Judge Molloy Asks If Reintroduced Wolves Non-Essential, Experimental Status Should Be Dismissed…..


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?

From the Lewiston Tribune Online:

 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 



Photo: kewlwallpapers.com

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: 10(j), Judge Molloy, litigation, gray wolves

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 1:27 am  Comments (16)  
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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Onyx_Wolf, Nabeki. Nabeki said: Judge Molloy Asks If Wolves Non-Essential, Experimental Status Should Be Dismissed…..: http://wp.me/pDTDG-2MJ […]


  2. The sooner that 10(j) rule is out of the picture, the better. Prey decline was one of the purposes of the reintroduction of grey wolves and not because of some paranoid ‘the Feds/Liberals are gonna take our guns away’ conspiracy nonsense. Naturally, the conspiracy theories do not end there – and there are some doozies!

    Because mankind got greedy and conceited, the ecosystem was screwed over just so hunters and farmers could have their little artificial paradise. Well that paradise didn’t last long, things went to pot in under half a century and all because of one animal being removed from the food-chain. Once the grey wolf was reintroduced, the species proceded to efficiently do what humans had been “trying” to do for decades.
    Non-essential? Try KEYSTONE SPECIES.

    Its hard to comprehend that even now that lesson still hasn’t been learned. Its not about what people want, its what the wilderness NEEDS and if that’s too hard for some to bear then those people should GET OUT OF THE WOODS AND STAY OUT.


    • You are right, John. The purpose of the re-introduction WAS prey decline! Scientists KNEW they had to do something! They all knew how exploding elk populations were harming the ecosystems! I believe that one of the main purposes of the reintroduction was this, having a decline in elk numbers, letting the aspen, willow and cottonwood forests recover, and afterwards changing the elk’s behavior to a more natural one (before the reintroduction elk were alert only 5% of the time, now they are alert 75% of the time and have drastically changed their behavior–from cow to elk).
      And now, hunters got mad at this and want the wolves off the map, or at least seriously diminished and continuously “managed”.



    • John…it would be such a blessing to see the 10j gone. WS has done so much damage to wolves. But I hope this won’t be used against wolves by turning the tables and saying there is exchange between the three sub-populations. But on OTOH…there really is no way to know or tell them apart anymore. Wolves are wolves with very little difference even among the sub-populations…so I want to be happy about this right now and enjoy the idea of WS not holding sway over wolves.



      • Well, you’ve given me pause for thought.

        If the hunts go forward it is both Wildlife Services and sport hunters. If it is only the former, that means the total number of deaths has a chance of diminishing, not that the killings they [WS] perform are any more justified than those done by the latter group. BUT WS may also be granted the powers to perform ‘culls’ of the species equal to the hunting season while the species still is on the ‘protected’ status under the 10(j) rule (some protection). From what I’ve learned from governments over the years, its that if they have made up their minds to do something – they will hold back absolutely nothing and sacrifice anything to get what they want. Science and ethics are nothing more than obstacles to the main objective either to be stomped out or manipulated with influence.
        This could turn out to be: pick your killer. Neither of whom are tolerable.

        Arguably, the damage caused by both WS and hunting are exactly the same, just dressed a little different. Both the livestock industry and the hunting community see these animals as junk on the landscape or as some cheap thrill. There has been much evidence that the states are not willing to ensure the grey wolf’s future, unfortunately as this has not been clearly tattooed onto the foreheads of people like Dennis Rehburg, whatever state endorsed killing of wildlife happens remains under under the protection of ‘science based’ ‘wildlife management’ that benefits all of ‘society’.

        Optimistically, this could lead to both WS killings and state control being both knocked on the head – courtesy of the timing of the anti-wolf bill introduced by Rehburg – if the dots are accurately connected. This is merely a personal perspective, based on how Wyoming’s anti-wolf stance caused an outrage that resulted in the state being dumped into an indefinite limbo.


  3. I don’t think we really know the implications of this yet. I’m not ready to trust the analysis of the reporters who have written these stories.

    On first analysis this would appear to be good for wolves but I’m not sure it will last. Essentially the judge is saying that it’s not three populations anymore, just one. Now that there is one population there is a whole new paradigm that will be argued which could make it easier to delist.



    • I completely agrree Ken. This could go either way. One of the arguments was there was no real genetic exchange between the three sub-populations. Now if we’re going to say there is then that removes one argument to delisting. But the biggest problem is Wyoming because they were very happy to sit there and let WS kill wolves for them, without a hunt. Now, if the 10j is vacated then it will be very difficult for WS to kill wolves for agribusiness, which is good for wolves BUT it might push Wyoming to play “Lets make a Deal”. When I first read this I was happy because thousands of wolves have died since reintroduction because of the 10j. Now I don’t know what to think. It seems wolf advocates can never get a clear victory, it’s always a double edged sword.



  4. It has always rather seemed like the wolf advocates had to give up something in order to placate the other.I am not certain with this ruling that it will do much for the wolves except get Wyoming to do something,but I could be wrong.It is rather like a double edged sword.


  5. Well it SOUNDS like it will be a good thing for the wolves; most likely more protection under the ESA; but then of course thats one thing that the anti wolfers are currently trying to break down. Of course we have learned to be ultra-cautious when it comes to good news …


    • I agree Ann…we’ll have to see how this is going to play out. It would certainly curtail Wildlife Services ability to continue to slaughter wolves for agribusiness and that is a very good thing. Who knows what other off shoots would occur if Judge Molloy vacated the 10j? It seems wolves can’t seem to catch a break no matter how good the news might initially sound.



  6. I never understood why the 10j was allowed to exist. In 1995, the Fish and Game Dept did not need to “compromise” with ranchers on the reintroduction of wolves using the 10j – the reintroduction was on the table with momentum. There was just no need for compromise at that point.

    Rather than compromise with ranchers on killing wolves, why didint they (F&G) demand more money and focus on education re: the bilogy of wolves and their positive benefits on the ecosystem?

    is that just too proactive for this area..? The mid west can do it, we can’t.


    • g….it took decades for wolf reintroduction to become a reality. The antis were fighting until the last minute. I think the government thought if they caved on this it would be easier..but they made a critical mistake and wolves have paid dearly for it.



      • I completely agree N.

        Education should have been priority with a “changing of the guards”. We could have reducated the young ones in school…against the irrational hate of wolves. Just reintroducing them and letting it happen is cruel in my book.

        But we’ll see what the future holds… there are a lot of stupid people out here in the west- I don’t hold much hope. Hate to be a downer, I am more of a realist I guess!

        The fight will never end without a turn of heart…


  7. By the way, I absolutely love the wolf pic. What a face!


    • g….I love that pic too. It’s one of my favorites.



  8. A few simple words is all I have to offer. I feel sick at the thought of the judiciary and governments “debating” if a species should live or die. Hasn’t mankind stuffed the ecosystem enough already? Do we now want to totally destroy everything!
    Funny how the Indian tribes knew how to take from the land what was required and give thanks.


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