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Elk Foundation Issues Letter on Wolf Groups

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling out groups for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk.

3/1/2010


In letters to legislators and newspapers across the West, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling out groups like Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk.


The RMEF action was prompted by each group's recent op-ed articles in the media, as well as testimony before Utah lawmakers by Western Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director Kirk Robinson. All cited RMEF statistics to argue that restored wolf populations have somehow translated to growing elk herds in the northern Rockies.


RMEF population data, which comes from state wildlife agencies, shows that elk populations are expanding the most in areas of the northern Rockies where wolves are not present. However, where elk share habitat with wolves, such as the greater Yellowstone area, some elk populations are declining fast. In fact, since the mid-1990s introduction of gray wolves, the northern Yellowstone elk herd has dropped from about 17,000 to 7,100 animalsa 58 percent decline. Other localities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming also are documenting precipitous downward trends.


Additionally, some research shows that elk remaining in areas of concentrated wolf populations are suffering nutrition loss, lower body weights and decreasing birth rates.


RMEF continues to support state-regulated wolf management to include hunting and other viable methods. This position is supported by new reports of diseased wolf populations in the Yellowstone area.


See RMEF president and CEO David Allen's letters to editors, Utah Senator Dennis Stowell and more at www.rmef.org.


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