MYTHS & FACTS ABOUT WOLVES (1/16/12, Rev. 6/15/13)
Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance (NIWA)
Ancient Pathways to A Sustainable Future
Contact: Ken Fischman, Spokesman
• Minnesota’s wolf population has been stable, at 3,000 since,(2004, 5X as many as in Idaho).
• Wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List by
a political manoeuver, in placing a rider on a must-pass appropriations
bill. It was never voted on or even debated. This marks the first time an
animal was removed for other than scientific reasons.
• Wolves were hunted in Idaho barely five months after being taken off the
Endangered Species List. No other species has had this happen to
them. Almost 300 wolves were killed in Idaho & Montana’s first hunts
in 2010 and this number increased to over 550 in 2012.(did not include wolves killed for livestock depredation)
• In most of Idaho they did not even setting an overall quota for the
2011 – 2012 hunt. Hunters may kill as many wolves as they can,
individual hunter limits are 10 wolves each, & they are
allowed to utilize: traps, baiting, & electronic wolf calls to do so.
• The killing of such a large percentage of the wolf population
amounts to a slow motion extermination campaign. It is certainly not
• The 2011-12 Idaho wolf hunting season was 10 months long – beginning
September 1st. & ending in June. This long a hunting season is
highly unusual for any animal, & impacts the wolves’ mating denning
• The long wolf hunting season creates an almost year-round danger
for hikers, bird watchers, campers, & boaters from accidental shooting
by hunters. It is not safe to go out into the woods at any time now.
• There have been only two authenticated killings of humans by wolves
in North America in the last 200 years, You are in greater danger of
killed by a dog. Dogs killed 27 people in 1997-1998 .
• Wolves belong in our wild areas. They are an essential part of a
healthy and functioning ecosystem. As an apex or keystone
predator they are crucial to the well being of everything from
flowering plants and trees to insects and all the other mammals,
including elk and deer.
• There has been talk about the Idaho wolves being “aliens” because
they were introduced from British Columbia & Alberta. These statements
have no scientific basis. All state wildlife agencies as well as independent scientists
agree that genetically, the wolves that
were historically eradicated from the northern Rockies
and the wolves that have been re-introduced in the past
decade are the same species, Canis lupus.
• There have been wild claims that these wolves are huge, many over
200 pounds. All 188 wolves killed in the first Idaho wolf hunt in 2009 were officially
weighed by IDF&G agents. The average female was 86 lbs. and the
average male, 101 lbs. The largest was 127 lbs.
• Many hunters claim that wolves are decimating elk herds – According to the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation 2007 Report, the Idaho elk population has been above
100,000 since 1985, and the Northern Rockies elk population has
increased 32.9% in the last 25 years, to over one million animals. Elk #s
increased by 3,000 in 2010 alone.
• Idaho’s elk population fluctuates, but the hunters’ have a
perception that elk numbers are decreasing. This is probably due to the
wolves pushing elk off the valley floors and into the mountains,
making the hunters work harder to find them.
• Contrary to the claims of ranchers, wolves are not killing off large
numbers of livestock – According to the USDA
Statistical Bureau they are responsible for less than 2% of all
livestock deaths due to predation( less than 0.1% in Idaho).
In 2008, feral dogs killed more than four times as many sheep in Idaho than wolves did.
Eagles and other raptors carry off far more lambs than wolves kill.
• There are 2.2 million cattle in Idaho. Last year wolves killed 71 of them.
Can you do the math to figure out the % killed? Hint: It is less than 1/100th
• IDFG’s “wolf-management” strategy will reduce wolves to a remnant
population. Most wolf biologists agree that they would become genetically isolated,
prone to inbreeding and inherited diseases, and unable to perform their historic
function in bringing balance to the ecosystem.
• IDFG is using conflicting numbers when reporting wolf population.
They assumed a steady annual increase of 20 to 22% whereas in
reality Idaho’s wolf population increased by 8.8%, 15.6%, and
dropped 0.4% in 2007 , 2008, and 2009 respectively. In 2012, they decreased 11%. (USFW statistics).
• In Yellowstone National Park the wolf population fluctuates. They declined by 27%
in 2007, & they lost nearly all their pups due to severe weather, disease, and prey scarcity. This happened again in
2008.- and this is in a place where they aren’t even hunted.
• There has never been a single case
of livestock depredation due to wolves reported in Idaho’s Panhandle.
and IDFG estimated the wolf population there to be a
minimum of 55 wolves in 2012.
Nevertheless, the wolf hunt quota for the Panhandle was removed.Hunters killed 71wolves there.
• IDF&G’s attitude toward wolves is that they are damned if they do
& damned if they don’t. If wolves kill livestock, IDF&G retaliates. If
they do not kill livestock, they want them killed anyway they say, in order to reduce the possibility of livestock depredation.
• Anti-wolf people claim that wolves are infected with tape worms(Echinococcus),
& that they are a threat to infect hunters with the worms. The Montana &
Idaho wildlife agencies as well as independent scientists have stated that
these worms were endemic to domestic livestock long before
the wolves were restored. Big-animal veterinarians
testified in state legislatures that there is little or no danger of people becoming infected.
All wolves released in Yellowstone and Idaho in 1996 were dewormed first.
• If you chunked up Idaho into areas each of 100 square miles and
evenly distributed people, elk and wolves among the chunks you
would have in each chunk 1,800 people, 140 elk, and 1 wolf. That
demonstrates how few wolves there really are. How are they to
fulfill their role of keystone predator?