In 1995 wolves were reintroduced into two Rocky Mountain regions, Yellowstone National Park, and further west, the "central Idaho wilderness" - which happens to be just over the ridge from Alta Meadow Ranch.  Wolves are great travelers.  They were spotted in the West Fork area very quickly and have returned yearly since reintroduction.  In the past, coyotes often hunted in this area, but they clear out fast when cousin wolf comes calling.  Since 1995 the coyotes have reappeared on occasion, but not as often, nor in the same numbers - likely because of the danger posed by wolves.

Judged by population data, the wolf reintroduction program has been a resounding success.  In 2003, over six hundred wolves are roaming the backcountry of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.   In search of new territory the Yellowstone wolves and the Idaho contingent are dispersing - as expected - and some are dispersing in ways totally unexpected.  There is a report of a lone female wolf striking out from the Salmon, Idaho area, traversing the entire state to find "her spot" in eastern Oregon.  

Controversy still surrounds reintroduction programs, and a concerted effort is being made to find ways to allow this splendid predator to live in the wild - despite wolves' inevitable attraction to livestock.  Some of the strategies are as old as civilization (guard dogs) and some are high-tech (collars that shock or inject nauseating drugs when the wolf approaches livestock).  Hopefully, with time, diligence and clear thinking, a consensus will evolve (based on expertise developed on the front lines) that will satisfy all concerned.  


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