endangered species list

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Wednesday is the deadline for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide whether or not to list the Gunnison Sage Grouse, a sub-species that’s struggling in Colorado and Utah, under the Endangered Species Act.

The overall population of grizzly bears is now at around 1,000. That’s according to a biannual study from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team that has adopted a new method for estimating grizzly populations. Wildlife biologist Frank Van Manen says the higher numbers came as a surprise even to him.

“So far, relatively low conflicts, relatively low mortality, good reproduction.  We already had kind of a peak year last year. So we did not anticipate a lot of females with cubs this year. But we were pleasantly surprised.”

Last month, Wyoming’s wolves were put back on the Endangered Species list, after a court ruled that the state’s management plan was inadequate. It’s the latest battle in a long-running conflict over wolf management in the West. Author Nick Jans has been following that conflict for decades and jumped into the fray earlier this year with his new book, titled “A Wolf Called Romeo.” As he told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard, he wasn’t always a wolf advocate.

A proposal to list the wolverine as an endangered species was formally withdrawn by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday. A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups says it's planning to sue the government over the decision. Drew Kerr with Wild Earth Guardians, one of the groups, says the wildlife service’s decision to withdraw the proposal shows they are caving to political pressures.

“Their own biologists and a panel of experts convened to review the matter were unanimous in concluding that climate change is a significant threat warranting listing.”

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The energy industry lobbying organization Western Energy Alliance has begun an ad campaign to highlight the dangers of listing the greater sage grouse as an endangered species. 

The campaign includes radio and online advertisements that focus on the potential impacts that federal management of the sage grouse presents to Wyoming industry, agriculture, and tourism.

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Wyoming's top 131 most vulnerable species are identified in a new study put together by the Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Game and Fish and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. Senior Zoologist Doug Keinath with the Diversity Database says the goal of the study was not to place blame, but instead to give the state a heads up before certain species require emergency rescue measures, the way the greater sage grouse has. 

He says the state should keep an especially close eye on amphibians.

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The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service wants Grizzly Bears taken off the Endangered Species list, but the agency's effort has been blunted by the courts. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on the battle over Wyoming's Grizzlies. 

MATT LASLO: In 1975 government officials worried the west could one day be grizzly-less. Using the Endangered Species Act the government became a great protector of the Bears that play a vital role in the region's ecosystem. But by 2007 the federal government recorded a massive rebound in the population, so they delisted Grizzly Bears. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is removing wolves from the Endangered Species List in Wyoming. The animals had almost died out before being added to the list in 1970s, but the population has since rebounded.

Today’s announcement means Wyoming – not the federal government – will manage wolf populations. The state will allow the animals to be shot on sight as predators in most places, and will require hunting licenses in a few areas. Wolf hunting season is set begin October first.

The governor’s office says Wyoming’s management plan will ensure that wolves don’t die out.