Wolf injunction denied
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
September 14, 2009
The federal judge in Montana considering the environmental and animal rights advocates' request for an injunction to halt wolf hunting seasons in Idaho and Montana has denied their request.
The court ruling is based on the legal standard of irreparable harm. The court ruled that while individual wolves may be harmed, the population will not. The court noted: "assuming that the taking of a single animal is not the standard, there is no basis to find irreparable harm that would justify a preliminary injunction in this case."
But the judge, Donald Molloy, indicated that the environmentalists will probably eventually win the lawsuit, based on the claim that it was improper to delist wolves in two of the three states that constitute the distinct population segment.
The court noted: "Having done so, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cannot delist part of the species below the level of the distinct population segment (DPS) without running afoul of the clear language of the Endangered Species Act."
"Finally, even if the Service was permitted to delist only a part of a DPS like it has done here, it cannot do so in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The Service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science. That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious.
"The Plaintiffs, at this early stage, have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits."