I’m sending out a big hug and kiss to U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula, Montana. Friday he granted a preliminary injunction restoring endangered-species protection to gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The federal government had stripped the wolves of their protected status in March.
There has been an intense effort by environmentalists over the last ten years to reintroduce gray wolves to the Northern Rockies. Where once wolves had completely disappeared, there are now an estimated 2,000, hardly an overwhelming number in an area so large. Yet the three northern states were all planning hunts this fall that would have killed hundreds of the wolves.
For wolves, or any species, to survive, a certain biologically critical population is necessary. If their numbers fall below that level, the species cannot reproduce fast enough and dies out. The gray wolf population is still too low to survive in the face of organized hunting. And that doesn’t include all the isolated deaths that occur when lone wolves in fringe areas are killed by hostile cattlemen.
We can only hope that Judge Molloy understands this as he contemplates whether to make his injunction permanent.
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