HOWL Colorado

Montana wolves’ resilience likely to lead to expanded killing techniques

Wolves are timid, elusive creatures which would rather stay away from any human contact. This, combined with comparatively low numbers, makes wolves difficult animals to hunt. So elusive are these apex predators that Montana’s hunt was unable, despite their ruthless efforts, to exterminate enough to reduce their numbers.Indeed, Montana’s wolf population increased. Read the following excerpt from a Reuter’s news story published on Huffington Post:

Some 166 wolves were killed in Montana in that state’s first hunting season since federal protection of the species was lifted last year, but its population still managed to grow by 15 percent in 2011, state wildlife officials said on Thursday.

After Congress removed most wolves in the Northern Rockies from the U.S. endangered species list, Montana established a quota of 220 wolves for a hunting season that began in September 2011 and was extended to Feb. 15 of this year.

Not only did the final tally of wolves killed during the season fall short of the quota, it was more than offset by natural reproduction in the wolf population, according to figures released by Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency.

The state’s population of wolves at the end of 2011 was estimated at 653, a net gain of 87, or 15 percent, from the year before, despite the 166 wolves killed by hunters since September and 93 non-hunting wolf deaths recorded last year.

Read the entire article on huffingtonpost.com: Montana Wolves Killed In Hunting Season, But Population Still Grew

What may seem like good news for wolves is almost certainly not as Montana will simply see the wolves’ success as their failure and only seek to figure out more deadly plans for next year.

Scientists not driven by politics and special interests must be allowed to define a solid, sustainable recovery goal. Not only will the number “300” disappear from opposing rhetoric, but wolf numbers will truly be manageable and their impact on local ecosystems will finally be felt and appreciated.

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