This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a proposed rule that would remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife. This rule focuses on the Wyoming portion of the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) Distinct Population Segment (DPS).
According to the Federal Register posting, the best scientific and commercial data available indicate that wolves in Wyoming are recovered and no longer meet the definition of endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Wyoming's wolf population is stable, threats are addressed and a post-delisting monitoring and management framework has been developed.
However, additional changes to Wyoming State law and Wyoming Game and Fish Commission regulations are necessary for implementation. It is expected that the state of Wyoming will adopt the necessary statutory and regulatory changes within the next several months.
If this proposal is finalized, the gray wolf would be delisted in Wyoming, the nonessential experimental population designation would be removed and future management for this species, except in National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, would be conducted by the appropriate state or tribal wildlife agencies.
Comments on this delisting are being accepted through Jan. 13, 2012. Information on how to submit comments are available in the Federal Register at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-05/html/2011-25359.htm.
In response to the USFWS' proposed rule, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, all from Wyoming, issued the following statements.
"I'm pleased that we are one step closer to Wyoming managing wildlife in Wyoming," said Enzi. "This proposal gives everyone something to like. Big game hunters will see management that allows the wolf not to decimate our big game herds. Ranchers will also benefit. Even wolf lovers should be happy with this announcement."
"After more fits than starts, the Obama Administration has finally officially recognized that Wyoming should be in control of managing the wolf, not Washington," said Barrasso.
"Wyoming's nearly decade-long saga on the fully recovered gray wolf is, I hope, coming to an end. There is still work to be done, but today's news is further momentum in the fight to grant Wyoming's on-the-ground experts the right to manage our wolves," said Lummis.