Report: 7 Percent Decrease of Wolves in Northern Rocky Mountain Region

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its annual report on wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain region late Friday.

At 2012's year-end USFWS reported 1,674 wolves in 321 packs in the NRM area, which includes Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The 2011 report indicated that there were 1,796 wolves in 297 packs in the NRM area.

A year-to-year comparison shows that while the total number of wolf packs has increased 12 percent, the overall population has decreased by nearly 7 percent. Breeding pairs of the wolves also decreased by 5 percent, down from 109 pairs in 2011 to 103 pairs in 2012. According to the report, "[T]he wolf population remains well above the recovery levels identified ... in the recovery plan."

In the Gem State, Idaho Fish and Game removed 73 wolves in 2012 while 329 wolves were killed in public hunts. In Wyoming, 43 wolves were removed by agency control and 66 were harvested through regulated hunting. Washington removed seven wolves. No wolves were killed in Oregon.

Total confirmed depredations by wolves in 2012 included 194 cattle, 470 sheep, six dogs, three horses and one llama. From 2007 through 2011, an average of 191 cattle depredations occurred each year. An average of 339 sheep depredations occurred each year during this period. Ninety-nine of 352 (approximately 28 percent) known NRM Distinct Population Segment wolf packs that existed at some point in 2012 were involved in at least one confirmed cattle or sheep depredation.

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