Volume 8, Number 5 - April 24, 2008
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What’s new in wolf news
Wyoming Game and Fish has hired someone to fill its new state “wolf program coordinator” but isn’t making the appointment public.
“We’re not ready to make an announcement yet,” G&F spokesman Eric Keszler said. “We hope to be able to announce the new Wolf Program Coordinator (later) this week.”
There were no new wolf kills reported in the most recent G&F weekly wolf report, the first zero-kill stretch since the state took over gray wolf management after its March 28 delisting from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (FWS) Endangered Species List. Total taken in the predator area stands at 13 wolves.
April 28 nears
Between this week and next – on April 28 – Earthjustice attorneys are expected to file suit against FWS for removing Rocky Mountain gray wolves as an “’endangered species.”
Wyoming G&F could stand to lose its recently gained control over the predators if a court injunction is put into place, moving the wolves back to FWS management under the new final “10(j) rule” that allows the state broader control to manage wolves than it had under the previous rule.
“Our opinion is that wolves should remain delisted, that Wyoming’s plan is adequate for maintaining a recovered population of wolves in northwest Wyoming, and that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has the expertise and experience to manage wolves, as we manage other wildlife,” Keszler said.
An injunction might also negate the state’s new predator and trophy-game area designations and close unregulated wolf hunting in the predator area.
“If circumstances change, we will notify the public immediately with details about how any decision will affect wolf hunting, reporting livestock conflicts, etc,” Keszler said.
There are depredation funds available for livestock-loss compensation in Wyoming’s trophy-game wolf management area but thus far, there is no government compensation available to ranchers and producers with losses in the “predator” area.
U.S. Sen. JohnBarrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen. JonTester (D Mont.) just introduced the “Gray Wolf Livestock Loss Mitigation Act” April17 seeking to authorize federal money for state trust funds to reimburse livestock owners whose animals are killed by wolves.
“It’s up to the state to determine where the money would go,” explained Ryan Taylor of Sen. Barrasso’s office.
“Currently, Wyoming has allocated $1.5 millionin state funds to compensate ranchers and farmers in predator areas,” Taylor said. “The Barrasso-Tester bill would create a matching grant to the amount Wyoming already provides. The state would be responsible for the management and allocation of the funds.
“The $1.5 million that the state already allocates includes predator prevention money for ranchers and farmers as well. The Barrasso-Tester bill creates a matching grant program for that too.”
Defenders of Wildlife is once again offering compensation to Wyoming stockgrowers as long as they first undertake measures to help prevent wolf conflicts with stock. To be eligible, they must first use non lethal methods including removing dead or dying stock from grazing areas, doing more range riding and corralling livestock at night when practical.
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