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Group asks feds to ban wolf hunting in parkway

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm •  Published: May 15, 2013

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A conservation group filed a petition on Wednesday asking the National Park Service to place an area between Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks off-limits to wolf hunting.

The petition by the National Parks Conservation Association called on the park service to start a formal rulemaking process and ultimately ban wolf-hunting in the 24,000-acre John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.

The group believes it was an oversight for the federal government to approve inclusion of the area in the larger designated wolf trophy hunting zone in Wyoming, said Sharon Mader, Grand Teton program manager with the association in Jackson.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved the boundaries of the trophy hunting zone when it ended federal protections for Wyoming wolves last year.

"Our efforts with this petition are to essentially correct that oversight," Mader said

The association doesn't believe it's appropriate for wolves to be hunted on national park lands.

"The hunting of an animal just fresh off the endangered species list in a national park unit is really just unprecedented," she said.

Renny MacKay, spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, said the governor would have no comment until he evaluates the petition. However, it appears likely Wyoming will ultimately oppose the association's push to make the parkway off-limits.

Many Wyoming ranchers and sportsmen believe wolves have taken an unacceptable toll on other wildlife and livestock since the federal government reintroduced them in Yellowstone in the mid-1990s.

Wyoming is currently fighting two federal lawsuits, one in Cheyenne and the other in Washington, D.C., brought by conservation groups challenging the federal government's decision to turn over wolf management to the state.

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