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09/06/2012

NWTF Supports Decision to Allow Wyoming to Manage Its Wolf Population

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the Wyoming population of gray wolves will be managed by the state under an approved management plan, as they are in the states of Idaho and Montana.

The NWTF has always supported the sound, science-based management of wolves by the appropriate state agencies. The NWTF also supports our state wildlife partners in their efforts to provide for a sustainable, huntable population of wolves while maintaining healthy, huntable populations of ungulates.

“We’re excited to see the management of gray wolves has been turned over to the state of Wyoming,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF chief conservation officer. “Wolf management must work in conjunction with balancing the habitat needs and conservation of all wildlife.”

The NWTF has long supported the North American Conservation Model, including the management of fish and wildlife resources under the authority and responsibility of the various state agencies. This support holds true for wolf management, as the NWTF believes state agencies are best suited to manage wildlife inside their borders that are not on the endangered species list.

“The return of the wolf to the Northern Rocky Mountains is a major success story, and reflects the remarkable work of States, Tribes, and our many partners to bring this iconic species back from the brink of extinction,” said Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, in a news release. “The wolf population has remained healthy under state management in Idaho and Montana, and we’re confident that the Wyoming population will sustain its recovery under the management plan Wyoming will implement.”

The most recent official minimum population estimate shows that the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population contains more than 1,774 adult wolves and more than 109 breeding pairs. Most of the suitable habitat across the Northern Rocky Mountain region is now occupied and likely at, or above, long-term carrying capacity. This population has exceeded recovery goals for 10 consecutive years.

“Science has been the backbone of every conservation project the NWTF has have ever conducted,” said Kennamer. “Managing wolf populations is no different.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service will continue to monitor the delisted wolf populations in all three states for a minimum of five years to ensure that they continue to sustain their recovery, and retains authority to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections at any time if circumstances warrant.

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