|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||February 7, 2012|
|Contact:||Sharon Mader, Grand Teton Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, (O) 307-733-4680, (C) 307-690-5245, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Billington, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, (O) 202-419-3717, (C) 202-384-8894, email@example.com
Administration Opens Door to Wolf Hunting in Wyoming National Park Unit
JACKSON HOLE, WY — A plan brokered by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the state of Wyoming could allow for an unprecedented wolf hunt in the John D. Rockefeller (JDR) Parkway, a 24,000 acre unit of the national park system that serves as a vital link for wildlife between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is calling for DOI to secure changes in Wyoming’s wolf plan to prohibit wolf hunting and state wolf control inside all national park units in Wyoming before wolves are removed from Endangered Species Act protections.
“National parks are supposed to provide sanctuary and refuge for wildlife,” said NPCA Grand Teton Program Manager Sharon Mader. “The Administration is opening the door to wolf hunting in a national park unit immediately after this iconic species is removed from the ‘endangered’ list. These are the same wolves that Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park visitors have enjoyed viewing for years and have become a mainstay attraction in our national parks.”
The recovery of the gray wolf in the northern Rockies is one of the America’s great conservation success stories. The DOI has proposed to remove the wolf in Wyoming from the Endangered Species list, but has given preliminary approval of a state plan that permits the hunting of wolves in the JDR Parkway, which connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
“Allowing a hunt in a national park immediately following the delisting of the wolf would be a black mark in what has otherwise been a positive conservation record for the Administration,” said Tim Stevens NPCA’s Northern Rockies Regional Director. “Fortunately, there is still time to correct this major problem by excluding all NPS lands in Wyoming from the possibility of a wolf hunt.”
Both Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway are identified as inside Wyoming’s ‘Trophy Game Management Area’ boundaries that would be subject to a hunt in the state’s wolf management plan. While the NPS and state have clarified they do not anticipate hunting wolves within Grand Teton, both have made it clear that a wolf hunt within the Parkway could be considered. In addition, recent statements by the state of Wyoming indicate they have not given up on killing wolves on 1,400 acres of state-owned land within the boundaries of Grand Teton.
“The JDR Parkway is a critical corridor connecting the Yellowstone and Grand Teton wolves,” noted Mader. “The state plan already excludes Yellowstone from wolf hunting and we are calling for them to do the same for the JDR Parkway and Grand Teton.”
“Our national parks are supposed to be a safe haven for our iconic wildlife, not a free fire zone,” said Stevens. “If this decision stands, the Administration is creating unnecessary problems for many years to come and this problem can and must be fixed before the delisting rule is finalized.”