Gray wolf back under protection of the Endangered Species list
August 1, 2017
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia restored protection to the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act on Aug. 1.
The appeals court affirmed a lower court decision that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, acted improperly when it took the gray wolf off the Endangered Species Act list in 2014.
The decision was a victory for the Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of wildlife protection groups, including Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment that brought a lawsuit against the USFWS's December 2011 delisting decision.
"The agency's decision, which was overturned by the D.C. District Court in 2014, threatened the fragile remnants of the gray wolf population by confining current wolf populations to a small pockets of their former range," The Humane Society said in a statement. "State officials in the Great Lakes region have expressed their intention to engage in reckless killing programs that would threaten wolves with the very same practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction in the first place."
Congress is considering legislation to force USFWS to delist the gray wolf.
"A federal appeals court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed. Congress should respect the ruling relating to the management of wolves in the Great Lakes and allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to re-examine the broader conservation questions raised by the courts," said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the Humane Society.
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The decision was a defeat for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council and members of Congress who favor delisting.
"Today's ruling is a perfect example of the need to modernize the Endangered Species Act," said Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA for federal lands. "At well over 4,000 wolves, it is abundantly clear that the population in the region is recovered and thriving.
"Rather than celebrating the successful recovery of this species, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin will continue to be held hostage to the whims of radical environmental activists,"̦ Lane continued. "It is now incumbent upon Congress to take action to carry out the proper delisting of the gray wolf and modernize the Endangered Species Act so that it works for every American, not just well-funded judicial activists."