Gov. Matt Mead and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have been working for the past few months to come up with a management plan on the gray wolf that would be agreeable to federal and state needs. Wyoming is the last Rocky Mountain State where the wolf is still protected federally, and that will be coming to an end except for the wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
Some of Wyoming's neighboring states are conducting a wolf hunting season. Wyoming will not have any official seasons. They will allow their residents to shoot wolves year round as needed without a license and will be allowable in most places of the state outside of Yellowstone.
Under the agreement, Wyoming would commit to maintaining at least 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves outside Yellowstone National Park. There are now about 340 wolves in the state, of which 230 are outside the park. Wolves immediately outside Yellowstone would be subject to regulated hunting in a zone that would expand slightly in the winter months to give wolves more protection in an area south of Jackson. Those in the rest of the state would be classified as predators that could be shot on sight.
Governor Mead states that the state must have management of the wolf, as the wolves have caused a lot of damage since their reintroduction in the 1990s. Ranchers have lost livestock, and the elk and moose populations have been decreasing since the reintroduction. Wyoming didn't have a say in any of the management of the wolves in their state. Mead is ready for that to change.
Environmentalists are strongly opposed to this deal as it offers the wolf little protection. Some conservationists are saying that science not political agendas should be what determine management plans. As some of the wording used by congress saves the delisting from appeal by judicial review. From Bloomberg Businessweek .