January 14, 2005 -- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service unveiled a new regulation in a news release in early January that expands the authority of States and Native American Tribes with Service-approved wolf management plans to manage gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains population.
The rule applies to States and Tribes that have Service-approved wolf management plans. Only two States, Montana and Idaho, where there are about 550 wolves, presently fit that category. The new rule takes effect in these two states in 30 days, or around the beginning of February.
"These changes provide a logical transition between management by the Federal government and management by the States and Tribes," said Ralph Morgenweck, regional director of the Service's Mountain-Prairie Region. "State and Tribal management under scientifically sound wolf-management plans provides effective wolf conservation and will allow the States and Tribes to gain valuable management experience in anticipation of delisting."
Under the Final Rule, wolves attacking livestock, livestock herding and guarding animals and dogs on private land can be taken by landowners without prior written authorization. Wolves attacking livestock, livestock herding and guarding animals on public grazing allotments can be taken by grazing permittees, guides and outfitters without written authorization.
Gray wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies as non-essential experimental populations under the Endangered Species Act in 1995 and 1996. Wolf populations now exceed their numerical recovery goals under the Act.