Environmental groups announce intent to challenge Wyoming wolf plan in court

A male wolf from the Canyon pack in Yellowstone National Park watches for bison. (Mike Wheeler - click to enlarge)

A male wolf from the Canyon pack in Yellowstone National Park watches for bison. (Mike Wheeler - click to enlarge)

By Ruffin Prevost

CODY, WYO. — In a move that comes as no surprise in the long-running dispute over management of gray wolves in the greater Yellowstone area, a number of environmental groups announced on Monday their intent to sue to block Wyoming’s wolf management plan.

WildEarth Guardians and other groups have notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of their intent to sue the agency over its decision last month to remove wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list, according to a statement released by WildEarth Guardians.

The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park in 1995 has remained a contentious issue in the northern Rockies—especially in Wyoming communities close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The animals have since multiplied and spread to communities across the region that lie far outside the park’s boundaries.

Last month, federal wildlife managers cited robust numbers of wolves across Wyoming as sufficient reason to return management control over wolves in the state to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

The state’s dual approach of treating wolves as regulated trophy game in the greater Yellowstone area and as a predator with no protections across most of the state has sparked outrage among wolf advocates.

“Wolves belong to all Americans, but powerful industry lobbyists and their political cronies don’t agree,” said Wendy Keefover of WildEarth Guardians. “The anti-wolf minority wants to kill as many wolves as possible before we can get to the courthouse, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is completely complicit in this terrible arrangement.”

State and federal wildlife managers have long maintained that wolves have met or exceeded recovery goals in their prime habitat areas around Yellowstone. Wyoming officials want to allow tightly managed hunting of wolves near Yellowstone to help control problems like livestock predation or other conflicts in more heavily populated areas. Outside the greater Yellowstone area in Wyoming, wolves are considered predators and may be shot without a permit for any reason—or no reason—under the state’s plan.

Wolf advocates say populations are vulnerable to a number of risks ranging from disease to habitat loss and fragmentation, the animals should not yet be hunted, and that their numbers should be maintained at higher levels than state and federal targets require.

Concerns about livestock losses to wolves are overblown by Wyoming’s agricultural industry, say opponents of the state’s wolf plan.

Wyoming wildlife managers say they are taking a cautious and conservative approach to wolf hunting, which is set to begin Oct. 1 and will allow up to 52 wolves to be hunted in the trophy game area in the northwestern corner of the state. Wolf hunting will not be allowed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].

15 thoughts on “Environmental groups announce intent to challenge Wyoming wolf plan in court

  1. I hope they sue and WIN……There is no reason to kill these or any other wolves, and I agree that they belong to all of the American people, not just a few hunters, politicians, and cattlemen. It’s a shame that none of the presidential candidates have even mentioned environmental or wildlife issues.

    • Then I can sue you when a wolf damages my property or harms my family?

      There is great reason to kill wolves. Like any animal, they need to be managed. This includes hunting them and killing them.

  2. Ruffin, your reporting does not describe the whole truth.

    You stated: “Outside the greater Yellowstone area in Wyoming, wolves are considered predators and may be shot without a permit for any reason—or no reason—under the state’s plan.”

    The whole truth is that under Wyoming’s plan, not only may wolves be shot where classified as a predator (as opposed to where they’re classified as big game), they may be killed BY ANY MEANS AT ANY TIME BY ANYBODY.

    In other words, wolves may be run over by snowmobiles, pups in their dens may be burned alive with gasoline, shark hooks may be baited and hung from trees in order to catch a wolf through it’s muzzle, their leg tenons may be cut and dogs allowed to shred them alive and so on. These methods, and others, have been used in the past and there’s no reason they won’t be used again here in Wyoming.

    So yes, in Wyoming wolves may be “shot on sight” where classified as predators. That isn’t the whole truth. Wolves may also be tortured at will.

    Read the statute: 23-3-103. http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles%2FTitle23%2FT23CH3.htm Taking predatory animals, predacious birds and trophy animals; taking furbearing animals and game birds without license prohibited.

  3. So, if wolves “Belong to all americans”, can i sue all of America when it’s wolves come into my community and destroy livestock? If i cannot defend my property, who can i sue when it is damaged/destroyed? Also, why does somebody in a state not affected at all by this, have any say in the affairs of people a whole country away? And under the logic that somebody in Georgia has the “right” to a wolf, if the wolves migrated from Canada, do the Canadiens have a say as well? After all, it was Canadien resources that fed the wolves.

    • What “community” are you talking about Mr McGuire? Do you even know what the word means? If you truly did, you would appreciate that you do not own the land which you claim as your own, you share it – with all of Earth’s creatures. Unfortunately, you are one of more than 7 billion humans that are overpopulating the world. This overpopulation has been scientifically determined as an infestation of cataclysmic proportions. Humans are the only species that exist outside the “circle of life”. Therefore, if anyone is vermin, Mr McGuire, it is most definitely humans. That includes you. And that’s an undeniable fact. Lastly, in reference to “property”, I presume that you classify your life as that of your own possession. So does a wolf. What right have you to take it from him? Selfishness does not bestow you that right, nor does ignorance. You presume the wolf to be your competitor on the basis that your livestock are at the mercy of predation. If you are not happy with the situation, MOVE. And please don’t expect sympathy, Mr McGuire. YOU are the verminous creature here. Not the wolf, but the human animal. Fact.

      • Mr Riley, Please write your state fish and game to have these wolves trapped and transported to an area near you. Be real Mr Riley, moving isn’t an option and the wolf was all over the US, but clueless people want us to live with them only?? We would love to spread them out at your states expense, not ours.

      • You’ve watched the Matrix to many times. And people do own the land. If I have bought the land I own it. If it’s government land I also own it, along with all taxpaying Americans.

        Your “facts” may be shared with like minded individuals but they are not facts. They are your opinion.

    • If humans (the most dangerous species) insist on living amongst wildlife, it is the humans resposibility to protect themselves and their domestic animals. To go out, search and hunt wolves is wrong! Especially if using the barabic medal traps! Have you seen any pictures on someones beloved pet dog, or God forbid a child caught in one of those traps!!

      • I don’t live amongst wildlife, they move out of the park and visit me. The traps used for trapping them by sportsmen and women is the same trap the Government used to trap them in Canada and relocate them here. Where you up at arms about them trapping them to bring them here? I think not. You obviously don’t know trapping procedures since a trapper has to put signs up to warn people that they are located in the area. If a person ignores them and the dog gets caught, that falls on the owner. As for a child getting caught in one, that falls on the parents for not being aware that it is open season in the area for hunting/trapping to inform them to becareful. What I can tell by your comment you live in the city and don’t understand how we actually live in the country. Please educate yourself before you believe everything anti hunters try to push. I am too a female hunter, but I am very aware to my surroundings. Have to be when I go into the mountains close to Cody because of grizzlies.

  4. There is absolutely no reason for any animal to “In other words, wolves may be run over by snowmobiles, pups in their dens may be burned alive with gasoline, shark hooks may be baited and hung from trees in order to catch a wolf through it’s muzzle, their leg tenons may be cut and dogs allowed to shred them alive and so on.” This is not hunting or killing them to keep the numbers down. This is human sadism, lust and the ability to hurt something that can do nothing back to him. This is the worst of the human race. Nothing on this planet should be subjected to anything like this. No human has the right to take another life be it a human or an animal. Shame on them. Does it make them feel good and so very important?????????

  5. Wyoming was my favorite state. The things said by people wanting to kill America’s wolves , even Yellowstones wolves have turned me off to the state . I know that is true of thousands worldwide , and yes many who live in Wyoming.

  6. I am fairly neutral on this topic. Wolves bring good and bad. I live in WY adjacent to YNP. What bothers me is that when Defenders of Wildlife first pushed the idea of reintroduction, they were looking for some 35 to 45 wolves. When all the environmental groups-of-the-day participated in the creation of the recovery plan they all agreed to the roughly 300 number (10 breeding pairs times 10 wolves per pack times 3 recovery areas). Now that these numbers are exceeded they are not good enough for the environmental groups. What will ever be good enough?
    In the meantime the federal management agencies spend millions per year managing and killing 10 to 25 percent of the wolves every year. That’s right, the feds currently kill 10 to 25 percent of the Yellowstone wolf population every year. Why don’t we save some precious federal dollars and get on with the delisting process previously agreed to by the feds, states and environmental organizations? The killing of the wolves is already happening, it’s just being done by highly paid federal employees, why not get on with things and put the population control back in the hands of the public hunter? (And no I don’t need to hear a bunch of hyperbole about sadist humans and the illegal tactics they may use to kill wolves.)

  7. I find it funny how people who live in cities, several states away want us to continue to live with these non essential experimental wolves, but why aren’t any of you writing your state fish and game to get these wolves in your back yard? This is a problem at the state level and needs to be taken care of before the other wildlife become endangered. What people don’t realize is there was documentation of the Rocky Moutain Timber wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) in Wyoming and Idaho before 1995. The Canadian Gray wolf (Canis lupus occidentalis)pretty much has wiped out our native wolf. There is a big difference in their charactors, reason the elk heards are greatly at risk now which they weren’t prior to 1995. These are not pets, nor will ever be, they are wild animals. It would be like telling someone they can’t kill the mice in their houses. It needs to be left at the state level since each state knows what is best.