Wyo-fed wolf talks fail. Wolves safe?

Wyo-fed wolf talks fail. By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Wolf Decision ‘Political’ 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to let Wyoming kill wolves just because the governor says the wolves are “hurting big game herds.” Governor Dave Freudenthal (Dem.) has given many contradictory explanations how wolves are hurting big game in Wyoming, outside Yellowstone National Park.

Several weeks ago the Service indicated they might go along with Wyoming’s wolf management plan, which they had long held to be defective. Bills for new Wyoming wolf management plans were introduced in the state legislature (which will now soon adjourn). The bills, however, tended to make Wyoming’s proposed wolf management, which had already been rejected twice, even more hostile to the presence of wolves.

Perhaps sensing the Service would not accept an even more hostile wolf plan, Wyoming’s governor asked the U.S. Wildlife Service to let Wyoming kill wolves while the state and the federal government dickered during the next year (and perhaps beyond).

The talks ended yesterday in what Whitney Royster (above) wrote was “a high-spirited, often angry and name-calling press conference.”

Freudenthal has been inconsistent to why he regards the wolves as such a problem. Earlier he said they were decimating Wyoming’s big game herds. Later he said the wolves weren’t, but would. At any rate, their presence had made hunting more difficult because the wolves have changed the behavior of big game, implying is was too hard for Wyoming hunters to learn to adapt.

I have argued for many years, that Wyoming doesn want to really manage wolves. Instead the goal is either “a prison” for them in Yellowstone Park, or the current situation which provides an often useful emotional issue to be raised whenever other political events draw the public’s attention.

It now appears that Wyoming wolves will continue under federal management and might be safer than Idaho wolves which will soon be subject to a hunt, for which Idaho’s new governor, Butch Otter, suggests a population reduction of 80%. Idaho went forward with a minimal wolf plan, crafted by livestock interests, which was approved serveral years ago by USFWS, but only goes into full effect when wolves are fully delisted. That could be by next fall.

Currently the USFWS is requesting your comments on their proposed wolf delisting in Idaho and Montana (but not Wyoming).

Global Warming Report: Less Winter in the West?

Global Warming Report: Less Winter in the West? By Dan Whipple. New West.

Whipple doesn’t talk about the effect this will have on wildlife. I think it may allow for more winter range for wildlife, with some notable expections such as Yellowstone Park where it will result in wet snow and ice that leaves elk unable to paw through to the grass underneath.

The changing climate may reduce summer range.

Added Feb. 12. Global Warming: Focus on Utah’s Climate. Salt Lake Tribune.

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Nature Conservancy adds 4,300-acre easement along the Rocky Mountain Front

The Rocky Mountain Front continues to be a success story, now with more plains grizzly bear habitat protected. The last Congress greatly reduced the likihood of oil and gas development dangers.

See the AP story.

The Front still faces problems — off road vehicles and potential sub-divisions.

The Nature Conservancy always plays a cautious game, and a lot of people think it bends over way too far for ranching. However, on the Front they have played a big role guaranteeing there is still one place grizzly bears can roam onto the plains.

TNC’s Rocky Mountain Front web page.

Posted in Bears. Comments Off on Nature Conservancy adds 4,300-acre easement along the Rocky Mountain Front