Wolf decision draws opposition | TSLN.com

Wolf decision draws opposition

Bill Brewster

Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services/Gary KramerU.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled Aug. 5 that gray wolves should be placed back on the federal list of threatened and endangered species because Wyoming doesn't have adequate regulatory mechanisms to manage the predator, and as such, wolves can't be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

A united voice of opposition was expressed this week by several agricultural organizations and wildlife groups to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to reinstate full federal protection for gray wolves.

The comments from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Wool Growers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks came after Judge Molloy ruled on Aug. 5 that gray rules should be placed back on the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Judge Molloy ruled that wolves in the Northern Rockies are a single population that cannot be segmented on the basis of political boundaries. Because Wyoming doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to manage the predator, he said, wolves can’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

As a result, hunting for wolves in both Montana and Idaho has been prohibited. In Montana, fish and game officials had approved a harvest quota of 186 wolves for this fall.

The controversial ruling has brought sometimes adversarial agricultural and wildlife groups together for a common cause to challenge the judge’s action.

Jake Cummins, the executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, said Montana’s livestock industry; the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; sportsmen; moderate environmental groups; and the general public has spent decades and millions of dollars to reach a consensus on wolf management in the Greater Yellowstone area.

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“This decision throws all that work out the window and for what?” he asked. “The answer sadly is to satisfy the extreme environmental interest of a small group of activists who are falsely asserting, as they have for years, that wolves are at risk in the tri-state areas.”

Like the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) was disappointed with the decision.

“MSGA is disappointed in the decision but focused on efforts to ensure ranchers have the tools they need to protect their cattle from ever increasing wolf depredations,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the organization. “MSGA is also working to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process of achieving the successful delisting of wolves.”

In a statement released after the decision, the Montana Wool Growers Association (MWGA) said it was not surprised by Judge Molloy’s decision to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection.

“MWGA had its legal representation review the Final Rule delisting the Gray Wolf population in Montana and Idaho when the rule was published in April 2009 and our attorneys concluded at that time that the rule would not survive legal challenge due to the fact that wolves located in Wyoming were not being delisted with the other populations,” the statement noted.

MWGA said it has “no real position on whether gray wolves located in Montana should be managed pursuant to the mandates of the federal ESA or Montana’s state management plan.

“We find both management systems to be equally broken, although our experience tells us that federal Wildlife Services agency personnel are better at performing wolf control and location methods than state personnel and that the federal government should be the party ultimately responsible for the cost of managing and paying for the damage caused by the reintroduction of this predator species. We agree with the State of Wyoming’s assertion that the gray wolf is ‘predator’ species and that the gray wolf population should be managed as such and our members are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in Montana’s wolf hunt this fall.”

The Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) said the current Endangered Species Act had major flaws and called for Congressional delegations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to support immediate changes in the federal law.

“The August 5 ruling means state wildlife agencies no longer have authority to manage skyrocketing wolf populations – even in areas where wolf predation is driving cow elk, moose and elk calf survival rates below thresholds needed to sustain herds for the future,” the conservation organization noted. “When federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles – and possibly even compromise human safety – then clearly the Endangered Species Act as currently written has major flaws,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have already begun contacting the Congressional delegations of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to ask for an immediate review of this travesty – and reform of the legislation that enabled it.”

Allen said Judge Molloy had only considered the wolf population within the U.S., but over 75,000 additional wolves exist across Canada.

The decision was criticized, as well, by Joe Maurier, director of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“We believe we made arguments to the judge that he could have relied on to uphold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the wolf,” Maurier said. “We will carefully examine the ruling to determine what options remain open to Montana’s wildlife managers.”

Maurier said the judge was telling the federal government that because Wyoming still doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to mange wolves, they couldn’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

“We simply can’t manage wildlife successfully in that environment,” he noted. “We must have the ability to manage wildlife, to do our job, to seek a balance among predator and prey. As a practical matter, as wildlife managers, we need the authority to respond to the challenges wolves present every day.”

Maurier said the minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs in successfully reproducing wolf packs and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years and that goal was achieved in 2002. Since then, he said the wolf population has increased every year. Wildlife biologists estimate that at least 1,706 wolves, with 242 packs and 115 breeding pairs, were present across the three states. About 525 wolves, in 100 packs and 34 breeding pairs, were estimated at the end of 2009 to inhabit Montana. F

NOTE TO SHARLA: Choose one of these photos as the lead for the paper this week. I just wanted you to have options!

PHOTOCUTLINES:

Gray wolf:

Captured gray wolf:

Collared gray wolf:

Biologists with tranquilized wolf:

Wolf watches:

A united voice of opposition was expressed this week by several agricultural organizations and wildlife groups to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to reinstate full federal protection for gray wolves.

The comments from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Wool Growers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks came after Judge Molloy ruled on Aug. 5 that gray rules should be placed back on the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Judge Molloy ruled that wolves in the Northern Rockies are a single population that cannot be segmented on the basis of political boundaries. Because Wyoming doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to manage the predator, he said, wolves can’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

As a result, hunting for wolves in both Montana and Idaho has been prohibited. In Montana, fish and game officials had approved a harvest quota of 186 wolves for this fall.

The controversial ruling has brought sometimes adversarial agricultural and wildlife groups together for a common cause to challenge the judge’s action.

Jake Cummins, the executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, said Montana’s livestock industry; the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; sportsmen; moderate environmental groups; and the general public has spent decades and millions of dollars to reach a consensus on wolf management in the Greater Yellowstone area.

“This decision throws all that work out the window and for what?” he asked. “The answer sadly is to satisfy the extreme environmental interest of a small group of activists who are falsely asserting, as they have for years, that wolves are at risk in the tri-state areas.”

Like the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) was disappointed with the decision.

“MSGA is disappointed in the decision but focused on efforts to ensure ranchers have the tools they need to protect their cattle from ever increasing wolf depredations,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the organization. “MSGA is also working to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process of achieving the successful delisting of wolves.”

In a statement released after the decision, the Montana Wool Growers Association (MWGA) said it was not surprised by Judge Molloy’s decision to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection.

“MWGA had its legal representation review the Final Rule delisting the Gray Wolf population in Montana and Idaho when the rule was published in April 2009 and our attorneys concluded at that time that the rule would not survive legal challenge due to the fact that wolves located in Wyoming were not being delisted with the other populations,” the statement noted.

MWGA said it has “no real position on whether gray wolves located in Montana should be managed pursuant to the mandates of the federal ESA or Montana’s state management plan.

“We find both management systems to be equally broken, although our experience tells us that federal Wildlife Services agency personnel are better at performing wolf control and location methods than state personnel and that the federal government should be the party ultimately responsible for the cost of managing and paying for the damage caused by the reintroduction of this predator species. We agree with the State of Wyoming’s assertion that the gray wolf is ‘predator’ species and that the gray wolf population should be managed as such and our members are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in Montana’s wolf hunt this fall.”

The Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) said the current Endangered Species Act had major flaws and called for Congressional delegations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to support immediate changes in the federal law.

“The August 5 ruling means state wildlife agencies no longer have authority to manage skyrocketing wolf populations – even in areas where wolf predation is driving cow elk, moose and elk calf survival rates below thresholds needed to sustain herds for the future,” the conservation organization noted. “When federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles – and possibly even compromise human safety – then clearly the Endangered Species Act as currently written has major flaws,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have already begun contacting the Congressional delegations of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to ask for an immediate review of this travesty – and reform of the legislation that enabled it.”

Allen said Judge Molloy had only considered the wolf population within the U.S., but over 75,000 additional wolves exist across Canada.

The decision was criticized, as well, by Joe Maurier, director of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“We believe we made arguments to the judge that he could have relied on to uphold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the wolf,” Maurier said. “We will carefully examine the ruling to determine what options remain open to Montana’s wildlife managers.”

Maurier said the judge was telling the federal government that because Wyoming still doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to mange wolves, they couldn’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

“We simply can’t manage wildlife successfully in that environment,” he noted. “We must have the ability to manage wildlife, to do our job, to seek a balance among predator and prey. As a practical matter, as wildlife managers, we need the authority to respond to the challenges wolves present every day.”

Maurier said the minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs in successfully reproducing wolf packs and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years and that goal was achieved in 2002. Since then, he said the wolf population has increased every year. Wildlife biologists estimate that at least 1,706 wolves, with 242 packs and 115 breeding pairs, were present across the three states. About 525 wolves, in 100 packs and 34 breeding pairs, were estimated at the end of 2009 to inhabit Montana. F

NOTE TO SHARLA: Choose one of these photos as the lead for the paper this week. I just wanted you to have options!

PHOTOCUTLINES:

Gray wolf:

Captured gray wolf:

Collared gray wolf:

Biologists with tranquilized wolf:

Wolf watches:

A united voice of opposition was expressed this week by several agricultural organizations and wildlife groups to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to reinstate full federal protection for gray wolves.

The comments from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Wool Growers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks came after Judge Molloy ruled on Aug. 5 that gray rules should be placed back on the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Judge Molloy ruled that wolves in the Northern Rockies are a single population that cannot be segmented on the basis of political boundaries. Because Wyoming doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to manage the predator, he said, wolves can’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

As a result, hunting for wolves in both Montana and Idaho has been prohibited. In Montana, fish and game officials had approved a harvest quota of 186 wolves for this fall.

The controversial ruling has brought sometimes adversarial agricultural and wildlife groups together for a common cause to challenge the judge’s action.

Jake Cummins, the executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, said Montana’s livestock industry; the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; sportsmen; moderate environmental groups; and the general public has spent decades and millions of dollars to reach a consensus on wolf management in the Greater Yellowstone area.

“This decision throws all that work out the window and for what?” he asked. “The answer sadly is to satisfy the extreme environmental interest of a small group of activists who are falsely asserting, as they have for years, that wolves are at risk in the tri-state areas.”

Like the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) was disappointed with the decision.

“MSGA is disappointed in the decision but focused on efforts to ensure ranchers have the tools they need to protect their cattle from ever increasing wolf depredations,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the organization. “MSGA is also working to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process of achieving the successful delisting of wolves.”

In a statement released after the decision, the Montana Wool Growers Association (MWGA) said it was not surprised by Judge Molloy’s decision to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection.

“MWGA had its legal representation review the Final Rule delisting the Gray Wolf population in Montana and Idaho when the rule was published in April 2009 and our attorneys concluded at that time that the rule would not survive legal challenge due to the fact that wolves located in Wyoming were not being delisted with the other populations,” the statement noted.

MWGA said it has “no real position on whether gray wolves located in Montana should be managed pursuant to the mandates of the federal ESA or Montana’s state management plan.

“We find both management systems to be equally broken, although our experience tells us that federal Wildlife Services agency personnel are better at performing wolf control and location methods than state personnel and that the federal government should be the party ultimately responsible for the cost of managing and paying for the damage caused by the reintroduction of this predator species. We agree with the State of Wyoming’s assertion that the gray wolf is ‘predator’ species and that the gray wolf population should be managed as such and our members are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in Montana’s wolf hunt this fall.”

The Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) said the current Endangered Species Act had major flaws and called for Congressional delegations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to support immediate changes in the federal law.

“The August 5 ruling means state wildlife agencies no longer have authority to manage skyrocketing wolf populations – even in areas where wolf predation is driving cow elk, moose and elk calf survival rates below thresholds needed to sustain herds for the future,” the conservation organization noted. “When federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles – and possibly even compromise human safety – then clearly the Endangered Species Act as currently written has major flaws,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have already begun contacting the Congressional delegations of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to ask for an immediate review of this travesty – and reform of the legislation that enabled it.”

Allen said Judge Molloy had only considered the wolf population within the U.S., but over 75,000 additional wolves exist across Canada.

The decision was criticized, as well, by Joe Maurier, director of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“We believe we made arguments to the judge that he could have relied on to uphold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the wolf,” Maurier said. “We will carefully examine the ruling to determine what options remain open to Montana’s wildlife managers.”

Maurier said the judge was telling the federal government that because Wyoming still doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to mange wolves, they couldn’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

“We simply can’t manage wildlife successfully in that environment,” he noted. “We must have the ability to manage wildlife, to do our job, to seek a balance among predator and prey. As a practical matter, as wildlife managers, we need the authority to respond to the challenges wolves present every day.”

Maurier said the minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs in successfully reproducing wolf packs and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years and that goal was achieved in 2002. Since then, he said the wolf population has increased every year. Wildlife biologists estimate that at least 1,706 wolves, with 242 packs and 115 breeding pairs, were present across the three states. About 525 wolves, in 100 packs and 34 breeding pairs, were estimated at the end of 2009 to inhabit Montana. F

NOTE TO SHARLA: Choose one of these photos as the lead for the paper this week. I just wanted you to have options!

PHOTOCUTLINES:

Gray wolf:

Captured gray wolf:

Collared gray wolf:

Biologists with tranquilized wolf:

Wolf watches:

A united voice of opposition was expressed this week by several agricultural organizations and wildlife groups to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy’s decision to reinstate full federal protection for gray wolves.

The comments from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Wool Growers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks came after Judge Molloy ruled on Aug. 5 that gray rules should be placed back on the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Judge Molloy ruled that wolves in the Northern Rockies are a single population that cannot be segmented on the basis of political boundaries. Because Wyoming doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to manage the predator, he said, wolves can’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

As a result, hunting for wolves in both Montana and Idaho has been prohibited. In Montana, fish and game officials had approved a harvest quota of 186 wolves for this fall.

The controversial ruling has brought sometimes adversarial agricultural and wildlife groups together for a common cause to challenge the judge’s action.

Jake Cummins, the executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, said Montana’s livestock industry; the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; sportsmen; moderate environmental groups; and the general public has spent decades and millions of dollars to reach a consensus on wolf management in the Greater Yellowstone area.

“This decision throws all that work out the window and for what?” he asked. “The answer sadly is to satisfy the extreme environmental interest of a small group of activists who are falsely asserting, as they have for years, that wolves are at risk in the tri-state areas.”

Like the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) was disappointed with the decision.

“MSGA is disappointed in the decision but focused on efforts to ensure ranchers have the tools they need to protect their cattle from ever increasing wolf depredations,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the organization. “MSGA is also working to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process of achieving the successful delisting of wolves.”

In a statement released after the decision, the Montana Wool Growers Association (MWGA) said it was not surprised by Judge Molloy’s decision to reinstate Endangered Species Act protection.

“MWGA had its legal representation review the Final Rule delisting the Gray Wolf population in Montana and Idaho when the rule was published in April 2009 and our attorneys concluded at that time that the rule would not survive legal challenge due to the fact that wolves located in Wyoming were not being delisted with the other populations,” the statement noted.

MWGA said it has “no real position on whether gray wolves located in Montana should be managed pursuant to the mandates of the federal ESA or Montana’s state management plan.

“We find both management systems to be equally broken, although our experience tells us that federal Wildlife Services agency personnel are better at performing wolf control and location methods than state personnel and that the federal government should be the party ultimately responsible for the cost of managing and paying for the damage caused by the reintroduction of this predator species. We agree with the State of Wyoming’s assertion that the gray wolf is ‘predator’ species and that the gray wolf population should be managed as such and our members are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in Montana’s wolf hunt this fall.”

The Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) said the current Endangered Species Act had major flaws and called for Congressional delegations in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to support immediate changes in the federal law.

“The August 5 ruling means state wildlife agencies no longer have authority to manage skyrocketing wolf populations – even in areas where wolf predation is driving cow elk, moose and elk calf survival rates below thresholds needed to sustain herds for the future,” the conservation organization noted. “When federal statutes and judges actually endorse the annihilation of big game herds, livestock, rural and sporting lifestyles – and possibly even compromise human safety – then clearly the Endangered Species Act as currently written has major flaws,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have already begun contacting the Congressional delegations of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to ask for an immediate review of this travesty – and reform of the legislation that enabled it.”

Allen said Judge Molloy had only considered the wolf population within the U.S., but over 75,000 additional wolves exist across Canada.

The decision was criticized, as well, by Joe Maurier, director of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

“We believe we made arguments to the judge that he could have relied on to uphold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the wolf,” Maurier said. “We will carefully examine the ruling to determine what options remain open to Montana’s wildlife managers.”

Maurier said the judge was telling the federal government that because Wyoming still doesn’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to mange wolves, they couldn’t be delisted in Montana and Idaho.

“We simply can’t manage wildlife successfully in that environment,” he noted. “We must have the ability to manage wildlife, to do our job, to seek a balance among predator and prey. As a practical matter, as wildlife managers, we need the authority to respond to the challenges wolves present every day.”

Maurier said the minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs in successfully reproducing wolf packs and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years and that goal was achieved in 2002. Since then, he said the wolf population has increased every year. Wildlife biologists estimate that at least 1,706 wolves, with 242 packs and 115 breeding pairs, were present across the three states. About 525 wolves, in 100 packs and 34 breeding pairs, were estimated at the end of 2009 to inhabit Montana. F

NOTE TO SHARLA: Choose one of these photos as the lead for the paper this week. I just wanted you to have options!

PHOTOCUTLINES:

Gray wolf:

Captured gray wolf:

Collared gray wolf:

Biologists with tranquilized wolf:

Wolf watches:

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