BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Fish and Game has estimated that the Idaho wolf population decreased About 13 percent through 2021, based on camera surveys that measure populations during their annual peak in the summer.
The 2022 estimate is based on information collected in July and August from more than 500 cameras, containing about 10 million photos. AI software is used to analyze the images and apply mathematical modeling to generate population estimates.
The reported reduction in population is welcome news for the IDFG. The number has been hovering around 1500 for the past several years. This new estimate is around 1300.
The decline in numbers can be attributed to hunters and trappers, conflicts with livestock, and methods of managing hunting seasons and fish and game.
The goal is to maintain a manageable number of wolves in Idaho as well as stay off the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list, as wolves Delisted in Idaho in May, 2011,
The US Fish and Wildlife Services suggests an optimal number of wolves for proper management in Idaho is around 500. The numbers reflect what is considered ideal for maintaining both a sustainable wolf population and a healthy elk herd.
Fish and Game has prepared a wolf management plan that will be available for public review and comment their website in February. The plan is expected to outline the population goals, tasks and timelines.