15 Mar 2008, 6:51pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Wolf population grows by a third

By KARIN RONNOW, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

Montana’s wolf population increased 34 percent over the past year, to an estimated 422 wolves in 73 packs, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported Thursday.

The wolves are nearly equally distributed between northern and southern Montana, according to the agency’s annual wolf report, although the bulk of the population growth was in northwestern and far western Montana, where it increased by about 92 wolves, to 213.

In the Greater Yellowstone area, the population increased by 14 wolves, to 209.

Some of the growth can be chalked up to the birth of at least 163 wolf pups last year, the FWP report noted. But there were other reasons, too.

“Our monitoring is getting better and we have hunters, landowners and many others taking the time to tell us where and when they see wolves or wolf sign,” Carolyn Sime, the FWP’s wolf management coordinator in Helena, said in a written statement.

Wolves are still listed under the Endangered Species Act. Delisting was set for late March, but lawsuits are expected to delay that.

While the numbers are growing, 102 wolf deaths were recorded last year, according to FWP. Seventy-three of those followed livestock killings; seven were killed illegally; and six were hit by vehicles or trains. The others died from a variety of causes common in the wild n from poor health to old age.

“Despite the loss of 102 wolves, the Montana wolf population is still very secure,” according to the written statement on the report. … [more]

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