Northern Rockies Wolf Anti-Hunting Case Heard by Judge
Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- A federal judge recently heard arguments on whether gray wolves in Montana and Idaho should again be placed under Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. The case will set a precedent on how wolves and other species are removed from ESA protection in the future.
Judge Donald W. Molloy heard arguments on June 15 from both sides of the debate over the removal of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky area from the Endangered Species List.
A coalition of anti-hunting groups filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) seeking to overturn its decision to remove many of the wolves in the area from ESA protection. The coalition includes 14 groups including the Humane Society of the United States, the largest anti-hunting group in the country, and Defenders of Wildlife who is opposed to science based wolf management efforts.
After exhaustive studies, the FWS decided to remove the Northern Rocky Mountain wolves in Idaho and Montana. The FWS determined that Wyoming, also part of the North Rocky Mountain region, did not have plans to adequately protect its wolf population and kept wolves in Wyoming under ESA protection.
A major point of conflict between the anti-hunting coalition seeking all of the wolves in the region being placed back under ESA protection and FWS revolves around whether the FWS could “split protection” between states. The antis argue that it cannot and that if any of the population is threatened, the entire population must be listed. Attorneys representing the FWS argued that both the Bush and the Obama administrations approved of the delisting and that Congress intended to have flexibility in protecting species under the ESA.
This case, as is the case with the entire wolf reintroduction effort, has been riddled with controversy.
In September, 2009 Judge Molloy refused to block scheduled hunts in Montana and Idaho under their state management plans. However, at the time, Judge Molloy did note that there appeared to be a violation of the ESA when FWS refused to delist the portion of the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf in Wyoming. According to him, “the service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science.” He went on to state, “that, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious.”
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.