Feds ready to delist wolves in Wyoming, shoot on sight

2011-10-04T13:33:00Z 2011-10-18T15:15:34Z Feds ready to delist wolves in Wyoming, shoot on sightThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 04, 2011 1:33 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday released a plan for removing wolves from endangered species status in Wyoming that would codify a compromise between protections in the Yellowstone region and allowing wolves to be shot on sight elsewhere in the state.

The draft plan posted online and set for publication in the Federal Register on Wednesday opens the way for Wyoming's wolves to be removed from the endangered list as soon as next summer, said Michael Thabault, assistant regional director for ecological services for the Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain Prairie Region.

The proposal follows a delisting framework that Fish and Wildlife and Wyoming officials agreed to last summer after months of negotiations.

"We've obviously put a little bit more meat on the bone from the principle of the agreement," Thabault said. "But substantively it's the same."

New details spell out plans for genetic testing of wolves and how the state would permit the killing of wolves that have killed livestock, he said.

***

Wolves have been controversial in Wyoming since their reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s. They have proliferated: About 300 wolves live in Wyoming and some 1,600 live across the region now.

Wyoming's proposal to classify wolves as trophy game subject to regulated hunting in northwest Wyoming - and as predators that could be killed on sight elsewhere - hung up delisting in the state.

Wolves in Montana and Idaho were delisted in April through a congressional rider drafted by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

A coalition of wolf advocates challenged the rider in court, claiming it was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers doctrine. Molloy upheld the rider as a legitimate congressional action, although he wrote he found the maneuver "a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law."

The wolf advocates appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case Nov. 8. The 9th Circuit also allowed several wolf-hunting supporters to participate, including the Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Gov. Matt Mead said the Wyoming proposal is an "important step" and shows that Fish and Wildlife is following through on its commitment to turn wolf management over to Wyoming.

"I look forward to working with the Wyoming Legislature to keep us moving towards having control of a species that has such a significant impact on the state," Mead said in a news release.

The Wyoming Legislature would need to approve the plan first. The full Legislature is scheduled to meet in February.

The plan also will go through a 100-day public comment period starting this week and ongoing scientific peer review. Delisting is unlikely before this summer but will occur no later than a year from now, Thabault said.

***

Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, said the plan's release showed the federal government is moving "expeditiously" on Wyoming wolves. An environmental group criticized the plan, saying the predator status outside Yellowstone would impede wolf migration to the south.

"From our perspective it's once again an example of the Fish and Wildlife Service stepping away from larger recovery of wolves in the West," said Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity. "This is going to make it incredibly difficult for wolves to get to extensive habitat in Colorado and make a comeback there as well."

The key point is that the plan offers enough protection to maintain a viable wolf population in Wyoming, said Chris Tollefson, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman in Washington, D.C.

"We've got the core habitat protected and this is really, in our minds, going to ensure that wolves remain off the endangered species list," Tollefson said. "And I think that is everybody's goal."

Wolves would be fully protected in Yellowstone National Park and other national park lands in northwest Wyoming. Elsewhere in that corner of the state, they would be classified as a trophy game animal open to regulated hunting part of the year by people with hunting licenses.

The federal delisting plan includes a "flex zone" in southern Teton County where wolves would be classified as predators part of the year and as trophy game during the rest of the year.

The Missoulian contributed to this story.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. GeneWil
    Report Abuse
    GeneWil - October 04, 2011 8:45 pm
    I can't believe it. Finally, some sanity rears its head about wolves. I almost threw up reading that wolf advocate saying "From our perspective it's once again an example of the Fish and Wildlife Service stepping away from larger recovery of wolves in the West," said Noah Greenwald with the Center for Biological Diversity. "This is going to make it incredibly difficult for wolves to get to extensive habitat in Colorado and make a comeback there as well."

    What sane person wants wolves to get "extensive habitat" anywhere in the west? The question is rhetorical. The fact is that wolves already have extensive habitat in the mountain states.

    They have devastated the environment these wolf pushers claim to be concerned about. I find it ridiculous to hear these people talking about the environment, as though deer and elk are not necessary in the environment.

    Wolves are killing machines. they are efficient and they kill constantly. That is what they do. They do not simply kill for food. They kill to train their pups. They relish ripping the fetus from does and cow elk and leaving the animal to expire in agony as they move on to their next kill.

    Even when there is a shoot on sight policy in place there will never be a successful effort to kill all wolves. They are crafty animals that will simply become nocturnal quickly after that policy begins. No matter how hard anyone tries, we will never kill all of the wolves in the environment.

    Hopefully enough of them will be killed to allow the ungulate herds to recover from their relentless predation. Hopefully the hunting industry will recover and families will be able again to have deer and elk in the freezer.

    One thing is certain. These so called environmentalist/conservationist wolf advocates will never stop scheming to get these animal back on the endangered species listing. They have their own goals and objectives. And the garbage they spout does not reveal what they are.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick