Date of this Version
Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) continue to increase in distribution and numbers (Figures 1,5). Estimates of wolf numbers at the end of 2001 were 261 wolves in the Central Idaho Recovery Area, 218 in the Greater Yellowstone Recovery Area, and 84 in the Northwest Montana Recovery Area (Figure 1, Tables 1,2,3,4). By state boundaries, there were an estimated 251 wolves in the state of Idaho, 189 in Wyoming and 123 in Montana. Of the 63 groups of 2 or more wolves, at least 34 wolf packs met the definition of “breeding pair,” an adult male and female raising 2 or more pups until December 31. This made 2001 the second year in which recovery criteria have been met for removing wolves from the Endangered Species list (Table 4). It is expected that the process of delisting could begin in 2003 if state management plans are in place. Livestock depredations in 2001 included 40 cattle, 138 sheep, 6 dogs and 4 llamas confirmed lost to wolves. In response, 18 wolves were translocated and 19 killed within the 3-state area (Table 5). As new packs are formed between the original core recovery/release areas, the three populations increasingly resemble and function as a single, large population (Figure 1). Approximately 18 research projects are underway, examining wolf population dynamics, predator-prey interactions and livestock depredation.