Northern Rockies wolf population holding strong

Annual report documents continued westward spread of wolves into Oregon and Washington

Wolves have established themselves across wide swaths of the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Map courtesy USFWS.


Staff Report

Notwithstanding the seemingly never-ending legal wrangles, wolves are holding their own biologically in the Northern Rockies, according to the latest annual report produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various state and tribal partners.

According to the report, the overall Northern Rockies wolf population is “robust, stable and self-sustaining.” In a year-end tally, the agencies said there are at least 1,704 wolves in 282 packs (including 95 breeding pairs) in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The wolf population has exceeded recovery goals identified by the Service and partner biologists since 2002. Wolves continue to expand their range westward in eastern Oregon and Washington. An additional 200 wolves in 34 packs (including 19 breeding pairs) were estimated in Oregon and Washington.

Minimum management targets for the NRM population are 15 breeding pairs and 150 wolves in each state of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Based on minimum counts, Idaho estimated 786 wolves in 108 packs (33 breeding pairs); Montana, 536 wolves in 126 packs (32 breeding pairs); and Wyoming, 382 wolves in 48 packs (30 breeding pairs). Oregon estimated 110 wolves in 16 packs with 11 breeding pairs and Washington, 90 wolves in 18 packs with eight breeding pairs. The total wolf population in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington was estimated to be 1,904 wolves.

The report is posted online at and The report is a cooperative effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Wyoming Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, National Park Service, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Wind River Tribes, Colville Tribe, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Utah Department of Natural Resources and USDA Wildlife Services.


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