The Wyoming Game and Fish Department's top official said the state may have to pay up to $200,000 a year for efforts to restore wolves in America's northern Rockies.

Interim Director John Talbott said the money could be spent on equipment and staff members to respond to complaints made by ranchers who claim livestock losses caused by the wolves.The federal government is reintroducing 14 wolves in Yellowstone National Park as an endangered species, but ranchers and others worry that the animals will stray outside of the park and prey on their livestock.

One of the 15 wolves released last month in central Idaho was shot less than two weeks later after it attacked a calf on private ranch land south of Salmon.

Talbott said because of questions about the scope and use of federal funds, money to monitor complaints may have to come from the state. He said that the money may have to come from his department, which is funded by hunters and anglers.

"We've had some (federal) guarantees on funding," said Talbott. "But funding from the wolf program is all somewhat in question."

Talbott said Wyoming will have some say on how monitoring will work, but because the wolves are classified as an endangered species, the state will have less management flexibility than it does with other animals.

Talbott said the state doesn't yet have a management plan because of all the litigation that surrounds the release of the wolves. Those lawsuits coupled with other discussions at the state and federal level has kept the state from putting time and personnel into developing a plan until the issues are worked out, Talbott said.

Eventually, Talbott said, he expects the plan to map out where the state will manage the wolves and which group will be responsible for monitoring livestock losses. He also says he would like to see more information placed into the wolf reintroduction plan regarding livestock losses.