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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, USA !




Gray Wolves Rebound; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Reclassify, Delist Wolves in Much of United States

Robust wolf populations in the upper Great Lakes area and a successful wolf reintroduction program in the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains have prompted the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to formally propose to reclassify the gray wolf from endangered to threatened in some parts of the country and remove the species from the Endangered Species list in other areas. The move by the Service would affect the status of gray wolves throughout most of the conterminous 48 states; however, Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest would remain endangered, as would red wolves (a separate wolf species) in the Southeast.

"Wolves are a living symbol of the regard Americans have for things wild," said Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. "We as a people have made the choice to do the right thing and bring these animals back from the brink of extinction. We have weighed the cost of saving an irreplaceable part of our world and found it to be worth our effort."

"The Endangered Species Act gave us the tools we needed to achieve this milestone," said Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark. "We used the law's protections and its flexibility to structure wolf recovery to meet the needs of the species and those of the people. This is truly an endangered species success story."

Gray wolves throughout the conterminous United States are currently listed as endangered, except in Minnesota where they are considered threatened. Wolves in Alaska are not protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the Service's proposal, gray wolves in the conterminous 48 states would be divided into four distinct population segments (DPSs), each to be addressed individually:

Western Great Lakes population (includes states of Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin): Because of continued wolf population increases, wolves in these states would be reclassified from endangered to threatened, joining Minnesota wolves in this classification. As a result, all wolves in the Western Great Lakes DPS would receive the same level of protection under the ESA. In addition, increased management flexibility would be permitted through the use of a special rule for control of wolves preying on domestic animals, as is currently the case for wolves in Minnesota

!APPEALS COURT RULES YELLOWSTONE WOLVES CAN STAY IN PARK

Report compiled from the Associated Press and reports forwarded to Yellowstone Wolf Tracker by Defenders of Wildlife (1-13-2000)

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver today overturned a lower court's 1997 ruling that the 1995 and 1996 Yellowstone wolf reintroductions were illegal.

"Discerning no conflict between the challenged experimental population rules and the Endangered Species Act, we reverse the district court's order and judgment," the 10th Circuit said (97-8127et al.). The long-awaited decision had taken about 5 months to reach. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 39-page opinion that reversed the lower court ruling which had given a temporary victory to wolf opponents who feared wolves would prey on their livestock and infringe upon hunting opportunities.

District court Judge Downes in Wyoming ruled in 1997 that the wolves must go, but also postponed the removal by staying his order, saying the wolves could remain until a higher court decided the matter. Wolf opponents and advocates argued before a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in July, 1999, focusing on what constituted a wolf population.

The district court's ruling had called for removal of all the wolves and their offspring, an action that pleased the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), which was behind the lawsuit, but that Defenders of Wildlife called a virtual death sentence. Today AFBF President Dean Kleckner, who called for removing the wolves, lost his job in an election.

"It's a new day for wolves in more ways than one. The Yellowstone wolves have been given a new lease on life and so has the principle that science -- not politics -- should guide wildlife restoration efforts in America," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "It's been two long years since the district court's ruling because of the obstinacy of the AFBF and Kleckner, but ironically he lost his job on the same day the Farm Bureau lost the suit." Schlickeisen concluded, "We are very pleased that reason won in this case and that the wolves will be allowed to remain in the park so that future generations may enjoy them. We've known all along that the Farm Bureau's lawsuit was wrong legally and morally."

Using the experimental designation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 66 wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Experimental designation undersection 10(j) of the ESA allows ranchers to shoot wolves ifcaught in the act of killing livestock on private lands. The 1997 ruling, spurred by an American Farm Bureau Federation lawsuit, claimed that such designation was illegal and put any naturally occurring wolf populations at undue risk, since a naturally occurring wolf would be fully protected under the ESA. No naturally occurring wolves are in Yellowstone, and any pre-existing wolves in Idaho are flourishing now only because of the tremendous success of the reintroduction program.

Defenders President Schlickeisen noted that "The wolves are doing better than ever expected. They are reproducing, hunting natural prey, and doing their part to return one of America's greatest treasures to its healthy, natural state. Except for some rare instances in which Defenders of Wildlife has reimbursed the rancher, the wolves are mostly staying away from livestock. It is incomprehensible that the Farm Bureau has been so determined to kill these wolves and their offspring." Defenders maintains its $200,000 Wolf Compensation Trust to compensate ranchers, at fair market value, for any losses due to wolves.


Dec 99

This information is provided by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on 22 Dec 99. As of this date, 116 wolves, comprised of about 11 packs inhabit the greater Yellowstone area. This estimate is down from the mid-summer count of 160 individual wolves due to natural mortality and control measures. About 9 packs have established territory within Yellowstone National Park as well as Grant Teton National Park. Two packs currently inhabit wilderness areas in the Yellowstone ecosystem. There are currently eight breeding pairs in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Court Ruling

On 29 Jul 99, the appeal of the ruling by Judge Downes to remove the wolves from Yellowstone and central Idaho was heard. Oral arugments were heard by a three judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. A decision on the case was not made at that time. A ruling on the appeal is expected within three to nine months. The 1997 court ruling by Judge Downes has not altered operations by the wolf project staff. Monitoring, management and study of Yellowstone wolves is proceeding as planned.

General Pack Locations

The Chief Joseph Pack is inhabiting the northwest area of Yellowstone. The Crystal Creek Pack has been located in the Pelican Valley area just north of Yellowstone Lake. The Druid Peak Pack is located in the Lamar Valley area in the northeast section of Yellowstone. The Leopold Pack is on the Blacktail Deer Plateau area in the northern portion of the park. The Nez Perce Pack has been located in the west central area of Yellowstone. The Rose Creek Pack has been located west of Lamar Valley in the northern range of Yellowstone. The Sheep Mountain Pack (Formerly the Chief Joseph II Pack), has been located just north of Yellowstone. The Soda Butte Pack, has been located in the Thorofare wilderness area. A female from this pack, number 24F has dispersed from the pack. She has been located with a male from the Washakie pack. These two wolves are currently inhabiting the Teton Wilderness. They have been named the Teton Pack. The Sunlight Pack, number 41F and number 52M, were last located just east of Yellowstone in the Sunlight Basin. The Washakie II Pack, (a newly formed and named pack) has been inhabiting the area known as the Washakie Wilderness. It is possible that two to three wolves are members of the old Washakie and/or old Thorofare Packs.

1999 Denning Information

Twelve females in ten packs have produced pups in the Yellowstone ecosystem. They are: Chief Joseph Pack Crystal Creek Pack Druid Peak Pack Gros Ventre Pack Leopold Pack Nez Perce Pack Rose Creek Pack (three dens) Sheep Mountain Pack Sunlight Basin Pack Teton Pack Sixty-four (64) pups in ten packs have been observed by wildlife biologists. It is estimated that 38 of these pups are still alive as of this date. Visitors are reminded that denning areas are closed to help protect the pups and the packs. Please check at any visitor center in Yellowstone or Grand Teton for closure areas.

Wolf Losses

Because of two confirmed livestock depredations just north of Yellowstone, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Wildlife Services removed 6 wolves from the Sheep Mountain Pack. The alpha male was put down as it is believed that he was the leader of the depredation. Two wolves of the Chief Joseph pack were removed due to depredation of six sheep.

2000 Collaring Operations

A collaring operation is scheduled for January 2000. The goal is to collar approximately 20 wolves in the ecosystem. Currently 46 wolves or 32% of the total wolf population, are collared in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Nov 99

This information is provided by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on 05 Nov 99. As of this date, 160 wolves, comprised of about 12 packs inhabit the greater Yellowstone area. About 9 packs have established territory within Yellowstone National Park as well as Grant Teton National Park. Three packs currently inhabit wilderness areas in the Yellowstone ecosystem. There are currently nine breeding pairs in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Court Ruling

On 29 Jul 99, the appeal of the ruling by Judge Downes to remove the wolves from Yellowstone and central Idaho was heard. Oral arugments were heard by a three judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. A decision on the case was not made at that time. A ruling on the appeal is expected within three to nine months. The 1997 court ruling by Judge Downes has not altered operations by the wolf project staff. Monitoring, management and study of Yellowstone wolves is proceeding as planned.

May 8 1999

This information is provided by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on 06 May 99. As of this date, 110 wolves, comprised of eleven packs inhabit the greater Yellowstone area. About 8 packs have established territory within Yellowstone National Park as well as Grant Teton National Park. Three packs currently inhabit areas near the border of Yellowstone.

Pack Locations

The Chief Joseph I Pack is inhabiting the northwest area of Yellowstone.

The Crystal Creek Pack has been located in the Pelican Valley area just north of Yellowstone Lake.

The Druid Peak Pack has recently been located in Lamar Valley in the northeast area of Yellowstone. Wolf 104M a dispersing male from the Druid Peak Pack has been located with the Crystal Creek Pack and is their new Alpha Male

The Leopold Pack is on the Blacktail Deer Plateau area in the northern portion of the park.

The Nez Perce Pack has been located in the west central area of Yellowstone. The alpha male of this pack has dispersed for unknown reasons. Since he has left the pack, he has been located with a female yearling from the Thorofare Pack in Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone. The alpha male's radio collar has been chewed off, but since he has ear tags, biologist were able to identify him with this female wolf. A third wolf has also been sighted with these two wolves. These wolves have been temporarily been named the Jackson Trio.

The Rose Creek Pack has been located west of Lamar Valley in the northern range of Yellowstone.

The Sheep Mountain Pack (Formerly the Chief Joseph II Pack), has been located just north of Yellowstone.

The Soda Butte Pack, has been located along the southern border of Yellowstone. A female from this pack, number 24F has dispersed from the pack. She has been located with a male from the Washakie pack. These two wolves are currently inhabiting the Teton Wilderness. They have been temporarily name the Teton Pair.

The Sunlight Pack, number 41F and number 52M, were last located just east of Yellowstone in the Sunlight Basin.

Grand Teton National Park

The Jackson Trio Pack, has been located in the Grand Teton National Park area.

The Teton Duo Pack, has been located in the Teton Wilderness. Feb 1999

Pack Locations

The Chief Joseph I Pack is inhabiting the northwest area of Yellowstone. Two pups from this pack have been hit by vehicles along US Highway 191 in the past three months.

The Chief Joseph II Pack has been located just north of Yellowstone. Biologists have been puzzled by who bred the alpha female of this pack in 1998. A large male estimated to be 1.5 to 2.5 years old was captured and collared with this pack during this years collaring efforts. It is almost certain that he is the mate to the alpha female of this pack. Because of the uncertainty of his age, it had not clear if he was breeding male last February.

The Crystal Creek Pack has been located in the Pelican Valley area just north of Yellowstone Lake.

The Druid Peak Pack has recently been located in Lamar Valley in the northeast area of Yellowstone. Wolf 104M a dispersing male from the Druid Peak Pack has been located with the Crystal Creek Pack and is their new Alpha Male

The Leopold Pack is on the Blacktail Deer Plateau area in the northern portion of the park.

The Nez Perce Pack has been located in the west central area of Yellowstone. The alpha male of this pack has dispersed for unknown reasons. Since he has left the pack, he has been located with a female yearling from the Thorofare Pack in Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone. The alpha male's radio collar has been chewed off, but since he has ear tags, biologist were able to identify him with this female wolf. A third wolf has also been sighted with these two wolves. These wolves have been temporarily been named the Jackson Trio.

The Rose Creek Pack has been located west of Lamar Valley in the northern range of Yellowstone.

The Soda Butte Pack, has moved north of Grand Teton National Park, near Yellowstone. A female from this pack, number 24F has dispersed from the pack. She has been located with a male from the Washakie pack. These two wolves are currently inhabiting the Teton Wilderness. They have been temporarily name the Teton Pair.

The Sunlight Pack, number 41F and number 52M, were last located just east of Yellowstone in the Sunlight Basin. Court Ruling The court ruling by Judge Downes has not altered operations by the wolf project staff. Monitoring, management and study of Yellowstone wolves is proceeding as planned.

1999 Collaring Efforts

As of this time, 51 wolves are currently radio collared in the Yellowstone area. Collaring efforts are currently in progress. So far, 11 pups, 5 yearlings and one adult in six packs in Yellowstone's northern range have been collared since operations began on 12 Jan 99. The goal is to collar 25 to 30 wolves in the great Yellowstone area.

August 1998

This information is provided by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as of 24 Aug 98. As of this date, 120 wolves (this includes wolves and this years pups) comprised of ten packs inhabit the greater Yellowstone area.

All ten packs have established territories in Yellowstone or close to the park border.

The Chief Joseph Pack is inhabiting the northwest corner of Yellowstone.

The Crystal Creek Pack is inhabiting the Pelican Valley region of Yellowstone (just north of Yellowstone Lake).

The Druid Peak Pack has moved into Lamar Valley.

The Leopold Pack is south of the Blacktail Deer Plateau area in the northern portion of the park.

The Nez Perce Pack has been located south of Hayden Valley in the east central area of Yellowstone. Wolf number 67F of the Nez Perce Pack had been involved in two depredations in the past and was recently located pursuing cattle again in Kenya Valley west of Yellowstone, she was killed by Wildlife Services on Saturday, 22 Aug 98.

The Rose Creek Pack has been located on the Buffalo Plateau area in northern Yellowstone.

The Soda Butte Pack, has also been located in the Thorofare region a few miles away from the Thorofare Pack.This pack has not produced pups this year.

The Sunlight Pack, number 41F and number 52M, have been located just east of Yellowstone in the Sunlight Basin.

The Thorofare Pack is located the Thorofare region of Yellowstone.

The Washakie Pack, has moved into the Thorofare Region.

After completing the necropsy of lone female wolf 111F, the cause of death of this yearling has been determined to be unknown.

A total of 27 wolves have been radio collared this year in an effort to better monitor, manage and study the animals. In all 39 wolves are currently collared in the Yellowstone area.

Yellowstone Wolf Pups Wolf project field crews have observed seven packs or females with pups of the year.

Chief Joseph Pack It has been confirmed the alpha female of the Chief Joseph Pack has at least seven pups.

Crystal Creek Pack The Crystal Creek Pack has been observed by air crews in the Pelican Valley region of Yellowstone (just north of Yellowstone Lake), with eight pups.

Druid Peak Pack The Druid Peak Pack has been observed with two pups (one black and one gray) in Lamar Valley.

Leopold Pack Biologists have observed the Leopold Pack with five pups.

Lone Wolf In addition number 16F, a lone female, has also been observed with six pups. Biologists have not determined which wolf has bred her.

Nez Perce Pack It is very probably the Nez Perce pair have produced pups although wolf project crews have not observed them with offspring. Female wolf number 67F of the Nez Perce Pack has whelped and is caring for four pups.

Rose Creek Pack The famous female wolf number 9F (alpha female of the Rose Creek Pack) and her daughter number 18F have been observed by wolf project field crews with ten pups. They were probably both bred by the alpha male, wolf number 8M. These two wolves shared the same den, which is very uncommon in the wild. The Rose Creek Pack has now moved away from their den to a rendezvous site far into the Yellowstone backcountry. This will be number 9's forth litter of pups since first being reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. Last year both female wolves (number 9F and 18F of the Rose Creek Pack) had pups, but they denned in two different areas. In all 42 pups in seven packs have been observed by field and air crews.

May 1998
This information is provided by the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service as of 15 May 98. Wolf number 029M, having escaped the Nez Perce enclosure, has been seen with wolf number 48F a lone female wolf. It has been confirmed that 48F has denned and therefore has likely produced pups.

With the 1998 denning season in full swing, wolf project field crews have observed six of the ten packs showing signs of producing pups. It is expected that as many as 40 to 50 pups will be born into the Yellowstone ecosystem this year. The famous female wolf number 9F (alpha female of the Rose Creek Pack) and her daughter number 18F have been observed by wolf project field crews with eleven new pups. They were probably both bred by the alpha male, wolf number 8M. These two wolves are sharing the same den, which is very uncommon in the wild. This will be number 9's forth litter of pups since first being reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. Last year both female wolves (number 9F and 18F of the Rose Creek Pack) had pups, but they denned in two different areas.

April 1998
This information is provided by the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service as of 27 Apr 97. As of this date, about 82 wolves grouped in 10 packs inhabit the greater Yellowstone area. Seven of the ten packs have established territory within Yellowstone National Park. The eight pack, the Washakie pack continues to inhabit national forest land in and around the Du Noir Valley south of Yellowstone. The ninth pair, number 41F a female and 52M a male, have been located just east of Yellowstone. The tenth pack, the Nez Perce Pack, is currently in an acclimation pen awaiting release some time before June of this year.

Wolf number 029M, having escaped the Nez Perce enclosure, has been located with wolf number 48F a lone female wolf. The hope is that these two will produce pups during this years breeding season. These two wolves have been located near the Nez Perce pen area in Yellowstone.

Five pups from the Thorofare Pack were orphaned this past February. The Alpha male from this pack has apparently been killed in an inter-pack struggle with the neighboring Soda Butte Pack. The Alpha female has also apparently died, her radio collar is emitting a mortality signal from under an avalanche site. However, biologists do not know if the two deaths are connected until they are able to retrieve the carcass.

Two members of the Druid Peak Pack were illegally shot last December east of Yellowstone. This incident is still under investigation.

Wolf number 39F a lone female wolf who had found the company of a dispersing male wolf, was also illegally shot east of the park. Special agents working on this case have a suspect, although the case is still pending.

A total of 27 wolves in Yellowstone have been radio collared this year in an effort to better study the animals, and monitor and manage the wolves. Contrary to a recent media reports, the decision to collar Yellowstone wolves was made prior to Judge Downes decision and therefore was not connected to the ruling.

The court ruling by Judge Downes has not altered operations by the wolf project staff. Monitoring, management and study of Yellowstone wolves is proceeding as planned. As of this time, 43 wolves are currently radio collared in the Yellowstone ecosystem. With the 1998 denning season in full swing, wolf project field crews have observed five of the ten packs showing signs of producing pups. It is expected that as many as 30 pups will be born into the Yellowstone ecosystem this year. The famous female wolf number 9 (alpha female of the Rose Creek Pack), has restricted her movements, indicating that she has very possibly produced pups again this year. This will be her forth litter of pups since first being reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995.


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