The US Fish and Wildlife in collaboration with the state Wildlife Departments of the Northern Rockies as well as Native American Tribes and the Blackfeet Nation issued a very upbeat annual report.
If memory serves me this is the first year the entire area has been delisted for at least the second half of the year.
By every biological measure the NRM DPS wolf population is fully recovered. Resident packs have saturated suitable habitat in the core recovery areas and the population has exceeded recovery goals for 11 consecutive years.http://www.fws.gov/...
For the first time since populations reached recovery goals 11 years ago populations declined. The decline while modest (7%) is thought to be a sign that states are able to successfully manage the species. (down to 1,674 individuals from the previous 1,796) Bear in mind population numbers are given as a minimum, actual numbers are of course higher, how much higher is conjecture.
(US Fish and Wildlife Director)Ashe noted that the Service fully anticipated state management would result in reduced populations, given the management goals established in each state’s wolf plan. Despite increased levels of take resulting from sport hunting and control efforts, the population has continued to thrive.
The original recovery plan had goals of an equitably distributed wolf population containing at least 300 wolves and 30 breeding pairs in three recovery areas within Montana, Idaho and Wyoming for at least three consecutive years. These totals were reached in 2002.
In the chart above yellow is Central Idaho, Purple is Greater Yellowstone, and blue is Northwest Montana. Look at 2002.
I'd expect populations to lower at a slightly increased rate as states and residents become more practiced at management and then slow down as they approach a yet undetermined goal still comfortably well above 300.
Total expenditure both feds, states, and tribal came to around 4 million.
I did another post recently on Science Self Correcting on Wolves