Wyoming Game and Fish plans to capture wolves for monitoring purposes beginning this month and continuing throughout the year.
The state took over wolf management in April of 2017 after the animals were removed from the Endangered Species List. Now, Wyoming Game and Fish is following the same management plan that was put in place the last time wolves were briefly taken off the list, in 2012.
Dan Thompson, Game and Fish large carnivore biologist, said helicopter net-gunning will be the primary method to capture wolves throughout the trophy game management area in Northwest Wyoming. Biologists will then collect blood samples and fit the animals with radio collars. Thompson said this will lead to better management on the ground.
“We’ll collect blood from each animal and that allows us to look at the DNA, allows us to look at the inner changes of their populations,” said Thompson. “And provides insight into even other things, if we want to look at it, such as disease.”
Additionally, monitoring the wolves provides better insight on how the population interacts in Wyoming.
“What we've been doing for the last month is to get a really accurate count of wolves and breeding pair status in the state,” said Thompson. “But we’re not going to put out any numbers until we're absolutely sure of what they are and that will come out in our annual report.”
Game and Fish is hoping to collar 20 to 25 more wolves this year; more than 50 wolves are already collared.