MISSOULA, MT -- Wednesday, August 3, 2011, will go down as one of the better days in a decade-long battle for science-based wolf management.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation leaders are encouraged by progress on two fronts.
A federal judge upheld Congress' recent delisting of wolves in Idaho, Montana and other parts of the West. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an agreement on wolf management plans in Wyoming.
Both developments help clear the way for state management hunts needed to control burgeoning wolf populations. In some areas, elk calf survival rates are now too low to sustain herds for the future.
"We're encouraged by these positive steps toward managing wolves as part of overall conservation objectives," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "This is forward movement in our fight to make sure that all states, from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes, have the authority to manage fully recovered species like wolves."
"Real on-the-ground science is the big winner in all of this, as there is no doubt that wolves are recovered and should be managed like all other wildlife. To date, no one has shown science to dispute this fact," he added.
Allen thanked sportsmen and conservationists for their patience through the endless lawsuits that have kept America's historically successful system of wildlife management stymied in courts.
But he also cautioned, "Until the wolf problem is fixed permanently, we're likely to see appeals, more legal antics and frivolous lawsuits by extremist groups who literally make their living by suing the federal government-and creating crises where there are none, for the purpose of raising funds."
Allen said RMEF will remain diligent as plaintiffs consider taking their case to higher courts. RMEF also will continue to urge lawmakers for nationwide delisting measures, and advocate for updating and modernizing delisting language within the Endangered Species Act.
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