Volume 5, Number 25 - September 15, 2005
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Wolf control should be required
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should be required by a federal court to control the wolf population in Wyoming, according to a brief filed by the Wyoming Wolf Coalition in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
The brief was filed as a part of the o ngoing litigation over the FWS rejection of Wyoming's wolf management plan. When a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, he also dismissed the coalition's arguments that FWS isn't properly controlling wolves that prey on livestock.
The new brief points out to the appeals panel that the members of the wolf coalition are on the front line of the federal decision to introduce gray wolves into Wyoming and the subsequent refusal to effectively management and control them.
Attorneys for the coalition painted a graphic picture for the appeals court. According to the brief, coalition members "have watched their cattle and sheep attempt to return to their feet after they have had their intestines pulled out by a playful pack of wolves. They have observed the aftermath of a battle between a mother cow trying to protect her calf, and the wolves who were determined to kill it.
"They have seen the hind quarters eaten out of a cow while she was still alive. They have seen sheep killed by the dozens and left scattered on the ground, providing no benefit to the rancher and no sustenance for the wolves, other than the joy of the kill.
"They have watched their livelihoods dry up each passing year as the elk, moose, and bighorn sheep populations continue to dwindle. They are the communities that watch as the hunting season is shortened on a yearly basis and their store fronts are closed.
"They are the individuals who expend great efforts to foster and support a world-class trophy game population."
The brief noted that coalition members represent those citizens that the federal planning process for wolf reintroduction and recovery was designed to protect.
"Their protection was defined ... as being 'critical' to the success of the wolf recovery efforts," the brief noted. "The agencies promised to protect these citizens by adopting and implementing an 'effective' management and control program to address the impacts of a recovery program that was dictated by out-of-state interests."
The coalition argued that it should be able to present its full case to the federal courts, "To show that the agencies unleashed a dangerous predator into the state and have since abdicated their responsibilities to effectively manage it."
The brief stated: "The members of the wolf coalition, having been forced to tolerate the wolf population at the behest of people who neve rhave and never will be affected, seek nothing more than the opportunity to show that the agencies are violating that law when they refuse to stop the killing.They seek nothing more than the opportunity to show that the agencies abused their authority and obligations under the Endangered Species Act and are violating the law."
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