Feds may be open to proposed Wyo. wolf law
JACKSON, Wyo. The federal government is sympathetic to Wyoming’s desire to protect wildlife populations during the proposed wolf delisting process, but the necessary federal rule changes may take just as long as the delisting process itself, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official said.USFWS Regional Director Mitch King responded to draft legislation proposed by Gov. Dave Freudenthal detailing the level of wildlife losses that would allow the state to kill the wolves blamed for the predation.”It doesn’t sound like they are totally out of whack,” King said.”As I have said over and over again, wolves eat wildlife, and my biggest concern is we have about three and a half times more wolves than what is necessary for delisting,” he said. “If we can bring wolf populations back into synch … we can begin to address the state’s concern.”The Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal recently to remove Rocky Mountain gray wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. But the agency also denied a request from Wyoming for permission to kill wolves to keep the animals from decimating wildlife herds while the delisting process occurs.If Wyoming won’t join the delisting process, the federal agency has said it’s prepared to remove federal protection for wolves only in the other two states and in national parks in Wyoming.Federal rules governing wolf management would have to be changed in order to accommodate Wyoming’s plan to protect its wildlife.But the process of changing a federal rule may not happen any more quickly than going through the delisting process because legal challenges would likely extend it by years, King said.King estimated the delisting process could take three to four years.”If you compare the time frames you are not gaining a whole lot,” he said.Freudenthal has estimated the delisting process could take up to six years because of litigation challenging the delisting.- The Associated Press
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