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US Fish and Wildlife proposes Wolf Delisting Rule for Idaho & Montana

From U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed delisting gray wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming, in a ruling that may take effect in late February.

Officials expect the proposed ruling to be published in the Federal Register January 27. It would take effect 30 days after that. But the new Obama administration could delay the publishing or the effective date.

When delisting takes effect, Idaho would again take over managing wolves under state law adopted in 2008 and under a wolf population management plan also adopted last year.

"Our plan is to manage wolves as we do other big game," Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. "Once wolves are removed from the endangered species list, Idaho would actively manage the population and not let them return to the list and federal control."

Fish and Game would apply the same professional wildlife management practices to wolves as it has applied to all big game species, which all have recovered from low populations during the early 1900s, he said.

Wolves were all but extirpated by the 1930s in Idaho. They were declared endangered in 1974, and a federal recovery effort brought 35 wolves to central Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Wolf population numbers have grown steadily since then.

Fish and Game has embraced the recovery efforts and has applied its expertise in big game management to gray wolves. Based on the Legislature's 2002 Wolf Conservation Plan, Fish and Game biologists developed a wolf population management plan, adopted by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in March 2008.

For information contact Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth at 208-334-3771. The Fish and U.S. Wildlife Service delisting documents are available at

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