March 11, 2009
Elk Foundation Members Mixed on Salazar Wolf News
FORT WORTH, Texas.—Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement on Friday that wolves would again be delisted in Idaho and Montana drew a roar of approval from a banquet crowd attending the annual convention of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
It also produced groans from Wyomingites whose state was omitted from the decision.
“Overall, it’s good news because two of the three states in the northern Rockies that are most affected are a step closer to the state-regulated hunting seasons they need to manage wolves in concert with other resident wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.
Allen relayed Salazar’s news to Elk Foundation members and supporters at the organization’s annual Elk Camp in Fort Worth, Texas, adding, “We all must continue to work together to see that Wyoming gets the wolf management authority it needs.”
He also noted that activist groups have already promised lawsuits to hinder the progress of conservationists, so resolution could still be some time away.
The federal announcement came less than 48 hours after the Elk Foundation board of directors released a new policy statement that wolf populations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming should now be managed through state-regulated hunting. The official board action was covered by the Associated Press and appeared in news outlets around the West and even USA Today.
Salazar said, “When it was listed as endangered in 1974, the wolf had almost disappeared from the continental United States. Today, we have more than 5,500 wolves, including more than 1,600 in the Rockies.”
Allen said wolves are a concern to the Elk Foundation because of their impacts to local elk herds, elk hunting success and participation, livestock and landowners, rural economies and the organization’s own ability to facilitate collaborative conservation successes in the future.