July 25, 2008
July 25, 2008 - Gray wolves regained endangered-species protections last Friday when a federal judge in Montana granted a preliminary injunction to environmentalists who had challenged the wolves delisting.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald W. Molloy issued a strongly worded 40-page critique of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delist the gray wolves, calling it arbitrary and capricious. He said the action "demonstrated a possibility of irreparable harm" to the species. The injunction "ensures the species is not imperiled" while the case continues to be litigated, the judge wrote.
In 1995 and 1996, officials introduced 66 wolves to central Idaho and Yellowstone National Park, aiming to establish a stable population of at least 300 animals. When the wolf was delisted earlier this year, wolves in the northern Rockies numbered 1,513. Wildlife Services officials say the population is increasing by about 24 percent a year and estimate that the population now tops 2,000.
The injunction comes just months before planned fall hunts in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, which have since been canceled.