A U.S. federal judge denied a request yesterday by a coalition of environmental and animal welfare organizations to stop the hunts of the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf in Idaho and Montana. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled in Missoula, Montana, that the plans to kill more than 20% of the estimated 1350 wolves in the two states would not cause the species long-term harm.
However, Molloy also found that the federal government appears to have violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in May when it lifted protections for the wolves in Idaho and Montana, but kept Wyoming's wolves safe. The selective delisting of two of the three Northern Rocky Mountain wolf populations appeared to be "a practical determination that does not seem to be scientifically based," Judge Molloy stated in his 14-page ruling. He added that the consortium of conservation organizations was "likely to prevail" in its overall lawsuit, which the group filed in June. The suit challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to lift the ESA's protective shield from the wolves. "The service has distinguished a natural population of wolves based on a political line, not the best available science," Molloy wrote. "That, by definition, seems arbitrary and capricious."
Update on wolf hunting
ScienceNews just posted an article about a federal court ruling on a lawsuit to stop wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana. Follow the link if you want to read the full story, but the first two paragraphs pretty much sum up the decision:
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