Four groups have banded together in a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for removing Wyoming’s gray wolves from the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The groups, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the federal agency should never have accepted Wyoming’s wolf management plan, which the groups deem to be too aggressive and does not include protection for 85 percent of the state’s wolves.
The plan allows the predators to be shot on sight if attacking livestock or if they are a reasonable threat to pets or humans. The groups are asking a judge to rescind management authority that was given to the state of Wyoming on October 1 and to put the species back under the Endangered Species Act.
“We want the wolves to be protected until Wyoming comes up with a plan that doesn’t leave the wolves isolated in the Yellowstone population and cut off from other wolves. And we object to the idea that an eradication policy is appropriate for the great majority of the state of Wyoming,” Tim Preso, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm representing the conservation groups, told reporters.
Wyoming is not the first state where there has been a lawsuit because of the reclassification of wolves as a game animal. Minnesota and Wisconsin are facing their own unique lawsuits related to wolf hunting, while a lawsuit to stop the wolf hunt in Idaho was halted a year ago.