The Mountain-Prairie Region
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
December 18, 1997
Ed Bangs 406-449-5225
Joe Fontaine 406-449-5225
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917 ext 415
Management Laws Regarding Gray Wolves
The U.S. District Court for Wyoming on December 12, 1997 held
that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's final rules
establishing a nonessential experimental population of gray
wolves in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho and
southwestern Montana are unlawful and ordered the Service to
remove all of the reintroduced wolves and their offspring from
the Yellowstone and central Idaho areas. However the judge
deferred the effect of his order pending the outcome of any
appeal. The U.S. Government has 60 days during which to consider
a possible appeal.
Pending the outcome of any appeal, the Fish and Wildlife
Service will continue to manage the wolves according to the
reintroduction plan approved in 1994, and the laws and
regulations regarding reintroduced gray wolves are unchanged.
Regulations establishing experimental populations of gray
wolves in the greater Yellowstone area and central Idaho will
remain in place pending appeal. These include:
- Any landowner and/or livestock producer who think they
have problems involving wolves should call their local
representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or
USDA Wildlife Services (formerly Animal Damage Control).
An agent with Wildlife Services will investigate the
problem and advise the parties as to necessary actions.
- Landowners could, in an opportunistic noninjurious
manner, harass adult wolves on private land at any time.
These actions must be reported to a representative of the
Fish and Wildlife Service or USDA Wildlife Services
within 7 days.
- Public land grazing permittees could, in an
opportunistic, noninjurious manner, harass adult wolves
near their livestock at any time. These actions must be
reported to a representative of the Fish and Wildlife
Service or USDA Wildlife Services within 7 days.
- After 6 or more breeding pairs of wolves are established
in a recovery area and after designated authorities have
confirmed livestock losses have been caused by wolves and
have been unable to stop further losses, individuals
holding grazing permits on public lands can get a permit
to take wolves in the act of killing or wounding
livestock (cattle, sheep, horses, and mules).
- There are no land use restrictions on private land and
after 6 or more breeding pairs become established in a
recovery area, there would no longer be land use
restrictions on public lands even near active den sites,
except in national parks and national wildlife refuges.
- Wolves that attack other domestic animals and pets on
private land two times in a calendar year would be moved.
- Compensation for livestock confirmed to have been killed
by wolves would be paid from an already established
- Wolves in the act of wounding or killing
livestock on private land could be killed by livestock
owners-managers (maximum 24 hour reporting and evidence
of livestock freshly wounded by wolves must be evident).
- Wolves that are impacting negatively on big game
populations can be moved by resource agencies.
Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and
central Idaho beginning in March 1995 as part of an effort to
restore their populations. The reintroduced wolves are designated
a "non-essential, experimental" population to allow for
more flexibility in managing them than would be available if they
were designated an "endangered" species.
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