Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Monday, April 15, 2013

RMEF: Wolf Management is Working

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released data that shows there were a minimum of 1,674 wolves and a minimum of 321 confirmed packs in the Northern Rocky Mountain region at the end of 2012. The count represents a 12 percent increase in the number of wolf packs and a nearly 7 percent decrease in the overall population.

“This proves, in solid numbers, that the states are completely capable of managing wolves,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “This also shows that hunting and trapping did not decimate the wolf population whatsoever.” 

The FWS fully anticipated state management would result in reduced populations, given the management goals established in each state’s wolf plan. Despite increased levels of take resulting from sport hunting and control efforts, FWS Director Dan Ashe said the population continued to thrive. 
CID = Central Idaho Wolf Recovery Area
GYA = Greater Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Area
NWMT = Northwest Montana Wolf Recovery Area

“The recovery of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies continues to be one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act, and we are intensely monitoring wolf populations to ensure they remain healthy and robust under state management,” said Ashe. “We believe that professional wildlife management and the strong wildlife corridors we’ve established will ensure that the gray wolf remains a part of the landscape in the West for future generations of Americans.” 

The original recovery plan had goals of an equitably distributed wolf population containing at least 300 wolves and 30 breeding pairs in three recovery areas within Montana, Idaho and Wyoming for at least three consecutive years. Totals hit those objectives in 2002. The latest population estimate shows the overall minimum population is now at least five times larger. 

“This report supports the effective and appropriate management approach taken by the states, demonstrating that the implementation of their management plans continues to maintain a healthy wolf population at or above established recovery goals,” said Noreen Walsh, Regional Director for the FWS Mountain-Prairie Region. 

Wolf packs, especially breeding pairs, remain within the three core recovery areas in northwestern Montana/Idaho Panhandle, central Idaho, and the Greater Yellowstone Area, and again were confirmed in eastern Washington and Oregon. There are no documented packs in Utah. 

During the year, Montana removed 108 wolves by agency control and harvested 175 wolves in its hunting season; Idaho removed 73 wolves by agency control and harvested 329 wolves by public hunting; and in Wyoming, agency control removed 43 wolves while hunters took 66 through regulated hunting. Washington removed seven wolves. In Oregon, agency control removed no wolves. There was not a hunting harvest of wolves in Washington or Oregon. 

“Hunters have played a key role for decades in helping to manage and sustain dozens of game populations in North America, and they can do the same for wolves,” said Mike Jimenez, FWS Recovery Coordinator for the Northern Rockies population. “Hunting remains an accepted and successful wildlife management tool that helps to reduce conflicts with humans, maintain stable populations and generate public support. We’re encouraged by the results of the trophy game hunts in each state.” 

“We look forward to years of continued science-based state management to better keep wolf numbers under control,” added Allen. 

Read the full Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2012 Interagency Annual Report here. 

Disbursement of Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Packs  

1 comment:

  1. I feel the better about wolves in the N Rockies than I have in a long time. If wolves can be managed, it's possible that they would come to my state and not decimate our elk herd. Maybe.