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Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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By the end of August, biologists may accomplish the first relocation of wolves in the upper Panhandle north of Interstate 90. They hope the two animals would become the first breeding pair in northern Idaho or extreme northwestern Montana. But Nez Perce Tribe wolf recovery manager Curt Mack cautioned the proposal is in its early stages. Biologists are worried the pair, which includes a female with a radio collar, will instead establish home territory in southwestern Montana's Big Hole Valley. Twice in recent years, pairs of wolves have settled there, only to kill livestock. Federal officials relocated one pair; they shot the other in 1999. 'The hope was they would travel through the Big Hole. We're starting to suspect now that they're settling in,'' he said. Mack said the wolves would likely be released in the upper Coeur d'Alene River drainage near the Montana line. Wolves almost always leave the immediate area after they have been released, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistant wolf recovery coordinator Joe Fontaine said. While wolves are thriving in central Idaho and the Yellowstone area, they remain relatively scarce in northwestern Montana and northern Idaho.

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