History of the Whitehawk Pack

4-13-2002


Now that they are all dead, Carter Niemeyer, head of the wolf recovery program in the Idaho recovery area, has written a detailed history of the Whitehawk Pack. Niemeyer's history goes back to trace two of the pack's founding wolves, B40M and B47M, to their origin in the Moyer Basin Pack, NW of Challis. The fact that these two brother wolves were involved in a number of small depredations before they joined with other wolves near Whitehawk Mountain to form the Whitehawk Pack does add support to his contention that the new Whitehawk Pack might have been predisposed to occasionally kill livestock. These two wolves were first radio-collared in 1997 as pups in the Moyer Basin Pack, which was one of the first wolf packs to form in Idaho (1997).

The Moyer Basin Pack still exists and has occasionally kills livestock, but none recorded in 2001. It is the Idaho wolf pack that has lost the most members to illegal 1080 poisoning. The fact that the Moyer Basin Pack's range was not far from the East Fork of the Salmon probably explains why after its first year (2000) near Whitehawk Mountain (in the headwaters of Bear Valley Creek) the Whitehawk Pack migrated about 70 miles to the southeast into the East Fork of the Salmon and from there into the Sawtooth Valley to den.

Niemeyer's chronicle also reveals for the first time where the Whitehawk Pack denned in the spring of 2001 (Warm Springs Creek in the west-facing foothills of the White Cloud Mountains).

This chronicle is the first time I was able to gather all the numbers that had been assigned to the other members of the Whitehawk Pack. When they were all radio collared last winter, the Nez Perce tribal team refused to give me the "B" numbers of the wolves. Curt Mack, head of the team, told me he was afraid that public knowledge of the ID numbers would jeopardize the lives of the wolves because of illegal killings. I told him that knowing the wolf's ID number could not conceivably give would-be killers any information they didn't already have. Everyone knew that if you wanted to kill these wolves, the way to do it was to drive up the East Fork of Salmon and scout around for their tracks, ravens circling, etc. At any rate, the ID number of a wolf has no relationship to its location.

Ironically, now that they are all legally dead, here are their ID numbers. I should add that Niemeyer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has always been helpful with information such as this.

B40M- Was killed on June 29, 2001 in the first government control action against the pack.
B 47M- The alpha male was killed on June 6, 2002 on the final action of killing the pack.
B101M- The pack's lone pup in 2000 was killed June 29, 2001 in the first control action against the pack.
B102M- Was shot by an East Fork of the Salmon rancher on March 19, 2001 while it and the other 4 members of the pack were feeding on a cow calf they had killed. The origin of B102M was not known, but possibly a dissperser from the Landmark Pack which has a territory not far from Whitehawk Mountain.
On January 19, 2002 the uncollared members of the pack got collars and were numbered as follows: alpha female ("Alabaster", B119F) and the six  pups from 2001 (subadults B120F, B121M, B122F, B123M, B124M, and B125M). These were all shot between April 1 and April 6, 2002.

Niemeyer's Whitehawk Wolf Pack History chronology (pdf file).


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Copyright 2002 Ralph Maughan
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