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

JULY 4-11, 2003
Monitoring
Recent wolf flights have yielded no new confirmations of pups and few wolf sightings overall, probably because hot weather makes wolves stay under cover and less visible from the air. A recent sighting by a local landowner indicated the Taylor Peak pack in SW MT has 5 pups [only 2 had been seen before.....Ross (FWP) and Fontaine investigated a possible slipped radio collar by the Sentinel pack alpha male. The male had been located in the same spot during the last three aerial locations and it was thought that the collar must have malfunctioned and not gone on mortality mode. The collar could not be located and it may have just been a coincidence that the locations were similar. They did find the rendezvous site for the pack and saw 3 pups. On the way out they stopped and talked to a local livestock producer that was missing a calf shortly after the wolves were seen in the area.

Control
On the 7th, a young uncollared female wolf was captured and euthanized just outside the elk-fence in the Sunlight Basin where the two calves were killed. Since a wolf returned to that specific area, even though the calf carcasses were cleaned up, we consider the 2 dead ‘probable’ calves as now being ‘confirmed’ wolf depredations. Traps will remain set but any other wolves captured will probably be radio-collared and released on site. The ranch has also made several modifications to the fence to try and reduce the number of spots wolves can get in.....The Absaroka pack still has mange. The alpha male died from manage this past winter. There have been reports of other mangy wolves in this pack’s territory. Volunteers watched a mangy wolf near coyotes- he was attempting to scavenge and they were following/harassing him. On the 5th, male #240 was captured near a recent calf depredation. He was involved in the depredation but also had very severe mange, and was euthanized. Trapping is continuing to radio-collar and release on site, because only one radio remains in the pack. Any wolves captured will be injected with Ivermectin to see if it can help the infected individual wolf. We offer a special thanks to Wildlife Services specialist Marshall Robin and NW College [Powell, WY] volunteer Keysha Fontaine [no relation to Joe]. They have been working closely to follow-up on these recent depredations, monitor wolves, investigate the mange issue, and are actively helping to trap, radio-collar, and monitoring wolf activity and assist with any potential depredations. Thanks for all your hard work, skill, and long hours!.....On June 30 Wildlife Services confirmed wolves killed a lamb and probably killed 3 other lambs and 2 ewes about 10 miles NE of Riggins, ID on a Forest Service allotment. The producer was moving his sheep soon so no control was taken. It appeared to be an unradioed pair and 4 pups. The producer had a herder and 2 guard dogs protecting the sheep, but the dogs were relatively inexperienced. His best guard dog was killed by wolves 2 months ago, but Defenders of Wildlife helped replace it. On July 2nd, 4 more ewes were killed, 2 confirmed and 2 probable. Trapping was initiated but was stopped when the producer moved his sheep on July 5th.....Asher and Fontaine have been working with the Madison Valley Ranch Lands group in an effort to prevent any depredation by the Taylor Peak pack on a band of sheep that will be used to try and control weeds along the Madison River including the islands. The sheep will be grazing in part of the Taylor Peak pack territory. On the 9th they borrowed some Premier electro fence from CMR Refuge (Thanks Randy and Bill). The fencing is light weight, 4ft high and consists of alternating positive and negative wires separated by plastic stays that push into the ground. Two solar panels are used to keep the batteries charged. The fence will be used around the night bedding pasture and will be moved daily to a new bedding ground. Hopefully the system will help deter any problem wolves. This type of fencing connected to nylon mesh has been successfully used to contain Mexican wolves during relocation as well as the wolves relocated to Spotted Bear.
JULY 11-18, 2003
Monitoring
The Murphy Lake wolf pack in NW MT continues to inhabit an area near Pleasant Valley, many miles from their ‘normal’ home territory. Local cattle producers are being kept apprised of the pack's location, and no depredations have been reported, though many cattle are in the area.....In Idaho, a Kelly creek wolf was collared and pups were confirmed in the pack. Wolf surveys and trapping will occur in the Kamiah, Elk City, and north of Challis were wolf activity is reproted but packs aren’t radioed. ....On the 18th, Asher and Mike Ross {MT FW&P] caught and collared a 90 lb gray non-breeding 2-yr-old female on the Flying D Ranch, southwest of Bozeman, MT. Monitoring will determine if she is with the Bear Trap pack since tracks indicated she was traveling alone. Great job, Val and Mike!

Control
Wolf neck snares with stops were set under the elk-proof fence were wolves had been coming through and killing livestock in the Sunlight Basin, WY. Captured wolves were to be radio-collared and released on site. Over the weekend of the 12th, a sow grizzly bear with 2 yearling cubs came by and one yearling crawled under the fence and was killed by the snare. WY Game and Fish was notified and all snares and traps were immediately pulled. We now recognize that wolf neck snares should not have been used in bear habitat when bears are out under any conditions. Leg-hold trapping will continue to be used for both control and monitoring purposes. The ranch made several modifications to the fence to try and reduce the number of spots wolves can get in, but smaller wildlife can routinely go under the fence in various places.....The Green River pack [a gray and a black pair with pups] attacked a calf on the 12th on a Forest Service allotment. The calf lived but had its tail snipped off and hindquarters bitten. There was no control authorized at that time. Two other calves were confirmed killed on the 14th. The radioed pair was involved in calf depredations last year, and the alpha male was shot from the air on the 17th. If problems continue the alpha female will also be killed. We will attempting to place any sub-adults we can catch in captivity. This area is extensively used for livestock grazing.....On the 16th, two dead calves, that were about 100 yds apart, were discovered on a Forest Service allotment near Dubois, WY. Grizzly bear and wolf tracks were present. WS investigated and determined that the 2-day-old calf carcasses were wolf depredations. An uncollared suspected sub-group of the Washakie pack that uses this area has been involved in several other cattle depredations. The 2 radioed members of the main pack of Washakie wolves have denned some distance away and do not appear to be using the area where the depredations are occurring. WS will trap to radio-collar and release a member of the uncollared group. It will be briefly monitored via telemetry to make sure no pups are involved and then, if possible, the entire sub-group will be removed.....A calf was confirmed killed on private property east of Donnelly, ID by members of the Gold Fork pack. Control is ongoing.....Asher visited with the Madison Valley Ranchlands group to help them with pro-active efforts to avoid sheep depredations while they were doing a weed/sheep project in the Madison Valley. Seven hundred sheep will be on the Sun Ranch and another 30 on an island in the Madison River. These areas are within the Taylor Peak pack territory. Fontaine obtained electro-fencing from Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge- great job Joe and special thanks to the Refuge folks! The sheep bands will have herders with a guard dog and several herding dogs and the bands will be penned at night. In addition to the fence materials, spiked collars were provided for the dogs, fladry, a RAG box, rubber bullets and cracker shells [that likely won’t be used because of fire danger], and training/instruction on using all that stuff was provided.....Asher reported that the new Sun Ranch manager shot a rubber bullet and cracker shells at one of the uncollared Taylor Peak wolves while it was in the cattle and there were other stories of folks actively harassing wolves. They indicated that wolves are acting more shyly and starting to run from people as soon as they see them- which is a good thing.

Research
Prescott University M.S. grad student Jon Trapp is continuing to investigate wolf den sites in northwest Montana. Jon and his crew are being assisted by a host of cooperators in Montana. Plum Creek Timber Company biologist Henning Stabins, independent researcher Jay Mallonee, Meier and Hartman helped Jon Trapp and his crew of den researchers locate and examine wolf dens from the Lazy Creek, Hog Heaven and Fishtrap wolf packs.

Information and education and law enforcement
Service LE agents have authorized a $5,000 reward for regarding information on the death of 2-year-old male wolf B131, from the Wolf Fang pack in Idaho. He was found shot near Idaho City, ID and was believed to be killed around Memorial Day Weekend. The Service is requesting that anyone with information call LE agents at (208)378-5333.
JULY 17-24, 2003
Monitoring
The Green River pack [just the alpha female remains] has 1 black and 3 gray pups.....Nez Perce biologists finally caught up with wolves in the Slate Creek area that were implicated in a recent confirmed depredation on sheep just north of the main Salmon River upstream (east) from Riggins. This week, three adult and two pup wolves were observed in this area by project personnel. Trapping efforts to collar pack members is ongoing. We would like to thank the Nez Perce National Forest with special recognition to Joanne Bonn, Wildlife Biologist for the Salmon River District, for all of their help and support in documenting wolf activity in this area. Joanne has done a great job in tracking reports of wolf activity in this area and relaying timely information to us. Joanne has spent many days out in the field helping to verify reports.....With the help of Sharon Seim, Wildlife Biologist for the Red River District of the Nez Perce National Forest, Nez Perce biologist Holyan documented a new litter of pups south of Elk City, Idaho. Although a trapping effort was initiated, no wolves were captured. At this point it is not clear if this litter represents a new pack of wolves or the pups from the close-by Gospel Hump pack. We would like to thank Sharon Seim for all of her help, and assistance.....To date field crews in Idaho have documented the presence of 18 litters including 9 new, first-year, wolf packs. Three of the 9 new packs were documented in areas of previously undocumented, but suspected wolf activity; with the help of agencies and the public. We appreciate all of the help, particularly from the general public, to assist us in our efforts to document the status of wolves across the state.

Control
At daybreak on the 18th, 2 uncollared gray wolves killed three sheep [2 ewes and a lamb and wounded another ewe] in the Madison Valley. The herder saw the sheep being killed but did not have a rifle or shotgun with him but did finally run them off. Guard and herding dogs were with the band, which is being used for weed control. The guard dog watched the wolves but didn’t even bark [but he is alive so we don’t fault him]. The ewes kept knocking the night electric fence over and the lambs kept getting caught in it, so the herder had to shut it off. On the 23rd a lamb was killed and on the 24th the alpha female of the Taylor peak pack was located near sheep. For now we will attempt to continue nonlethal methods and trap, radio-collar, and release on-site, but if the attacks continue additional measures will be taken.....A calf was confirmed killed on private property 5-6 miles east of Donnelly, ID by members of the Gold Fork pack on July 8. Wildlife Services investigated on the 11th and confirmed a 200lb, small for this time of year, calf had been killed. Traps were set on the 15th and authorization was given for two wolves to be killed [except the alpha female which would have been collared and released on site]. No wolves returned to the area and traps were pulled on the 21st.....While Wildlife Services were trapping for wolves on a ranch near Dubois, WY, this week, brown bears killed two calves. No fresh wolf sign had been seen and traps were pulled. On the 23rd- another calf was killed by the Absaroka pack on an allotment. Trapping will continue in order to collar a wolf so that lethal control can be applied without losing contact with the pack. There is only one collar left in the pack.....Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves, likely the Greybull River pack killed a calf near Meeteese, WY. Also on the 23rd, Wildlife Services investigated a report of a wounded calf on a Forest Service allotment in the Gros Ventre [Teton pack territory].

Research
The World Wolf Congress 2003, announced the Scientific Advisory Committee selected the oral and poster presenters and several were from the northern Rocky Mountains. There are a wide ranging number of presenters and topic areas in wolf research, conservation and management. Please visit www.worldwolfcongress.ca for a tentative list (in alphabetical order) of presenters. On the Congress home page, click on the ‘July 7’ announcement. There are four (4) documents (in both ‘html’ and ‘Word’) that will explain these presentation areas. The Conf. is Sept. 25-28 in Banff Canada, check the website for details.

Information and education and law enforcement
Service LE agents have authorized a $5,000 reward for regarding information on the death of 2-year-old male wolf B131, from the Wolf Fang pack in Idaho. He was found shot near Idaho City, ID and was believed to be killed around Memorial Day Weekend. The Service is requesting that anyone with information call LE agents at (208)378-5333.
The alpha male #238M of the Sentinel pack in SW Montana was found dead in a field next to the highway on the morning of the 22nd. LE is investigating. He was the only radio-collared member of the pack.....Dr. Jim Halfpenny just published a 98 page book "Yellowstone Wolves: In the Wild" Riverbend Publishing, Helena, MT. The book is based upon the National Park Service’s research efforts, public observations, and various outstanding photographs of only wild wolves to give a "wolf watchers" overview of the first eight years of wolf restoration in Yellowstone Park. Contact Jim at www.tracknature.com for further information.....The new IDFG wolf page is online on our IDFG website. You may access the page at the following address http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame/info/programsinfo/wolves/wolf.htm.
The "Yellowstone Wolf Project: Annual 2002 Report" by Douglas W. Smith, Daniel R. Stahler, and Debra Guernsey is available from Yellowstone National Park. This is the Park’s usual excellent report, for copies email deb_guernsey@nps.gov, or a much better idea is go to www.nps.gov/yell/nature/animals/wolf/wolfup.html.
The Nez Perce Tribe completed their 2002 Progress Report "Idaho Wolf Recovery Program: Restoration and management of gray wolves in central Idaho." by Curt Mack and Jim Holyan. It is a great overview of wolf recovery in Idaho through 2002. Contact Jim Holyan at jholyan@nezperce.org for copies or further information.
JULY 25-AUGUST 1, 2003
Monitoring
The alpha female of the Sentinel pack was radio-collared on the 30th and traps were pulled. On the 31st, a 35lb. pup from the Taylor peak pack was captured, ear tagged [too young for a collar] and released. Great job,Val Asher and Mike Ross [MT FW&P]!.....Large forest fires in and around Glacier National Park have not burned any areas where wolf packs have been found in recent weeks, but the Wedge Canyon fire has burned a significant part of the territory of the Kintla Pack. Much of the territory of the Whitefish pack burned in last year's Moose Creek fire. To date wolves have not been directly effected by any major fires over the past 10 years. Habitat changes have effected ungulate densities [except for moose, generally positively] which ultimately does affect pack territory size and demographics.....A gray and a black wolf were seen together near Fishtail, MT [just north of Yellowstone NP]. This is the same general area where some domestic sheep were killed earlier this spring. It is unknown if they have pups. The livestock producers has an active shoot on site permit for one wolf but no further problems have been detected.....In Idaho field crews continue their successful monitoring efforts. At least 2 pups were heard in the Kelly Creek pack of 6 adults. The Selway pack has 3 pups. Crews finally caught up with suspected breeding wolf B110, a disperser from the Moyer Basin pack. He was observed with at least one other wolf on numerous occasions over this past winter and spring. B110 has used areas along the breaks of the main Salmon River from the confluence of the South Fork Salmon River upstream to above Sabe Creek. This week, Tribal Biologist Jason Husseman documented 6 pups and accounted for 4 adult wolves associated with B110. This new pack is called the Magruder pack.

Control
On the 27thth, the alpha female of the Taylor peak pack was killed in SW MT after she repeatedly was located where sheep were killed last week, even after she was harassed from the area several times. We will continue nonlethal methods [RAG box, electric fencing, dog, herder, less-than-lethal munitions, telemetry assisted harassment were already being used] to protect the sheep, but if the attacks continue additional measures will be taken. The sheep owner had a new electric fence installed for night penning the sheep and it seems to be working fine so far.....Nearly 2,700 sheep are being grazed on a very remote Forest Service allotment just north of Yellowstone National Park. Over the 27th, weekend 4 lambs were killed and another wounded. This area is a few miles from the Rose Creek rendezvous site and we suspect a member of the pack found the sheep. Wildlife Services was authorized to shoot a wolf if it was coming into the sheep. The herd is being guarded by dogs and herders. The sheep will be removed if attacked by grizzly bears.....Several lambs [6-8[ were killed and another 8-10 were wounded by a large canid in SE Idaho. WS investigations are continuing but it appears it was a dog, but possibly even a lone wolf. About a week or so ago 12 sheep were killed and 7 wounded in the same area but it wasn’t reported quickly and they were too decomposed to know what happened.....This week, WS investigated a calf, on private property within the Goldfork pack's [ID] territory, thought to have been attacked by wolves. The calf was still alive at the time of the investigation. It had sustained serious injuries, perhaps 10 days ago, that made it difficult to confirm the predator involved. The producer had observed wolf sign in the area around the estimated time of the reported attack. Based on available evidence, WS categorized the incident as a "possible" wolf-caused incident.....There was another calf killed on a Forest Service allotment in another part of the Green River pack territory [WY] but it appears that several wolves were feeding on it and it was likely killed by a sub-group of the Teton pack. In addition bears have been killing cattle. Cattle were away the Green River female and her 4 pups den/rendezvous site, which should help resolve that situation. Ground tracking of the female indicated she was hauling deer pieces back to the pups. Hopefully it will remain that way.

Information and education and law enforcement
The National Geographic Explorer TV program containing a 26 minute red wolf film segment is scheduled to premier at 7PM this Sunday August 3rd on MSNBC. So far, we are told the program will air on TV just one time. The red wolf segment is called, "America's Last Red Wolves".....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 look at the Idaho, Wyoming and Montana plans after they have been completed, likely early September, and at that time make the final determination whether they should be sent out for independent scientific peer review. Peer review is the next logical step in the process for the Service to determine if a delisting proposal is appropriate.

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