SmallTownNews
Wolf Report with confirmed depredation and mortality rate

By The Adams County Record staff

The Adams County Record of Council, Idaho

The USFWS rewrote the delisting rule based on comments and new administrative record and data, and submitted a final delisting rule in January 2009 but did not post it in the Federal Register. The incoming Obama administration placed a hold on all pending rules and regulations in order to have time to review them. We have not yet heard results of the review.

Monitoring

Aerial telemetry flights and end of year counts are completed. Tentative minimum wolf population estimates are between 800-850 for Idaho, 88 packs, 39 breeding pairs. Final end-of-year population estimates will be completed by end of February and included in the annual USFWS Idaho reports.

Now is the time when wolves begin dispersing great distances prior to the breeding season. Often these wolves may be close to development and may cause some conflicts if not just increased sightings. A couple wolves of note include a young male Idaho wolf that left Idaho (from a pack near Boise) in 2006 and ended up in northern Yellowstone, seen with females then disappeared. Recently that wolf was found in the Beartooth Pack near Crandall, Wyoming. Also, a wolf from Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone that was part of the Mill Creek pack moved to the WY, UT, ID border area in September and in January moved to southeast Idaho.

Management

From January 1 - Jan 31, 2009 agencies have documented 1 dead wolf in Idaho. Of those, 0 were depredation control actions by USDA Wildlife Services, 0 legal kills, 1 illegal kills, 0 natural kills, and other/ unknown.

From 1/1/09 - 1/31/09, WS (tentatively) confirmed that wolves killed: 0 cows, 0 steer, 1 calves, 0 sheep, 1 dogs, 0 foal; Injured: 0 cow, 0 calves, 0 sheep, 0 dogs; Probable killed: 0 cows, 0 calves, 0 sheep; Probable Injured: 0 cow, 0 calves, 0 sheep, 0 dogs.

Four wolves were found on mortality signal over the last few weeks and due to conditions we have been unable to retrieve them and determine cause of death.

Control

From 1/1-2/1, WS confirmed that wolves killed one calf and one guard dog. During the same time frame in 2008, WS determined that wolves probably killed two sheep.

Research

IDFG researchers captured and collared 30 wolves in 6 packs during aerial capture work during the month of January in 2 study areas; one north of Boise and one in the Lolo elk zone. Wolves were collared with ARGOS satellite collars. Researchers also collared 31 elk calves, 16 cows, 19 bulls, and 12 moose to add to the animals being studied for predator prey interactions in the same study areas wolves were collared.

Barbara Fannin & Dave Ausband (UM) recently finished analyzing DNA from hairs obtained at rub pads in fall 2008. Early results indicate wolves did roll on some of the rub pads and deposited sufficient hair for DNA analyses. A report of the rub pad pilot testing is forthcoming.

Information and Education

IDFG director's office has been giving several wolf updates to the state legislature and to the Fish and Game Commission.

Michael Lucid gave a presentation on wolf biology and management to the Caldwell Rotary Club on January 28.

Further information and updates, including the directives provided by the commission



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