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Wed December 16, 2009
Wolf numbers up in Wyoming, but down in Yellowstone.
By Addie Goss
Laramie, Wy – Wolf numbers are up in Wyoming... but down in Yellowstone National Park. Mark Jimenez oversees wolf recovery for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says by the end of this year, Wyoming will have about 205 wolves outside of Yellowstone. That's up from last year's count of 178 wolves. Jimenez says one reason is that fewer wolves were killed this year in Wyoming for attacking livestock. He says the species also has relatively large litters.
"And it's not any magical thing, we just don't allow wolves to, some of these packs would chronically kill livestock, big numbers, so with cattle at least, when we start to see that pattern develop, and it's going to repeat itself year after year, we start removing those wolves very quickly."
Meanwhile in Yellowstone National Park, wolf numbers are down for the third year in a row. Doug Smith with the Yellowstone Wolf Project says usually, disease is the major cause of wolf population declines. That wasn't the case this year. Smith says wolves seem to just be finding a natural balance within their habitat - their population grew initially and now is settling back down.