Diane Boyd, large carnivore specialist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (and NFPA member), gave a well-received talk last week . . .
Wolves live in family groups. They don’t think twice about traveling long distances. They’re territorial. They make a lot of noise. And some have no qualms about capturing and killing their foes.
In other words, they’re a lot like humans.
Contrary to the host of conspiracy theories out there, wolves in Northwest Montana aren’t hybrids and they weren’t shipped in from points north. They came here on their own volition back in the late 1970s, stragglers from Canada that eventually made the North Fork of the Flathead in Glacier National Park home, biologist Diane Boyd said during a talk last week.
Diane Boyd gave a well-received presentation last Wednesday during a seminar hosted at the University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation . . .
A lot of people talk about the important role federal and state lands play in protecting wolves, but Diane Boyd, a wolf and carnivore specialist, said those public landscapes often are at high elevation and don’t harbor wintering populations of deer and elk.
In fact, the scientist said Wednesday that wolves need both private and public lands protected, and the private swaths are critically important.
“They hold the key, in addition to the federal lands, to maintaining grizzly bears, wolves, elk, deer, everything,” Boyd said.
Wow! North Forker and NFPA member Diane Boyd has a very nice write-up in the Flathead Beacon titled “The Jane Goodall of Wolves” . . .
In 1979, Diane Boyd left her native Minnesota and headed west to begin tracking the first radio-collared gray wolf from Canada to recolonize the Western U.S., where humans had effectively eliminated the species by the 1930s through hunting, poisoning and habitat loss. Boyd, a 24-year-old wildlife biology graduate student at University of Montana, was fueled by optimistic idealism and boundless energy. When she pulled up to her new home, deep in northwestern Montana’s rugged North Fork Flathead River valley, it was apparent she would need both.
“It was like, ‘Wow,’” Boyd recalls of seeing the cabin, which had no plumbing, electricity or means of communicating with the outside world. “I’d spent a lot of time outdoors, but this was true isolation.”
Though wolves had been extirpated statewide, reports of sightings and shootings started trickling in during the 1960s and ‘70s, leading University of Montana professor Bob Ream to launch the Wolf Ecology Project in 1973, the same year that Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves were listed under the Endangered Species Act. It was through the Wolf Ecology Project that researcher Joe Smith trapped a female wolf, dubbed Kishinena, on April 4, 1979 in the North Fork drainage along the northwestern edge of Glacier National Park.
Larry Wilson had nice things to day about our own Diane Boyd, recently returned to local wolf research . . .
Long time North Forkers will remember the days when Diane Boyd and Mike Fairchild led the early wolf research on the North Fork. As I recall, they named that first wolf they captured, Kishanena. Probably they would be rich today if they had been paid by the mile for following wolf tracks on snowshoes, recording their observations. They documented locations and routes of wolves, where they made kills etc. and, of course, documented everything while living in the old Frank Clute homestead at Moose City.
Unfortunately, Mike died suddenly and way too young, leaving Diane to finish the project. I don’t remember how many years Diane worked on the North Fork, but it was a contentious time. Controversy surrounded the Wolf Recovery Project. Hunters were opposed to wolves, environmentalists were in favor. There was a big argument over whether the wolves were here naturally, dispersing from known populations in British Columbia, or had been planted by persons unknown—maybe even Fish and Game.
Folks never really understood that Diane and the entire Wolf Recovery Project were here to record the facts and report them so that management plans could be made.