HOWL Colorado

Montana’s wolf population remains stable, while confirmed depredations drop

Montana’s wolf population is holding steady, only increasing by two over 2012 numbers, but live stock predations drop by more than 25 percent over the same time period.

The estimated total number of wolves in Montana at the end of 2013 is 627, which is just two more wolves than 2012’s 625.

Wolf depredation continued to drop, a trend which began in 2009. Officials say that confirmed livestock killed by wolves in 2013 was 78 animals, which is a drop of 27 percent from the 2012 number of 108 animals killed.

More details from the report suggest that the 50 cattle killed in 2013 is the lowest such number since 2006.

Eighty three wolves died outside of hunts – killed by wildlife services, or private citizens during 2013 – This represented a drop of about 25 percent compared to the 2012 numbers.

Everyone will spin these numbers in ways that support their arguments, but the truth is that human/wolf interaction is best managed with well-planned, unbiased, scientifically-guided policies – Montana bends too much to political pressures, non-lethal deterrence is overlooked in favor of lethal options, but with a few philosophical changes it’s clear that a negotiated middle ground could leave more wolves alive and fewer livestock harassed – a direction that all cool-headed participants in the debate want.

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