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GYC strongly supports legislation that is introduced in the U.S. Congress, calling for protections for East Rosebud Creek, a spectacular stream that rushes off the granite shoulders of the Beartooth Mountains through undulating ranchlands. East Rosebud is a stronghold for native cutthroat trout.

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Wolves: Wolf Stamp delays and Wyoming relisted

Latest News: Montana recently announced that the proposed Wolf Conservation Stamp would not be passed this year. Instead, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will convene a stakeholder group to consider a stamp in the future. GYC is committed to finding creative solutions to fund proactive non-lethal tools for livestock producers, wolf monitoring, education, habitat protection, and additional enforcement by game wardens in wolf habitat and will continue to work with the agency and our members to do so. Also in recent news, Wyoming wolves were relisted as a result of a lawsuit carried by Earthjustice. Over 5,350 of our members and supporters weighed in opposing the USFWS plan to delist Wyoming wolves in 2013. GYC will continue to work toward improving Wyoming’s wolf management. Read our statement here.

Overview: Wolves are critical to the overall ecological health of Greater Yellowstone; indeed, without them it is not an intact ecosystem. The wolf-tourism trade also provide an important economic boost to gateway communities.

Nearly 1,700 wolves roam the Northern Rockies, in 250 packs with more than 110 breeding pairs. Nearly 450 call Greater Yellowstone home and more than 80 wolves live within Yellowstone National Park.

GYC continues to monitor wolf numbers in Greater Yellowstone. Meanwhile, Yellowstone wolves are still playing their ecological role.

A report from Oregon State University plant researchers William J. Ripple and Bob Beschta reinforces the belief that the wolf has been the primary factor in the improved health of aspen, willow, and cottonwood trees in Yellowstone National Park's Northern Range. This in turn has benefitted such Yellowstone wildlife as beaver, bison, pronghorn, songbirds, raptors, and trout.

The return of the wolf has changed elk behavior and reduced some herds, but overall numbers remain strong in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. According to Yellowstone biologist Doug Smith, the Yellowstone herds remain healthy despite its smaller size. The number is more in line with historic levels since wolves were reintroduced and grizzly bears and mountain lions returned naturally. Overall elk populations in the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming remain healthy. However, elk populations are now more dynamic with the return of large carnivores and elk distribution has shifted to areas of refugia which make them more difficult to hunt.  Elk populations are affected by many variables including weather, disease, predation, and human mortality.

Project Goals: The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has consistently worked to find the middle ground on wolf management, to move beyond the ongoing conflicts. We will continue to promote science-based management and increased tolerance for this iconic animal in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Photo: Cindy Goeddel Photography.

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OVERVIEW
  • When wolf restoration in the Northern Rockies began in 1995, the hope was for a population of 300; today, there are almost 1,700 in the region.
  • The restoration of the gray wolf to Yellowstone has contributed to the recovery of such flora as aspen, willow, cottonwood and berry bushes in the Lamar Valley, as well as enhancing habitat for beaver, trout, grizzly bears and other wildlife.

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Chris Colligan, Wildlife Program Manager

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