Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
|For Immediate Release: March 3, 2004||
Hugh Vickery (202) 501-4633
Interior Proposes Broader Gray Wolf
Management Authority for Idaho, Montana
Secretary of the Interior
Gale Norton today announced a proposal to give Idaho and Montana more
authority to manage wolf populations in their states, consistent with
the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.
"Wolf populations now
far exceed their recovery goals under the Act in the northern Rocky
Mountains, and Idaho and Montana have both crafted responsible wolf
management plans for their states," Norton said. "Although
we are unable at this time to continue with the process to delist the
wolf population in the region because we do not have approved plans
for all three states, we believe that it is appropriate for us to pursue
as much local management for this recovered wolf population as we can."
The Service has been working
with Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming as they develop the state management
plans that are required under the Act before a species can be delisted.
The population of wolves
in the Northern Rockies now stands at 761, compared to the 406 predicted
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when wolves were reintroduced
Since 1995, wolves have taken
278 cattle, 792 sheep, 62 dogs, and 20 other animals in the three states.
Under the proposal, Idaho
and Montana could take wolves determined to be causing unacceptable
impacts to elk and deer populations. In addition, the states could petition
the Service to take over the lead role in managing and conserving wolves
within their states.
The proposal would not allow
public hunting of wolves, which is prohibited under the Endangered Species
Act for threatened and endangered species.
Among other things, the proposed regulations would provide that:
The proposed regulations
will be published in the near future in the Federal Register. The public
will have an opportunity to comment on them for 60 days following publication.
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