For Immediate Release, July 18, 2008
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360
Wolf Killings Stopped: Federal Court Temporarily Restores
Protection to Wolves in Northern Rocky Mountains
MISSOULA, Mont.— Today Federal Judge Donald W. Molloy issued a temporary injunction restoring gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains to the endangered species list, and thus halting indiscriminate killing of wolves, for the duration of a trial in which conservationist plaintiffs contest the removal of the wolves from the protected list.
The case involves 12 conservation organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity, against defendant U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state governments and livestock and trophy-hunting organizations that have intervened on the side of the government.
Dozens of wolves have been shot since March 28, 2008, when wolves in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and parts of Oregon and Washington lost the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
In order to garner the injunction, plaintiffs successfully demonstrated that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, and that irreparable injury was occurring while the case was pending.
“The wolf slaughter is halted,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re elated.”
“Recovery requires allowing wolves in different populations to reach each other in order to mate and raise their pups,” said Robinson. “Even before they were unlawfully removed from the endangered species list, the government was gunning down so many wolves that the Yellowstone population was reproductively isolated, a recipe for extinction.”
Robinson added: “This injunction will give the wolves a fighting chance.”
Gray wolves were exterminated from the western United States by the Fish and Wildlife Service and its predecessor agencies between 1915 and 1945, on behalf of the livestock industry. Passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 led to placement of wolves on the endangered species list, development of a recovery plan, and reintroduction of wolves to the northern Rocky Mountains in 1995.