By Bob Beck
Laramie, WY – The Obama administration is lifting endangered species protections for about 55-hundred wolves in eight states. The move will turn control of the predators over to state wildlife agencies. Public hunts for hundreds of wolves already are planned for this fall in Idaho and Montana. The Interior Department's announcement does not impact wolves in Wyoming, but Governor Matt Mead says that he believes the state and the federal government are close to agreeing on a management plan that would lift endangered species protections in Wyoming as well. U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Spokesman Chris Tollefson agrees.
"We are optimistic at this point that we reach an agreement with Wyoming that meets the needs of the state, that meets our needs as well and we can move forward. Certainly we recognize that this population across the Rocky Mountains is recovered."
Tollefson says the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is the appropriate agency to manage wolves. He predicts that an agreement could be reached in the near future.