Conservationists to challenge Wyoming's wolf de-listing in federal court
A federal judge will hear the case of conservationists in Washington D.C., Tuesday morning, challenging the removal of Wyoming's gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act.
Earthjustice will present the case, but it's doing it on behalf of four conservation groups. Dr. Franz Camenzind, of Jackson, has been heavily involved in conservation efforts and Tuesday's case.
When Camenzind moved to Jackson 40 years ago, seeing or even hearing a wolf was a dream, but now the population is in the valley and he wants it to stay that way.
"I was the director of the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, a local environmental organization here, during the time of re-introduction and certainly during the time of de-listing, so we were very much involved with that," said Camenzind.
Wyoming's gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species Act in September 2012 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since then, management has been left up to the state. Camenzind says Tuesday's argument will include flaws of Wyoming's management.
"The argument's going to be made that wyoming isn't ready with their plan to really manage wolves, to protect them and maintain a sustainable population in the state," said Camenzind.
Since the de-listing, Earthjustice said 119 wolves have been killed in Wyoming. They said since then, hostility toward wolves has picked up on social media sites, like Facebook. It has Camenzind wondering how many wolves are killed illegally.
"There's an amazing set of people here in this part of the world that just don't like wolves," said Camenzind.
Camenzind said legal kills, poaching and depredation control has taken its toll on the wolf population. A population, he said, the state only manages to keep at a minimum, while still remaining off the endangered list. He worries diseases and interbreeding could threaten the state's population.
"I would like to see us not only manage for the carrying capacity, but also manage for enough buffer, that the population can absorb those natural fluctuations," said Camenzind.
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