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Wolves
Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
[www.wolfology.com]
Gray Wolf Recovery Status Reports, August 2003
From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT

AUGUST 1-8, 2003
Monitoring
A new Idaho pack was discovered by Holly Akenson, Univ.of ID researcher and caretaker for the Taylor Ranch in Big Creek. We have suspected a pack of wolves in the Monumental Creek area for the past several years. Holly and some interns surveyed this area and discovered an active den with both evidence of adults and pups. This information was verified by Jim Holyan on a subsequent survey. No counts yet but they are now called the Monumental pack......The Green River pack [WY] has 5 pups. They seem to be doing fine and no further livestock problems have been documented with wolves.

Control
At least 2 ewes were killed on the 4th or 5th, and several lambs and ewes are missing from Forest Service grazing allotments near Pinedale, WY. Wildlife Services specialists confirmed wolf damage and when they howled they heard response from several adults and pups in the area. There are no known radioed wolves in that area. WS and the Service are trapping and will radio-collar and release any captured wolves on site to determine what is there and what control actions may be appropriate.....More sheep were reported killed by both grizzly bears and wolves on a Forest Service allotment just north of Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife Services has authorization to shoot one wolf if it is in the sheep band. It is a 20-mile ride into the area to confirm depredations.

Information and education and law enforcement
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a web page that has various links to state wolf management plans, information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at
http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/index.html.
AUGUST 9-22, 2003
Monitoring
The week of the 11th FWS, NPT and Nadeau with Idaho Fish and Game investigated reported wolf activity in the Boise River system just east of Idaho. During that same week Niemeyer captured and collared a male wolf, B155, in the newly documented Timberline wolf pack just east of Idaho City. Wolf pups were confirmed with the Timberline pack. This week, Niemeyer, Adam Gall, and Erin Simmons initiated a trapping effort just northeast of Idaho City to collar wolves associated with what was initially believed to be an additional litter and possibly a new pack. While working the trap line northeast of Idaho City, B155 wandered up from the Timberline pack and was observed with one other wolf in close proximity to the trap line northeast of Idaho City. The next morning an adult female and a pup were captured and collared. Although we still suspect the presence of two different litters, the presence of B155 in both areas is confusing. Additional monitoring will be required to determine the relationship between wolves in these two adjacent areas.....On the 19th during a monitoring flight a mortality signal was located from one of the two collared Red Shale Pack yearling wolves. An effort will be made as soon as possible to travel into the area and investigate the situation.

NEW WEB ADDRESS- See the 2002 annual wolf report at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ for maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, litigation and funding issues, and summaries of scientific studies.

Control
As we’ve always known this is the yearly peak, mid-August, of livestock depredations by wolves as noted by the number of incidents listed below.....WS confirmed that the Sunlight Pack in Wyoming killed another calf, this makes 3 total. During each depredation investigation, WS repeatedly found Sunlight wolves at the scene. On Saturday the 16th , WS killed 2 sub-adult wolves near the last dead calf. The situation will be monitored to determine if the depredations have ceased.....Four Teton Pack dispersing 2 year-old wolves killed 3 calves in the Union Pass area in Wyoming. Two of the wolves are collared and have previously killed livestock near Pinedale, Wyoming. On Monday the 18th WS killed 2 uncollared wolves near the depredation site. We will continue to monitor the situation.....Green River pack consists of an adult female and 5 pups. Since the last control action she has not attacked any cattle but has been observed scavenging carcasses and carrying deer legs back to the pups. ....WS confirmed at least 2 sheep were killed by wolves in the Wyoming Range near Daniel Wyoming. The producer found 12 -15 other dead ewes and lambs but they were too decomposed to determine what killed them. A decision was made to try and place a radio collar in the pack to better monitor the situation and as a non-lethal method to try and prevent additional depredations. Normally we don’t trap when it is hot like it has been the last month but since we were trying to stop the depredations we decided to proceed. Two wolves were caught, one by FWS and the other by WS, but unfortunately they died from heat exposure. The traps were pulled and the situation is being monitored.....WS confirmed at least 4 -5 depredations this summer by the Greybull pack and is trying to lethally remove two of the wolves. This control operation is ongoing.....The Absaroka Pack killed 2 calves on one allotment the week of the 11th. There is only 1 collared 2-year-old wolf in this pack, so we are first trying to trap, collar and release on site in hopes of stopping the depredation. If the depredations continue then lethal control will be initiated.....At least 2 ewes were killed on the 4th or 5th, and several lambs and ewes are missing from Forest Service grazing allotments near Pinedale, WY. WS confirmed the wolf damage and when they howled they heard response from several adults and pups in the area. There are no known radioed wolves in that area. WS and the Service are trapping and will radio-collar and release any captured wolves on site to determine what is there and what control actions may be appropriate.....WS confirmed that wolves on a Forest Service allotment just north of Yellowstone National Park killed 8 sheep and grizzly bears killed 5 sheep. WS was authorized to shoot one wolf if it was in the sheep band. Although WS went in several times wolves were never seen in the sheep. On the 21st the sheep were moved off the allotment due to a fire in the area. No further control will be taken. ....WS confirmed that wolves killed some sheep on a Forest Service allotment just north of McCall, Idaho. The depredation occurred within B45's territory but his radio collar failed about a year ago and the status of the wolves is not known. WS initiated a capture effort to collar and release on site and two wolves were captured; an adult female and an adult male. Unfortunately, the female died of apparent stress related complications during capture and processing. Tribal field crews are continuing capture and collaring efforts to determine the status of wolves in this area. The whereabouts of B45 and her mate is not known at this point.....WS confirmed wolf depredations on another Forest Service allotment also just north of McCall, Idaho. The Hazard Lake pack is suspected in this incident as they were located approximately 4 miles from the depredation site on a subsequent monitor flight. A control action is under way.....WS confirmed that wolves killed a calf near Challis, Idaho. Recovery Project personnel have been attempting to capture and collar one of a suspected 10-11 wolves in this area since last winter. WS initiated a capture and collar effort to better understand the status of wolf activity in this area.....An attempt to radio collar a possible lone wolf in the Trout Creek, Montana area is still ongoing. The wolf was observed chasing sheep into a corral and barn on August the 10th and 11th and 4 sheep are missing. The operation is still ongoing.....On the 12th WS confirmed that the Willow Creek pack southwest of Drummond, MT killed a calf and injured another one. The injured calf died on the 21st. Traps were set to radio collar and release on site. There are 3 wolves in the pack and the female is radio collared. A subsequent monitoring flight showed the wolves had moved approximately 8-10 miles away and the traps were removed. No further control will be done at this time due to the heat and extreme fire danger in the area .....A gray and black wolf in the Ninemile Valley, northwest of Missoula, have been frequenting a llama producer in the area. So far the electric fence that was provided by Defenders has prevented any depredations. We would like to radio collar one of the wolves but the Ninemile Valley was closed due to the fires in the area and the fire danger. Fire crews have been seeing at least 3 wolves just above the llama producer.....A calf was confirmed killed by members of the Chief Joseph pack on the 14th. WS tried to trap and collar one of the wolves but the grizzly bears in the area took over the carcass and all trapping ceased. The area is being scouted by Asher and Ross in an effort to locate trapping sites to radio collar one of the wolves. This would mark the pack and facilitate research by an MSU graduate student in the Gallatin Valley .....On August 17, a calf was verified killed by wolves in Pleasant Valley, west of Kalispell. The calf was probably killed by members of the Murphy Lake Pack, which has spent much of the summer in that area, 30-40 miles south of their usual range. The Murphy Lake Pack is the fourth pack of wolves that has been implicated in cattle depredation in Pleasant Valley over the past 13 years.

AUGUST 22-29, 2003
Monitoring
NPT biologist Jim Holyan observed 2 gray wolf pups in the Timberline pack. NPT biologists continued trapping in the Pearl Creek area, but haven't been able to determine the reproductive status of this group yet. Efforts are ongoing.

Control
In response to a wolf depredation on sheep in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming WS was authorized to conduct control. On the 23rd, a lone male gray wolf was shot while feeding on a fresh sheep carcass about 25 miles east of Ten Sleep, WY.....Wildlife Services' Wolf Specialist Rick Williamson trapped and radio-collared 2 wolves in Morgan Creek, near Challis, ID in response to a depredation there. Male wolves B160 and B161 are part of what will be known as the Morgan Creek pack. NPT crews will monitor these animals to determine whether there are pups present with this newly-discovered pack.....A group of 4-5 wolves was reportedly involved in killing a calf north of Idaho Falls, Idaho [GYA] on the 28th. A wolf reportedly in the act of depredating was killed by the landowner. WS confirmed the calf had been killed by wolves and a LE investigation is ongoing. If possible a wolf will be collared and released on site. Frequencies of possible ‘suspects’ from YNP were given to WS to aid in the search for these wolves.....Wildlife Services completed a control action for the depredation attributed to the Hazard Lake pack. A large gray male wolf was captured and euthanized. It was thought that the Hazard Lake pack was comprised of B105M, his uncollared mate, and their pups of the year. This depredation occurred fairly close to the one that took place in Pearl Creek north of McCall (in what is assumed to be B45's home range). It is not known if the wolf that was lethally controlled was associated with the Hazard Lake pack, the wolves in Pearl Creek, B45, or was a lone disperser.....Wildlife Services is investigating a report of a dead calf near McLeod, MT [GYA]. A producer reportedly jumped 2 wolves off the mostly consumed carcass. WS will set traps to radio-collar and release a wolf on-site if possible, to determine if a new pack might be invovled.

Information and education and law enforcement
On the 15th Fontaine and Asher participated in a meeting with Madison Valley ranchers. A National Geographic film crew conducted interviews for an upcoming segment on the ecological changes and social issues involved with wolf restoration in the Greater Yellowstone Area.....Curt Mack, NPT Project Leader, met with livestock producers in the area used by the Steel Mountain pack, near Atlanta, ID, to discuss methods to minimize wolf-livestock interactions and provide training in less-than-lethal munitions. He also met with representatives from the state of Idaho to work out a memorandum that will delineate NPT and State roles in future wolf management in Idaho.....Idaho wolf B72, a disperser from the Thunder Mountain pack was found dead. Her carcasses has been sent to the Ashland lab as part of an ongoing LE investigation.....Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks released their final version of the EIS for the Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on Thursday the 21st. The final document is be posted on FWP’s website www.fwp.state.mt.us.....The final Wyoming Game and Fish wolf management plan is posted on their website http://gf.state.wy.us. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved the plan on the 29th.....The Service will likely send out the completed Idaho, Wyoming and Montana wolf management plans for independent scientific peer review in mid-September. Peer review is the next logical step in the process for the Service to determine if a delisting proposal is appropriate.

AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 5, 2003
Monitoring
Former Teton wolf #267 a black 2-yr-old male has been traveling with the Green River pack female and her 5 pups for the past few weeks. Her former mate was killed in a control action earlier this summer. Wolf #267 has been involved in previous depredations- it seems ‘she’ is attracted to those ‘bad boys’. To date no problems have been reported and that now makes them a "breeding pair" if they make it to Dec. 31....An uncollared wolf escaped with a trap and 8' chain on its foot last week after the drag link separated. The Nez Perce tribe and WS organized an intensive search effort including a helicopter. They and some local ranch riders [and their cattle dog] finally managed to find and re-capture it. It was radio-collared, treated with antibiotics, and released, but sadly it died a couple of days later. All our trappers are re-reminded to give their trap chains a good check before use to try to detect any potentially weak or cracked links or swivels. Any capture of large wild animals involves some risk but we should do everything we can to minimize problems, so check gear closely and avoid trapping in very hot weather when possible.....The Washakie pack moved back into their old rendezvous site in Six Mile Creek on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois, WY. They cattle were all on private land on the 2nd, reportedly because wolves chased them off the allotment. The alpha pair is radioed and an unknown gray radioed wolf has joined them. A subgroup of the pack killed calves earlier this summer but the radioed wolves hadn’t been located on the ranch until recently.....On the 2nd, Taylor Peak yearling #281M was in the N. Fork of Squaw Creek drainage in timber. (Madison drainage), Sentinel #324F was in Buck Creek on the Gallatin side. Freezeout #115F and #161M traveling with four other grays in Tributary Creek off the East Fork of the Ruby. (W side of Gravelly’s). Chief Joe- 14 seen including 5 pups- No radio collars are in that pack but howling from the ground had the pups and some adults at a rendezvous site in the Park in Daly Creek. Trapping with #3 soft-catch, tranquilizer tabs, trap site transmitters, and double sets, was conducted in Daly Creek the night of the 1st. There were 3 pull-outs in a row and then 2 dug-up sets. All traps were pulled. Ground darting was attempted the next morning but the pack left the area that night.....The radio-collar from a Red Shale pack member [NW MT] was recovered by Forest Service field crews [Thanks!]. It was just a shed collar. This primarily wilderness pack has one collar remaining.....Frame [good job] caught and radioed a 44lb. female pup in the Lazy Creek pack this week. The pup’s collar was set at adult size and padded with foam that falls out as the wolf grows into the collar. However, it is not uncommon for them to slip the collars during the first few weeks.

Control
A range sheep operator on a Forest Service grazing allotment near Pearl Creek north of McCall, Idaho with a history of wolf depredation on his allotment has experienced repeated wolf depredation incidents again this year. In the most recent incidents, wolves killed and/or severely injured 5 sheep from one band on August 27, then killed/injured another 11 animals on August 31, and another 7 animals on September 1. In response to earlier wolf depredation on sheep in this area in mid-August, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had authorized WS to live capture, radio-collar and release on site up to two wolves. A local WS Specialist had trapped, collared and released 2 wolves in response to the depredations in mid August, but one of those animals has subsequently been found dead, and the other animal left the area. With the additional depredations that have occurred most recently, the FWS has now authorized lethal removal of any and all wolves from the local area, and has issued the sheep producer a 45-day permit which authorizes him or his herders to shoot any wolves caught in the act of attacking their sheep on their allotment.....Hartman trapped near Plains, MT [NW MT] where several llamas [and apparently some horses] were reportedly chased/attacked by a ‘wolf’, and caught a wolf-like dog. Apparently it turned out the owner just couldn’t keep her 2 dogs at home. They were taken to the pound at the owner’s request. Good job Therese!.....Wildlife Services confirmed a report of a dead calf near McLeod, MT [GYA] in the Dry Fork of the E. Boulder River on Aug 30th. A producer reportedly jumped 2 wolves off the mostly consumed carcass on his Forest Service Allotment. He also reported his cattle were scattered and found an old cow carcass but cause of death is unknown. WS set traps to radio-collar and release a wolf on-site if possible, to determine if a new pack might be involved. On the 5th, WS specialist Jim Rost caught a previously radioed gray adult female and gray female pup near Moccasin Lake. Both were radioed and released, and control has ended. At least 2 other wolves were howling nearby. Great job Jim and thanks.....UT WS reported 5 dead sheep [4 ewes not fed on but a lamb was consumed] in several instances near where a wolf was captured last year [east of Ogden, UT], during the later part of August. From the wounds, it appears they were killed by a large canid but no tracks or sign could be found. No further depredations have occurred in the past 2 weeks. It could have been a large dog, possibly a wolf. If further depredations are documented control maybe conducted.....Chief Joe pack was apparently bumped out of Daly Creek [YNP] on the 1st, by our 1 night trapping effort. On the morning of the 2nd seven wolves were reportedly seen chasing cattle on private land in Tom Miner Basin which is just over the ridge from Daly Creek. That afternoon a calf was confirmed killed by wolves and another calf is missing. Trapping to collar and release on site is being conducted. At least 14 have been seen including 5 pups.....WS investigated a report of 2 horses being injured by wolves near Daniel, WY. There were cuts on the horses’ legs caused by the fence. Wolf tracks were in the area and it appears the wolves may have spooked the horses through a fence but did not attack them. The horses appear to be fine.

Information and education and law enforcement
Niemeyer, Nadeau, and nearly 15 others including ranchers, hunting group representatives, agency managers, environmental groups, and tribal representatives participated in a public TV panel interview about wolf management and recovery in Boise, ID on the 3rd. Two hours of discussion was filmed which will be edited down into a 1 hour show. It will be aired during prime time on PTV "Predators of the West" program, which will air in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana on Sept. 18. You can view video clips and lists of participants as well as a 1 hour version of the show when it is available at http://focuswest.org/index2003d.cfm .....The Nez Perce Tribe released their annual "Idaho Wolf Recovery Program: Restoration and management of gray wolves in central Idaho" 2002 Progress Report. It is another great report and can be accessed at www.nezperce.org.....The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a web page that has various links to state wolf management plans, information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/index.html.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV