A bitter row between US wildlife groups and the Bush administration has broken out over a federal decision to end protection for grey wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Removal of protection means wolves can be hunted again.

This is from the U.K. newspaper, the Guardian Unlimited. There is nothing new in the article. I linked it because of the headline and lead paragraph they used.

Howls of protest as America declares open season on grey wolves.  By Robin McKie, science editor.  The Observer (Sunday section of the Guardian).

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

17 Responses to Howls of protest as America declares open season on grey wolves

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I just got an email from Democrats.com about the wolf delisting issue. It seems that this is actually becoming an issue outside of the groups that we are involved with. The website is not an official Democratic Party website but more progressive and in many ways more aggressive. I think that a wider audience may become more aware of this particular issue.

  2. avatar Heather says:

    When I lived in England I loved the Guardian. It is a very ‘liberal, labor party’ paper though… anyway good stuff. The bigger this issue gets, the better. I called Fed court here the other day, and they don’t have an action until April 14, 2008. I don’t know what that means as far as protection. Does anyone know? ie. can they still be shot because they are delisted and there is no injunction at this point. or is there an injunction?

  3. avatar Catbestland says:

    Heather,
    From what I understand, and I am no attorney, but there cannot be an injunction ordered by the Court until the case has bee filed and a date set to be heard. I think an action asking for Temporary Injunction is given prority and heard as quickly as possible and they can fight the battle later for the Permanent one. I don’t know if this means wolves can be killed now or not. I hope not.

  4. avatar Buffaloed says:

    At this point wolves cannot be killed because it takes something like 30-60 days (not sure which) before delisting can take effect. I just got another email from Western Watersheds Project announcing their intent to fight delisting with 9 other groups. We’ll see what happens next.

  5. avatar Catbestland says:

    Defenders is sending out emails for everyone to sign and send to USFW asking for a national Wolf Management plan instead of allowing states to develop their own. I think it’s a good plan and they are asking everyone to send it to 3 other people. They need 75,000 signatures. It is amazing to watch how quickly the number of signatures is rising. If you haven’t received one yet go to their website and get one.

  6. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    A preliminary injunction will happen if the plaintiffs can convince the judge that they have a good chance of winning their case on the merits when it is heard. Without an injunction, delisting goes forward, as it has for grizzly bears, despite the legal challenge to grizzly delisting.

    I suspect that the reason the FWS went ahead with the recent 10j revisions that are also being legally contested is that the FWS at least realizes that delisting has serious, serious legal problems.

    I myself am less sanguine we will be able to get an injunction on the 10j revisions. I feel more confident about the legal challenge to delisting.

  7. avatar Heather says:

    Thanks everyone: a wealth of knowledge here. I was thinking of my classes in civil litigation, which is a very different beast from environmental law; an injunction in some cases, can be planted as soon as the lawsuit takes place. I don’t think that is happening here,, (on an intuitive level, sorry!) and I’m worried that April 08 is too long before some individuals are shot. or poisoned. or baited. or whatever.

  8. avatar Heather says:

    Catbestland: this case (by Earthjustice, etc. was filed Jan 28, 08). the newspapers make it seem like it just happened yesterday…

  9. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    Heather – There are two separate issues. Yesterday, a notice was filed by Earthjustice that it would challenge the proposed delisting for the Northern Rockies wolves. The ESA 10(j) rule filing in January is not the same as challenging delisting. Reread Robert H’s comment. In short, the anti-wolf thugs in power at this time in the USA, have realized they have their pants down on delisting, so they are going forth with another weakening of the 10(j) rule. Cross your fingers, say your prayers to whatever force you believe in, and vote for a change come November.

  10. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Heather

    Just to recount: the 28 January filing was for the 10j revisions. The filing yesterday was for delisting. As Lynne notes, we now have two separate lawsuits contesting two separate (anti-wolf) actions.

    As I understand federal civil procedure, the bar plaintiffs must hurdle for a preliminary injunction is that they must show the judge they have a good chance of winning the case on the merits at trial. In other words, granting of a preliminary injunction means the judge is half ready to rule in favor of the plaintiffs at trial. I am not a lawyer, however, so if there are any legal eagles who follow this blog, please weigh in.

    We need to win both cases.

    RH

  11. avatar April Clauson says:

    If anyone is interested if you go to the Defenders of Wildlife web page, it has all 3 states mgmt. policys on it, and also the full court motion’s filed on each etc…the best place I found to find all information regarding the law suites. Also, as a part time para legal the motions they are filing are good ones with alot of legal arguments against the states and the Feds, I personally feel it will at least put a “stop action” in for a few months till it really gets sorted out. I hope anyways!! And they sent a very good letter of intent to file to Kempton!

  12. avatar Catbestland says:

    Robert,

    I am not an attorney, but I play one on tv. (I know,old and really bad joke.) But really, I have had to seek injunction in a Federal Copywright case. As I recall, the Motion for Prelim. Injunction is filed in conjunction with the Substantive Complaint. The Plaintiff must show that NOT granitng it would result in further damages. I recall having to post a Bond as well. I’m sure that the Respondants will argue that not going forward with Delisting would result in loss of income to the State and/or livestock owners, therefore a very large Bond might be required. The Permanant Injunction would not be Ordered until the Orriginal Complaint has been adjudicated. But I don’t know, I’m trying to muddle through all the legal wrangling like everyone else. I do wish some of the legal minds would weigh in and keep us informed.

  13. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I found this on page 19 the 2002 wolf management plan here: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/state/wolf_plan.pdf

    “The IDFG is authorized to evaluate and use sport hunting or ANY
    other means necessary to maintain wolf populations at recovery
    levels that will ensure a viable, self-sustaining population until
    such time as all impacts are known.”

    This, according to one of the IDFG commissioners, is the wording that might be used to justify using aerial gunning or POISONS as discussed here: http://wolves.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/nuggets-from-the-legislature-idaho-may-poison-wolves-to-reduce-numbers/

  14. avatar Lynne Stone says:

    The 2002 Idaho Wolf Plan also has a preface from the Idaho Legislature that supports removing wolves from Idaho by any legal means possible. The word “legal” was added as an afterthought.

    Currently, M-44’s, “coyote getters’ cannot legally be used to kill wolves, although two wolves died last year from them when a gov’t trapper put the devices on private land near Riggins. It was well known that wolves were in the area.

    Federal law could be changed so that M-44’s could be used to kill wolves.

    The powers that run Idaho and have so much dislike for any predators, know that talking about poison is not popular with the public, so we won’t be hearing much about poison for now. It could be part of that “let’s adjourn to the backroom” part of the IDFG commissioners meetings.

  15. avatar Salle says:

    Well,

    I heard, on the Rexburg NPR radio broadcasts concerning wolves and the Idaho plan is that IFG plans to “proceed as planned” asap. So I fear there will be quite a hushed up “movement” during the “legal” time gap and all advantages will be taken.

    I wonder if anyone can share any updates on that in Chico?

  16. avatar Barb says:

    The government, by “delisting” the wolf is “pretending” that the wolf is just like any other species — this is so far from the truth.

    The wolf (and coyotes and other predators) have suffered and endured YEARS OF PERSECUTION AND DISPLACEMENT
    because of many within the arrogant, entitled, and powerful livestock industry who choose to use lethal methods of predator control.

    Our predatory animals MUST HAVE SPECIAL PROTECTIONS in light of their history. Some endangered species are because of other reasons; i.e., loss of habitat, etc.,

    The wolf is endangered BECAUSE of the misperceptions surrounding this magnificent animal. The misperceptions persist– especially in the Western states where people raise livestock in open lands, (in the predator’s living rooms!) They are inviting these predators in by leaving animals unattended for months, then killing them when the animal comes for a “free” steak dinner. Not fair!

    Our predatory animals are SPECIAL — they are UNLIKE other “endangered species.”

  17. avatar SaeRom says:

    I wonder if raised awareness will help advance the process or add smoke to the already raging fire with increased well-intentioned rhetoric and emotions beyond those affected. This is an intensely local issue, and while it is imperative to solicit the professioal opinions of various wildlife experts, ecologists, and biologists, it is easy to get caught up in the language of a cause and forget about the people paying taxes on income from livestock production to support these management plans who almost always come directly under attack in these conversations. I think it goes too far to pit the local ranchers and farmers I grew up with as “arrogant, entitled, powerful” lethal killers. Most ranchers I know respect the land and the animals on it, and despite more lucrative offers or opportunities, choose to stay on the land because they are fully capable of appreciating the awe inspiring vastness of the sky, mountains, and prarie, and would rather not kill a wolf unless they have to. Agriculture is our largest and most respected industry here in Montana and it is every bit as important to preserve as romantic notions of the wolf as anything more than the largest member of the canine family. Predators have their place, play an important role, but that role must be balanced with the other interests of the state and its citizens.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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