The ruling allows the state to reintroduce its 2011 wolf management plan, which treats wolves as vermin.
Environmental groups earlier convinced a lower court that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Obama administration should not have moved to remove endangered species protection for wolves based on promises from Wyoming that it would not harm them in certain areas.
But in a 3-0 decision by the D.C. Circuit on Friday, the judges concluded that Fish and Wildlife didn’t act arbitrarily when determining that Wyoming’s wolf management plan was sufficient to maintain a recovered wolf population. They now number around 5,500, including about 400 in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In its reversal, a three-judge panel of the appellate court said federal officials exercised proper judgment and adequately responded to concerns about Wyoming’s management plan.
Hunters argue that hunting wolves would be better for the species in the long run. “This is the right decision for wolves and Wyoming”. The court’s decision overturned a lower-court ruling that sided with conservationists who fought a state law that allowed the unlimited slaughter of wolves in a “predator zone that extended through most of the state”, the environmental groups said.
“The court recognized Wyoming’s wolf management plan was appropriate”, Mead said in a statement. Both of the Northern Rocky Mountain states have liberal hunting and trapping seasons tied to wolves.
Since the act was passed in 1973, 1,652 plant an animal species have been listed as endangered or threatened, but only 47 have recovered sufficiently to be taken off the list, he said. “The state of Wyoming has been working on this issue with local stakeholders and the federal government for years and the courts should have never blocked the delisting in the first place”.
As much as we might disagree with the court’s decision, it provides an unfortunate but nonetheless compelling argument for Congress to keep its nose out of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing and delisting actions and to avoid short-circuiting administrative or judicial review of these actions. “This ruling will again put the process of managing the gray wolf back where it belongs – in Wyoming’s capable hands”.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead applauded the ruling.
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