Wyoming wolf update
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 23, 2017
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has been busy placing radio collars on wolves throughout western Wyoming. With 36 new collars in place, more than 80 wolves in the state are now wearing the collars. The collars are a tool for monitoring the wolf population, and can be key resource for quickly locating wolf packs that are involved in livestock depredations.
FWS and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WG&F) are working together to develop the population estimate for wolves in the state (which will include minimum population numbers as well as a tally of breeding pairs). These numbers will be released in the annual report issued by the federal agency each spring. The report will also contain the official tally of verified wolf depredations on livestock (2016 was a record high for livestock kills) as well as the number of wolves killed in response to livestock depredations (also a record high).
Becker headed to WYO
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has finally named a replacement for Mike Jimenez, who ran the agency's wolf management program in Wyoming until his retirement last year.
Scott Becker will come on board the first week of March, and will be stationed in Lander. Becker served as a wolf biologist for FWS (stationed in Cody) until he took a similar position with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2012,
Becker is a University of Wyoming graduate then went to work for the WG&F and FWS in their wolf programs until he moved to a similar position in
FWS Field Supervisor Tyler Abbott of Cheyenne is pleased to turn over responsibilities for wolf control to such an experienced and well-qualified candidate. "He knows the ropes, and he knows how to deal with depredations," Abbott said.
There is a pack of up to 10 wolves roaming the Baldwin Creek area near Lander, in the same area where a wolf pack killed cattle last year. FWS recently placed radio collars on two wolves in this pack.
With cattle producers just starting the calving season, the timing of the collar placement was ideal, since the wolf pack can be more easily located in the event conflicts arise. At this time of year, wolf packs are not feeding pups, so wolves may not travel far from a kill site.
Abbott urges livestock producers in the area to keep close watch on their stock, and if calves go missing, Abbott recommends that producers do their best to find carcass remains as soon as possible. Federal officials have a higher likelihood of determining if a wolf was involved if an investigation can begin promptly.
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!