Friday, August 26, 2011

U.S Court of Appeals Rejects Environmental Action to Halt Wolf Hunts

A mother wolf nursing her cubs in Yellowstone National Park

The battle against allowing wolf hunting in the states of Idaho and Montana has been met with the biggest disappointment for various conservation groups, who took the matter to the Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals. The outcome was that the court rejected the groups' plan to halt the hunts in those two states. More than 1,500 wolves were delisted from the endangered species list. This, in turn, gave both the states a right to control their populations in legislation to a stopgap budget bill approved by the Congress in April. The move came amidst a battle between the groups and the U.S government on whether the animals had recovered successfully in the northern Rocky Mountains.
A northern Rocky Mountains wolf

Several environmental groups sought to overturn this congressional action, in which the animals were delisted through registration instead of a scientific review. Among the groups included WildEarth Guardians and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, who petitioned the court in order to restore federal protection to the wolves. On August 13th, they asked the court to temporarily halt the hunting and trapping of the animals until the case was decided on its merits. However, much to their dismay, the three-judge panel agreed with the administration which consisted of both the states along with hunting and farm groups that the hunts will not jeopardize the wolves' recovery. According to WildEarth Guardians' executive director John Horning, although they were discouraged by the loss, they are cautiously optimistic in winning the lawsuit to protect the animals from future persecution.
Elk (real name "wapiti") is targeted both by wolves and human hunters

I'm personally disappointed as well by the decision made by the court. Although the agreement made will promise no endangerment in the recovery of wolves, it will not always be as hoped. The move will open a window of opportunity to radical misfits who will do whatever they can to simply eradicate the species. For these individuals, it would be the only way to prevent any further livestock predation and competition for any big game (in this case, elk). A similar situation is going on in Sweden where wolves are under a severe threat of undetected poaching. One of the reasons is may be due to competition for their food source, the moose, which is also a target for Swedish hunters. I fear that what is happening to wolves in Sweden would also happen to their North American counterparts.

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