Report indicates wolf populations recovering, may no longer need protection

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-04 21:33:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggests wolf populations have recovered to a point that they no longer need to be protected by the Endangered Species List.

Utah ranchers question why wolves were on the list in the first place, and now they said it’s time to pull them from the list.

Rancher Wallace Schulthess, who lives near the Utah/Wyoming border, sees wolves causing problems from time-to-time. He said it could turn into a problem if wolf numbers keep increasing.

"I think they've done a pretty good job of being re-introduced, the numbers are certainly there,” Schulthess said. "The trouble with the ESA is when they lift something they never put a total number on it, so how do you know when it's fully recovered? With the numbers we are seeing now, it's time to do something, turn it back to the states.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just released numbers that show the wolf population continues to grow. The report shows the recovery levels are significant enough that the wolves may no longer need protection. The report shows there are nearly 1,700 wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain area -- the goal was 450 wolves.

"They are definitely over their numbers by a long ways as far as protecting the species. So I don't see a need to continue to protect them," Schulthess said.

Schulthess wants to see the state take over wolf management, now that the federal government has reached its goal.

Click the links below for more details on the data:

Gray Wolf Recovery

Western Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains