It’s what everyone should expect. Every animal population reaches a peak. Idaho’s wolf population growth slowed greatly in 2007, but the state and the US Fish and Wildlife Service haven’t bothered to mention this critical data. It slowed from 20% to 8.5%. Wyoming’s wolf population growth slowed similarly, but all the news was about the 34% increase in wolves counted in Montana.
Instead Idaho Fish and Game Commission has started to play number games. You may have read yesterday that there are 1000 wolves in Idaho. They are counting estimated pups just born. This has never been done before and every biologist knows the valid wolf population is that at the end of the year because many pups do not survive. Pup survival rate in Yellowstone has been as low as 30%.
Idaho Fish and Game’s wolf hunt rules issued yesterday are based on a continued 21% growth rate in the wolf population. Here, once again, they are in violation of the delisting rules — wolf population counts at the wrong time of the year.