Thursday, January 15, 2009

Endangered Species Act

Photo courtesty of Mangrove Mike
Idaho Ready to Take over Wolf Management

Boise-– The Department of Interior announced Wednesday that because of a successful reintroduction program and healthy population, the Department will strike wolves from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana. The decision gives the states the responsibility for managing wolves under plans already approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, starting in mid-February.

Deputy Director of Idaho Fish and Game, Jim Unsworth, says the government's latest attempt to remove federal protection from the wolves could be stalled by legal filings in the federal courts by the Obama administration.

"We've got a new administration and a lot of lawsuits in front of us," Nate Fisher, administrator for the state Office of Species Conservation, told lawmakers.

Some 15-hundred wolves in the Northern Rockies were taken off the list last February but was later nullified in Federal District court in July because the court said that state management plans couldn’t guarantee sustained recovery.

The Northern Rockies wolf population includes all of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north-central Utah. The federal decision supports removing wolves in Montana and Idaho, but not Wyoming, from the endangered species list.

Unsworth was on KBOI radio in Boise this morning and said that wolves need to be managed just like mountain lions and bears, and plans have been drawn up to manage wolf numbers through hunting.

The state agency drafted rules last winter that established a hunting season from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31.

Unsworth said the number of harvested wolves depends on populations in each region and also livestock depredation numbers. Last year he says, more than 350 wolves were eligible to be killed.

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