4 Dec 2008, 1:12am
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Study: wolves danger to elk herds

By Ralph Bartholdt, St Maries Gazette Record, December 2, 2008 [here]

Wolves are the main reason for shrinking elk herds in an Idaho study area, according to Fish and Game.

The department estimates that the number of cow elk in the Lolo Hunting Zone is being reduced by 13 percent annually because of wolf predation.

State wildlife biologist George Pauley said in an AP article that 87 percent of the elk in the Lolo Hunting Zone need to survive each year to maintain a healthy population there. Now, an estimated 75 percent of the elk survive each year.

“When you are down in the 70s or low 80s, that is not good,’’ Mr. Pauley said. “We are not going to maintain a population. It will decline under those conditions.’’

In 1996 state game managers asked that federal trappers be allowed to kill more than 40 wolves in the region. The request was denied. Now they want hunters to take care of the predators.

“I just think it’s generally more acceptable with folks to manage populations through hunting than any other way,’’ Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth told the Lewiston Tribune.

Fish and Game is monitoring efforts to delist wolves under the Endangered Species Act, he said.

Public comments are being taken this week on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services plan to end federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies.

The wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the early 1990s and an estimated 1,500 wolves live in the Northern Rockies region, including 700 to 800 in Idaho.

Fish and Wildlife wants to have a new plan in place by the end of the year.

If the wolves are delisted, Idaho Fish and Game will once again push to allow hunting of wolves in the Lolo Hunting Zone to prevent further reductions in the cow elk population, said Mr. Unsworth.

“That is certainly our preferred option,’’ he said.

If the effort to delist the wolves is delayed, Fish and Game will consider other options under federal management rules for wolves, he said.

7 Dec 2008, 5:52pm
by Val

Will G. gave me the heads up. There is a lot of good data referenced in this article.

7 Dec 2008, 6:52pm
by Mike

For more of this discussion please see Wildlife and People [here].



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