By TRAVIS SANFORD
WASHINGTON (CN) – The Wyoming population of the gray wolf is “healthy and stable,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which proposes to remove it from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
“After years of hard work by the Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners to achieve the successful recovery of wolves in the northern Rockies, Wyoming wolves are ready to stand on their own under the management of the professional wildlife biologists of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe in a press release accompanying the proposed delisting.
The agency says that the larger Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population is fully recovered consisting of more than 1,650 wolves, 244 packs and over 110 breeding pairs.
In 2009, the agency published a final rule to delist the rest of the Rocky Mountain Population, except in Wyoming. Wyoming was excluded at that time because the state did not have regulatory mechanisms the agency felt were necessary to ensure conservation of the wolf if its Endangered Species Act protections were lifted.
In September, the agency and the Wyoming Fish and Game Commission reached an agreement that put those regulatory protections in place at the state level.
Under the agreement, the agency will continue managing the wolves in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and those within the National Elk Refuge.
The public has until Jan. 13, 2012 to comment on the proposed delisting of the wolf.