Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released its annual wolf population estimate recently. Short version: They think there are abut 900 wolves in the state now, up from 851 a year earlier . . .
There are roughly 900 wolves in Montana according to the 2017 Montana Gray Wolf Program Annual Report, the 13th consecutive year that Montana has exceeded wolf recovery goals.
FWP now estimates wolf numbers using a method called Patch Occupancy Modeling. The old way of trying to count wolves from an airplane became a less accurate picture of wolf numbers as the wolf population grew beyond the agency’s ability to count them. Additionally, the old method was expensive and took a lot of staff time.
FWP has used POM estimates along with the old minimum counts for several years. POM uses wolf sightings reported to FWP during annual deer hunter surveys, known wolf locations, habitat variables and research-based wolf territory and pack sizes to estimate wolf distribution and population size across the state. The most recent POM estimates were 961 wolves in 2015 and 851 in 2016. Data has been gathered for 2017 estimates and analysis will take place during summer 2018.
Montana plans to change the way they count wolves. The Missoulian has the story. We’ve also included a link to the official Montana FWP press release discussing the subject . . .
Montana wildlife officials say the way they count wolves is too expensive and falls far short of an actual population estimate, so they plan to switch to a model that uses information gathered from hunters.
However, wildlife advocates say wolf numbers are declining and the switch could threaten the species’ survival. They worry the data is too unreliable to be used to manage the population.
The change, expected within the next three years after improvements to the model, will be cheaper than the annual wolf counts conducted now and provide a more accurate estimate of the total population, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said.
Gray wolves in the U.S. Northern Rockies are showing resilience as states adopt increasingly aggressive tactics to drive down their numbers through hunting, trapping and government-sponsored pack removals…
It’s now official. The federal government wants to lift Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves within the Continental U.S. . . .
The Obama administration on Friday proposed lifting most remaining federal protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that would end four decades of recovery efforts but that some scientists said was premature.
State and federal agencies have spent more than $117 million restoring the predators since they were added to the endangered species list in 1974. Today more than 6,100 wolves roam portions of the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes.
The U.S. Department of Interior has posted a draft rule proposing to remove federal wolf protections . . .
Federal wildlife officials have drafted plans to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that could end a decades-long recovery effort that has restored the animals but only in parts of their historic range.
The draft U.S. Department of Interior rule obtained by The Associated Press contends the roughly 6,000 wolves now living in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes are enough to prevent the species’ extinction. The agency says having gray wolves elsewhere — such as the West Coast, parts of New England and elsewhere in the Rockies — is unnecessary for their long-term survival. A small population of Mexican wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive federal protections, as a distinct subspecies of the gray wolf.
Today’s news has information on drops in the wolf population in two areas of the U.S. Both declines are attributed to hunting pressures . . .
Northern Rockies See Sharp Drop in Wolves– Aggressive gray wolf hunting and trapping took a toll in much of the Northern Rockies last year as the predator’s population saw its most significant decline since being reintroduced to the region two decades ago. Yet state and federal wildlife officials said Friday that the population remains healthy overall, despite worries among some wildlife advocates over high harvest rates. Its range is even expanding in some areas as packs take hold in new portions of eastern Washington state and Oregon. Continue reading . . .
Number of wolves in Alaska’s Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve drops by more than 50 percent– Wolves in Alaska are known to have healthy population numbers. Yet now, it turns out that Alaska’s predator control program has resulted in the number of wolves in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve to drop by more than half. The National Park service counted 80 wolves over nine packs in November 2012. This spring, though, the numbers have dropped drastically. Biologists have only been able to account for 28 to 39 wolves in six different packs–it’s the highest drop in numbers since the park service began tracking wolves 19 years ago. Continue reading . . .
Your friendly web-slinger was away on an extended road trip, so we’re playing catch-up. Here’s the first clutch of articles about significant events over the past couple of weeks . . .
Elk River poisoned by coal mining– Dr. Ric Hauer of the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana issued a March 2, 2013 study comparing water quality in the Elk and neighbouring Flathead River Basins. Commissioned by Glacier National Park, the study found nitrogen levels at 1,000 times the background rate, sulphate levels at 40-50 times the background rate and selenium levels at 7-10 times background rate (p.2). The researchers tested above and below mines and used the pristine water quality of the nearby Flathead River to determine background levels and ascertain what aquatic life would normally be present in the Elk River were it not so polluted. Continue reading . . .
FWP: Montana’s wolf population drops 4 percent– At least 625 wolves inhabited Montana at the end of 2012, a 4 percent population drop compared to a 15 percent increase the year before, according to state wildlife managers. The minimum wolf count is the number of wolves actually verified by FWP wolf specialists. The latest population estimate came while Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks comples the federally required annual wolf conservation and management report. The report is expected to be available online by April 12. Continue reading . . .
Agency to target fish in five creeks– Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue efforts to suppress rainbow trout and hybrid trout populations in the upper Flathead River system. Region One Supervisor Jim Satterfield signed a finding of no significant impact for the work Monday. That basically approves plans to continue removing hybrids and rainbows from the mouths and channels of Abbot, Sekokini, Rabe, Ivy and Third creeks in the main stem Flathead and North Flathead rivers. Continue reading . . .
It looks like the final numbers are now in for the Montana and Idaho wolf hunts. Montana, which added a trapping season this year, is up by about a third. Curiously, Idaho’s totals are down quite a bit.