Wyoming wolf delisting comment period
by US Fish and Wildlife Service
May 1, 2012
Following the recent approval of four documents that clarify Wyoming’s approach to wolf management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on May 1 regarding our proposal to remove the gray wolf population in Wyoming from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
If this proposal is finalized, the gray wolf would be delisted in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the nonessential experimental population designation would be removed, and future management for this species would be conducted by the appropriate State, Tribal, or Federal wildlife managers.
"Wyoming’s recent approval of a revised State law, regulations, and management plan amendment are important milestones in our cooperative effort to return management of this iconic species to the States," said Steve Guertin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Regional Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region. "These documents demonstrate a strong commitment to maintain the Wyoming wolf population well above minimal recovery levels after delisting. Responsible State management will ensure that this remarkable conservation success endures for future generations."
On October 5, 2011, the Service proposed to remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This proposal relied heavily on Wyoming’s 2011 wolf management plan and noted that conforming changes to State law and regulation would be required to allow Wyoming’s plan to be implemented as written. Wyoming recently completed four documents that clarify Wyoming’s approach to wolf management after delisting including revised State statutes, revised gray wolf management regulations (chapter 21), revised gray wolf hunting season regulations (chapter 47), and an Addendum to the Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan.
The Service has reviewed these State management documents and concludes that the revisions are consistent with the conditionally approved Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan. Based on our review, we believe Wyoming’s regulatory framework is likely to maintain a population of at least 10 breeding pairs and at least 100 wolves in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Overall, we expect the Greater Yellowstone Area population will be gradually reduced from around 500 wolves in recent years toward a likely long-term average of around 300 wolves across portions of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.
The Service is reopening the comment period for the proposal to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule in light of these documents. If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparation of the final rule.