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Montana wolf population estimated at 900, gain of about 50

Montana wolf population

Wildlife officials say Montana had about 900 wolves in 2017, the 13th consecutive year the state exceeded its recovery goal.

The Billings Gazette reported Thursday that last year's population estimate was up from 851 in 2016.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' annual wolf report said 166 wolves were killed by hunters and 89 by trappers in the 2017-18 season. The department said sales of wolf licenses generated $380,000 for wolf conservation and management.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said wolves killed 80 head of livestock in the state in 2017, compared with 53 in 2016.

Wolves were once nearly extinct in Montana but recovered under federal protection. Congress lifted wolf protections in Montana and Idaho in 2011. A judge removed the protections in Wyoming in 2017.

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