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Wyoming wolf management plan divides locals

[large thumbnail url=”wyoming-wolf-management-plan-divides-locals” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”08″ day=”10″] [thumbnail icon url=”wyoming-wolf-management-plan-divides-locals” filename=”news” year=”2011″ month=”08″ day=”10″] Cheyenne, Wyo. (Associated Press) – Just about everyone in western Wyoming agrees things will change if a long-awaited wolf agreement between the federal government and the state is approved.

But there are drastically different viewpoints from local residents about whether the area will benefit from or be hurt by the plan, which would remove the state’s roughly 340 wolves from the endangered species list and put them under state control.

Ranchers and outfitters say state management of wolves, which would allow unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state, can’t come soon enough. Wolves have killed off their livestock and decimated moose and elk herds in the region, they say, and the federal government has, until now, prevented them from doing anything about it.

But Teton County officials and business leaders worry that allowing wolf killings would generate bad publicity and hurt the region’s vitally important tourism business. There are also concerns about how wise it is to allow unregulated wolf shootings in southern Teton County, where once-wild areas are being converted into subdivisions.

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