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Current News & Issues: Wolves

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Gray Wolf Delisting Decision Headed to Court

The final plan to delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act will be announced in late February 2008 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Once delisted, the state of Idaho is ready to launch a wolf hunting season and cut wolf numbers from around 800 wolves to 150 animals or less. However, Idaho is jumping the gun, so to speak. The USFWS decision will be appealed by dozens of conservation groups on the basis that the plan is illegal and will jeopardize gray wolf survival in the Northern Rockies.

Wyoming would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most of the State, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected Wyoming's management plan. [UPDATE: Once former Idaho governor and Senator Dirk Kempthorne took over the directorship of USFWS, the Wyoming plan was quickly approved.]

Read more at:

Thanks to all who wrote letters and who spoke up for wolves at the delisting hearings in March 2007.

Here's a copy of our ALERT regarding Delisting. Again, thanks to all who responded:

March 2007 - ALERT


Or write: USFWS, Wolf Delisting, 585 Shepard Way, Helena MT 59601

At the March 6th Boise hearing on delisting wolves from the Endangered Species Act, Idahoans overwhelmingly spoke out in support of wolves. Please write USFWS and resist delisting at this time. Wolves need your help!

"I'm prepared to bid for that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself."
Idaho Governor Butch Otter
(speaking to an anti-wolf rally at the Idaho Statehouse in early 2007.)

The Endangered Species Act requires that the gray wolf be fully recovered before it can be delisted, and that States like Wyoming and Idaho have responsible management plans.

Today wolves are not ready to lose federal protection because:

1) The Wyoming and Idaho plans will not protect wolves. Rather most wolves will be killed.

2) Wyoming would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most of the State, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected Wyoming's management plan.

3) Idaho Governor "Butch" Otter has said the state will seek to kill 75% of the wolf population. Idaho's official position (based on House Joint Memorial 5 which prefaces the Idaho wolf Management plan) calls for removing all wolves from Idaho "by any means necessary".

4) It's unclear that current wolf populations are adequate to ensure recovery in the region. Human population growth, habitat development and disease are problems to wolf recovery.

5) The Fish and Wildlife Service could and should do more to help resolve conflicts with livestock owners, using non-lethal methods where possible. In turn, the livestock industry could be better regulated to decrease these conflicts.

Before wolves can be delisted:

1) Every state with wolf populations must have a credible plan in place to maintain healthy, sustainable wolf populations. The Idaho plan is a CONTROL plan to kill wolves.

2) The Fish and Wildlife Service must thoroughly examine how trends in habitat loss could increase human-caused mortality of wolves, and take steps to avoid future harm to wolves.

3) The Fish and Wildlife Service must establish a science-based ecosystem approach to wolf recovery.

4) There must be demonstrated wolf movement between the populations of Yellowstone, central Idaho and Glacier.

5) There must be adequate funding in place to ensure that healthy wolf populations can be maintained; currently there are no guarantees of adequate funding.

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