WASHINGTON D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar held a phone press conference and issued a press release on May 5 about delisting wolves and giving management control to several states.
“Like other iconic species such as the whooping crane, the brown pelican, and the bald eagle, the recovery of the gray wolf is another success story of the Endangered Species Act,” said Salazar in the press conference. “The gray wolf’s biological recovery reflects years of work by scientists, wildlife managers, and our state, tribal, and stakeholder partners to bring wolf populations back to health levels.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service reclassified the wolves as an endangered species in 1978 encompassing the entire lower 48 states and Mexico. Since that time there has been a lot of controversy about bringing the wolves back.
The final rule, as directed by legislative language in the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill, reinstates the terms of a 2009 rule that removes the gray wolf from endangered status. This rule covers the states of Idaho, Montana, and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah.
Wolves in Wyoming will remain listed as endangered while the government works with the state to develop a management plan
that may remove them from the list in the future.
A proposed rule to remove the gray wolves is being implemented for the Western Great Lakes area which includes Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and parts of adjoining states.
Another action Fish and Wildlife is taking is to revise the range of the wolf by removing all or parts of 29 Eastern states from reintroducing the wolf in those areas as it was discovered that they did not historically occur in those states.
The final rule on the Northern Rockies, which is effective immediately, and the proposed rule for the Western Great Lakes were published in the Federal Register on May 5.
As for wolves in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, Fish and Wildlife is starting a status review to determine the “appropriate entity and listing status of that entity in those areas.” They are also seeking information on a newly-recognized species, the eastern wolf (Canis lyacon), throughout the United States and Canada.
Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner Jack Husted believes more attention will be paid to the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery program in the future. He doesn’t think it will be a good thing.
“We haven’t received any comment at all from the letter we sent to the Legislature about turning over management of the wolf program to the state,” said Husted in a phone interview. “They want more wolves in this area and yet they aren’t working with the states (New Mexico and Arizona) on this issue.”
Public comment periods for all of the above actions will be ongoing until July 5 of this year. Public hearings will be held in Ashland, Wisconsin on May 18 and in Augusta, Maine on June 8.
For more information on the public comment period and hearings or to find out about the delisting, contact
Read the full article here.
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