Wolf delisting opens management options

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Facing pressure from ranchers, sportsmen and Western politicians, the Obama administration Wednesday published its final rule to remove federal endangered-species protections for the gray wolf. The change will allow states to set their own policies for managing wolf numbers.

According to an Associated Press article, there currently are about 5,500 gray wolves in the lower-48 states, concentrated in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions.

Also according to the AP, Western lawmakers attached a rider to the federal budget bill calling for delisting of the wolf in those states and blocking legal challenges. As a result, protections for about 1,300 wolves in the Northern Rockies will be lifted Thursday when the government posts notice of the change in the Federal Register. About 4,200 wolves in the Great Lakes region would lose protections following a public comment period.

Naturally, the decision will draw praise from livestock producers and sportsmen, and opposition from environmental groups. Environmental and wildlife groups see recovery of wolf populations, which had become virtually extinct in the lower-48 states, as a great success story. Federal officials reintroduced the species to in the Yellowstone area of Montana and Wyoming in the early 1990s, and the wolves quickly established and began expanding their range. In the upper Midwest, wolves migrating south from Canada augmented small remnant populations, and numbers have been growing significantly.

Outdoor Life magazine recently ran a “State of the Wolf” article and slide show on its Web site, breaking down state-by-state wolf numbers and trends.

In the Northern Rockies region, Idaho has about 700 wolves, Montana 560, and Wyoming 350. Surrounding states including Colorado, Utah, Washington and Oregon have seen some wolves moving in from the core area.

Montana and Idaho already have planned limited wolf hunts for this fall to reduce numbers significantly, bringing populations closer to their targeted management goals. One exception is Wyoming where, for now, federal protections remain. That's because the state’s management plan – which allows wolves to be killed on sight – does not satisfy federal regulators.

Minnesota has the largest population of wolves in the lower 48 states, with about 3,000.

Wolves in the Upper Midwest region have not garnered as much attention from the livestock industry as those in the West, because most have been concentrated in northern, forested areas, where livestock numbers are low. That has been changing in recent years, though, as the wolves move south into more agricultural areas. Wisconsin has an estimated 825 wolves, well above the state’s management goal of 350. Michigan has about 500 wolves, almost exclusively in the Northern Peninsula, where livestock numbers are relatively low. A few, however, have turned up in the rest of the state. Occasional wolves turn up in Illinois, probably migrants from Wisconsin, and last fall a hunter in Missouri killed a wolf he mistook for a coyote.

To submit comments on the rule, visit the federal government’s regulations Web site, and follow instructions for Docket Number FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029

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Brenda M. Negri    
Winnemucca, Nevada, USA  |  May, 05, 2011 at 12:46 PM

This is a huge step in the right direction. Hunts must be allowed to curtail numbers. Meanwhile, ranchers need to do all they can do to protect their stock and one of those things is running the right kind of livestock guardian dogs in the right numbers. I have begun a huge program of importing over several rare breeds of LGD's into this country from Europe and Turkey to make available to ranchers the right kinds of dogs to do the job. Wolves can attack and kill most dogs but if run in the right numbers dogs can stand a chance. And certain LGD's will due to sheer size and fighting capacity, be a match for some wolves on their own in a one on one situation. Good LGD's can save your stock and decrease losses. www.lgdnevada.com

Colorado  |  May, 10, 2011 at 09:41 AM

I can't see how a dog of any size is going to be able to protect livestock let alone itself from a pack of wolves, when these non-native Canadian wolves are slaughtering wildlife as large as moose. These same wolves are even killing Mt.Lions

Golden,Colorado  |  May, 10, 2011 at 03:41 PM

No non-native Canadian wolves in Colorado. We still have our native wildlife. Moose are all but gone in parts of Idaho and Montana. we do not want to see this happen here to our Moose Please don't allow these non-native wolves into our state to destroy our native wildlife here too. Ive been into Montana the past 3 years it's sickening whats happening up there. These pro-wolf people are all about the money they are making off of this big lie.

Golden,Colorado  |  May, 10, 2011 at 03:27 PM

We where warned not to introduce the non-native Canadian wolf into the United States by Canadian bioliogist. The way these wolves are destroying our native wildlife is exactly what they said would happen here. This is a totally different wolf than our native wolf. I hope Colorado stops this from happing here. I've been to Montana the past 3 years it is sicking whats happening up there. Even some of the anti hunters hate the wolves for what they are doing to the native wildlife.

May, 10, 2011 at 05:29 PM

These pro-wolf people who are destroying our native wildlife by condeming them to death with there non-native YES non-native Canadian wolves just plain suck! With all the fat kids in this country these days maybe more fathers should use this natural wildlife resource(Elk, Deer etc.) and teach there kids how to hunt. This is what God put the animals here on earth for was to hunt for food. But nowdays people are to lazy to do anything for themselfs. I'm 57 years old 5'11" and have hunted all my life and weigh the same now as my senior year in high school 165lbs. The government should love people like me not destroy us, we won't cost Obama or this country as much in health care or anything for that matter. We take can take care of ourselfs. It's kind of a self pride thing

May, 11, 2011 at 04:01 PM

For an animal to be protected under the Endangered Speices Act it has to be indengist to the territory. This Canadian wolf is not endangered in its home range. This Canadian wolf is not indengist to the United States so for these wolves to be protected under the Endangered Speices Act is abuse of this Act. We where told a total of 300 to 450 wolves where all that the ungulate herds could handle in Idaho, Montana,and Wyomning and still maintain the herd numbers. Did you know that at one time there where around 5000 tags for elk migrating out of Yellowstone. There where O tags this last season. You see I've done my homework. I'm not an armchair outdoorsman either. Unlike these armchair bioloigist that brought these Non-native evaisive wolves here that are destroying our native wildlife. Canadian bioloigist told these wolf idiots and our government not to do this. What's happening here to our native wildlife is exactly what the Canadian's said would happen. I've been in Montana the past 3 years and have seen what's happening, it's very sad. You see most people are not doing that, but maybe I'm not as guliable as most people. I do beleive most people don't have a clue when it comes to wildlife or the outdoors anyway. I have alot of my own experinces outdoors and have seen things not many other people ever have or will.

Colorado  |  May, 25, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Tom Bergerud top wolf expert from British Columbia told the Idaho Department of Fish and Game the following: “I predict that you´re going to have major impacts from wolves in this state,” (Idaho) he said. I predict a major elk decline. He said that he saw wolves “repeatedly depress moose, caribou and elk populations while studying them throughout Canada and in some cases they wiped out local populations of caribou.” “I’ve watched herd after herd (of caribou) go EXTINCT across Canada,” he said. The problem: wolves have no known predators to keep them in balance with the ecosystem..”

Colorado  |  May, 25, 2011 at 03:06 PM

When wolves were reintroduced into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming the agreement with the states, sportsmen, the Federal Government and the tree huggers was simple. 300 wolves. The prowolf people asked for 450 wolves with at least 150 and 15 breeding pairs in each state. This 50%margin, they reasoned was needed so the number wouldn’t fall below 300. It would take YEARS they argued, probably DECADES with a slow 5% population growth rate. The 450 would represent wolf repopulation recovery and then management would be returned to the states. DO YOU TRUST THEM NOW?

Colorado  |  May, 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

GOOGLE THIS!...............................Wolves kill 120 sheep near Dillon, Mont.............................

May, 26, 2011 at 04:41 PM

It's amazing how the pro-wolf sites won't post comments from--- as they call us--- the anti-wolf people. I know I have tried on numerous occasions without any succuss. The pro-wolf people don't want the whole world to see all of the facts. That do prove how wrong this whole Non-Native Canadian Wolf thing really is. We---the anti-wolf people--- have the truth and the facts to prove our side! All you pro-wolf people are feeding off emotions from people that don't have a clue as to what's really happinig here in our country to our native wildlife! It's amazing the anti-wolf sites do not seem have this same problem. Maybe it's because you pro-wolf people are no kind of a threat to them with all of the BS you have to say! Any intelligent person can read between the lines and figure this one out for themselves! I do understand that the pro-wolf crowd has been loosing some of their support from the people.

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