This information has been compiled from Associated Press stories. Sarcastic asides are mine.
Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list, following a 13-year restoration effort that helped the animal’s population soar, federal officials said Thursday. An estimated 1,500 wolves now roam Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
The feds giveth … and the feds taketh away.
“Gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains are thriving and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act,” said Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett. “The wolf’s recovery in the Northern Rocky Mountains is a conservation success story.”
The restoration effort, however, has been unpopular with ranchers and many others in the three states since it began in the mid-1990s, and today some state leaders want the population thinned significantly. The states could allow hunters to target the animals as soon as this fall. That angers environmental groups, which plan to sue over the delisting and say it’s too soon to remove federal protection.
“The enduring hostility to wolves still exists,” said Earthjustice attorney Doug Honnold, who is preparing the lawsuit. “We’re going to have hundreds of wolves killed under state management. It’s a sad day for our wolves.”
Management … a.k.a. hunting.
Wildlife agencies in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have already begun crafting rules for wolf hunts. Officials say the hunts will be similar to those for other big game species such as mountain lions and black bears.
Oh, boy … new hunting revenue for the states. That’s why they helped the wolf population to recover, right?
Here are some reactions to the decision to remove wolves from the endangered species list, also compiled from the Associated Press:
** “This announcement is great news. It signals that the state’s work has paid off and we’re ready to assume the full responsibilities of managing wolves.” (Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal)
** “Far more wolves are needed before the species can be considered truly recovered.” (Louisa Wilcox, senior wildlife advocate for Natural Resources Defense Council)
** “We reached the delisting goals in the recovery plan years ago, and Idaho is ready to manage wolves. Unfortunately, if history is a guide, radical preservationists will sue the federal government over this decision.” ( U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho)
** “Unfortunately, the current state plans seem designed to lead only to the dramatic decline and need for quick relisting of the wolf. That’s not in anyone’s best interest.” (Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife)
So how do you feel about wolves being taken off the endangered species list so they can be managed (hunted)? Please add your comments below. /Gary
You’ll find more details on the wolf delisting at http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/press_releases_folder/2008/02_21_2008_wolves_lose_protection_under_endangered_species_act.php