It is with great delight, and even greater relief, that I can write today about the future of wolves in the Northern Rockies. Judge Malloy's decision to grant our request for a Preliminary Injunction came not a moment too soon -- as the last count put more than 91 wolves dead so far since being delisted.
Friday's decision gives critical protections back to wolves at a time when they are in desperate need. The decision also recognizes that the current state management plans - particularly Wyoming's - do not ensure a secure future for wolves in the region - something that we have been saying all along. It is also fortunate timing for the wolves that ESA protections have been restored before the proposed public hunt this coming fall. This hunt would most likely have caused irreparable damage to the existing, and vulnerable, wolf population.
And while everyone at Defenders of Wildlife is extremely relieved, proud and pleased with this recent decision, we realize that we still have work to do. Our legal case, which is being argued on our behalf by the excellent attorneys at Earthjustice, is ongoing. And we hope that Wyoming, Idaho and Montana will now look at their wolf management plans with a more critical eye in light of the Judge's decision. We also plan to continue our efforts in the region to work with livestock owners in utilizing non-lethal deterrents so that wolves and livestock can coexist with minimal conflict.
Friday's decision is an enormously important step in the right direction - ensuring that wolves are managed in a way that is conducive to their continued survival in the region. Defenders is proud to be on the front lines of this fight, and we are grateful to Judge Malloy for recognizing how crucial these protections are at the current time for the gray wolves of the Northern Rockies.