Wildlife Groups Sue The State Of Montana To Stop The Senseless Wolf Slaughter; Take Action To Stop Wolf Trapping That Begins On November 28th!

Conservation groups WildEarth Guardians and Project Coyote filed a lawsuit last week in Montana alleging that the state’s extreme anti-wolf hunting and trapping policies violate the Montana Constitution, Montana Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA), Public Trust Doctrine, and several federal laws meant to protect wildlife on federally-managed lands.

Filed in the middle of the state’s wolf hunting season with wolf trapping set to start on November 28th, the lawsuit claims that Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP), and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, are violating the law by relying on stale and insufficient scientific data in order to authorize the killing of roughly 40% of the state’s wolf population this coming winter. Moreover, the lawsuit alleges that the state is flouting its responsibility to manage wildlife for the benefit of the entire public and is overstepping its management authority by allowing wolf slaughter on the boundaries of federal lands.

“Montana’s politically-motivated wolf slaughter is illegal and completely unmoored from scientifically sound wildlife management,” Lizzy Pennock, the Montana-based carnivore coexistence advocate at WildEarth Guardians, said in a statement. “Montana’s pile of wolf carcasses stacks higher every day, and we are done waiting for somebody else to act.”

Since Montana’s wolves lost their federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2011, the state has been managing its wolves and developing yearly regulations and quotas based on a plan developed in 2002. Despite the requirement that the wolf plan be reviewed every five years, Montana has never updated it, even with the rapid development of conservation science and carnivore ecology over the past two decades.

“While the rest of the world is trying to reverse our current course causing the mass extinction of life, Montana seems hellbent on flaming the proverbial fires,” stated Michelle Lute, PhD in wolf conservation and carnivore conservation director for Project Coyote. “Science and Indigenous knowledge have already taught us that we slaughter wolves to our own detriment. Wolves are apex predators with outsized benefits across our communities.”

Anti-carnivore legislation enacted in 2021 expands hunting seasons and broadens the brutal methods by which one can kill a wolf. This year, approved regulations allow each license holder to kill up to 20 wolves until 456 wolves are killed statewide. As previously reported by WAN, hunters are using cruel and unethical hunting methods, such as strangulation snares, bait, nighttime hunting on private lands with spotlights, thermal imaging, and night vision. This must end!

“We are saddened that wolf management in the Rocky Mountain states has become so deplorable that such measures must be taken, but the #Relistwolves Campaign applauds the legal actions of the wildlife conservation organizations who are suing to stand up for wolves in Montana,” Leslie Williams, founding member of the #RelistWolves Campaign, told WAN. “Federal protections were restored earlier this year to wolves in much of the United States, but not to wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; where over 80% of the slaughter is taking place. With Montana’s wolf hunting season set to start this month, Montana has shown they are unwilling to implement conflict reduction techniques, such as fencing and livestock guardian dogs, which have proven effective, instead of pure slaughter.”

“There is a world where humans and wolves can exist side by side and our ecosystems will be healthier for it. We must demand the immediate relisting of wolves in Montana and all the Northern Rocky Mountain states under the Endangered Species Act,” concluded Williams.

Please take action by asking your representatives to put pressure on Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and President Biden to #RelistWolves, HERE!

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