MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT WOLVES

Wolves have decimated elk populations in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
 

Since the restoration of wolves in 1995 and 1996 the elk populations in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho have actually increased. Montana has seen the highest increase in elk numbers, with the population nearly double that of the state’s management goal. Wyoming and Montana have each had to increase the number of doe tags that are awarded to hunters in an effort to reduce the elk population. Many people will point to the local decline in the elk herds in Yellowstone National Park as evidence that wolves are killing too many elk, but evidence shows that the elk herd is now 

close to it’s historical average and has stabilized around 7,000 animals.

The wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone and Idaho are not native to the United States.

While the individual animals used to restore wolves in the Lower 48 were captured in Alberta and British Columbia, they are biologically the most similar to the wolves that lived here historically. Wolves do not recognize the political borders of humans and regularly travel hundreds of miles. Translocating them across the border only helped boost the population more quickly than if they had been left to return on their own, while also allowing more flexibility for ranchers to have wolves removed when they depredate livestock.​

MYTH

FACT

MYTH

FACT

Wolves kill a lot of livestock.

While wolves occasionally depredate livestock they pose a much smaller threat than other factors. According to the USDA, out of the 100 million cows that are raised in the United States every year an estimated 4 million of them die. 3.8 million of those losses are due to disease and weather. That means that only about 200,000 livestock losses are predatory. Of those, coyotes and feral dogs cause the most losses. Even birds of prey kill more livestock than wolves do. Wolves also respond well to non-lethal deterrents to scare them away from livestock. When hazing and responsible livestock management work together livestock losses are almost zero.

MYTH

FACT

MYTH

FACT

Wolves are a threat to human safety.

 

Wolves pose little threat to humans. In the last 150 years there has only been a small handful of incidents in which wild wolves have injured people and only four fatalities. You’re more likely to be crushed by a vending machine than injured by wolves.