Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tabled a proposal that would potentially increase the annual harvest of gray wolves from two wolves to six in one district closely bordering Yellowstone National Park.
The proposal comes as state officials, hunters and hunters cite a declining elk population since the wolves were reintroduced the Yellowstone ecosystem back in the 1990’s. The new proposal is aimed at stabilizing, rather than reducing, the total number of wolves in the area, which currently was tallied at 24 wolves.
“Our guys are saying we could take a few more and get down to a better balance with elk and other species,” Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
In other areas of the state there are no limits as to how many wolves can be killed and in 2015, 210 wolves were harvested across Montana.
These proposed changes have not come without any opposition. Marc Cooke of the Wolves of the Rockies group is recommending officials scrap the proposed changes immediately.
“It’s kind of ridiculous that they would consider bumping it up to six, considering it’s such a small amount of land,” Cooke said. “These Yellowstone wolves and these people who go to Yellowstone to watch wildlife they need to be heard, too.”
The proposal is scheduled to be presented on Thursday, but a final decision on the changes is not expected until July.