The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, along with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the State of Wyoming, filed a notice of appeal in the Wyoming wolf case issued by the District Court of the District of Columbia. In essence, the legal move preserves RMEF’s ability to go forward with an appeal, if it is decided to do so.
“We maintain that state agencies, not the federal government, are in the best position to manage our wildlife—that includes wolves in Wyoming,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “The judge removed that responsibility from Wyoming wildlife managers on a technicality that has since been addressed.”
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson recently disagreed with most of the environmentalists’ claims. She ruled that wolves in Wyoming are not endangered, are recovered as a species and that there is plenty of genetic connectivity. However, she rejected Wyoming’s wolf management plan that took effect in 2012 by stating the USFWS should not have accepted Wyoming’s nonbinding promise to maintain a population of at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside Yellowstone Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The latest wolf count as of December 31, 2013, indicates a minimum of 306 wolves in 43 packs in Wyoming, and a minimum of 320 packs and 1,691 wolves in the Northern Rockies.
Almost immediately after Judge Jackson’s ruling, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead addressed the technicality by signing and filing an emergency rule that established his state’s commitment to the management plan as legally enforceable.
“Going forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and explore all avenues that return management of wolves to the state of Wyoming,” added Allen.