Posted: Jan 18, 2013 10:30 PM by MTN News
BILLINGS - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists plans to use a helicopter in the Boulder River drainage south of Big Timber this month to put radio collars on wolves in two packs.
FWP's Abigail Nelson says the timing of the project depends on the weather, and likely will take just one day.
Current plans call for flights during the week of Jan. 20-26.
The wolf collaring study involves locating wolf packs, tranquilizing at least one animal in each pack, fitting them with radio collars and releasing them at the same location.
Biologists can then can use radio receivers to track movement of the pack.
"We find it useful to track wolves using radio collars in areas where they overlap with livestock," Nelson said.
"In particular, knowing how many wolves are in a pack, and where and when wolves use an area, allows us to make well-informed management decisions," explained Nelson.
Radio collars also help biologists obtain accurate population counts and follow up with management if livestock depredation occurs.
Population counts are a key in determining harvest quotas and showing that Montana is adequately managing wolves to keep the species off of the federal Endangered Species List.