Friday, January 25, 2008

Wolves are targeted --- again

This is heartbreaking:

State game agencies and private citizens would be allowed to kill federally protected gray wolves that threatened dogs or seriously decreased deer, elk or moose populations in parts of the northern Rocky Mountains, under a federal rule announced Thursday.

The regulation comes a month ahead of the expected federal decision to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list, which would allow wolves to be hunted. That decision is likely to face protracted litigation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services officials said Thursday that the revised provision would allow for states to deal with areas where wolf activity is affecting wildlife populations while delisting is tied up in court.

“This rule, if it goes forward, could provide a safety valve for the states during the two to three years while the delisting goes through litigation,” said Ed Bangs, Fish and Wildlife’s wolf recovery coordinator. “Whether this rule ever gets used or not, who knows. But if you’re protecting your dog on a Forest Service hiking trail, you’ll be glad this rule exists.”

Environmentalists interpreted the rule as an attempt to skirt delays expected from delisting litigation.

“The shame of it is we spent so much time and effort trying to recover wolves, and were within spitting distance of recovery,” said Doug Honnold, managing attorney for the Northern Rockies office of Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm. “But instead of securing those recovery gains and building on them, Fish and Wildlife Services is throwing them away. . . . They want the right to kill wolves willy-nilly.”

Wolves are extremely intelligent and social creatures. It's horrible the way they are villified for simply living the way nature intended them to live.

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