Roundup of Wolf Issues
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
October 29, 2014
While wolves in Wyoming remain back under protections of the federal Endangered Species Act, Wyoming Public Media reports that Wyoming's congressional delegation has pledged to go to Congress to get wolves delisted in the state. Montana and Idaho were successful in getting wolves delisted via federal legislation after years of litigation. A federal judge recently overturned Wyoming's wolf management plan based on a deficiency state officials are now trying to correct through rule-making. If Congressional action were successful, the legal battles could finally be ended.
But some wolf advocates are still stewing over the delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana and have come up with a new strategy. Defenders of Wildlife is currently conducting a call to action for wolf advocates to "Demand an Immediate Status Review of Wolves in the Northern Rockies." On its website, with an auto-generated letter of demand, Defenders states: "More than five months have passed since Defenders formally requested FWS conduct an urgent review to reassess the status of wolves in the Northern Rockies, based on the aggressive management of wolves by the state of Idaho.
"The call for this status review is an important step toward restoring Endangered Species Act protection to wolves in Idaho and other Northern Rockies states."
Our neighbors in Utah have their own wolf issues as well. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that state officials are investigating sightings of a wolf in the Uinta Mountains of Duchesne County. The collared wolf was identified by its dying radio collar as originating in the Boundary Pack that roamed Idaho's panhandle region near the Canadian border – an 850 mile trek.
Capital Press writer Matthew Weaver interviewed a Washington couple after their problems with the Huckleberry wolf pack killing their sheep this summer. The couple discussed the uncertainty ahead, with a wolf pack that is not deterred by human presence, or the presence of livestock guardian dogs. You'll find the link to this article below.
Voters in Michigan will have their say on two ballot measures relating to wolves – but they appear to be nothing more than opinion polls on the public's views of laws already enacted. One referendum authorizes wolf hunting seasons, while the other authorizes the state's natural resource commission the authority to manage wolves as game animals. Each referendum cites existing law and its provisions, then asks "Should this law be approved?" Michigan's first wolf hunting season took place last year, after the laws were enacted in 2012 and 2013.
In its battle to challenge the laws allowing wolf hunting, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has raised $2 million in the last two years, with the largest contributions – $1.33 million in cash, and $1.4 million in goods and services – coming from the Humane Society of the United States.
Interestingly, a ballot measure in Maine proposes to ban black bear hunts using baits, dogs or traps. Of the $1.4 million raised by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting (seeking to ban these hunting methods), 96% came from the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.
For more on these wolf stories, check the links below.