Enviros plan to sue over delisting
by Cat Urbigkit
January 16, 2009
The Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club has pledged to sue over the latest FWS wolf delisting rule. In a the press release, Sierra Club stated:
According to today’s delisting rule, wolves will be removed from federal protection in Idaho and Montana, but not in Wyoming, as Wyoming lacks a science-based management plan that will ensure long-term sustainability of wolf populations. The division of a wolf population according to state lines is not based on science. Additionally, Idaho proposed liberal hunting seasons for wolves and Montana continued to remove wolves at an astonishing rate in 2008.
"This is an attempt to circumvent the protection needed for wolves throughout this region," said Sierra Club representative Melanie Stein. "Removing federal protections for wolves will leave them at the mercy of aggressive state plans that treat wolves as pests rather than a valuable wildlife resource. Releasing yet another flawed delisting rule is simply a last ditch attempt to remove protections for wolves before the Bush administration leaves office."
Wyoming’s management plan still includes a shoot-on-sight zone that comprises nearly 90 percent of the state and serves as a barrier to the migration of wolves in the Northern Rockies. While Wyoming's plan is the worst, wolf management plans for all three states call for aggressive removal of wolves and management for minimum wolf population numbers.
"The decision to remove protections for wolves is premature and inappropriate," said Sierra Club representative Melanie Stein. "Protections for wolves were removed last year and a court found significant problems with the plans to manage wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Little has changed since then and wolf populations could still be slashed by more than half."
These plans could threaten the long-term survival of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies, especially given the genetic isolation of wolves throughout the recovery area. Aggressive wolf-killing practices, coupled with genetic isolation and plans to institute hunts in Idaho and Montana, could push wolf numbers dangerously low and reverse decades of recovery work.
"These aggressive wolf killing practices, coupled with genetic isolation and remature removal of protections, could push wolf numbers dangerously low and reverse decades of recovery work."
The Natural Resources Defense Council didn't have anything good to say about delisting either. It said, "The seemingly piecemeal exclusion of wolves in the state of Wyoming in this new effort undermines efforts to address the needs of wolves and people in the region.
"This move is not viable legally, politically, or biologically," said Andrew Wetzler, Director of NRDC’s Endangered Species Project. "They have actually come up with a strategy that will anger everyone from ranchers and the states, to the conservation community. This simply gets in the way of finding a real solution."