Supporters of the proposed reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park say they have so far collected more than 1,400 signatures on petitions calling for an environmental impact statement on the proposal.
Wyoming Wants Wolves spokesman Michael Durgain said the group has been circulating petitions for about three months and the response has been enthusiastic."Surveys show the majority of people in Wyoming support wolf recovery in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and our petition drive confirms this," Durgain said.
Wyoming Wants Wolves member Pat Music said, "Congressman (Wayne) Owens (D-Utah) has introduced a bill that would require the National Park Service to reintroduce wolves in Yellowstone. We want to show that he has popular support for that bill."
The three members of Wyoming's congressional delegation, however, oppose the wolf reintroduction proposal and have worked to block completion of an environmental impact statement on it.
But Durgain said he believes wolf reintroduction will occur with or without the support of Sens. Malcolm Wallop and Alan Simpson and Rep. Dick Cheney.
"It may be too much to expect them to have concern for an endangered species like the gray wolf, but is it out of line to expect them to respect the wishes of the majority of the residents of Wyoming?" he asked. "Ultimately, I believe wolf recovery is as important for us as a species as it is for the wolf."
The petitions will be submitted to the congressmen, said Durgain, adding the drive will continue until the environmental impact statement is completed.