Gray Wolf Back on the List

The population of some 1,450 gray wolves in the northern Rockies has gained protection.

Last week, the White House reinstated federal Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolves of the northern Rockies. The population of some 1,450 wolves had been "delisted" by the federal government just this past March.

"This is great news for the wolves. We are one step closer to true recovery of a native to the northern Rockies that was driven to extinction in most places," Doug Honnold of the nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice told reporters.

Earthjustice was instrumental in getting the delisting overturned. The group filed suit against the federal government, calling into question the science behind the original delisting decision. A federal judge ruled in Earthjustice's favor, ordering that hunters freshly licensed by their states (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) to kill wolves would have to lay down their arms. The ruling judge also said that conservation groups would likely succeed in claims that Wyoming's management of wolves was inadequate and that the three-state wolf population was not yet large enough, and not well enough connected geographically, to ensure adequate reproductive rates. Apparently the pressure was enough for the White House to give in on the issue, so it overturned the delisting pending further scientific review.

"It's time for the government to address connectivity and the failure of state laws to adequately protect wolves," added Honnold. "We are close to having healthy sustainable populations of wolves and now the government needs to come up with a new approach that gives us a self sustaining wolf population as required by federal law."

Source: Earth Justice