The wolf population in the Northern Rockies rose in 2011 despite the removal of federal protections and hunts being held in Montana and Idaho.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the region’s population was 1,774 wolves, an increase of more than 7 percent from 2010 numbers. The region includes Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah.
FWS Regional Director Steve Guertin said the population estimates show that Montana and Idaho have done a good job in their first year of managing the species since Congress removed federal protections in those states.
Montana had aimed to cut its population by 25 percent. But the hunt fell short of the quota and the state’s wolf population actually rose 15 percent in 2011.
In Idaho, wolf numbers are down for the second consecutive year. At the end of 2011, the state’s population was estimated at 746 wolves, down from a high of 856 at the end of 2009.
“Thanks to Idaho’s hunters and trappers, we’ve made good progress in getting the wolf population under control and into better balance with prey species, such as elk, but we’ve still got a ways to go,” said Jim Unsworth, Idaho Fish and Game deputy director.
Another bank robbed by gunman
A gunman robbed a bank in north Spokane Wednesday – the second robbery in three days.
Police believe the robber may be the same man who robbed U.S. Bank at West Garland Avenue and North Lincoln Street Monday about 12:30 p.m.
Police responded to Wednesday’s robbery at Sterling Savings bank, 103 E. Queen Ave., about 9:50 a.m.
Officers used a dog to try to track the robber, who is described as a black man, 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds, wearing a black mask, blue hooded sweatshirt and black jeans.
He ran north on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. The FBI is investigating.
Meeting tonight on Francis project
A public open house to talk about plans for rebuilding Francis Avenue from Division to Market streets is planned for tonight at 5:30 at Arlington Elementary School, 6363 N. Smith St.
The $4.3 million project is part of a voter-approved, multiyear project to rebuild city streets. The work is now in its seventh year.
The open house will detail the construction schedule and give property owners a chance for input on issues of access during the project.
Construction is expected to start in late June to early July, with completion in October.