U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
July 9, 2007
Contacts: Ed Bangs 406-449-5225, x204
Sharon Rose 303-236-4580
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PROPOSES TO REVISE
2005 SPECIAL RULE FOR THE WOLVES IN THE
NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes revisions for public comment to the 2005 special rule for the central Idaho and Yellowstone area nonessential experimental population of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. This proposed revision, published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2007, allows states and tribes with approved wolf management plans more flexibility in managing nonessential experimental wolves. A copy of this proposal can be viewed at the Service’s website:
In addition, three open houses in combination with public hearings will take place in conjunction with the 30-day comment period for this proposed revision. They include:
July 17, 2007, Cody Auditorium, Cody, WY
(12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. - open house; 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. - public hearing)
July 18, 2007, Jorgenson’s Inn & Suites, Helena, MT
(6 p.m. - 7p.m. - open house; 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - public hearing)
July 19, 2007, Boise Convention Center on the Grove, Boise, ID
(6 p.m. - 7 p.m. - open house; 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - public hearing)
Comments from the public on this proposed rule can be:
- Electronically mailed to WolfRuleChange@fws.gov (please include RIN number 1018-Av39 in the subject line of the message);
- Mailed or hand delivered to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601; or
- Submitted through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal—http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions at this website for submitting comments.
All public comments on this proposal must be received by August 6, 2007.
Specifically, this proposed rule would:
(1) Modify the definition of “unacceptable impacts” to wild ungulate populations to mean:
Impact (which is determined by state or tribe) to a wild ungulate population or herd, with wolves as one of the major causes of the population or herd not meeting established state or tribal management goals. This definition expands the potential impacts for which wolf removal might be warranted beyond direct predation or those causing immediate population declines. As in the previous special rule, the state or tribal determination of unacceptable impacts and measures to be taken must be peer-reviewed and provided to the public for comment prior to a final decision by the Service.
(2) Allow private citizens in States or on Tribal lands with approved wolf management plans to take wolves that are in the act of attacking their stock animals or dogs. Stock animals are defined as a horse, mule, donkey or llama used to transport people or their possessions. Evidence must be provided of stock animals or dogs recently wounded, harassed or killed by wolves and those injuries confirmed by Service- designated agents.
These modifications would not apply to States or Tribes without approved wolf management plans and would not impact wolves outside the Yellowstone or central Idaho nonessential experimental population areas. A draft environmental assessment is being prepared on this proposed action.
Since 1995, only 43 wolves have been legally killed by private citizens in defense of their private property or by shoot-on-sight permits as authorized by either the 1994 or 2005 experimental population special rules. There has been no documentation of wolf depredations on stock animals that were accompanied by their owners in the past 12 years, but a few instances of stock animals being spooked by wolves have been reported. Ninety-one dogs have been confirmed to be killed by wolves from 1987 to 2007, but no pet dogs have been confirmed to be killed by wolves while they were accompanied by their owners. No wolves have been killed solely to protect dogs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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