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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

December 11 , 1997

Joe Fontaine 406-449-5225 ext 206
Ed Bangs 406-449-5225 ext 204
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917 ext 415

CHANGE IN WORDING TO ALLOW U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
TO MANAGE WOLF REINTRODUCTION AREAS MORE EFFECTIVELY

A minor clarification of the experimental rule for gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming will make it easier for the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove suspected captive wolves, wolf/dog hybrids, or wolves exhibiting abnormal behavior from the wild.

A provision in the non-essential experimental rule was intended to allow the Service and cooperating agencies to either kill, or remove from the wild, animals that are believed to be either wolf/dog hybrids or wolves raised in captivity and released in the wild, as well as individual wolves exhibiting abnormal behavior, such as showing lack of fear or easy approachability to people.

Wolf or wolf-like dogs that are raised in captivity and released in the wild do not behave like wild wolves. They often associate with people or domestic livestock and can cause problems by attacking livestock because they are less adept at capturing wild prey. There have been instances where wolves or wolf hybrids raised in captivity have attacked their owners or other people. An estimated 300,000 wolf/dog hybrids and captive wolves now live in North America.

The presence of wolves or wolf-like canids that are not part of the gray wolf recovery program also cause increased management expense for resource agencies. Because the Service has limited personnel, biologist said it is important to focus resources on the restoration and management of wild wolves.

The rule is being published in today's edition of the Federal Register. Copies are available for public review and comment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 100 N. Park, #320, Helena, MT 59601, telephone 406-449-5225, extension 220. Written comments may be sent by fax to 406-449-5339. All comments should be received by the Helena office by January 12, 1998.


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