Wolves remain under fire across the Northern Rockies and Upper Midwest, but they caught a break today from experts who say the federal government is using old science in its effort to remove protections for gray wolves across the rest of the US.
Hunters have killed 299 gray wolves in the Rocky Mountain states where trophy hunting is set to continue through the winter, and in some cases through the spring. Conservationists say the packs could nosedive in the face of robust trophy hunting and trapping that has been set up to whittle the wolves down to around 400 in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming combined.
Two years of sport hunting have taken a toll on the gray wolves in the U.S. Northern Rocky Mountains. Their population is down by 34 percent after what one biologist satirically calls a “robust” hunting season.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
In a last minute move anticipated and decried by environmentalists, the Bush Administration has removed a large segment of the Rocky Mountain gray wolves and western Great Lakes gray wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Interior Department officials cited the wolves’ recovery in those areas, saying that the animals populate those areas in sufficient numbers to survive without being listed as endangered (in the case of the Rocky Mountain packs) or threatened (the Great Lakes wolves).