11 April 2014 Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Posted by: Melanie Gade | 14 comments | Share: Population Count for Wolves in Northern Rockies: Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases population counts in an effort to monitor the health of wolves living throughout the Northern Rockies. Last week, the numbers were released and news stories are using words like “flourishing,” “secure,” and “steady” to describe the population at the end of 2013. As much as we would like to see a “secure” wolf population in the region, this is not entirely accurate. While some states did show stable numbers, other states like Idaho show declines, particularly sharp in breeding pairs. OR-14, a wolf from the Umatilla River pack. In Idaho, a series of increasingly aggressive policies – including aerial gunning, paying contractors to kill entire wolf packs in wilderness, and liberal hunting and trapping regulations resulted in a 9 percent decline in the population. Since wolves were delisted in 2011, Idaho has seen a 14 percent decline in its wolf population, while the reported number of successful breeding pairs in Idaho has declined by 50 percent. Regionally, these dramatic declines were diffused because states like Washington and Oregon actually did maintain relatively stable populations from the end of 2012 to the end of2013. The number of wolves living in Montana from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013 was also stable, but the state’s breeding pairs declined from 37 pairs to 28 pairs, a significant decrease. All in all, it’s not sufficient to say that there was “no change” in the wolf population, when wolves are still struggling to gain toe-holds in states like Washington, Oregon and California, and when they are so clearly the target of over-the top killing programs in Idaho. Should Northern Rockies Wolves Be Relisted? Defenders Requests Immediate Status Review: As you’ve read above, in just three years since wolves were delisted in Idaho, the state has managed to turn their recovering wolf population into a declining population. And even with their over the top attacks on wolves in 2013, the full effect of their aggressive wolf-killing policies have yet to be felt. Indeed, elected officials continue to state their intent to drive Idaho’s wolf population from 659 to 150. It is this intent to decimate the state wolf population that last week drove Defenders to request Secretary of the Interior Jewell to initiate an immediate status review of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, a first step to determining whether the species should be relisted under the Endangered Species Act (click here to submit your request too!). Sadly, even though Idaho begged Congress to turn wolf management over to the state, they are clearly showing that they are not responsible enough to manage wolves, and we’re not about to sit by quietly as they destroy wolf recovery in the state. Melanie Gade, Communications Specialist Melanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.