A second Wyoming wolf weekly. From from Ed Bangs (events of Sept. 29 through Oct. 3, 2008)-

WYOMING WOLF PROGRAM
WEEKLY REPORT

To: Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado
From: USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

Wyoming Wolf Weekly- September 29 through October 3, 2008

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) and Wyoming weekly reports can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. Information concerning wolf management in Wyoming from 3/28/08 through 7/18/08 can be found on the Wyoming Game and Fish (WGFD) web site at http://gf.state.wy.us . Beginning 9/15/08, the USFWS will publish weekly wolf reports for Wyoming. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.

Wolf Litigation and Management: Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) were delisted on March 28, 2008. On July 18, 2008, the U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued a preliminary injunction that immediately reinstated temporary Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the NRM. All wolves in Wyoming are protected under the ESA as an experimental population and managed by the USFWS.

On September 22, 2008 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to the Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana requesting that the February 27, 2008 NRM wolf delisting final rule be vacated and remanded back to the USFWS for further consideration and action. The Court can take whatever time it believes it needs to make that decision. The Court had reinstated the listed status to wolves on July 18, 2008 via a preliminary injunction that indicated the Court believed the USFWS was unlikely to prevail in its case. The FWS, in consultation with its State and other partners, concluded that the best and most timely way to resolve this issue was to get the final rule back in its hands to closely review the Court’s ruling, the final rule, the administrative record, any new information, and then consider whether modifications or some other action might be warranted.

Monitoring

Packs and Breeding Pairs in Wyoming (outside YNP):

  • Confirmed packs: 19
  • Confirmed breeding pairs: 16
  • Total number of wolves: >181

Wolf Mortality: From January 1, 2008 through October 3, 2008, the USFWS has documented 64 dead wolves in Wyoming (outside YNP). Causes of mortality include: agency control = 38 (59% of total mortality); hunters = 9 (14%); under investigation = 7 (11%); natural = 3 (5%); vehicle strikes = 2 (3%); individual livestock control = 2 (3%); capture related = 1 (2%); and unknown = 2 (3%).

Radio Collar Efforts: Twenty-five wolves were captured and radio collared in Wyoming (outside YNP) from January through September 2008. Trapping/collaring efforts have ended for the summer now that big game seasons have begun. Collaring efforts will resume later this winter.

Control

Depredations: Livestock depredations have predictably declined this fall as cattle and sheep come off public grazing allotments. From January 1, 2008 through October 3, 2008, a total of >60 confirmed wolf depredations (34 cattle and 26 sheep) were recorded in Wyoming. Two additional cows and 1 calf were injured by wolves.

Research

Nothing to report at this time.

Law Enforcement and Related Activities

Nothing to report at this time.

Outreach and Education

On October 1, Bangs was interviewed for a documentary film being made by Mofilms out of Oakland, CA. They make documentary films on various social issues and then distribute them free via the internet. Earlier that day he was interviewed over the phone by a University Arizona Doctoral student about the role of stakeholder groups in federal rulemaking, including the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the February 27, 2008 final wolf delisting rule. Other federal, state and tribal employees, NGO representatives, and special interest groups were also contacted in both these projects.

Further Information

To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves, please contact your nearest WGFD office or call Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.

For additional information, please contact:

Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or Ed_Bangs@FWS.GOV

Mike Jimenez (307)733-7096 or (307)330-5631 or Mike_Jimenez@FWS.GOV

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

14 Responses to Another Wyoming wolf weekly. Report says there are 16 breeding pairs

  1. avatar John says:

    This report is very ambiguous, it does not state specific depredation locations or ‘control’ methods.
    I can sense a lot of aggravation in these reports for some unknown reason.

  2. avatar vicki says:

    Do they make proof of depredation available for public viewing? I am wondering if they make it viewable because I would like to be able to see real evidence as to why so many wolves are “managed”.
    I will be interested in seeing the projects mentioned. Perhaps they should interview Ralph, or Brian.
    Maybe we should contact these people and offer the other side of he coin for viewing. (Atleast the production company).

  3. avatar john weis says:

    “”Causes of mortality include: agency control = 38 (59% of total mortality); hunters = 9 (14%); under investigation = 7 (11%); natural = 3 (5%); vehicle strikes = 2 (3%); individual livestock control = 2 (3%); capture related = 1 (2%); and unknown = 2 (3%).””

    38 dead wolves from agency control…really?? 34 cattle and 26 sheep equal 38 wolves?? i am confused.

  4. avatar timz says:

    Silly us, we thought they were protected again.

  5. timz,

    That’s why the lawsuit on the 10j rule, yet to be decided, is so important.

    I understand that an amended version of it has been filed by Earth Justice (amended to take into account the withdrawal of delisting).

    Talking with a friend from Leadore, Idaho, which is near the Idaho/Montana border, I learned that the state wildlife agencies seem not to be killing wolf packs after livestock “depredations” in the area, for the time being. Instead, they are trapping or darting the wolves and radio collaring them. I suppose that is because the agencies are trying to find and encourage migration to and from Yellowstone along the Continental Divide (one of Judge Molloy’s key objections was lack of connectivity between Idaho/Montana populations and Yellowstone/Wyoming).

  6. avatar Caleb says:

    This report is almost the same as last week’s. What a surprise to hear that the wolf depredations on livestock have gone down now that the ranchers are taking their animals off of PUBLIC land, but they will be back there all too soon. The state “Predatory Animal Status” should be abolished for all of public land and all of the animals that Wyoming (my state) has under that status.

  7. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    I am confused. Shouldn’t we be saying ONLY 38 wolves were killed for depredations. Someone is doing something right in Wyoming–control actions in Idaho are into the 100’s! And depredations are up there too. “From 1/1/08 – 9/26/08, WS confirmed that wolves killed: 9 cows, 75 calves, 193 sheep, 13 dogs; Injured: 1 cow, 7 calves, 6 sheep, 7 dogs; Probable killed: 5 cows, 19 calves, 57 sheep; Injured: 1 cow, 3 calves, 1 sheep.” (From the Idaho wolf weekly). And depredations are down in Wyoming. Come on folks, let’s look at this as a positive– maybe a little prevention is going a long way.

  8. Gerry Miner,

    Comparing the two states — Idaho and Wyoming — you have to consider that Idaho has more than 3 times the number of wolves as Wyoming.

  9. avatar Gerry Miner says:

    However, Idaho has the same number of wolves as last year and more than twice the number of depredations and control actions.

  10. avatar Barb says:

    Ralph,

    Do you think that wolves should be “re-introduced” to Rocky Mountain National Park? I know it’s not as big as Yellowstone, but I’m sure wolf packs know how to regulate themselves. They’ll never get here from Wyoming otherwise…. there is too much open/hostile land (politically too) from Yellowstone to RM National Park.

  11. Gerry Miner,

    Thanks for pointing out the increase in Idaho depredations and control actions.

  12. Barb,

    There are plenty of elk in Rocky Mtn. NP and the adjacent area to sustain a number of wolf packs. However, the wolves will quickly wander out of the Park just as they did in Yellowstone (where it was intended that happen).

    Rocky Mountain NP is much smaller than Yellowstone Park. So the real question is can the country along the Front Range, the Park, and the Indian Peaks from the Wyoming border southward, sustain wolf packs?

  13. avatar Save bears says:

    Ralph,

    Based on the research I have read, the answer would be no! or very few wolves at best, given the different environment in that part of the rockies, and the higher concentration of humans.

  14. avatar vicki says:

    Barb,
    Although I am sure that RMNP could support some wolves, the greater question would be could Colorado support dispersed wolves in it’s mountain ranges?
    My guess-strictly that-would bethatthe wolf population in Colorado would be made up of smaller packs that would be spread out in a thinner pattern, as opposed to the GYE dispersers that are sort of circularly spread into a very round radius. If you picture it on a amp, you’d see (again just a guess) that Colorado would have wolves in more of a very long and thin rectangle that spanned the length of the mountains.
    This is not an area like Wyoming, we do have more population, but I also distinctly remember being told that pack sizes are relevant to their habitat.
    It would be a lot like coyotes, they only have large pack sizes in areas where their numbers could be supported. I have seen very few packs that are more than 2 to 4 adults. Those that I have seen have been in RMNP, and in farm areas where there is a huge abundance of field mice due to the crops….and one pack out east where there were a ton of prairie dogs. I have heard of a few packs in the areas in and around Denver where there are open space trails. Due to the enclosed habitat, rabbit populations are huge there…so it would make sense that the coyotes would be numerous.
    Save Bears,
    Keep in mind that Colorado has a more tollerant and green mentality. Our ranchers have pull, but nothing like in Wyoming, Montana, and even Idaho.
    Oil is a key influence on legislation here, and that is expected to decrease with the next election.
    Our agricultural influence tends to be more farm sided, atleast from what I have read.
    If wolves came here, and were substaintially populated (unlikely) we would see tourist revenue. We’d also see hunters push to have them regulated as a trophy game. I doubt it would be a push like Wyoming’s to make them vermin.
    I doubt Colorado would ever host a lot of wolves, but it could be home to some. The goal should be to have wolves in a lot of places, right? To help diversify genetics and assure that there would be wolves to repopulate if their numbers dropped?

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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