One of the best ways to prevent wolf predation on livestock is to find out where wolves are in the landscape so we can employ proactive measures when needed. To obtain this information, during the field season we conduct wolf presence surveys, using the following methods:
Camera Trap Surveys
We use camera traps (also called game cameras and trail cameras), which are remotely-triggered cameras that capture images of animals in a non-invasive way. Camera traps are used all over the world for wildlife abundance and diversity surveys. The Project uses these cameras not only to look for wolves, but to look for other predators such as bears and mountain lions, as well as wolf prey - elk and mule deer. For more information on camera traps, check out this blog post from Lauren Hennelly.
These surveys involve playing recordings of wolf howls at dawn and dusk and seeing if wolves respond. These surveys allow us to figure out how many wolves are in the pack since each wolf has a unique howl.
Another way the Project looks for wolves is to ask the public. People in the Wood River Valley are very active and recreate in areas where wolves may be present. We post signs at trailheads asking for people to report wolf sightings to us. We also talk to people at our Farmers' Market booth and have gotten information from several people that way.