In a move lauded by Wyoming’s Republican Congressional delegation, the management of the gray wolf in Yellowstone will be handed over to Wyoming wildlife experts.

According to a release from the delegation, the new rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, August 31, specifies that Wyoming must maintain at least 10 breeding pairs and 100 individual wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  The release went on to say that the transfer of management responsibility from the federal government to the state of Wyoming highlights the full recovery of the wolf, and ensures a viable wolf population into the future under the authority of Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department.

“We’ve spent many years trying to work out a balanced plan,” said Wyoming’s senior U.S. Senator Senator Mike Enzi. “Two of which have been rejected. This plan is the result of hard work by two governors, the legislature and the delegation. Wyoming should be in charge of Wyoming’s wildlife. There is still plenty of room in Yellowstone for the federal government to do its job and manage wolves.”

Enzi went on to say that he expects wolf advocates to bring a lawsuit against the decision.

Wyoming’s junior U.S. Senator, John Barrasso, also praised the move, saying: “I appreciate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working with the state to produce a plan that delists the wolf and leaves its management in the capable hands of Wyoming’s wildlife officials.”

Not everyone is pleased with the decision, Dr. Sylvia Fallon, Senior Scientist and Wildlife Conservation Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that the recovery numbers were too low.  Dr. Fallon posted on her blog Friday:

“Normally, the ‘recovery’ of a species from the endangered species list is something to celebrate, but in this case, it’s just one more disappointing move on the part of the Service – one that turns back the progress of one of our best conservation success stories.”

A recent poll posted by Townsquare affiliates in Laramie showed that nearly 59% of respondents said that the federal government should end protection for the gray wolf.

According to an Associated Press story released earlier this month, some environmental groups say they plan to review the final wolf delisting rule carefully and that legal challenges are likely over the state’s plan to classify wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in most areas.

There are currently about 270 wolves in the state outside Yellowstone.