Bill HR 424 has just been introduces by Congressman Liz Cheney (WY) which if passed, will critically effect the populations of gray wolves.
The bill is aimed to permanently remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, otherwise allowing trophy hunting of wolves within these regions to immediately continue. The bill also prohibits judicial review which prevents any legal challenge.
Wyoming’s wolves had been previously stripped from federal protection in 2012 after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that these wolves no longer warranted protection under the ESA and decided to hand over management responsibilities to the state. The USFWS had previously criticized Wyoming’s state wolf plan, saying that unregulated shooting in most of the state would reduce the state’s wolf population below federally required levels, however the federal agency switched their position. The day after management had been handed over to the state, Wyoming’s inaugural wolf hunt commenced.
Wyoming’s wolf management plan calls for the state to:
- Deem wolves predators in 90% of the state (all but the northwest corner of Wyoming), where they could be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.
- In Wyoming’s northwest corner, right outside Yellowstone National Park, classify wolves as trophy game animals meaning they could only be hunted with a license.
- Maintain only 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Par
At the end of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin had been reinstated after federal judges invalidated USFWS’s 2012 decision to delist wolves in the regions.
If bill HR 424 is passed, it will strip both of these federal court decisions and again allow wolves to be trophy hunted. There are 14 cosponsors of this bill so far.
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Photo Credit: Dogzer