For Immediate Release


Erin McCallum, (202) 772-3217

Defenders of Wildlife

Wolves Protected Again! FWS Voluntarily Removes Own Delisting Rule

WASHINGTON - According to recent statements by senior U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) officials, FWS intends to rescind its own wolf delisting
rule - issued in March - sometime this week. This will place the
Northern Rockies gray wolf back under federal protections.

This action comes on the heels of a decision in July by the
U.S. District Court in Missoula granting a request by a coalition of
twelve conservation groups for a preliminary injunction, which
temporarily placed wolves back under federal protection. The court
determined that plaintiffs were likely to prevail against FWS on its
claims that delisting was premature because of concerns regarding
genetic isolation and the adequacy of state management plans. FWS now
intends to ask the court to remand the issue to FWS so it can
reconsider its delisting decision.

The following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, President for Defenders of Wildlife.

"This is a great victory for wolf conservation in the Northern Rockies and everyone working for wolf conservation.

"We're extremely pleased that the Fish and Wildlife Service has
finally bowed to reality by recognizing that there are serious
scientific and legal problems underlying their delisting rule - as
biologists and conservation groups have said since this flawed
delisting rule was proposed, and which the federal court clearly
recognized this summer.

"This action is vital for the continued survival of wolves in the
region. The delisting of wolves was inappropriate and illegal in large
part because existing state management plans are inadequate to ensure
the long term conservation of wolves in the region, allowing far too
many wolves to be unnecessarily killed.

"We are glad the wolves are back under the protection of the
Endangered Species Act and we hope that the next administration will
put politics aside when making wolf management decisions, instead
making them based on sound science and the participation of all
interested stakeholders.

"We hope that the state agencies will take this opportunity to work
with the Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups to revisit
their plans and put the long term conservation of wolves in the wild in
forefront of future wolf management efforts. If they do, we are
confident that agreement can be reached on science-based responsible,
balanced management plans that will benefit wolves, ranchers, hunters,
Northern Rockies residents and all Americans who care deeply about
wildlife conservation."

Learn more about how Defenders is working to save wolves in the Northern Rockies >>



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