Wyoming has been in a battle with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service over plans to delist the gray wolf from the endangered and threatened species list. Neighboring states of Montana and Idaho have complied with the USFWS in providing a suitable management plan. According to USFWS officials, Wyoming has failed to provide a plan that meets minimum federal guidelines.
A request by the state of Wyoming to remove the wolf from protected status in the northern Rocky Mountain area of the state was denied by USFWS because the request failed to provide enough information to ensure that the state will maintain a minimum population of wolves in that area.
In rejecting the state’s petition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday that it couldn’t remove federal protections for wolves in Wyoming until the state sets firm limits on how many could be killed.
The agency also said the state must commit to maintaining a minimum population of the animals. Wyoming is home to an estimated 252 wolves.
Governor Dave Freudenthal said that now that the USFWS has made this ruling, the state will proceed with a lawsuit in order to get the courts to decide whether the state’s plan for the wolf is scientifically adequate.