By John Flesher, Associated Press5:52 p.m. EST December 19, 2014
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal judge on Friday threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that will ban further wolf hunting and trapping in three states.
The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the combined population is estimated at around 3,700. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped federal protections from those wolves in 2012 and handed over management to the states.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.
Unless overturned, her decision will block the states from scheduling additional hunting and trapping seasons for the predators. All three have had at least one hunting season since protections were lifted, while Minnesota and Wisconsin also have allowed trapping.
More than 1,500 Great Lakes wolves have been killed since federal protections were removed, said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, which filed a lawsuit that prompted Howell’s ruling.
“We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks,” Lovvorn said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Gavin Shire said the agency was disappointed and would confer with the U.S. Department of Justice and the states about whether to appeal.
“The science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes region, and we believe the Great Lakes states have clearly demonstrated their ability to effectively manage their wolf populations,” Shire said. “This is a significant step backward.”
Wolf advocates applauded the ruling Friday.
“We filed the lawsuit to relist the Great Lakes population of wolves,” said Jill Fritz, coordinator of Michigan’s Humane Society of the United States. “It was based on the assertion that the Great Lakes states had proven they could not responsibly manage wolves when they were delisted in January 2012.”
Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates, which supports science-based wildlife management, said the decision should serve as a clear signal of caution to people who would destroy the nation’s wolves.
Minnesota Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said agency attorneys will study the ruling before determining its effect on state wolf policy.
“On face value we’re very surprised. We didn’t even know it was coming to a conclusion here,” Landwehr said. “It’s an unusual turn of events.”
What a crock!
Is this the same DC judge that relisted wolves in WY? What a bunch of BULL! They will be after MT and ID next......
"Now two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I fee. One is the colors that fly high and proud The red, the white, the blue. The other one's got a rattlesnake With a simple statement made "Don't tread on me" is what it says and I'll take that to my grave. Because this is me. I'm proud to be American and strong in my beliefs. And I've said it before but I'll say it again 'Cause my family's always fought and died to save this land. And a country boy is all I'll ever be."
The judge in the Wyoming case was Judge Amy Berman Jackson. 3700 wolves? Holy crap! I don't understand this "science based" phrase. Well, good job keeping us informed TG.
Mnhoundman, it was a pretty similar decision in Wyoming, no hunting or trapping.
Last edited by Againstthewind; 12-19-2014 at 10:24 PM.
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"WORDS OF WISDOM" A northern WI beef farmer once told me when I was hunting yotes on his property - Don't even tell yourself you made a "MISTAKE" on one of those big hybrids, but if he's wearing a collar and you turn into me I have a big bottle of CROWN for ya
I was born and raised in northern Wisconsin all my family still resides there. The deer numbers from around Gordon, WI to the big lake are non-existent not that it's prime deer country, but you use to be able to fill tags now a camp of 6 hunting for 6 of the 9 days of rifle in a antlered only area can't even see a buck. Heck 4 of them never seen a deer and the other 2 guys seen a doe and fawn and that's it, but the wolf sign and pictures of them on trail cameras is up ten full. The wolves are the same reason the Wisconsin elk population in the last 10 years has been at about a .1% growth, because every time one elk gets off by itself it's wolf supper.