USFWS announces gray wolf delisted Friday
PINEDALE - After years of legal wrangling and negotiations between the state of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Gov. Matt Mead and USFWS Director Dan Ashe came to an agreement on a statewide wolf management plan in 2011. Today, Ashe announced the final step in that agreement, submitting the proposed delisting plan to the federal register.
In a conference call with reporters this morning, Ashe said he was proud to be a part of this process, noting he watched the start of the USFWS’s work to recover the gray wolf in the 90s with the species’ reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park.
Since then, the species, once near extinction in the Northern Rocky Mountain region, has made a remarkable comeback, surpassing recovery goals for the past 10 Ashe told reporters the trophy game area contains around 86 percent of the state’s wolf population and 88 percent of the state’s breeding pairs. Outside of that area, much of which USFWS biologists have determined to be unsuitable wolf habitat, the animals will have predator status, meaning they can be shot on sight.
The final plan submitted by the USFWS states there need to be at least 15 breeding pairs and 150 wolves in Wyoming to avoid triggering a status review. Due to the large amount of federally administered land in the trophy game area, the state is not responsible for management in the national parks, the Rockefeller Parkway or the Wind River Indian Reservation. Thus, the state will be responsible for 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves, taking into account the wolf population in those non-state areas.