On November 16 a new wolf management plan was adopted for Wyoming. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepts this plan that it will lead to the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species Act in the Northern Rocky Mountains in 2008.“It’s a priority of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and that state of Wyoming to get wolves delisted,” said Bill Williams, President of the commission. “Wolves are well beyond the foals set for a recovered population, and it’s time to let the state assume management.”
“Both the Wyoming legislature and the U.S. Fish and W ildlife Service have established some very restrictive sideboards concerning what they will accept in a wolf management plan for Wyoming,” said Williams. “This new plan works within those sideboards with very little room for any change.
If the wolf is delisted, the Game and Fish will assume management of wolves in the portions of the state where wolves will be classified as trophy animals. In the rest of the state the gray wolf will be listed as a predatory animal.
The goal is to keep 15 breeding pairs of wolves to ensure Wyoming’s share of a fully recovered population. According to the drafted plan Wyoming’s Game and Fish will be committed to maintaining at least seven breeding pairs of wolves located in the state primarily outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s original criteria for a recovered population of wolves in the Norther Rocky Mountains is 30 breeding pairs and 300 individual wolves distributed among Wyoming, Idaho, & Montana. By the end of 2006 there were 173 wolf packs in these states, including 86 breeding pairs and 1,300 individual wolves.