By Casi Herbst
The grey wolf could be removed from the endangered species list if a new resolution, which will be looked at early this week, passes through the House and Senate.
The proponent of House Bill 157, Rep. Michael Styler, feels the recent population increase of western grey wolves, Canis Lupus, no longer warrants the title of endangered.
He opposes wolves being implemented in Utah, a proposal put forth by Utah State University, and feels there are not enough resources for the wolves in Utah mountains.
He is not alone. Mike Bodenchuk, Utah field director for wildlife services, agrees.
“As a biologist I feel a suitable environment for the wolves is lacking (in Utah),” Bodenchuk said.
Styler feels taking the status of wolves from endangered to protected will give Utah the right to manage wolves.
As it stands the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the right to manage endangered species, and therefore the wolves.
The resolution would mean residents could protect themselves from a wolf if threatened, as a person could shoot a bear or cougar.
Eventually Styler would like to see wolves not listed at all. He would then turn his intent to eliminating them from the state.
If wolves were allowed to stay they would not have enough natural game, and would turn to killing livestock, Bodenchuk said.
“You are going to have to kick livestock off the land to make room for the wolves,” said Bodenchuk.
Bodenchuk said there are no wolves in Utah besides what have been captured, and those wolves were solitary, non-mating wolves, that have wandered to Utah mountains from Yellowstone National Park.
There is some mystery to a wolf-like animal that was captured. It did not have a collar and would then be a wolf produced in the wild. However, that wolf escaped and could have been a coyote.
Styler, on the other hand, is convinced there are more wolves in Utah mountains.