Gray wolves regain federal protections under Endangered Species Act
On August 5, 2010, a federal judge overturned a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), paving the way for these critical predators to rebuild their numbers to ecologically sustainable levels. This ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought against the FWS in 2009 by Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation organizations.
After Defenders of Wildlife led efforts to restore the gray wolf population in the Northern Rockies in 1995, this great success was dealt a serious setback when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved a plan from the Bush administration era to delist gray wolves from the ESA. Once off the list, the wolves were quickly approved for hunting in Idaho and Montana, where more than 350 wolves—almost 20% of the total population—were killed in 2009.
Defenders of Wildlife is a national leader in efforts to save America’s wolves. In addition to suing the government to relist the species, we’re working proactively with livestock owners to prevent conflicts, countering anti-wolf rhetoric in the media and mobilizing activists in support of a science-based approach to wolf management.
One of the immediate impacts of the ruling is that the hunting seasons in Montana and Idaho, originally planned to begin this fall, will be canceled.
While this court ruling is a great win for wolves, many challenges remain. There will undoubtedly be some people who oppose this decision. Defenders will continue to work hard in all our efforts mentioned above to ensure the wolves have a lasting future in the region.
At a broader level, we also need a new approach to delisting endangered species so similar ill-advised decisions can be avoided in the future. Our wildlife’s survival cannot be left to the whim of short-term political goals.
Defenders is committed to the long-term survival of the Northern Rockies wolves and other imperiled wildlife. We will continue to work in the field, in the courts and in Washington to ensure healthy, interconnected populations and ecosystems.
- Defenders of Wildlife, Defenders of Wolves (animals.change.org)
- More Dead Wolves… (howlingforjustice.wordpress.com)
- Wolf bills unlikely to advance before Congress adjourns (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Wolves Protected by One Federal Agency, Killed by Another (animals.change.org)
- Conservationists Intervene in Lawsuit to Protect Mexican Gray Wolves (greenreview.blogspot.com)
- Protecting Wolves Through Awareness (animals.change.org)
- URGENT: Congress Takes Aim at Wolves (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- Anti-Wolf Hate Speech Inflames Greater Yellowstone (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- APNewsBreak: Idaho won’t manage wolves under ESA (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Study Shows Why Hunting Wolves is Overkill (animals.change.org)