US Fish & Wildlife May Change Wolf Rule

Laramie, WY – The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to make it easier to kill wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains to protect other wildlife and domesticated animals.

The federal agency since 2005 has required states or tribes to show that wolves were the primary cause of problems with wildlife herds. That standard has proven hard too meet.

The new rule would require states or tribes to show only that wolves were one of the major causes for wildlife herds not meeting goals.

Terry Cleveland is director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He calls the federal proposal a meaningful step that will help the state protect its elk herds.

Jenny Harbine is an environmental lawyer in Montana who tracks wolf issues. She warns that the proposed rule could result in the slaughter of hundreds of wolves by aerial gunning and other means.

Federal officials late last year estimated the wolf population in the three states at 1,300. That's almost three times the goal the federal government set for re-establishing the animals when it began reintroducing them in the 1990s.