MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and 18 other conservation organizations have submitted a joint letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of delisting gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Delisting would remove gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List and turn management over to state wildlife agencies.
Read the full letter by clicking here or pasting the following URL into your browser:
“The 19 organizations that signed onto the letter represent millions of outdoorsmen and conservationists. We’re gratified that they share our concern about wolves in the northern Rockies,” said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Wolf populations are well above federal recovery goals and it’s time to manage them like other game animals.”
He added, “This letter is another way for us to express our longstanding support of state-based wolf management. It’s a system that works for elk, deer, turkeys, bears, cougars and other keystone species, and it will work for wolves, too.”
Allen urged Elk Foundation members and others to make their voices heard individually by contacting their state and federal legislators.
The letter, submitted within a recent public comment period on the issue, also offered six conservation principles to help guide the actions of federal and state agencies.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.4 million acres—a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.
TEXT from the Letter is as Follows:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: RIN 1018-Au53
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203
November 28, 2008
The wildlife conservation organizations listed below represent the interests of millions of sportsmen and women from across America. We appreciate the complexities in delisting the Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. We submit these comments in response to the Federal Register notice published on October 28, 2008 at 73 Fed. Reg. 63926.
We support delisting this population and offer the following six principles to guide the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies.
1. When wolf populations meet scientific viability criteria for recovery they no longer require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). They should be de-listed if recovery plan goals are met and where regulatory mechanisms are in place to adequately manage the species.
2. After the wolf is de-listed, scientifically sound wolf management programs administered by state wildlife agencies should maintain sustainable wolf populations to preclude the need to re-list under the ESA.
3. Reflecting the success of other historic hunter/conservationist-led species recovery programs, wolves should be managed as big game animals in areas designated for wolf occupancy and wolf seasons should be regulated by the states.
4. Where and when hunting is deemed appropriate under state regulations, methods used by hunters must conform to Fair Chase principles.
5. When classified as game animals, wolf populations should be maintained in accordance with the biological and cultural carrying capacities of the habitats they occupy.
6. Management of individual wolves and wolf populations should also recognize the need to balance management objectives with respect for private property and human well-being.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this significant regulatory action. Please note that the organizations and individual members of the hunting and sustainable use conservation community may separately submit their own comments in response to the de-listing proposal.
Boone and Crockett Club Campfire Club of America
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Conservation Force
Dallas Safari Club Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
Houston Safari Club Mule Deer Foundation
National Shooting Sports Foundation National Trappers Association
National Wild Turkey Federation Pope & Young Club
Quality Deer Management Association Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Ruffed Grouse Society Safari Club International
Sand County Foundation Texas Wildlife Association
Wildlife Management Institute