BOISE, ID— Upon word today that the U.S. Department of the Interior plans to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves from the list of endangered species, Senator Mike Crapo called the decision a welcome one for Idaho and the West.
“The wolf has had a successful recovery in Idaho and the West,” said Crapo. “The state has followed strict scientific monitoring guidelines to ensure that all the benchmarks have been met for delisting this animal, and the announcement that the wolf no longer is an endangered species is a welcome one for wildlife conservationists, ranchers and sportsmen alike.”
“The minimum recovery goal set by US Fish and Wildlife for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains—Idaho, Montana and Wyoming—was set at 30 breeding pairs and 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years. This goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has expanded in size and range every year since. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) completed its Fiscal Year 2006 Wolf Activity Report and reported over 70 packs in Idaho alone—about 650 adult wolves. Clearly, wolves have not only been recovered in Idaho, but are thriving. And, with 85 breeding pairs and over 1,200 wolves in the tri-state area, wolf populations have proven they are successful, self-sustaining and ready for state management. As Idaho continues its successful species management efforts, the federal government should appropriately continue to bear the financial responsibility of wolf management including livestock damage control and depredation compensation.”
“I want to thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its efforts and especially applaud the Idaho Department of Fish and Game staff for a job well-done in monitoring wolf populations. I would also like to recognize the efforts of the other agencies and organizations involved including the Governor Otter’s Office of Species Conservation, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, Idaho Ranchers, Sportsmen and Conservation Community. The Nez Perce Tribe has shown terrific leadership in monitoring efforts as well, working closely with state and federal agencies. Finally, I’d like to recognize the efforts of Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett, Secretary Kempthorne and especially former Governor Phil Batt who initiated the drafting of a State Wolf Plan which was accepted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as an ‘adequate regulatory mechanism’ for managing wolves. This day would not have come had not such a plan been in place.”
Crapo is also a sponsor of S. 700, the Endangered Species Recovery Act, which would promote similar efforts and was passed by the U.S. Senate as part of the Senate version of the new Farm Bill. The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have each passed their versions of the new Farm Bill, the Food and Energy Security Act of 2007, and the two versions are expected to be reconciled through conference before final congressional approval.