The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation strongly supports the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the list of endangered and threatened species. According to the RMEF, the wolf population continues to surge in the western Great Lakes states and Northern Rockies. Spokesman Mark Holyoak explains.

“Through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the announcement was made that wolves have been removed from the list of endangered and threatened species,” Holyoak said. “We of course, strongly support that decision. Those of us who live in the Northern Rockies know that they're recovered. While this particular decision doesn't really affect us, since they're already delisted here, it does impact other states around the country, Washington, Oregon and Colorado. Well, it's really everywhere in the lower 48 states.”

According to Holyoak, Montana’s wolf population is 500 percent above USFWS recovery goals. He also said there are some preconceived notions about this decision.

“There are some people who say, ‘Hey, you know this is more of a political thing’,” said Holyoak. “This is a science thing. This is by professional wildlife managers. They're those that are on the ground. They're utilizing what they see, what they hear, research, and other work that they're involved with. They recognize how populations are stabilized, how they're growing, and in this particular case, where they have been and need to be delisted.”

Holyoak said Montana will form a plan that works best for our population here at home.

“This allows the states, and each state’s plan is different, to be able to handle that situation, how it best works for them and for the overall wildlife population as a whole,” Holyoak said. “It is a tremendous benefit to allow a state to be able to carry out the management functions in a way that benefit all wildlife.”

According to RMEF, there are also 7,000 to 11,000 wolves in Alaska and approximately 60,000 in Canada.