Environment

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Environmental Groups Sue to Keep the Gray Wolf Endangered

April 29, 2008 02:12 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Fearing that the gray wolf will be devastated by unchecked hunting, activists are suing the U.S. government for taking the species off the endangered list.

30-Second Summary

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On March 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service removed the gray wolves living in the northern Rockies from the endangered species list.  The move means that the state governments of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are now responsible for managing the animals.

The delisting came after complaints from ranchers that the wolves had been attacking and killing their livestock. 

However, environmental and animal rights groups say those states don't have adequate laws to protect the wolves. As a result, a dozen environmental groups sued the federal government Monday to reverse the delisting.

Since the gray wolves were placed on the endangered species list in 1972, and 66 wolves were reintroduced to central Idaho and the Yellowstone National Park area in 1995, the population has risen to approximately 1,500 wolves.

State officials argue that they can maintain wolf populations despite the fact that in many areas the animals can now be shot at will.

In fact, wolf coordinator for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Carolyn Sime suggests that “public hunting will develop a strong hunter constituency that advocates for wolves politically and helps protect and improve habitat, just as hunters do now for other animals like deer, elk and mountain lions,” according to Rocky Mountain online news source NewWest.net.

But opponents to the delisting contend that unchecked hunting will undo the monumental gains and return the species to the brink of extinction. The Center for Biological Diversity says, “The states have failed to keep track of recent wolf killings and also neglected to secure funding for essential monitoring and conservation efforts.”

Headline Link: ‘Hunters, Activists Face-off Over Wolf Hunts’

Background: The road to the lawsuit

Opinion & Analysis: The pros and cons of delisting the gray wolf

Against delisting
For delisting

Reference: Defenders of Wildlife

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