Update - October 14, 2008 - Delisting Officially Remanded !
Judge Molloy grants the US Fish & Wildlife Service's Motion to Voluntarily Remand the Delisting Rule
Read The Order
July 18, 2008 - Major Court Victory for Wolves !
WWP and 10 co-plaintiff's succesfully argued for a preliminary injuction to the US Fish & Wildlife Service's decision to delist wolves. Judge Molloy of the Montana Federal District Court ordered Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to reliniquish management of wolves back to the federal government where wolves will retain Endangered Species Act protection until Judge Molloy makes a final decision on the legal merit of delisting.
Read The Order
Read WWP's Online Messenger
We value wolves. We value wolves in the west because we know that they play a critical role in bringing back balance to western watersheds and plant and wildlife communities on public land. We have compassion for their individual characteristics and the highly developed familial social structures so critical to their contribution to these natural communities. We value our individual and unique experiences of wolves in the wild and hope to maintain that gift for generations to come. If you value wolves for any reason, you are a member of a very large community of people. Despite most people wanting wolves on our public land, this aspiration continues to be among the most controversial environmental issues in the West. Wolves' reintroduction after decades of persectution and extirpation has spurred much heated debate between wolf enthusiasts and those who continue to maintain that wolves have little to no place on public land.
|Photos: Rick Hobson|
Despite recovery efforts demonstrating the minimal negative impacts to livestock and big game hunting opportunities over the last decade and the good-faith efforts of wolf advocates to respond to financial concerns, little has changed to curb intolerance for wolves. Right now, those adversarial to wolves' persistance on our public land have the local and national politicians - and they're using them to drastically reduce protections for wolves on public land.
Western Watersheds Project's (WWP) involvement in the sound recovery of wolves in the west saves wolves. WWP's boots on the ground, eyes in agency meetings, strong voice in the courtroom, and insistence that the welfare of wild wolves, left alone to be wolves, be the standard for succesful recovery places WWP in the uniquely effective position to influence agency decisions and expand safe habitat for wolves on your public land - we've demonstrated our remarkably effective ability to do so. Now, we need your help.
WWP has been tirelessly working to ensure public land-use decisions promote wildlife values - including safe places for wolves on your public land. If you believe that your public lands ought prioritize wildlife, hunting, fishing, and recreational values, help us make it happen by joining WWP's community of dedicated wildlife advocates.
With the delisting of Northern Rocky Mountain wolves in the Northwest, and WWP's expansion into Arizona extending our efforts into Mexican Gray Wolf recovery, keep abreast of WWP's efforts at restoring western wildlife habitat, fisheries, and wild places by signing up for WWP's On-line Messenger.
Voluntary Buy-Outs of Public Land Grazing Allotments
WWP is one of six steering committee groups in the National Public Land Grazing Campaign (NPLGC), a progressive plan to end abusive livestock grazing on America’s public lands, thereby removing the chief source livestock-wolf conflict and destruction of wolves, while compensating public-lands ranchers in the process. More than 120 conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, endorse the proposal. See http://www.publiclandsranching.org for more information about the NPLGC.
Click to view videos
WWP has been documenting wildlife managers in public meetings, hearings, and committees. Our attendence at these local meetings has ensured that wolf-managers recognize a strong voice for wolves at every turn. WWP is making the content of these meetings available to the public to help inform citizens about the agency processes, decisions, and the mindset of the people charged with making these important wildlife management decisions.
In late February 2008 Western Watersheds Project
joined with a number of other national and regional
conservation groups in sending a letter to the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) giving 60 days notice that
the groups intend to sue the FWS to stop the delisting of
the Northern Rockies population of wolves. That
litigationwas filed at the end of April
2008. The delisting has gone ahead and the
three states involved (Idaho, Wyoming and Montana)
are beginning an unprecedented program of killing wolves
to reduce their populations to the absolute minimum
level allowed by FWS to prevent relisting of wolves
under the Endangered Species Act. WWP is represented
in this litigation by Doug Honnold of
Earthjustice’s Bozeman, Montana office.
Protected Wolves: Past Legal Efforts
In 2001 WWP and ICL sued the Forest Service for its failure to protect gray wolves. The lawsuit followed the killing by government gunners on June 29, 2001 of two radio-collared wolves from the Whitehawk pack in the SNRA, part of the Sawtooth National Forest near Sun Valley, Idaho.
The lawsuit charged that the Forest Service failed in its duty to keep sheep and cattle that graze on public lands away from known wolf pack denning and rendezvous sites.
At least 27 wolves in 3 years had been killed or removed from areas in or near the SNRA due to conflicts with livestock.
In April 2002 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents killed the entire Whitehawk pack of 11 wolves near the SNRA. Similarly, the White Cloud and Stanley Basin wolf packs were eliminated in 2000 and 2001.
Despite the known presence of wolves in the SNRA, some 4,470 sheep and 2,500 cattle are allowed to graze on 28 Forest Service allotments in the area.
WWP and ICL have long contended that management of livestock in the SNRA has significantly impaired wolves and other wildlife as well as fisheries and recreation.
"The law is clear. Wildlife takes precedence over livestock in the SNRA," said William Eddie of the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, attorney for WWP and ICL.
"The next time the government looks at shooting up a wolf pack in the SNRA, as it did last year, it better consider the legality of such an action," said ICL Conservation Director McCarthy.
When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down, and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable side-rocks.
We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.
Aldo Leopold - A Sand County Almanac