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As Wolf Management Debate Reaches a Fever Pitch, the Interior Department Hires a National Mediator

As Wolf Management Debate Reaches a Fever Pitch, the Interior Department Hires a National Mediator

America’s heated conversation over wolf management has turned into a screaming match in recent weeks. Death threats from wildlife activists poured into Wyoming last week after news broke that a resident captured a live wolf in February and paraded it around a bar before dispatching it. In Colorado, pissed-off landowners are withdrawing their cooperation with Parks and Wildlife after a second calf was killed by recently reintroduced wolves. The latest round of virtual discussions is today and tomorrow.

Wolf advocates are not especially happy with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement last month that it was not reimposing federal protections on wolves in the Northern Rockies, claiming the decision “failed not just the wolves of the Northern Rockies, but wildlife and wildlands at large.”

Meanwhile, the venue where most wolf management decisions are taking place is a courtroom as litigation defines the terms of the national debate over where wolves should be allowed to roam and whether we should have more wolves or fewer wolves.

That impasse was articulated by FWS in early February when it declined to restore federal protection to wolves in the Rockies and western U.S.

“Debate over the management of wolves has included more than two decades of legislation, litigation and rulemaking,” FWS noted in a news release. “Wolf recovery to date has been construed around specific legal questions or science-driven exercises about predicted wolf population status. Courts have invalidated five out of six rules finalized by the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service on gray wolf status, citing at least in part a failure to consider how delisting any particular population of gray wolves affects their status and recovery nationwide.”

In order to elevate the discussion beyond the state legislatures and federal courtrooms, and to forge durable management solutions for wolves, FWS in February announced its intention to develop a first-ever nationwide gray wolf recovery plan by December 2025.

Read the complete article here.

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