ast week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and new Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced a reckless plan to remove protections for Gray wolves in Wyoming that could unravel the successful recovery of wolves across the region. Secretary Salazar stated that the Interior Department has agreed in principle to a management plan for the State of Wyoming that would allow wolves to be shot on sight across most of the state. No permit would be necessary, and all wolves would be fair game. No protections for pregnant or nursing females, no protections for pups. In fact, wolves could be killed in much of the state, anytime, EVEN WITHOUT A HUNTING LICENSE. Tell Secretary Salazar that this management plan is grossly unacceptable.
The 30 year effort by the Fish and Wildlife Service to restore wolves to the region is a truly remarkable achievement in wildlife conservation, but any plan that allows wolves to be shot on sight and treated as a nuisance species is an unacceptable regression to the early 20th century policies that nearly wiped this species from the map.
I'm further disturbed to learn of attempts by Wyoming's Governor to usurp the Endangered Species Act by asking Congress to preclude judicial review of this plan. This is a reckless and imprudent precedent to set, in addition to being disastrous policy on its merits.
While we recognize that public hunting of wolves in Wyoming will likely be a regular component of wolf management, we would expect such hunting to be “fair chase,” well-regulated and science-based. The Wyoming plan of unregulated hunting ignores those precepts, and thus violates the sportsmen's own framework for hunting—the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.
I urge that you reconsider your declared support of this deeply flawed policy and use your power to force Wyoming to enact a management plan that would manage wolves like other trophy animals in the state—with regulated hunting seasons and quotas, scientific monitoring, while protecting pups, nursing females, and den sites. Furthermore, the Department should oppose all efforts by Congress to short-circuit democracy by shielding its rules from judicial review.
Thank you for your consideration.