This is the second wolf population estimate this year. The official final figures will be released about next March or April 2006.
The estimate is for wolves in the 3-state Northern Rockies “experimental, non-essential” wolf population area. That means Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park is mostly in Wyoming, but part is in Montana and a very small portion inside Idaho.
Here are statistics Ed Bangs, Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator for USFWS just released.
Data presented at our 2006 interagency annual meeting on Nov. 28/29 suggested that the wolf population, livestock loss, and lethal wolf control statistics were higher in 2006 than in 2005. We estimate the 2006 MT, ID, WY wolf population will be around 1,264 wolves in +163 groups of 2 or more animals, and +86 of those will probably be classified as breeding pairs [adult male and female raising at least 2 pups until Dec 31]. Livestock losses until late Nov. 2006 were 170 cattle, 344 sheep, 8 dogs, 1 horse, 1 mule, and 2 llamas. Lethal control removed 152 wolves.
No wolves were confirmed living in other NW US states.
Estimates for MT were 300 wolves in 59 packs, and 25 breeding pairs- 35 cattle, 133 sheep, 4 dogs [2 guard 2 pet], 2 llamas confirmed killed by wolves and 47 wolves removed.
In ID there are about 650 wolves in +70 packs, and + 36 breeding pairs- 24 cattle, 173 sheep, and 4 dogs [3 hounds, 1 guard] were confirmed killed and 61 wolves were removed.
In WY [including YNP at 140 wolves, 14 packs, 12 are breeding pairs] there are around 314 wolves in 34 packs and 25 of those will probably be breeding pairs- 111 cattle, 38 sheep, 1 horse and 1 mule were confirmed killed by wolves and as a result 44 wolves were killed in control actions.
More intensive radio-tracking flights, additional investigations and incidents, and analysis of data in December will improve the final estimates that will appear in the 2006 annual report.
Note that the boldfacing above is mine, not Bangs.
Notice that the cattle loss rate/per wolf is the lowest in Idaho and highest in Wyoming. The wolf “control” (killing) rate is lower in Idaho than Montana and Wyoming (the latter two being about the same). However, this is distorted by Yellowstone Park (no livestock, no control killing) which means that the actual wolf control rate and livestock depredation rate is higher in Wyoming than in Montana or Idaho.