Wildlife officials in several states are seeking a greater role in the management of wolf populations. State officials say federal oversight is unnecessary and redundant.
Redundant Federal Oversight
Federal Fish and Wildlife Service officials are considering whether to remove wolves from national endangered species list protections, and are focusing on regions in Washington and Oregon.
"We don't see a real need for continued federal protections when the state protections are there," said Dave Ware, Washington state game division manager,” according to the Seattle Times on Aug. 27.
Tim L. Hiller, a coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, agreed.
“It seems very redundant to have a regulatory process at the state and federal level for that portion of Oregon,” the Seattle Times article quoted him as saying.
Federal wildlife officials say they are taking into consideration the opinions of state wildlife officials.
“We are looking at a classification of wolves across the United States, including in the Pacific Northwest. Some of these have already been delisted,… and we are reviewing to determine whether we should have them all delisted, or keep them as endangered or threatened,” Joan Jewett, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Pacific Region, told Environment & Climate News.
Roaming Wolf Packs
Confusion over how to treat roving wolf populations is in part driving federal research, Jewett said.
“We have wolves in portions of Oregon and Washington that have been dispersed from part of Idaho, where they’re delisted,” she said. “But if the wolf crosses [into another state], it would be considered endangered. So this impacts how people can respond to that [wolf]. It makes a difference.”
As wolf populations increase, so do the chances of wolves roaming across state lines, she noted.
Ranchers Fear Cattle Losses
For ranchers, the issue is contentious and crucial.
“We’re getting to the point that the population is expanding,” said Paul Guppy, vice president for resear