The following article is from the Cowboy State Free Press:
CHEYENNE (Aug. 3) – Wyoming and federal wildlife managers have agreed to a plan allowing the state to control its gray-wolf population.
The governor and U.S. Department of Interior officials announced today that they have agreed on the final elements of a proposed plan.
“Wolves are recovered in Wyoming; let’s get them off the Endangered Species List,” Mead said in a statement. The plan will “ensure a stable and sustainable population of wolves in Wyoming.”
“The recovery of the gray wolf serves as a great example of how the Endangered Species Act can work to keep imperiled animals from sliding into extinction,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “I look forward to working with Wyoming to implement this responsible management approach guided by science.”
There is still a long way to go in the process before the state can take control of the recovered species, however. Gray wolves will have the protections of the Endangered Species Act for many months to come.
The plan will be on a lengthy federal rulemaking path toward becoming a U.S. Fish and Wildlife regulation.
A proposed rule to take wolves off of the Endangered Species List will be subject to public and peer review as part of the formal rulemaking process.
The governor is also hoping to prevent conservationist and environmental groups from taking the plan to court.
Mead wants the U.S. Congress to eliminate judicial review of the plan. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., has inserted a rider in the pending Interior Department appropriations bill that would do that.
A similar rider was passed by Congress for the plans put forth by Montana and Idaho.
“For too long wolf management has been run by the courts,” Mead said. “We need Wyoming people to have a say in what happens in our state and a congressionally approved plan is the best way to ensure that we advance this effort.”
The Wyoming Legislature must also create a wolf-management plan that conforms with the plan before wolves can be removed from the endangered list.
Wyoming has tussled with federal officials and conservationists for many years over its plan to treat wolves as trophy game animals in the area of Yellowstone National Park but as predators elsewhere in the state. Predators can be killed on sight. Trophy game are killed only through state regulated hunting.
“For years ranchers and sheep producers have been asked to sacrifice and they have. We have lost significant numbers of elk and moose, and we have not had a say in the management of an animal inside Wyoming,” Mead said.
Under the proposal, Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park.
Estimates are that there are about 340 wolves outside of Yellowstone now.
The plan calls for an area in Western Wyoming where wolves would be considered protected trophy game during key migration periods and treated as a predator at other times of the year.
The flexible trophy-game management area would include an area near the Wyoming-Idaho border south of Jackson and north of Afton.
The area would be managed as a trophy game management area from Oct. 15 to the end of February. In all other months wolves would be managed as predators.
That is to allow migration of wolves for healthy breeding.
A fact sheet is available here: Wyoming USFWS Agreement Fact Sheet
The Cowboy State Free Press is a Wyoming nonprofit news service that has been founded to bring a full and clear view of state government, elections, taxes and spending to citizens in a way that is understandable and accessible.
Source: Cowboy State Free Press
Posted by Haylie Shipp