Each year state and federal wolf managers compile a rough mid-year wolf population estimate for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.
Official interagency estimates in the 2007 annual report likely will be different and more accurate than these because of better wolf monitoring conditions in fall and winter and increased levels of wolf mortality and dispersal later in the year.
These figures give insight into the likely trend of the wolf population, conflicts and control relative to last year. Overall, the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population in 2007 will be higher, wolf control about the same and confirmed livestock depredations lower than that documented in 2006.
Breeding pairs comprise an adult male and female and two or more pups on December 31, so the mid-year estimate is what might be present at the end of the year and probably is high.
In Idaho, the mid-year population estimate was for 788 wolves in 75 packs with 41 breeding pairs, which is up from 2006 with 673 wolves in 69 packs and 40 breeding pairs.
This year so far, 36 cows and 150 sheep have been confirmed as wolf kills - 46 wolves have been killed. In 2006, 29 cows and 205 sheep were confirmed wolf kills - 45 wolves were killed.
Across the northern Rockies this year the total estimated wolf population is 1,545 wolves in 179 packs with 105 breeding pairs. In 2006, the number was 1,300 wolves in 172 packs and with 86 breeding pairs.
Total mortalities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming so far are 111 cows and 185 sheep. And 134 wolves have been killed. In 2006 the numbers were 184 cows and 247 sheep confirmed wolf kills. And 142 wolves were killed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove the wolf from the federal endangered species list. The Fish and Wildlife Service's weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports, can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.