Tired of seeing wolves make a comeback off the endangered list only to be hunted, several groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior to get gray wolves back on the protected list.
The lawsuit charges that allowing wolves to be hunted in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan undermines and could even jeopardize the animals’ resurgence, the very thing that protected status was trying to create. Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment are the other animal welfare groups acting as plaintiffs, the Associated Press reported.
“In the short time since federal protections have been removed, trophy hunters and trappers have killed hundreds of Great Lakes wolves under hostile state management programs that encourage dramatic reductions in wolf populations,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, the humane society’s chief counsel for animal protection litigation, in a statement. “This decision rolls back the only line of defense for wolf populations, and paves the way for the same state-sponsored eradication policies that pushed this species to the brink of extinction in the first place.”
Environmental advocates are also suing in Wyoming in a separate lawsuit aiming to restore federal protections, the AP said.
The fate of wolves is hotly contested in Midwestern and western U.S. states. The animals have been protected back into survival and increased their numbers, only to be hunted down and killed when they get in the way of livestock. Most notoriously in recent months was the killing of the Wedge pack of wolves in Washington State, which caused public outcry.