Wolves Protected on the Endangered Species List Once Again

The drama-filled wolf management saga continues...

This story might have more episodes than The Land Before Time. Idaho and Montana wolves returned to the Endangered Species List, protecting them from hunters and taking away control from individual state regulations.

Judge Donald Molloy threw the wrench in the plans of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the committee responsible to set wolf hunt rules and regulations in their August 16th meeting.Molloy said the prior decision to de-list was a political solution but lacked coherence with the Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, the entire population of Rocky Mountain wolves should be protected; the wolves cannot be separated by state. Wyoming’s wolf population was still on the Endangered Species list, while the wolves of Montana and Idaho were de-listed.

What the ruling means: wolves south of Interstate 90 (in northern Idaho) have flexible protection – a rancher can kill a wolf attacking his stock or dogs. Wolves north of I-90 have rigid protection: the rancher loop hole doesn’t apply.

For a quick Idaho/Montana wolf timeline: they were on the list in 1974, off the list in 2008, on the list later 2008, off the list 2009 (and people hunted them), back on the list 2011…right at this moment.

In 2008, the wolf population in the Northern Rockies was on the brink of recovering. In 2009, the Rockies boasted a record 1,645 member wolf population (and a wolf hunt followed). Now they are protected once again, and their numbers should increase.

Running score: Environmentalists – 3 Politicians – 2 

So the real question remains: Are the wolves winning: how many is too many?

Stay tuned for the next chapter, or read the old ones!

The Land Before Time I: Unhappy Conservationists, The Land Before Time II: Lots and lots of wolves!, The Land Before Time XV: D-list, The Land Before Time XCIV: D-list official (we were kidding before?)

– Rachel Kiely