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IDFG commission suspends wolf species management plan

| December 16, 2010 8:00 PM

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, in a telephone conference call Wednesday, Dec. 8, suspended Idaho's 2008-2012 species management plan for wolves.

The 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, remains in effect as the foundation for wolf management in the state.

With wolves back on the endangered species list, the 2008 plan is moot, said Clearwater Region Commissioner Fred Trevey. It is uncertain when federal protection will end and Idaho will get back full management authority. It is also unclear what conditions will exist when wolves are delisted.

"Keeping the 2008 plan active during this period of uncertainty does not serve any useful purpose," Trevey said.

The 2008 plan was developed when wolves were delisted for the five-year period during which the Fish and Wildlife Service would monitor progress of the delisted species.

"The 2008 plan was intended as an adaptive implementation plan for a delisted wolf population, as we have for all big game species, but circumstances on the ground have changed," Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said.

The commission called for continued pursuit of wolf control actions under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act for the protection of ungulate herds while wolves remain on the endangered species list.

Commissioners also postponed further consideration of the specifics of day-to-day state management until wolves are delisted. Once wolves are delisted, the commission will direct Fish and Game to revisit wolf management, consistent with the state's 2002 wolf plan.

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