By John Myers
Duluth News Tribune
DULUTH — Wolf supporters on Wednesday made good on a September pledge and filed suit to force the federal government to develop a broader recovery plan for gray wolves across more of the U.S.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in federal district court against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violating the Endangered Species Act by never developing a comprehensive recovery plan for gray wolves nationwide.
According to 2014 federal court rulings, under the Endangered Species Act, wolves must remain protected until the Fish and Wildlife Service implements a national plan. But the federal agency in June went the opposite direction, saying it would yet again file a formal plan later this year to remove wolves from federal protections entirely because they have recovered in enough places to ensure their survival as a species, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Wolf supporters say there’s not enough wolves in enough places.
“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 Minnesota-based biologist and attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.
Adkins said that, if successful, the lawsuit would require the feds to recover wolves nationwide and would also block efforts to “prematurely” remove protections for wolves The Fish and Wildlife Service has tried multiple times to delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, saying the big predators have fully recovered here after brushing with extinction in the 1960s and ‘70s.