs Lakes area. Additional monitoring efforts will be required to determine the reproductive status of this pack.
Big Hole. The Big Hole pack was most recently located within the North Fork of Spruce Creek drainage. Dispersing wolf B67 was located on 3 July. He was located near Nez Perce Pass on the Idaho-Montana border. He was seen with another wolf, not B63, early this summer. There is no indication of pups associated with these wolves. The Big Hole pack has a litter of 6 pups.
Lone/Paired Wolves. Wolf B64 was spotted with another uncollared wolf in February. In mid-May B64's radio signal went on mortality and his carcass was recovered. His skull was crushed, apparently by an ungulate's hoof. Since then B79, a Kelly Creek disperser, has been frequenting this area with 2 other wolves. A minimum of 2 pups has been observed with this group. They will contribute to NW Montana's recovering population.
B81, relocated from the Jureano Mountain home range in March '00, has paired with a wolf of unknown origin in the Fish Creek drainage of Montana. One pup has been seen. This group will also add to the NW Montana population.
Nez Perce National Forest
Selway. Selway pack members continues to use areas within their usual home range. This pack was last located near Whitetop Mountain. Alpha male B5 was recently recollared; 3 pups have been verified.
South of the Salmon River
Payette National Forest
Chamberlain Basin. This pack has a litter of 4 gray pups and is using a rendezvous site within their usual home range.
Wolf Fang. Last located near Stibnite Mountain. This pack has produced 8-9 pups. A yearling female was radio collared early this spring.
Thunder Mountain. B22, alpha female, has a litter consisting of 7 gray and 2 black pups. They were last located in the Trapper Creek drainage.
Gold Fork. Wildlife Services and Nez Perce Tribe personnel, following a depredation, trapped probable alpha male B117 and a yearling male (B116) during a control action. Both wolves were collared and released on site. Subsequent monitoring indicates a minimum of 7 wolves, including at least 2 yearlings and 2 '01 pups. With the discovery of this pack the overall recovery goal of 30 breeding pairs has been met for '00 and '01, barring future alpha or pup mortality that would disqualify pairs/packs based on recovery definitions.
Lone/Paired Wolves. B45 continues to use areas within her usual range just north of McCall, Idaho. She was most recently located in the Fisher Creek area. B45 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. Although we suspect B45 has been paired for the past two years, she did not produce pups last year, and is not showing any signs of denning again this spring. Additional monitoring will be required to determine her breeding status.
B50 concentrated her movements along the north side of the main Salmon River breaks, around the confluence of the South Fork of the Salmon River. B50 is one of 6-7 suspected paired wolves and potential new packs for 2001. She and her mate have produced 7 pups this year in the SE portion of the Gospel Hump Wilderness. They are called the Gospel Hump pack.
Boise National Forest
Orphan. Like last year, this pack has only 1 pup and will not count as a reproductive unit.
Lone/Paired Wolves. B78, a 3-year-old female Kelly Creek pack dispersing wolf, successfully denned, producing at least 4 pups. Both adults, B78 and newly collared B115, were recently captured and have been using the area near the S end of Deadwood Reservoir. This first year pair is known as the Scott Mountain pack.
Salmon-Challis National Forest
Landmark. This pack is located in the Knapp, Valley, and Asher Creeks region N of Stanley, near sheep. Tribal crews are closely monitoring their movements. There are 6 pups of the year.
Jureano Mountain. The Jureano Mountain pack remains within their usual home range. Three pups have been confirmed. Two additional wolves have been radio collared, and B46, alpha female, was recollared.
Moyer Basin. Collared members of the Moyer Basin Pack recently traveled south of their usual home range this spring. They have since returned to their usual home range, producing 5 pups. The alphas are not known. An additional wolf was collared earlier this summer.
Whitehawk. This pack has taken over much of the area formerly used by the Stanley Basin pack. Composed of 4 radio-collared males and the uncollared alpha female, this pack has been involved in several depredation incidents since March. A rancher legally shot B102M in the East Fork of the Salmon River, and B40M and B101M were lethally controlled by Wildlife Services following a series of problems in the Sawtooth Valley. Currently the pack consists of B47M, the alpha female, 9 pups, and possibly a third adult wolf (origin unknown).
Wildhorse. The Wildhorse pack continues to use areas within their usual home range in the Copper Basin area. Five pups were seen in the Fox Creek drainage this spring. Lots of cattle are currently in this pack's area, so Tribal crews are carefully monitoring this group. See Management and Control section.
Stanley Basin. The Stanley Basin pack, for all practical purposes, no longer exists. The alpha pair for this pack are confirmed dead. Only 4 radio collared wolves are still being monitored: B95, an adult female that is associating with Moyer Basin male B93 in the Squaw Creek area; B97, that has been in the Jureano Mountain and Moyer Basin pack territories; and B105, now in the Round Valley S of Cascade, ID; and B100. B105 has been seen with 2 other wolves in the presence of livestock, but has not been involved in any confirmed depredations. For further information on B100 see the Management and Control section.
Lone/Paired Wolves. Dispersing Thunder Mountain wolf, B58, has been sporadically located in the Copper Basin Area, though he has been missing since April.
B59, a 3-year-old dispersing wolf from the Thunder Mountain pack was most recently located in the Frank Church Wilderness west of Challis, ID. B59 is the suspected alpha male of the latest incarnation of the Twin Peaks pack. Seven pups have been observed.
B80 was most recently located in the Big Hole area, having returned after being relocated with B114, her suspected mate. They did not produce pups this year. For further information see the Management and Control section.
Bitterroot and Beaverhead National Forests
White Cloud. Relocated White Cloud wolves, B36 and B86, have not been found for the past several flights. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.
Relocated White Cloud pack wolf, B63 was moved a second time, along with B100 (they were together), from the Big Hole, MT. For more see the Management and Control section.
Report Wolf Sightings
As the wolf population continues to expand, an increased number of wolves will be uncollared compounding the difficult task of documenting formation of new packs. The Wolf Recovery Program relies on wolf sighting reports from the public to identify potential areas to survey for new wolf pack activity. Reports we received in the Copper Basin area last winter led to the confirmation of the Wildhorse pack. We would like to thank all those who have taken the time to report observed wolf activity and are hopeful that continued help from the public will result in confirmation of additional wolf packs. The Recovery Program encourages the public to report all sightings of wolves or their sign. Sightings can be reported to Curt Mack by mail at Nez Perce Tribe, P.O. Box 1922, McCall, ID 83638, or by phone at (208) 634-1061, or by email at ; or Carter Niemeyer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Rm 368, Boise, ID 83709, (208) 378-5347.
Nothing new to report.
Outreach, Information, Education, & Coordination
Personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, the Nez Perce Tribe (Curt Mack, Project Leader) and other interested agencies/parties participated in a fact-finding meeting with Senator Crapo and Dr. Jim Tate (science advisor to Secretary of the Interior) to assess the progress of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies. This meeting took place in Salmon, ID in mid-August.
Management & Control
Wolves continue to be in conflict situations with livestock in the Sawtooth Valley, Copper Basin, and the region between, and including, Clayton to Salmon. Project personnel continue to work with livestock producers to address their concerns. RAG boxes are being deployed in efforts to prevent additional depredations on sheep south of Stanley. Wildlife Service's Wolf Specialist Rick Williamson has done a remarkable job spending much time and attention to monitoring wolves, working with affected livestock producers, and maintaining RAG boxes in this area.
In mid-August the Tribe and Wildlife Services, in a pro-active management step, helicopter darted and relocated 4 wolves (2 pairs) from the Big Hole area of Montana to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, ID. Three previous wolf pairs have tried to establish home ranges here, but have been involved in livestock depredations. B100F, B63M, B80F, and B114M (newly captured) all moved quickly away from their respective release sites, and the latter 3 have since returned to the Big Hole.
Also in August B103F was helicopter darted and relocated from the Wildhorse pack territory in Copper Basin to Elk Summit, near Powell, ID. She has since moved south and was most recently located near the confluence of Lolo and the South Fork of Lolo Creeks. Additionally, 3 pups were trapped from this pack: one was too small to be radio collared; one slipped its collar within a few days; and the third is currently being monitored.
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