1 Dec 2008, 12:18pm
Latest Wildlife News
by admin

Idaho game agency says wolves hitting cow elk hard in Lolo Zone

by the Missoulian Online, 11/28/2008, [here]

LEWISTON, Idaho - Biologists with the state Department of Fish and Game say wolves are the primary cause of death among a shrinking population of cow elk in northern Idaho.

The agency estimates cow elk in a remote area designated as the Lolo Hunting Zone have dwindled by as much as 13 percent each year. A recent study of radio-collared cow elk indicates that for the most part, wolves are to blame, Fish and Game says.

State wildlife managers unsuccessfully requested permission in 1996 to allow federal trappers to kill more than 40 wolves in the region and now they want to allow hunters to take care of the predators.

“I just think it’s generally more acceptable with folks to manage populations through hunting than any other way,” Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth told the Lewiston Tribune.

Idaho Fish and Game managers are monitoring efforts to delist wolves as federally protected animals under the Endangered Species Act, Unsworth said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public comments this week on its plan to end federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies, the latest move in a lengthy debate over management of the animals.

The wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid-1990s and there are an estimated 1,500 wolves living in the Northern Rockies region, with about 700 to 800 in Idaho.

The Fish and Wildlife Service wants to have a new plan in place by the end of the year.

If the wolves are delisted, Unsworth said Fish and Game managers in Idaho will pursue permission to allow hunting of the animals in the Lolo Hunting Zone and prevent additional thinning of the cow elk population.

“That is certainly our preferred option,” Unsworth said.

If the effort to delist the wolves from the Endangered Species Act is delayed, or tied up in court battles, Unsworth said Fish and Game will consider other options under federal management rules for wolves.

State wildlife biologist George Pauley said 87 percent of the elk in the Lolo Hunting Zone need to survive each year to maintain a healthy population there. Now, an estimated 75 percent of the elk survive each year.

“When you are down in the 70s or low 80s, that is not good,” Pauley said. “We are not going to maintain a population. It will decline under those conditions.”



web site

leave a comment

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent News Clippings

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta