Idaho wildlife department stresses need for wolf counts

Idaho wildlife officials estimate there are about 1,000 wolves in the state. ©Hilary Cooley

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is requesting authorization from the state to reinstate a wolf (Canis lupis) count using funds from the agency’s annual budget. The department stopped the counts in 2015 after the species no longer received protection under the Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service no longer required the counts. Due to concerns — ranging from the wolf population becoming too large to the population becoming extirpated from the state — Idaho wildlife officials determined that wolf counts should be reinstated, requesting authorization to spend $408,000 for the measure. “I felt we could no longer continue without an annual wolf population estimate,” Schriever told lawmakers on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. Using as much of its own funding as it could, the department used cameras to estimate wolf numbers in April. Biologists believe at least 1,000 wolves are in the state.

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