Wolf ESA Protection in Doubt

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On Monday the governors of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho had a closed door meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. All three governors have been pressing the Fish and Wildlife Service to turn over management of wolves to the states.

The Denver Post has a write up about the meeting and the general state of wolves in the western U.S.

Federal and state authorities seem to have reached agreement on the need to remove endangered-species protection from wolves so the population can be controlled through hunting, but they still must agree on a healthy target number for wolves. The original goal of the federal wolf-recovery program was to get the population to 300. The latest federal data indicate that at least 2,000 gray wolves roam Western forests, mostly in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Wolves gave birth to about 600 pups this year, continuing their rapid growth over the past 15 years.

There are also a few congressional bills pending in congress that would delist the gray wolf, however it seems that the odds of passage are long for this legislative session.

Comments

Wolves: Good or Bad

 

Wolves, in my uneducated opinion seems to be the front line issue in the war of hunters vs non-hunters. It is a hot button issue at the very least. Though I lived in Colorado for 5 years, I am not a rancher or wolf expert by no means. All I know is the various reports form both sides of the argument. If 600 pup births a year is going to be average for the future then the wolf population will surely change the entire ecosystem of the mountain states. To state the obvious a definite management program would be in order. The only real issue is I see that bothers me is why does the Federal Government assume they are so much more capable of handling this than the State Governments? I know that is not a question any of us can answer truthfully. I am willing to go out on a limb and say that the people pushing the issue to have the wolves stay protected probably do not own a ranch or farm in those particular areas.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Wow, 600 births in the last

Wow, 600 births in the last year???  Even if only 50% survive, that's 300 new ones every year.  With that kind of birthrate, the population will expolde, and deer and elk populations will suffer.  Glad to see that it's getting very close to having an agreement, but I am afraid that it will probably be tied up for years and years in the courts.  Not what I hope for, but I totally see that happening.

hawkeye270's picture

Wolves are going to get

Wolves are going to get delisted. I truley believe that it is going to get done. But the time frame is the thing that is a little bit scary right now. Its possible for it to come quickly but I highly doubt it will. With the political clashing going on right now its going to be hard to get much anything done but I will keep the faith. This is a great sign however. Having the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar on the side of the states, stating that wolves are drastically above the population level that was put in writing as their recovery level is a good thing. A VERY good thing. That is what pissed me off for the longest time. The recovery level for delisting was 300 woves... WE NOW HAVE 2000. That is a great success, or over success depending on how you look at it. Now how can the pro wolf group say that they haven't recovered. Now I will probably agree that the 300 level might not be where the population should be managed for... but it also isn't 2000.

The latest article that I read stated that the hurdle now is deciding on a logical population level to manage for between 2000 and 300. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I like the idea of a Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem wolf population of 400-700. There are going to be flucuations in that number over time but if you keep it in that range. I think everyone can win.

ecubackpacker's picture

I agree, Chuck! I'll believe

I agree, Chuck! I'll believe it when I see it. We have red wolves down east rapidly moving toward urban areas. I hear reports of wolves from many more hunters now that they have crossed the river the Feds said the couldn't cross. What a joke! It may take another 10 years or so before we start having problems like the western states are having.
600 pups in one year. Wow! They better get a handle on the growth of these wolves, now! Before long, the states will begin to see a decline in revenues because hunters will flock to states that aren't bothered with wolves.
I hope the states get control of managing the wolves soon for everyone's sake.

Chuck-n-Alaska's picture

Sounds good but I'll believe

Sounds good but I'll believe it when I see it. Alaska has been feuding with federal land managers for years to get them to align their predator control programs with the states. Some times they do some times they don't.

gatorfan's picture

Good for them!  It looks like

Good for them!  It looks like the govenors are taken the correct approach and are using the old addage "power in numbers" in order to get this issue handled as soon as possible. 

If the wolves had 600 pups last year, I assume that that number will only increase this year? 

I read somewhere that there was a sighting of wolves in Northern California also.  It's only a matter of time if that was just a rumor.