Western wildlife managers urge feds to change wolf rules

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Wildlife Managers Urge Changes in Wolf Rules

April 10, 2002

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

  BILLINGS, Mont. -- Wildlife managers from five Western states are urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to scrap rules they fear will delay removing the wolf as a protected species in states where reintroduction efforts have flourished.

   Tying the success of wolf recovery efforts in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to their recovery in a larger nine-state Western region only promises to create a "huge political and judicial fight that will tie us in knots for years," said Chris Smith, chief of staff for Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.

   The director of Montana's agency, along with directors of wildlife departments in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, sent a letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service last week. They asked the agency to reconsider its guidelines concerning the delisting of wolves.

   At issue are rules for determining when the population of gray wolves -- protected under the Endangered Species Act -- is high enough in certain areas to be removed from endangered status.
 
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