October 13, 2012
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this month handed over its wolf-management efforts to the state of Wyoming, leaving all three northern Rockies states, including Montana and Idaho, to manage wolves on their own. Environmental groups—including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity—have vowed to sue Fish and Wildlife, arguing that its action has put wolves “back on the brink.”
Another lawsuit will not advance conservation. With the wolf population secure in many wild areas, incessant litigation is only alienating rural westerners and compounding their antipathy for wolves and the federal government. Ultimately, this battle risks undermining the statutory basis of endangered-species conservation.
When I moved from the East Coast to Wyoming five years ago to conduct research on wolves and elk, I had only an abstract sense of the human fight over wolves that was going on in the Rockies….