Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains
Mountain-Prairie Region

Wyoming Gray Wolf Recovery Status Report

From: Mike Jimenez, NRM Wolf Management & Science Coordinator, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM – April 30, 2012

Web Address – USFWS reports (past status and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .   All status and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit.

 2011 Annual Report
The 2011 Interagency Annual Wolf (Canis lupus) Report for the NRM DPS is available on-line at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov .  The annual wolf report is composed of seven sections: 1) Montana; 2) Wyoming; 3) Idaho; 4) Washington; 5) Oregon; 6) USFWS overview of funding, litigation, contact information, and relevant publications; and 7) tables and figures of wolf population statistics and wolf depredations in the NRM DPS.  

Information about wolves in other NRM states
Idaho at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wolves/.
Montana at: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/wolf/
Oregon at:  www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves
Washington at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/ 

Wyoming delisting: Following the recent approval of four documents that clarify Wyoming’s approach to wolf management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on May 1 regarding our proposal to remove the gray wolf population in Wyoming from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

If this proposal is finalized, the gray wolf would be delisted in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the nonessential experimental population designation would be removed, and future management for this species would be conducted by the appropriate State, Tribal, or Federal wildlife managers.

On October 5, 2011, the Service proposed to remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.  This proposal relied heavily on Wyoming’s 2011 wolf management plan and noted that conforming changes to State law and regulation would be required to allow Wyoming’s plan to be implemented as written.  Wyoming recently completed four documents that clarify Wyoming’s approach to wolf management after delisting including revised State statutes, revised gray wolf management regulations (chapter 21), revised gray wolf hunting season regulations (chapter 47), and an Addendum to the Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan. 

The Service has reviewed these State management documents and concludes that the revisions are consistent with the conditionally approved Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan.  Based on our review, we believe Wyoming’s regulatory framework is likely to maintain a population of at least 10 breeding pairs and at least 100 wolves in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Overall, we expect the Greater Yellowstone Area population will be gradually reduced from around 500 wolves in recent years toward a likely long-term average of around 300 wolves across portions of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. 

The Service is reopening the comment period for the proposal to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed rule in light of these documents.  If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparation of the final rule. 

The documents and more information can be found on our website at:  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf

Written comments regarding the proposal may be submitted by one of the following methods:

Electronically:  Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS–R6–ES–2011–0039, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.  Then, in the Search panel at the top of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the box next to Proposed Rules to locate this document.  You may submit a comment by clicking on “Submit a Comment.”

By hard copy:  Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R6–ES–2011–0039; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Comments must be received within 15 days, on or before May 16, 2012. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process.

All comments and information received during the comment period will be considered during the preparation of a final determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this proposal.  Until a final decision on our proposal is published, wolves in Wyoming will remain fully protected under the ESA.

MONITORING

 

Figure 1. Wolf population in WY: 2000 - 2011. 

Figure 1 wolf population in wyoming 2000-2011

Table 1. Total wolf mortality in WY (outside YNP) from 2003 through April 30, 2012.

 

Cause of Mortality 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total
Control 18 29 41 44 63 46 31 40 36 7 355
Natural 3 0 3 1 2 3 2 2 3 0 19
Under Investigation 5 1 5 8 5 8 0 8 2 1 43
Unknown 1 0 0 1 2 8 7 4 5 0 28
Other 0 6 2 5 3 14 0 4 5 2 41
Total 27 36 51 59 75 79 40 58 51 10 486

 

LIVESTOCK CONFLICTS

 

Table 2: Confirmed livestock depredations in WY from 2003 through April 30, 2012.  

           Year 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total
Cattle 34 75 54 123 55 41 20 26 35  7^ 470
Sheep 7 18 27 38 16 26 195 33 30 0 390
Other 2 10 1 0 1 0 0 1   1* 0 16
Dogs 0 2 1 1 2 0 7 0 1   3** 17
Total 43 105 83 162 74 67 222 60 67 10 893

*A horse broke its leg and had to be euthanized after being chased by wolves in a pasture on private property. Six additional horses, 3 calves, and 1 dog were injured in 2011.

** One dog was also injured by wolves but survived.

^ Wolves also repeatedly chased cattle on private property. A calf was injured when wolves ran cattle through a fence.

 

Control actions: In early January 2012, a newly formed pack of two wolves was seen in and around the city of Jackson, WY. Their movements were not limited to nocturnal hours and the wolves were repeatedly seen moving freely through local housing developments during daylight hours. As the wolves’ movements became bolder, their presence became a concern for the community and the Service. While wolves in Wyoming are still protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Service believes that human health and safety is our highest priority. In mid-April, the Service trapped and humanely euthanized the two wolves in the area.

FURTHER INFORMATION
To request an investigation of livestock injured or killed by wolves in Wyoming, please contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (307)261-5336.

For additional information, please contact:
Mike Jimenez at (307)330-5631 or (307)733-7096 or mike_jimenez@fws.gov
Scott Becker (Cody) (307)527-8916 or (307)699-3411 or scott_becker@fws.gov

Last updated: November 8, 2012