War Rages On

Montana’s “Fish, Wildlife & Parks” [FWP] director, Joe Maurier, spoke yesterday to a group of Conservationist and other groups stating that Montana has “a recovered wolf population and we will appeal.” The statement to appeal is a result of the August 5th district court ruling that returned the region’s recovered wolves to the federal endangered species list.

Director Maurier advised attending groups that “Montana will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by Sept. 5,” a 30-day deadline mandate under the current appeals process.

Currently, 525 wolves reside in Montana. The FWP had intentions of reducing Montana’s population to about 450 dogs by years end using a combination of methods, including hunting.

Under the recent ruling though, Montana’s efforts to maintain authority to manage the wolf population has been halted.

“The endgame for Montana is to regain state management and a delisted wolf species,” Bob Lane, FWP’s chief legal counsel stated. “We are committed to come out with state management and we won’t concede that point.”

Lane also said FWP will petition the USFWS to allow for a conservation hunting season; to provide authority to remove wolves in some areas where they are impacting other wildlife populations; to provide for a more aggressive response to livestock depredations; and to down list wolves from “endangered” to “threatened” in the northern portion of Montana.

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