March 28, 2008
March 28, 2008 - After more than a decade of federal protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is removing gray wolves from the endangered species list today, March 28.
Idaho, Montana and Wyoming will take over full management of the wolves as the USFWS ends a recovery effort that begun when wolves were first reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid-1990's. Currently, more than 1,500 wolves and at least 100 breeding pairs are present in the three states.
In Idaho, wildlife officials say no immediate changes will occur with delisting. In Montana, the change will give ranchers in the northern half of the state new authority to shoot wolves caught harassing or attacking livestock, a power already held by ranchers in the state's southern half.
Wyoming will protect the wolf as a trophy species in the state's northwestern corner and classify it as a predator species in the rest of the state. People will be able to kill wolves at any time and for any reason in the predator area.
Federal officials say that they expect the three states to maintain between 900 and 1,250 wolves for the foreseeable future. Each state has indicated that it will implement hunting seasons in the fall, with dates and harvest quotas to be set in the coming months.