Wyoming to sue feds over wolf management
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) ” The state will sue the federal government for rejecting Wyoming’s request to take over management of its gray wolves, which prey on livestock, officials said Wednesday, Aug. 9.
“So far, their position has been their way or the highway,” Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Wednesday of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’ve chosen neither; we’re going to court.”
In July, the federal government rejected Wyoming’s petition to remove wolves in the state from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. In addition, the federal agency has yet to take action on the state’s request to amend regulations.
Freudenthal has said he sees the spread of wolves outside the national parks as a public safety concern.
State officials had proposed classifying wolves as trophy game animals in certain areas and classifying them as predators that could be shot on sight elsewhere. The plan would allow the wolves to live undisturbed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Federal officials said in July that they can’t remove protections until the state sets firm limits on how many wolves can be killed and agrees to a minimum population. The state is now home to an estimated 252 wolves.
Ed Bangs, coordinator of the wildlife service’s gray wolf recovery effort in Helena, Mont., said he was not surprised by Wyoming’s action.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has already turned management of wolves over to state agencies in Montana and Idaho. About 400 wolves have been killed in those states for preying on livestock and for other reasons since 1987, Bangs said.
The federal government continues to manage wolves in Wyoming outside the national parks, Bangs said. Last year, wolves killed at least 54 cattle and 27 sheep, and 41 wolves were killed, he said.
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