Action Seeks Legally Required National Wolf Recovery Plan
WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never providing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide, which is required by the law.
Today’s lawsuit argues that wolves must remain federally protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national recovery plan. But the agency is planning to remove endangered species protection from nearly all gray wolves in the lower 48 states through a proposed rule expected next month.
That would make wolves vulnerable to trophy hunting and trapping, halting their progress toward recovery.
“We won’t let the Trump administration bring wolf recovery to a screeching halt to benefit the blood sport of trophy hunting,” said Collette Adkins, a Minneapolis-based Center biologist and attorney. “If successful, our lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and block their efforts to prematurely remove protection.”
A recovery plan would enable wolves to establish viable populations in areas where small populations are still recovering, including California, Oregon and Washington.
It would also promote recovery in areas like the southern Rockies, Dakotas and Adirondacks, which have suitable wolf habitat but no remaining wolf populations.
“Wolves are still missing from more than 90 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states, and the Endangered Species Act, and common sense tell us we can’t ignore that loss,” said Adkins. “We’re doing all we can to make sure Trump officials fulfill their obligation to restore wolves in key habitats across the country.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, explains that the Service unreasonably denied the Center’s formal petition requesting development of a nationwide wolf recovery plan. Beyond the plan the Endangered Species Act requires the agency to conduct a status review every five years. But six years have passed since the last national wolf status review.