The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved an expanded wolf hunting season Wednesday, with a goal of reducing the population to the bare minimum required to keep it off the endangered species list, Defenders of Wildlife reported.The 2018 season expands on 2017’s season, which was the first in Wyoming since a 2017 appeals court removed Wyoming wolves from protections under the Endangered Species Act and allowed the state to take control of the population, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the status of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act and could introduce a proposal that could lead to a loss of federal protections for the species.In an emailed statement, USFWS spokeswoman Georgia Parham said the agency is working closely with federal, tribal and local partners to assess scientific data related to the wolf’s historic range, population and recovery.”If appropriate, the Service will publish a proposal to revise the wolf’s status in the Federal Register by the end of the calendar year,” said Parham. “Any proposal will follow a robust, transparent and open public process that will provide opportunity for public comment.”Gray wolves were delisted in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan by the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011. The next year, Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature established a controversial wolf hunting season. That lasted until 2014 when a federal judge ruled that the USFWS didn’t follow proper procedures by not accounting for things like how a loss of habitat may impact wolf recovery. The 2014 federal ruling also ended the state’s wolf hunt.
A leading wolf researcher has agreed to leave Washington State University at the end of the spring term in return for $300,000 to settle a suit he brought over infringement of his academic freedom.Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, pioneered research of wolf behavior in cattle country as the predators began their return to Washington.
Two northern Minnesota trappers were charged with setting illegal wire snares and neglecting to check them, taking bears, wolves, deer and other wildlife over the course of two years.Brad Dumonceaux, 44, and Stephen Bemboom, 60, face over $70,000 in potential fines and jail time if found guilty to charges filed in Itasca County District Court last Friday.The snares used during the two-year investigation were larger than the state regulated 10-inch diameter and also lacked tag identification. State law states snares not capable of drowning the captured animal must be tended daily.
Wyoming wildlife managers aim to kill more wolves in the Gros Ventre area in hopes of drawing some elk back into that river valley during winter.Aerial and ground surveys from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department this year detected just 86 elk on the Gros Ventre’s three feedgrounds and natural winter ranges, which is the lowest number on record.The near-complete absence of elk in the Gros Ventre does not equate to a herd population that’s crashed — it’s where the herd goes in winter that has changed — but some state officials see the situation as a crisis. Game and Fish Deputy Chief of Wildlife Doug Brimeyer, a former Jackson region biologist, told his commissioners earlier this month that the wintertime elk exodus has been “emotional” for managers and others who have watched the changes.
The last two surviving wolves on Isle Royale might soon get 20 to 30 new neighbors, after the National Park Service advanced a wolf reintroduction plan Friday for the wilderness island on Lake Superior.In an effort to intervene in the drastic imbalance between the island’s predator wolves and a booming population of vegetation-chomping moose prey, the park service released a final environmental impact statement that favors adding more of the canines over a three-year period.