It has been an
eventful year for wolf conservation in the Northern Rockies highlighted by our
lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge wolf delisting on
Constitutional grounds. The court announced its decision earlier this month
and, as most of you know, the court denied our legal challenge meaning that—for
now—and for the foreseeable future wolves won’t be protected by the Endangered
Instead two user groups—ranchers and hunters—that enjoy inordinate political power finally convinced Congress to legislatively delist Northern Rocky Mountain wolves from the Endangered Species Act in April 2011. Sponsored
by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Max Baucus (D-MT), and Representative Mike
Simpson (R-ID-2nd), the delisting legislation passed as a rider on
an unrelated budget bill.
The rider contravened a 2010 court order that relisted the
Northern Rockies population as “threatened” under the Act. Our General Counsel,
Jay Tutchton, argued that Congress’
action was unconstitutional because it violated the Separation of Powers
doctrine. We’ll spare you the details, but it was a very good case. In fact,
the district court essentially agreed with the argument last August, but
determined it was constrained by the Ninth Circuit from finding in our favor.
So we appealed to
the Ninth Circuit. Jay argued the case in November, and the appellate court
finally announced its decision this month. Unfortunately, the justices
disagreed with our arguments and wolves are now unprotected in the Northern
has advocated for wolves for decades. We’ve worked tirelessly to realize our
vision of restoring this vitally important species throughout the West. This
setback has only strengthened our commitment to wolf restoration.
Moving forward we
will continue to fight for wolf protections wherever they exist.
This winter we
submitted detailed comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service in preparation to
challenge in federal court Wyoming’s awful wolf management plan that would
permit wolves to be shot on sight throughout most of the state. We are also
still litigating against the National Park Service for failing to consider
restoring wolves to manage overpopulated elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.
And every day we work to educate the public, decision makers, and the news
media that wolves are not ravenous killers of livestock and elk, but a critical
component of the western landscape that deserve our respect and support.
Thank you for your
continued support of these efforts, and for joining us in our campaign to
protect and restore wolves.
P.S. The states of
Idaho and Montana each set liberal hunting seasons for wolves after they were
delisted last summer. Idaho also permits trapping of wolves and there have been
incidents of very inhumane treatment of trapped wolves as evinced by
photographs posted on the Internet. See yesterday's widely reported article.