Why is Wyoming Moving Towards Removing Gray Wolf Protections?

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Much to the dismay of animal advocates everywhere, the gray wolf season opened in Wyoming at the beginning of this month marking the first time it has occurred since 2013.

Sadly, the state was once again authorized to manage the endangered animals when The Gray Wolf State Management Act (H.R. 424), a bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, and Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, passed the House Natural Resources Committee on October 4th, 2017.

While no hunting will be allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks, the Wyoming Fish and Game Department announced that up to 44 wolves of the state’s estimated 380 wolves can be killed this year during the season which runs through December 31st, 2017.

In the latest attack on gray wolves, the bill requires the Department of the Interior to reissue two rules that removed protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for the gray wolf populations located in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes; which includes Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, as well as portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The bill also prohibits judicial review of the reissued rules.

Gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and subsequently delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2012. That decision was overturned and protections reinstated in 2014 by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C. An appellate court then reversed that ruling in April of this year, allowing Wyoming to again manage the population outside of Yellowstone National Park.

The Powell Tribune recently reported that Cheney, who has stated that her goal is “to provide Wyoming farmers and ranchers with the ability to protect their own livestock and livelihood,” noted that “The Gray Wolf State Management Act will most likely move to the House floor as part of a legislative package to promote sportsmen activities on federal lands.

Unfathomably, the media outlet reported that the bipartisan bill, including Democrats from Wisconsin and Minnesota, has the support of many members of Congress from all four states.

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