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DC Court Rules in Favor of Wyoming Wolf Delisting

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Washington DC Court of Appeals just issued a ruling in favor of the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Wyoming, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others that should result in the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List in Wyoming.

Why is this important from RMEF’s perspective?

David SOT

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation remains a staunch supporter of the state management of ALL wildlife—wolves included.

This case started in the Washington DC District Court in late 2012. The complaint was filed on 11/13/2012.

Another case was filed at about the same time in Wyoming District Court, but the plaintiffs withdrew that complaint after the Washington DC case got rolling.

I’m happy to announce that Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a favorable opinion on the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species List in the state of Wyoming. I will summarize more below, but in short, the Court found in favor of the FWS, the State of Wyoming, RMEF and others in all aspects, which should result in wolves being delisted in Wyoming. A copy of the full opinion is attached.

This case involved a challenge to the FWS delisting of wolves in Wyoming. The plaintiffs challenged the FWS determination that wolves are no longer endangered in Wyoming based on three main arguments: 1. Insufficient genetic connectivity; 2. Wolves have not inhabited a significant portion of their former range; and 3. Wyoming’s wolf management plan was not a sufficient “regulatory mechanism” to protect wolves.

In District Court, the Judge found that there was sufficient genetic connectivity, that the FWS correctly interpreted “significant portion of range” but that Wyoming’s management plan was not a “regulatory mechanism” and so the rule was vacated, putting wolves back on the Endangered Species List.

This decision, by three Judges from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirmed the District Court on the issues of genetic connectivity and range, and reversed the District Court on the issue of Wyoming’s management plan. This effectively means that the Circuit Court of Appeals found that the FWS determination was lawful, and Wyoming wolves should be delisted.

The plaintiffs may try to appeal this decision or seek another hearing, but in the meantime, this is a great step forward. I am not clear on when the delisting will go into effect, but I will keep you updated. Please let me know if you have any questions.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK. Take action: join and/or donate.

Courtesy of RMEF