Yellowstone Wolf Numbers Fall Again

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – Biologists say Yellowstone National Park’s wolf population has declined two years in a row.

The also say it’s the first time the numbers have fallen two straight years and that the decrease is not linked to disease.

Wolf Biologist Doug Smith predicts the park’s wolf numbers will go down more in the future. It’s been 15 years since wolves were reintroduced to the park, and Smith says evidence suggest wolf numbers are stabilizing with the northern range elk herd.

The park’s wolf population showed declines in 2008, 2005 and 1999, but those drops were linked to disease. Smith says final wolf population figures will be released in his year-end report. But so far, he says the causes of wolf mortality were below average pup survival, wolf-on-wolf kills and Montana’s first wolf hunting season.

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