MISSOULA, Mont.–Attorneys representing the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other conservation groups on Nov. 8 will go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif., to argue against “many weak points” in a lawsuit seeking to end state management of gray wolves and return the species to full federal protection.
The suit claims Congress acted unconstitutionally when it removed wolves from the endangered species list and cleared the way for hunting seasons now underway in Idaho and Montana.
A lower court in August ruled against the plaintiffs–a coalition of animal rights and environmental extremist groups–who quickly appealed that decision.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently granted a motion to intervene (which had been denied by the lower court) filed on behalf of RMEF and other conservation groups, ensuring that their position will be considered as part of the subsequent ruling.
In the meantime, says RMEF President and CEO David Allen, attorneys will file a court brief with data showing that elk calf survival rates in some areas are now too low to sustain herds for the future, along with other biological justification for managing wolf populations. State-regulated hunting will help bring wolf numbers and predation back into balance with other species and resources.
He said, “Wolf populations passed recovery goals under the Endangered Species Act some 10 years ago, but animal rights groups discovered that lawsuits are profitable and also stymie responsible wildlife management. They couldn’t care less that wolf numbers in many areas are now far out of balance with biological and social tolerances.”
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.9 million acres–a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.