Sierra Club
Sierra Club Press Release

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August 31, 2012

Contact: John Spahr, Wyoming, 307-699-0548

Bonnie Rice, Montana, 406-582-8365 x1

Maggie Kao, Washington DC, 202-675-2384

Wyoming Wolves Stripped of Protections

Unsound state management plan allows unregulated killing, seriously threatens wolf recovery

The federal government today removed Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Wyoming, handing wolf management over to the state despite Wyoming’s deeply flawed management plan.   

Under Wyoming’s plan the wolf population could be reduced to just 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of the national parks and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  The plan, based on arbitrary timelines and invisible boundaries, allows wolves in nearly 90% of the state to be killed anytime, by any means, without a license.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

“We are deeply dismayed to see Wyoming wolves removed from the important safeguards provided by the Endangered Species Act, only to be handed over to a state whose plan will clearly result in the dramatic loss of wolves.  This is a dangerous departure from the sound, science-based management practices that have for decades successfully brought iconic animals back from the brink of extinction.

Wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies is one of the Endangered Species Act’s greatest success stories. The return of wolves to the Yellowstone region has increased the health of the natural world as well as the economy. Tourists hoping to get a glimpse of these wild creatures bring in $35 million to the region each year. 

We’ve seen what happens under state management in Idaho and Montana, where nearly 600 wolves were killed in last year’s hunting season alone. Wyoming’s substandard plan will further jeopardize wolf recovery in the state and across the Northern Rockies.

Wyoming needs a balanced management plan, based on science, to ensure the long-term survival of wolves in the region.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has repeatedly rejected virtually the same plan from Wyoming in the past because it would seriously threaten the wolf population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to reverse course to ensure that the howl of the wolf remains a living symbol of our wild heritage.”