From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 5, Number 39 - December 22, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Feds talk about wolf status

by Cat Urbigkit

Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will not appeal the U.S. District Court decision earlier this year striking down FWS's reclassification of gray wolf populations from endangered to threatened for much of the species' current range in the United States, although the agency continues to maintain the reclassification was both biologically and legally sound.

"We are exploring options for managing wolf populations that comply with the court's ruling, while recognizing, as the court did, that the Yellowstone and Great Lakes wolf populations have reached the recovery goals necessary for delisting," FWS reported. The Department of Interior plans to issue separate proposed rules to delist a distinct population segment of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes as early as possible in 2006, FWS reported. Both proposed rules will have public comment periods lasting 90 days.

In other wolf news, U.S. Department of Interior officials met with members of the Wyoming Legislature and Governor Dave Freudenthal in Cheyenne last week to discuss the possibility of delisting the gray wolf. According to a press release from U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, "In order for this to happen for wolves in Wyoming though, Wyoming will first have to have a wolf management plan in place that meets the approval of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

Although press reports indicate that federal officials continue to insist that Wyoming must change its wolf management plan to include trophy game status for wolves statewide, and state officials haven't expressed an interest in complying with the request, Enzi's take was a little different. His press release stated that the only way the wolf will finally be delisted in Wyoming is through cooperation between state and federal managers.

"The Department of the Interior has shown a willingness to move forward with delisting of the gray wolf," Enzi said. "Now the state should also show it's willing to move forward. The wolf population is strong enough that they should be managed by the state. If officials from the state and the department focus on the ultimate aim, the objective of Wyoming wolf management, and continue to work toward a solution, then I believe it will happen."

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