Wyoming gray wolf population meets all recovery criteria
Wyoming’s gray wolf population continues to meet all recovery criteria, according to the 2021 Wyoming Gray Wolf Monitoring and Management annual report by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 

The newly-published document details the gray wolf populations and conflict trends that indicate stable and predictable management of the species.Wyoming is maintaining wolf numbers at healthy levels. It is the 20th consecutive year wolf numbers in Wyoming have exceeded the delisting criteria, and the fulfillment of the 5-year post-delisting monitoring period required for species recovered and delisted under the Endangered Species Act.

Wyoming has a proven track record of successfully managing a fully-recovered gray wolf, and we will continue that approach into the future,” said Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik. 

Established population objectives for wolves are outlined in the Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan. That plan guides wolf management in Wyoming and is the plan the state will continue to implement following the 5-year post delisting monitoring period. Recovery criteria for Wyoming is at least 100 wolves and at least 10 breeding pairs outside Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation. 

The Wolf Management Plan has promoted a recovered, stable and appropriate population objective for Wyoming’s wolves,” said Dan Thompson, large carnivore section supervisor for Game and Fish. “This management approach has yielded reduced conflicts with livestock and alleviated potential impacts of wolf predation on big game herds. Our approach in Wyoming has promoted public tolerance and coexistence with wolves and humans across the landscape.”

As of Dec. 31, 2021, at least 161 wolves and 14 breeding pairs reside within the wolf trophy game management area , where Game and Fish focuses management. The wolf population for Yellowstone National Park and Wind River Reservation is at least 97 and at least 17 respectively. An additional 39 wolves were documented in the seasonal WTGMA and predatory animal areas outside Yellowstone and the Wind River Reservation, bringing the total minimum population in Wyoming to at least 314 wolves.

Game and Fish continues robust wolf monitoring efforts using radio collars to ensure rigorous data collection used for evaluating wolf population status and for proposing appropriate wolf management actions,” said Ken Mills, the lead wolf biologist for Game and Fish.

Reaching a steady wolf population is partially attributed to hunting in the northwest corner of the state. Wolf hunting seasons within the WTGMA and seasonal WTGMA require hunters to have a license and adhere to set mortality limits and other regulations. 

“Wyoming’s wolf hunting seasons and strategy has been an effective wolf management tool. With hunting, the state has met our population objective for four consecutive years,” Mills said. 

Wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains — which includes Wyoming — are currently subject to an ongoing status review implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to multiple petitions filed requesting wolves to be relisted under the ESA. The service is currently reviewing all state management programs and wolf population status in each state in the northern Rockies and is expected to release its determination in Sept. 2022. 
Sara DiRienzo, Public Information Officer - (sara.dirienzo@wyo.gov)

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