Crying Wolf: The Unlawful De-Listing of Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolves from Endangered Species Act Protections
48 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2009
Date Written: September 28, 2009
Although settlers hunted gray wolves to near extinction more than a century ago, the animal remains one of the most enduring symbols of the West. In 1994, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service authorized reintroduction of gray wolves into Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming under recovery provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Fourteen years later, the Service delisted wolves in these states, contending that the reintroduced population met the numeric and distributional criteria established for recovery in 1994. Months after a district judge enjoined the Service’s 2008 delisting rule, the Service again delisted gray wolves. This Note asserts that both the 2008 and 2009 delisting rules violate provisions of the Endangered Species Act guaranteeing adequacy of state regulatory mechanisms prior to delisting, and fidelity to the best available scientific data. The Note also contends that the Service unlawfully deployed conservation tools as delisting instruments contrary to congressional intent. Lastly, the Note illuminates administrative defects in the delisting rules, namely the Service’s decision to disregard its own requirement of genetic linkage among the entire gray wolf population without providing a reasoned explanation.
Keywords: Alderman, gray, wolf, wolves, endangered, species, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Fish, Wildlife
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