Eleven groups fight wolf delisting

Eleven conservation groups have notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service they will be sued for issuing their rule delisting the wolf in the Northern Rockies. Story (one of many similar).

This, of course, has been expected for a long time. So to try to shore up what might be a losing action on their, the federal agency earlier issued a new “10j rule.” This is the critical list of regulations as to how the federal government will manage the wolf if they lose on delisting. Their latest 10j rule is essentially the same as delisting. So the conservation groups have sued over it too.

To win, the conservation groups need to prevail on both the 10j and the delisting suits, and they also need to get the judge to issue an injunction preventing these two rules from going into effect while the litigation goes on. In order words, a number of legal victories must be won to protect the wolf from what they say will be lethal state management.

The wolf is not delisted yet. Unless the courts rule against the USFWS, it will be delisted March 28, 2008.

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Here is the news release issued by the litigating groups, although with supporting materials.


The 60-day notice.pdf







  1. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Ralph, I’ve not looked at either the new 10(j) rule or the new delisting rule in enough detail to provide much analysis, but the one major difference is that if the delisting is stopped but the new 10(j) rule is not, there will NOT be hunting of wolves as they will still essentially be a listed species. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    And for those keeping score, we have groups not only working the lawsuits on the national level but also groups that are still trying to work with the states to improve the situation at the local level. While we might bicker over the tactics, the big picture is that there are groups fighting on many levels on behalf of wolves, and I, for one, don’t think this is a bad thing even if the debate over the tactics gets a bit heated at times…

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You are correct. If the new 10j was in effect and wolves not delisted, there would be no wolf hunting in the states.

    However, the states would still have new authority to make direct reductions of wolves. That worries me more because the states have access to high tech tools to kill wolves.

    On the up side, national outrage could be focused on such a slaughter, although the daily worsening situation with the Yellowstone bison doesn’t seem to be attracting much attention.

  3. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    Very good point, Ralph, on the states’ intentions to reduce wolf numbers regardless of their ability to issue hunting tags. Using the bison issue and an example, it is almost as if national attention either doesn’t matter, doesn’t materialize at all, or strengthens the states’ resolve (to borrow a phrase from our esteemed President) to do it their way. We are, after all, rugged, western individualists who have always done things without the aid of the overbearing Feds back in DC (please, read the heavy sarcasm)…

  4. Jeff N. Avatar
    Jeff N.

    (unrelated to post but great news)

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A research project aimed at weasels has turned up a bigger prize: a picture of a wolverine, an elusive animal scientists feared may have been driven out of the Sierra Nevada long ago by human activity.

    The discovery could affect land-use decisions if the wolverine is declared an endangered species, a step the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering, although the animals typically live at high elevations where there is limited development.

    A graduate student at Oregon State University, Katie Moriarty, got a picture of a wolverine recently on a motion-and-heat-detecting digital camera set up between Truckee and Sierraville, in the northern part of the mountain range.

    Moriarty was trying to get pictures of martens, which are slender brown weasels, for a project she was doing with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.

    She said that when she saw the wolverine in the picture early last Sunday morning, it was a “complete shock. It was not something I would expect by any means.”

    News of the picture surprised scientists, who thought wolverines, if they still inhabited the Sierra, would be found only in the southern part of the range, not in the Lake Tahoe area.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan