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April 09, 2008

Wednesday at the Conference

The last full day of wolf presentations has wrapped up.

The morning was largely focused on delisting, with a panel including statements from Peggy Struhsacker with NRDC, Ralph Maughan with the Wolf Recovery Foundation, Carolyn Sime with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and our own Mike Leahy. The panel touched on many of the issues already discussed at the conference including the adequacy of the state management plans, interpreting specific language in the ESA, delisting rule, and Idaho's new bill, connectivity, and long-term recovery concerns.

The afternoon was more focused on in-depth scientific analysis of gene connectivity, population structure, and movements, prey and habitat selection.

David Ausband of the University of Montana presented his research regarding methods of keeping track of wolf population in the Northern Rockies post-delisting. His research and varied techniques are particularly important given that with federal protections removed, so are federal monitoring dollars that were previously used to gauge overal wolf population health.

The evening was full of festivities including the awards banquet where Rick Williamson of USDA Idaho Wildlife Services was presented with the "Alpha Award" for his many years of dedication and hard work on behalf of wolves in the Northern Rockies.

The night wrapped-up with an energetic live auction where various items were sold -- all proceeds going towards funding continued proactive efforts in the region.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last day of the conference - we will keep you updated.

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