UPDATE: Please read Judge Molloy’s “Order To Show Cause”
Notice the Safari Club Is One of the Defendants. That should give you a hint about what the attack on the ESA and wolves is really all about. Think about it.
In a stunning move, Judge Molloy is asking parties in the 10j lawsuit, if reintroduced wolves experimental, non-essential designation should be vacated?
The 10j rule was a concession to ranchers that allows reintroduced wolves to be killed for livestock depredation. Since 1995 hundreds of wolves have been gunned down by Wildlife Services under the 1oj. In 2008 the 10j rule was re-written to include “prey declines” as a reason to kill wolves, hence a lawsuit was brought challenging those changes.
Idaho is planning on killing wolves in the Lolo zone because they claim wolves are causing declines in the Lolo elk population. The Lolo elk herd has been declining for decades, way before wolves were reintroduced. But facts are pesky little things and get in the way of dogma. The Lolo kill would be approved under the 1oj but if Judge Molloy vacates it, then the Lolo wolves will be safe.
Judge Molloy is asking if the non-essential, experimental designation for reintroduced wolves still holds true, since they have been breeding with wolves in Northwest Montana. who dispersed on their own from Canada and are not governed by the 10j. At this point there is really no way to tell the two populations apart?
A federal judge in Montana is asking parties to a lawsuit over gray wolves if the animals should lose their experimental, nonessential designation and revert to a fully endangered or threatened designation. Such a move could torpedo Idaho’s request to kill wolves in the Lolo Zone. The order, issued this afternoon by District Court Judge Donald Molloy of Missoula, Mont., stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by environmental groups over new rules issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service making it easier for states to kill wolves for the purpose of protecting deer, elk and moose herds. States like Idaho can petition the federal wildlife agency for permission to kill wolves if they are found to be harming wild ungulate herds. The petitions are allowed under the designation of wolves in Idaho and parts of Montana as an experimental nonessential population.
Wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995 and 1996 under that designation, known as 10(j). To qualify as an experimental population, the wolves must be “wholly separate geographically from nonexperimental populations of the same species.”
Molloy said that was the case at the time of reintroduction. However, he wrote the federal government documented in another lawsuit that wolves in the Northern Rockies are now breeding with wolves from Canada and a portion of Montana where they are not designated as an experimental population.
Molloy issued an eight-page order to show cause asking parties to the case to file briefs showing why the case “should not be dismissed as moot due to the absence of a population meeting the statutory requirements for 10(j) status.”
If the 10j is vacated, all wolves in the Northern Rockies would be fully protected by the ESA. making it much more difficult to kill them.
Briefs on both sides are due by February 22, 2o11.
I’m sure this is going to stir up a firestorm but it’s long overdue. The 10j rule is moot.
Judge’s ruling could threaten state’s ability to kill wolves
January 28, 2011, 5:43 pm
Judge’s ruling could put new limits on wolf hunts
Associated Press – January 28, 2011 11:34 PM ET
Molloy could enact new limits on killing wolves
Saturday, January 29, 2011 10:00 am
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: 10(j), Judge Molloy, litigation, gray wolves