Greater Protections Sought for Gray Wolves

May 27, 2021 by Dan McCue
In this Feb. 1, 2017, file image provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, a wolf pack is captured by a remote camera in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in northeast Oregon near the Idaho border. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP, File)

Wildlife advocates pressed the Biden administration on Wednesday to revive federal protections for gray wolves across the Northern Rockies after Republican lawmakers in Idaho and Montana made it much easier to kill the predators.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society and Sierra Club filed a legal petition asking Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to use her emergency authority to return thousands of wolves in the region to protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Republican lawmakers pushed through legislation in recent weeks that would allow hunters and trappers to kill unlimited numbers of wolves in Idaho and Montana using aggressive tactics such as shooting them from ATVs and helicopters, and hunting with night-vision scopes. Idaho’s law also allows the state to hire private contractors to kill wolves.

Wolves in the region lost federal endangered protections in 2011 under an act of Congress after the species had rebounded from widespread extermination last century.

Hundreds of wolves are now killed annually by hunters and trappers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Yet the population remains strong — more than 3,000 animals, according to wildlife officials — because the wolves breed so successfully and can roam huge areas of wild land in the sparsely populated Northern Rockies.

The new laws had been opposed by some former wildlife officials and reflect an increasingly partisan approach to predator management in state houses that are dominated by Republicans. Supporters of restoring protections say the changes will tip the scales and drive down wolf numbers to unsustainable levels, while also threatening packs in nearby states that have interconnected populations.

They argue the changes violated the terms that allowed state management of wolves and want Haaland to act before the looser hunting rules start going into effect in Idaho on July 1.

Wednesday’s petition seeks to restore protections across all or portions of at least six states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and a small area of northern Utah. It steps up pressure on the administration over wolf populations that were declared recovered when President Joe Biden served as vice president under former President Barack Obama.

In The News

Health

Voting

Interior

It’s No-Go for Fireworks Show on Mount Rushmore, Judge Rules
Litigation
It’s No-Go for Fireworks Show on Mount Rushmore, Judge Rules
June 3, 2021
by Dan McCue

A federal judge in South Dakota sided with the Biden administration on Wednesday, upholding its decision to block Fourth of July fireworks at Mount Rushmore. The decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange temporarily ends a contentious legal battle that has been going on between... Read More

Greater Protections Sought for Gray Wolves
Interior
Greater Protections Sought for Gray Wolves
May 27, 2021
by Dan McCue

Wildlife advocates pressed the Biden administration on Wednesday to revive federal protections for gray wolves across the Northern Rockies after Republican lawmakers in Idaho and Montana made it much easier to kill the predators. The Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society and Sierra Club filed a... Read More

White House Opens Pacific Coast to Commercial-Scale Wind Farm Development
Energy
White House Opens Pacific Coast to Commercial-Scale Wind Farm Development
May 25, 2021
by Dan McCue

The Biden administration is opening up the northern and central coasts of California to the first commercial scale offshore wind farm projects in the region. The first location, called the Morro Bay 399 Area, is roughly 400 square miles off California’s central coast region, and the... Read More

Haaland Announces Indian Affairs Bureau Missing and Murdered Unit
Interior
Haaland Announces Indian Affairs Bureau Missing and Murdered Unit
April 21, 2021
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced a new division of the Missing and Murdered Unit will operate within the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services. The new unit will direct federal resources in unsolved investigations into cases of missing and murdered... Read More

Interior Secretary Steps Into Utah Public Lands Tug-of-War
Interior
Interior Secretary Steps Into Utah Public Lands Tug-of-War

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — For decades, a public lands tug-of-war has played out over a vast expanse of southern Utah where red rocks reveal petroglyphs and cliff dwellings and distinctive twin buttes bulge from a grassy valley. A string of U.S. officials has heard from... Read More

Haaland OK'd at Interior, 1st Native American Cabinet Head
In The News
Haaland OK'd at Interior, 1st Native American Cabinet Head

 WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Monday confirmed New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, making her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet department and the first to lead the federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation's tribes for nearly two... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top