For Immediate Release, April 6, 2015
Contact: Andrea Santarsiere, (303) 854-7748, firstname.lastname@example.org
Idaho's Claim of Increased Wolf Numbers Belied by
Sharp Drop in Number of Documented Breeding Pairs
“Since 2009 more than 1,300 wolves have been hunted or trapped in Idaho, and another nearly 500 have been lethally removed from Idaho’s landscape,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the face of these astounding numbers, it’s no wonder that Idaho may have experienced a nearly 50 percent drop in breeding pairs.”
Unlike Montana and Wyoming, Idaho does not base its population estimate solely on observation of wolf packs by the state's biologists, but rather combines direct observations with extrapolated wolf numbers. Idaho's biologists actually documented only 272 wolves in 43 packs, but the state claims 770 wolves in 104 packs based on hunter reports and an average pack size of 6.5 wolves. There are probably more than 43 packs, but because hunters likely report dispersing wolves or even coyotes and pack size varies considerably, the exact number is unknown. This is why both Montana and Wyoming present a minimum count of just the wolves that they themselves count.
“We don't think wolves should be hunted at all,” said Santarsiere. “But with such aggressive killing of a species so recently considered endangered, there at least needs to be careful monitoring.”
Gray wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act after being extirpated from most of the lower 48 states. In 1995 and 1996, the Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park and other parts of the northern Rocky Mountains. In 2011 Congress took an unprecedented step to remove the protections of the Act from gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then Idaho has allowed aggressive hunting and trapping of wolves across the state.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places