7 Dec 2009, 1:18pm
Latest Wildlife News
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MFWP Submits Its Wolf Case To Federal Court

MFWP news release, December 02, 2009 [here]

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks submitted its court brief today arguing against a federal lawsuit seeking to turn back the decision to remove gray wolves in most of the northern Rocky Mountains from the federal list of endangered species.

“FWP is continuing its efforts on behalf of Montana to convince the court that the wolf is recovered and state management is the best solution,” said Joe Maurier, director FWP in Helena . “It’s time for wolves to be managed along with all other wildlife in Montana.”

Maurier stressed that Montana’s wolf population is growing and is well protected by Montana law and properly managed under the state’s federally approved wolf conservation and management plan.

“Montana worked hard, and we kept our promise to do whatever was necessary to recover wolves,” Maurier said. “We succeeded. Wolves are recovered. This wildlife conservation agency is well prepared to ensure that wolves in Montana are managed under a tested, approved, and highly regarded science-based conservation plan.”

The case is before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula for the second time. Under a similar lawsuit filed in 2008, Molloy reinstated federal protection for the wolf.

In September, however, FWP prevailed in its opposition to a preliminary injunction that sought to stop Montana’s first wolf hunt by reinstating federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies. Still, in announcing the rejection of a preliminary injunction, Molloy’s 14-page ruling indicated that those seeking to reinstate federal protection of wolves might prevail when the actual lawsuit is heard next year.

The recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs-successfully reproducing wolf packs and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years. This goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has increased every year since. Today, more than 1,600 wolves inhabit the Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Area, which comprises Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, and parts of Oregon, Washington, and Utah. That growing population is connected to a continuous population to the north in Canada and Alaska. At least 500 wolves now inhabit Montana.

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