Wolf News Roundup
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
March 6, 2015
Wyoming & the Great Lakes States
Wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states remain under federal protection pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, but legislation pending in Congress would change wolf management, replacing federal protection with state management of wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Bill In Congress
House Bill 884 has simple language, but if enacted, would prohibit further litigation on the issue. The bill currently reads:
To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN THE WESTERN GREAT LAKES.
Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on December 28, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 81666), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review. SEC. 2. REISSUANCE OF FINAL RULE REGARDING GRAY WOLVES IN WYOMING.
Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on September 10, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 55530), without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance shall not be subject to judicial review."
In response to the filing of the Congressional bill, the Center for Biological Diversity is raising money to fight it Ė reportedly already raising $75,000 of its stated goal of $100,000 for its Wolf Defense Fund. The groupís latest fundraising email states: "Donít let the hateful bullies in Congress put more wolves in harmís way. Letís stop this bill, now." Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the states of Michigan and Wisconsin have filed notices of intent to appeal the federal court decision that relisted wolves in those states, so the litigation will continue.
Downlist, not Delist
Fearing that Congress will take action to delist wolves, animal activists have recruited 78 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign off on a letter asking Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to support downlisting wolves in the most of the United States to "threatened" status. Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify wolves, and to develop a nationwide wolf recovery plan. At a Congressional committee meeting, Representative Don Young of Alaska noted that the Congressional members who signed the letter don't have wolves in their district. He said, "I'd like to introduce them (wolves) in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn't have a homeless problem anymore."
Wolf Harvest in Rockies
Idahoís wolf hunting and trapping season is set to close at the end of March, and thusfar, 116 wolves have been harvested by hunters, and 94 by trappers. In the 2013-2014 hunting and trapping season, a total of 302 wolves were taken. Montana sportsmen have harvested 204 wolves in the hunting/trapping season set to close March 15.
Washington is the latest state to fall victim to the ongoing stream of activists filing federal lawsuits over wolves. WildEarth Guardians has filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of USDA Wildlife Services to kill wolves in Washington state. Wildlife Services works in conjunction with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to control problem wolves Ė wolves that have repeatedly preyed on livestock. This lawsuit claims that Wildlife Services activities threaten both wolf recovery and healthy ecosystems.
In other Minnesota wolf news, two trails in Voyageurs National Park along the Canadian-Minnesota border have been closed by National Park Service officials after a wolf chased or followed snowmobiles on three occasions. Superintendent Mike Ward stated, "We are taking precautions for the protection of the visitors and the wolf. Visitors are encouraged to continue to enjoy the winter wonderland by accessing the open trails throughout the park and multiple gateway communities."