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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]
Gray Wolf Recovery Status Reports, May 2004
APRIL 30-MAY 7, 2004
Monitoring
NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2003 annual wolf report is at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies.
A wolf radioed in the Owl Creek area just west of Meeteetse, WY last winter has been traveling with two other wolves this spring. It is believed they have denned in the area and are on public land. The local BLM and Wildlife Services offices were contacted. The Washakie pack has denned just north of Dubois, WY at last year’s den site.
The Swan Lake pack that killed a 3-4 week-old calf on private property adjacent to Yellowstone National Park last week has denned at their usual location well inside the Park. Most if not all packs have denned.
Monitoring flights to determine which packs may be denning in central Idaho were conducted in 2 of the 3 flight areas. It appears that the following packs or pairs have localized and may have produced litters; Buffalo Ridge, Eagle Mountain, Galena, Hazard Lake, Morgan Creek, Moyer Basin, O'Hara Point, Red River, Scott Mountain, Soldier Mountain, Steel Mountain, B109-F, B127-M, and B157-M. Loss of radio-collars, via dispersal, death, or radio-collar expiration, failure, or missing, hampers tribes ability to determine the reproductive status for these packs; Castle Peak, Chamberlain Basin, Eldorado, Florence, Hemlock Ridge, Kelly Creek, Landmark, Lupine, Magruder, Marble Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Timberline, Twin Peaks, and Wolf Fang. More information will be required to ascertain whether the Cook, Gold Fork, Gospel Hump, Jureano Mountain, and Orphan packs have produced pups.
Missing Moyer Basin alpha male B97's radio-signal, on mortality mode, was detected in the northern part of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. However, a radio-collared hunting dog, out during spring bear hunting season, may be the source of this signal. Another monitoring flight will help the tribe determine whether this signal is male B97.
Isaac Babcock was offered a seasonal Wildlife Biologist position with the NPT Wolf Recovery Project. Congratulations Isaac.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game conducted interviews for 2 temporary Wildlife Biologists that will work on wolf management as the state assumes a more active role for wolf recovery activities in Idaho. Montana may also be advertising to hire Montana state wolf recovery personnel early this summer.
Seasonal biologist Frame has been trapping in the Little Thompson/Lonepine area after finding fresh wolf sign on May 1. No captures yet.
Between May 3 and May 6, MT FW&P Sime talked with 5 different landowners in the vicinity of Blankenship Bridge (near Columbia Falls) who reported seeing a uncollared large canid on or near their private property. The lone former Whitefish alpha is wearing a functional radio collar and GNP volunteers did not hear her signal in the area on May 3 and relocation flights have not relocated her in that area for quite some time. First sightings occurred in March, 2004 and have been intermittent through April. Several encounters with domestic dogs were reported (including close physical proximity and actual chasing), but no pets were injured or killed. Based on behavioral descriptions, an escaped captive wolf or wolf-dog hybrid is suspected. Landowners were advised about 4(d) regulations and encouraged to opportunistically, but non-injuriously harass the animal. Over the weekend (May 1/2) one of the landowners had fired a shotgun in the air after having seen the animal on his property. The animal ran off a short distance,
stopped for a few seconds, then left the immediate area. The situation is being monitored closely.
Control
WS investigated suspected wolf damage to separate young calves near Big Hole, MT on the 3rd- confirmed black bear damage; Avon, MT on the 4th- coyote damage, Hot Springs, MT earlier this week- coyote damage, a report of missing calves near Marion MT- unknown because no remains found, and several dead calves near Cody, WY- coyote damage.
Niemeyer made a field inspection of a depredation incident south of Stanley, Idaho (5/1-5/3), where a lone, uncollared wolf has attacked at least two domestic dogs at a residence. He was assisted by the local Idaho Department of Fish and Game CO for the area. Niemeyer also assisted WS Wolf Specialist Rick Williamson in checking out a depredation incident near the East Fork of the Salmon River (5/4) and another incident near the Bennett Hills southwest of Fairfield, Idaho (5/5-5/6). In both the Stanley and East Fork areas a trap that had been set for wolves disappeared despite intensive searches to find evidence of what may have happened. Attempts will be made to radio-collar wolves in these areas this spring as wolf reports or depredations are reported.
Research
Nothing new to report
Information and education and law enforcement
Smith gave a talk at Univ. of Nevada, Reno to about 30 people on April 30. Doug like Ed Bangs is a UNR [Go Wolf Pack!] alumni.
On the 5th, Fontaine, Asher, Sime [MT FW&P], and others met to participate in a conference call with Defenders of Wildlife, Predator Conservation Alliance, Turner Endangered Species Fund about plans to conduct a ‘Range Rider’ and non-lethal depredation prevention program in the Madison and Paradise Valley this summer.
Dr. L. David Mech, the world’s foremost authority on wolves, gave lectures on wolves in Lander, WY on the 4th and about 200 people attended. On the 5th he talked again in Cheyenne, WY at another well attended public meeting. Most questions focused on wolf ungulate interactions.
Volunteer Therese Hartman gave presentations at Lakeside Elementary School to about 50 students on May 7th. MT FW&P biologist Sime gave an update to the MT FW&P Wildlife Division on May 5. About 100 employees attended.
10j Amendment-Public Comment Period closes May 10th, 2004.
On April 3rd, Secretary of the Interior Norton announced a proposal to give Tribes and Idaho and Montana more authority to manage wolf populations in their reservations and states, consistent with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act. The proposed experimental population 10j amendment was published in the Federal Register and can be found at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ .
The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.
Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV
MAY 7-14, 2004
Monitoring
Frame conducted a survey flight on May 13, to determine which packs being monitored from Kalispell in the NW Montana recovery area are denning. The Fishtrap, Lazy Creek, Whitefish, Murphy Lake, and Kintla packs are tending dens. Further investigation is required to tell if Candy Mountain and Hog Heaven have denned. Great Bear, Red Shale, and Fish Creek will be surveyed on the next flight. The trans-boundary Kootenai pack that usually dens in Canada was visiting the U.S. on Wednesday and may have denned in the NW Montana recovery area this year, but further investigation will be required. The Spruce Creek den, which is located five miles north of the Canadian border in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage, was active. This den may be important as a source for future immigrants to the NW Montana recovery area.
A flight in SW Montana on the 9th, indicated most females are localized [denned]. A pair of black wolves was reported south of Clark Canyon Reservoir, south of Dillon, MT on elk kill.
The Nez Perce Tribe got the first pup count of the season on the 7th. Biologists Trapp and Holyan located the Gold Fork pack's den and observed 3 black pups inside (eyes not yet open). The signal of the alpha female was in the same area the following day, so it appears our intrusion did not result in abandonment of the area.
Control
WS investigated a possible wolf killed calf just east of Lincoln, MT on the 7th. The producer saw a black wolf leave from where a dead calf was found. There was no indication that the wolf killed the calf but had scavenged the carcass. There are no established wolves known to be in the area and the black wolf is probably a loner. A number of dispersing radio collared wolves have been located in this general area.
On the 9th WS confirmed that a wolf killed 9 lambs and consumed 2 of them near Hall, MT. Traps were set by WS to try to radio-collar and release it on site. The wolf returned the next evening and consumed a 50 pound lamb that it had previously killed. Unfortunately, the wolf returned by a completely different route and was not caught. Trapping is ongoing and is still a catch and release control action.
ID WS killed a gray colored, 2-year-old male wolf on private land during a depredation control action morning of the 14th, from fixed-wing aircraft north of Shoshone, ID. The wolf was a member of the Bennett Mountain pack/group. WS saved the skull for educational purposes but the hide was not retrieved due to its poor condition. This pack has been involved in repeated depredations in that area over the past month.
The Nez Perce Tribe received a telephone message on the 13th from a rancher near Kendrick, ID reporting wolf depredations on cattle. There are no known wolf groups in that area at this time but the investigation is continuing.
Asher is bringing fladry to the Madison Valley the weekend of the 15th. The faldry will be used to help protect sheep that are brought into the area for a weed control project in Wall Creek/Madison Valley area. Sheep will be brought in on May 18, they will be night pastured in fladry/electric fencing, and will be protected by both a guard dog and herder.
Research
Yellowstone National Park’s GPS collar downloads from wolves began May 1 and have been going very well. Collars are locating the wolf every 30 min for 48 locations/day. After retrieving the first series of downloads, NPS biologists found 3 kills over a 11 day period by walking to clusters of location points. Two cows and a calf had been killed (last year’s calf, almost a yearly now). Smith et al. are very pleased and this technique holds great promise to help estimate wolf summer predation rates. The other downloadable GPS collar unfortunately is on female that denned. It is 1 of 2 denning Druid females, with multiple litters in that pack again. The data indicated she hung around the den just prior to the birth of the pups- so the collar works fine.
Information and education and law enforcement
Long time Kalispell, MT wolf biologist/volunteer Therese Hartman left the program to move on to bigger and better things. Therese helped trap and radio-collar wolves, conducted many of our radio-collaring flights, and was a huge help in the NW Montana program for the last 4 years. While a work-study student, she assisted in the development of the MT state wolf EIS and management plan. She was co-located with Tom Meir and Carolyn Sime in the MT FW&P Kalispell office. Last year she completed her B.S. degree at Univ,. Montana. While at UM she continued to volunteer for wolf ‘duty’ in the Missoula area. Thank you for a great job and good luck in your future endeavors.
Bangs participated in an hour long presentation/radio talk show for Agriculture Appreciation Days in Butte, MT on the 12th. About 50 people were in the audience and a dozen stayed another 45 minutes after the program to talk further about wolves and wolf management. Several people commented that they approved of the Service’s 10 j proposal to increase wolf management flexibility and the state’s role.
Nez Perce seasonal wolf biologists Isaac Babcock and Adam Gall start work in Idaho on Monday the 17th. They will be headed up north to begin trapping on the Big Hole pack, as well as possibly investigating the reproductive status of other packs in that area (Eagle Mountain, Eldorado, Hemlock Ridge). Kent Laudon and Anthony Novack return to work on the 24th.
ID F&G hired 2 biologists for their state wolf management positions. Jason Husseman and Michael Lucid will be starting the 24th of May. Welcome aboard! Steve Nadeau did an interview with a Boise television station on the 11th discussing the State's role and preparation for State management of wolves.
MAY 14-21, 2004
Monitoring
A wolf crossed into Montana from Canada last week. Alberta biologist Carita Bergman reported that male yearling wolf #78 [who is wearing an Argos GPS collar] dispersed south from his home territory 100 km southwest of Calgary. His pack was involved in cattle depredations this past spring but he hasn’t been in any trouble since. He crossed the border in the wee hours of May 14th. He was located near Hwy 89 between St. Mary and Kiowa and still appears to be heading south and was just west of Choteau, MT on Wednesday. The Blackfeet tribal and MT FW&P biologists were notified. The wolf will continue to be monitored. Thanks to Carita for such great coordination.
Nez Perce biologists Isaac Babcock and Adam Gall are running a trap line in hopes of getting more radio-collars in the Big Hole pack. They have located wolf sign near last year's den site.
Jon Trapp was on hand to assist Dave Thomas (WS) in radio-collaring and also searched for wolf activity in the area near the recent confirmed wolf depredation on a domestic calf near Southwick. He did not locate any wolf sign, but heavy rains may have eliminated recent tracks. Howling surveys did not elicit any responses. Dave also conducted investigations near Kendrick and Genesee, but did not find evidence of wolf involvement. Jon will soon be leaving the Nez Perce Tribe Wolf Project to work for the FWS in Wyoming this summer. We thank Jon, and his wife Barbara, for all of the help they have given to us in the last year.
Nez Perce biologist Jim Holyan attempted to investigate the area of wolf B42-F's mortality signal, but was unable to reach the site due to high water in Kelly Creek. If the batteries hold out for another 2-3 weeks a second effort will be made to retrieve the radio-collar. IDFG Conservation Officer Mark Rhodes and USFS employee Brooks Beegle took part in the retrieval attempt.
Curt Mack and Carter Niemeyer will be participating in events at Redfish Lake (Stanley) sponsored by the Idaho Conservation League the weekend of the 22nd & 23rd.
Gary Gadwa (IDFG Conservation Officer) collected a yearling gray uncollared female wolf that had been hit by a vehicle on Highway 21 [MP 113] near Cape Horn (25 miles northwest of Stanley) on the 20th. The nearest known wolf pack is the Landmark pack, so we assume this wolf is a member of that group. The pelt was not salvageable but the skull was saved for educational purposes.
Jureano Mountain wolf B147-F, missing since last November, was aerially located near Slate Creek, north of Riggins. The finding of this disperser was facilitated by a report from a bear hunter to the Wildlife Biologist (Joann Bonn) at the Slate Creek Ranger District. Recovery Project personnel were able to contact the bear hunter, who reported that the black wolf was radio-collared. A search of the area focused on all missing black wolves and led to the detection of B147-F. She was observed, but appeared to be alone. Den survey flights will be concluding soon and monitoring flights will be conducted once per month, so hopefully the Recovery Project can maintain contact with this wolf.
The following packs in Idaho are classified as denning; Buffalo Ridge, Galena, Gold Fork, O'Hara Point, Red River, Soldier Mt., Steel Mt., and B109/190. Those suspected to have litters are; Big Hole, Eagle Mt., Gospel Hump, Hazard Lake, Morgan Ck., Moyer Basin, Orphan, Partridge Ck. group, Scott Mt., Selway, B127, B141, and B157. The denning status of the packs listed below is unknown (in most cases because there are no radio-collared members in those packs); Bennett Mt., Castle Peak, Chamberlain Basin, Cook, Eldorado, Five Lakes Butte, Florence, Hemlock Ridge, Jureano Mt., Kelly Ck., Landmark, Lupine, Magruder, Marble Mt., Monumental, Thunder Mt., Timberline, Twin Peaks, and Wolf Fang. All the ‘regular’ packs in the greater Yellowstone area appear to have denned and pups are occasionally beginning to be seen at a few dens.
Control
On the 16th, a calf was killed on private property next to Teton National Park by members of the Teton pack. The landowner reported seeing a black wolf [a likely Teton pack member] leaving the carcass which was pretty much consumed up to the front shoulders. WS is trapping and was authorized to remove up to two wolves on that private property.
Val Asher and Mike Ross (MT FW&P) visited with ranchers in the Cinnabar basin on the 19th, after they reported ten gray wolves [5 radioed] were near their house, in their domestic bison, and fought with one of their dogs -- nothing was injured. They reported a couple of missing bison calves from earlier this spring. The wolves had killed a calf/yearling elk in the basin. Location and the all-grey color indicated it was 10 of 11 members of the Swan Lake pack, who denned in the Park. The elk carcass was removed so the wolves wouldn’t stick around to scavenge on it. Asher and Ross set up a RAG box at the ranch to use as a warning/scare device but no wolf frequencies have been detected yet. They encouraged everyone to keep an eye on dogs and livestock (as usual) and harass any wolves in the basin if the opportunity presented itself. Work has also begun to identify the den locations of packs in the Paradise Valley, and possibly ‘bump’ those wolves from intensive livestock production pastures.
WS pulled all the traps in the Roscoe area on the 18th. The uncollared gray and black wolf that have killed sheep and calves on several occasions have not returned to the area in 16 days. Numerous shoot on sight permits have been issued but the wolves haven’t been seen. No additional agency control will be attempted unless they return and kill more livestock.
A producer in Pine Creek [GYA, Paradise Valley] called about 3 wolves going through their pasture on the 19th . The wolves are probably part of the Lone Bear pack. The producer declined the Less-Than-Lethal munitions training. Asher and Ross talked to a couple of other producers about the Lone Bear pack. They will be turning out their livestock onto allotments in the near future.
ID WS killed a gray colored, a 2-year-old male wolf on private land during a depredation control action the morning of the 14th, from fixed-wing aircraft west of Fairfield, ID. The wolf was a member of the Bennett Mountain pack/group. WS saved the skull for educational purposes but the hide was not retrieved due to its poor condition. This pack has been involved in repeated depredations in that area over the past month. Rick Williamson and Gary Looney [ID WS] collared and released an 80-pound yearling female wolf from the Bennett Mountain pack on the 19th, near Morris Flat. Morris Flat is maybe 6-7 miles north of Bennett Mountain. They pulled all their traps because of weather and having this animal has been collared. Hopefully this wolf will enable the Recovery Project to determine the current reproductive status of this pack, which might influence future control activities.
The Nez Perce Tribe received a telephone message on the 13th from a rancher near Kendrick, ID reporting wolf depredations on cattle. There are no known wolf groups in that area at this time but the investigation by WS is continuing.
Asher is bringing fladry to the Madison Valley the weekend of the 15th. The fladry will be used to help protect sheep that are brought into the area for a weed control project in Wall Creek/Madison Valley area. Sheep will be brought in on May 18, they will be night pastured in fladry/electric fencing, and will be protected by both a guard dog and herder.
Research
Yellowstone National Park continues to collect GPS collar location data and walk into location ‘clusters’ to quantify summer predation rates. So far it seems to be working well.
Yellowstone National Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab, and Nez Perce Tribe have initiated a collaborative research project with Dr. Robert Wayne, UCLA, to investigate "Genetic characterization of gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming to determine individual identity, paternity, maternity, and social structure." Tissue and blood samples from more than 500 wolves have been collected and will be part of the analysis.
Information and education and law enforcement
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is advertising for the position of Wolf Coordinator. This position will be open May 19 - June 11, 2004. Application materials may be submitted to: Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, 1420 E. Sixth Avenue, Helena, MT 59620. For the complete job posting and application material requirements, please see the FWP website http://fwp.state.mt.us/.
Doug Smith did a TV interview with Color 8 News out of Billings, MT. They are doing a 3-piece segment on Yellowstone National Park on May 25-27th. Wolves will be one segment, not sure which night.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hired 4 seasonal biologists for this field season. Dr. Diane Boyd and Jack Bucklin will be stationed in Missoula, MT. Liz Bradley and Jon Trapp will be stationed in Lander, WY. They will begin work to help monitor wolf populations [locate, trap, radio, monitor] June 1. The list of qualified applicants was unusually strong and we thank everyone for their interest in these positions.
A former Idaho rancher is reportedly making money in a different way, by selling plaster wolf tracks. The producer got out of ranching and is now running a local store. One of the Idaho packs frequents a nearby pond/muddy area on a regular basis and he makes casts of the tracks and sells them in his store. An innovative way to make money from wolves.
Fontaine attended a meeting in Ennis, MT at the Madison Valley Ranchlands office on the 19th to discuss the Range Rider program for the valley. This is a collaborative pilot project to test whether increased human presence will reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. From June-September, two people on horseback will monitor and respond to interactions between wolves and livestock on public grazing allotments. The project is being headed by the Predator Conservation Alliance, Madison Valley Ranchlands group along with support from Turner Endangered Species Fund, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Service and cooperation from the Forest Service and BLM.
MT FW&P announced they have signed a cooperative agreement with the Service to increase their role in wolf recovery efforts in NW MT where wolves are listed as threatened and can be managed under the flexibility of the April 2003, 4d rule. The Service will fund their activities and is pleased that the state is taking a more active role in wolf management. Both wolves and the people that live near them will benefit from more local state involvement.
MAY 21-28, 2004
Monitoring
Nez Perce biologists Isaac Babcock and Adam Gall were able to obtain a minimum pup count on the Eagle Mountain pack; they observed 3 gray pups at the den site on the south side of the Lochsa River downstream of where this pack denned last year. Isaac and Adam were unable to locate any trappable wolves in the Big Hole, Hemlock Ridge, or Eldorado packs.
Nez Perce biologists Kent Laudon and Anthony Novack flew into Cold Meadows in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to trap for and get a pup count on the Chamberlain Basin pack. There have been no functioning radio-collars in this pack since 2001. Good luck guys!
Nez Perce biologists Jim Holyan and former Project office assistant Cheri Ramos located the Orphan pack den and observed a minimum of 4-5 black pups. This is the first time alpha female B-61 has produced more than a single pup.
Dispersing wolf B147-F, from the Jureano Mountain pack, was located about 15 miles NE of her last location. The most recent flight location was in the head of Skookumchuck Ck. (east of White Bird, ID).
B97, the Moyer Basin alpha male {ID], whose signal was located on mortality the past flight, was not heard at all on the most recent flight. His fate is unknown.
The Cook pack, containing 4 radio-collared wolves in Idaho, shows no sign of localization; all radio-collared wolves have been located together for the past 4 flights, in widely separated locations. On the most recent flight they were found in the French Ck. drainage, where they have not been located before. Reproductive status of many other packs is starting to become apparent based on information from den survey flights.
The carcass of B116, the alpha male of the Orphan pack, was recovered by NPT and USFWS Law Enforcement (LE) personnel. This wolf's death is under investigation by LE. The loss of B116 could reduce the chances for the survival of this pack's litter. B117, formerly the suspected alpha male of the Gold Fork pack, has been associating with the Orphan pack since January, but has not been located with B61 (Orphan alpha female) since 4/23/04. If B117 reunites with B61 the situation for pup survival should improve.
The Kootenai pack, which usually dens in Canada, has been localized in Montana for the past few weeks suggesting they have denned in the U.S. this year. The Candy Mountain pack has also localized and is likely denned. Service biologist Paul Frame will trap for these two packs over the next few weeks to try getting more radio collars out. Right now just one individual in each of these packs is collared.
Packs that are know to be denning in NW Montana are Kintla, Whitefish, Lazy Creek, Murphy Lake, Fishtrap, Candy Mountain, and Kootenai. Wolf sightings near the old Spotted Bear den suggest they also have denned. We are still unsure if Hog Heaven, Great Bear, and Red Shale have denned and we will continue to monitor these packs to find out.
The Teton pack [9 wolves] has denned in their usual location in Grand Teton National Park. Recent sightings of 9 pups indicate they have had a double litter this year. Cattle are being grazed in the Park now, but they will not be near the den for another month or so. If cattle or killed by wolves or grizzly bears the cattle will be moved.
Control
On the 16th, a calf was killed on private property next to Teton National Park by members of the Teton pack. WS trapped and was authorized to remove up to two wolves on that private property.
No wolves were captured and traps were by the 28th.
Around the 20th, a calf was killed on private land near Big Piney, WY. The producer called Jimenez over the weekend and WS investigated on the 24th. The carcass was pretty well melted down but they could see old wounds and sign and confirmed it as a wolf depredation. There are no known radio wolves or packs in that area. The wolf had not returned to the carcass lately so no traps were set and no control is ongoing.
A calf was confirmed killed by wolves on private property north of Dubois, WY. The Washakie pack is denned adjacent to this ranch but other uncollared wolves have also been reported in the area. This ranch has had repeated wolf depredations in the past and is also extensively used by grizzly bears, making wolf trapping difficult. WS confirmed the fresh depredation on the 22nd. No agency control is being conducted but the producer was given a shoot-on-sight permit.
A pair of uncollared wolves that has sporadically but repeatedly killed cattle and sheep around Fishtail, MT reportedly killed more sheep on private land the 28th. WS is continuing to investigate. A kill order to WS was already authorized, as well as several shoot-on-sight permits to the affect landowners. The latest landowner’s kill permit for his private property was re-authorized immediately by phone.
MT FWP biologist Carolyn Sime received another call on May 27th from a landowner in the Blankenship Bridge area just south of Glacier National Park. A large gray canid was seen chasing a domestic dog towards the house late at night around May 22. The dog was reported to have had saliva on its neck. The same landowner reported missing a few free-range chickens during the week of May 17th, but did not report the loss until May 27. The landowner was advised of the 4(d) rules permitting non-lethal harassment or defense of property on private land.
Research
Yellowstone National Park Wolf Project used a foundation grant to hire three biologists this summer to initiate the "Food for the Masses [Summer]. It is a study of scavenging on wolf kills during summer in the Park. This study would follow on the heals of the very successful study of scavenging on wolf-killed ungulates during winter. Speculation suggests there would be much more avian scavenging in winter than summer, now we’ll find out.
The second year of elk calf capture has begun for the three year research project on "Elk calf survival and cause specific mortality" is underway, a graduate student is being supervised by Dr. L. David Mech, the principle investigator. As of the 28th, nearly a dozen calves had been radio-tagged, hopefully up to 50 calves may be tagged as the calving season progresses.
Information and education and law enforcement
MT FW&P announced a cooperative agreement with the Service to increase the state role in wolf recovery efforts in NW MT. Wolves there are listed as threatened and can be managed under the flexibility of the April 2003, 4d rule. The Service will fund their assistance and is pleased that the state is taking a more active role in wolf management. Both wolves and the people that live near them will benefit from more local state involvement.
Curt Mack and Carter Niemeyer participated in events at Redfish Lake (Stanley) sponsored by the Idaho Conservation League on the 21st and 22nd. About 15-20 people attend each of the Friday and Saturday afternoon sessions.
The Nez Perce Tribe's 2003 Annual Report is now available on the Tribe's website: www.nezperce.org. Click on Departments and then navigate to the Natural Resources section, followed by Wildlife Program.
On the 25th, Doug Smith talked with 15 Regional Wildlife Biologists from the Forest Service on a field trip in Yellowstone National Park. Also on the 25th, Deb Guernsey gave an evening talk to 50 Park concessionaire employees. On the 28th Smith participated in a field trip with a dozen members of the Yellowstone Park Foundation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hired 4 seasonal biologists for this field season. Dr. Diane Boyd and Jack Bucklin will be stationed in Missoula, MT. Liz Bradley and Jon Trapp will be stationed in Lander, WY. They will begin work to help monitor wolf populations [locate, trap, radio, monitor] June 1.
Bangs and Fontaine have been reviewing agency, organization, and public comments made on the Service’s proposal to change the nonessential experimental population [10j] rules that regulate wolf management in much of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. About 23,00 comments were received before the public comment period closed on May 10th.
The Service's weekly wolf report can now also be viewed at the Service's Region 6 web site at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.