Last week, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recognized Wyoming’s wolf management plan should be upheld. This comes after, the US Fish and Wildlife Service removed Wyoming’s wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act through a delisting rule in 2012. In 2014, a federal District Court judge reinstated federal protections for wolves and vacated the 2012 rule because the judge believed that population commitments Wyoming made in its wolf management plan needed to be in regulation or statute. As a result, the judge ruled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service acted arbitrarily in delisting Wyoming’s wolves. Wyoming and the federal government appealed that decision.
In the 3-0 opinion that came out on March 3rd, the Court concluded that US Fish and Wildlife Service did not act arbitrarily when it determined Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan was sufficient to maintain a recovered wolf population upon delisting.
Game and Fish is pleased with that ruling. “Wyoming showed it could manage wolves in a conservative and responsible manner that met all objectives after delisting. We look forward to again taking on the important work of managing this public resource,” said Chief of the Wildlife Division, Brian Nesvik.
Wyoming will not take over management immediately because of the legal process involved.
So, until that process plays out Game and Fish reminds people that wolves are still considered protected under the Endangered Species Act and under federal management. This also means the take of wolves in Wyoming remains suspended.
For those interested in wolf management, Game and Fish commits to provide updates here on this site in the coming weeks and months. To read the Court’s opinion click here.