Details of the wolf decision
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
July 18, 2008
The federal court ruling this afternoon was on a motion for a preliminary injunction, which sought to have federal protections for wolves reinstituted while the full case is heard in court. The judge approved the injunction, noting: "In my view, Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the majority of the claims relied upon in their request for a preliminary injunction.
"In particular, (1) the Fish & Wildlife Service acted arbitrarily in delisting the wolf despite a lack of evidence of genetic exchange between subpopulations; and (2) it acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it approved Wyoming’s 2007 plan despite the State’s failure to commit to managing for 15 breeding pairs and the plan’s malleable trophy game area. In both instances, the Fish & Wildlife Service altered its earlier position without providing a reasoned decision for the change based on identified new information."
The court also noted: "Plaintiffs have also shown a significant possibility of irreparable injury. More wolves will be killed under state management than were killed when ESA protections were in place. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming each have public wolf hunts scheduled for this fall. Additionally, he states’ defense of property laws permit the killing of wolves in more circumstances than defense of property regulations under the ESA.
"Because Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of several of their claims and the possibility of irreparable injury, their motion for a preliminary injunction is granted. The limited preliminary relief will reinstate ESA protections for the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf to ensure the species is not imperiled during the pendency of this lawsuit."