Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wolf population in decline

Wolf population in decline Posted: Sep 08, 2014
SANDPOINT, Idaho - 
 For Nancy Taylor, wolves are a beautiful and misunderstood creature. She's lived with them for more than twenty years. She sells wolf memorabilia at her shop, Wolf People, just south of Sandpoint, and even hosts tours at her home where she owns more than ten wolves and wolf hybrids. "They're beautiful and intelligent animals, and this is what I teach. Many people who come to my facility have never seen a wolf before," says Taylor.

So while coming off the endangered species list was a great day for wolves across the country, the way they've been managed has been a problem for Taylor.

In the past three years, the wolf population has been in decline. Just recently, according to the Associated Press, the wolf population in Idaho has increased. With this increase, the Department of Fish and Game are asking hunters to help track the population. "We have an obligation for at least 150 wolves well distributed across the state providing gene flow to adjacent areas," says Jim Hayden with the Department of Fish and Game.

Hayden says with the number of wolves, fish and game are only able to accurately keep track of thirty percent of the population. Having locals help out in that manner will help with management.  Taylor believes the management is doing more harm than good. "If they have 150 wolves in the entire state of Idaho, and only ten breeding pairs, that would mean there would only be one wolf per every 557 square miles in the state of Idaho," Taylor said. "That is not enough to keep Idaho healthy."

Hayden says the population is managed for a number of reasons other than keeping the animals manageable and off the endangered species list.  Taylor has been calling for the animals to be returned the endangered species list, saying right now, the management is only doing more harm than good. "They're not going to have enough healthy animals to draw from, to breed, and eventually the wolves and the packs will diminish because of that, they will be very weak."

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