Feds won’t restore protection for wolves in Rockies, western states, national recovery plan proposes


Federal wildlife officials on Friday rejected a request from conservation groups to restore protections for gray wolves in North America’s Rocky Mountains, saying the predators are in no danger of extinction as some states reduce their numbers through hunting. Want to reduce.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also said it would work on the first-ever national recovery plan for wolves, after pursuing piecemeal recoveries in different areas of the country. The agency hopes to complete work on the plan by December 2025.

Rejection of petitions from conservation groups allows state-sanctioned wolf hunting to continue in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, They estimated that the wolf population in the region that also includes Washington, California and Oregon was about 2,800 animals at the end of 2022.

“Populations maintain high genetic diversity and connectivity, which supports their ability to adapt to future changes,” the agency said in a news release.

Conservationists who are working to bring wolves back from near extinction in the US have criticized the decision, complaining that Idaho and Montana have approved increasingly aggressive wolf-killing measures, including trapping. , trapping and hunting seasons that last for months.

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“We are disappointed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to refuse to hold states accountable for wolf conservation commitments made a decade ago,” said Susan Holmes, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Aversion to wolves for killing livestock and big game began in the early European settlement of the American West in the 1800s, and flared up again after wolf populations began to grow again under federal protection. That recovery has dealt a blow to hunters and farmers frustrated by wolf attacks on large herds and livestock. He argues that security is no longer needed.

Congress stripped Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in western states in 2011. trump administration Endangered Species Act protections removed to wolves in the lower 48 states just before Trump left office in 2020.

A federal judge in 2022 restored those protections In 45 states, but also in parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon, Washington leaves wolf management up to state officials. utah,

Republican lawmakers in Montana and Idaho are intent eliminating more wolf packsThey are blamed for periodic attacks on livestock and depletion of elk and deer herds, which are prized by many hunters.

The states’ Republican governors have signed legal measures in recent months that expand when, where and how wolves can be killed. This caused concern among Democrats, former wildlife officials and advocacy groups, who said increased hunting pressure could reduce wolf numbers to unsustainable levels.

The Humane Society of America, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups had filed legal petitions asking federal authorities to intervene.

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