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 user 2009-05-06 at 12:15:52 pm Views: 439
  • #22190
    Wolves no longer protected in northern Rockies
    Mont. – Wolves in parts of the northern Rockies and the Great Lakes
    region come off the endangered species list on Monday, opening them to
    public hunts in some states for the first time in decades.Federal
    officials say the population of gray wolves in those areas has
    recovered and is large enough to survive on its own. The animals were
    listed as endangered in 1974, after they had been wiped out across the
    lower 48 states by hunting and government-sponsored poisoning.”We’ve
    exceeded our recovery goals for nine consecutive years, and we fully
    expect those trends will continue,” said Seth Willey, regional recovery
    coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver.

    the delisting, state wildlife agencies will have full control over the
    animals. States such as Idaho and Montana plan to resume hunting the
    animals this fall, but no hunting has been proposed in the Great Lakes
    region.Ranchers and livestock groups, particularly in the Rockies, have
    pushed to strip the endangered status in hopes that hunting will keep
    the population in check.About 300 wolves in Wyoming will remain on the
    list because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected the state’s
    plan for a “predator zone” where wolves could be shot on sight. Wyoming
    Gov. Dave Freudenthal and a coalition of livestock and hunting groups
    have announced a lawsuit against the federal government over the

    Freudenthal, a Democrat, claimed “political
    expediency” was behind the rejection of his state’s wolf plan.Wolves
    were taken off the endangered list in the northern Rockies — including
    Wyoming — for about five months last year. After environmentalists
    sued, a federal judge in Montana restored the protections and cited
    Wyoming’s predator zone as a main reason. In the Great Lakes, the
    animal was off the list beginning in 2007 until a judge in Washington
    last September ordered them protected again.

    Environmental and
    animal rights groups have also said they planned to sue over the
    delisting, claiming that there are still not enough wolves to guarantee
    their survival. The groups point to Idaho’s plan to kill up to 100
    wolves believed to have killed elk.”We understand that hunting is part
    of wildlife policy in the West,” said Anne Carlson with the Western
    Wolf Coalition. “(But) wolves should be managed like native wildlife
    and not as pests to be exterminated.”

    The delisting review began
    under the administration of President George W. Bush and the proposal
    was upheld by President Barack Obama’s administration after an internal
    review. In a recent letter to several members of Congress, Interior
    Secretary Ken Salazar wrote that he was “confident that science
    justifies the delisting of the gray wolf.”Willey said his agency
    projected there would be between 973 and 1302 wolves in the northern
    Rockies under state management, a number well above the 300 wolves set
    as the original benchmark for the animal’s recovery.More than 1,300
    wolves roam the mountains of Montana and Idaho and an estimated 4,000
    live in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.