Friday, January 6, 2012

Many Concerned About Wyoming's Proposed Wolf Plan

As we began 2011, wolves of the Northern Rockies were listed as endangered. Just a few months later everything changed for this special population of predators.

Last Spring Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves of the Northern Rockies. Wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah were removed from the endangered species list and put under state control. Congress excluded Wyoming from this rule so wolves of this state are still federally protected, but likely not for long.

Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) criticized Wyoming's wolf plan on the grounds that unregulated shooting in most of the state would reduce the state’s wolf population below federally required levels, this summer Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reached an agreement to strip ESA protections from Wyoming’s roughly 340 wolves.

Wyoming lawmakers have voted unanimously to recommend approval of Wyoming's plan even though a scientific review of the wolf plan has some experts concerned.

Wyoming's proposed wolf management plan calls for the state to:
  • Deem wolves predators in 90% of the state (all but the northwest corner of Wyoming), where they could be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.
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    • In Wyoming's northwest corner, right outside Yellowstone National Park, classify wolves as trophy game animals meaning they could only be hunted with a license. 
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      • Maintain only 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park

      Many of our supporters have reached out to us asking how they can take action on behalf of Wyoming's wolves.  If your hackles are up too because of Wyoming's wolf management plan, now is your chance to comment.  USFWS is soliciting public comment but they must be submitted by mail or online by January 13, 2012.  In order for a comment to have the greatest impact, one should respectfully express their concerns in their own words.

      Here is a link to USFWS' comment site.  If you need help, here is a page on the National WolfWatcher Coalition website that is dedicated to this cause.

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