Wolf History, Conservation, Ecology and Behavior
Gray Wolf Recovery Status Reports, November 2003
NOVEMBER 14-21, 2003
Yellowstone Park biologists picked a dead uncollared yearling male wolf on the 15th. It had been killed by the Leopold pack.
A pair of wolves near Red Lodge, MT apparently pushed a group of horses through a fence earlier this month, and a colt broke its neck. The remaining horses were widely scattered but all were recovered uninjured. Fresh wolf tracks were on the road next to the pasture. This ranch had cattle depredations in the past that ultimately lead to the removal of the Red Lodge pack. If WS is in the area and catches 1-2 wolves on the property they will lethally removal them.
Yellowstone National Park started their early winter study [Nov 15- Dec 15] to determine wolf predation rates. The visiting scholar is Dr. Francisco Fonseca, from the Univ. Of Lisbon, Portugal.
Jessica Montag, Michael Patterson, and Bethany Sutton [Wildlife Biology Program, School of Forestry, Univ. of Montana] have published their final project report 2003 "Political and Social Viability of Predator Compensation Programs in the West". It is available at http://www.forestry.umt.edu/pcrp/.
Information and education and law enforcement
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information about two illegally killed wolves that were found about five miles southwest of Pierce, Idaho in Clearwater County. Rewards of $5,000 per wolf are being offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction in the case. The wolves, a radio-collared female known as B-152, and an uncollared male, appear to have been shot, according to investigators. They were members of the Hemlock Ridge pack, which contains about eight animals. The carcasses were discovered November 16 by hunters, one along an ATV trail, and one along a road in the Brown’s Creek/Space Creek area. The last aerial flight showing that B-152 was alive occurred on November 13. She had been located 11 times by plane since being radio-collared in June by Nez Perce Tribe biologists. The killing of an animal protected under the Endangered Species Act is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and one year in jail. Service law enforcement officials ask that anyone with information about this case please contact them at (208) 378-5333. Callers may request to remain anonymous.
Fontaine met MT FW&P biologist Ross and a local member of the Collaborative Land Stewardship program in Ennis, MT to discuss development of a "How to co-exist with wolves" pamphlet.
Bangs was scheduled to talk about the state plan peer review process and litigation at an informational wolf meeting in Pinedale, WY on the 22nd. It is being hosted by the WY Farm Bureau, Green River Grazing Assoc. and others, but a winter storm hit on the morning of the 21st and he had to cancel because of highway conditions. John Emmerich was also going to attend.
NOVEMBER 7-14, 2003
Yellowstone National Park biologists darted and radio-collared 8 wolves Thurs. Nov. 13. Four were tagged in the Nez Perce pack [recollared the alpha female, an adult female and 2 pups]; two in Mollie's pack [a large 6 year old male 130 lbs and male pup]; 2 in Leopold pack - [1 female pup, 1 female yearling]. Hawkins & Powers from Greybull, WY provided the helicopter and pilot.
Two fall calves [200-250 lbs] were killed near Mill Creek in the Paradise Valley on the 14th. Two wolves were present and they are suspected members of the Sheep Mtn. pack. The producer who had repeated problems in the past will be issued a shoot on site permit for two wolves.
A rancher near Emigrant and Daily lake called to report that he had six wolves [probably Sheep Mountain] on his private property on the 7th and they chased his horses through a fence. None were hurt but he wanted to report the incident.
The Univ. of Chicago Press is taking pre-orders for the epic all-encompassing book "Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation" Edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani. 2003. University of Chicago Press. You can order from the International Wolf Center by calling 1-800-359-9653 ext 21. They are available now.
Information and education and law enforcement
Meier and a MT FW&P warden recovered a dead wolf (female pup #264) in the Lazy Creek Pack near Olney, MT on November 8. The incident is under investigation. On the 7th, MT FW&P biologists recovered the carcass of an uncollared gray male wolf 6 miles north of Avon, MT. It was a short distance off the highway.
Jimenez and LE agent Eicher found a dead wolf [#274 the alpha male of the GYA, Greybull River pack-[who naturally dispersed from central ID]. Its death as well as three others [#52 pack alpha male, a yearling, and a pup all from the Sunlight pack], and recently found in other parts of WY this month, is under LE investigation.
Jimenez gave a presentation to about 85 people at the Univ. of Wyoming in Laramie, WY during a wildlife lecture series on the 12th.
Bangs gave an evening presentation at a wildlife seminar class to the Univ. of Nevada, Reno [ie. ‘The Wolf Pack’, both Bangs and Doug Smith are alumni] on the 13th. About 75 people attended. On the morning of the 14th he met with graduate students from another class and about 15 people attended.
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.
Correction- Wolf #207 from the Rose Creek pack was recovered on Oct. 23rd. It and the other picked up that week were suspected to have been killed by other wolves.
Two of 6 radioed members of the Nez Perce pack were found in the Park in their normal territory. A 7-year-old grey male wolf from Nez Perce pack that recently joined with the Green River female and her one surviving pup. He is the last of the 10 wolf pups that was relocated from Augusta, MT to Yellowstone in 1996 because of chronic livestock depredations. He has lived in the Park pretty much ever since, hopefully he will fare better then her other ‘boyfriends’.
Fish Wildlife & Parks got a number of wolf reports at their game check stations, and we were able to verify tracks of two wolves SE of Eureka, and tracks of one wolf in the Swan (though reliable reports say there are at least 3 wolves in the Swan). Meier checked out two reports of dead wolves. One near Stryker turned out to be a dog, and he was unable to find the one reported in the Thompson River. A mortality signal was detected from one of the Lazy Creek wolves on the 7th.
We have been getting angry e-mails over the suspicion that we had killed the Green River pack pups. While we did not deliberately remove any pups, we just learned that the latest wolf with the Green River female that was removed because of continued livestock depredations was a large male pup. That wolf was suspected of being another dispersing adult male and his age was not known until his carcass was examined. So this summer 2 males and one male pup were killed in agency control actions. The fate of the pack’s other pups is unknown but all but one apparently died during the summer from unknown causes. Only one of the original litter survived, so the pack will not qualify as a breeding pair in 2003.
Asher gave less-than-lethal munitions training to a ranch manger in the East Boulder [GYA, south of Big Timber, MT and in the Moccasin Lake/Mission Creek pack territory] on the 4th. She also spoke to the MT FW&P Big Timber biologist. He's had those wolves near his house, dog and horses.
Information and education and law enforcement
Curt Mack (Nez Perce Tribe) was in Lapwai all week for meetings/negotiations with Office of Species Conservation/ID Dept. of Fish and Game to work on a Memorandum of Agreement on the Tribe’s potential role in wolf "management" (monitoring, coordination) following delisting. Jim Hoylan attended 3 presentations by sophomore students at Eagle Academy in Eagle, ID on 11/3 pertaining to research the kids had done on the issues of wolves in ID. The Tribe has hired Barbara Trapp and Isaac Babcock, on 30-day appointments, to build and/or research and input data into 2 new databases we are compiling. One will incorporate most of the data we have collected, and the other is for livestock depredation. The Tribe will also be cooperating with WS and Liz Bradley [UM Grad. Student on livestock depredation issues] to help us fill in the gaps in our information.
The alpha female and a pup [11/9] from the Sentinel pack [GYA west of Yellowstone Park] were detected on mortality mode this week. LE is investigating.
2004 North American Interagency Wolf Conference Call for Papers
Papers are now being accepted for the 2004 North American Interagency Wolf Conference, April 6 - 8, 2004 at Chico Hot Springs, in Pray, Montana, northwest of Yellowstone National Park. This year’s theme is "Working Collaboratively Toward Long-Term Wolf Conservation." Past speakers include L. David Mech, Paul Paquet, Rolf Peterson, Doug Smith, and other leading wolf experts, forensics and law enforcement specialists, livestock conflict managers, and field researchers . The conference is sponsored by Yellowstone National Park, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nez Perce Tribe and Defenders of Wildlife. Please submit a single spaced abstract, up to 500 words, and include your full contact information, affiliations, and authors, by email to: Joseph Fontaine at Joseph_Fontaine@fws.gov . Conference registration will begin November 15, 2003 and you may contact Suzanne Stone, Rocky Mountain Field Representative, Defenders of Wildlife at Sstone@defenders.org or (208) 424-9385 for details. Lodging registration is open now. Please contact Chico Hot Springs Lodge, Pray, Montana, 1-800-468-9232 or (406) 333-4933 and request a "wolf conference" room reservation to receive our group rate. The room rate is $45/bed/day (or $35/bed/day for Montana state agency representatives with ID).
On the 5th, Bangs talked to the ‘Introduction to Wildlife Issues’ class at Univ. MT. in Missoula.. About 50 students attended. On the 6th, Bangs was interviewed in Helena for a MT State Univ. film grad. student’s project. Bangs and Williamson [ID-WS] were interviewed for the second of a 4-part Idaho Falls ABC outdoors piece on wolves in Dillon, MT and Challis, ID on the 7th.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a web page that has various links to state wolf management plans and information about wolf reclassification and delisting. It can be accessed at