Our Klamath Basin
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restores protections for N. Rockies wolves
MATTHEW BROWN, Capital Press
Mont. (AP) - A federal judge has restored endangered species
protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, derailing
plans by three states to hold public wolf hunts in the fall.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted a preliminary
injunction late Friday restoring the protections for the
wolves in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Molloy will eventually
decide whether the injunction should be permanent.
The region has an estimated 2,000 gray wolves. They were
removed from the endangered species list in March, following a
decade-long restoration effort.
Environmentalists sued to overturn the decision, arguing wolf
numbers would plummet if hunting were allowed. They sought the
injunction in the hopes of stopping the hunts and allowing the
wolf population to continue expanding.
"There were fall hunts scheduled that would call for perhaps
as many as 500 wolves to be killed. We're delighted those
wolves will be saved," said attorney Doug Honnold with
Earthjustice, who had argued the case before Molloy on behalf
of 12 environmental groups.
In his ruling, Molloy said the federal government had not met
its standard for wolf recovery, including interbreeding of
wolves between the three states to ensure healthy genetics.
"Genetic exchange has not taken place," Molloy wrote in the
Molloy said hunting and state laws allowing the killing of
wolves for livestock attacks would likely "eliminate any
chance for genetic exchange to occur."
The federal biologist who led the wolf restoration program, Ed
Bangs, defended the decision to delist wolves as "a very
biologically sound package."
"The hunting of wolves clearly wouldn't endanger threatened
wolf populations," Bangs said Friday. "We felt the science was
rock solid and that the delisting was warranted."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.
Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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