Monitoring crews have been busy during late August and early September completing pup counts, closely monitoring wolf packs in proximity to livestock, and initiating pup capture and collaring efforts.
To date, monitoring crews have documented the production of a minimum of 51 pups from 10 pairs and packs across the state. Litter sizes ranged from 3-9, with an average of 5 pups per litter. Litter size estimates for the 10 packs of wolves producing pups this year include: Snow Peak - 5, Kelly Creek - 6, Big Hole - 5, Chamberlain - 4, Thunder Mountain - 5-6, Jureano - 4-6, Moyer - 4, Twin Peaks - 3, Stanley Basin - 6-8, and White Cloud - 9. Total numbers of wolves in Idaho, related to the reintroduction effort and based on visual documentation, are estimated at 124; including 27 adults (from original releases of 35), 10 two-year olds, 32 yearlings, 51 pups of the year, and 4 status undetermined (either naturally occurring wild wolves or released wolves with failed radio collars) wolves that have mated with collared wolves or are otherwise associated with known established packs. This estimate does not include mortality of un-collared wolves.
Jureano Mountain, Moyer Basin, and Stanley Basin wolf packs have established summer home sites within active public livestock allotments. All three packs have been closely associating and intermingling with livestock throughout the summer. All three packs have also been involved in documented livestock depredations this summer (See Control below). Monitoring crews will continue to closely monitor movements and activities of these packs and work closely with grazing allotment permittees until the end of the grazing season in early October.
Wolf pup capture and collaring efforts were initiated around the first of September.
Wolf locations for this report were obtained from flights conducted between 2 and 9 September 1998.
All wolves (except lone wolf B-14-M currently in NW Montana) being monitored via radio-telemetry remain within the experimental area on national forest land.
North of the Salmon River
Four wolf packs (Snow Peak, Kelly Creek, Big Hole, and Selway) occur in this area. The Kelly Creek pack produced 5 pups in 1997 and 6 pups in 1998; the Big Hole and Snow Peak packs produced 5 pups each for the first time this summer (1998); and the Selway pack has not produced pups since their initial litter in 1996. In addition, 5 lone wolves (B-33-M, B-43-F, B-51-F, B-52-M, and B-54-F) frequent habitats north of the Salmon River. B-33-M is one of the original adult wolves released into Idaho in 1996. B-43-F is Montana's Boulder pack female yearling that was relocated as a pup to a holding facility in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness in early summer of 1997 and released into the wild during spring of 1998. B-51-F is a subadult wolf that was relocated from the Moyer Basin pack as a results of a depredation control action this summer. B-52-M and B-54-F are both subadult wolves relocated from the Jureano Mountain pack, also as a result of a depredation control action this summer.
Panhandle, Clearwater, and Lolo National Forests
The Snow Peak pack including alpha wolves B-20-F and B-31-M and their 5 pups continue to use areas of the upper St. Joe River drainage. This pair has frequented the Bitterroot divide between Idaho and Montana since early Summer.
The Kelly Creek pack including alpha wolves B-15-F and 9013-M and their 6 pups continues to use the upper Kelly Creek drainage and surrounding country along the Bitterroot divide north of Lolo Pass.
The Big Hole pack including alpha wolves B-11-F and B-07-M and their 5 pups continue to frequent habitats on the Bitterroot divide just south of Lolo Pass on the Lolo and Clearwater National Forests.
Lone wolf B-51-F was located in the Elk Summit area of the Clearwater National Forest.
Lone wolf B-52-M was located at the head of Warm Springs Creek, about 10 miles east of his relocation site.
Lone wolf B-54-F was not located.
Nez Perce National Forest
Wolf B-33-M was relocated on 5 September 1998 on the eastern side of the Gospel Hump Wilderness, just northwest of the town of Dixie, Idaho. He was last located in the Gospel Hump Wilderness on 6 July 1998.
Lone female Boulder pack yearling wolf B-43-F was located northwest of Elk City in Silver Creek just west of Pilot Knob.
The Selway pack including alpha wolves B-5-M and B-10-F continue to move widely within their home range. They were last located in the headwaters of the Selway River at the confluence of Surprise Creek.
South of the Salmon River
Eight wolf packs (Chamberlain, Thunder Mountain, Jureano Mountain, Moyer Basin, Twin Peaks, White Cloud, Stanley Basin, and Landmark), 1-2 wolf pairs (B-28-M and B-30-F, and B-19-M and possible mate of undetermined status), and 1 lone wolf (B-02-M) occur in this area.
Payette National Forest
The Chamberlain Basin pack including alpha wolves B-09-M and B-16-F and their 4 pups continue to use the western side of Chamberlain Basin. They were last located in the upper Chamberlain Basin Creek drainage.
Boise National Forest
The Thunder Mountain pack including alpha female wolf B-22-F and their 5-6 pups was last located in the Meadow Creek Lookout area just southeast of Yellow Pine, Idaho.
Wolves B-30-F, B-28-M were located together in the headwaters of the West Fork of Elk Creek. Visual observations from the air indicated that these two wolves were alone, as no pups were observed in the vicinity. This adds to the mounting evidence that this pair again did not produced a litter of pups this year.
Efforts to determine the fate of the Landmark pack will continue through the fall as new reports and other information about wolves in their territory unfolds.
Salmon-Challis National Forest
Wolf B-19-M continues to frequent habitats along the divide between Beaver and Loon Creeks, and Rapid River. He was last located in the upper end of Loon Creek.
The Jureano Mountain pack including alpha wolves B-25-F and B-32-M and their 4-6 pups have killed livestock for the first time and have been the target of an ongoing control action for the past several weeks (see Control below). Two subadults from this pack, B-52-M and B-54-F, have so far been relocated as part of this ongoing control action. The rest of the pack members appear to be on the move constantly, but continue to confine their movements within the Moose Creek/Napias Creek drainages.
We did not locate wolf B-24-M.
The Moyer Basin pack including alpha pair B-29-M and B-37-F and their 4 pups continue to use areas surrounding the upper Panther Creek drainage including the Moyer Basin area, and upper Silver and Morgan Creek drainages.
The Twin Peaks pack including alpha wolves B-35-F and B-18-M and their 3 pups continue to frequent habitats in the upper Yankee Fork and Warm Springs Creek drainages. This pack was last located in the upper Yankee Fork at the head of Challis Creek.
Sawtooth National Forest
The Stanley Basin pack including wolf pair B-23-F and B-27-M and their 6-8 pups is starting to move more widely across the Basin, as the pups grow and become more mobile. Over the past few weeks, the pack has frequented areas from just east of highway 75, west to Trout Lake on the western side of the Basin. Most of their movements have been restricted to the north side of the Basin but members of the pack have been on occasion located on the south side of the Basin as well.
The White Cloud pack including alpha female wolf B-36-F and their 9 pups have over the last few weeks moved from the Big Wood River, over Galena Summit, into the Pole Creek drainage, where they killed five sheep on a Nation Forest livestock allotment (see Control below). A control action was initiated, however the pack moved off the allotment and the control action was suspended. No further losses have been confirmed at this time. For the past week this pack has been concentrating their activities in the Germania Creek drainage.
B-02-M was not located.
The Jureano Mountain pack killed a confirmed two cattle and may have been responsible for 3 additional dead cattle found on two different occasions during the last two weeks in August. The depredation occurred on a U.S. Forest Service public livestock allotment west of Salmon, Idaho. Control actions implemented by Wildlife Services and the Nez Perce Tribe in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are ongoing. To date two subadults (B-52-M and B-54-F) have been relocated to the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. No further depredations have been confirmed, however wolves and livestock will continue to intermingle until the end of the grazing season around the first of October. Tribal biologists will continue to closely monitor the movements and activities of these wolves and work closely with livestock owners to minimize further losses.
The White Cloud pack killed 5 sheep on a U.S. Forest Service public grazing allotment southeast of Stanley, Idaho in mid August. Although Wildlife Services and the Nez Perce Tribe implemented a control action in coordination with the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service, no wolves were captured before the pack moved off the allotment. The control action was suspended and no further losses have been confirmed. Nez Perce Tribe biologists will continue to closely monitor the movements and activities of this pack and work closely with the livestock owner to minimize further losses.