Victory! Wyoming’s Wolves Just Got Federal Protection Back
by Alicia Graef
September 26, 2014
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/victory-wyomings-wolves-just-got-federal-protection-back.html#ixzz3Ec8czGAw
In a victory for gray wolves in Wyoming, a federal judge reinstated federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, which just made life harder for anyone who had their sights set on killing them.
Wyoming had been fighting to get the authority to manage wolves since 2003, but kept getting denied over its failure to come up with a reasonable plan. Unfortunately, the state finally succeeded in 2012 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) determined that their numbers had rebounded enough to take federal protection away.
Under the state’s plan, wolves were declared a trophy-game animal, which allowed for seasonal hunting and trapping, and a predator that could be shot on sight in unlimited numbers in more than 80 percent of the state. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, 219 wolves have been killed under Wyoming’s management since the delisting.
Environmental groups including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity challenged the 2012 ruling in court, arguing that the state’s management plan ultimately failed to ensure their future survival.
“Any state that has a wolf-management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves,” said Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark.
While U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson supported the determination that wolves aren’t in danger of extinction in the state, she ultimately ruled that the state’s plan was inadequate and unenforceable and that it was “arbitrary and capricious” of federal officials to accept it, relying on the state’s nonbonding promises to maintain a particular number of wolves.
“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the northern Rockies.”
According to Reuters, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said the state intends to take the matter to a higher court to block the judge’s order and allow the state to keep its current policies in place, which would include continuing licensed hunting and allowing wolves to be shot on sight, but for now wolves will be safe from the state’s hostility.
This victory comes on the heels of another for wolves in Michigan, following an announcement that its 2014 hunting season would be cancelled. While wolf advocates continue to fight to stop the senseless persecution and ensure this iconic species keeps its rightful place in the wild, we still have to wait and see what will happen with the FWS’ proposal to strip federal protection for gray wolves throughout the U.S., which could be decided later this year.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/victory-wyomings-wolves-just-got-federal-protection-back.html#ixzz3Ec8nF7gL
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