There will not be a lawsuit filed to stop delisting on March 28. Plaintiffs will wait (will have to wait) until April 28. They might seek an injunction, however, if one or more of the states uses the period to kill a lot of wolves.

I would urge everyone to be vigilant, especially in Wyoming.

Wolves on schedule to leave the endangered list Friday. Advocacy groups plan to sue in April but say they’ll act sooner if too many wolves are getting killed. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

 
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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.

14 Responses to Lawsuit to stop wolf delisting to be filed April 28, not March 28.

  1. avatar Layton says:

    After a recent discussion on this blog where I was pretty much beaten around the head and shoulders for suggesting that some environmental groups were reneging on the original “deal” about wolf numbers — I was really interested to read the last few paragraphs in the same article.

    To quote just the last few paragraphs:

    “The Idaho Conservation League and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition are two groups that support delisting. The National Wildlife Federation, though, can’t support delisting with Wyoming’s open-ended kill zone, said Hank Fischer, of the NWF in Missoula.

    Fisher, the former Northern Rockies director of the Defenders of Wildlife, was the father of the successful Defender program that paid ranchers for their losses to wolves. And he was the point man for the wildlife advocacy group as it prodded political leaders to accept the reintroduction plan prior to 1995 when wolves were reintroduced.

    He doesn’t agree with the move to raise the recovery goals previously set with the approval of environmental groups then.

    “It’s not like we pulled those numbers out of thin air,” Fischer said. “We got them from the wolf experts of the time. We exceeded those numbers by a great deal.”

    Suzanne Asha Stone, who holds Fischer’s old job at Defender’s of Wildlife said Defender’s scientists have long questioned that the recovery goal of 300 wolves in the region was enough.

    As genetic science has improved, the evidence more wolves are needed has grown, she said.

    “It isn’t about changing the bar,” Stone said. “It’s about having a viable population of wolves in the region.””

    So I guess the moral of this story is something to the effect of “if you want the numbers higher, change directors and change scientists” — after all, it worked with changing the whole sub-species didn’t it??

    Layton

  2. avatar SAP says:

    Layton – that caught my eye, too.

    I know that Hank Fischer was on the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Team back in the 1980s.

    I guess it’s not like “The Environmentalists” all signed a blood oath to be bound by whatever agreements Hank Fischer might have made 20 years ago. As I understand it, the Endangered Species Act and other laws and policies (along with that contested wisdom we call common sense) mandate that programs have to adapt as new and “better” science becomes available.

    But . . .

    We bounce this term “viable” around without serious consideration of what it means, and how it relates to the Endangered Species Act.

    Aiming for “viability” is, in many respects, another way of saying “prevent extinction.”

    “Prevent extinction” could mean “head off impending disaster in cases where it’s clear that doing nothing or not doing enough will mean doom in the next few years” — to wit, species like black-footed ferrets and Sumatran tigers.

    Or, “prevent extinction” could be taken to mean “virtually ensure their survival forever, or until the Earth is sucked into the dying Sun.”

    I’m not a lawyer nor an ESA expert, so I don’t know which path the ESA is supposed to take, or what it can be construed to mandate. I suppose that kind of thing will come out in the lawsuits.

    I can put my hands on several journal articles and book chapters that make recommendations along the lines of having 5,000 wolves.

    But, some of those papers focus on keeping populations large enough to retain “evolutionary potential,” rather than merely surviving. Is the ESA about mere survival, or retaining evolutionary potential? Again, I have no answer for that.

    I would like for the ESA to be about retaining evolutionary potential. I would also like to see a law confiscating most of the personal wealth of the Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfield families to pay for the war they started, but my wishing for it doesn’t make it so.

    (see IR Franklin and R. Frankham, 1998, “How large must populations be to retain evolutionary potential?”, Animal Conservation 1: 69-70; see also subsequent responses pp 70-73.)

    Another facet of these articles is that there is an inherent, sometimes implicit, value judgment as to what constitutes “viable.” It’s really no more objective than defining “wealthy.” One paper (D. H. Reed et al. 2003, Biological Conservation) defined “a minimum viable population size as one with a 99% probability of persistence for 40 generations.” Many others aren’t that clear. None of this is codified in law.

  3. avatar JEFF E says:

    “Anti-wolf activist arrested for assaulting wolf advocate”
    go to Idaho statesman .com for details

  4. avatar kim kaiser says:

    Its was ron gillete,, whupping up on this forums own,,,,Lynne Stone,,,,,

  5. Yes,

    Lynne Stone was confronted by Ron Gillet today while standing by her truck in the tiny mountain hamlet of Stanley, Idaho.

    I won’t give the details because he was arrested for assault, and so legal proceedings will take place. I don’t want to write anything to jeopardize them.

    Although injured when Gillet grabbed her, Stone appears not to have been injured seriously, although she says her injury is beginning to hurt more. The local medical clinic was closed today, and she will have a full examination tomorrow. She is also currently recovering from surgery for an injury sustained while chopping and moving firewood at her cabin.

    I talked with her for about an hour about the ordeal.

  6. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Layton

    If Hank Fischer wants to claim that he agreed to a set number of wolves, that’s his right, but he can’t speak for the rest of us. I don’t know anyone else in the conservation arena who did. No one signed a contract. I certainly didn’t.

    What matters as far as delisting and lawsuits over delisting are concerned is that legal criteria were established–once again, look at appendix 11 of the FEIS for list of all the criteria–but the FWS as well as the states of Wyoming and Idaho have failed to meet those criteria. The critical criteria were:

    1. An established population size and composition over three straight years as a trigger for delisting (the famous 10 breeding pairs/100 wolves per state number which has been so misunderstood and quite frankly misrepresented).

    2. A functioning metapopulation made up of the sub-populations of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

    3. State plans that provide an adequate regulatory mechanism for the sustainable management and conservation of wolves.

    Of these three main criteria, only criterion 1 has been met–the first one.

    If we agreed to anything, we agreed to the delisting criteria that were legally established in the 1994 Final Rule for Reintroduction. When those criteria are met, I and most other conservationists will support delisting.

    This includes trophy game status for wolves throughout the entire state of Wyoming and regulated take of wolves, not a free for all, as Wyoming state law now allows.

    RH

  7. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Ralph

    Is there anything we can do for Lynne?

    RH

    Not that I am aware.Thanks Robert. I hope she can still make it to the Chico wolf conference. Ralph Maughan

  8. Hank Fisher deserves a lot of credit for his years of work at getting wolves reintroduced, but the decision on the numbers was a government decision. A person cannot bind everyone else.

    He says the number was based on the best science at the time, and, of course, science advances. The science of wolf genetics was barely existing at the time, for example.

    It was not known, that the wolf population would get infestations like mange and dog lice or canine parvovirus. It was not known that there would be almost no genetic exchange between the central Idaho wolf population and the Greater Yellowstone. In fact that is in the original goal, and you can argue the goal of a Northern Rockies metapopulation has not been met, and the real insult is Wyoming’s plan with the designation of the wolf as vermin in about 90% of the state.

  9. avatar Layton says:

    Excuse me for thinking that it’s just darn funny that every time there is an “advancement” in science concerning wolves it just happens to point to the need for more of them!!

    Then there was the fuss about what subspecie of wolves that had been introduced to the northwest, somehow the science that was being used at the time became obsolete. It wasn’t obsolete before, but the INSTANT that someone pointed out the subspecies thing it was.

    Now I am being told that “the science of wolf genetics was barely existing at the time” seems to me it had to exist if it had already been obsoleted by another theory.

    When quoting Mr. Fischer the article said:

    “He doesn’t agree with the move to raise the recovery goals previously set with the approval of environmental groups then.”

    Who were these “environmental groups”? Doesn’t sound to me like he was talking about making a decision in a vacuum.

    Somehow what is being said now doesn’t square with what has gone before. Curious!!

    By the way, I hope Lynne is OK — I still intend to have that microbrew with her!! And that dorky little bastard in Stanley needs some serious attitude adjustment!!

    Layton

  10. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    In an earlier thread, I tried to outline just what the delisting criteria were, and I addressed both the viability issue and the metapopulation issue in detail. I don’t want to do that again. I would remind folks however that at the time, 1994, the FWS clearly predicated the 300 “trigger for delisting) number on a functioning metapopulation, and agreed that if the metapopulation were not functioning, then the 300 number was inadequate. Even with a metapopulation, the FWS wanted to ensure additional packs to buffer against a sudden drop to the “minimum” number or below. You can find this discussion in Appendix 9 of the FEIS.

    The thinking in Appendix 9 was that with a functioning metapopulation, there could be fewer wolves. With no metapopulation, we’d need more wolves. But the analysis was not rigorous.

    Population viability analysis (PVA) was originally designed to assess the extinction probabilities of truly endangered populations such as the black-footed ferret or slowly reproducing species such as the grizzly bear. Technically, it wasn’t intended for a rapidly reproducing species like the wolf, which is endangered in a significant portion of its American range but not in Canada or Alaska. (I most certainly not arguing that we shouldn’t worry about the wolf in the lower 48 because there are plenty in Canada and Alaska, so I hope no one tries to run me in that direction. I’m speaking strictly of PVA as a scientific tool).

    One of the things we’re learning about wolves is that social cohesion and stability of packs are more important than sheer numbers. A functioning metapopulation is absolutely necessary to social cohesion and stability, and we should argue on that basis, not on raw numbers.

    It would be far more wise and a lot cheaper to give wolves lots of habitat to include movement corridors, limit unnecessary mortality to ensure pack cohesion and stability, and allow wolves to decide how many wolves there should be.

    Yes, I know that’s a pipe dream, but it’s what is necessary from a biological viewpoint for conservation and management of wolves in the Rocky Mountains. We should work to get as close to that ideal as we can.

    RH

  11. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Layton

    We can argue about the science all you want, but the issue still is that the delisting criteria established in 1994, which everyone knows or should know, especially the FWS and the states, have not yet been met either by the Feds or the States of Wyoming and Idaho.

    For example, the criteria clearly required Wyoming to abolish the legal classification of “predatory animal” for wolves in Wyoming, which allows wolves to be killed anytime, anywhere, anyhow, with no restrictions. The requirement for an adequate regulatory mechanism clearly requires Wyoming to classify wolves throughout the State as trophy game animals, for which regulated take is mandated. The key word is regulated.

    Wyoming is clearly thumbing its nose at the law. I don’t know how much plainer about the problem I can get.

    RH

  12. avatar Tim Z. says:

    I was just in Stanley on Sunday and chatted there with Lynne. This isn’t the first time Gillete has harrassed her.

  13. avatar Sally Roberts says:

    So basically there will be mass slaughter this weekend? At least in Wyoming. And from now until a lawsuit is filed? I don’t understand why no injunction on the delisting–seems like this is pretty much a crisis at this point. Am I overreacting?

  14. avatar Save bears says:

    Sally,

    In order to get an injunction, the judge needs to believe that the group(s) filing for the injunction have a good chance(more than 50%) of winning their case…it seems perhaps as if the groups are currently reviewing their reasons for the lawsuits and making sure it has merit and stands a better than 50% of prevailing.

    As far as mass wholesale slaughter, this weekend, I don’t think you will see any wolves killed this weekend, and I suspect it may be a while before any numbers of wolves are killed…

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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."

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