Friday night’s agreed upon Senate appropriations bill did in fact contain a rider delisting the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. This bill is pending before Congress and won’t delist wolves today, but it cannot be challenged tomorrow either. This bill will lift federal protections from wolves of Montana and Idaho, return management of wolves to state biologists, and will allow public hunting of the misunderstood predator in the two states.
How odd that these wolves of Montana and Idaho were given a powerless reprieve just a day following the above bill’s approval. Yesterday, just a day after the late night dealings on Capitol Hill, Montana District Court Judge Donald Molloy denied a settlement agreement put forth by 10 environmental groups who originally sued the federal government in 2009 to keep wolves of Montana and Idaho protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The settlement that was proposed last month would have removed federal protections from wolves in Idaho and Montana while hopefully safeguarding the wolf populations in other states if approved by Judge Malloy. The Judge’s dismissal of the settlement will have no impact on the rider attached to the Senate appropriations bill leaving some wolves at risk and the morale of wolf advocates at an all time low. The 10 environmental organizations’ proposal to settle left their supporters feeling confused and abandoned. After the settlement was proposed, the 10 organizations fell silent when many of their supporters wanted their pro-wildlife campaigns to be in full throttle to address the handful of introduced bills and riders that many fear threaten the endangered status of wolves and the ESA.
As the political wolf “roller coaster” continues to spin heads, a toxic battle over the management of Oregon’s 23 wolves has emerged, Idaho’s state legislature approved a emergency bill with a “Wolf Disaster Declaration” included which should ensure that emergency management measures are taken if Idaho’s wolf population exceeds 100, and another critically endangered Mexican gray wolf was illegally shot and killed.
What will the future hold for gray wolves here in the U.S.?
If your hackles are up, check out WolfWatcher.com for guidance.