The federal government is preparing to stop protecting gray wolves in the lower 48 states, according to a draft document. The plan is drawing criticism from environmental groups.
The impending decision isn’t a complete surprise. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had announced its intentions earlier this year to propose a blanket delisting of wolves as a ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ species.
There are fewer wolves overall in the West, but Oregon and Washington's wolf populations continue to grow. That's according to the federal government's annual gray wolf tally, released Friday. The count has also revealed the initial effect of a controversial wolf hunting season in Idaho.
A bill headed for the floor of the Idaho House would tap into the interest in hunting wolves to raise money for ranchers who lose livestock to those wolves. A legislative committee approved the measure Tuesday, despite legal concerns.
Idaho lawmakers who represent ranching country say it's now up to the state to cover losses caused by wolves. Federal compensation funds are another casualty of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.
Two new wolf packs formed in Oregon last year. That brings the state’s total to six packs. On Friday, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission learned what this could mean for possibly removing endangered species protection for the wolves.
2012 was the first year that more than four breeding wolf pairs were identified in Oregon. One goal for delisting gray wolves in the state: Sustain four breeding pairs for three years.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – It would be easier to kill gray wolves that attack livestock or pets under a bill that passed the Washington Senate Friday. Currently, ranchers and property owners can’t kill protected animals, like wolves, without the permission of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The bill sparked heated debate in the Senate.
Republican state Sen. John Smith said the measure would allow people to defend their animals, including the dog his son loves.