Sorry, would-be wolf hunters: The wolf is back under endangered species protections, effectively shutting down plans for fall hunts in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula granted a preliminary injunction restoring wolf protection. Molloy ruled that the federal government failed to meet standards for wolf recovery before delisting them, including proving that interbreeding of wolves between the three states had occurred to ensure a strong gene pool.
"Genetic exchange has not taken place," Molloy wrote in the 40-page decision.
Molloy said hunting and state laws allowing the killing of wolves for livestock attacks would likely "eliminate any chance for genetic exchange to occur."
Environmental groups were "delighted" and applauded the decision, while the federal government hopes to determine whether or not to file an appeal by next week.
For now, the temporary decision will keep wolves from dodging bullets, but a strong hunting lobby in all three states virtually ensures that the wolf debate is far from over. Keep checking the Daily Dirt for updates, and keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming feature in the magazine on wolves and their conflicted place in our history and landscape.
— Ted Alvarez