Four conservation groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the plan to kill two wolves in the Imnaha pack.
That was fast! The plan was just announced at the end of the day yesterday after it was confirmed that another calf in Wallowa County was indeed killed by the same pack that has killed several other calves over the past year.
The conservation groups – Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Hells Canyon Preservation Council and Oregon Wild – say the feds haven’t done the proper environmental reviews, and that killing the wolves would be a violation of the Endangered Species Act (Gray wolves in Oregon are, for now, still listed as threatened. But they’re due to be delisted any day now.).
Sean Stevens of Oregon Wild told me today the feds don’t wait long after announcing a lethal removal to go out and do the job. So the lawsuit had to be filed asap. He also said his group has stopped the feds from killing wolves by suing in the past. I have a call into the Service to find out more. In the meantime, here’s some of what the challengers said:
“Oregon is big enough for people and wolves,” said Greg Dyson with the La Grande-based Hells Canyon Preservation Council. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is acting too hastily in moving to kill these wolves before exhausting other management options. We were left with no choice but to protect wolves in court.”
Wolves have only begun to recover in Oregon with fewer than 25 wolves in two packs. Despite their small numbers, Oregon wolves will be removed from federal Endangered Species Act protection very soon under a congressional rider attached to the budget bill funding the government for the remainder of 2011.
“Oregon’s struggling wolf population cannot sustain these killings,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The killing of these two wolves highlights why Congress should not meddle in complex scientific decisions over the management of our nation’s endangered species. Oregon wolves are nowhere near recovered and continue to need protection.”