Wyoming’s wolf conservation plan has now been rejected twice by USFWS, mostly because it in effect limits wolves in Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park, which Wyoming hopes will maintain the mininum number of wolf packs required for recovery in the state.
Granted the Wyoming plan would allow wolves to wander as “trophy big game” animals in the 3 wilderness areas immediately adjacent to YNP, but not a single wolf pack uses these wilderness areas year round. Outside of these areas (and Grand Teton National Park, which is too small to entirely contain one wolf pack), wolves could be killed year round for any reason by anyone.
Worse still, the Wyoming plan would also allow the killing of Yellowstone Park wolves if they leave the Park, and the Druid Pack and Mollies Pack both often leave to the east and wander outside the “protected” North Absaroka, Washakie, and Teton Wilderness areas.
The Wyoming wolf population stopped growing a few years back, but this year it resumed growth, and now there are over 300 wolves (including YNP wolves) in the “energy company” state.
Wyoming Game and Fish likes to argue that wolves are reducing the elk population, but in fact the elk population in the state remains above the “target” of the Department. Wolves may be the only thing being done in Wyoming to control the spread of chronic wasting disease, especially the new wolf packs which live on the eastern outskirts of the Greater Yellowstone. That is where CWD is moving in. It has been hypothesized that wolves might be able to detect a “mad elk” or mad deer before it becomes highly infective, and kill it. This has not been proven, and under the head-in-the-sand stance of Wyoming government, we will not get the chance to know.
Here is the story by Cat Urbigkit in the Jackson Hole Star Tribune.
If Wyoming’s plan gets approval, over 150 wolves could be shot, run-over, tortured, etc. by anyone for any reason.
The Gooseberry Creek Country, where the new Gooseberry Pack may be the front line (and only line) defense against the spread of chronic wasting disease. Photo by Ralph Maughan
This area is SE of the town of Meeteetse.