Wyoming wins back its wolves, management returned to state

Wildlife biologist Ken Mills examines wolf from Lava Mountain Pack in 2014. (Mark Gocke, WGFD)

WYOMING – The Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC today entered its final order upholding Wyoming’s wolf management plan which confirms Wyoming’s management of wolves. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will file notice in the Federal Register in the coming days.

Governor Matt Mead hailed the decision as a win for Wyoming and a product of determined effort.

“I am delighted that the Circuit Court recognized Wyoming’s commitment to manage a recovered wolf population,” Mead said. “Our wolf management plan is a result of years of hard work by people across Wyoming. We recognize the need to maintain a healthy wolf population. I thank former Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell, as well as former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for their commitment to getting this done. This is a good day for Wyoming.”

Wyoming’s senior senator in DC, Mike Enzi added, “This order means a lot to the state of Wyoming and brings wolf conservation back to where it belongs. It is Wyoming wildlife managers who know best how to manage Wyoming’s wildlife. I applaud all those who have worked so hard with stakeholders and the federal government over the years to create an effective and balanced wolf management plan.”

Wyoming managed wolves within its borders from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, a federal District Court judge reinstated federal protections for wolves on the premise that population commitments in Wyoming’s wolf management plan needed to be found in regulation or statute. Wyoming and the federal government appealed that decision and ultimately prevailed in the DC Circuit Court.