Gray Wolf Number/Distribution Changes Little


The following is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The 2010 Interagency Annual Report for the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment (NRM DPS) of gray wolves shows little change in the population or distribution of wolves from 2009.  The report, which is compiled and released annually by cooperating federal, state and tribal agencies, estimates that the population contained at least 1,651 wolves in 244 packs and 111 breeding pairs at the end of 2010.

The area occupied by the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population and that is discussed in the interagency report includes all of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon and a small portion of north central Utah. 

While the report estimates that breeding pairs and pack numbers in 2010 (244 packs and 111 breeding pairs) are virtually identical to those in 2009 (242 packs and 115 breeding pairs), total numbers of wolves are down from the minimum estimate of at least 1,733 wolves in 2009 to a minimum of at least 1,651 wolves in 2010.  The apparent decline is the result of a lower minimum population estimate in Idaho, a decline at least partly due to the difficulty of monitoring wolves in remote areas of central Idaho. Human-caused mortality and the natural territorial behavior of wolves are likely also responsible for maintaining the population at 2009 levels.

Wolf packs and especially breeding pairs largely remain within the three core recovery areas, in northwestern Montana/Idaho Panhandle, central Idaho, and the Greater Yellowstone Area, but breeding pairs were again confirmed in eastern Washington and Oregon. 

Wolf damage, control, compensation, and funding spent for wolf management were also similar to 2009 levels, which also suggest the wolf population maybe stabilizing. 

Private and state agencies paid $453,741 in compensation for wolf-damage to livestock in 2010.  Confirmed cattle death losses in 2010 (199) were virtually the same as in 2009 (191).  However, confirmed sheep (249) and dog losses (2) in 2010 were much lower than in 2009 (749 and 24 respectively). 

In 2010, slightly fewer problem wolves (260) were removed by agency control (which includes legal take in defense of property by private citizens) than in 2009 (272).  In 2010 MT removed 141 wolves by agency control; Idaho removed 78 by agency control and another 46 were harvested by public hunting; and in Wyoming, 40 wolves were removed by agency control.  No wolves were removed by agency control in Oregon or Washington.  A lone depredating wolf was killed by agency control in Utah. 

In 2010 $4,566,000 in federal funding (includes funding transferred to states and tribes) was spent on wolf monitoring, control, research, and outreach in the NRM DPS.

Wolves were delisted May 4, 2009, but on August 5, 2010 a federal court order put wolves in the NRM DPS back on the list of endangered species.

The interagency annual wolf (Canis lupus) report for the NRM DPS for 2010 is posted online at .  The Interagency Annual Wolf Report for 2010 is composed of five Sections: 1) Montana; 2) Wyoming; 3) Idaho; 4) USFWS overview of dispersal, wolves outside of MT, ID, WY, funding, litigation, and recent publications; and 5) Tables and Figures of wolf population, wolf pack distribution, and wolf depredations and wolf control.

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Source: USFWS

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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