A federal judge in Montana has ordered the gray wolf species will have its endangered species protections reinstated. In July Montana had just approved a larger wolf hunt for this Fall, but the judge’s new opinion has blocked that event. Gray wolves had been delisted from the Endangered Species List in the spring of 2009, by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy recently found that to be a political decision and overturned it.
Of course, if gray wolves are under protection of the Endangered Species Act once again, it would be illegal for the hunting of them to take place. Earth Justice attorney Doug Honnold said, “For today, we are celebrating that the approach we thought was flatly illegal has been rejected. The troubling consequences for the Endangered Species Act has been averted and the wolf hunts are blocked.”
Montana had actually approved the killing of 186 wild wolves in a hunt to take place this fall. In July, a Natural Resources Defense Council representative said of the plan for an increased hunt, “We are ultimately disappointed, we don’t think wolves are fully recovered in the Northern Rockies yet, and with so many sources of wolf mortality on the landscape, the biggest being lethal control action for livestock depredation, we think a wolf hunt is premature at this time.” Now the NRDC must be elated with the latest ruling which puts a stop to the hunts.
The Idaho Mountain Express reported, “This ruling effectively cancels the 2010-11 wolf hunting season for Idaho.”
Image Credit: dobak