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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gianforte directs wildlife managers to develop a new wolf management plan

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has directed wildlife officials to develop a new wolf management plan. The plan will guide every aspect of state decisions on the species.

Gianforte said now is the right time to update Montana’s 20-year-old wolf management plan in light of public and legislative engagement regarding the species.

At the time it was written, wolves were an endangered species and overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The state’s 2003 plan outlined everything from estimating population numbers and locating packs to how to address and minimize wolf-livestock conflict.

When the Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves was removed from the endangered species list in 2011, federal authority of wolves ended. Management was turned over to the state, which can now create plans for hunting and trapping wolves.

It is now up to Fish Wildlife and Parks Director Hank Worsech to respond to the governor’s directions and begin the public scoping and comment process.

Wolves are the latest in a list of species including elk and grizzly bears whose management plans are being updated by the state.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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