Groups Urge Protection for Wolves in Montana, Idaho, Other States
By David Robinson, August 31, 2021
I hadn’t planned on writing about wolves again so soon; there are many other endangered species issues to address.
What a difference a month makes.
My previous blog highlighted that a bipartisan group of 85 Congressional Representatives had signed a letter urging Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to “reconsider the decision to delist the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act.” Also, that more than 400 scientists endorsed the call “for federal protections for wolves, citing new state laws that allow for inhumane hunting practices and threaten the species’ recovery.”
But in late August, the Biden Administration made a disappointing announcement. It plans to uphold the previous administration’s decision to remove the gray wolf from the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Soon after that unpopular decision, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted regulations to expand wolf killing quotas and permit questionable hunting and trapping methods for the 2021-2022 season. The newly approved rules allow strangulation snares, baiting, and night hunting and enable hunters and trappers to kill up to ten wolves per person with a single license. Earlier, Idaho’s Legislature voted to allow hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited number of wolves (year-round).
Of course, conservation groups unite in their opposition to these recent actions. “Legislation allowing lethal neck snares, baiting, and wolf bounties is excessive and is out of touch with the way Montanans and Idahoans want to see wolves managed,” said Derek Goldman, Northern Rockies Representative for the Endangered Species Coalition. “With these new, extreme wolf-killing measures, the states are reneging on the management plans they agreed to, and the Service has a duty now to step back in and hold the states accountable.”
Goldman’s comments were included in a letter from the Endangered Species Coalition and Idaho Conservation League to Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It asked for a “formal examination” of new threats to wolves in Montana and Idaho.
We’re facing ongoing challenges to protect gray wolves. President Biden, Secretary Haaland, and the USFWS still have an opportunity to reverse their current positions. Conservation organizations and other groups will maintain the pressure, shining the light on the current dilemma. You and I can do our part. Support a group that is fighting to protect gray wolves. Call and e-mail your Congressional Representatives. Ask your friends, neighbors, and others to do the same.
Yes, we can make a difference.