Wolf pack spotted in Boundary
Aug 17, 2005
By LUCY DUKES Hagadone
Biologists estimate 15 have been added this
year in Idaho
FERRY -- The Idaho Department of Fish and Game
confirmed the existence of a wolf pack in Boundary
County when biologists caught a 2- to 3-month-old
pup in the Boulder Creek drainage near the
Idaho-Montana border in July.
Biologists found the pup upon investigating
eyewitness reports from the public. The pack is
the first confirmed in Boundary County in about 80
Fish and Game officials do not know how many
wolves are in the pack, but howling activity and
other signs indicate several, said Steve Nadeau,
IDFG large carnivore program coordinator.
"There are several adults
with pups," he said.
Biologists aren't yet sure where the wolves came
from. They may have wandered up from the south or
from Montana. Since wolves were reintroduced to
Idaho in 1995 and 1996, packs have been seen in
northwest Montana, the Avery area, St. Joe and
around Marble Mountain, he said.
Wolves have also been spotted near the
U.S.-Canadian border and around Priest Lake, but
not in packs.
The wolf population in Idaho has been growing
15-20 percent per year since the reintroduction,
with wolf packs ranging over an average area of
250-500 square miles. Litter sizes range from two
to four pups.
Biologists estimated 420-500 wolves and 43 packs
existed in the state at the end of last year,
including 27 breeding pairs. This year, 15 new
packs have been added, said Nadeau.
Officials expect the population to stabilize, but
they don't know when.
While their numbers are growing, the wolves pose
little danger to humans, Nadeau said.
"Injuries due to wild wolves are very, very rare,"
The injuries that do occur arise from people
deliberately feeding wolves, with wolves then
expecting humans to feed them, he said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf Recovery
Coordinator Ed Bangs advised anyone who sees a
wolf to "enjoy it because they'll be gone in a
Wolves in Idaho feed primarily on elk, and
secondarily on deer and moose. They do prey on
livestock, however. Anyone suspecting wolf
depredation should notify local Fish and Game
officers, said Nadeau.
Four out of 16 known wolf packs in the Northwest
and Montana killed livestock in 2004, with losses
totaling six cattle, one lamb, and one colt. Three
cattle and a llama were injured, according to the
Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2004 Annual Report
compiled by various state and federal agencies and
the Nez Perce Tribe.
Report authors conclude that some of the animals
killed may have been eaten, so confirmed
depredation may not represent an actual tally.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been
working on delisting the species since 2003, but
will not do so until wolf management plan
requirements have been met in Wyoming. The Fish
and Wildlife Service has already accepted
management plans from Idaho and Montana, and has
turned over wolf management to the state in
Montana. Federal officials expect Idaho to take
over wolf management in the state within weeks.
North of Interstate 90 in Idaho, wolves are listed
as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
South of I-90 they are listed as "experimental,