June 30, 2015
RMEF Grant Assists Idaho Wolf Management
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) accepted a $50,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help firm up the state’s ability to maintain management of its wolf population.
“This is the fifth and final year of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s five-year monitoring period to evaluate the status of Idaho’s wolf population,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “The RMEF grant is designed to ensure wolves remain delisted so Idaho can continue to monitor the population and implement effective state-based management practices.”
The grant funding will be used to target two primary activities. The first is to hire a wolf tracking expert to assist in locating non-documented wolf packs while also assisting in collaring those packs in conjunction with a helicopter capture operation. The second activity is to document mid-winter pack composition through aerial tracking and remote camera work.
Idaho wildlife managers documented a minimum of 770 wolves in 2014 which is more than 400 percent above minimum recovery levels. The total includes 104 packs with an additional 23 border packs counted by Montana, Wyoming and Washington that established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary. IDFG suspects there are even more packs but did not include them in the 2014 count due to lack of documentation.
“As per requirements under the Endangered Species Act, Idaho will continue to manage its wolf population under federal oversight until May 2016. We also know that wolves and other predators have a significant impact on elk in some parts of Idaho. Funding for this project allows the state to better address predator populations by maintaining state control of wolf management,” added Allen.
In the last three-plus years, RMEF awarded approximately $350,000 in grants specifically for wolf management, including $50,000 for Montana earlier this month.