Wolf Delisting Lawsuit Filed Today

Suit Filed to Challenge Removal of Endangered Species Act Protection From Northern Rockies Wolves

For Immediate Release, June 2, 2009

MISSOULA, Mont.— Conservation groups today filed suit to challenge the removal of Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. On April 2, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped the wolves from the Endangered Species list, finalizing an effort launched by the Bush administration to deprive the wolves of legal and habitat protections, thus allowing state management and hunting. The challenged delisting decision is the second time in a year the federal government has removed protections for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, successfully sued to get the protections reinstated in July 2008.

Delisting wolves means they will be subject to state-sponsored wolf “control” efforts and hunting unless stopped by legal action. Idaho and Montana plan to allow hundreds of wolves to be shot.

The decision to lift wolf protections comes as Yellowstone National Park wolves declined by 27 percent in the past year – one of the largest declines reported since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. The northern Rockies wolf population also has not achieved a level of connectivity between the greater Yellowstone, central Idaho, and northwest Montana areas that is essential to wolves’ long-term survival. In delisting wolves, the Fish and Wildlife Service authorized Idaho and Montana to reduce their wolf populations from a current population of roughly 1,500 wolves to only 200-300 wolves in the two states.

Wolves will remain under federal control in Wyoming because a federal court previously ruled that Wyoming’s hostile wolf-management scheme leaves wolves in “serious jeopardy.” The Fish and Wildlife Service in the recent past held that a state-by-state approach to delisting wolves was not permitted under the Endangered Species Act, including in its earlier decision to not delist wolves without Wyoming’s inclusion. In the challenged delisting decision, the federal government flip-flopped from its earlier position.

In addition to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have refused to make enforceable commitments to maintain viable wolf populations within their borders. On the very day the first wolf delisting took effect in March 2008, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed a law allowing Idaho citizens to kill wolves without a permit whenever wolves are annoying, disturbing, or “worrying” livestock or domestic animals. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission established rules that would have allowed 428 wolves to be killed in 2008 alone had the court not returned wolves to the endangered species list. Montana also authorized a fall wolf hunt.

Earthjustice represents Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Project, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council.


“We look forward to celebrating the transfer of wolves to state management but not until a federal delisting rule is developed that ensures the future of wolves in the region. This plan ignores current science on what wolves need to maintain a healthy population over the long term. It also ignores the hundreds of thousands of citizens who have asked for a better plan,” said Suzanne Stone, northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife.

“The recovery of wolves in the northern Rockies is tantalizingly close — but we are not there yet,” said Louisa Willcox, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s office in Livingston, Montana. “And sadly, state-sponsored hunts are only going to push the finish line further away. The science is clear; so until we see natural connectivity between Yellowstone and the rest of the Rockies and states willing to give the wolves a break, not drive them to the brink of extinction, this fight will continue.”

“Unfortunately, leaving wolves in state hands right now threatens their survival. Wolves are one of America’s natural treasures, and they should be managed that way,” said Melanie Stein, a Sierra Club representative. “It makes no sense to delist wolves on a state-by-state basis. Wolves don’t know political boundaries. We look forward to restoring wolves to the care of the federal government until the states have come up with plans that will sustain wolves into the future. We hope to work with the Obama administration to ensure that wolves fully recover.”

“We are disappointed that this early in the new administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar choose to ignore sound science and instead choose to pursue a piecemeal delisting plan for the northern Rockies gray wolf population. It makes no sense to segment an already fragmented population with two different management plans. Taking away endangered species protection from wolves in Montana and Idaho while keeping Wyoming’s wolves under federal protection completely ignores the best population and ecosystem science. In addition, we firmly believe that the three states’ management plans will lead to the unwarranted death of hundreds of wolves. As much as we wish to have the states manage their wolves, they simply haven’t developed adequate management plans, and the federal government is acting irresponsibly by proposing delisting under these circumstances,” said Franz Camenzind of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

“We are disappointed the new administration has missed this opportunity to rethink the failed wolf persecution policies of the last eight years,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation with The Humane Society of the United States. “The federal government’s efforts to strip wolves of all federal protection have been repeatedly struck down by the courts, and this latest rule is no more likely to succeed than the previous failed attempts.”

“It is unfortunate that the Obama administration has adopted Bush-era legal views that count wolves as ‘recovered’ even when they still only occupy less than five percent of their original range in our country,” said Michael Robinson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves are still endangered, and we believe the court will see through this smoke-and-mirrors act.”

“Wolf reintroduction transcends state boundaries, and so does wolf habitat. What one state does to their wolves can greatly affect what happens in another state,” said Jennifer Schwartz, staff attorney for Hells Canyon Preservation Council. “Therefore, until the northern Rocky Mountain wolves are fully recovered throughout a significant portion of their historical habitat, it makes the most sense for wolves to be managed by the feds, not the states. If Idaho shoots a large percentage of their wolves, it’s highly unlikely that Oregon will have any stable wolf packs at all.

“Wolf populations in the northern Rockies are nearing legitimate recovery levels. Like most things, you can do it right or you can do it over. Here, FWS did it over, but did it wrong,” said Doug Honnold of Earthjustice, who represents the conservation group plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “When the states demonstrate they are willing to manage wolves for long-term survival and recovery rather than short-term devastation, we can all celebrate true recovery of the wolf.”


Read the Complaint submitted to the court







  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Folks may recall that the “intent to sue” document was filed 60 days ago. The wolf was delisted 30 days ago, and now the 60 days is over. Hence the lawsuit.

  2. Jeff Avatar

    Wyoming filed a lawsuit protesting their exclusion in the delisting process in federal district court in Cheyenne. This might wind up being a dual between 9th and 10th Circuit Courts like we have seen with the roadless rule and snowmobiles in YNP.

  3. John d. Avatar
    John d.

    Sock it to ’em fellas.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It’s true, Wyoming has also filed a lawsuit this time, one complaining that they should be included in the delisting. Folks may recall that in 1997 Federal judge of Wyoming Clarance Brimmer said the reintroduction was illegal and ordered the wolves back to Canada. He was overruled in the 10th Circuit.

    Wyoming has federal judges that hate wolves, and I think the state will prevail in the federal court of Wyoming. I do think they will be less successful in the 10th circuit.

  5. Tim Avatar

    So what exactly is a level of connectivity? Aren’t fish and game tracking them traveling from state to state? Thats what i keep reading anyway. This is just another Excuse to keep them from being hunted. I thought These wolves didn’t get over 120 lbs. I’ve now heard of several in the panhandle that were 180+. They must be well fed.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    In my view, the danger to wolf restoration is not a thoughtful hunt, but wolf “control” by Wildlife Services under the disguise of protecting livestock. They want to eliminate entire packs over a large area. Hunting, on the other hand, usually only takes a few members of a pack. The rest of the pack might learn to be fearful of humans.

    In addition, hunting may scattter the wolves so they they do move into other states — a result I would certainly favor.

    On the other hand, hunters cannot identify the leaders of a wolf pack, and a disrupted pack and lone wolves could be more likely to begin to prey on livestock rather than elk and deer. If so, then Wildlife Services would jump with joy because they would have an excuse to kill more wolves to protect livestock.

    After a hunting season the states need to gather good statistics about the effects on livestock predation.
    – – – – –
    About the 180 pound wolves. They don’t exist. This is a continual urban (or rural) legend. If they did show up, it wouldn’t be rumor. Idaho Fish and Game would have reporters from everywhere taking photographs.

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I am sure if there were 180lb wolves out there, then it would have been reported by reliable sources, I can’t say I would trust reports from some of the hunters and ranchers that claim they have seen those monster wolves…

  8. Tim Avatar

    I am a houndsman and i also enjoy deer and elk hunting, but my passion is hunting with dogs. I do it just so i can listen to to my dogs hunt. Every time i turn loose i worry if the wolves will beat me to the tree. I run bells on my collars and i hunt in the place where there are the fewest wolf sightings yet a friend had a dog killed last year. In my opinion if wolves were shot at occasionally they would be less likely to attack dogs with bells. As for livestock in the national forest that is the risk you take with your cattle. if you want them to stay safe you keep them on private property. Wolves however should be held to the same accountability as any other animal that attacks domesticated animals on private land. Lions that take dogs or livestock in this area are hunted down with dogs and taken because it is a “problem animal”. Why do we do this? Maybe to keep the public safe and to protect the species in ? from being targeted as dog killers or colt killers.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    These reports are kind of like the big-fish-that-got-away story.

  10. Tim Avatar

    Actually it was shot by a land owner after it and two others killed his Great Pyrenees and three llamas.

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Who weighed it?

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    If the land owner took a 180lb wolf, then why has it not been reported under management actions? I would assume that he correctly reported the incident and it would have been investigated….but none of the reports I have ever read in the last 10 years talks about verified 180lb wolves…

  13. Tim Avatar

    I agree with you that the majority aren’t nearly that big but they still do. Its kind of like saying you saw a 400 lbs black bear. Probably more like 100 for most people but they are out there.

  14. Tim Avatar

    have you read every report on every wolf that has been killed. I would like to read them myself. Where do i find them? There must have been a lot of reports last year.

  15. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    I have read virtually every one that has been made public, and no, I am not saying they are holding reports back..this last year has been pretty light on actual reports being published by the agencies. Of course when I worked for FWP, we saw the reports as well..now that I am not with FWP any longer, I don’t get them as quick, I have to do some searching..

  16. Tim Avatar

    I do not know who weighed the animal and the attack happened may this year so there may not be a report yet if there even will be one.

  17. otto Avatar

    I am having trouble finding any sympathy for, or credibility from, someone who hunts by treeing animals with dogs and then just strolling up to shoot them at point blank range instead of practicing fair chase ethics. Ralph, in contrast, has presented a reasonable and rationale use of hunting to influence predator behavior other than to shoot first and ask questions later.

    The idea that black bears, cougars, or wolves are such “problem animals” that unethical hunting practices are the only viable method of control is just lazy. Wolves are already subject to the same rules as any other animal when it comes to private property as land owners are free to use non lethal means to protect possessions and lethal means if people are directly attacked.

    You claim you hunt with dogs in order to protect the public and save the species from being labeled as a “dog killer”. But you presuppose a real, verifiable public danger exists. As a dog lover I cringe at the fact that domestic dogs bite 4.7 million people and cause 800,000 hospital visits each year. How’s that for a public danger! Instead of justifying lazy hunting practices and some mythical danger from wildlife why not work to save the species by promoting accurate information and ethical practices.

  18. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Questions about wolf size come up all the time on this blog.

    In April we posted about it and a long discussion followed, so you might want to read it.

    Answers to some wolf questions

  19. Ryan Avatar


    Go on a hound hunt and then tell me how easy it is. Your misguided perceptions and what actually happens are 2 completely different things. I got to go with a state liscened hound hunter here in OR to chase a problem cougar. (This particular young tom had killed 6 calves in 2 weeks off private land in southern OR) The chase lasted 4 hours and we crossed a couple canyons. It was one of the most strenous hunts I have ever been on.

  20. Tim Avatar

    Its obvious you have no idea what hunting with dogs is like. Most hound hunters like myself do it to listen to the hounds we have trained ourselves chase and tree bear. I could care less if i shot a stinky old bear. Ive been hunting for years and caught many bear and still have not shot a single one for the fact I’m looking for a rug. You say hound hunting is the lazy way to hunt. I have an open seat in my pickup for anyone who would like to experience such an easy hunt, But i don’t want to here any crying when we have to hike to no mans land looking for dogs. I don’t stroll through the woods and you better keep up because i only wait for my girlfriend and youngsters.

  21. Tim Avatar

    I understand what your getting at. But you cant say that they are not out there. If there is a hunting season this year we will see what hunters bring in when they do there mandatory check ins.

  22. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    You can’t say bigfoot isn’t out there either. We had a long discussion of that a while back too.

  23. Tim Avatar

    That’s exactly right. If he doesn’t exist why did they pass a law you cant shoot him.

  24. timz Avatar

    So some Hayseed doesn’t shoot some poor guy on his way to a costume party.

  25. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Tim, the big 180 pound wolves are a myth, plain and simple. That is propaganda that people in organizations like the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition have been feeding the public. As far as wolves beating your dogs to the tree, I do hope that never happens to you but unfortunately that is a risk that you take. Isn’t there also a risk of bears or mountain lions killing a dog or two? I know that they wouldn’t be as bad as a pack of wolves but they are still not a safe quarry.

    In reference to the delisting in general, until Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho can act responsibly and have a limited hunt that does ensure the overall preservation of the species, all these lawsuits will not only continue to waste taxpayer dollars, but will hamper any possible wolf restoration in any other part of the country as I’m sure states are seeing the headache this has been for these states and don’t want to deal with it. I for one would love to see wolves restored to other states but I can’t totally blame states for not wanting to deal with it just given what is happening in the Northern Rockies.

  26. Chris H. Avatar
    Chris H.

    I am not a hunter. I do love dogs – especially my two dogs. They came to my home as pups that wound up at the local humane society – 13 and 15 years ago. If Tim wants to run with the hounds that is his business – I wouldn’t do it but apparently he enjoys it. However, Tim, you stated that cattle losses to wolves are something ranchers should expect for letting them graze on public lands. I whole-heartedly agree. But you have to live what you preach, if you don’t want your dog turned into hamburger you should not put them in a position where that could happen.

  27. Craig Avatar

    So why didn’t the FWS go and kill the packs they said were killing all the Elk in Northern Idaho? I thought they had the authority to as soon as the Wolf was delisted in Idaho, for at least the 30 or 60 day period? I thought everyone on here said there would be a slaughter soon as they were delisted this time because of the waiting period for the lawsuit?

  28. Craig Avatar


    Maybe yoou shoulld walk in them boots! There is nothing lazy about Hunting with hounds! Unless covering 10 to 15 miles through Hell and no trails trying to follow dogs seems easy! I have friends who would love to prove you wrong and take you for nice “easy stroll “through 15 miles of backcountry. Not all Houndsmen kill what they tree either some just run there dogs for sport!

  29. timz Avatar

    “Not all Houndsmen kill what they tree either some just run there dogs for sport!”

    Kill or not they torment the wildlife. It’s a stupid and barbaric “sport”.

  30. Craig Avatar

    That’s not my call, if you don’t like it , get it changed! Good luck!

  31. timz Avatar

    “So why didn’t the FWS go and kill the packs they said were killing all the Elk in Northern Idaho? I thought they had the authority to as soon as the Wolf was delisted in Idaho, for at least the 30 or 60 day period”

    Just because they are stupid doesn’t mean they are totally stupid. Running right out and starting the slaughter would almost certainly lead to re-listing. They may have learned their lesson after Wyoming did it last time. Even you must be able to comprehend that.

  32. Craig Avatar

    Most people on here said there would be a slaughter for sure as soon as they were delisted! The FWS had know doubt there would be a lawsuit tying it up it court again. So why didn’t they take the one opportunity they had to kill as many Wolves as they could under legal cirumstances as they could? Wether they did or did not would not have changed the filing of the lawsuits!

  33. timz Avatar

    “Wether they did or did not would not have changed the filing of the lawsuits!”

    Duh, but it surely would influence the outcome of the lawsuits.

  34. Craig Avatar

    ALL they lawsuits were in place waiting for the oppropriate time frame to file! They still could have went in and took out the packs “they thought” needed killed! I want to know why they didn’t? Political? whatever?

  35. Craig Avatar

    I’d like to here from Ralph or someone who knows something about this rather than your smart ass comments!
    DUUUH. Can you prove if they took out packs that had significant impacts on Big Game Herds it would make a difference?

  36. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Craig, that is a mystery that they didn’t take out the “problem” packs. It seemed like their trigger fingers were itching for the delisting, unless I am assuming they are like Wyoming.

  37. Craig Avatar

    That’s strange , because they were ready to start killing Wolfs as soon as possible up on the Clearwater from I read. I’m just curious as to why? It will only piss off the Hunters that much more to let it go onother year or ????? and you are going to get more illegal killings because of it! There isn”t going to be a trade off, I think more people will start doing the SSS with this next filing! It”s going to start doing more harm than good before long.

  38. timz Avatar

    Ok, the politicians and F&G had a change of heart. They now love wolves. Maybe you can comprehend that idea.

  39. Craig Avatar

    What I can’t comprehend is your smart ass comments to a serious question! Which you only have an ignorant opinion of which and you have know true knowledge about, just speculation!

  40. timz Avatar

    “Wether they did or did” “have know true knowledge”

    And you have no grammer or spell checker.
    Yawn…… Bedtime

  41. Brian Ertz Avatar

    in order to get an immediate injunction, a plaintiff has to demonstrate likelihood of irreparable harm should an injunction not be granted. if the states were to begin aggressively managing wolves right off the bat – before the claims were even considered by the judge, it would show clear likelihood of irreparable harm to wolf advocates and a judge would be more likely to grant an immediate injunction to the delisting while the case was being heard.

    such a move would also probably impact the claims.

    The question has always been :

    Would the states of Idaho and/or Montana speak to the Justice Department, get the news that the Delisting Rule is a long-shot, and take the 30-day opportunity to wipe out wolves in the wolf management zones which spell out their intentions quite clearly ?


    Will they be shrewd, and perhaps some wise lawyers at Justice tell them that there’s a better likelihood to avoid immediate injunction if they demonstrate restraint.

    The claims from wolf-advocates are sound, they’re good arguments. I don’t see how the rule will stand.

  42. Craig Avatar

    Wow you really have some good points to answer a serious question! I’ve been on the road for over 16 hours today and i’m tired as hell, screw grammer and spell check! Ralph seems too make a lot of spelling errors, maybe you should start poiting them out to him too since you have become the spelling police!

  43. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    It’s going to start doing more harm than good before long. I think you could be on to something Craig. I also thought that numerous times in these blogs that the wolves were supposed to be killed immediately in the Clearwater region.

    And timz, grow up. People will take you more seriously if you talk to them like in a mature manner.

  44. timz Avatar

    “And timz, grow up. People will take you more seriously if you talk to them like in a mature manner.”

    It’s hard to talk to someone who writes like a third grader in a mature manner. And I could care less how you or anyone else takes me.

  45. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I heard through the grapevine that Ed Bangs met with the managers of wolves in Idaho and Montana, and basically told them that even though they now had the authority to kill a lot of wolves, they shouldn’t do something stupid over the next 30 days.

    I think that’s why there wasn’t a wolf slaughter in Idaho even though Wildlife Services sure wanted to go out there and do it. As Brian Ertz suggested above, the two states were shrewd. In 2008, during the first delisting — the one that was soon reversed by Judge Molloy — Wyoming was anything but shrewd.

  46. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I don’t believe anyone ever characterized the Clearwater situation as ever going to take place on a particular date. The plan is there – I’ve spoken to several IDFG managers who described it – and described the need to wipe out a significant percentage of a population to affect game numbers.

    As for the “It’s going to start doing more harm than good” claim. Threats or fear of this nature are not a proper way to preserve wildlife – or advance anything good in this world. We cannot take (or not take) action based on the grotesque fear that lawlessness will ensue – it is irresponsible to associate, let alone infer culpability for lawlessness, on the practice of upholding the law. More damage has been done in to the pursuit of conservation via inaction for fear of upsetting people with a lawsuit than anything else.

    Grow a pair.

  47. Craig Avatar

    Thank you Brian!!!!! So they held off killing the problem packs to make themselves look better this round? Knowing with the impending lawsuit that the killing of any Wolves would make them look bad and maybe this will give them a little better image. That’s what I was asking and I thank you for a real straight up answer!

    Do you feel this law suit will further seperate pro/con sides and maybe have more negative impacts?

  48. Eric T. Avatar
    Eric T.

    “The claims from wolf-advocates are sound, they’re good arguments. I don’t see how the rule will stand.”

    Well, that would depend on which claims you are referencing. Dispersal…check (see Oregon and Washington, NE Utah). That and WY. were the basic tenets of the last go ’round.

    Ohh, but that is soooooooo 2008. Now “we” need to hit “them” (Hayseeds, thanks timz, way to go!!! a new euphemism for Rednecks on this blog ..Yay!) with the DPS argument, (hey, it worked for the midwest population, why not?), historical range, the need for 5000 wolves across said range, and,………wait for it…..wait for it, this is so
    freakin’ wolfarific you just have to wait for it………………..
    the wolves all need to be inter-connected between Wisconsin and Washington and all points in between. Then and only then will delisting be warranted…………..NOT!

    Mahvelous darling, simply mahvelous.

  49. Craig Avatar

    Brian Ertz Says
    As for the “It’s going to start doing more harm than good” claim. Threats or fear of this nature are not a proper way to preserve wildlife – or advance anything good in this world. We cannot take (or not take) action based on the grotesque fear that lawlessness will ensue – it is irresponsible to associate, let alone infer culpability for lawlessness, on the practice of upholding the law. More damage has been done in to the pursuit of conservation via inaction for fear of upsetting people with a lawsuit than anything else.

    Grow a pair.

    I think that could be a very dangerous attitude to take with this situation. It’s a very emotional ,uneducated situation fueled by the most ignorant and most powerful group in Idaho. If the Gov’t doesn’t come up with soon, people will start taking this into there own hands I’m afraid.

  50. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Eric T, where are you getting your information from regarding 5000 wolves and a corridor from Washington to Wisconsin? The most ambitious plans I have seen on Defenders of Wildlife’s web page show separate populations but do not show a corridor that is that big. I have read (I think from their web site) that 1000 wolves are needed in a lot of those areas to decrease the likelihood of inbreeding and that corridors need to be maintained but not one that size. I’m also not sure I understand what you are getting at with the DPS statement that you made, could you clarify?
    A large population and corridors for movement do need to be maintained but I would doubt there is a magic number needed for wolves. I also think that even the most rabid pro-wolf people will agree that wolves cannot live everywhere they used to (i.e. most of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard).

  51. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Eric T,

    do you understand the DPS claims ? there are more than one in the complaint — and the one made in the midwest is different too (vertebrate/invertebrate discrepancy cast enough doubt on FWS’s claim of clear interpretation of statute) – but they all sort of dovetail. They are important claims that will help clarify protections for all species.


    I’m sorry you feel the way that. I believe that it’s counterproductive to do the anti-wolf folks’ job for them. That’s what hesitating to enforce the law does. i am more fearful for wolves’ welfare of the government agents with radio frequencies killing entire packs from the air on behalf of some ginned up elk objective or heavy-handed management zone on behalf of Livestock than i am of a bunch of wackos threatening lawlessness. let us not forget, these are the same people who whine because they allegedly can’t find elk on their ATVs or on the road.

    as for heating the issue up — sure, the lawsuit might heat it up. whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is anyone’s guess – but i don’t think that it demonstrates integrity nor the best interest of wolves to act in the fear that you suggest. and heat isn’t always bad – it can crack open opportunity for progress just as well.

    ProWolf in WY –

    as i understand it (and i might not, because i haven’t spoken to any lawyers or anyone who probably know better about it) :

    wolf advocates do not need to make a definitive statement about genetics & numbers except to use something to contrast FWS’s inadequate consideration for best science – they need to show that the rule in this respect was arbitrary (that’s difficult, as agency is granted significant deference). i think it’s irresponsible of any group to make a claim about numbers – it won’t win anything more than perhaps casting doubt on the FWS’s numbers – i haven’t looked at the site, but i trust that’s not what they’re doing – they’re contrasting some of the best science with the trash that FWS is resting its case on suggesting that FWS ignored, or inadequately considered it. one of the stronger arguments toward the idea that FWS was arbitrary in its science decision is made when members of FWS’s own team of scientists that were asked to weigh in on delisting were given a survey to collect their input on paper for the decision — several expressed (on the survey no-less ! ) that some of the important questions on the survey seemed rigged (not their word) to favor delisting. that demonstrates arbitrary conduct, and the numbers/genetics stuff (that they didn’t consider – NOT that they have to agree with wolf-advocates science) builds on that – or visa versa. an arbitrary decision is an unlawful decision.

    part of the DPS argument claims – i’m not sure whether its organized as a different claim (i don’t have the complaint in front of me) – that you cannot arbitrarily designate a DPS (congress allowed for designation of “Distinct Population Segments” of vertebrate species – a DPS is to be held largely synonymous with “species” in the context of the ESA) to carve away protections from a particular population within the context of a species listed throughout its range. remember, wolves remain protected outside of the DPS – they are listed range-wide – and that’s exactly what FWS is doing — arbitrarily designating a DPS with the sole intent of using this “tool” to carve away protections for a subset population. it will be interesting to see whether this holds up given the non-essential, experimental designation, but i don’t see why not as that “compromise” ought not trump the full protection of the range-wide designation — it seems to me, if an interpretation were made that the non-essential, experimental designation trumped this DPS claim — then one would would have to grant that the non-essential, experimental designation was unlawful in the first place (hell yeah !), as it unduly undermines ESA protections for wolves held outside that status.

    another DPS argument is that you can’t fracture the DPS itself and incrementally delist within the DPS, which is what FWS is doing when it excludes Wyoming. It’s delisting a part of the DPS. Because wolf (and their genetic exchange) recovery in Wyoming is dependent on healthy wolves in Idaho and Montana (genetic viability) – it is arbitrary (doesn’t make sense) to delist them in ID & MT and could potentially undermine recovery in WY if ID & MT cut the corridors to WY. Likewise, ID & MT wolves depend on WY. FWS must ensure recovery in WY, it can’t do that when it doesn’t have control of what’s going on with ID & MT wolves and there are inadequate assurances/regulatory mechanisms from the ID & MT management plans that ensure the two states will manage in such a way that ensures WY recovery.

    The DPS argument used with the Great Lakes wolves before won on procedural grounds. FWS had claimed that it was appropriate to delist using a DPS given the clear meaning of the language of the ESA (they had replaced “species” in the language of the law with “DPS”) now, for agency to use the clear meaning standard it has to be pretty tight, and because Congress had established the DPS “tool” for vertebrates, but not invertebrate species, wolf advocates in the Great Lakes were able to compel the judge that it is a reasonable suggestion that the DPS “tool” was meant to be a protective measure (intent of Congress was that vertebrates are more valued/worthy of protection than invertebrates, otherwise why the distinction ?). The judge didn’t rule on whether this was in fact the case, but held that it could be the case enough to cast (enough) doubt – which undermined FWS’s argument that it was using the clear meaning of the law – which unraveled the delisting rule and the judge sent FWS back to the table to tighten up their argument, or use a different standard of interpretation to justify its rule.

  52. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    People will take you more seriously if you talk to them like in a mature manner.

    That doesn’t sound too good does it timz? 🙂

  53. timz Avatar

    Prowolf how’s this for talking in a mature manner. Bite me!

  54. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    timz Says:

    “Prowolf how’s this for talking in a mature manner. Bite me!”

    And thus we see why the major divide continues to exist at all levels..

  55. timz Avatar

    Almost there in wolf agreement

    National Press
    PINEDALE, Wy – Wolf foes and advocates met here today to hammer out a final management plan for the three-state recovery area. They thought they had an agreement and were celebrating with cake and punch when someone uttered those two words–“bite me.” A fight broke out between the two sides, the new agreement was tossed and we’re back to square one.

  56. otto Avatar

    The notion that wolves are bloodthirsty predators bent on killing any moving object not only is merely fear of the unfamiliar, rather than ecology, but ignores the proven danger presented by pet dogs that we comfortably live with everyday.

    According to the Center for Disease Control each year in the US pet dogs bite 4.5 million people, leading to roughly 885,000 emergency medical treatments, and 31,000 reconstructive surgeries. Children are the primary target of these attacks. http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/biteprevention.html

    In 2007 33 people died from domestic dog attacks. The problem is growing too as the average annual death rate was 17 throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s while almost doubling to 30 during the 2000’s. http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html

    The insurance industry and medical journals estimate that dog bites cost this country, every year, between $1 billion and $2 billion dollars in medical costs, lost productivity, and insurance coverage. http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/statistics.html

    As a former dog owner (R.I.P.) and pet lover I’m not saying to get rid of pet dogs, rather just be aware of the dangerous animal they are. However, the idea that wolves are somehow more dangerous that domestic dogs remains based on myth, fear, and perception. If America can figure out how to live with an animal that, every year, attacks 4.5 million poeple, sending 1 in five to the hospital, kills 33 people and costs society over a billion dollars I am sure reasonable people can find room for wolves in the landscape.

    Comments like “bite me,” even if claimed to be reported by the “national press” do nothing but show the speaker to be childish.

  57. otto Avatar

    Ryan, Tim, and Craig

    If ya’lls idea of a hard day in the woods is “4 hours and we crossed a couple canyons” or “have to hike to no mans land looking for dogs,” or “covering 10 to 15 miles through Hell and no trails trying to follow dogs” then I stand by my comments.

    And Craig please describe the ethics behind the following statement of yours: “Not all Houndsmen kill what they tree either some just run there dogs for sport.” Seems to be saying that running dogs just to stress prey species for your personal entertainment, not very sporting.

  58. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Timz, I was commenting on my writing error that I did not catch when I made the statement about speaking people in a mature manner. I didn’t mean to say “People will take you more seriously if you talk to them like in a mature manner.” I didn’t realize the word like was in there and was making fun of myself when I wrote that.

  59. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    I will correct my grammar again, I meant to say speaking TO people in a mature manner.

  60. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Interesting article. I like the arguments about sound science that are in there. However, I would like to see what they DO and not what they SAY.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Brian Ertz