Grassroots Conservation Organizations Notice Feds of Impending Wolf Litigation
Wyoming's Wolves to be Shot En Masse
A coalition of grassroots conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its decision to prematurely rescind Endangered
Species Act protection for wolves in Wyoming. This “delisting” decision turns
the fate of Wyoming’s wolves over to a hostile State government, which has already
drawn up plans for a fall slaughter.
The Wyoming “wolf plan” calls for unregulated
wolf killing in over 80 percent of the state. Many of Wyoming’s current
population of approximately 330 wolves will die this winter. The State intends
to allow a minimum of only 100 wolves to survive outside of Yellowstone National
Park and the Wind River Reservation, but it has no way to know when it has
reached that threshold because it is impossible to census wolf populations
unless they wear radio collars.
“Wolves belong to all Americans, but powerful
industry lobbyists and their political cronies don’t agree,” said Wendy
Keefover of WildEarth Guardians. “The anti-wolf minority wants to kill as many
wolves as possible before we can get to the courthouse, and the Fish and
Wildlife Service is completely complicit in this terrible arrangement.”
plan was written in part to appease the cattle and sheep industry, which has
loudly protested wolf predation on livestock. But their claims of innumerable livestock
losses are without merit. Data show that wolves kill less than one percent of
cattle and sheep inventories in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
Some sportsmen also
complain that wolves kill too many elk; yet, the States of Idaho, Montana, and
Wyoming each host elk populations that exceed management objectives. Wyoming’s
elk population is 24 percent over its objective of 85,000 animals. The 2010
count reported 104,000 elk in the state.
“Wyoming’s wolf plan is one of
appeasement, answering vociferous, but false claims about wolf predation on elk
and livestock,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater.
Wolves did not evolve with hunting and
trapping pressures and even low levels of killing by humans harm their
“The full effects of hunting can’t be
calculated, as it breaks up families of wolves,” said Priscilla Feral of
Friends of Animals. “The death of parents always leaves the young to become
disoriented and often abandoned to starve.”
“The future plans of millions of
tourists who visit Wyoming for wolf watching will be affected, and this
threatens ecotourism, one of the fastest growing industries in the region,” said
David Hornoff of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
carnivores, the presence of wolves in ecosystems creates greater biological
diversity, affecting species ranging from beetles to songbirds to grizzly
“Wolves are a natural and important component in a fully-functioning
ecosystem;” said Michael Garrity of Alliance for Wild Rockies, “without wolves,
fragile stream habitats are impaired by overabundant elk and this negatively
effects numerous species.”
"Wolf recovery is unfinished business until they are present in
healthy numbers in all suitable habitats across the American
West," said Kenneth Cole of Western Watersheds Project.
Duane Short of Biodiversity Conservation
Alliance said, “Wyoming’s wolf management ‘plan’ regresses to a past era when
Wyoming’s valuable wolves were shot-on-sight as part of a deliberate
and animal advocacy groups agree that Wyoming’s wolf population has not been
recovered and that it makes no sense—ecologically or economically—to subject even
a fully recovered wolf population to a trigger-happy firing squad.
“The Wyoming plan is not good for wolves, for the
environment, or millions of taxpayers that want to restore more wolves to the
landscape,” said Denise Boggs of Conservation Congress.
Guardians’ General Counsel, Jay Tutchton of Colorado, represents the groups.
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View the Group's Notice of Intent to Sue
View Guardians' Report, Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves: A Public Policy Process Failure: How Two Special Interest Groups Hijacked Wolf Conservation in America