WSGA: In the News

Date: 9/24/2014 12:00:00 AM

Title: Wyoming Wolf Protections Restored



 A DC Federal District Judge has granted environmental plaintiffs request for summary judgment in a 2013 case challenging the delisting of wolves in Wyoming.  This action restores full ESA protection to wolves in Wyoming and returns wolf management to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  The judge based her decision on finding that the Wyoming regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to protect the species.
The Court in particular found fault with the FWS acceptance of Wyoming’s commitment to maintain a buffer of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation while relying on park/reservation wolves to equate to the 50% buffer being required in Idaho and Montana.  The minimum population required in each state is 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs.  While state statute binds Wyoming to the 100/10 minimum, the additional commitment to the buffer is not contained in statute and therefore, according to the court, not legally enforceable.
On a positive note, the Court did uphold the FWS on plaintiffs challenge to the adequacy of genetic connectivity among wolf populations.  It further upheld the FWS finding that the wolf was not “endangered in a significant portion of its range” and that the predator area was not a significant portion of its range.
It is WSGA understands that the State of Wyoming will seek a stay on the judge’s ruling to allow it an opportunity to make required changes addressing the enforceability of the state plan.  Pending the granting of a stay, it is illegal to kill wolves in any area of Wyoming even with a valid G&F issued wolf license.


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