Wolves under Wyo managementWritten by Jennifer Womack
Wyoming Game and Fish’s Scott Talbott, who will oversee the program for the state, says his agency will answer calls regarding depredation in the trophy game area. “We’ll be taking over depredation investigations and management in the trophy game area,” says Talbott noting that the system will be similar to what landowners have used to report losses to mountain lions and other trophy game animals. He says they should contact their local game warden in the event of a loss.
“In the predator area,” says Talbott, “if they want assistance they’ll need to contact their local predator management board or Wildlife Services. The Department will not be investigating livestock losses to wolves in the predator area.” Landowners in the predator area do have the right to kill wolves on their property.
“I’d really like to stress to livestock producers that if they harvest a wolf to notify us of the take within 10 days,” says Talbott. Ranchers are required to submit the date of harvest, the sex of the wolf and the location it was taken. He’s hopeful landowners will also offer information on the number of wolves seen and additional information that may prove useful to the agency in establishing as much information as possible about wolves. “We’re going to try and monitor wolves as closely as possible,” says Talbott.
With interviews scheduled, Talbott says his agency is in the process of establishing field staff to oversee day-to-day management of wolves. He anticipates the staff will be in place by summer. Mike Jimenez, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Wolf Program Coordinator for the state, is scheduled to remain assigned to the wolf project through September.
Based on FWS estimates, Talbott says the state is now home to 340 wolves making up around 39 packs.
Pending litigation could alter the future of wolf management in the state at any time. A coalition of environmental groups led by EarthJustice late February filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government. Members of the coalition include the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Help Our Wolves Live, Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Natural Resource Defense Council and the Sierra Club. While Western Watersheds Project isn’t listed as a plaintiff, group leader Jon Marvel was quoted in a late February announcement of the coalition’s intentions to file a suit in federal court. As of press time there was no new information regarding the lawsuit.