Published this 1 day ago
In September of last year, a federal court ordered that gray wolves are to be relisted as an endangered species in Wyoming. In Wyoming, wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act until 2009, when they were delisted. The reason for the court's decision was that Wyoming was not following the rules laid out by the federal government for wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Specifically, the federal government stipulated that a minimum of 150 wolves would be maintained by the Wyoming in areas outside of YNP.
Instead, Wyoming lowered the minimum to 100 animals, and allowed a "shoot on sight"management plan for wolves in the majority of the state; i.e., unlimited hunting of wolves. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the decision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow Wyoming to manage it's wolves according to a non-binding agreement was "arbitrary and capricious," and placed Wyoming's wolves back under the protection of the ESA.
Generally, this is good news for wolves in Wyoming, however, some groups have vowed to overturn this decision. Hopefully, the federal government and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will step in to make sure that Wyoming's wolves are better protected in the future, either by negotiating a new state wolf management plan, or (better) by continued protection via the ESA.