Latest Wyoming (federal) wolf update- Jan. 7, 2011

Federal wolf update is only official wolf news out there now-

Here is the latest update from Ed Bangs office, the only government folks in the West who seem to be regularly producing data now.  It says it’s for Wyoming, but it also gives Yellowstone Park news, Oregon news and other wolf news. There is a link to Montana FWP and they do have an Oct. 2010 update.  Interesting it shows the estimated wolf population in Montana for 2010 to be only 400 wolves, compared to the final 2009 count of 524 wolves. The number of 400 will probably go up a bit before the final report is issued, but preliminary data absolutely and flat out fails to show any explosion in wolf population even though the 2010 wolf hunt was canceled.

wyoming news-Jan7-2011. pdf file

Wyoming elk population is large despite dire predictions in the past

As Freudenthal leaves office, a reminder of reality-

Freudenthal is on to other things. We don’t know what Governor Mead will do, but over a year ago Wyoming outfitters Tory and Meredith Taylor wrote an excellent story for WyoFile on the true state of affairs with wolves and elk in the Cowboy Energy State.

Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions. By WyoFile on April 6, 2009

Matt Mead replaces Dave Freudenthal as WY governor

Freudenthal should be remembered for his use of anti-wolf hysteria-

There are differences between Democrat Freudenthal and Republican Mead. However, on wolves it will probably be slight.  Freudenthal, however, was a pioneer of sorts in using wild, irresponsible  exaggeration of the impacts of wolves. Five years ago he was claiming that the then much smaller Wyoming wolf population was not only destroying the state’s wildlife, but its very economy.  If his view of things was true, I guess by now the state would be depopulated save for the few stragglers the wolves hadn’t taken down yet.

We haven’t heard much of that from him lately. That’s probably because it was a total fabrication, and the economy later on did decline severely because of real problems at the national and international level — an unfortunate intrusion of reality.

Tester To Chair Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus

Western Democrats want to gut the Endangered Species Act

Jon Tester, the Democratic Senator for Montana, is facing a tough re-election battle in 2012 which may hinge on the wolf issue. He is desperate to find a solution which allows the State of Montana to manage wolves and wants to get something passed in the Senate during the lame duck session before the next congress is sworn in.

His proposal, also supported by Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus who sold out on the health care bill, is to change the Endangered Species Act to allow distinct population segments (DPS) to be split along state lines to allow wolves to be delisted in Idaho and Montana and not Wyoming. While this may sound like an innocuous change to the ESA it could have devastating effects on the integrity of the ESA for other species. To use political boundaries rather than biological boundaries based on defensible science would allow the Interior Department to incrementally list or delist species based on politics rather than science, a goal of ESA opponents for many years. Essentially it would gut the Act and make it even an weaker tool for protecting endangered species.

But Tester said he thinks there is still a chance that the wolf issue could be dealt with this year. He favors some plan that puts management of the wolf back into state management in Montana and Idaho.

“That is one I would like to get done this lame duck session,” Tester said. “I think the state of Montana had a pretty good plan.”

Tester To Chair Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus – cbs4denver.com.

Otter meeting with Interior secretary, other governors on wolves

Salazar can’t just change the rules without an open, public process under NEPA.

The governors of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana are meeting with Ken Salazar in Denver on Monday to talk about wolves. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Really, there are very few options for the Department of Interior short of trying again but until Wyoming’s plan is accepted it is unlikely they would be successful. There may still be efforts to get a legislative change to the Endangered Species Act during the lame duck session but for some reason I find them unlikely to move forward.

Otter meeting with Interior secretary, other governors on wolves.
Idaho Reporter

Judge sides with Wyoming in wolf case

U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson Rules that USFWS was not justified in rejecting Wyoming’s woefully inadequate wolf management plan.

Recall that Judge Molloy ruled in 2008 that the USFWS arbitrarily accepted Wyoming’s wolf management plan without justification after initially rejecting it. Specifically Molloy said that the USFWS “acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it approved Wyoming’s 2007 plan despite the State’s failure to commit to managing for 15 breeding pairs and the plan’s malleable trophy game area”.

Updated: Judge sides with Wyoming in wolf case.
By JEREMY PELZER Casper Star-Tribune capital bureau

Wyoming Wolf News from USFWS, Oct. 29, 2010

Wyoming Weekly Wolf News Report Oct 18-29, 2010

Nine Yellowstone Park wolf packs had pups this year: Agate, Black
Tail, Delta, Canyon, 636 group, Lamar, Madison, Molly, Bechler

My other comment is to notice the small number of livestock losses in Wyoming this year.