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Jureano Mountain wolf pack breeches the fladry, but the fladry is seen as a partial success.

9-18-2002, updates 9-19 and 20

Folks may remember that back in July, the Fish and Wildlife Service was hanging fladry to try to see if it would deter the Jureano Mountain wolf pack from attacking cattle near Salmon, Idaho.

Fladry will be tried to keep Jureano Mountain Pack from cattle. July 9, 2002

According to the USFWS wolf manager for Idaho, Carter Niemeyer, it seemed to work for a while, several months in fact, but finally the pack did pass through the fladry and kill another cow calf.

As a result an order to kill the alpha male B106M has been issued and Wildlife Services has been trying to kill the male, but has not been successful. If B106M is not killed soon the matter will be dropped for a while.

An earlier report based on the USFWS weekly wolf update was in error when it said both the alpha male and the alpha female would be shot. Niemeyer told me that fur at the site of the calf kill indicated that the alpha male was primarily responsible.

The Jureano Pack lives mostly on Salmon River Mountain, high above the town of Salmon. It was wiped out once before by the government, and by illegal private shooting, but in the year 2000, B46F, who had dispersed in 1997, returned with a mate (B106M) to the abandoned den and rejuvenated the pack. For reference B46F is the sister of B45F, the wolf who went to Oregon and was captured and brought back. B45F still lives above McCall, in western Idaho, with a presumed mate, but they have never had pups.

Presently the pack consists of the alpha pair, a sub-adult, and 5 or 6 pups. The alpha pair and the sub-adult are radio collared. So is one of the pups.

Niemeyer said he was not discouraged that the fladry was eventually breached. While he could not prove, it was his judgment from monitoring the radio collars of the wolves that it seemed to deter them from coming off Salmon River Mountain to the cow pasture.

Later I learned from Lynne Stone in Stanley that a fladry barrier had been erected in the Sawtooth valley to deter lone wolf B107M from entering an area with cattle. This wolf is a disperser from the Moyer Basin Pack, and the only known wolf remaining in the SNRA. B107M recently killed a calf. Judge Lynn Winmill's injunction against killing any wolves in the SNRA this year was, I surmise, the reason the fladry was erected. Hopefully it will prove its worth and deter until the livestock is removed in October.

More information 9-19-2002. Suzanne Laverty, Northwest Representative of Defenders of Wildlife added the following information:

"The [fladry] study was designed by the National Wildlife Research Center and Wildlife Services to help build upon the foundation of study previously conducted by the University of Calgary.  Defenders' wolf guardian program was the key field team for the fladry research.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Salmon-Challis NF also assisted with funding.   I don't believe we'll define the results so far as "partial" success.  The fladry was never considered a permanent solution but a short term deterrent.  The study was conducted in part to determine how short that term would be.  The fact that the wolves did not cross it for two months is pretty amazing considering the wolves denned this spring in the area the fladry later covered and these wolves normally return frequently to the ranch.  The Guardians have been out there for most of the summer monitoring the situation and they've been camping between the wolves and the ranch this week to further deter the wolves until the livestock is moved in a few weeks.  Its getting very cold out there at night (it snowed in Stanley) but these people are truly incredible and very dedicated to the wolves.  They are also responsible for the fladry near Stanley and we're hoping its equally helpful there as it was as a temporary barrier in Salmon and the Nine Mile this summer."

Update 9-20-2002. Control resumes. This from the USFWS today, "On the 12th, WS made an attempt to shoot the alpha male of the Jureano pack because of repeated livestock depredations. The attempt was unsuccessful because he stayed in heavy timber. This week another calf was killed on the Diamond Moose allotment by the Jureano pack, control is continuing."

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Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan

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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209