Olympic Peninsula Wolf Reintroduction Feasibility Study Final Draft



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Olympic Peninsula Wolf Reintroduction Feasibility Study

Final Draft :
Feasibility Study on the Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to

the Olympic Peninsula


Submitted to:
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Western Washington Office

510 Desmond Drive S.E., Suite 102

Lacey, Washington 98503-1273
Submitted by:
John T. Ratti

Mike Weinstein

J. Michael Scott

Patryce Avsharian

Anne-Marie Gillesberg

Craig A. Miller

Michele M. Szepanski

Leona K. Bomar
Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

and the

Idaho Cooperative Research Unit

University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1136

25 January 1999

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES 6

LIST OF FIGURES 10

CURRENT AND HISTORICAL STATUS OF WOLVES ON THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA 17

Historical Status of Wolves on the Olympic Peninsula 17

Present Status 18

CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL CONSIDERATIONS 20

Cultural and Spiritual Value of Wolves 20

Stories and Myths 21

Ceremonies and Rituals 22

Other Relationships 24

Cultural and Spiritual Values of Primary Prey: Deer and Elk 25

Food Uses 26

Tool Uses 26

Clothing Uses 27

Other Uses 28

Spiritual Aspects 29

HABITAT SUITABILITY FOR SUPPORTING A VIABLE SELF-SUSTAINING WOLF POPULATION 32

General Description of the Olympic Peninsula 32

Topography 32

Climate 32

Flora 33

Road Density 34

Human Density 37

Amount and Distribution of Lands Capable of Supporting Wolves 40

Land Ownership and Use 49

Private 49

National Park Service 53

US Forest Service 53

Washington State 54

Implications for Reintroduction 55

Lands With Potential Conflicts 55

Livestock Abundance 55

Private-Timber Concerns 57

Small Culturally Important East-Side Populations of Elk 59

Big-Game Hunting 65

Geographic Extent of Reintroduction 68

DEMOGRAPHY AND DISTRIBUTION OF POTENTIAL PREY SPECIES 69

Black-tailed Deer 69

Occurrence 69

Habitat 69

Effects of Snow on Distribution 73

Movements 74

Social Behavior 75

Reproduction 75

Mortality 76

Rates of Increase 76

Population Estimates 78

Roosevelt elk 78

Occurrence 78

Habitat 79

Effects of Snow on Distribution 82

Movements 82

Social Behavior 83

Reproduction 84

Mortality 85

Rates of Increase 86

Population Estimates 87

Alternate Prey 88

Mountain Goats 88

Other Species 91

ADEQUACY OF HABITAT AND PREY BASE FOR SUPPORTING A VIABLE SELF-SUSTAINING WOLF POPULATION 94

Carrying Capacity of Wolves: Landscape Approach 94

Methods 94

Results 100

Discussion 100

Population Genetics 105

Stochastic Processes 107

Implications for Reintroduction 108

FUTURE PROJECTIONS FOR AN ESTABLISHED WOLF POPULATION ON THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA 111

Ungulate Populations 111

Methods 112

Results 117

Model limitations 121

Implications for Reintroduction 123

Vegetative Structure and Composition 123

Preface 123

General Effects of Herbivory 124

Ungulate Herbivory 126

Regional-Herbivory Effects 127

Olympic Peninsula 128

Hunting Opportunities 131

Hunting Revenue 135

Wolf Interaction with Other Predators 137

Cougars 137

Black Bear 139

Coyotes 140

Wolf-Coyote Hybridization 142

Wolf-Dog Hybridization 143

Domestic Animal Depredation 144

Background 144

Livestock Distribution and Abundance on the Olympic Peninsula 147

Estimates of Wolf Depredation Rate on Livestock 150

Wolf Depredation on Domestic Dogs 155

Disease 156

Rabies 157

Canine Parvovirus 158

Canine Distemper Virus 160

Infectious Canine Hepatitis 161

Brucellosis 162

Bovine Tuberculosis 164

Leptospirosis 165

Lyme Disease 166

Salmon Poisoning 167

Helminths 169

Human Safety 172

Attacks on Humans 172

Wildlife-Car Collisions 173

Disease 174

SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH WOLF RESTORATION 175

Public Opinion 175

General Attitudes 175

Olympic Peninsula 181

Human Population Growth 187

Population Trends 187

Population Structure 188

Population Projections 190

Recreation and Tourism 193

Olympic National Park 193

Other Recreation Areas 197

Park Visitation and Wolves 198

Tourism 200

Implications for Reintroduction 200

Changes In Road Density 201

Silvicultural Changes 202

Preface 202

Productivity 202

Legal Aspects of Wolf Management 206

Legal Context 206

Experimental, Non-essential Designation 209

Land-use Restrictions 212

Federal vs. State Management Authority 219

Tribal Authority and Management 221

Delisting Criteria 222

Other Legalities 226

Wolf Monitoring and Control 226

Wolf Monitoring 226

Wolf Control 233

Ungulate Monitoring 239

Source Population 241

DATA LIMITATIONS AND NEEDS 245

Ungulate Data 245

Road Density 246

Wolf Dispersal 247

EXPERT OPINION 258

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 262

LITERATURE CITED 263

BIBLIOGRAPHY 303

APPENDICES 339

Appendix A: Author Resumes 339

Appendix B: Reconstructed Deer 351

Appendix C: Reconstructed Elk 359

Appendix D: Deer Population Estimates 362

Appendix E: Elk Population Estimates 364

Appendix F: Deer Harvest 369

Appendix G: Elk Harvest 378

Appendix H: Elk Herd Composition 387






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