Wyoming’s governor supports an amendment that passed the U.S. House on Friday to restore wolf management duties in Wyoming and three other states.

Wyoming wildlife regulators say they’re ready should the bill survive the U.S. Senate and get signed into law.

The amendment would also halt future judicial review of federal wolf protections in the four states included.

“The gray wolf in Wyoming is fully recovered and flourished under state management,” Gov. Matt Mead told the Jackson Hole Daily via email Friday. “I appreciate the efforts of Congresswoman [Cynthia] Lummis and the others who supported the amendment. I hope the Senate takes action on this bill quickly as it is past time for wolves to be delisted and management to be returned to the state.”

The House of Representatives on Friday amended the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 (H.R. 2406) to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for Wyoming wolves.

Department of Game and Fish spokesman Renny MacKay said there have been several such amendments on that topic made in the recent past.

MacKay said Wyoming game officials are in “the best position to manage the state’s wildlife.”

MacKay said the state is fully prepared to take over management of the wolf population should anything come of the amendment.

“We have a track record that shows we do it well,” he said.

Wolves in Wyoming have been under federal protection since September 2014 when a federal judge took away state management authority.

An environmental group that successfully sued Wyoming over the issue sent out a statement following Friday’s bid to guarantee state control of wolf populations to Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The group Earthjustice disagrees with the state’s favorable assessment of its past wolf management policies.

“This is an unfortunate day for wolves,” Drew Caputo, Earthjustice vice-president of litigation for oceans, lands and wildlife, said Friday in the release.

“If enacted, this legislation could prove devastating for the recovery of wolves in the continental United States,” Caputo said. “What’s at stake here is whether wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes will again face the same unregulated killing that nearly wiped them out in the first place.”

Caputo said the vote could damage “the very foundation of the Endangered Species Act, a law that has a 99 percent success rate at pulling species back from the brink of extinction.”

Lummis was one of the amendment’s four sponsors.

At Friday’s hearing Lummis held up a large photo of wolves attacking a mother and calf moose. Shiras’s Moose, she said, are “in rapid decline, and it’s because of these critters.

“The reason that this is a big issue is they’re wiping out the babies,” she said.

She also held up an International Union for Conservation of Nature map showing worldwide wolf population concentrations, saying the wolf is not in decline and is listed by that worldwide group as a species of “least concern.”

Video of Lummis’ remarks is available at http://cs.pn/210uheQ.

The legislation also expands access to hunting and fishing areas on public lands, and extends protections for the use of lead bullets.

The bill also lets hunters import 41 polar bear carcasses shot in Canada before they were declared threatened in 2008 and allows limited imports of ivory from African elephants.

The bill was approved, 242-161, and now goes to the Senate. Twelve Democrats joined 230 Republicans in favor of the measure.

Opponents said the bill would roll back important protections for wolves and other wildlife and undermine international efforts to combat ivory trafficking.

“This legislation,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, “would open up our most pristine protected lands to road-building, motorized vehicles and other activities that undermine the explicit intent of the Wilderness Act.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact John R. Moses at 732-7063 or john@jhnewsandguide.com.

(12) comments

Cody Brinton

Grant you don't have to be in livestock to want control of wolves-- but since you asked I do run cows- I help feed America and the world and private ground-- what do you do ski for a living? What do you give back to society? Do you eat grain vegetables and meat? Where does it come from?

Chad guenter

Cody: Thank you for the increasingly unappreciated, demonized and thankless SERVICE you perform for the people of this country. FOOD seems to be taken for granted by many who couldn't care less where it came from or what it took to produce.

Chad guenter

Great news! One of the few things coming out of DC worth something.

Grant Spellerberg

Why is this great news? Are you in the livestock business?

Chad guenter

I feed my family with GYE elk. The elk numbers since non-native invasive species wolves were transplanted from northern Canada have fallen far and hard. The North Yellowstone Elk herd has been decimated, and the elk here in the south are not far behind.

Re open the hunt on wolves and start hunting grizzlies. They will NOT go "endangered" under regulated seasons.

No, I am not in the livestock business.

Grant Spellerberg

Science shows that wolves do not have an adverse affect on elk populations. In fact the so called wildlife management practice of feeding wild elk shows that there is a negative impact on healthy elk. Also overall there is an overall increase in elk populations in the GYE I recent years. It is highly unlikely that wolves are keeping food off of your table.
There is no need to have open hunting seasons on wolves or Grizzlies.
Check the science not the hype.

Chad guenter

The Northern Yellowstone elk herd has been cut by 80 percent, Mr. Spellerberg. From 20,000 elk to 3,500, wolves did that, and it sure the h--- is adverse.

"Recent years increase in GYE elk populations"...................Is due to wolf hunting in MT, ID., and WY before it was halted. PERIOD.

The wolves AND the grizzlies are not endangered, the populations of both predators must be managed.

I don't hunt moose, but I love watching them. Mr. Spellerberg do you realize that the moose population is in far worse condition than the elk? Do moose matter to you or are they expendable?

Jay Westemeier

Instead of just being content with legislative results that they support, some people continue to fill this web site with naïve and fact-less claims. Since they belong to an increasingly diminished and vast minority group of people that support their point of view on predators, some seem intent on continuing a campaign to antagonize anyone with an opposing position. Yes, we've all heard bogus claims time and time again from some hunters that they need elk to feed their families. That claim will never hold water with any intelligent person unless these hunters are permanently unemployed and living in a cave somewhere with their computers. I find it funny that some of these people have so much computer time available when they are supposedly struggling so much to put elk on their tables.

Chad guenter

Mr. Westemeier: Thank you for illustrating so well the collectivist mindset that enabled the "greatest" leaders of the 20th century to do their job. Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pot, could have never gotten the job done without millions "IN THE MAJORITY" who thought just like you.

Have faith Jay(I'm sure you do), I believe your "majority" is winning. Soon enough, hunting elk will end in the Tetons/GYE, Shiras Moose will not exist, and wolves and Grizzlies will turn to human tourists out of starvation.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! The "majority" wins!!!!!!

John Reed

Among other egregious things, "the bill allows limited imports of ivory from African elephants." Who drafted this bill, Satan?

Howard Bradley

I think we're also allowed to own up to two slaves as well as part of that bill.

It wouldn't be less believable...

Grant Spellerberg

How pathetic! This will undo in less time what took years to repair. The Feds clearly in someone's pocket.

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