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Wolf Plan Agreement Closer Between Wyoming And US Fish And Wildlife Service

According to Governor Matt Mead’s office, the State of Wyoming and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have come up with a list of agreements that are a precursor for a Wolf Plan for the State.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead and representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service have finalized the elements of a proposed plan that will ensure a stable and sustainable population of wolves in Wyoming. This plan is the culmination of many years of work between Wyoming stakeholders and federal officials.

 

“This is far from the end of this process, but I think we have come up with something that fits with Wyoming’s values and economy,” Governor Mead said. “For years ranchers and sheep producers have been asked to sacrifice and they have. We have lost significant numbers of elk and moose, and we have not had a say in the management of an animal inside Wyoming. It is time for that to change and I appreciate Secretary Salazar and the US Fish and Wildlife Service working with us. Wolves are recovered in Wyoming; let’s get them off the Endangered Species List.”

 

Under the proposed plan Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Trophy Game Management Area would extend about 50 miles to the south from its current location near the Wyoming/Idaho border. The expansion area would be managed as a Trophy Game Management Area from October 15th to the end of February. For all other months wolves would be managed as predators in the extension area.

 

The proposed plan requires approval of the State Legislature. Governor Mead has said he wants Congressional approval of this plan. “For too long wolf management has been run by the courts, we need Wyoming people to have a say in what happens in our state and a congressionally approved plan is the best way to ensure that we advance this effort.

 

“This is an important step towards removing wolves from the Endangered Species List, but there are many more steps to come. We appreciate the work of stakeholders in Wyoming, and we appreciate the work of Senator Barrasso, Congressman Lummis and Senator Enzi,” Governor Mead said.

 

The objectives are stated here;

The Wyoming wolf management plan will promote the management of a stable,
sustainable population of wolves.

Population Goals:

. Wyoming agrees to manage for a population of at least 10 breeding pairs and at least 100
wolves outside Yellowstone National Park.
. The wolf populations in Yellowstone and on the lands of sovereign nations will provide
the remaining buffer above the minimum recovery goal intended by the management
objective of at least 15 breeding pairs and at least 150 wolves statewide.
. The State of Wyoming will monitor the state’s wolf population, based on scientifically
defensible methods, to document the number of wolves and breeding pairs outside of
Yellowstone.

Trophy Game Management Area (TGMA):

The TGMA will expand from October 15 to February 28th or 29th to protect dispersers
during peak dispersal periods.
. The TGMA extension will be treated as a flex-line moving from the permanent line to the
extension line on October 15th and back to the existing TGMA line on March 1st.
. Reference to potential Game and Fish Commission diminishment of the TGMA will be
removed from Wyoming statute.

General Management Inside the TGMA:

. Wyoming agrees to remove current statutory mandates for aggressive management inside
the TGMA.
. Management of wolf depredation on livestock inside the TGMA will continue using all
of the techniques currently used under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service management.
. Rules governing defense of property taking shall be similar to 50 CFR 17.84(n) regarding
experimental population rules, thus allowing producers to take wolves inside the TGMA
found in the act of preying on their livestock.
. Taking of wolves on elk feedgrounds inside the TGMA will be limited to wolves
impacting elk in said area specifically for the purposes of protecting private stack yards,
transmittal of brucellosis, or health and safety related to highways.

. Inside the TGMA, hunting seasons will occur primarily in conjunction with fall hunting
seasons. However, they may be established outside of that period or extended beyond
that period if necessary to achieve management objectives.
. When considering extending its hunting program Wyoming will develop a hunt plan that
will take into consideration, but not limited to the following: wolf breeding seasons; short
and long range dispersal opportunity, survival, and success in forming new or joining
existing packs; conflicts with livestock; and the broader game management
responsibilities related to ungulates and other wildlife.
. Aerial gunning of wolves inside the TGMA directed by Wyoming Game and Fish
Department will be allowed to control livestock depredations, to achieve ungulate
management objectives if wolves are determined to be a significant cause for not meeting
those objectives, or to address human safety issues. However, other Game and Fish
directed aerial gunning for routine wolf population maintenance inside the TGMA is
prohibited.
. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will divide the TGMA into smaller wolf hunt
areas than are described in Wyoming’s 2008 wolf management plan.
. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will include a statement of management
intentions in the revised wolf plan. The statement will address the primary timing of
hunting seasons and a description of considerations used for establishing or extending
seasons outside the primary period.
. While the seasonal expansion area is in TGMA status, this area will be managed to
facilitate natural dispersal.
. Consistent with occupancy during periods of Endangered Species Act protection, neither
party expects the seasonally expanded portion of the TGMA to maintain any wolf packs
long-term.

General Management Outside the TGMA

. All Wyoming wolves outside the TGMA will be managed as predatory animals.

Statutory and Regulatory Changes

. Wyoming agrees statutory and regulatory changes will be required to implement this
agreement and intends to pursue these as necessary to allow implementation of the
revised Wyoming wolf management plan to be developed in consideration of the above
framework.

 

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