After court ruling, wolves could soon be shot on sight in Wyoming
March 3 at 7:23 PM

A federal appeals court ruling stripped wolves of their protections in Wyoming on Friday, which could allow them to be shot on sight.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided in favor of Wyoming’s wolf management plan, which treats the animals as vermin. The court’s decision overturned a lower-court ruling that sided with conservationists who fought a state law that allowed the unlimited slaughter of wolves in a “predator zone that extended through most of the state,” the environmental groups said.


“Wyoming’s plan to shoot wolves on sight throughout most of the state was a bad idea when it was proposed, and it’s a bad idea now,” said Rebecca Riley, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups that fought the plan. “The court’s decision to lift federal protections for wolves in Wyoming will be a step backward for wolf recovery in the West.”

Wolves were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states. Following a slight recovery after federal protections were granted in 1978, they exist on only 10 percent of their historic range. Many of the wolves that could lose their protection live outside the borders of Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is prohibited and where the wolves have been reintroduced.

Environmental groups earlier convinced a lower court that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Obama administration should not have moved to remove endangered-species protection for wolves based on promises from Wyoming that it would not harm them in certain areas.

The appeals court essentially ruled that the federal agency had reason to trust Wyoming’s word.

Wyoming’s “promises to protect wolves don’t amount to much” in a state that allows aggressive hunting, said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity. Wolves trying to make it to the southern Rocky Mountains to mate or establish territory “have to make it through the shoot-on-sight zone,” a deadly journey that could once again lower their population, he said.

7 thoughts on “After court ruling, wolves could soon be shot on sight in Wyoming

  1. And there’s no guarantee that wolves won’t be exterminated entirely again in WY, because even their ‘word’ to have the minimum 100 wolves is non-binding. Once WY has oversight (and I use the term loosely) anything can and will happen. What a stupid, stupid decision.

  2. I’m always appalled at the arrogance of H. sapiens (and our species classification is “sapiens,” or “wise.” How ridiculous is that?) Designating animals as “vermin” and “trash” to make their killing more acceptable is outrageous.

    From the beginning I was against the re-introduction of wolves–for the sake of the wolves. I worried that, although they have their place in the ecological system and are part of the trophic cascade, there is too much wolf hatred among human beings to bring them back. We just gave the haters an opportunity to make a target out of another “nuisance” animal or “varmint.” Not fair.

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