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DWR biologists hope for wolf delisting

Delisting would allow biologists to balance wolves and their prey

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made an announcement today that could lead to the state of Utah managing gray wolves that make their way to Utah.

Wolf watches biologists in Yellowstone National Park.

Today, the USFWS announced that a rule to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species list will be placed in the Federal Register for comment.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Today, the USFWS announced that a rule to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species (ES) list will be placed in the Federal Register for comment. The rule should be in the register no later than June 10. Once the rule is posted, comments will be accepted for 90 days.

You can read the USFWS's announcement, and read more about gray wolves in the United States, at the USFWS website.

Reaction in Utah

John Shivik, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says gray wolves in North America are doing really well. He supports the USFWS's recommendation to remove gray wolves from the ES list.

"Now that the species is recovered," Shivik says, "the focus needs to shift. If wolves make their way to Utah, balancing the number of wolves with the amount of prey that's available to them needs to be the focus."

Protecting livestock is also a concern. "If wolves start to establish themselves in Utah," he says, "they'll likely come into conflict with livestock. We need to be prepared for that too."

Shivik says gray wolves have wandered into Utah from time to time. Currently, however, biologists aren't aware of any wolves in the state.

"When wolves do make their way here," he says, "we need to have the ability to manage them."

If wolves are removed from the ES list, any wolves that make their way to Utah would be managed under the state's Wolf Management Plan. You can read the plan by downloading the PDF online.

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