Boise--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published rules this week for de-listing the Rocky Mountain gray wolf. The move puts into motion a 30-day countdown to the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species Act once and for all.
The Wolves will lose their ESA status in all of Idaho and Montana and in portions of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. Because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not happy with Wyoming's wolf management plan, de-listing wont apply there.
The states of Idaho and Montana classify wolves as big game animals and set up seasons and harvest quotas. The de-listing is the second in a little more than a year. The first de-listing back in February 2008 was halted by conservation lawsuits over proposed hunts in those states.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has established a statewide wolf hunt starting this fall should the de-listing stand. According to US Fish and Wildlife, 1,639 wolves inhabit the northern Rockies region—846 in Idaho, 491 in Montana and 302 in Wyoming. There are an estimated 95 breeding pairs—39 in Idaho, 34 in Montana and 22 in Wyoming.