Wyoming's wolves are protected by the federal government. The state wants to take over management and allow the killing of wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming's plan; ranchers, farmers, and others filed suit; and Earthjustice intevened to assure a stout defense of the wolves.
As part of federal budget negotiations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has introduced a proposal to remove Endangered Species Act Protections for grey wolves across the country. This would be a serious setback to decades of conservation efforts, and Earthjustice is preparing a legal challenge in case the proposal passes.
A federal decision allowing Wyoming to remove its grey wolves from the Endangered Species List is being challenged in court by several conservation groups. The groups filed suit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking to reinstate protections for the wolves and stop the policy under which at least 49 wolves have been killed since Wyoming took over the population management in October.
One outside expert says Wyoming’s wolf management plan has some flaws that might not stand up in court against the legal challenge brought on by environmental groups. Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department classifies wolves as predators who can be shot on sight with no season or bag limit.
“We don’t think a shoot-on-sight policy is appropriate for wolves, and it’s not sound wildlife management,” said managing attorney Tim Preso of Earthjustice in Bozeman.
On behalf of a coalition of environmental groups, Earthjustice has notified the federal government that it will challenge its decision to hand over the wolf management plan to the state of Wyoming. Wyoming’s “shoot on sight” policy treats wolves as predators that can be killed at any time in most of the state.