Wolf Management Plan Under Development

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The summary of comments received from the eight wolf management plan scoping meetings and comment period in July is available for public review at the Game and Fish Department's Web site here.

"The participation and input on developing a wolf management plan was appreciated and is invaluable to the process," said Reg Rothwell, Game and Fish Department supervisor of Biological Services. "A wide range of opinions and concerns was received, which presents a real challenge in developing a management plan."

The meeting attendance ranged from three in Casper to 82 in Cody.

The G&F's Trophy Game Section is currently using the scoping input to help develop a draft plan to present to the G&F Commission Oct. 28. Then the draft plan will be presented at open houses, plus interested citizens can inject their input during a 45-day comment period. The G&F will also be conducting a random telephone survey to find out Wyomingites' opinions on wolf management.

"Even though the input was very diverse, we are committed to developing a plan that meets the requirements of conserving wolves in the state, sustains healthy big game populations and is responsive to wolf/livestock conflicts," Rothwell said.

After consideration of the additional comments the final plan will be presented to the commission for approval in January 2003. Any additional revisions will be incorporated and taken back to the commission for final approval at their February meeting. The plan will then be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their review and approval.

The federal government reintroduced the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the recovery target of 30 breeding pairs in the Yellowstone Ecosystem will be reached in 2003 making delisting possible. One requirement for delisting is that states have a management plan in place for the species.