Volume 2, Number 21 - August 22, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Northern Rockies has 70 wolf packs
The wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountains of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming continues to grow, according to a report issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) last week.
According to that report, there are 70 groups of two or more wolves that often travel together, forming wolf packs. Forty of those groups appear to have denned and produced at least 172 pups.
The federal agency's current wolf population estimate is as follows: In northwestern Montana there are 23 groups of two or more wolves and they produced at least 35 pups. FWS suspects that 12 denned, 6 may have denned, and 5 did not den.
In central Idaho there are 23 groups that produced at least 42 pups. FWS suspects that 12 denned, 6 may have denned, and 4 did not den.
In the Greater Yellowstone Area there are 24 groups that produced at least 96 pups. FWS suspects that 18 denned, 5 may have denned and 2 did not den.
FWS cautioned: "These are estimates only and will undoubtedly change as more field work is conducted this fall and winter. But at this time it seems almost certain that the wolf population recovery objective will be achieved in December 2002."
In other wolf news, FWS reported that a radio-collared gray male wolf, formerly a Tower wolf pack member, was located near where two calves, a yearling, and an adult cow were killed by wolves on Forest Service allotments in the Gros Ventre Valley recently. A search of missing frequencies turned up that wolf and it is unknown if it is with other wolves or part of a reproducing pack. Livestock producers had reported seeing a radioed wolf with at least one other wolf. According to FWS: "The livestock producer was notified and given that radio frequency to pull into the receiver he had already been loaned."
Cattleman Scott Stanko has a 45-day permit to shoot up to two wolves if the animals are caught in the act of attacking his livestock on the allotment.
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