A report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed record-breaking statistics regarding livestock predation in Wyoming from the state’s population of gray wolves.
Under state management, Wyoming officials were forced to also kill a record number of wolves in response to the growing number of livestock incidents reported in the state. According to the report, wolves were responsible for killing 243 livestock in 2016 and 134 livestock in 2015.
Resulting from the barrage of attacks, Wyoming officials removed 113 wolves from the Wyoming landscape, a number that nearly doubles the previous high of 63 wolves killed in 2007.
“I don’t think we’ll ever know with any certainty why one year is bad and another year not quite so bad,” Scott Becker, wolf program coordinator in Wyoming for the Fish and Wildlife Service told the Idaho State Journal. “It’s just the dynamic nature of managing wolves, and as managers we try to do our best to minimize that chronic loss of livestock if at all possible.”
While wolves remain under state management in Wyoming after a ruling was overturned regarding reinstating federal protections last March, the animals remain protected in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and on the National Elk Refuge. Areas surrounding the parks are expected have highly-regulated hunting seasons for wolves, if approved.
Throughout the rest of Wyoming, wolves can be hunted year-round without a license, with the exception of the Wind River Indian Reservation, who manages wolves independently on their land.