Howl!

Jul. 19th, 2008 03:38 pm
naamah_darling: Tribal design of a wolf's head. (Wolfie)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
Holy shit, guys!

We won!

***

Judge restores protection for Rockies wolves



By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 19, 12:36 AM ET


A federal judge has restored endangered species protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, derailing plans by three states to hold public wolf hunts this fall.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula granted a preliminary injunction late Friday restoring the protections for the wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Molloy will eventually decide whether the injunction should be permanent.

The region has an estimated 2,000 gray wolves. They were removed from the endangered species list in March, following a decade-long restoration effort.

Environmentalists sued to overturn the decision, arguing wolf numbers would plummet if hunting were allowed. They sought the injunction in the hopes of stopping the hunts and allowing the wolf population to continue expanding.

"There were fall hunts scheduled that would call for perhaps as many as 500 wolves to be killed. We're delighted those wolves will be saved," said attorney Doug Honnold with Earthjustice, who had argued the case before Molloy on behalf of 12 environmental groups.

In his ruling, Molloy said the federal government had not met its standard for wolf recovery, including interbreeding of wolves between the three states to ensure healthy genetics.

"Genetic exchange has not taken place," Molloy wrote in the 40-page decision.

Molloy said hunting and state laws allowing the killing of wolves for livestock attacks would likely "eliminate any chance for genetic exchange to occur."

The federal biologist who led the wolf restoration program, Ed Bangs, defended the decision to delist wolves as "a very biologically sound package."

"The kind of hunting proposed by the states wouldn't threaten the wolf population," Bangs said Friday. "We felt the science was rock solid and that the delisting was warranted."

Bangs said government attorneys were reviewing Molloy's court order and would decide next week whether to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Federal and state officials had argued killing some wolves would not endanger the overall population — as long as numbers did not dip below 300 wolves. With increasing conflicts between wolves and livestock, they said public hunts were crucial to keeping the predators' population in check.

***

It's a temporary injunction, but it's an excellent start, and will prevent the wolf hunts that were scheduled for this fall.

The article above seems biased against the decision to me. It doesn't address the fact that the government of key states had explicitly stated to the press that their intention was not just to allow wolf hunting, but to exterminate them down to the bare minimum necessary to keep them off the endangered list, thus slowing or halting its recovery in neighboring states. Simply put, 300 wolves in a state is not enough to provide for the kind of expansion and recovery I would like to see.

This injunction is the first step toward restoring full protection until such time as the wolf's recovery is assured, and its position less precarious.

Over the past two years, with the help of friends, I've passed along a lot of money to Defenders of Wildlife. Last year, you were all instrumental in helping me out with the auctions to raise money for the Bailey Carnivore Fund, and this year after the wolves were delisted, I flat-out wrote them a $2k check for their legal defense fund with the intention of having another auction to recoup that money.

That auction is still forthcoming, by the way, but it will be much smaller. I already have a few things donated by friends, and I plan on supplementing that with some of my own stuff. The earliest I can do it is the first of next month, since I've got a ton of crap to do next week.

I want to be clear about something. With the exception of methods such as poison traps and aerial gunning, I'm not opposed to trapping or hunting. I believe that responsible hunting and responsible hunters play a vital role in the preservation of our national parks. When the day comes that the gray wolf has recovered its former range in significant enough numbers that controlled hunting will not negatively impact its population; when the day comes that state governments are willing to work with wildlife experts to produce a management plan that focuses on maintaining a healthy population while still allowing controlled hunting; when that day comes then I will be glad to see the gray wolf removed from the list of endangered species in the Northern Rockies.

Until that day, I want them to have all the protection against human stupidity and ignorance they can get.

(Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ewin, who pointed this out to me before I caught it.)

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naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
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