The Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced this week that gray wolves have once again reached their population goal according to a 2021 report.

It marks the 20th consecutive year in which wolf numbers in Wyoming have exceeded delisting criteria and the fulfillment of a 5-year post-delisting monitoring period required when the animals were taken off the endangered species list in 2017.

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According to game and fish, at least 161 wolves and 14 breeding pairs are in the wolf trophy game management area. Yellowstone's wolf population is at least 97 and at least 17 reside on the Wind River Reservation. An additional 39 wolves were documented in other areas throughout the state.

That brings Wyoming's wolf population to at least 314 wolves.

State wildlife officials credit hunting as a major factor in wolves' population success.

"Wyoming's wolf hunting seasons and strategy has been an effective wolf management tool," game and fish lead wolf biologist Ken Mills said. "With hunting, the state has met our population objective for four consecutive years."

Wolf hunting seasons in Wyoming require sportsmen to have a license and adhere to set mortality limits and other regulations.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing multiple petitions filed to have wolves reinstated under the Endangered Species Act. It's expected to release its findings later this summer.

Currently, wolf hunting is allowed in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

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