Wolf Management In The Northwestern United StatesVolume 17, No. 1-4, 2011 • Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society (TWS) - Presentation Abstract
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Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were deliberately eliminated from the northern Rocky
Mountains (NRM) by 1930. Restoration began in 1986. There are currently nearly 120
breeding pair and 1800 wolves. Wolf restoration initially proceeded with more benefits and fewer problems than predicted. However, conflicts have steadily increased since 2002 when the population first met its minimum recovery goal. About $40 million has been spent since 1974 and the management program currently costs >$4 million/yr. Wolves were delisted in 2008 and 2009 but relisted by federal court order in 2009 and 2010. While the NRM wolf population is biologically recovered, public opinion remains divisive and the legal, political, and policy decisions will continue to be litigated by a diversity of interests. Science is a poor tool to resolve the differing human values that continue to be debated with great passion through wolf symbolism.