By Virgil Moore, Director, Idaho Fish and Game
It's important for state agencies to understand and respect differing points of view. But when a few advocacy groups try to grab headlines by skewing Idaho Fish and Game scientific wolf monitoring data in ways that simply aren't true, it's also important to set the record straight.
Here are the facts:
- Idaho has more than 100 documented wolf packs and over 600 wolves. Idaho's wolf population far exceeds federal recovery levels of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves.
- After meeting federal recovery levels in 2002, Idaho's wolf population grew largely unchecked for the remainder of the decade, resulting in increased conflicts with other big game populations and livestock.
- After 4 harvest seasons since the 2011 delisting, livestock depredations have declined. Wolf predation continues to have unacceptable impacts to some elk populations, but there are signs elk populations are responding positively to wolf management.
- Wolves in Idaho continue to be prolific and resilient. Idaho will keep managing wolves to have a sustainable, delisted population and to reduce conflicts with people, livestock, and other big game populations.
Despite these facts, a few advocacy groups chose to take the breeding pair metric out of context to make claims that Idaho wolves are "teetering on the brink of endangered status once again." That's hogwash. And it's the kind of polarizing misinformation that undermines responsible wildlife conservation and management in Idaho.