MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation fully supports removing the gray wolf from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife as proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
“Gray wolves have exceeded recovery goals in many states, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the western Great Lakes region,” Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer, wrote in a public comment submitted to the USFWS. “RMEF maintains that where wolves exist, they should be managed by state wildlife agencies just as they manage elk, bears, deer, mountain lions and other wildlife.”
RMEF has been a long-time advocate for state management of gray wolves, which is in line with RMEF's support of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, under which state management of wildlife along with the financial contributions from hunters dramatically increased wildlife populations across the United States over the last century.
Wolves are currently above objective in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and are spreading into California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and other states. The species is already under state management in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming where populations range anywhere from 150 to 400 percent above minimum recovery goals.
USFWS is not calling for the delisting of the Mexican gray wolf which is found in Arizona and New Mexico.
“The recovery of the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the western Great Lakes has exceeded all expectations. Gray wolves are no longer in danger of extinction, and it is time for wolf management to be turned over to the states,” wrote Henning.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded 35 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org, elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.