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Feds Betray Wyoming Wolves

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chose a blue moon to announce the delisting of the gray wolf in Wyoming, which will take effect in one month. Is it because a blue moon is also called the “betrayer moon,” or perhaps it’s just before a holiday weekend and they are hoping most won’t notice?

By eliminating federal protections and handing wolf management over to Wyoming, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision will allow hunters, ranchers, wolf haters and anyone living or visiting Wyoming to commence unconditional wolf killing—without a license and by virtually any means in nearly 85 percent of the state. In the rest of the state, Wyoming will open up a hunting season on wolves immediately after it gains control.

Last year, Congress gave hunters and trappers in Montana and Idaho the right to kill wolves that had been protected under the Endangered Species Act, nullifying a court victory won by Earthjustice that would have prevented the hunts. Since then, management of wolves in the two states has grown increasingly hostile as the states have expanded their wolf quotas and hunting seasons. In the 2011–2012 hunting season, hunters and trappers killed 545 wolves in Idaho and Montana. The two states have designed wolf hunting regulations for the 2012–2013 season that will result in even greater wolf killing.

Even while it approved state management in Montana and Idaho, the FWS previously denied this authority to Wyoming due to its extreme anti-wolf laws—specifically, Wyoming’s treatment of wolves as vermin to be shot on sight throughout most of the state. Today’s delisting decision reverses FWS’s earlier position, despite the fact that Wyoming law continues to allow unrestricted wolf killing throughout 85 percent of the state. Earthjustice attorneys have worked through the courts for years to protect wolves in the Northern Rockies and will continue to fight to protect this majestic species.

By eliminating federal protections and handing wolf management over to Wyoming, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision will allow anyone living or visiting Wyoming to commence unconditional wolf killing—without a license. (Photo of gray wolf and cub via Shutterstock.)

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.