By Barbara Kessler

Wonder how the gray wolves are faring since they were “delisted” from gray-wolf.jpgprotection under the Endangered Species Act? One of the three Rocky Mountain states with a significant gray wolf population, Idaho, is having meetings to determine the rules for the hunting of the wolves this fall.

But Defenders of Wildlife, which has toiled many years trying to help the wolves survive and live in relative harmony with ranchers, complains that officials haven’t set a meeting in Boise, the state’s capitol and largest city. The group alleges this is part of the state’s plan to keep a low public profile as it arranges to for hunters to take 328 wolves of an estimated population of just over 700.

Defenders calls this an excessive number of targeted wolves, and observes that Idaho showed its cards on the issue when it passed a state law (signed by Gov. Butch Otter the day of delisting) that allows people, not just hunters, to kill wolves for “…annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.”

Apparently the canines can still dress in sheep’s clothing, as long as they don’t do it in a “worrying” way.

Defenders maintains a blog, My Yellowstone Wolves, where you can read more. Defenders, the National Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups oppose efforts to reduce the population of America’s Rocky Mountain Gray Wolves, though not necessarily the hunting of the wolves.

The environmental groups advocate a wolf management plan that preserves a viable population of the wolves. Representatives from the three states, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, however, have vowed that their hunting levels will be reasonable and will allow the area’s population of some 1,500 total wolves to survive. For more details on why the gray wolves were delisted on March 28, see our March story.

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