On Tuesday, a federal lawsuit to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to conduct a legally mandated five-year status review of the gray wolf was filed. The Washington Cattlemen's Association sued the USFWS to force the agency to review protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. The suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.
In related news, Montana's Gov. Brian Schweitzer this week announced that in an effort to protect the interests of livestock producers and hunters, whole packs of wolves that prey on cattle and elk will be removed.
Schweitzer wrote that while "almost everyone acknowledges that the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf population is fully recovered," he is "profoundly frustrated by the lack of any actual results that recognize Montana's rights and responsibilities to manage its wildlife."
In 2008, a federal judge in Missoula put the gray wolf back under federal protection in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Last year, it was ruled that wolves could not be delisted in Montana and Idaho as long as Wyoming remained under federal management.
Also, the 2011 continuing resolution budget bill now before the House includes a provision to revoke endangered species status for an estimated 1,400 wolves in Idaho, Montana and portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah. An amendment to include Wyoming was rejected.