Court says gray wolves still en­dan­gered

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

TRA­VERSE CITY, Mich. — A fed­eral ap­peals court Tues­day re­tained fed­eral pro­tec­tion for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes re­gion, rul­ing that the gov­ern­ment acted pre­ma­turely when it dropped them from the en­dan­gered species list.

The court up­held a district judge who in 2014 over­ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice, which had de­ter­mined that wolves in Michi­gan, Min­nesota and Wis­con­sin had re­cov­ered after being shot, trapped and poi­soned nearly out of ex­is­tence in the pre­vi­ous cen­tury. They’ve bounced back and now to­tal about 3,800.

In 2011, the ser­vice an­nounced that wolves in the re­gion would be stripped of their en­dan­gered sta­tus and man­aged on the state level.

In a unan­i­mous rul­ing, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the District of Columbia Cir­cuit said the ser­vice had not ad­e­quately con­sid­ered a num­ber of fac­tors in mak­ing its de­ci­sion, in­clud­ing loss of the wolf’s his­tor­i­cal range and how its re­moval from the en­dan­gered list would af­fect the preda­tor’s re­cov­ery in other ar­eas, such as New Eng­land, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The rul­ing pro­hibits the three states from hav­ing wolf hunt­ing or trap­ping sea­sons, as they did when wolves were un­der their con­trol.

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