Wolf Conservation Saved from Bush Administration’s Unlawful Proposal
February 1, 2005
The gray wolf was one of the first wildlife species to receive federal protection in 1967, and in 1978 the entire species, canus lupus, was listed as “endangered” throughout the lower 48 states with the exception of Minnesota. While the wolf has made significant strides toward recovery in some areas such as Wisconsin, Montana, and Oregon, the current population is less than 4,000, paling in comparison to their historic numbers of hundreds of thousands. Alarmingly, this promising recovery was put at risk when in April 2003 the Bush administration sought to prematurely weaken and even remove the protections afforded the gray wolf under federal listing. Sierra Club stepped in and filed suit against this action along with 18 other conservation groups, including the Defenders of Wildlife.
On January 31, 2005, a district judge in Oregon ruled that the Bush administration abused its authority when it issued a new rule that removed many Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf and would have allowed gray wolves to be killed. The court relied on the fact that there are major geographic areas where the wolf was once thriving but has since been eliminated or does not have sustainable population. Accordingly, the court held that the Bush administration acted illegally in stripping away the existing protections for the wolf. The decision is a victory for science-based conservation and for responsible wildlife management.
January 1, 2004
The Sierra Club joined 13 other conservation and wildlife protection groups in early October, challenging the Bush Administration’s decision to change the status of the gray wolf from endangered to threatened in the Lower 48 States. The administration’s action is the first step in handing over management of the imperiled species to poorly-funded state governments, at least one of which, Idaho, has pledged to drive all wolves from within its boundaries. The Bush administration’s decision also seeks to eliminate any future federal efforts to restore the wolf beyond the current small recovery areas and undermines gains that have been made at restoring the species, which was once nearly driven to extinction in the continental U.S. Wolves have begun to make a comeback in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the wildlands around the Great Lakes thanks to the conservation measures of the Endangered Species Act. But the job of federal wildlife managers in conserving this important part of America’s wildlife heritage is far from complete.
Details and Documents:
Wolf Conservation Saved from Bush Administration's Unlawful Proposal
Sierra Club Press Release, Feb 2, 2005
Related Cases:Third Legal Victory to Protect the Gray Wolf Comes from DC
Wyoming Wolf Protections Upheld in Court Decision
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