The number of wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming continues to grow, with at least 1,300 in the three states at the end of 2006, federal officials say.
“I keep thinking we’re at the top end of the bubble,” said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “I can’t see that there’s room for any more, but we’ll see.”
The wolf population has, on average, grown by about 26 percent a year for the past decade. The reports of livestock being killed by wolves have also increased, as has the number of wolves killed after livestock attacks.
There are at least 316 wolves in Montana, 311 in Wyoming and 673 in Idaho, according to the 2006 federal report.
Bangs said the wolf population will eventually level off, and will likely decrease once state agencies take over management of the predators and are able to control the population through hunting.