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Conservation Groups Argue that USFWS’s Imminent Red Wolf ‘Extinction” Plan Violates Federal Law

In an active and ongoing case, a coalition of conservation groups is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for its failure to adhere to the agency’s responsibilities as required by federal law to provide for the long-term recovery of the red wolf.

With fewer than 30 red wolves remaining in the wild, the red wolf is already dangerously close to extinction.

Despite this, a federal proposal announced in June and slated to be finalized by Nov. 30 is poised to push the last red wolves over the brink.

USFWS’s plan seeks to reduce the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90%, limit the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, and allow landowners to kill wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

Thus the conservationists told the federal judge today that USFWS’s imminent plan would hasten the animal’s extinction and be a further violation of federal law.

The Associated Press reports that “Lawyers for the USFWS, however, countered that new rules for the red wolf program mean that the conservationists’ legal arguments are moot and that they must file another lawsuit if they want to challenge the new plans.”

USFWS is the very agency charged by federal law with protecting and conserving endangered species. Does their legal strategy look like wildlife conservation to you?

The conservation groups involved in the litigation are the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.