WOLVES BACK UNDER US FEDERAL PROTECTION
In a victory for the gray wolves of the northern Rockies, a United States federal judge today granted conservationists' request to stop the slaughter of wolves and reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections.
The lawsuit brought on by Earthjustice, a coalition of wolf advocates including Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of violating the Endangered Species Act by removing wolves in Idaho and Montana from the list of threatened and endangered species.
“This decision will halt the planned fall hunting seasons in both states, and tens of thousands of hunters will not have an opportunity to pursue and kill wolves in the region. Together with an HSUS-led courtroom victory over the Service’s attempt to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region last summer, [the]…decision means gray wolves are listed under the Endangered Species Act throughout the contiguous United States, and that hunting of this species is now canceled nationwide.” Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President and CEO.
To add to the win, HSUS and Earthjustice also argued against the government’s conservation policy that 300 wolves adequately represented a recovered population and ignored strong scientific opinion which states 2000-5000 as a more legitimate number for securing the health of the region’s populations. The court further ruled that the federal government illegally subdivided the northern Rockies wolf population, eliminating federal protections for the vast majority of the region's wolves even while acknowledging that they remain endangered by Wyoming law.
"This decision is great news for wolves in the northern Rockies, and a strong rebuke for those who would rather see wolves persecuted than protected," said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation with The Humane Society of the United States. "The government's decision to delist wolves would have led to widespread killings by trophy hunters, undermined wildlife conservation, and set the stage for the hunting and trapping of other imperiled species.”