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U.S. judge reinstates Rocky Mountain wolves' protection

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WolfWolves in Montana and Idaho can breathe easier after a federal judge reinstated their protection this Friday.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted northern Rocky Mountain wolves after the population reached 1,200 in the winter, claiming that "all threats to the wolf population [...] have been resolved."

But Judge Molloy wrote "the plain language of the Endangered Species Act does not allow the agency to divide a [population segment] into a smaller taxonomy."

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Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Holy crap. Somebody with power actually did something smart for a change. Imagine that.

Your rating: None

I don't know if I would call it a doing something smart, more just judge doing their job reading the law and interpreting it as written. The judge probably did what they were supposed to do, but in the long run I don't think this result is a good thing, as the the decision was based on the current law and not necessarily what will be best for the environment (which might need new laws to be passed).

My background is not in the appropriate fields to comment on whether wolf populations in this areas require such protection or not, so I am not going to try to be an armchair ecologist and let the professionals deal with that question. But I do think if the point is to restore an animal to its previous range, and the animal is doing better in one area, it would be helpful to be able to concentrate limited resources and efforts on protecting them where needed. The Endagered Species Act does allow a species to be broken up into several populations, but I don't know how appropriate and effective the granularity of the law as written is. Having tiered levels of protection helps too.

Also, if someone's sole cause is to prevent hunting of wolves, the ESA's job isn't to stop hunting, but instead to just bring back population levels. To stop hunting at a point the population is arguably doing better is a different cause/set of arguments and would require new and different laws to deal with.

Your rating: None

A step in the right direction, yes.

But now a new issue. How exactly are you going to enforce this? Ranchers and farmers will still shoot a wolf if it gets too close.

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GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Kai Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.