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Annual Wolf Recovery Report Released

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its annual report on Rocky Mountain wolf recovery. The report for 2006 includes a summary of wolf recovery activities in Idaho, which is available on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/. Biologists estimated that by the end of 2006, at least 673 wolves lived in Idaho, and they documented 72 packs. Those packs included 53 known to have produced about 185 pups this year. But only 41 packs qualified as breeding pairs. The annual report for Idaho shows that during 2006, 41 cattle, 238 sheep, and four dogs-three hunting hounds and one guard dog-were listed as confirmed or probable wolf kills. Non-lethal techniques were used to reduce wolf-livestock conflicts when appropriate. And a total of 68 wolf deaths were documented in 2006-39 wolves involved in livestock deaths and injuries were killed by Wildlife Services, six were killed by livestock producers, in addition 14 died from other human causes, including illegal kills; seven died from unknown causes, and two documented deaths were from natural causes. In recent wolf control activity in Idaho, federal wildlife officials got a call late on March 4 from a rancher near Ellis, who thought wolves had killed one of his calves. The rancher had placed a tarp over the calf carcass to preserve the evidence. But when officials arrived to investigate the complaint on March 5, a wolf or wolves had been back, pulled the calf carcass out from under the tarp and eaten most of it. Agents of the federal Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services found a fresh wolf track at the scene, but there was not enough left of the carcass to confirm whether wolves had killed the calf, so it was deemed a "probable" wolf kill. Traps were set in an effort to capture and radio-collar a wolf. A wolf was captured, but it pulled out of the trap as the trapper approached. The unsuccessful trapping attempt seemed to have one positive outcome in that the wolves appear to have left the area. These might be wolves from the Morgan Creek pack, which currently has no radio-collared animals. On March 8, Wildlife Services officials investigated a complaint that wolves killed a calf on private land near Darlington. They did not find enough evidence to confirm the depredation, but officials determined that it was "probable" that wolves killed the calf. Wolf control actions, authorized by Fish and Game and carried out by the federal Wildlife Services as part of the wolf reintroduction program, do not jeopardize wolf recovery in Idaho. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah, from the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's weekly wolf reports, as well as the entire annual report, can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.