A Great Victory for Northern Rockies Wolves
Wolves protected again!
FWS voluntarily removes delisting rule
According to recent statements by senior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officials, FWS intends to rescind its own wolf delisting rule - issued in March - sometime this week. This will place the Northern Rockies gray wolf back under federal protections.
This action comes on the heels of a decision in July by the U.S. District Court in Missoula granting a request by a coalition of twelve conservation groups for a preliminary injunction, which temporarily placed wolves back under federal protection. The court determined that plaintiffs were likely to prevail against FWS on its claims that delisting was premature because of concerns regarding genetic isolation and the adequacy of state management plans. FWS now intends to ask the court to remand the issue to FWS so it can reconsider its delisting decision.
This is a great victory for wolf conservation in the Northern Rockies and everyone working for wolf conservation.
We're extremely pleased that the Fish and Wildlife Service has finally bowed to reality by recognizing that there are serious scientific and legal problems underlying their delisting rule – as biologists and conservation groups have said since this flawed delisting rule was proposed, and which the federal court clearly recognized this summer.
This action is vital for the continued survival of wolves in the region. The delisting of wolves was inappropriate and illegal in large part because existing state management plans are inadequate to ensure the long term conservation of wolves in the region, allowing far too many wolves to be unnecessarily killed.
We are glad the wolves are back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act and we hope that the next administration will put politics aside when making wolf management decisions, instead making them based on sound science and the participation of all interested stakeholders.
We hope that the state agencies will take this opportunity to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups to revisit their plans and put the long term conservation of wolves in the wild in the forefront of future wolf management efforts. If they do, we are confident that agreement can be reached on science-based responsible, balanced management plans that will benefit wolves, ranchers, hunters, Northern Rockies residents and all Americans who care deeply about wildlife conservation.