Montana’s Wolf Hunting Season Began Yesterday & Trapping Will Begin Two Weeks Earlier On November 29th; Voice Your Opinion To End It!

Following an initial 90-day review, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a report yesterday announcing that wolves in the West may, in fact, warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The decision comes in response to an emergency petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and Sierra Club.

As noted in a statement by the USFWS, “the Service finds the petitioners present substantial information that potential increases in human-caused mortality may pose a threat to the gray wolf in the western U.S. The Service also finds that new regulatory mechanisms in Idaho and Montana may be inadequate to address this threat. Therefore, the Service finds that gray wolves in the western U.S. may warrant listing.”

The Endangered Species Act requires that the Service make a final decision within one year of the May 26th petition.

Idaho’s new laws took effect on July 1st, and shockingly, Montana’s general wolf-hunting season began yesterday. As per the organizations that filed the petition, trapping wolves in Montana will begin two weeks earlier this year, on November 29th, and extend two weeks later as a result of the new law.

As previously reported by WAN, Idaho’s new law could result in the killing of up to 90% of the state’s wolf population. It calls for private contractors to kill wolves, allows hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited number of wolves, and permits trapping year-round on private lands across the state. People can also chase wolves with hounds or run them over with all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

“Wolves simply cannot afford to be exposed to months of cruel and wanton slaughter while the Service completes its review,” Nicholas Arrivo, managing attorney for wildlife at the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “Without an emergency relisting now, there may not be much of a population left to protect when the process is complete.”

Montana’s new laws risk the killing of approximately 85% of the state’s wolf population. They permit the use of strangulation snares, night hunting, and bait to hunt and trap wolves. Hunters and trappers can kill up to 10 wolves each and can be reimbursed for their expenses killing wolves through a new “bounty program.” While Montana previously set strict quotas outside Yellowstone National Park to limit the killing of Yellowstone’s wolves, those quotas have been eliminated.

Substantial 90-day findings require that only the petitioner provide information that the proposed action may be warranted. The next steps for the Service include in-depth status reviews and analyses using the best available science and information to arrive at a 12-month finding on whether listing is warranted.  If so, listing a species is done through a separate rulemaking process, with public notice and comment.

The 90-day finding and petition review form associated with this announcement are now available for review.

Beginning tomorrow, upon publication in the Federal Register, the public can share relevant information and leave comments in support of the protection of wolves by referring to Docket Number: FWS-HQ-ES-2021-0106, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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