2008 Idaho wolf count. Population up 7% statewide but only 5% south of I-90.

Preliminary wolf numbers are announced by Idaho Fish and Game-

Idaho Wolves: At A Glance IDFG new release.

The news release reports that there are 824 wolves, 88 packs of which 38 are considered breeding pairs. This is up from the 732 wolves and 83 packs but not in the way that you may think.

At first glance these numbers would indicate a 15% increase in wolf numbers but that doesn’t take into account many factors. Each year when the final reports are written there are packs that were counted which didn’t appear in the previous year’s numbers but have yearling or sub-adult wolves in them. These wolves are retroactively added as packs to the previous years population numbers. This means that, from information that I have learned, that the population of wolves in Idaho has grown only 7% statewide and that most of that growth has occurred north of I-90 where wolves receive full protection under the ESA. If you take those wolves out of the equation then the population growth rate drops to only 5% south of I-90.

Rate of growth is declining. In previous years the population growth estimate has been about 20% until last year when there was a 8% growth rate and this year with a 7% growth rate.

The media often cites the 20% number or uses the mid-year numbers of wolves to indicate the growth rate of the population but since wolves have pups only once per year in April and May that number is always an overestimate since there is great mortality between the mid-year estimate and the end-of-the year estimate.

As far as radio collared wolves there are 84 wolves in 50 packs which had radio collars in December 2008, a little over 10%.


President Obama’s regulatory freeze halts wolf delisting!!

It looks like the freeze of all unpublished Bush regulations stops the current run to delist the wolf-

Obama Rule Halts Wolf Delisting. Center for Biological Diversity. News Release

This is very happy news because we just learned that Idaho has some very nasty plans for the wolves if they are delisted — a quick kill off before a lawsuit can be filed.

Update: now the slower MS media are picking up the story.

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For Immediate Release, January 21, 2009

Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017

Obama Rule Halts Wolf Delisting

SILVER CITY, N.M.– President Barack Obama has issued a freeze on publication of federal regulations planned under the previous administration but not yet published in the Federal Register. This action, which will give the new administration a chance to review Bush-era policy decisions, will delay and possibly prevent the premature removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list in Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, and portions of Washington, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

According to Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, the pause will afford President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar the opportunity to rethink the previous administration’s efforts to remove wolves from the endangered species list. “Rather than remove protections from wolves in a piecemeal fashion, in the isolated locations where they have finally begun to recover from past persecution,” Robinson said, ” the Obama administration should develop and implement a national gray-wolf recovery plan that will ensure the survival of these magnificent animals.”

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Thanksgiving Day was Jan. 20

A new chance for America and the world.
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Will criminal activity of the Bush Administration go unpunished?

Jan. 11, 2009. Obama doesn’t rule out a special prosecutor. From a USA Today blog.
Jan. 13, 2009. Democrats seek criminal probe of Bush ‘abuses’. USA Today.
Jan. 16, 2009. Poll Finds Disapproval of Bush Unwavering. By Megan Thee-Brenan. New York Times.
Jan. 17, 2009. Forgive and Forget? By Paul Krugman. New York Times.
Jan. 18, 2009. Pelosi Open to Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials By Bill Sammon. FOX News