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Today, Western Watersheds Project in a coalition of eight western grassroots conservation groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection from Wyoming’s gray wolves. If the delisting of wolves in Wyoming is successful, wolves will be subjected to Wyoming’s management plan which entails unregulated killing year-round in over 80 percent of the state. Western Watersheds Project and our allies intend to stop this illegal killing of wolves.
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Register notice, the federal government and the state agreed to manage for a minimum of 100 wolves outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Reservation. The current population in the entire state of Wyoming is about 330 individuals.
Key points to be raised in WWP’s upcoming legal challenge include the government’s failure to use the best available science, failure to base its decision solely on science, failure to consider the genetic isolation of the Wyoming populations from other wolves in the northern Rockies, and the agency’s flawed conclusion that Wyoming will implement adequate regulatory mechanisms to prevent the extirpation of the species. There is nothing in the Wyoming wolf management plan that will or can ensure that the wolf populations won’t drop below the limit of 10 breeding pairs or 100 wolves, largely because the killing of wolves for any reason and by any means is likely to go unregulated. The Wyoming Fish and Game Department has stated that people will be allowed to bait and kill wolves by such means as staking out live dogs or animal carcasses to entice wolves that can then be shot.
The organizations that have submitted the notice letter include WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, and Western Watersheds Project. The groups are represented by Attorney Jay Tuchton of WildEarth Guardians.