Animal Rights Group Threatens To Sue FWS Over Wolf Recovery Plan

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Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) if the Service does not create a new nationwide wolf recovery plan.

The CBD filed the notice after the FWS did not respond to an earlier petition filed by the group.  In the petition, CBD requested that the FWS create a wolf recovery plan for the lower 48 states.

Specifically, the Center requested that wolves be introduced or their populations bolstered in “at least seven interconnected regions” throughout the continental U.S.  This would include: “1) the Pacific Northwest, including the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, 2) the Great Basin, including portions of California, Nevada, and Utah, 3) the southern Rocky Mountains, 4) the northern Rocky Mountains, 5) the Great Plains, 6) the Midwest, and 7) New England.”

The FWS has 60 days to respond before the Center can file a lawsuit.

“Wolves in the Western Great Lakes and Northern Rocky Mountains regions have already far exceeded recovery goals and have become an increasing threat to people and domestic and wild animals,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation vice president for government affairs.  “The reintroduction of more wolves would not be in anyone’s best interest.”

Earlier this year, the USSAF filed a petition with the Service requesting that it remove the wolves in the Western Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species List.  This would return management to state wildlife agencies.  Recently, the Service issued a press release stating that it intends to seek comments on a schedule that would allow it to delist wolves in the region by the end of 2011.

In the press release, the FWS noted that “wolves continue to exceed recovery goals and are no longer threatened with extinction.”

Previous efforts to delist recovered wolf populations have been reversed as a result of lawsuits filed by animal rights groups.  In those cases, the reversals did not question nor overturn the findings by the FWS that wolves have met recovery plan objectives but dealt with technical legal issues.