Thursday, January 17, 2013

Y'stone wolves down 25%

Natural deaths, run-ins with humans and hunting have combined to cut Yellowstone National Park’s wolf populations by about a quarter. The latest count shows 15 wolves that ventured into Yellowstone over the past year were legally killed in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming hunts. Eight to 11 of those animals spent the majority of the last year in the park and would likely have been counted toward official 2012 year-end population tallies. At least six and as many as nine wolves from packs that sometimes roam into Grand Teton National Park had been killed through Nov. 7, reports show. Information on wolf kills over the last eight weeks of the season, however, is unavailable, Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. In Yellowstone, where a legal debate swirls over trapping in Montana north of the park, there are now an estimated 20 to 28 percent fewer wolves than the 98 counted at this time last year, said Dan Stahler, a wildlife biologist with the Yellowstone Wolf Project...more

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