Thursday, September 25, 2014

Federal judge restores endangered species status for Wyoming wolves

Two years after Wyoming wolves were taken off the endangered species list, they are back under protected status. A federal judge on Tuesday restored endangered status for the wolves, saying the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "accepted a state commitment to maintain the wolf population without requiring adequate safeguards," Michael Wines reports for The New York Times. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

"The state’s wolf-management plan declared the wolf a trophy-game animal, allowing seasonal hunting in some areas and labeled it a predator that could be shot in four-fifths of the state," Wines writes. Judge Amy Berman Jackson "said that the state’s management plan was inadequate and unenforceable and that federal officials were 'arbitrary and capricious' in accepting it. Her ruling requires that the wolves remain under federal protection until Wyoming officials devise an enforceable proposal to maintain their numbers."

About 270 wolves lived outside Yellowstone when endangered status was removed, Wines writes. In the first year after protection was lifted, about 62 were killed by trophy hunters, and an unknown number were shot or trapped in areas where the wolves were labeled as predators, said Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity. Now an estimated 306 wolves live in the region. (Read more)

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