Volume 3, Number 24 - September 11, 2003
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'Bad boys' of the Upper Green
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported in its weekly wolf update that the federal agency is in the process of compiling its preliminary monitoring information for this year and hopes to provide a "best guess" of current wolf numbers and pack status later this week.
The wolf status report also referred to the Green River pack female and her five pups, which were recently joined by a former Teton pack member, a black two-year-old male wolf.
This male wolf, No. 267, has been involved in previous livestock depredations. The Green River pack female's previous mate was killed earlier this summer for livestock depredations.
According to FWS, "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."
The Washakie pack moved back to its old rendezvous site in Six Mile Creek on the Diamond G Ranch near Dubois last week, FWS reported. The ranch's cattle were all on private land on Sept. 2, reportedly because wolves chased them off their Forest Service allotment. The alpha pair of wolves is radioed and an unknown gray radioed wolf has joined them, FWS reported. A subgroup of the pack killed calves earlier this summer but the radioed wolves hadn't been located on the ranch until recently.
Wolves may be causing problems for a Utah sheep producer as well. In late August, federal officials confirmed that five sheep had been killed in an area east of Ogden, Utah. Four of the ewes hadn't been fed on, but a lamb had been consumed.
"From the wounds, it appears they were killed by a large canid but no tracks or sign could be found," FWS reported. "No further depredations have occurred in the past two weeks."
FWS concluded that either a large dog or a wolf made the kills. If further depredations are documented, control maybe conducted, FWS reported.
This is the same area where a wolf was confirmed as killing sheep last year, but in that case, a federal trapper managed to capture the wolf and it was returned to the Yellowstone region.
FWS's Mike Jimenez added that under the new regulations that downlisted wolves in certain regions, his agency would not capture the northern Utah wolf and release it in Wyoming.
"We wouldn't go down and get them," Jimenez said, even if wolves were causing problems. Instead, state wildlife managers can be given authority to act in damage situations, he said.
The new rules, adopted in April 2003, allow state agencies in certain states of the West to "take" wolves that attack livestock, but only if FWS determines that the take is appropriate after evaluating the situation. Females and their pups are to be released if captured on public lands, prior to Oct. 1, unless depredation continues, according to the new rules.
In other wolf news, a one-hour documentary on predators will air on Public Television stations Sept. 18. Ranchers, hunting group representatives, agency managers, environmental groups and tribal representatives all reportedly participated in a panel interview about wolf management and recovery in Boise, Idaho, earlier this month. The resulting show will be aired as the "Predators of the West" program, which will air in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana on Sept. 18.
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