After 35 years, wolves finally delisted
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
March 28, 2008
After 35 years of federal protection for wolves in Wyoming, today, Friday, March 28, wolves are now finally back under state jurisdiction. Effective today, wolves have dual classification in the state, both as trophy game animals in northwestern Wyoming, and predators in the rest of the state. Portions of Sublette County include both classifications.
Wolves were reintroduced to portions of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana in the mid 1990s. The original recovery goals for wolves in the region were around 300. There are now more than 1,500.
"The recovery of wolves is a conservation success story," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Terry Cleveland. "But it's also been and remains one of the most controversial wildlife stories we have ever dealt with. Delisting of wolves and transitioning to state management is a major step in this recovery story. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Department are fully prepared to manage for a recovered population of wolves while also addressing conflicts with people, management of other wildlife species, and livestock."
The 2008 Wyoming Legislature appropriated $2.4 million to the Game and Fish Department over the next two years for wolf management. The department is currently in the process of hiring four full-time wolf management personnel to conduct wolf monitoring, research, conflict resolution, and public education.
A number of groups have filed a 60-day notice of intent to file a lawsuit challenging the delisting of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and it is possible that state management authority for wolves could be changed as a result of a lawsuit. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will release any information regarding changes in the status of wolves as appropriate. The department is urging the public to stay informed about potential changes through the department's Webs ite and Wolf Information Line.
More detailed information about how the department will manage wolves is available on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Web site. The website features a list of Frequently Asked Questions about wolf management in Wyoming, including information about what to do if you are experiencing conflicts with wolves, wolf hunting, the department's wolf management plan, and more. The public can also find out more about wolves in Wyoming by calling the department's Wolf Information Line at (307) 777-4655 during normal business hours.