Scientist evaluating wolf plan says proposal is flawed

Jan 10, 2012

One of the scientists evaluating Wyoming’s proposed wolf plan for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the plan is flawed.

 

The plan calls for Wolves to be protected as trophy game in northwestern Wyoming but would allow them to be killed as predators elsewhere.

 

Biologist John Vucetich says Wyoming is overestimating what an acceptable mortality rate would be.

 

“They state in there that up to 43-percent mortality rate can be endured without any population decline,” Vucetich said. “And that’s simply not true.”

 

He says a 25-percent mortality rate is about all the wolves would be able to handle.

 

Vucetich added that Wyoming’s stated goals for the wolf plan, which include preventing “unacceptable impacts to big game,” are too vague.

 

“That leaves open this question: What if ‘unacceptable impacts’ are inconsistent with there being wolves on the ground,” he said. “Some people … would say that an unacceptable impact is any impact at all.”

 

Vucetich is one of five scientists that the government hired to evaluate the wolf plan. The other four generally support the plan.