November 14, 2014

Defenders challenges Idaho predator derby

Yesterday we asked the courts to reverse a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision granting a permit for an Idaho anti-wolf group to hold a predator killing contest annually over the next five years on over 3 million acres of public land in eastern Idaho. Over 100,000 Defenders of Wildlife members and other conservationists submitted comments strongly opposing the proposed Idaho wolf-killing derby, but the BLM ignored public outcry. As Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife Senior Representative said, “these events show that Idaho’s state-sponsored war on wolves is spreading to federal agencies. By issuing the permit, BLM is reinforcing the belief among local residents that wolves should be treated like unwanted vermin. It is shocking that BLM is willing to embrace the 19th century anti-wildlife tactics that led to the demise of wolves and other native predators across the West.”

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A win for red wolves!Red wolf, © John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS

The world’s only population of red wolves comprises just 100 individuals. These wolves live only in eastern North Carolina and are among the most endangered animals in the country. Unfortunately, red wolves are often mistaken for coyotes and are accidentally shot. In fact, gunshot is the leading cause of death for these imperiled wolves, with 51 since 2008 dying from confirmed or suspected gunshot. That’s why Defenders and others took to the courts to install protections for red wolves, and at least 110,000 people sent comments in support of the wolves. And this week, we reached a settlement with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and an agreement was made to ban coyote hunting at night and to require permits and reporting for coyote hunting during the day, in the Red Wolf Recovery Area. As Defenders’ attorney and advocate Jason Rylander said, “This is a crucial step forward in red wolf conservation. Now, red wolves have a fighting chance at recovery, without the constant threat of mistaken identity by coyote hunters.”

Click to hear from public interest environmental attorneys on why they sue.

Turning to the courts on behalf of lobos…

This week Defenders, partner groups and a retired federal wolf biologist asked the courts to hold the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) accountable for failing to develop and implement a recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves. When the imperiled population was declared federally endangered in 1976, the Service was required to prepare a recovery plan that would serve as a blueprint for rebuilding the lobos’ population to sustainable levels and ensure their survival and recovery. But, over the past 38 years, the Service has continuously stalled and failed to develop that plan. With only 83 individuals and five breeding pairs in the wild, the lack of this blueprint for recovery is thwarting efforts to help the lobo survive. We’ll keep you informed about legal actions on this vital issue.

Mexican gray wolf, © ADFG

Two Mexican gray wolves found dead in New Mexico

Having a valid recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves is critical to their survival, especially in light of the sad news we received this week. Two Mexican wolves were found dead, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the deaths as possible illegal killings. This terrible news makes ramping up recovery efforts for the struggling population even more essential!

Teanaway wolf killing update

Last week we told you about the tragic death of the alpha female wolf from the Teanaway pack in Washington state. Defenders initially offered a $2,500 reward for information about the crime. Now we’ve teamed up with other conservation groups to increase the reward available for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for this illegal and heinous act. At the end of 2013, there were only 52 wolves in Washington, and the killing of a breeding female from this pack is devastating.

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