Authorities in Montana have decided to lower the number of wolves culled this year. The Montana wolf kill will be 313 rather than 450. Tags will be issued to hunters up to that number.
Although the news is cheered by conservationists there is a somber note. The reason Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reduced the number is due to population declines. The population decline is not too large but state officials don’t want the population to decline too much.
Keeping the Montana wolf kill at 450 could cause a population collapse in the near term. The news was reported by Montana outlet 8KPAX,
According to Q2, a Billings, Montana news outlet, the state is trying to strike a balance.
“The state estimates there are 1,087 wolves in Montana, 44 fewer than the previous year. The total number of packs in the state is 181 packs, down 10 packs from 2021. FWP says hunters harvested 248 wolves between the spring and fall hunting seasons.” Q2 said. FWP is an acronym for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. FWP maintains a page on its wolf program.
Throughout their range wolves may be the hottest hot button issue in conservation. Conservationists and biologists seem in general agreement. Wolves are important to the ecosystem and a keystone species that helps maintain a healthy ecosystem. Arrayed against them are hunters, ranchers and assorted other interests. They hold the age-old view that wolves are a threat to game, livestock and other domestic animals.
Throughout the world there are continuing battles about wolves. Some of the fights as in Colorado are whether to re-introduce wolves. Other battles, such as Montana, are exactly how many wolves should live in a state. Sweden recently saw controversy over a legal wolf hunt opposed by conservationists. Wolf haters have struck back, often with poison as in Oregon and even Italy. Italy’s successful reintroduction met with poisonous pushback.