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Big Day in Court for Wolves and the ESA

It’s been more than 2 months since the wolf hunts begun in the states of Idaho and Montana and more than 150 wolves have been killed.

As we began 2011, wolves of the Northern Rockies were listed as endangered but Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) in the spring that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. This controversial move was unprecedented as this “delisting” was conducted by politicians and not a process of scientific review that the ESA requires.

Today there is hope. Although prior requests for an emergency injunction to halt the hunts were denied, in a few hours a panel of federal judges will make a decision re: the hunts after wildlife advocates state their case in a Montana courtroom.

A lot rides on today’s rule. Montana’s wolf hunt quota is 220 and Idaho has no quota at all but intends to maintain 150 out of the 700 that currently call this state home. Our fingers are crossed that we’ll have promising news to report following this hearing.