Image from dobak
Thanks to a last minute injunction by a federal judge in Montana, the gray wolf will be returned to its endangered species status, reports the LAT's Tami Abdollah. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy didn't mince his words in criticizing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ill-advised decision to take the wolf off the list, calling it baseless and dangerous.
A capricious decision without merit
"Congress does not intend agency decision-making to be fickle. When it is, the line separating rationality from arbitrariness and capriciousness is crossed," he wrote in his 40-page critique.Wildlife service's decision contradicted its own report
Not only did the wildlife service's evidence not stand up to close scrutiny -- for one thing, it didn't pass the "genetic exchange between subpopulations" criteria established in a 1994 report -- it contradicted a study it itself commissioned last year. Service officials had argued that the population of gray wolves in the West was growing by roughly 24% a year and was well on its way to recovery, allowing for its delisting.
Fall hunt plans would have allowed 500 wolves to be killed
The states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; a number of hunter and cattlemen's associations; and the NRA had supported the wildlife service's decision and may yet try to reverse the preliminary injunction, according to the NYT's Felicity Barringer. The three states had planned on allowing 500 wolves to be killed during the fall hunts, which have now been canceled.
While a promising development, we likely haven't seen the last of this legal skirmish.