Gray wolf delisting plan shot down by hunters
The plan to remove the federal protection of gray wolves in some Northern Rockies states has raised the hackles of a group of hunters and ranchers.
Their ire, however, is not because hunting may be allowed, but because the state they reside in is not included in the plan.
The Wolf Coalition, a Wyoming-based group of hunters, farmers and livestock ranchers, is planning to file a lawsuit against the federal government based on the decision to keep packs in the state protected under the Endangered Species Act.
"We ought to be able to take them off the list and allow the state to manage this species as they do other wildlife," said Harriet Hageman, the group's attorney.
Federal officials say that Wyoming packs will continue to be protected under the act because of an inadequate wolf management plan in the state. However, wolves in the nearby states of Idaho and Montana are being delisted, which moves the responsibility of wolf management to state and tribal wildlife agencies instead of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In fact, Idaho Fish and Game commissioners have already adopted dates for the wolf hunting season and will set quotas once delisting takes effect on May 2.
Considering that animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society of the United States also have lawsuits filed (to halt the delisting), it seems as if the only ones benefiting from these actions thus far are the attorneys involved.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: A wolf, seen in this undated photo, walks through the snow in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Credit: Associated Press