Because anti-wolf forces were unable to dominate the delisting discussion at any of the regular public hearings around the West, a special hearing at Cody was asked for by Wyoming officials. They kept the date a secret for a long time, but it’s announced — April 19.
If a big majority doesn’t savage the wolf in Cody, where can they win except among the corrupt state and Department of Interior politicians trading favors back and forth?
This is your chance in Wyoming to get up from under their boot and tell them what you think. I know there are a lot of good conservationists in the Cody area, so show up and exercise your right of free speech.
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Here is an alert on the hearing from WOC, the Wyoming Outdoor Council.
On Thursday, April 19, 2007 the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is hosting a public hearing in Cody, Wyo. on a proposal to begin delisting the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies. Please consider joining us at the meeting. Wyoming’s wolves need public support..
The Wyoming Outdoor Council agrees with many that it is time for the gray wolf to be delisted. However, the proposal under consideration will not ensure sustainable wolf populations into the future. The USFWS is considering accepting Wyoming’s dual-status management plan, which calls for trophy game management of wolves in a designated area in northwestern Wyoming and predator status for the animals elsewhere. Predators can be shot on sight. Furthermore, Wyoming’s plan proposes reducing the state’s wolf population to 100 individuals. Such management does not protect wolves, therefore, we do not support delisting under these conditions.
We encourage you to attend the public meeting and speak up in support of wolves. If you cannot attend the meeting, please consider writing a letter to the USFWS.
What: USFWS Public Hearing on gray wolves
April 19, 2007
Open house from 3 – 5 pm
Public hearing 6 – 8 pm
Where: Cody Auditorium, 1240 Beck Avenue, Cody, WY 82414.
For more information contact:
Meredith Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in carpooling from Lander, contact Andy Blair email@example.com or 307-332-7031 ext 13.
What’s at stake:
The Wyoming Outdoor Council would like to see wolves delisted from the Endangered Species List; however, we do not believe this should occur until the USFWS and Wyoming agree to a management plan that allows for a sustainable wolf population. Unfortunately, Wyoming’s dual-status wolf plan does not do that. Governor Freudenthal proposes to limit Wyoming’s gray wolf population to 100 individuals or 15 packs and, in the future, to manage for the minimum number of wolves. Under this proposal, wolves could be shot on site as predators in much of the state, except in a defined area around Greater Yellowstone where they would be managed as trophy game.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council supports trophy game status for wolves throughout Wyoming. Revenues from the sale of licenses could be used to support wolf management, and wolves could still be killed if they attack livestock.
What you can do:
• Attend the federal hearing to show your support for wolves. Your voice will be important in ensuring proper wolf management.
If you cannot attend the hearing or do not want to testify, please consider submitting written comments. Written comments will be accepted at the public meeting or can be sent by mail before May 9, 2007 to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
585 Shepard Way
Helena, MT 59601
1. Wolves are not decimating Wyoming’s elk population.
The state of Wyoming manages for a reduction in Wyoming’s elk population in all the herds around Greater Yellowstone. In fact, the recent Bison and Elk EIS calls for further reduction of elk on the National Elk Refuge. The Wyoming elk population is currently estimated at 91,555 elk – 8,910 more elk than the state’s population objective. Source: Lauren M. Whaley, “State Elk 9,000 Beyond Objective,” Jackson Hole Daily News, April 7, 2006
2.Wolves are not destroying Wyoming’s tourism industry.
According to Dr. John Duffield, wolf watching now contributes at least $34 million annually for a multiplier effect of $85 million a year to Yellowstone’s satellite communities. Total spending on Wyoming tourism, tourism revenues, and the number of people employed in the industry have all increased every year since 1997 (by 5.8 percent, 5.5 percent, and 1.5 percent each year respectively).
Source: Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Travel Industry 2005 Impact Report at 2, http://www.wyomingbusiness.org/pdf/tourism/Impact_2005_Final.pdf.)
3. Wolves are not devastating Wyoming’s livestock industry.
In 2005, wolves killed a total of 54 cattle and 27 sheep in entire state of Wyoming. For this depredation, 41 wolves were killed.
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2005 Interagency Annual Report http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf
Only 2 percent of sheep mortality statewide is attributable to wolves. More sheep die from poisoning (5.5 percent), eagles (3.3 percent), lambing (13.9 percent), weather (17.8 percent), disease (8.2 percent), and other predators (45.1 percent).
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, http://www.nass.usda.gov/wy
Talking Points To Consider
• USFWS should not delist wolves under Wyoming’s dual-status wolf plan as long as there is an intent to manage them at the bare minimum required to keep them off the endangered species list.
• Wolf delisting should not take place until Wyoming has a biologically acceptable management plan that does not rely on its neighboring states to make up the difference in wolf numbers.
• Wolves should remain protected until they are returned to a significant portion of their historic range where they are biologically viable.
• Wolves could be delisted as trophy game status statewide. Such management could include a way to compensate livestock producers in a timely and effective manner while providing quick response times to deal with problem wolves.
Additional Background Information
Although the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently rejected Wyoming’s dual status wolf management plan, USFWS is now moving ahead to remove the wolf from the endangered species list in the Northern Rocky Mountains. In this reversal of position, USFWS will now accept “dual classification” outside of the National Parks where wolves may be managed as a trophy game species in certain areas and designated predatory animals elsewhere. In addition, the state has requested funds for aerial gunning to “control” wolves.
Wyoming Outdoor Council agrees with the USFWS that Wyoming should not kill a protected species (wolves) that is preying on a wildlife species that is not endangered (elk), but does not agree that Wyoming wolves may be separated off as a distinct population from Montana and Idaho within Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.
The Wyoming Game & Fish Department has greatly misrepresented the threat that wolves are killing excessive numbers of moose and elk. These herds are not being “decimated” by wolves as some claim. In fact, Wyoming’s elk population is above objective despite a decade of late season cow/calf hunts to reduce herd numbers from Jackson to Dubois and Cody. Wolves are definitely an important part of re-establishing the predator/prey balance. But the truth is that the reduced elk calf: cow ratio in Cody-area elk in recent years and the declining moose numbers in the Jackson area cannot be blamed on wolves alone, since those numbers have been going down since pre-wolf re-introduction.
Now the State of Wyoming has requested a court order requiring the federal government to approve the Wyoming management plan and to kill almost 200 wolves. Wyoming’s anti-wolf plan has delayed delisting and will continue to do so as long as the state continues its anti-predator lawsuit against the USFWS.
Tell the USFWS that they should NOT proceed with delisting until Wyoming develops a reasonable wolf plan to manage hunting the gray wolf as a trophy game animal statewide.
Wyoming Outdoor Council applauds the words of the Editorial Board of the Casper Star Tribune, which stated that, “If legislators value wildlife so highly, why haven’t they done more to protect them from the damage energy development inflicts on their habitat? Natural gas drilling is having a scientifically documented, significant impact on deer and sage grouse in parts of the state. Energy development is a much bigger threat to Wyoming’s wildlife than wolves are. If legislators value wildlife so highly, why have they been reluctant to put money into the Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust Fund? More funds would allow the state to complete more habitat improvement projects.”
Killing most of Wyoming’s wolves is unacceptable. It is this kind of approach that led to the wolf becoming a threatened species in the first place. Unfortunately, the USFWS asserts that it can move ahead with delisting in Idaho and Montana, even with Wyoming’s unapproved dual classification management plan. This action is premature and legally questionable. Wolf protection should not be removed until Wyoming has an adequate management plan that does not propose killing off its wolf population.
To find out more on this issue, please contact Meredith Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-455-2161.
You can also read more about it at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site at: http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov
Wildlife Program Director
Wyoming Outdoor Council
6360 Hwy 26
Dubois, WY 82513