Wyoming Wolf Plan Likely to Be Decided by Courts

The gray wolf is currently on the endangered species list, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to submit plans for managing the gray wolf in their states. The USFWS approved Idaho’s and Montana’s, but won’t allow those states to implement their programs until Wyoming submits a suitable plan. Wyoming is sticking to its guns and apparently the courts will end up deciding the matter.

The USFWS rejected Wyoming’s plan even though 10 of 11 wildlife biologists appointed by the federal government approved of the plan. In rejecting Wyoming’s plan, the USFWS said that it objected to the way Wyoming classified gray wolves both as trophy animals and as predators, although the federal government apparently approved of this designation when it was originally passed by Wyoming’s legislature; that Wyoming’s plan to maintain 15 wolf packs was too low, despite the fact that the USFWS expressed its approval in early; and that the minimum size for each wolf pack was not set at six.

In late February, Wyoming’s state House passed HB 111 which reaffirms the dual classification of wolves and sets Wyoming on a legal collision course with the USFWS.

Sources:

Wyoming wolf plan points to court. Tom Morton, Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), February 21, 2004.

State may sue feds over wolves. Bill Luckett, Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), February 3, 2004.

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