Reintroduced gray wolves keep protected status
[Please note this article was published in 2008. The budget bill passed by Congress in April 2011 contained a rider that removed wolves from the Endangered Species List. They are no longer protected.]
Here’s an update on an earlier post about the protection of gray wolves in the lower 48 possibly being removed. In July, a judge issued a stay in the case, and postponed his decision until this fall.
According to this release today from the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Administration has dropped its plan to remove the “endangered species” protection the wolves have had.
It made absolutely no sense to allow the slaughter of a species that naturalists had just spent ten years painstakingly reestablishing in its natural habitat. No sense, at least, to logical people. Luckily for the wolves, logic prevailed.
NRDC helps wolves keep endangered species protection. It’s the best possible news! The Bush Administration has just announced it intends to withdraw its plan to strip gray wolves of their endangered species protection in the Northern Rockies. What a huge win for wolves AND for hundreds of thousands of online activists like you who share the credit for this amazing victory!
Let me bring you up to speed. Last March, the Bush Administration declared the Northern Rockies’ wolf population “fully recovered,” then it handed off responsibility for the wolves to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. Just as we predicted, a bloodbath ensued, with 110 wolves slaughtered by state agents and hunters in as many days.
NRDC, Earthjustice and 11 other conservation groups raced to court and won an injunction that put a temporary halt to the killing until the full case could be heard. We fully expected to fight a drawn-out courtroom battle in order to win a permanent victory.
But thanks to the Bush Administration’s surrender, that battle will NOT happen. Instead, the wolves of Yellowstone and the surrounding region will remain protected by federal law.
That means Wyoming, Montana and Idaho will NOT be allowed to begin the extermination of hundreds of wolves this fall as part of a massive public hunt — the first in more than three decades. Instead, those wolves will continue to roam the Rockies — wild and free — as nature and the law intended!
Why did U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials throw in the towel? They had to face up to the fact that their case against wolf protection would never hold up in court. Above all, they ignored the best available science showing that wolf populations had not fully recovered.
In the end, the Administration had little choice but to put its tail between its legs and beat a hasty retreat.
Make no mistake: the fight doesn’t end here. You can be sure the federal government will be back soon enough with a new plan. And the states will learn their lessons and return with yet another scheme for killing wolves.
But you can be equally sure that, with your help, NRDC will stand vigilant, fully prepared to meet and turn back any new and deadly threat.
In the meantime, please join me and all of us here at NRDC in celebrating this red-letter day in the storied history of the Endangered Species Act. It happened because you and thousands of others chose to stand up in defense of embattled wildlife. Thank you!
Natural Resources Defense Council
Note: I do not and never have belonged to the NRDC, nor have I ever contributed to that organization.
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