Calling it a “victory for responsible wildlife management,” the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership roundly praised a decision by the federal government to remove the Wyoming gray wolf from the endangered species list.
As announced by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on Friday, wolf populations in Wyoming will be overseen by the state through an approved management plan, as they are in Idaho and Montana, starting Sept. 30. The USFWS will continue to monitor wolf numbers in all three states for at least five years to ensure that recovery objectives are met. The department retains authority to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections if necessary.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist a sustainable population of wolves in Wyoming and turn their management over to the state of Wyoming is a significant achievement for science-based wildlife conservation,” said Dr. Steve Williams, president of the Wildlife Management Institute, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and TRCP board member. “There is no question that wolf numbers exceed recovery goals and mechanisms are in place to manage their numbers, just as states manage other predators like bobcats, bears and mountain lions. Wildlife enthusiasts should thank the federal and state biologists, political leaders, and private and public landowners who made this conservation success story possible.”
“Sportsmen in Wyoming and across the country have good reason to commend this decision by the federal government, which stands as a victory for responsible wildlife management and perpetuates our nation’s rich outdoors legacy,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “Science clearly shows that the wolf is recovered and, therefore, that returning management to the states is the right thing to do. We offer our thanks to Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe for exercising sound judgment and promoting sportsmen-driven values.”
Following yesterday’s decision, wolves in northwest Wyoming, location of the majority of the state’s wolf population and habitat, will be managed as “trophy game” animals. This management status allows the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Wyoming Game and Fish Department to regulate timing, methods and numbers of wolves taken through methods such as hunting.
Image courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership