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Deadly week for wolves: Idaho and Montana hunts claim more lives

[thumbnail icon url=”deadly-week-for-wolves-idaho-and-montana-hunts-claim-more-lives” filename=”news” year=”2009″ month=”11″ day=”09″] Both states updated their wolf kill numbers November 9th, and the numbers jumped significantly from last week.

The official tally is now up to 153, which is 27 more than was reported last week. 

That tally only includes wolves killed and officially counted towards the combined quota for both states, which is 295. Not included in this number are 5 wolves killed either in excess of a Montana zone quota or were pouched in Montana. Making the final death toll 158.

Eye on Montana

So far, Montana has seen 14 wolves killed in their WMU-3 region – the zone which includes the Yellowstone National Park border. This is two wolves above their designated limit. Montana, inexplicably, has elected not to count this towards their quota. So, at this point, the Montana quota should probably be considered 77. 

There have also been three wolves in Montana poached. These illegal kills are also not included in the quota – unlike Idaho. A man was charged and convicted for killing two of the wolves, but a third was also killed, and no one has been convicted for this illegal killing. Therefore, once the official 75-wolf goal has been met, the number of wolves killed in Montana will be 80.

Montana’s official kill count is at 56 (72% of their overall state quota), but 61 wolves have actually been killed in the state.  

Eye on Idaho

The Idaho wolf hunt has claimed 97 animals so far, with two of their hunting zones closing after reaching their limits. The total still puts the state at less than 50% of their final goal, 220 wolves, which would account for about 26% of the state’s total wolf population.

Idaho reports that at the end of 2008, there were 846 wolves in the state. This means that Idaho has successfully killed 11.6% of all their wolves so far.

While most of the state’s zones are scheduled to end hunting season December 31st, two of the larger regions extend the season til March 31st, 2010. Wolves enter their breeding season between January and May. It is unclear what impact the hunt would have on the breeding pairs in Idaho.

What you can do:

Write to your elected representatives! The ranchers and special interests are active and pushing their agendas. The only counter to this is to make sure elected officials realize there are a lot of votes attached to protecting wolves, and the rest of our wildlife.

Join national campaigns such as the Defenders of Wildlife petition to Ken Salazar. Donations to the large national groups such as the Natural Resource Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, or another of your choosing, will fund legal battles and public education programs, which are very expensive.

Educate yourself, then educate others. Sites such as, the International Wolf Center, and physical sanctuaries and centers, such as the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, seek to fight the battle from the perspective of education, information and understanding.

As you learn, share these sites with others. Tell others what is happening in Montana and Idaho. Alaska was under the spotlight in the previous election cycle due to their activities regarding wolves and other wildlife. If all issues could get that type of publicity, and make it on to the national platforms, the facts would be presented to counter the rhetoric. This step is incredibly important in preserving the future of the wolves, and all other wildlife which is currently under threat.

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