(ENDANGERED SPECIES) – Conservationists are already fighting the shortsighted decision to delist gray wolves with a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. Despite its endangered species status, the gray wolf population is not fully recovered. With wolf hunts being planned within hours of the delisting announcement, conservationists are acting as quickly as possible to save the targeted wolves. – Global Animal
Molly-Marie Canales, Global Animal
Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians today filed suit in federal court in Montana against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for delisting wolves in Montana, Idaho, and portions of Utah, Washington, and Oregon.
The decision to remove gray wolves’ protected status from the endangered species act was announced yesterday, leaving at least 5,500 wolves susceptible to attack.
Public wolf hunts are already planned this fall in Montana and Idaho, and Montana officials are proposing a 220 wolf quota for their first hunt since 2009–up from the 75 wolf quota stated in that year. According to Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore, the state is now in charge of all aspects of what he calls wolf management.
“We believe there is still enough snow on the ground that we can pursue those animals via aerial gunning and try to reduce those numbers,” Virgil told The Lewiston Tribune.
Michael Markarian of the Humane Society retorts, “Not only did the White House and Congress sign off on eliminating federal species protection by legislative fiat, but now it appears that federal wildlife agents will actually be the ones to conduct the shooting of wolves from aircraft.”
Groups against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service say that the wolf delisting rider can not simply outweigh the Endangered Species act. The rider reinstates a 2009 wolf delisting rule that was already determined illegal in August 2010 by Montana Federal Judge Donald Molloy.
“We are doing all we can to hold back the tide of wolf-killing in Montana, Idaho, and elsewhere in the Northern Rockies,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “This ecologically important species is being unfairly targeted out of ignorance and intolerance and now lacks a federal shield from killing.”
“Congress has never before delisted species from the Endangered Species list. There is a well-established legal process that applies to every other species. Congress simply should not get into the business of making decisions over which of our nation’s imperiled animals and plants will and will not get protection,” said Michael Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.
“We’re back in court for two reasons,” concluded Garrity. “First and foremost, it’s to continue to protect wolves from indiscriminate slaughter. Second, someone has to stand up when the basic tenets of our government are under attack by unscrupulous politicians and that would be the Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians.”