Disparate groups help develop Idaho wolf kill plan

Story in the Helena Independent Record. Disparate groups help develop Idaho wolf kill plan. Link fixed.

I think Idaho and Wyoming are going to end up getting whopped by a federal judge like the BLM just did on their bogus new grazing regulations.

There’s never been another just recovered endangered species where the first order of business is a plan to dramatically reduce their numbers to the bare minimum. This is absurd except as a try to reverse the recovery and foster endangerment.

Wyoming wants to reduce the state’s wolf population to less than a hundred wolves, which is fewer than live inside Yellowstone Park. The reintroduction rules clearly said the goal was to have a meta-population of wolves that interbred among the three states, not little pockets here and there.







  1. heavenabove Avatar

    I knew Idaho’s and Wyoming’s “management” plans were terrible from the start. I spoke against wolf de-listing in Helena a while back because of this. It’s very disappointing and disturbing that these states hate wolves so much. They have no desire to even give them a chance after all the years of effort and public support from elsewhere.

  2. elkhunter Avatar

    I kinda have a hard time when pro-wolf people quote the agreed on plan for wolf recovery. Because if I remeber correctly, the population of wolves now, is WAY over the agreed amount. Yet I never hear Ralph, or any other pro-wolf people pointing that out.

  3. Mike Wolf Avatar
    Mike Wolf


    There’s a reason no one ever comments. The NRM WRP stated, originally, that a goal of 30 breeding pairs throughout the three states (no, not 10 per as it states now) would be a target.

    This was an abritrary target, that didn’t and still doesn’t represent a viable population. This was an error, one of many, on the part of FWS in drafting the plan. You’ll note that the plan has been revised several times, to speed up delisting. This is a HUGE mistake, as the causes of extirpation have yet to be resolved. In otherwords, FWS just made up some numbers, changed them when they weren’t making those numbers; and never really did anything to recovery wolves – just “dump” them, as many “anti-wolf” folks like to say; and leave them to be extirpated once again.

    The biggest enemy of the wolf, in regards to their mortality, has always been FWS.

  4. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Anyone that would take some time and actually READ the plan for reintroduction would notice that the 30 breeding pair were considered the MINUMUM number to START TO CONSIDER the delisting process. This has been pointed out any number of times on this blog, in the media, and at public comment meetings. What is so hard to grasp about that word MINUMUM?? There was never an agreed maximum number unless one wants to consider federal law which states a species be recovered over all or a significant % of its historical range and then extrapolate a number from how much could be supported adequate habitat..

  5. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Thanks to Jeff E for pointing out something I have been pointing out on this blog and elsewhere for some time–that the 30 breeding pairs number was intended in the original reintroduction plan to be nothing more than a trigger for beginning delisting proceedings for the wolf.

    The Final EIS clearly and unambiguously predicted an expansion of wolf numbers over the 30 breeding pairs as well as an expansion of distribution well beyond the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. It is no criticism of the FWS that reintroduction has succeeded well beyond original predictions.

    Where the FWS is properly condemned is for its total capitulation to the politics of wolf extinction being played in my home state of Wyoming and in Idaho. I agree with Ralph–this is something for which the FWS is going to get slapped down hard by the courts because delisting under currently proposed terms, especially in Wyoming, is clearly illegal, because arbitrary and capricious.

  6. Jim Avatar

    I thought the original plan stated 10 breeding pairs or 100 wolves for three consecutive years in each of the three recovery areas. I think that is what it is. The rules were changed because MT was lagging behind and the USFW wanted to delist. No prowolf group ever disputed the criteria for delisting, only the anti-wolf plans put forward by ID and WY. That is why wolf populations have exceeded goals.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wolves were slow to recover in Montana for quite a period, but the major delaying factor was Wyoming’s unwillingness to ever come up with an acceptable state wolf management plan and the difficulty of getting 30 breeding pairs of wolves that were well distributed in the three states.

    Wyoming still really hasn’t come up with an acceptable plan and USFWS’s roundabout method of delisting without Wyoming is a huge legal pit for those who want delisting now.

    Remember, the minimum was not 300 wolves somewhere or another. It was 30 breeding pairs of wolves in the three areas, <strong>well distributed.</strong>

    For purposes of analysis, it was assumed that 30 breeding pairs of wolves would be about 300 wolves, <strong>but they were wrong. It took more than 300 wolves to have 30 breeding pairs</strong>.

    30 breeding pairs was the floor, and remains the floor that would trigger relisting. No maximum was ever set.

    Since the EIS was finalized back in 1994, genetics has advanced greatly. It now clear that 300 wolves, especially with about 100 of them being confined to Yellowstone Park, which is source of new wolves and does not get in-migration, will result in a genetically impoverished wolf population in the Northern Rockies.

    I think it is important to maintain over a thousand wolves to keep the genetics right, and there has to be wolves in Wyoming outside Yellowstone Park.

    Most active wolf supporters believe that the Endangered Species Act requires wolf recovery in more of their former range than just parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It certainly requires Colorado, in that view, and there is good wolf habitat in Eastern Oregon and NW Washington, plus east central Utah (the Book Cliffs area).

  8. RW McNames Avatar

    Are these the wolves we (Canadians) sent you? And they are to be killed in these 3 states ? Or should I say cut back? Have I got this right ? And we should send you more in 15 years when you have none left? Isn’t this same country that elected George Bush into office twice? Here’s some free advice – leave the wolves alone.
    If you don’t elect OBama – please send up here. You can have the old guy.


  9. RW McNames Avatar

    In all fairness to those likely to read this Canadian posting. I realize that this site is in support of the wolves. Therefore, rest assured that (we) up here support your efforts in saving the wolves down there. Please mention this as you try to change State policy.



  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    RW McNames,

    Most of these wolves are the offspring of the wolves that Alberta and British Columbia cooperatively allowed to be trapped by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and released in Central Idaho and Yellowstone Park in 1995 and 1996.

    None of the original wolves trapped are still alive 13 years later.

    A number of wolves in Northwest Montana, migrated down into Montana beginning in the early 1980s. From the small number of initial migrants, this wolf population too has grown and mixed with the reintroduced wolves.

    Now some wolves have migrated back into B.C. and Alberta where provincial policy is as wolf unfriendly as the state government of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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