Wyoming Wolves Back Under Federal Protection: Last week we told you of our wonderful victory in Wyoming when a federal judge reinstated federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the state! The state of Wyoming wasn’t too keen on relinquishing control of their wolf management, so in response, this week, the state immediately passed an emergency rule attempting to rectify a component of its management plan. The state hoped this quick fix would appease the judge enough to return wolf management to the state…just in time for hunting season, which was slated to start on October 1. Thankfully, the Judge said no and reasserted that her previous ruling required Wyoming to go back and revise its management plan. In denying Wyoming’s and the federal government’s requests to amend her ruling and reinstate the delisting rule, the Judge said: “I sent you back to the drawing board. It’s great that you started to sketch, but you are not done, and it is too early to ask me to look at it again.” Clearly the battle for wolves is far from over, but for now, Wyoming wolves have a reprieve.
Some Much Needed Funding for Nonlethal Wolf Management! Last Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) announced it would provide $900,000 in grants to livestock producers in the states of Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming who are willing to implement non-lethal deterrents to keep livestock away from wolves. The program is funded through the Wolf Livestock Demonstration Project Grant Program which has authorized the Service to administer grants annually for five years. The program helps fund compensation to ranchers for loss of livestock due to depredation and non-lethal programs by providing up to a 50 percent cost-share for purchasing non-lethal tools, and also compensates producers for livestock losses caused by wolves. This is exactly the type of support we need to get nonlethal programs in wider use by livestock owners and ranchers who frequently rely on lethal control to address livestock-wolf conflict. We hope to see Congress continue this grant funding program because it directly benefits livestock producers willing to take proactive action to protect wolves.
We Must Stop a Proposed Predator Derby Set for January In Idaho: A few weeks ago we learned that a hunters’ rights group called Idaho for Wildlife requested permission from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold a multi-day predator killing contest starting in January 2015 on wide expanses of national public lands around Salmon, Idaho. Even though 60,000 Defenders members have already asked BLM to stop this proposal, it looks like BLM is seriously considering allowing it. But, now we have another chance to tell BLM why they cannot proceed. Events like these are the same kinds of extermination-era tactics that drove wolves to the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 in the first place. This is not modern wildlife management and it has no place in our society. Please take just a moment to submit your comment to BLM, and in doing so, take a stand for wolves, coyotes and other predators and wildlife in Idaho!