From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 25 - September 19, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Parvo may have killed wolf litter

by Cat Urbigkit

Mike Jimenez of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Lander reported in an interview Tuesday that no problems between wolves and livestock have been reported in the Upper Green River or Gros Ventre areas in the last week, although it appears that a lone wolf killed four head of domestic sheep in the Wyoming Range.

Jimenez also reported that the former Gros Ventre female that denned near Pinedale has been seen with just her mate on the last couple of flights.

"While she denned and at least one pup had been seen earlier this summer, he now suspects that no pups survived," a weekly FWS wolf update stated. "This type of loss is typical of paraviro-virus that can kill young pups, but we have no evidence to confirm that in this case."

FWS reported that members of the Teton wolf pack were located in the Gros Ventre Valley for the first time and were seen chasing cattle. The plane buzzed the wolves and they dispersed. The livestock producer and Wildlife Services were notified, though no depredations were documented. Later the pack was seen all together, with the pups now traveling with the adults. The pack now has between 21 to 23 members.

In other wolf news, Yellowstone National Park biologist Doug Smith reported that pups are beginning to travel with their packs in the Yellowstone area. According to the wolf update, Smith also reported that he saw 12 grizzlies his last aerial flight and four were interacting with wolves at kill sites. One elk carcass had 10 wolves and four grizzly bears on it. Smith reportedly suspects the almost total failure of the white-bark pine crop this year has made grizzly bears more reliant on alternative foods such as elk carcasses.

In northwestern Montana where wolves are still classified as fully endangered animals, Wildlife Services killed two wolves from the Ninemile pack after the animals were involved in killing sheep.

FWS wolf recovery coordinator Ed Bangs reported: "The owner of sheep that have been repeatedly attacked was quoted in the media as saying he would not take any preventative measures to avoid conflicts and wanted all wolves in the valley and Montana removed. Defenders of Wildlife offered the sheep owner twice the value of his eight sheep if he would agree not to keep livestock for the next two years."

There's been no word on whether the sheepman agreed to the offer or as to whether Bangs got a tongue-lashing from him for including this in his weekly wolf update, which is sent out via fax and electronic mail to a wide audience across the nation.

A man who illegally killed two wolves in the Big Hole area of southwestern Montana received a $4,000 fine, $2,000 in restitution to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife lab, three years of probation during which law enforcement officers can conduct searches if any other wildlife violations are suspected, and the man forfeited his rifle.

An unfortunate series of events occurred one August weekend in central Idaho. Biologists were trapping for the 12-member Landmark wolf pack as part of the routine wolf-monitoring program when family dogs became the unintended focus of their efforts.

Bangs reported: "One of three dogs (a beagle) belonging to a couple that was camping and horseback riding, was caught in a trap set for wolves. The couple released it unharmed but they were understandably upset. The field crew immediately began pulling all the remaining traps when they came across a distraught man, woman and young child. They had been walking on an ATV trail with their dog (a Queensland Heeler) and it was captured. They were unable to remove it from the trap and the man shot the dog. This happened about 10 minutes before the biologist arrived. The dog was removed from the trap and didn't appear to have any injuries caused by the trap. The biologist helped them bury the dog nearby."

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