January 14, 2009

Delegation Applauds Decision To Delist Wolves

Washington, D.C. - Today the Idaho Congressional Delegation congratulated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their decision to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf population from the federal list of endangered species.

"Today's decision to delist the Gray Wolf is a testament to the great people in the State of Idaho, Montana and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working together to stabilize the gray wolf population," said Congressman Mike Simpson, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment. "With the State of Idaho's wolf management plan in place, Idahoans can now begin to see improvements in the restoration of Idaho's elk and other big game herds."

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist wolves in many parts of the country, particularly in Idaho, is appropriate," Senator Mike Crapo said. "While the experimental non-essential designation has been biologically successful for the wolves, the fact remains that there are impacts on the entire ecosystem, which of course includes Idaho's elk herds and people such as agricultural producers.

"I have great confidence in the ability of the State of Idaho and the Nez Perce Tribe to get it right regarding wolf management, meaning that the requirements of the Endangered Species Act will be met, wolf numbers will settle at a sustainable level and both wild and domestic animals will be factored into ongoing management policies. In addition, it is of note that Congress may soon approve the Omnibus Lands package, which includes a bill that Senator Craig and I cosponsored last year, the Gray Wolf Livestock Loss Prevention and Mitigation Act, to provide financial assistance for producers who suffer depredation from wolves," Crapo added.

"This has been a long time coming. As Governor, I strongly pushed for the delisting of wolves in our state. There is no doubt that wolves have been fully recovered in Idaho. We have a responsible state management plan ready to go that will adequately manage wolves within our borders. Idaho has the ability to manage wolves just as we do bears and cats. We can do this, and do it better than the federal government ever will," said Senator Jim Risch.

"As has been shown time and again, decisions about our wildlife and public lands are made best when they are made in Idaho - not in Washington, DC and not by a judge. The decision to delist wolves is a positive step forward and ensures the kind of local control we want and need," said Congressman Walk Minnick. "I am confident that Idaho ranchers, sportsmen, scientists and leaders will successfully manage the health of wolves and other wildlife populations for years to come."

Today's decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to take effect 30 days after the publication of the rule in the Federal Register.