Will the Wolf Survive?
Good news today in the West.
Tuesday U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy signed an order in Missoula, Montana, that reinstates the gray wolf’s status on the Endangered Species list. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
had delisted the wolf in February of this year.
What led to this unfortunate situation is best described elsewhere, but basically the Feds are trying to move control of restored wolves back to the states. Over the last few years, they have tried to get the three states involved, Utah, Montana and Wyoming, to come up with individual plans to deal with future wolf populations. These efforts that have mostly fruitless because, especially in Wyoming, the management/hunting plan would guarantee that wolf numbers would plummet back to the minimum required levels as quickly as possible.
The governor of Utah publicly proclaimed he would be at the front of the line to kill the first wolf of the new hunting season. Wyoming made it legal to kill a wolf anywhere, anytime, for any reason, in 90 percent of the state – everywhere except in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Two hundred and twenty five of the estimated 1200-1500 U.S. wolves have died already this year.
This is protection? Several environmental groups, whose only recourse in a situation like this, is in the courts, sued the federal government because state’s management plans obviously wouldn’t sustain wolf populations. Judge Molloy saw the Wyoming plan for what it was and ruled accordingly.
I can understand the government’s desire to get wolves under state jurisdiction and be able to call wolf reintroduction an Endangered Species Act victory. But until it can force the states to create sensible management plans that guarantee the wolf’s present and future place in their ecosystems, the wolves will need to remain under federal protection.