Northern Rockies Wolves Back In Court

With around 100 protesters and at least one placard reading “Kill Wolves” outside his court this morning, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy heard arguments about wolf protections in the Northern Rockies states.

Defenders of Wildlife and others say that packs must be managed as a whole throughout the region rather than by the states of Montana and Idaho, where they were delisted last spring, and the federal government in Wyoming, where wolves remain under protection of the Endangered Species Act, according to the Associated Press.

AP also reports that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s baseline for recovery in the region, a minimum of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves in each state, is being challenged.

“We hope the Fish and Wildlife Service will go back to the drawing board and come up with something that will work,” said Earthjustice’s Douglas Honnold, the attorney for the plaintiffs, according to AP.

The Fed’s reintroduction of wolves into Central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s appears to be working quite well. Joined also by wolves moving across the Canadian border, there were just over 1,700 in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at the end of 2009.

Some Idaho wolves have swam the Snake and now there are at least two packs in Northeast Oregon, where five ranchers were given depredation permits after a series of livestock losses. There are at least two packs in northern Washington as well, one with ties to Northern Idaho, the other with bloodlines into BC and Alberta.

Anti-wolf feelings have reached a fever pitch, swelled by one man’s recent suggestion that sweeteners are fatal to wolves, which didn’t go over so well with an enforcement officer with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Judge Molloy promised a ruling “as quickly as I can,” reports The Missoulian.

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